The white or married clergy form, in reality, a distinct caste; the male children following, generally, the condition of the father. This is, however, the result of usage rather than of law. Nay, they even intermarry among themselves. Thus the clergy form a class somewhere between the nobility, the bourgeoisie, and the people—less than the first, and superior to the two others. As a class, the clergy can not enter the nobility on an equal footing; and that very few marriages between them take place is, perhaps, principally on account of the poverty of the priests. For the children of the clergy to enter the body and share the occupations of the burghers would be looked on as a loss of caste. Few, therefore, of this class enter the public service, civil or military; and on the other hand, no nobleman ever takes "orders," with exception of now and then an old military veteran retiring to monastic life.
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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855