Entire liberty of speech, assembly and the press is guaranteed by the constitution, by which also the titles and privileges of the boiars or nobles were abolished.
Although the characteristic titles of voivode, knez and ban (all implying military as well as civil authority) are of Slavonic origin, and perhaps derived from the practice of the later Bulgarian (or Bulgaro-Vlachian) empire, the growth of Vlach feudal institutions is attributed to German influences, which permeated through Hungarian channels into the Vlach world, and transformed the primitive tribal chiefs into a feudal aristocracy of boiars or boyards 2 (nobles).
The elections, though often controlled by the Turkish Divan, were still constitutionally in the hands of the boiars, who were split up into various factions, each with its own pretender to the throne.
Immediately on erban's death the boiars, to prevent the Porte from handing over the office to the Greek adventurer who bid the highest, proceeded to elect his sister's son Constantine Brancovan.
The Turkish envoy then in Bucharest was persuaded to invest Brancovan with the caftan, or robe of office, in token of Turkish approval, and the patriarch of Constantinople, who was also present, and the archbishop of Walachia, Theodosius, consecrated him together at the high altar of the cathedral, where he took the coronation oath to devote his whole strength to the good of his country and received the boiars' oath of submission.
Many of the boiars were wealthy, but the common people were so ground down with taxation that " of their ancient Roman valour only the name remained."
The Walachians imitated every kind of Turkish and European manufacture; and, though the boiars imported finer glass from Venice and Bohemia, a glass manufactory had been established near Tirgovishtea which produced a better quality than the Polish.
In 1769 the Russian general Romanzov occupied the principality, the bishops and clergy took an oath of fidelity to the empress Catherine, and a deputation of boiars followed.
The election of the voivodes, though in the hands of the boiars, was strictly regulated by hereditary principles, and Cantemir describes the extinction of the house of Dragosh in the 16th century as one of the unsettling causes that most contributed to the ruin of the country.
On the approach of the Russian army the prince issued a proclamation containing the terms of the Russian protectorate and calling on the boiars and people to aid their Orthodox deliverers.
The Russian campaign was unsuccessful, and all that Peter could offer Cantemir and the boiars who had stood by him was an asylum on Russian soil.
Below these were a number of subordinate officers who acted as their assessors and were known as boiars of the Divan (Boiari de Divanu).
The high court of justice was formed by the prince, metropolitan and boiars: the Boiari de Svatu decided on the verdict; the metropolitan declared the law; and the prince pronounced sentence.
The boiars were able to try minor cases in their own residences, but subject to the right of appeal to the prince's tribunal.
- All formality of election by the boiars was now dispensed with, and the princes received their caftan of regime.
Carra, a Swiss who had been tutor to Prince Ghica's children, and who published in 1781 an account of the actual state of the principalities, speaks of some of the boiars as possessing a taste for French literature and even for the works of Voltaire, a tendency actively combated by the patriarch of Constantinople.
The treaty was hardly concluded when it was violated by the Porte, which refused to recognize the right of the Walachian boiars to elect their voivode, and nominated Alexander Ypsilanti, a creature of its own.
All irregular contributions were to cease, and all citizens, with the exception of the boiars and clergy, were to pay their share of the tribute.
The boiars were to be responsible for the maintenance of schools, hospitals and roads; they and the prince together for the militia.
In 1808 they formed a governing committee consisting of the metropolitan, another bishop, and four or five boiars under the presidency of General Kusnikov.
The internal constitution of the countries was to be regulated by an " Organic Law," which was drawn up b y assemblies of bishops and boiars at Jassy and Bucharest, acting, however, under Russian control.
Was mostly confined to the boiars, and the hospodar Michael Sturdza succeeded in arresting the ringleaders.
But there was a strong anti-German party in the country, especially among the old boiars and the peasantry.