In 1846 England's Jewish (literal) knight in (figurative) shining armor, Moses Montefiore, took a trip to Russia. The economic plight of the Jews under the Czar's dominion was dire, and for decades they had been subjected to mostly oppressive measures from a very hostile government. However, even in bad situations people can do things to improve themselves. Thus, despite the oppression and poor economic condition of the Jews, the Mussarites did not see why the Jews can't set on a course of improving their own character. Similarly, some Jews felt that various practices and social situations of the Russian Jews were a great cause of their plight. So when Montefiore visited, a great opportunity was seen, to influence him toward their own understanding of what ought to be done to improve the situation of Jews under the Czar.
One blogger known as Adam Hakohen Lebensohn (1789?-1878) wrote a flowery rhyming Hebrew letter to Montefiore, in which he intended to impress upon him what the true situation of the Jews under the Czar is, and how he must pay attention to what he sees. He outlined four major problem areas in need of solutions. Toward the end of the lette he called them arbah avot nezikin, four primary categories of damages, after the opening words of the Talmudic treatise Baba Kamma. His letter to Montefiore was printed in the third volume of his collected poems, Shirei Sefat Kodesh, this volume bearing the title Yeter Shirei Ada"m (Vilna 1869) (pp. 67 - 72).
Here are two of his four categories of damages which he felt were arresting the healthy progress of a very poor and downtrodden people.
Another illness which has spread among all the people is to rush to marry their boys and girls, even babies, and by multiplying the size of their families, they invite problems, physical illness, and oppressions, and they shorten their life spans. Before a boy knows how to earn a dime, he finds he has ten mouths to feed. All his days are nothing but problems, and pressures which never cease constricting him - and in his middle age he lives to see the same probems also in his own sons and daughters!
Even worse than these are the teachers and rabbis, who know nothing of governance or circumspect judgment, or how to lighten the burden of the masses. All of their efforts are devoted to multiplying customs and prohibitions, and stringencies upon stringencies, which have no source in the Torah or tradition. Instead, these customs come from foreign sources, or the practices of old women, or foolish men . . . If I would enumerate them all, there's be no respite.