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SERGEL—SERGIPE

census of the rural population. The ultimate result was, however, not only the fixity of peasant tenures, but the subjection of the entire peasant population as a separate class (Krepostrie) to the personal sway of the landowners. The state insisted to a certain extent on the public character of this subjection and drew distinctions between personal slavery and serfdom. In the midst of the peasants themselves there lived a consciousness of their special claims as to tenant right, claims which sometimes assumed the shape of the quaint saying, “The land is ours, though we are yours.” But, in fact, serfdom naturally took the form of an ugly ownership of live chattels on the part of a privileged class, and all sorts of excesses, of cruelty, ruthless exploitation and wanton caprice, followed as a matter of course. Emancipation was brought about in the 19th century by economic causes as well as by humanitarian considerations. The fabric of a state built up on the basis of serfdom proved inadequate to meet the tasks of modern times. Private enterprise and the free application of capital and labour were hindered in every way by the bondage of the peasant class. Even such a necessary measure as that of moving cultivators to the rich soil of the south was thwarted by the adherence of the northern peasantry to the glebe. On the humanitarian and liberal ideas making for emancipation we need not dwell, as they are self-evident. After several half-hearted attempts directed in the course of Nicholas I.'s reign to face the question while safeguarding at the same time the rights and privileges of the old aristocracy, the moral collapse of the ancien régime during the Crimean war brought about the Emancipation Act of the 19th of February 1861, by which some 1 5 millions of serfs were freed from bondage. The most characteristic feature of this act was that the peasants, as distinct from household servants, received not only personal freedom but allotments in land in certain proportions to their former holdings. The state indemnified the former landowners, and the peasants had to redeem the loan by yearly payments extending over a number of years.

If we turn back from this course of development to the history of serfdom and emancipation in the West striking contrasts appear. As we have already noticed, medieval serfdom in the West was the result of a process of customary feudal growth hardly interfered with by central governments. The loosening of bondage is also, to a great extent, prepared by the working of local economic agencies. Villeins and serfs in France rise gradually in the social scale, redeem many of the onerous services of feudalism and practically acquire tenant-right on most of the plots occupied by them. Tocqueville has pointed out that already before the revolution of 1789 the greater part of the territory of France was in the hands of small peasant owners, and modern researches have confirmed Tocqueville's estimate. Thus feudal over lordship in France had resolved itself into a superficial dominion undermined in all directions by economic realities. The fact that there still existed all kinds of survivals of harsh forms of dependence, e.g. the bondage of the serfs in the Jura Mountains, only rendered the contrast between legal conditions and social realities more pointed. The night of the 4th of August 1789 put an end to this contrast at one stroke and the further history of rural population came to depend entirely on the play of free competition and free contract. The evolution of serfdom in Germany was effected by the working of somewhat more complicated causes. The regulating influence of government made itself felt to a greater extent, especially in the east. The colonization of the eastern provinces and the struggle against the Slavs necessitated a stronger concentration of aristocratic power, and the reception of Roman law during the 15th and 16th centuries hardened the forms of subjection originated by customary conditions. It may be said in a general way that Germany occupied in this respect, as in many others, an intermediate position between the west of Europe and Russia. Emancipation followed also a middle course. It was brought about chiefly by governmental measures, although the ground was to a great extent prepared by social evolution. The reforms of Stein and Hardenberg in Prussia, of the French and of their clients in South Germany, opened the way for a gradual redemption of the peasantry. Personal serfdom (Leibeigenschaft) was abolished first, hereditary subjection (Erbuntew thdnigkeit) followed next. Emancipation in this case was not connected with a recognition of the full tenant-right of the peasants; they had to part with a good deal of their land. To the last the landowners were not disturbed in their economic predominance, and succeeded very well in working their estates by the help of agricultural labourers and farmers. In the west the small peasant proprietorship had a better chance, but it arose in the course of economic competition rather than through any general recognition of tenant-right. On the whole serfdom appears as a characteristic corollary of feudalism. It grew up as a consequence of customary subjection and natural husbandry; it melted away with the coming in of an industrial and commercial age.

Authorities.—Wallon, Histoire de l’esclavage dans l’antiquité; Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyklopädie des klassischen Altertums, s.v. “Coloni”; Fustel de Coulanges, Recherches sur quelques problèmes d’histoire; Institutions politiques de la France (L’alleu et le domaine rural); F. Seebohm, English Village Community (1883); P. Vinogradolf, The Growth of the Manor (1905); G. Waitz, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte (1844, ff.); P. Viollet, Histoire du droit français (3rd ed., 1905); Engelmann, Geschichte der Leibeigenschaft in Russland; Kluchevsky, Lectures on the History of Russia (in Russian), ii. (1906); G. Hansen, Die Aufhebung der Leibeigenschaft in Schleswig und Holsteinn (1861); G. F. Knapp, Die Bauernbefreiung in Preussen (1887); Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaften, ed. by Conrad and Lexis, s.vv. “Bauernbefreiung,” “Unfreiheit,” “Grundherrschaft.”  (P. Vi.) 


SERGEL, JOHAN TOBIAS (1740–1814), Swedish sculptor, was born on the 8th of September 1740 in Stockholm. After studying for some time in Paris he went to Rome, where he remained for twelve years and sculptured a number of groups in marble, including, besides subjects from classical mythology, a colossal representation of “History,” in which are depicted the achievements of Gustavus Adolphus before the Chancellor Oxenstierna. It was in Rome also that he modelled the statue of Gustavus III., subsequently cast in bronze and purchased by the city of Stockholm in 1796. Sergel returned to Stockholm in 1779 and continued to produce his works there. Among them are a tomb for Gustavus Vasa, a monument to Descartes, and a large relief in the church of St Clarens in Stockholm, representing the Resurrection. He died in his native city on the 26th of February 1814.


SERGINSK, UPPER and LOWER, two towns of East Russia, in the government of Perm, 53 and 44 m. W.S.W. of Ekaterinburg respectively. They are noted for their iron-works. Upper Serginsk, which had a population of 8000 in 1897, yields annually over 8000 tons of pig-iron and 12,000 tons of steel. Lower Serginsk, with 14,000 inhabitants, yields about 7250 tons of pig-iron and 14,500 tons of steel. The latter town is well built and has a monument to Alexander II. Mineral waters (sulphurous) are found close by.


SERGIPE (originally Sergipe d’el-Rey), a small Atlantic state of Brazil, bounded N. by Alagôas, E. by the Atlantic, and S. and W. by Bahia. Area, 15,093 sq. m. Pop. (1900) 356,264, three-fourths half-castes and negroes. The Sāo Francisco forms its northern boundary, and the drainage of the northern part of the state is northward and eastward to that river. The southern half of the state, however, slopes eastward and is drained directly into the Atlantic through a number of small rivers, the largest of which are the Irapiranga (whose source is in the state of Bahia and which is called Vasa Barris at its mouth), the Real, and the Cotinguiba. These streams are navigable for short distances, but are obstructed by sand-bars at their mouths, that of Cotinguiba being especially dangerous. The surface of the state resembles in part that of Bahia, with a zone of forested lands near the coast, and back of this a higher zone of rough open country, called agrestes. There is a sandy belt along the coast, and the western frontier is slightly mountainous. The intermediate lands are highly fertile, especially in the forested region, where the rainfall is abundant. Further inland the year is divided into wet and dry seasons with occasional prolonged droughts. These districts are pastoral, and the lower fertile lands are cultivated for sugar, cotton, maize, tobacco, rice, beans, and mandioca—sugar being the principal product.