History of Judiciary of the end of the 18th and the first half of the 19th century in the territory of Southern Ukraine in epistolary sources

Abstract

The change in the modern scientific paradigm of historical research encourages a more active study of the personal, subjective, "human" in various spheres of society. The purpose of the article: is to analyze the information potential of epistolary sources on the history of justice on the territory of Southern Ukraine in the last quarter of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century. Research methods: biographical, comparative studies, method of internal criticism of the sources. Main results. All letters can be divided into two groups. The first being letters of various kinds, are directly in the court cases themselves. The second, being private letters of persons, mention cases of contact with the judicial system and give its characteristics. The letters preserved in court archives are divided into private and business ones. The first ones were provided as evidence in cases; the second ones were used as a power of attorney. In the first group, the most interesting is the correspondence between the leader of the nobility of Yekaterinoslav governorate, Konstantin Lalosh, and his wife, Martha, in the 1780s. Letters of assistance to high-ranking officials are informative in terms of understanding the court process, attitude to the law, and combating office abuse by members of the court. They, as well as letters of instruction (“letters of credence”) of this period sometimes contain elements of private communication. That is, business and private correspondence often had common features and similarities. In addition to the procedure for obtaining legal services, the preserved epistolary describes the procedure for examining a criminal corpse. During this period, each landowner had experience in communicating with the judiciary, often in civil proceedings. Land tenure, inheritance, conflicts were resolved through the courts, debts were withheld. There is frequent evidence of such facts in ego-documents. The result of the lawsuit is correspondence between the famous writer Vasyl Kapnist and his counterpart Tekla Tarnovska (1797–1798). The consideration of mutual claims for property rights lasted for more than 20 years, for some time it took place in the chamber of the civil court of Yekaterinoslav governorate. The case was complicated by various circumstances and finally resolved by mutual agreement outside the courtroom. There are 17 letters from both sides, which were sent in search of understanding. Equally important is brief information about the activities of the courts which occur in the correspondence of this period (for example, the published complex of letters of the Yekaterinoslav landowners the Nechaievs). Conclusions. All epistolary sources demonstrate the importance of courts in the life of the society in the Southern Ukraine in the last quarter of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth century. They tried to maintain good relations with court officials, avoided appearing before judges, but had little hope for judicial justice. Therefore, the need for control over attorneys and litigation was often pointed out; at the same time with trials, high officials and the emperor were usually addressed. Reconciliation processes were also popular. The analyzed epistolary books, some of which are introduced into scientific circulation for the first time, have significant information potential for research of social, gender, economic history of the region in this period. Type of article: research.

Author Biography

Olha Posunko, Oles Honchar Dnipro National University

Ph. D. in History, Associate Professor, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of History of Ukraine, Faculty of History, Oles Honchar Dnipro National University

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Published
2021-12-19
How to Cite
POSUNKO, Olha. History of Judiciary of the end of the 18th and the first half of the 19th century in the territory of Southern Ukraine in epistolary sources. Universum Historiae et Archeologiae = The Universe of History and Archeology = Універсум історії та археології = Универсум истории и археологии ISSN 2664-9950 (Print) ISSN 2707-6385 (Online), [S.l.], v. 4, n. 1, p. 111–120, dec. 2021. ISSN 2707-6385. Available at: <http://uha.dp.ua/index.php/UHA/article/view/123>. Date accessed: 18 may 2022. doi: https://doi.org/10.15421/26210403.
Section
Historiography. Source Study. Special Historical Disciplines