“Your Excellency” is a form of statutory address that corresponded to the third and fourth classes of ranks introduced by Peter the Great in 1722. This appeal existed in Russia for almost two centuries and was canceled only after the revolution in 1917. In the modern world, "Your Excellency" is used to address various representatives of state power, if it is appropriate in the form of an official letter and applies directly to the addressee and his title.
Reference to ranks according to classes
On January 24, 1722, by decree of Peter the Great, a table of ranks was established, which gave a clear distribution of ranks into fourteen classes. Each of the fourteen classes corresponded to one of the five statutory addresses with the addition of the pronouns your, them, him, her:
- "High Excellency" - an appeal to the ranks of the first and second classes. In the "Table of Ranks" these are the highest ranks.
- "Excellency" refers to the third and fourth grades.
- "High birth" - corresponded to the fifth grade.
- "High Nobility" - the sixth andeighth grade.
- "Nobleness" - from the ninth to the fourteenth grades.
There were 262 posts in the "Table". These were military (in the army and navy), civil (civilian) and court ranks. All of them were divided into classes, which determined the place in the hierarchy of the civil service.
Appeals not marked in the "Table of Ranks"
In addition to the titles provided for in the report card, there were separate appeals to representatives of the imperial family and the nobility, such as:
- Imperial Majesty.
- Imperial Highness
Also, special treatment was provided for clerics. According to their increasing status, the clerics were called "Your Reverence", "Your Reverence", "Your Grace" and "Your Eminence" respectively.
The history of the creation of the decree
"Table of Ranks" was created as a unified system of chinoproizvodstvo in Tsarist Russia. According to the Table, the structure of the distribution of posts by seniority was also formed. Prior to the publication of this decree, digit books were kept, in which records were made of appointments to positions. Similar books have been kept since the reign of Ivan the Terrible and were abolished by Peter the Great.
According to historians, the idea of creating the "Table of Ranks" belonged to Leibniz. The decree was based on similar lawssome European states. Tsar Peter personally edited the "Table". The decree was signed after consideration by the Senate, as well as in the military and admir alty colleges.
Description of the decree
As described above, the "Table" was a law according to which 262 civil, military and court positions were divided into 14 classes. Over time, some positions were removed from the "Table" and were completely excluded by the end of the eighteenth century. The decree consisted of a direct schedule of ranks by grade and nineteen explanatory points.
The result of the "Table" was the informal abolition of the ancient Russian ranks. In addition, the possibility of obtaining a higher status became only due to personal length of service, the so-called "father's honor" no longer mattered. The issuance of the decree entailed the division of the nobility into hereditary, inherited by family, and personal, served or granted. Thus, the "Table" made it possible to increase the rank of people who did not inherit a high title, but showed themselves in the service. Hereditary nobles at the same time were deprived of many privileges. Undoubtedly, this had a positive impact on the development of the Russian Empire.
It is important to note that obtaining a higher title was possible only if the person professed the Christian faith. The titles of many Tatar princes, descendants of the Murzas of the Golden Horde, who remained in Islam, were not recognized until they converted to the Orthodox faith.
"Your Excellency" - addressed to whom?
In Tsarist Russia, addressing a person corresponded to his position. Violation of this regulation was punishable by a fine, as mentioned in one of the paragraphs of the Table. The appeal "Your Excellency" in Tsarist Russia was addressed to the posts of the third and fourth classes.
According to the Petrovsky "Table", the third class corresponded to six court ranks, one civilian, four army and two naval ranks. The fourth class included two civil, one court, four army and two naval positions. In military ranks, these were general positions, in civilian ranks - privy advisers.
All these positions should have been referred to as "Your Excellency". This rule of speech etiquette was preserved in Russia until 1917. After the revolution and the change of power, such appeals were abolished, they were replaced by the appeal “Mr.”
Speech etiquette today
Today, the appeal "Your Excellency" also has application. It is often used in various kinds of diplomatic correspondence. Diplomatic documents include personal and verbal notes, etc. In connection with the significance of such documents, it is customary to use protocol politeness formulas (compliments) in them. As a rule, compliments are used at the beginning and at the end of the letter. One of these formulas is the appeal. Title "YourExcellency" can be applied to the following persons:
- foreign heads of state;
- foreign ministers;
- ambassadors of foreign countries;
- bishops and archbishops.
An example of the use of the address: "Your Excellency, Mr. Ambassador." It is important to understand that the type of address is also influenced by local practice and the use of titles in a particular state. The wording of the appeal also depends on the tone of the diplomatic document, on the author's desire to give a friendly or restrained character to the letter. The most frequently used address is "Dear Mr. Ambassador", "Dear Mr. Minister". To add warmer friendly notes, it is appropriate to apply the final compliment "With deep respect", "With sincere respect."