A multitude of little superfluous precautions engender here a population of deputies and sub-officials, each of whom acquits himself with an air of importance and a rigorous precision, which seemed to say, though everything is done with much silence, "Make way, I am one of the members of the grand machine of state."
Marquis De Custine (1790–1857), French traveler, author. Empire of the Czar: A Journey Through Eternal Russia, ch. 7 (1843, rev. 1989).
Referring to Russia. De Custine described the Russian officials as "voluntary automata," adding, "In Russian administration, minuteness does not exclude disorder. Much trouble is taken to attain unimportant ends, and those employed believe they can never do enough to show their zeal."