Among the gentry of the province Nicholas was respected but not liked.
The Polish nobles, gentry and Church - the educated classes generally - were crushed.
The chief magnates sat on high- backed chairs at a large table under the portrait of the Emperor, but most of the gentry were strolling about the room.
Those who possessed the right of coatarmour by immemorial use, or by grant in regular form, formed the class of nobility or gentry, words which, it must again be remembered, are strictly of the same meaning.
In England indeed a variety of causes hindered nobility or gentry from ever obtaining the importance which they obtained, for instance, in France.
It marks the dawn of a public spirit as represented by the gentry, who, alarmed at the national peril and justly suspicious of the ruling magnates, unhesitatingly placed their destinies in the hands of Hunyadi, the one honest man who by sheer merit had risen within the last ten years from the humble position of a country squire to a leading position in the state.
Louis the Great placed the burgesses on a level with the gentry by granting to the town council of Cracow jurisdiction over all the serfs in the extra-rural estates of the citizens.
In the first were the nobility and gentry in their uniforms, in the second bearded merchants in full-skirted coats of blue cloth and wearing medals.
"It seems that even in the next world only the gentry are to have a chance!" remarked one.
"There are gentry here; the general himself is in that hut, and you foul-mouthed devils, you brutes, I'll give it to you!" shouted he, hitting the first man who came in his way a swinging blow on the back.
But though the treasury was thus temporarily replenished and the army increased, the gentry who had been so generous at the expense of their richer neighbours would hear of no additional burdens being laid on themselves, and the king only obtained what he wanted by sacrificing his principles to his necessities, and helping the szlachta to pull down the magnates.
Lutheranism, moreover, was at first regarded with grave suspicion by the intensely patriotic Polish gentry, because of its German origin.
The sons of the gentry, denied proper instruction at home, betook themselves to the nearest universities across the border, to Goldberg in Silesia, to Wittemberg, to Leipzig.
This at once led to an explosion, and at the diet of Piotrkow, 1J52, the szlachta accepted a proposition of the king, by way of compromise, that the jurisdiction of the clerical courts should be suspended for twelve months, on condition that the gentry continued to pay tithes as heretofore.
The privileges conferred upon the magnates of which these councils were composed, especially upon the magnates of Little Poland, who brought the Jagiellos to the throne, directed their policy, and grew rich upon their liberality, revolted the less favoured szlachta, or gentry, who, towards the end of the 14th century, combined for mutual defence in their sejmiki, or local diets, of which originally there were five, three in Great Poland, one in Little Poland and one in Posen-Kalisz.'
(1 53 o - 1 54 8) the political influence of the szlachta grew rapidly at the expense of the executive, and the gentry in diet assembled succeeded in curtailing the functions of all the great officers of state.
Well provided with funds, he speedily bought over many of the leading magnates, and his popularity reached its height when he strenuously advocated the adoption of the mode of election by the gentry en masse (which the szlachta proposed to revive), as opposed to the usual and more orderly "secret election" by a congress of senators and deputies, sitting with closed doors.
Throughout the Ukraine the gentry were hunted down, flayed, burnt, blinded and sawn asunder.
The Polish gentry were still the umpires as well as the stake-holders; the best candidates generally won the day; and the defeated competitors were driven out of the country by force of arms if they did not take their discomfiture, after a fair fight, like sportsmen.
Maryan Dubiecki's Karol Prozor (Pol., Cracow, 1897) shows with what self-sacrificing devotion the gentry and people supported Kosciuszko's rising.
She appointed an agent to reside at Rome, and a papal agent, a Scotsman named George Conn, accredited to her, was soon engaged in effecting conversions amongst the English gentry and nobility.
In 1617 on the recommendation of Thomas Morton, bishop of Chester, for use in Lancashire, where the king on his return from Scotland found a conflict on the subject of Sunday amusements between the Puritans and the gentry, many of whom were Roman Catholics.
The loss of revenue consequent upon the secession of Lithuania placed John Albert at the mercy of the Polish Sejmiki or local diets, where the szlachta, or country gentry, made their subsidies dependent upon the king's subservience.
The family is assumed to have sprung from Walsingham in Norfolk, but the earliest authentic traces of it are found in London in the first half of the 15th century; and it was one of the numerous families which, having accumulated wealth in the city, planted themselves out as landed gentry and provided the Tudor monarchy with its justices of the peace and main support.
At the very beginning of his reign he came into collision with the turbulent szlachta or gentry, who had already begun to oust the great families from power.
By 1550, when he summoned his second diet, a reaction in his favour began, and the lingering petulance of the gentry was sternly rebuked by Kmita, the marshal of the diet, who openly accused them of attempting to diminish unduly the legislative prerogative of the crown.
In general we may perhaps define them as nobles and commons, though in view of the numbers of the higher classes it would probably be more correct to speak of gentry and peasants.
On the 25th of December 1289 he issued a manifesto to the lesser gentry, a large portion of whom sided with him, urging them to continue the struggle against the magnates and their foreign supporters; but on the 10th of July 1290 he was murdered in his camp at Korosszeg by the Kumanians, who never forgave him for deserting them.
He entered the Swedish army at an early age and was already a captain when, in 1689, at the head of a deputation of Livonian gentry, he went to Stockholm to protest against the rigour with which the land-recovery project of Charles XI.
In both rebellions the magistrates took the side of the Crown and were supported by the townsfolk generally, the Jacobites drawing their strength mainly from the county noblemen and gentry with their retainers.
Brydall, Jus Imaginis aped Anglos, or the Law of England relating to the Nobility and Gentry (London, 1675), p. 20.
On the Continent the distinction which is commonly but incorrectly made between the nobility and the gentry has never arisen, and it was unknown here while chivalry existed and heraldry was understood.
Immediately dependent upon the prince, from whom they obtained their privileges, the most important of which were self-government and freedom from taxation, these traders soon became an important factor in the state, counterpoising, to some extent, the influence of the gentry, enriching the land by developing its resources, and promoting civilization by raising the standard of comfort.
External pressure, here as elsewhere, created a patriotic military caste, and the subsequent partitional period, when every little prince had his own separate court, still further established the growing influence of the szlachta, or gentry, who were not backward in claiming and obtaining special privileges in return for their services.
In the domain of the Knights the gentry, parochial clergy and townsmen, who, beneath its protection, had attained to a high degree of wealth and civilization, for long remained without the slightest political influence, though they bore nearly the whole burden of taxation.
But the old abuses continuing to multiply, the Prussian towns and gentry at last took their affairs into their own hands, and formed a so-called Prussian League, which demanded an equal share in the government of the country.
Indeed, from first to last, the Polish gentry as a body took good care to pay and fight as little as possible, and Casimir depended for the most part upon the liberality of the Church and the Prussian towns, and the valour of the Hussite infantry, 17c,000 of whom, fighting on both sides, are said to have perished.
There is only one answer; the principal cause of this complete and irretrievable collapse is to be sought for in the folly, egotism and selfishness of the Polish gentry, whose insane dislike of all discipline, including even the salutary discipline of regular government, converted Poland into something very like a primitive tribal community at the very time when every European statesman, including the more enlightened of the Poles themselves, clearly recognized that the political future belonged to the strongly centralized monarchies, which were everywhere rising on the ruins of feudalism.
In the Domes day Survey only five lay tenants-in-chief are mentioned, all the chief estates being held by the church, and the fact that the Kentish gentry are less ancient than in some remoter shires is further explained by the constant implantation of new stocks from London.
Extremely well suited for sheep-farming, the natural pastures of the country were quickly parcelled out into huge pastoral crown leases, held by prosperous licensees, the squatters, who in many cases aspired to become a country gentry by turning their leases into freeholds.
It was still, however, essentially an assembly of notables, lay and clerical, at which the gentry, though technically eligible, do not seem to have been directly represented.
In addition to this, a reserve force called the telekkatonasag was recruited from among the lesser gentry according to their teleks or holdings, every thirty-three teleks being held responsible for a mounted and fully equipped archer.