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ObUdDed flrom a Pdiah Fttriot Nobtenun. 





The singular orthography of the names is not 
the least difficulty we have to encounter in the 
minutiae of Polish history, and it has heen greatly 
increased by the attempts of most writers to reduce 
them nearer to their pronunciation* Chevalier, in 
his Preface to the ** Histoire de la Guerre des 
Cosaques," published in 1663, justly complains 
of the custom of authors, even in his time, to 
** estropier," as he terms it, these words ; and the 
Revue Encyclopedique also points out the absurdity 
of it. The Author has endeavoured to give th^ 
Polish spelling as correctly as possible, and sub- 
joins the following hints for pronunciation, taken 
principally from the '' Letters, Literary and Po- 
litical, on Poland, Edinbwgh, 1823." 

AU vowels are sounded as in French and Italian ; 
and there are no dipthongs, every vowel being pro- 
nounced distinctly. The consonants are the same 
as in English, except 

10, which is sounded like v, at the beginning of a word ; 
thus, Warsawa — Voarsafa; in the middle or at the end of a 
w^ord it has the sound of/, as in the instance already dted ; 
■and Narew — Nareff. 

e, like to, and never like k ; thus, Pac is sounded Patz* 

gi like g in Gibbon ; thus OginsJd* 

chj like the Greek v or A ; thus. Lech — Ltk. 

ezf like the English toA in pitch ; thus, Czaztoiyski pio- 
nouxiced Teharioryski, 




sz, like th in shape ; thup, Staszyc like StashytT. 
MzcZf like shtch ; thus, Szczerbiec like ShicherhUtz, 
rz, like / in je, with a slight sound of r ; thus, RzewmU 

The Author gladly avails himself of the present 
opportunity to express his thanks for the commu- 
nication so kindly furnished by E. H. Barker, Esq* 




Bemoto Htefoiy— Aseient Records— Htetoriaiuh-llirM Fvriodt of Fo- 
lisb History— Military Dsspotism— DethraaenMot of Poplst— Watt's 
AewMion— Plast Dynasty— 8tate of PolaDd— Accession of Utoo- 
sylas—Introd action of Christianity— Boleslas the Great— InTOsted 
witb Regal Di^ty— Defeats the Russians— Is again rictorioa*— 
Obtains the Name of *< the Terrible**— Casimir L— Polish RstoIu- 
tion— Inaarrection of the Serib— Casimlr recalled fttMn Exile— Bo- 
leslas n. takes Kiow— Infidelity of the Polish Women— Mardor of 
the Bishop of Cracow— Boleslas excommanioaled and dethroned— 
Bis Character— Anecdotes-Polish Militia— Campaigns of Boleslaa 
IV.— Reign of Casimlr IE., called the Just— The Teatonto Knights— 
Gasimir the Great— Formation of the Diet— PoUsb Law»— Pacta 

. ConTentar— £nd of the Piast Dynasty Page IS 


Bedwiga marries Jagellon, Dake of Litbnania— Jagrilon Dynaity oom- 
niennes 1386— Lithoadians— Their Origin, Reli^on, and History— 
Union with Poland— 'Dnion of the R<miish and Greek Churches — 
Jagellon defeats the Teutonic Knights- Wladislas succeeds, 14S9— 
Defeats the Sultan Amurath— Is killed in the Battle of Varna-— Casl« 
mir IV.— Subdues the Teutonic Knights— Polish Prussia added to the 
Kingdom— Origin of the Polish Diets, 1468— State of Learning in 
Poland under Casimlr— Printing introduced— John Albert, 14M— 
Ascendency of the Nobles— Alexander— Siglsinund I.— Annihilation 
of the Teutonic Knights— Sigismund Augustus— Order of the Livo- 
Dian Knights suppressed- Union with Lithuania consirildated— State 
of Learning under Sigismund- Copernicus— Zaluzianaki, the Polish 
Linnsus— Relipous Toleration— Trade of the Jews— Termination 
of the JogaUon Dynasty, 157S— Remarks on this Period Page 44 


jPoUmd becomes an eleetiTe Monarchy— Religious Toleratioii— Henry 
^Anjou elected— Henry absconds— Stephen Batory— Introduces the 
Jesuits— Disciplines the Cossacks— Origin, Manners, ice. of the Ges- 
aadcs— Slgismund HI., Prince of Sweden, elected— Swedes nvolt. and 
e3Cpd fiUgismnnd— Demetxioa, the Russian Impostor— War wkh Rns. 
iiir-TbePolev take Moscow, and canry the Csar PriaoDcr to Wanaw 


—A P<rie Czar of Russia— Zolkiewski- War with GnstaTiis Adol- 
phns— Wladislas VII -T'ac Revolt of the Cossacks— Casimir III.— 
Charles Gustavus ovemios Poland— Is repelled— Treaty of Oliva— 
Project of Partition— Revolts of the Nobles -Casimir abdicates the 
TtaaxM—Liberum Veto Page 50 


Michael Wiegnofwesld elected— Intrigues against him— War with Tur- 
key—Treaty of Bnczacs— Royal Confederation— Treaty broken— I>eath 
of Michael— Battle of Cbocim— Election of Sobieski— Sobieski's Ances- 
try-Life, &c.— Battle of Leopol— Coronation— Sobieski's Danger- 
Treaty of Zaranow— Alliance with Austria — Siege of Vienna— Sobi- 
eski succours Vienna and deftets the Turks— Leopold's Ingratitude— 
Sobieski defeated by the Turks — Consequences of this War— Intrigues 
— War renewed-'-Oomplaints of the Diet— Reluious Persecutimi — 
Sdbleskt takes the Jews into fhvour — Disorders of the Government — 
Sobieski dies PageSl 


Augustus n., Elector of Saxony, raises himself to the Throne— De- 
tains his Saxon Troops in Poland^Makes Peace with Turkey— At- 
tempts to seize Livonia— Forms an Alliance with Peter the Great of 
Russia— Defeated by Charles XIL of Sweden— Dethroned by Charles 
XIL— Stanislas raised to the Throne— Augustus resumes the Crown, 
and is again deposed— Charles defeated at Puliowa— Augustus reas- 
cends the Throne^Charles XII. Prisoner in Turkey— Returns to 
Sweden — Attempt to assassmate Stanislas— Death of Charles— Op- 
pression of the Protestants^Death of Augustus Page 122 


Stanislas re-elected— The Russians enter Poland, and proclaim ths 
Elector of Saxony King— Siege of Dautzig— Escape of Stanislas ttom 
Dantzig— Stanislas abdicates— Augustus III.— Count Brulh, Prime 
Minister— Intrigues of the Czartoryski Family— Fr^clerick the Great 
invades Saxony— The Death of the Empress l^lizabeth terminates the 
War— Intrigues of Poniatowski and Catharine— Life, Education, d^c. 
of Poniatowski— Catharine murders Peter and is proclaimed Empress 
— Poniatowski's Disappointment— His Intrigues— Factions against 
Augustus— Death of Aigustus .....Page 14S 


Fbrced Election of Stanislas Poniatowski— Bold Resistance of Mokni- 
nowski— Confederation— The Confederates offer the Crown to Henry, 
Brother of Frederic the Great— Coronation of Stanislas— Anecdote 
of Stanislas— Claims of the Dissidents; supported by Russia ; rejected 
by the Diet— Confederacy of the Dissidents— Confederacy of the Coa- 
stitntionalists— Repnin's Treachery— Polish Bishops banished to Si- 
toiia- Dissidents confirmed in their Rights— Confederacy of Bar— 


Attempt to setae Bepninx-Bsr taken by the BiiMiaiia— Rapmra 
between Rvesia and Taik^—DeAat of the Tnriw— Bcaie of the Uw»> 
federatee— The Confedenttee transfer their Goancil to Eperiee— Viiited 
by Joseph U Pace 100 


Grand Flan of the Russian Ounpaifn in 1770— Insorrectton of Oreeoe— 
Elphioston sails into the Dardanelles— Russian Fleet In the LeTant-* 
Defeat of the Turks by Land— State of the Confederates^Frenoh 
Agents, M. de Taules, Dumourier, and Viooi^nil— Valiant Defence of 
Oienstochowa-^vioni^nlPs Account of the ConfMerates— Saldem, and 
Russian Cruelties— The Austrians seize Zlps~Tbe Prussians enter 
Poland— Attempt to carry off Stanislas (torn Warsaw— Decline of the 
Confederacy — ^Treachery of Zareniba- Treaty between Russia, An*- 
tria, and Prussia— Dispersion of the Confederates Page lOS 


Origiq.of the Plan of Partition— Prediction of Stanislas— Relatione of the 
three Powers— Frederic— Maria Theresa— Kaunitz— The Emperor 
Joeeph has an Interview with Frederic at Neies— Interview at Neu- 
Btadt — Frederick Encroachments and Tyranny in Polish Prussia — 
The Austrians seize Zips— Prince Henry's Visit to Petersburg— Prince 
Henry proposes the Partition — The three Powers sign the Treaty of 
Partition— Division— " Defences" of the three Powers — " Deduction," 
dec.— The Dietof Partition— Patriots, Reyten, Koraak, dec— Poninski, 
the Marshal— Reyten's bold Resistance— The Diet appoint Commis- 
sioners -The Treaty is ntified- Permanent Council— Inaction of 
Forcdgn Powers Page 206 


0lafe of Poland— Stanislas proposes a Reform— Diet of 1788, or Con- 
stitutional Biet— Alliance with Prussia— Constitution of the 3d of 
May— Irresolution of Stanislas— Treachery of Frederic V^illiam— 
Opposition of Russia to the Polish Reform— Confederacy of Targovrica 
—Frederic William's Letter to Stanislas— The Russians enter Poland 
— ^Irresolution of Stanislas— The Prussians enter Poland— Frederic's 
Manifesto — Opposition of the Confederates to Russia overcome— 
Frederic's Claims— Tyranny of Sievers— Coqcession of the Diet- 
Second Partition Page 835 


Patriots at Dresden and Leipzig— Patriotic Conspiracy at Warsaw— The 
Patnots of Warsaw correspond with Kosciusko— The Russmn Biini*- 
ter orders the TYoops to disband— Madalinski reftises, and marches to 
Cracow— Kosciusko enterp Cracow— Confederacy of Cracow— Kosd- 
usko declared Generalissimo— Kosciusko's Life— Kosciusko marches 
against the Russians— Insurrection at Warsaw, and Expulsion of the 
Biiasiaos— Lithuania— Barbarities at Warsaw— Kosciusko^ Camp at 

\% CONTKNTfl. 

Wola— ThelQng orPnunla tnyesta WoiMw; TettBttt»*-IinMmn«tiat 
In Great Poland— Snwarow inarches against tbe Patriots-^<Battk« of 
ttacielowice, and Kosciusko taken Prisoner— The Russians take PragA 
— ^Massacre of Praga— Warsaw snrrendere— Russian, PruastKn, and 
Austrian Prisoners— Third Partition— Stanislas's Abdication ; Death 
and Character Pag( 


I^Iish Patriots at Paris and Venice— The Freneh Directory promise 
Assistance— Polish Confederacy at Paris— Oginski sent to Cohstanti' 
nople— Baonaparte^s Letter to Oginski— Polish Confederacy in Wala* 
chia broken up— The Smperor Paul, on his Accession, liberates tbe 
Polish captives— Kosciusko— Polish Legions ; in Lombaniy ; at Rome 
— Suwarow, in Italy, defeats the Second Legion— Battle of Novi— 
Legion of the Danube— tiegionsperish in St. Domingo— VTar declared 
between France and Prussia— The French enter Warsaw— Treaty of 
Tilsit— Grand-dutchy of Warsaw— Frederic Augustus— New Con- 
stitution—Diet of 1800— War with Austria— The Anstrians enter 
Warsaw— Prince Poniatowski invades Gallicia— Retreat of the Aus- 
trians— Part of Gtallieia, Ac. added to the Grand-dutchy .Page tn 

COiPTER xm. 

fltateof the Dutehy of Warsaw In 1SI9— Napoleon's Desigtn; Treaty 
with Austria— Alexander's Treatment of the Lithuanians— Russian 
Invasion- Napoleon enters Wilna— Napoleon^s Answer to the Poles 
— Confederacy— Burning of Moscow and Retreat of the French— 
Wilna and Warsaw entered by the Russians— Prince Poniatowski 
retiree to Cracow ; joins Buonaparte in Saxony ; is drowned at Leipzig 
—Polish Legions follow Napoleon to France— The Allies enter Paris 
— Kosciusko's Letter to Alexander-^Alexander's Answer— Dom- 
browski and the Polish Legion return to Warsaw — Congress of Vienna 
—The Kingdom of Poland annexed to Russia— New Constitution- 
Lithuania, Posnania, Gallicia, and Cracow— Diet of 1818— InfWnge- 
ments of the Constitution — Death of Alexander— Nicbolas^PoIee 
involved in the Russian Conspiracy ; acquitted— Nicholas crowned at 
Warsaw in 1829-^Infringements of the Constitution— Prospects of 
Poland ....Page 394 


Preliminary Views— The Grand-duke Constantine's Barbarities— Po- 
litical Persecutions— Case of Major Lukasinski- Revolution of 1830 
—Attack on Constantine's Palace— Escape of Constantine— Rise of 
tbe Engineers and .'Sludents— Polish Troops join the Patriots— Chlo- 
p&cki appointed Dictator ; rasignB ttie Command of the Army to Skrcy- 

neclci Page 313 

Memoirof tbe President of Poland.... ^ 939 

AmiH>Ei..k...4. * ,«.«*•... tSS 



Sflmote Hittoiy— Andent Becords~Hi8torian»— Three Periods of "Pth 
Uah History— Military Despotism— Dediroaement of Poplel— PlasM 
Accessiofi— Plast Dyoaaty— State of Poland— Aooesskm of Hieo* 
sylas-^Introdactioa of Christianity— Boleslas the Great— Invested 
tiritta Regal Diinii^y— Defeets the Russians— Is again vicUMioiis— 
Obtains the Name of " the Terrible"— Caslmir I.— Polish Berolu'' 
tion— Insurrectiop of the Serfii— Oasimir recalled from Exile— Bo* 
leslas n. takes Kiow— Intfdelity of the Polish Women— Murder of 
the Bishop of Cracow— Boleslas excommnnicafted and dethroned— 
His Character— Anecdotes— Polish Militia— Caoiaaigiis of Boleslaa 
IV.— Reign of Casbnir II., called the Just— The Tentooic Knights— 
Casimir the Great— Formation of the Diet— Polish Laws-^iFluM 
Coaventa— End of the Fiast Dynasqr. 

Tax Poles pretend to cany back their annals to 
the remotest periods; some, indeed^ go so far as to 
trace their descent from Lech, a great-grandson at 
Noah. From him they make the Hmeti^ihe Aitsm 
of Homer, Herodotus, .fischylus, and Euripides, de* 
scend. These they consider the progenitors of the 
Saimatians, who were tbdr own immediate ances« 
tors. Much curious and fanciful speculation is 
wasted on this point hy the Polish historians ; bat 
the fact is, that all this grand superstructure of 
genealogy is reared on the petty foundation of 
the resemblanee of two words. The relation with 
Lech, whom they call a great-gprandson of Noah, 10 
dmTBd naerely nom scNoe Danciful affinity between 



the name of Xiech, one of the monarctis who figure 
in their ancient and fabulous annals, and that of 
some individual whom they meet with in the family- 
tree of the patriarch. The inferred connexion be- 
tween the Sarmatians and the Heneti, or Atvcroi , is still 
more arbitrary, if possible. The Sarmatians, or 
8ome tribe of them, adopted the name Sclavonians, 
most probably from vanity, being derived from Slcnvat 
wliich, in thqir dialect, signifies glory or honour; so 
that Sclavonians means the honourable or glorious 
nation. The Greek word Atveroc is of the same signi- 
fication, which solves the important mystery. We 
will now take leave of these fictions, and proceed to 
something more palpable and substantial. . 

The most ancient records preserved in the ar- 
chives of the country are a memorandum of a pri- 
vate family-compact, dated 1088, and a bull of Pope 
Clement III., which was issued about the end of the 
twelfth century. The monks, who introduced Chris- 
tianity into Poland about the year 960, were the first 
who were acquainted with writing in the kingdom, 
and made records. This has been the case, indeed, 
with almost all the other countries of Europe ; but 
with them, the history, prior to the monkish annals, 
is preserved in the songs of the national bards. The 
rhythm and measure of verse keep this kind of tra- 
dition almost inviolably the same as it came from 
the lips of the poet ; and the jonly question, therefore, 
is about its original authority. Some scanty infor- 
mation may thus be derived from the traditional 
songs of a country ; but no light of this kind is shed 
on the darkness of the early Polish history. The 
Poles had either no bards or wandering minstrels, or 
possessed at that time so little taste for song, that 
their effusions have been forgotten, and all the first 
generations of the people, imembalmed by the muse, 
have mouldered into their kindred dust, and are heard 
of no more. 

The monks, therefore, were the first repositories 


of learning^. Almost all the Polish historians, from 
Martin Gallus,* who lived in the twelfth century, and 
whose works are the oldest extant on the subject till 
nearly the seventeenth, were of the clerical order* 
and wrote in Latin. The Bishop Naruszewicz, who 
was employed by the government in 1780 to compile 
a history of Poland, and had sdl possible access to 
information, both in his own country and elsewhere, 
found, himself obliged to suppress the first volume 
which he meditated on the early ages, and make his 
narrative commence with the introduction of Chris- 

This occurred in the year 965 A.D.; from which time 
we have every reason to believe that the national 
events were recorded by contemporary writers. Tra- 
dition says, that about 135 years prior to this period 
a fundamental change took place in the government 
by the accession of the family of Piast to the throne ; 
and as the rumour of this event must have been com- 
paratively fresh in the memory of the generation of 
Poles then living (who, at least, might have received 
it in the third or fourth generation), we may include 
this period in the authentic histoiy, and will there- 
fore from this date our narrative. 

The family of Piast, who came to the throne 830 
A. D., preserved their authority, with some interrup- 
tion, till 1386, A. D., when the dynasty of the Jagellons 
commences. This last continued till 1572 A. D., at 
which time the crown became elective. The history 
thus divides itself into three periods, which division 
we shall adopt 

The site and confines of Poland at this early time 
are veiy indefinitely described by historians ; but we 
may infer from various landmarks which occur in the 
history that it lay between the Vistula and Oder, ex- 
tending not much beyond the modern Posen to the 
Uorth, and barely as far as the Carpathian mountains 

* BetWMQ tlie jBun UIO and uas. 


to^the south, comprising the greater portion of wfiai 
is called Poland Proper.* This district was most 
probably stocked with inhabitants by the siiperabmio 
dant population of the erratic tribes on the east of 
the Vistula, who advanced westward to occupy the 
countries vacated by the savage hordes who over* 
whelmed the Roman empire. These would be called 
by classic geographers Sarmatians, an indefinite 
name, which served in the ancient maps to fill up all 
the unexplored tract from the Vistula to the Volga. 
Some of these tribes, as above mentioned, assumed Sie 
name of Sclavonians, and the portion who settled in 
Poland gave the country that title from a Sclavonic 
word signifying a plain, — ^Poland being almost one 
uninterrupted level.f 

Tlie government of a rude people is uniformly 
found to be arbitrary: formed and defended by a 
savage soldiery, it must always eventually succumb 
to a mihtary despotism. The business of war, more 
than any other, must be performed by simultaneous 
exertion ; and this can only be ensured by enducing 
the individuals of a society to form together and to 
serve under one heavy yoke. When the weight 
becomes too galling, the yoke-fellows can rea£ly 
throw it off, but it is only to resume it; for the same 
reasons which led them to submit to it in the first, 
instance again operate to oblige them to own its 

* The landmarlcs mentioned in the text, Ihmi which we deduee the 
fixnits of Poland at this period, are as follows :— Gnesne and Posen, which 
§an almost in the same latitude, were cities of note even at this eaily 
period. Gnesne was for some time the seat of government, and was 
made an archiepiscopal see at the first introdactioo of Chriatiantty. 
Allowing, therefore, a little fkrtfaer extent towards the north, we bare 
the boundary on this side. The ea^em limits could not have been 
much, if at all, beyond the Vistula ; for we find, that in the inyasion of 
Sussia by Boleelas I., about 1000 A. D., he is slopped by the river B«g,er 
Bof, iu the Russian territory. Hungary, Bohemia, and Silesia, with 
whom Poland was continually waging war, mark out its bovrndaries on 
flie south and west. 

t *'An observer in a balloon mig^t pass at the heighft of twenty toisn 
oiver almost the whole of Poland, vrithout foar of coming in oontact wtth 
any mountams or other obstnicttons."— J/'ObMrvotevr m Pologtu ftr 


sway. The Polish voyvodes, or barons, had just ex- 
erted th^eir power, and emancipated themselves thus 
early from the tyranny of their despot duke or leader, 
who is known by the name of Popiel, at the period 
when our history commences. They say that Heaven 
fought for them ; and describe, in the figurative lan- 
guage of illiterate barbarism, that a swarm of rats 
were bred in the dead bodies of the tyrant's victims, 
which exacted retribution for their wrongs, destroy- 
ing the whole of his hated family without exception. 

Dreading to suffer a repetition of the horrid scene 
of tyranny, the Poles determined to enjoy for a. time 
the sweets of unrestrained liberty ; but justice with- 
out her sword had no power over a horde of savages, 
and they were therefore obliged to restore it to her. 
Assembling to appoint their chief magistrate, great 
Contests naturally ensued, and, as is generally the 
case in such matters, while the powerful were op- 
posing each other's pretensions, an humble individual, 
whose low condition allowed him to pass unnoticed 
through the crowd of competitors, possessed himself 
of the vacant throne. Perhaps the enraged candi- 
dates, rather than allow one of their opponents to 
obtain the victory, vented their spleen in fixing on 
this obscure person. The story is differently related 
by monkish writers, and is embellished not a little 
with miracle. 

As political troubles seldom come alone, a famine 
now added to the calamity of discord and anarchy. 
Death, in its most horrid forms, was carrying on its 
ravages among the people, when two angels, says 
the old monkish historian, arrived at Cracow, and 
took up their abode with one Piast, a poor ariisan (a 
wheelwright), son of Kossisco, a citizen of Krus- 
witza, which was then the seat of power. Piast .had 
already a character for hospitality, but, like the poor 
widow's of Samaria, his stock of provisions was 
reduced to his last cruse. But even this, which was ' 
a small cask of wine^he shared witlihis guests, who^ 



admiriiig his charity and beaevolence, promised him 
the crown of Poland. The faith of Piast, says the 
historian, was equal to his other virtues, and this 
removed the mountains which stood between him 
and the throne. Implicitly following the directions 
of his angel visiters, he distributed the contents of his 
little cask among the thirsty multitude, and found 
that '* it failed not." The people cried out that be 
was chosen by the gods to be the father of his nation, 
and the voyvodes, or barons, complying with their 
wish, took him from his shop, and *' set him among 

It was about the year 830 that Piast was elevated 
to the ducal dignity. His power was controlled 
only by his own will and the fear of his subject 
barons, but he did not abuse his authority.* The 
Poles, although indebted to him for nearly tnirty-one 
years' peace, have preserved scarcely any remem- 
brance of him, but his name. This however is an 
*' expressive silence:" it was a greater glory» and 
required a more powerful mind, to keep his restive 
.and warlike subjects within due bounds for such a 
space of time, than to leave a name emblazoned 
with victories and ** all the pomp and circumstance 
of war." 

The Poles at this period were like all other bar- 
barous nations ; the mass of the people were almost 
slavesf to the voyvodes^ whose only business was 

* He made Gnesne tbe seat of government. Tradition saya tbat tUa 
elty was of much more ancient date than Piast, liating as w^l aa Poeaa 
been founded by Lech, one of the traditionary dukea who lived abovt 
SSO A. D. It was named Gneane IVom a v^ord signifying nest In Potlsbf 
aa au eagle's nest was found there. For this reason «l80^ aaya Pnf- 
Ibndorf, an eagle is the natioanl creat; and on the saoM acoouAt tbe 
order of knighthood of the white eagle was so entitled. 

t We say almost slaves, for at this period they were not entirely 
flcbject to tbe barons. With the exception of some ahivea uiktn. 
prisoners in war, or bought, who were only to be found in tbe houaea of 
the great lords, the rest of tbe inbabitanta were flree and equal in the eye 
of the Ixw.^Essai Historiqus sur la LtgitloOm Polonoif a OMlt ll 
QrimmtUt, p«r Jvubim Lelawvl. 


ivar and hnntiag: the <«ly laws were will and fear, 
and their only religion a gross idolatry. Without 
arts or commerce, their sole pursuits were the use of 
their weapons and athletic sports: nearly uncivil* 
ized, and with their minds unoccupied by a par«- 
ticle of science and learning, they thought ooly of 
*^ what they should eat, or what &ey should drink, 
or wherewitlial they should be clothed.** Their 
taste was exercised only in the embellishment of 
their arms, and their judgment in the choice of their 

The ducal authority descended from son to son of 
the posterity of Piast, in almost unquestioned suc- 
cession ; but their names serve for little more than to 
fill the vacant niches of history till the accesaioii of 
Mieczylas L This prince came to the throne in the 
year 964 A. D. 

He was bom blind ; but at the age of seven* with- 
out any assignable cause, he gained his sight. Such 
an opportunity for the exultation of national bigotry 
eoidd not be allowed to passunnotioed, and the event 
was accordingly attributed to a wonderful interpo- 
sition of supet-natural power. The monks, who in- 
troduced Christianity into Poland in this reign, as 
we shall mote fuUy mention hereafter, would of 
course invent something as a type of their uuderr 
iaking, and make miracles prepare the way for the 
advent of Christianity. 

It was not a miracle, however, which softened the 
heart of Mieczylas for the reception of religious 
faith, nor was a monk his preacher. Love was his 
priest, and woman's lips first schooled him in tli^ 
principles of the Christian religion. He was en** 
amoured of Dombrowka, the daughter of the Duke 
of Bohemia, a country which had lately embraeed 
Christianity. The. lady refused to accept his suit 
imless he were baptized ; and Mieczylas, orompted b^ 
the impulse of affection rather than faitn, sacrificed 
the superstitions and pnejudiQes of his fathers on th» 


altar of love But the religion which he finrt 
adopted for tlie sake of Dombrowka he afterward 
propagated for its own. He became a most ardent 
champion of the gospel ; broke down even with his 
own hands the idols of his country, and built 
Christian churches on the ruins of pagan temples. 
He founded the arohiepiscopal sees of Gnesne and 
Cracow, and ap^inted St Adalbert, who had been 
most instrumental in the introduction of Chris- 
tianity, to be the first diocesan of the former see. In 
fine, this prince almost wholly devoted himself to the 
services of religion. We may form an idea of the 
excessive ardour with which he advocated his new 
faith from the edict which he issued, that when any 
portion of the gospel was read, the hearers should 
naif-draw their swords, to testify their readiness to 
defend its truths. Too often, alas! have those 
swords been drawn in the cause of faith or religious 
dogmas, and sprinkled even the mercy-seat with 
human blood. 

The character of this prince has been studiously 
"disparaged ; but the only reason for it is, that it has 
been so flatteringly drawn by the monks. The ap- 
proval of these religious writers is, in the eyes of 
most modern historians, a damning blot; but in a 
case like this, when we have no proof to the con- 
trary, we must " lean to mercy's side," and may 
even answer the detractors in Popels noble words '^— 

" Who builds a churcli to God, and not to Fame, 
Will never mark the marble with his name." 

On the death of Mieczylas, in 999, the ducal 
authority devolved on his son, Boleslas. Like his 
father, he was a devotee to the. newly-adopted faith, 
and the first act of his reign was one of piety. He 
obtained the remains of St. Adalbert or Albert, who 
had so signalized himself in propagating Christianity, 
from the Prussians who had murdered him, and 
deposited them with great pomp at Gnesne. For 


this aet of gratitude to the sauit who first faMwaiit 
him ^the glad tidings of saltation** he received ms 
reward, a erown of glory, though a cormptiUe one ; 
for Otho III^ emperor of Grermaay, to whom St. 
Adalbert was known by the fame of his vqported 
miracles, made a silgrimage to his tomb in cons»- 
quenee of a vow, and in return for the hospitality 
he experienced from Boleslas, conferred on him the 
regal dignity* This decree was also ratified by the 

But peace-making was not an ingredient of the 
king's religion ; he became one of Uie most active 
warriors of his time. The monks, however, seemed 
inclined to be witty on the subject, and called the 
sword* with which he fought << Uie sword of God,^ 
in allusion to a tradition that it was an angel's pres- 
ent«t '^^ ^t people against whom he unsheathed 
this miraculous weapon were the Bohemiaiis, whose 
duke, without any provocation, had invaded his 
country with a large army, conitnitting the most 
wanton and baibarous ravages. The invaders, how- 
ever, immediately fled on the approach of the Poles, 
who in their turn acted qn the offensive. The Polidi 
troops at this time were chiefly cavaliy, at least aH 
those who could afford to keep a horse; the rest 
served on foot This seems to have been almost 
the only real distinction among the people.^ The 
booty was their only pay, and their weapons the 
only baggage with which they encumbered them- 
selves. The Bohemians could not withstand these 
warriors, and even Prague, their capital, was obliged 

* TbiB sword lie is laid by some to liave received from Otbo, and 
after being notched on the gates of Kiow, it was deposited in Uw tna- 
mnr of the kingdom, and worn by the kings at their eoTonatieii. 

t It is remarked by the old historians that Boleslas sanctified all Us 
bloodshed with a semblance of religion ; and the first formal edict that 
appears in Polish history was issued in this reign, being an order that » 
CatttstlaD hymn ahould be snog before engaging In battle. 

I All the people were 6btlged to serve, and the comes of the dIstneC 
coBunapded ibeu. These coqunaaden wars |«dgss 9im, a]i4 ^«'' 
called Xaatellaoi axid Caatattans. 


to surrender, after an obstinate resistance 6f two 
years. The duke fell into the hands of the con- 
queror, who sullied his glory by cruel, although pro- 
voked retribution ; putting out his enemy's eyes, to 
deprive him at least of the pleasure which scenes 
of blood had always seemea to afford him. Mo- 
ravia also yielded to the victor on his first approach. 
The only use Boleslas made of his conquest was 
to levy contributions, and demand a trifling trib- 
ute, more as a feodal acknowledgment than an 

His attention was afterward engaged by the Rus- 
sians, who, being a. growing, restless people at that 
time, and strengthened under the wise jurisdiction 
of the famous Wladimir, were rather troublesome 
and encroaching neighbours. Another pretext was 
added for making the Russians feel the weight of 
the Polish arms. On the death of Wladimir, civil 
war broke out in Russia, in consequence of a di»* 
puted succession ; and one of the parties requested 
the aid of Boleslas. The Poles marched into the 
country, and advanced as far as Kiow,* the most i 
celebrated and opulent city in that part of Europe, | 
called by the writers of the time^ the rival of Con- i 
stantinople (aemula sceptri Constantinopolitani). ] 

The golden gate of Kiow (as it was emphatically , 
called) opened before the miraculous sword of Bo- I 
leslas ; and the Poles, after repaying themselves for 
their campaign with the riches of the city, established t 
their ally on the throng, demanding in addition a 
petty tribute. War was renewed, in which the Poles 
were uniformly victorious. The greatest opposition 
they encountered was on the banks of the Bug ; but 
the intrepidity of the king carried all before it, and 
the Russians were routed with great slaughter. The 
river was so stained with blood, that it has retained 
ever since the name of horrid, and Boleslas wa« 

* The history of this city may be seen ia the Tableau de la PoUmem 
ediM by Chodzko. Vol i.p.458. ^^ 


entitled by his enemies Chroby the TerribUj or Fa(- 
taniy by which appellation he is generally known in 

He is said next to have turned his arms against 
the Saxons, and extended his conquests to the Elbe, 
on the banks of which he erected two iron columns, 
to mark the bounds of his victories. The inhabit* 
ants of the country to the north of Poland, called 
Borussians, now Prussians, were also reduced tp 
obedience. But the Poles retained none of these 
conquests; returning, like an overflowed river, once 
more within their natural limits. 

Boleslas, after having thus governed and fought so 
many years, was laid in the tomb of his fathers in 
1035, leaving the crown to his son ; who, not choosing 
to disobey the re^utesccU in pace on his sire*s monu- 
ment, ei^joyed nine years of peaceful luxury, quiet, 
and debauchery, interrupted only by two or three 

Casimir I., grandson of Boleslas, being young, and 
the Poles fearing that he would follow the bad ex* 
ample of his father, was not allowed to enjoy the 
uncontrolled regal authority ; Rixa, his mother, being 
nominated regent. She, however, disappointed the 
expectations of her subjects; imposing enormous 
taxes, and advancing Germans to the most important 
offices : in consequence of which she was obliged to 
fly from the kingdom, taking the precaution, how- 
ever,, to carry off the regal treasure. Her son, 
Casimir, was also obliged to fly from the vengeance 
of the voyvodes. 

The throne being thus left vacant, a general scene 
of saturnalia ensued in Poland. The serfs, imitating 
the example of their masters, vose in a body, and 
retaliated the cruelties which they had so long suf- 
feied. The reaction was equal to the pressure, and 
the whole system of servitude was at an end. The 
Bible, from which the corrupt, timeserving priest 
took his text, on passive obedience to the most 


seyere and tyraimioal master, seemed to the p&09 
peasantonly to add another lirik to the already hearf 
chain of bondage ; the church of God appealed bet 
another prison^'hoase ; and the name o^ the Most 
Higfh t|iat of a strange fpd, who had come amon^ 
tliem as a destroyer. Bibles, chmt^hes, monks, and 
masters vrere made one great sacrifice of atonemenf 
to the enr^d serfs, on the idolatrous altars of their 
Mhera. Ime lex tcUianii^ that law which has always 
been so deeply engraved on the human heart by the 
flncer of revenge, was the only code of these infuriate 
bodies. Their masters had taught them to jdunderf 
tyrannize^ and murder $ and their last lesson was to 

But an invasion of their country by the Bohemiansf 
who took advantage of the opportunity, now turned 
the points of the Polish swords from each other's 
bosoms. These marauders laid waste ail the west 
of the kingdom ; and the Russians, adding to tli^ 
slaughter, ravag^ed the east. The measure of the 
people's calamities seemed now full. Hie rebellious 
members of the political body again assumed their 
fimctimis; the serf bowed his neck to the yoke, and 
the Poles supplicated the ministers of that veiy 
leligion they had just abjured, for aid; they rebuilt 
the churches, which were almost yet smoking; sent 
an embassy to the pope for absolution and a curse 
upon their enemies; and, lastly, invited back the 
prince, Casimir, whom they had just banished, t9 
resume the sceptre. 

Casimir, however, was not to be found; and all 
iheir search seemed fruitl^fss. Messenger after mes^ 
senger returned without tidhigs, ^nd hope after hope 
was frustrated. At length they remembered that 1^ 
mother, Rixa, who had taken refuge in Germany, 
would most probably be acquainted with the retrest 
oiher son ; and after some difficulty they succeeded 
in obtaining from her the wished-fbr intcHigencCip 
Five yean had elapsed since las iSg^t^ whe% 

GASnilR 18 RfiCALLVD* 25 

letiriDfif to France, he had hecome a student at the 
iiniTersily of Paris ; he then went to Italy, where the 
wandering outcast king entered a monaeterjr, 'Uo 
beg for a pieee of bread,*' and assamed the religions 
habit. After this, he retraced his steps to France, 
and became an inmate of the abbey of Gluny,* in 
which seclusion he was hidden while the Poles were 
so earnestly seeking him. But although found, an- 
other apparently insurmountable obstacle stood in his 
road to the throne ; his religious vow prohibited him 
from engaging in secular matters. The ^pe, how- 
ever, Kad the power to grant a dispensation of this 
tie, which he at length consented to do, on condition 
that they should pay Peter's pence, and that the 
whole nation should share their neads, and wear, like 
other Catholicprofessors, white surplices on the days 
of festival. Tne Poles still continue to wear their 
heads shaved, except a small portion on the crown ; 
thoi^h it proceeds, we believe, from a very^tifferent 
reason to that assigned.t 

Casimir soon re-established peace in Poland, and 
ensured himself from aggression on the Russian 
frontier, by marrying Mary, the sister of the Russ 
duke. Reugion also shared his attention with polity ; 
and in gratitude to the monks of Cluny, wno had 
aiorded him an asylum when his own subjects had 
turned him out of the palace of his fathers, he invited 
many of them into Poland, and fixed them in the 
abbey of Tyniec,t near Cracow. Casimir, having 
th«8 deserved weU of his generation, made way for 
his son, Boleslas, aftev a reign of sixteen years. 

The crosier was now laid aside for the sword. 

* Later WHA writer* deny thtt Casimir teeaaie a monk, or waa 
«««■ at Chmy ; but state that he went to Liege (Leodiam) to finish his 

t The ciMtom of aharliif the head is oTnoeh mere aaeient date than 
even tae PottiAi nation. It was a remarkable custom amonf the ancient 
Pitai la aHate the heads of the' tHMcM when they arrlTed at the age of 
flnaobood, which waa a aifs of thair adoptioa aa aona and beira^— Sea 
LeleweTs E$saL 

t Tltia hid baaii fimaded hy Boiealas the Great. 



Boleslas II. was ready to fight everybody's baftle!^ 
to stretch out a hand to every falling sovereign, even 
at his own peril. His court became the asylum of 
unfortunate princes, where they found a king who 
was both ready and powerful to save. The son of 
the Duke of Bohemia, the brother of the King of 
Hungary, and the eldest son of the Duke of Russia 
were at one time under his protection, and the claim- 
ants of bis assistance ; nor were their requests dis- 
regarded. He reinstate^ them all on their thrones, 
and even. fought the battles of the Hungarian and 
Russian monarchs twice over. His benevolence to 
the latter prince eventually, though not directly, cost 
him his crown. 

- Kiow was the only city which offered any great 
resistance to the Polish arms. Its opulent citizens 
defended themselves with a valour proportionate to 
the importance of their charge. Famine, however, 
at length reduced them to ot^dience; and Boleslas, 
who was as great an admirer of courage as a pos- 
sessor of it, treated the vanquished but brave Kio- 
vians with the greatest generosity. So fully, too, 
did the citizens appreciate his noble spirit, that as 
he marched through the streets with his troops they 
greeted him with acclamations ; a much more glo- 
rious triumph than jf thousands and tens of thou- 
sands of shackled kmgs had swollen the pageant of 
ovation. . 

But Boleslas, when ''the Golden Gate** of tbi» 
city of voluptuousness was once shut on him, heard 
no more the call of war : wearied with his labours, 
he in a moment of weakness and lassitude laid his 
head on tlie lap of a Delilah, and woke only to find 
that his strength was '' gone from him.'' Kiow was 
the foster-child of Constantinople and the Eastern 
empire. The voluptuous Greeks had made it a 
storehouse of al Ithe luxuries of Asia; here was the 
noble architecture of Athens festooned with the 
gaudy tapestry of Lydia, and the rough metal of 


Russian swords embossed with the polished gold of 
Ophir and Persia. The hardy natives had plunged 
into the stream of pleasure with all the zest of novelty 
and were tasting of its enjoyments with the unpalled 
and greedy appetite of healthy and vigorous con- 
stitutions, y 

This was the state of Kiow when it received Bo- 
leslas with open arms. The generous Pole quaffed 
the bowl of pleasure which it held out to him with 
the freedom of unsuspecting and unguarded frank- 
ness ; and found, when too late, its intoxicating quali- 
ties had transformed and degraded all the nobler 
energies of his nature. The king's example was 
followed by his troops, and this army of warriors 
slept away, month after month, on the soft couches 
of Kiow ; and, as if they had eaten of the fabled 
fruit of the lotos-tree, at length forgot that their 
homes were without masters, their wives without 
husbands, and their children without fathers. 

TOiey had already been absent from Poland, it is 
affirmed, seven years, engaged in these various wars 
and pleasures ; and the Polish women, who found 
that ^^hope deferred maketh the heart sibk," naturally 
consoled themselves with what was at hand, and 
lastly bestowed their favours on their slaves. The 
example was generally followed; one Penelope only 
was found — Margaret, the wife of Count Nicholas, 
of Zemboisin. She continued patiently to weave 
the web of expectation till her faithless lord should 
return to his duty. The tidings of this general revolt 
among the women spread to Kiow, and most of the 
enraged Poles, cursing Boleslas for being the author 
of their disgrace by detaining them from home, and 
without waiting for permission, or while their pas* 
mon might cool, hurried to Poland, to wreak their 
vengeance on their wives and their insolent para* 
mours. They met, however, with a vigorous resist- 
ance : for the women, maddened by despair, spurred 
on their lovers to prove themselves worthy of vheiY 


favours, and sell their lives dearly ; while they did 
not confine their efforts to mere exhortations, but 
fought in person, seeking out their faithless hu8>- 
bands, on whom to vent their rage. But in the heat 
of this motley battle another enemy appeared. Bo- 
leslas, at the head of the few remaining troops, was 
come to chastise them all ; the women for their infi- 
delity, the slaves for their presumption, and the Poles 
for their desertion and contempt of martial discipline. 
Poland was deluged with blood, and deprived of 
some of its best sons. Many of the women perished, 
and the rest are said to have been obliged by the kinf 
to suckle dogs, as a punishment for the degrading 
connexion they had formed with their slaves. 

But the last scene of the tragedy was 3'et to come, 
St. Stanislas, bishop of Cracow, either being shocked 
at the unchristian slaughter, or making it a pretext 
for other designs, reproved Boleslas, th^atened him 
with the vengeance of the church, unless he ceased 
from his bloody work, and even went so far as to 
refuse him admittance to his church, still called St* 
StanislaS'Kirche, while he was performing mass* 
The hasty and provoked king, in a moment of rage, 
burst into the sanctuary, and murdered the poor pre* 
late at the very altar.* 

The thunders of the pope now roared over the 
devoted head of Boleslas ; he was accursed, excom* 
mmiicated, dethroned, and banished. He who had 
given away kingdoms found none to bestow on him 
the poorest pittance, and those who had grown rich 
on his bounty refused him the meager alms of a tear. 
Abandoned by men, and denounced as one abhorred 
by God, he crept away into the forests, whose savage 
tenants were the only living creatures which were 
left to afford him an asylum, and make him an in* 
mate of their caverns. At length the poor penitenti 
broken-hearted, went to pour out the last bitter dregs 

* St. Stanislu wm buried in the cathedral of Cracow, V^ IH^sn k 
MUl ttandiog tlien Ua cmp^rb nwnnoiieikt. 


of the cup of life in a monastery in Caiinthia ; and 
he who had wielded a sceptre, and reyelled in ail the 
hixaries of Kiow, spent tne last few days of his life 
in preparing lentils and hard bread for the monks, in 
a miserable kitchen. 

The life of Boleslas forms one of the saddest and 
most striking pictures afforded by the worst vicissi* 
tudes of human life. From the almoner of kings to 
tlie pensioner of mendicants; from the leader of 
armies to the menial of a monastery ; from the royal 
voluptuary to the starving beggar ; from the palace 
to the kitchen ; how stupendous was his falH and 
how stupendous the power which hurled him from 
the throne ! Nor was his moral fall less great. He 
had set out in life with a heart full of generous feel- 
ing ; he had a noble spirit ; but the bland and seducing 
smile of the votary of gayety lured him to its orgies, . 
and corrupted the pure warm blood of a hero's heart. 
Self-dissatisfaction, added to the violence of his pas- 
sions, then accelerated his downfall ; and the hand 
which was once stretched forth only to help the 
weak and assist the poor, was now stained with the 
blood of a minister of that faith to which his great 
naniesake and predecessor had devoted all the ener- 
gies of his vigorous mind. Had the first and last 
parts of this king's life been transposed, his charac* 
ter would now perhaps be viewed in a very different 
light. We must not, however, moralize longer on the 
inmate of the Carinthian monastery, but return to 
Poland, and its destiny under succeeding princes, — 
a dynasty that had already begun to feel the dreadful 
effects of giving offence to that spiritual authority 
that was preparing to rule the world. 

The vengeance of the pope extended to the sons 
of Boleslas ; and visiting the sins of the father on his 
children, he excluded them from the succession. He 
however allowed his brother, Wladislas, to assume 
the supieip'' authority, but shorn of the pomp of the 



tegsl title; and it continued in his family for a long 

On the death of Wladislas, his son, Boleslas III.9 
succeeded to the throne in 1103. The fond hut im- 
prudent father had made a division of the Polish 
territory between his children; but the collisions 
which naturally ensued furnished Boleslas with an 
opportunity of uniting the whole of his brothers^ 
patrimonies with his own. No sooner had he thus 
consolidated the strength of Poland than he found 
an occasion to exert it. The King of Hungary was 
now involved in a war with Henry V., emperor of 
Germany ; and having been instrumental m estab- 
lishing Boleslas on his throne, the Polish duke was 
bound to assist him. He therefore made a diversion 
of the emperor's troops on the side of Bohdmia, 
under the pretext of maintaining the right of one of 
the contending candidates for the Bohemian crown, 
who had taken refuge with him. Henry was com« 
peUed to desist from the expedition against Hungary, 
to meet this new enemy. The German troops over- 
ran Silesia, which was then dependent on the Polish 
government, and penetrated as far as Glogau, a smsdl 
town on the Oder. This place was at that time but 
feebly garrisoned; notwithstanding, the citizens gave 
the emperor a warm reception. T%ey were at length 
obliged to make overtures, and agreed to surrender 
in six days, unless they received succour. 

No aid having arrived, the emperor advanced to 
take possession of the town, but was unexpectedly 
saluted with a discharge of arrows and javelins. 
The citizens had received notice from Bole^as, that 
he could not arrive within the six days, but would 
not be long after; so that, availing themselves of 
the laxity with which treaties were kept in that age 

* Tbe regal dignity waft not reassmned till more tXmi twd Inrodrcd 
yean after, in the reign of Premlalas TL WladiBlaa aypointtd om of Ma 
fkvourites palatine, or coouiuaidcr>ia<liie( wk|qlk mm tlWifrff^n «f ttm 
aatlKvity of Uie pototmcf . 


of nvBge warfare, they Mcrificed their word to their 
liberty, and still held out. So obstinate was their, 
resistance, that the Germans were obliged to retire, 
and besieged Brealau, the capital of Sueaia, oo the 
Oder, and sixty<eeven miles to the south-east of Glo-- 
gau> The Gennan historians* say, that a battle ei^ 
sued here between Henry and Boleslas, in wbiob ths 
latter bad so much the worst, that he sent an ambaa- 
■ador tothe emperor, with overtures of peace.f The 
vas Sorobius. Henry ia 
>eiy haugbtilyi and given 
le Poke must not expect 
SB they submitted to hia 
utary. At the same time, 
lo his treaaurv, to exhibit 
o the gold, told him there 
ich he would reduce the 
tia the Bmbassador made 
ig from his finger, threw it 
into the heap, sayingrwith a smile, " Here is sorae- 
tiaag to augment the store." Henry is said to have 
answered with equal coolness, shutting the coffer, 
HaMmik; I thank you ! Happy, remarks a modem 
hiatarian,t would this state have been, if, surrounded 
by neighbours who think as this emperor, it bad pre- 
Mrved u) our days that noUe disinterestedness and 
contempt for goM, which would have ensured il its 
itidependeoce. A battle «isued, in which the Ger- 
mans were comfdetely routed ; and the emperor then 
gladly accepted the ofier of peace, which was after- 
ward strongly cemented by the marriage of Boleatas 
with Henry's sister. 

It is said that the duke employed this season of 
lepoae in preparing to join the crusaders, who were 


at this time fighting for the tescue of Jenisaleiik 
History, however, does not tell us what use he made 
of these preparations. 

Boleslas, after haying been conqueror in forty 
battles,* was now to meet with a reverse. It was 
treachery, however, which turned the scale of glory 
against him. He had intrusted a Hungarian, wnose 
tale of sorrow had won on his heart, wiui the govern- 
ment of one of the frontier towns, which the ingrate 
betrayed to the Russians. The duke, marching with 
an army to resent the injury, encountered the Aiemy, 
and was again betrayed by the cowardice of one of 
his gencnds, the palatine of Cracow, and obliged to 
take to flight. He is said to have sent the pusillani- 
mous author of his disgrace a hare-skin and a spin- 
ning-wheel. But his spirit was so broken by the 
defeat, tiiat it brought him to the grave. All the 
glory of six-and-thirty years' victory was tarnished 
by this one miscarriage ; — one single day had blighted 
the laurels which he had so long worn, and which 
his enemies had seen green and unfaded, till a traitor 
snatched them from his brows. A. D. 1139. 

It was in this duke's reign that the pospolilef or 
militia of Poland, was first established. £)very pala^ 
tinate (of which Poland Proper contained eleven) 
was obliged to raise a certain number of cavalry 
within a stated time, to be at the king's orders. 

Boleslas divided the dukedom between his four 
eldest sons ; but this regulation pleased neither them 
nor their subjects. ^ ^1, or none," was their motto ; . 
and after great contentions and various turns of for- 
tune, Boleslas, the second son of the late monarch, 
obtained the mastery, and was declared duke of 
Poland, A. D. 1146. He however allowed the chil- 
dren of his elder brotlier, Wladislas, to retain Silesia, 
a portion of his patrimony, which continued in his 

* Pofltedori; titer aome of the old liiirtoriaiiiL mjn but twetttfrnnt^ 
Mi be Mmnwratef only Uw «*tataa2et rmfto.** 

ATTBionr to oomnntT ramuA, St 

Uamif a distind goremmoity but a ief of Po» 


Wladislas, however, not content with beinff an 
almoner of a srauoger bfother's bounty, enga^d the 
emperors of Crermany, Comrade and Frederic Bar* 
baroeea, successiveiyHo aaeist him in the recovery 
of the Polish crown. The Polish historians agree 
in stating that the emperors both failed, and were 
reduced to the necessity of negotiation.! The con- 
test was, however, shortly concluded by the death 
of WlUdislas, which happened as he was on his road 
to Poland to tr^ the chance of fortune -once more. 

Boleslas, being peaceably seated on his throne, 
found the time hang heavy on his hands. Religions 
wars were the prevailing fashion of the day, and 
furnished employment for the idle and the fanatic 
Saint Peter's descehdants, like their great apostolic 
ancestor, have always been but too ready to draw 
the sword in the name of Christ. The Polish duke 
enlisted in the same cause, and pretending to be 
grieved at the idolatry of his northern neighbours, 
the Prussians, advanced into their territory with the 
gospel in one hand and the sword in the other. 
These people were then a barbarous race, inhabiting 
the greater portion of what is now called Regal or 
Polish Prussia, extending northward from Poland to 
the Baltic. They were sunk in the grossest idolatry 
and ignorance ^-^their objects of worship were among 
the most loathsome creatures in nature — snakes and 
reptiles. Besides these, however, like all other un- 
informed nations, they regarded thunder, lightning, 
and other natural phenomena, with superstitious and 
fearful veneration. 

These were to become the Polish duke's converts; 
and accordingly advancing into Prussia, he compelled 

* It oontinned lome time under the goyernment of the descendant* 
•f WladislM, and Qltimately l)eeaine subject to the orown of Bohemia 
thoiit 1339. At length it was invaded by the Prnssians. 

f The German historian says, that Frederic reduced Boleslaa to ob^ 
ilmtt, and obliged him to pay trlbnte. 


them to submit to his arms and to hear the Christian 
doctrines preached. No resistance could be made by 
undisciplined savages ; they were all driven into the 
Christian fold. ^ Die in your sins,'* said the savage 
monk to the stubborn recusant, and suited the action 
to the word ; whereas /' a promise of the life which 
now is and that which is to come" was the reward 
of Uie humble disciple. But '* the bread of life" was 
not to be g^ven gratis, and Boleslas made them pay 
dearly for it out of their scanty stores. It is saio, 
however, by some historians, that the conversion of 
the whole nation was effected without any bloodshed. 
Perhaps they would with equal facility have enabled 
us to account for the speedy decay of the early Chris- 
tian church of Prussia, by reason of its not having 
been cemented by the blood of martyrs. Be that as 
it may, the Prussian soon relapsed into idolatry, and 
unfortunately sent their Polish apostles prematurely 
to receive the crown of mart3nrdom, as some smaU 
acknowledgment for their late kindness. Deco3ring 
the Poles into a defile, they attacked them with great 
slaughter; and Boleslas himself narrowly escaped. 

The Polish duke, finding the occupation of conver- 
sion not so agreeable as he had anticipated, turned 
his attention to the management of his secular affaire, 
in which course he persevered till the period of his 
death, in 1173. 

In the early part of this reign, the spirit of Euro- 
pean chivalry directed towards the crusades had 
spread through Europe, and extended even to Poland. 
It was in 1147, that, induced by St. Bernard, Con- 
rade, the emperor of Germany, in company with his 
nephew and successor, Frederic Barbarossa, led sixty 
thousand men against the Saracens for the recovery 
of the holy sepulchre. Henry, a younger brother 
of Boleslas, caught the infection, and at the head of 
a numerous army of Polish volunteere embarked in 
the same cause. One campaign, however, cooled 
bis religious ardour, and he returned back to Polandt 


But this shart service did not lose its reward; for he 
is handed down by the monkish, writers as one of 
the greatest champions of the Holy Cross. 

Four years after the death of Boleslas IV., during 
which interval Mieczylas, his third brother, held the 
ducal dignity, Casimir II. was called to the thione by 
the discontented Poles ; an event which occurred in 
1178. He was the youngest brother of Boleslas IV. 
It was not ambition that induced him to take posses- 
sion of the throne from which Mieczylas was ejected ; 
for, on the contrary, he even requested to be allowed 
to resign it to him, pledging nimself to the voy- 
vodes for his better conduct. This offer was, how- 
ever, refused, the Poles not being willing to trust 
themselves to their former tyrant ; and the only fruit 
of the negotiation was the proof of Casimir^s mild 
and generous disposition. 

He was engaged in various wars wit3i the Rus* 
sians, though not of sufficient consequence to Poland 
to> merit detail ; in all which, however, he rendered 
himself conspicuous for clemency and benevolence, 
'* smoothing the rugged brow'* of war, and binding 
up the wounds which his sword had made. 

The following anecdote is given as an admirable 
illustration of the mildness and benevolence of this 
amiable prince. .^ He was one day at play, and won 
all the money of one of his nobility, who, in^ivsed^t 
his ill /fortune, suddenly struck the prince jMow on 
the ear, in the heat of his uncontrolled puimmu tie 
fled immediately from justice ; but being pnrsued and 
overtaken, was condemned to lose his head. The 
generous Casimir determined otherwise. ' I am not 
surprised,' said he, ' at the gentleman's conduct ; for 
not having it in his power to revenge himself on for- 
tune, no wonder he should attack her favourite in 
me.' After these generous words he revoked the 
sentence, returned the nobleman his money, and de- 
clared that he alone was faulty, as he encouraged Iry 
his example a pernicious practice that might teimi* 
nata in the ruin of hundreds of the people.^ 


This prince ivas indeed a father to hissnlijects t he 
▼iewed the oppression of the nobles orer the serfs 
with an eye of sorrow ; and though it was not in his 
power to change the constitution of Polish society by 
emancipating ttiem and making them perfectly inde* 
pendent, what he could do he did, in protecting them 
by strict laws from wanton cruelty. He has left be- 
hind him the character of the most amiable monarch 
that ever swayed the Polish sceptre. He had faolts, 
but they were almost lost in the number of his noble 
qualities and his virtues. He was a lover of peaoe, 
and the friend of the people. 

His manners were of the most conciliating kind, 

" And e'en his fidlings lean'd to Tirtne's side.'' 

His clemency was not the result of feaiv nor his 
bounty the ostentation of pride. Like Aristtdes, he 
never swerved from duty and equity; and, unlike 
him, he tempered right with mercy. He has there- 
fore even one claim more than the Athenian to that 
rare and enviable appellation which his subjects be* 
stowed on him— the Jtat. 

After several succeeding reigns, in which nothing 
occurred worthy to be remembered, we find Wladis* 
las* HI. oa the throne in 1306. He had been deposed* 
but after five years he was reinstated in his authority* 
The regal title had been revived by one of the pre^^ 
ceding ^nces in the year 1396, biit the Poles were 
determined not to bestow it on Wladislas until he had 
rendered himself deserving of it by reforming hia 
mind and character as a prince. 

The first opportunity he had of meriting wdQ of his 
country was in its defence against new enemies 
and invaders, no less than the Teutonic knights; 
This military order had obtained a settlement in 
Prussia, and were continually infesting the northern 
frontier. The Germans who accompanied Frederic 

* Sarnamed LoUeteck, on teeoant of Ua dlininQttTattatQre,meniiitf 


fiaibahissa. Emperor of Germany, to the eniflades m 
1188, being let, by his death without a eommandw, 
were at length formed by Henry, King of JemsaleHi, 
into a religious and martial order, calted the Kidi^ts 
of St. George* This title was afterward chuig^ to 
Knigfals of St. Mary. They were required to be of 
noble parentage, to defend the Christian religion* and 
promulgate it to the utmost extent of their power. 
In the year 1 Idl, Pope Celestine IIL granted them a 
bull, addressed to them under the title of the Teutonic 
Kniglits of the Hospital of Si. Mary the Yiigin. In 
the beginning of the 13th century, Culm, in Prussia, 
was aUotted to them, under the condition that ^ey 
should turn their arms only against their pagan neigh- 
bours. This injunction, howerer, was soon set at 
naught. After conquering all Polish Prussia (as it 
is now called) and building Marienburg, they invaded 
the Polish territ<My, and overran the greater part of 

Wladislas, when they had been denounced by the 
pope as out of the pale and proteetioii of the church, 
aeon checked their inroads. After several battles, in 
which ^die Poles were always superior, a great and 
last eificMrt was made, but still fortune dedared against 
the Teutonic knights ; for, according to the Polidi 
historians, 4060 of th^ were left dead on the field, 
besides 30,000 auxiliaries either slain or taken cap- 
tive. Wladislas had it now in his power to exter- 
minate the order; but, at the sacrifice of policy, he 
contented himself with taking possession of his own 
territory^ and binding them down by a treaty. 

Having tinis fought the battles of his country, he 
retuitted to obtain the crown which his subjects could 
no knger refuse. However, to give the ceremony 
the sanction oi religion^ Wladislas sent an andiias- 
sador to Rome to persuade the pope, more, periiaps, 
by a libersd sum o( money than words, to ratify it 
with his audiority* This confirmation being obtained, 
the cef^emony of coronation was performed with great 



pomp in the cathedral at Cracow.* Death, however, 
shortly transferred the diadem from his head to that 
of his son Casimir, in the year 1333, to whom he 
gave these instructions on his death-hed : — ^ U yoo 
have any regard for your honour or your reputation, 
take care to yield nothing to the knights of the Teu- 
tonic order and the Marquis of Brandeburg. Resolve 
to bury yourself under the ruins of your throne 
rather than abandon to them the portion of your 
heritage which they possess, and for which you are 
responsible to your people and your children. Do 
not leave your successors such an example of cow- 
ardice, which would be sufficient to tarnish all your 
virtues and the splendour of the finest reign. Punish 
the traitors, and, happier than your father, drive them 
from a kingdom where pity opened an asyhim for 
them ; for they are stained with the blackest ingrati- 
tude.'^ These prophetic words, observes a modern 
historian, may serve as an answer to the manifestoes 
published by Prussia concerning the partitions ; and 
on this account they deserve to be recorded. 

The first remarkable event of the new reign was 
a rupture with the Teutonic knights ; but this being 
settled amicably, Casimir planned an invasion <A 
Russia. This design was so vigorously executed, 
that the greater portion of the modem Polish prov- 
ince, Russia Nigra, was then brought under the 
power of Poland. 

But Casimir founded his claim to the gratitude of 
his subjects on a much sounder foundation than 
foreign conquest; he portioned out the domain of 
individual right with a measure more fixed than the 
false and arbitraury rule of strength and power, and 
marked out its limits with the obvious landmarks of 
written law. Before his time, tiiere was no code of 
statutes : precedent, opinion, and passion were the 

* The form or the ceremony continued the same flrom thie time. The 
Archbishop of Gneme placed the crown on his bead. A white eagle» 
which wa« the ornament of his thmnet became the natkmal anna. 


overbearing assessors on the tribunal of justice. 
The noble of a district was the supreme judge over 
his demesne ; and though from his court there lay an 
appeal to the king, it was only a mere show of 
redress. The injured dependant knew too well, that 
should he make his complaint heard by the deaf ear 
of royalty, his sovereign, even if he defended the 
right, would not thank him for being embroiled with 
one of his powerful noUes ; ^d the cruelty of his 
lord would only be aggravated by opposition. The 
arbitration of civil cases was equally irregular, and 
even more absurd. A written oath was administered 
to one of the parties, and was made the criterion of 
the case. If the reader made the least hesitation or 
mistake, he lost his cause. On the contrary, he who 
had sufficient hardihood to go unhesitatingly and 
miblushinffly through the process of perjury obtained 
for his viUany the credit of right and justice. The 
form wad, however, as reasons3)le as any other mode 
of ordeal, and, in fact, still more so, for it was not 
made to depend entirely on chance ; nor was it so 
absurd as trial by single combat. Guilt is sooner 
confused and unnerved by the eye of scrutiny than 
by the drawn sword; and the *^men$ conscia recti" 
arms itself more frequently with the defensive armour 
of the uncowed eye, and the firm composed voice, 
than with muscular strength and agility. 

Casimir, however, determined to make reason 
depose chance and passion from the judgment-seat, 
and that justice should be fairly meted out by the 
standard weights of the law-book. 

The three modes of trial by ordeal were also 
known in Poland. We have stated above that there 
was no regular code ; there was indeed a confused 
mass of laws, but Casimir, the Polish Justinian, was 
the first who caused them to be reduced to a con- 
sistent form. His predecessor had convoked an 
assembly of the bishops and barons at Chenciny, in 
the same year that he died, to revise the laws ; but 


the work remained unfinished : and ten years aftery 
Casimir called a diet at Wisli^a^ previously to which, 
separate noteetings had been held in Great and Little 
Poland, to draw up sketches of the desired reform; 
and on this basis Uiey proceeded to found the famous 
code of Wislica. Pecuniary compositions for crime 
still continued to be countenanced, and the em^ns^ 
or serfs, were not so favoured as the nobles. The 
lot of the lower orders, however, was much amelio- 
rated ; if oppressed, they were allowed to sell their 
goods, and change masters. For these laws the 
sovereign obtained the flattering title of king of tli^ 
serfs. He appointed regular courts in each palati- 
nate, with fixed fees for the judges. Nor did he 
content himself with making statutes for his people, 
but guarded the welfare of all ranks with the most 
jealous care, and was amply rewarded by. their love 
and respect. 

Envy could not behold such excellence without 
attempting to sully it; and accordingly, she has 
employed against it the ostracism of scandal. Bui 
the worst cnarges which she could bring against the 
character of Casimir are for errors of gayety ; the 
evil effects of which are for the most part confined 
to the offender, and which, consequently, though 
most will regret, many will defend, and few will 
altogether condenm. Besides, offences of this kind, 
not being committed on '* house-tops,*^ can seldom 
be fully brought home to the delinquent, and even 
the confession of candour will be received but as a 
plea of guilty to a triflingr count in scandal's lengthy 
indictment, to evade conviction on others of more 
importance and enormity. But virtue will not dis- 
own one of her favourite sons for a venial error ; 
the benevolence, justice, and prudence of Casimir 
would cover a hundred times more sins; and the 
small voice of detraction is drowned in the unani- 
mous acclamations of his people, who, having best 
experienced his character and felt Jiis goodness, 
concur in styling him the " Great/* 

LOUIS. 41 

• On the death of Casimir, which occurred in 1370* 
there being no immediate heirs, his siiBter's son, 
Louis, King of Hungary, was caUed to the Polish 

As Louis was the sovereign of another kingdonit 
the Polish nobles, apprehending that their interests 
would be compromised to those of his other sub- 
jects, made him agree to certain stipulations as a 
safeguard, before they would allow him to take pot- 
session of the insignia of authority. There had 
always been some form of this kind on the accession 
of the preceding kings, but it was merely a formal 
coronation oath, binding the new monarch to pre- 
serve the interests of his people. In the present 
case, it became something more than a mere matter 
of form, being made in fact a " comer-stone** of the 
Polish constitution. This bond between the kins 
and his subjects was called the Pacta ConverUa; and 
has continued to be administered to the monarchs 
on oath ever since,* and is the Magna Charta of 
Poland. The conditions required of Louis were as 
follows : — He was obliged to resign all right to most 
of the extensive domains annexed before to the 
crown, and make them the bene^ces of his officers 
or starostas; whom he could not remove without 
consulting the senate or assembly of nobles. He 
was. not to exact any personal service, to impose any 
taxes, or wage war without their consent. Nor was 
he to interfere with the authority of the lords over 
their serfs. The power of the king was thus limited 
to little more than that of a guardian of the laws. 

Louis agreed to these demands, but his conduct 
afterward proved that it was not with an intention 
of observing them. He fixed his residence entirely 
in Hungary, and, regardless of the complaints of the 
Poles, filled all the principal offices with Hungarians. 
Great disturbances ensued, and the neightours of 

* Subject to the alterations made by the diet*, atf wUl be mentfooed 



Poland, taking advantage of the discord, made fre- 
quent incursions. Happily, however, death remored 
the author of these troubles, after he had reined 
twelve years ; and having no male heirs, Louis ter- 
minated the dynasty of the Piasts in the yevit 13S2. 

In this first period were laid the foundations of all 
the most important Polish institutions, its laws, diets, 
orders ; and not only political establishments, but 
tho^e of learning also* 

The laws, we have seen, were formed into aregu*' 
lar code by Casimir; Wladislas first assembled his ' 
nobles in a diet in the year 1331, and his successor 
Casimir followed his example. These convocations 
were not merely assemblies of one order, but were 
formed by the kings on the very principle of balance 
of power — ^between the aristocracy, consisting of the 
influential nobles, and the numerous barons who pos- 
sesised the title of noblemen, but, in fact, constituted 
a separate interest. This is a distinction of no' small 
impolrtance ; all the army, at least those who fought 
on horseback, were styled nobles, for miles and 
nobilis were synonymous. 

The commercial classes were not admitted to any 
great privileges, since at that time they consisted 
chiefly of foreigners and Jews. The latter people, 
indeed, had obtained possession of most of the rea^ 
money in Poland, as well as elsewhere. Boleslas 
II. granted them a charter in 1264, and the same 
protection was extended to them by Casimir the | 
Great. It was said that this prince was interested J 
in their favour by Esther, a young Jewess, of whom»^^ 
he was enamoured. Cracow was in his time one of f 
the Hanse Towns in alliance with forty other cities i 
in Europe. The exchange, still standing, impresses ' 
us with a high idea of the commerce of this age, , 
tbtm intrusted to the Jews. So sedulously did this | 
industrious people avail themselves of their advan- 
tages, that at the marriage of Casimir*s grand- | 
daughter ^izabeth, Wierzynck, a Jewish mercfao&t 


uf Cracow, requested the honour of beinjj^ allowed to 
make the young bride a marriage present of 100,000 
florins of gold, — an immense sum at that time, and 
equal to her dowry from her grandfather. 

With regard to the learning of this period, we first 
meet with the monkish historian Gallus, who wrote 
between the years 1110 and 1135. His history com- 
mences in 825, and extends to 1118. According to 
the custom of his order, he wrote in bad Latin verse. 
He was followed by Matthew Cholewa, bishop of 
^'racow, and Vincent Kadlubek. TTiis latter writer 
was also diocesan of the same see, and was bom 
about the year 1160. He wrote in the time of Oasi- 
mir the Just, and in his history attempts to penetrate 
the mysteries of the Polish origin. But the circum- 
stance which most conduced to the promotion of 
leamipg in Poland was the foundation of the Uni- 
versity of Cracow, by Casimir the Great, in 1347. 
It was regulated in imitation of that of Paris ; and 
such eminence had its professors attained in a short 
time, that Pope Urban V* estimated it, in 1364, as 
equal to any of the universities of Europe. 



Hadwigft manlw Jaflellon, Doke of Lithiuuiift-^agttlloii Dynasty eom- 
mnoM ISM^Lithoaniaiui-— Their Origin, Religioo, and Htatory — 
Dnion with Poland— Vnion of the Romiah and Givek Churches — 
JageUon defiaata tlia Teutonic Knighta— Wladialaa sncoeeda, 14SS— 
Deftals the Saltan Amnratb— la killed in the Battle of Varna— Gaai 
mir IV.^Bubdnea the Teutonic Knichts— PoUah Pmaaia added to the 
KtngdawH-Oritin of the Polish Diets, 1466— State of Learning in 
Poland under Casimir^Printing introduced-^John Albert, Iwi — 
Ascendency of the Nobles— Alexander— Sigismund L— Annihilation 
of the Teutonic Knights— Sigiamund Augustus— Ordor of the Livo- 
nian y^igi^tii sttpp rc sse d U nion with Litiiaania cimaolidated— State 
of Leaminc under Sigiamund — OnMrnicus— Zalnxianaki, the Polish 
Linneu»— Keli^ous ToleralioD— Trade of the Jews— Termination 
of the JageUon Dynasty, 1973— Remaika on thia Pariod. 

Lovis having no male heirs, the Poles called his 
daughter Hedwiga to the throne in 1384. Between 
the death of Louis and the accession of Hedwiga 
there was an interregnum of two years, occupied in 
opposing the pretensions of Sigismund, Marouis of 
Brandeburg, who had married the elder daughter of 
Louis. It was stipulated, however, that she should 
follow the will of her new subjects in the choice of 
a husband, and that he should constantly reside in 
Poland. Many candidates offered themselves for 
ihat hand which was dowered with a kingdom ; but 
William, her cousin, a prince of the house of Aus- 
tria, found most favour in the lady's eyes. He was 
handsome in his person, elegant in his manners, and 
magnificent in his retinue. 

The Poles, however, would not consent to an alli- 
ance which would immediately subject them to the 
power of the encroaching Austrians, but fixed on 
JageUon, Duke of Lithuania. His offers were most 
tempting to the Poles : he promised to unite his ex- 
tensive and adjacent dominions to Poland inseparably 


under one government, and pledged himself for 
the conversion of his Lithuanian snhjects to Chris- 
tianifty: Jagellon was accordingly invited to come 
and take possession both of'his wife and crown. 
Hedwiga, however, still remained faithful to her first 
love, and secretly invited William to Poland. Theit 
aifections were nipped in the bud ; for the Polish no- 
bility, being apprized of their clandestine interviews, 
surronnded the palace, sent William home, and kept 
the queen under the strict surveillance of military 
guards. She at first refused to give Jagellon an 
audience ; but the entreaties of the nobility and the 
coercion of confinement shook her constancy, and 
the handsome Lithuanian soon completed the oblite- 
ration of her former affection. Jagellon was bap- 
tized by the name of Wladislas ; and Poland and 
Lithuania were henceforth united under one crown. 
This dutchy was an immense accession to the geo- 
graphical magnitude of Poland. It extended from 
Poland on the west, beyond the Dnieper or Borys- 
thenes on the east, and from Livonia on the north. 
The Lithuanians and Samogitians^ who are different 
clans of the same origin, are now generally believed 
to have sprung from a different stem from the Poles. 
They spoke a language widely dissimilar to the 
Polish or the Russian.* Their religion was a sin- 
gular medley of idolatry : they believed in a supreme 
god or Jupiter, whom they called the omnipotent and 
all- wise spirit. They worshipped the god of thunder 
under the name of Perkunoi; they paid homage to 
a god of the harvests : there were also maintained 
priests who were continnaUy feeding a sacred fire in 

* See Chsp. xiii. of Malte Bnui'ff Tableau, Ml the Lffhtianhur Lan- 
CXiage. There are scarcely any traces of this toDfue remaining even 
in Lithuania. It bears a singular resemblance to the Grsek anoLatin, 
not only in a few words, but in its construction. An affinity to some 
^ord in either one or offler of these languages will be traeed in the fel 
Jpwtaig list :— Mienoa (the moon), giaras (good or hononnlble), ngnis 
(flre), di^as (day), wiras (nmn), dantis (tooth), saule (sunX akie (sfaX 
uiguris (a snake), fte. 


honour of Pami, the god of the seasons ; and their 
llamen was called ^nUz> Trees, fountains, and 
^ants, all came in for a share of their veneration. 
They had sacred serpents called Crivotte^ and believed 
in guardian spirits of bees, cattle, &c. As to their 
government, it wasylike that of all other barbarous 
nations; despotic ; and the nobles were less numerous 
and more tyrannical to the lower orders than in Po- 
land. Ringold was the first who united the various 
provinces, and assumed the title of grand duke of 
Lithuania in 1235. 

In 1320 we find the famous Gedymin on the ducal 
throne. He wrested Volhjmia, Severia, Kiovia, and 
Czerniechovia* from the Russians. He divided his 
dukedom between his sons, but Olgerd made him- 
self the sole possessor. Jagellon, one of his thirteen 
sons, succeeded him in 1381. When raised to the 
throne of Poland, he appointed his cousin Witold 
to the government of Lithuania. 

This province did not so readily coalesce with 
Poland as was expected. Jagellon did not find the 
people very docile disciples ; for though the Romish 
faith was partially disseminated in Lithuania Proper,t 
and Wilna made the seat of a bishop, the districts 
which had been subject to Russia had long adopted 
the doctrines of the Greek church, and obstinately 
adhered to their tenets ; while the Samogitians re- 
fused to accept any modification of the Christian 
religion; and though the episcopal city Miedniki 
was built at this time, they clung firmly for a long 
period to their own strange and wild superstitions.^ 
In the latter part of this reign (in 1434), however, 
the union of the Roman and Greek churches took 
place at the convent of Florence; and the Bishop of 

* KiOYifi and Czemiechovia oompoae the Ukraine, properiy so called. 

t Ck»nii8ting of the modern palatinatea Troki and Wilna. 

X Eren at the present day, the peasants of Samo|^tia preserve awne 
traces of their ancient snperstitions, and for a long time obstinately 
reltaaed to use ploughs or other' agricultural instruments flimished witli 
iron, f<nr fear of wounding the bosom of mether-earth. 


Kiow adopted the Roman ritual, but the Greek 
clergy were allowed the privilege of marriage. 

Nor was the political union effected without oppo- 
sition. The Lithuanian nobles were afraid of losmg 
their ascendency over their serfs by their connexion 
with the less despotic Polish barons ; and Witold, 
urged on by the emperor Sigismnnd, who was jea* 
lous of the growing power of Poland, revolted, and 
was making preparations for his coronation* when 
he suddenly died in 1430. 

Jas^ellon established the Polish law on a firmer 
foundation in the diets of 1423 and 1433, and gave 
an additional sanction to the code of Wisli9a, ixdiich 
Casimir had begun. To him the Poles are indebted 
for their famous law that no individual is to be im- 
prisoned until convicted.* 

This monarch was obliged to fight as well as 
preach and legislate : he was in the early part of his 
reign continually occupied in checking the encroach- 
ments of the Teutonic knights. He defeated them 
in a great battle at Grunewala in 1410, and they were 
happy to obtain peace in 1422. Having thus laid 
the foundation of Poland's greatness, he died in 

His son Wladislas, was not much more than nine 
^ years old when the crown of Poland was placed on 
his head. His mother and some of the ncmles were 
his guardians during his nonage. Scarcely had he 
escaped from his pupilage, when he served his 
maiden campaign against the Turks. The descend- 
ants of Othman, not content with their conquests in 

* JVemsncm ay^tniofrtfitti*, nm j/wt inetum out in erimine deprehen>- 

t Jagellon seems to be no fhToorito with Salnmdy ; this hietoriiin not 
onlv attacks his character and administration, bat even his person. 
("Petit, laid,'* d^.) He also makes him the author of the degradation 
of the lower classes. This point has been jiwtly dispnted in the oritique 
on his work in ah excellent article of the Rente Encyelopedi<iiie Air 
Angnst, 1829, written by D'Herbelot.— See BiaUrir* de Pologiu wtati 
tt smu U roi Jean So^ieskit par N. A. de Salvandv. Pwis, I6S% 
Tom. i. p. 91, ite. 


Asia, had crossed the Hellespont to lay low the tot- 
tering Eastern empire. They ravaged Transylvania 
and a ^reat portion of Hungary; and the Hungarians, 
opposing them in rain, conferred their crown oo 
Wladislas, who immediately took the field. Axnu- 
xath headed the Moslem anny, and Wladislas the 
Poles: an experienced warrior was thus ]»tted 
against a boy. But the battle is not always for the 
strong; like a spent wave, as if exhausted with vie* 
tory, the Turks made but a feeble attack on that 
Polish army. The Moslems were defeated with the 
loss of 30,000 men, and were obliged to sue for peace. 
A treaty was concluded with mutual oaths, and 
Wladislas was presented with the Hungarian crown, 
which he had so nobly defended. 

But tlus success only urged him, like the game- 
ster, to try the chance of another cast. Treaties 
were nothing, oaths were nothing ; the pope's legate, 
who accompanied the youthful king, produced his 
authority, and silenced iil scrui^es of conscience 
But the Turkish swords, which before were blunt 
with service, were now whetted with revenge ; and 
for once the Moslem crescent was the banner of jus- 
tice. Amurath regained his laurels on the plains of 
Varna; the F<Aes were routed, and Wladislas fell 
a victim to his own rashness and perfidy. Thus 
perished this young Polish king, in his twenty-first 
year, A. D. 1444 ; an event which spared the lives of 
many thousands of human beings.* 

The reign of Casirair lY., who succeeded his 
brother, forms a brighter era in Polish history. His 
predecessor's fate seems to have given him a dis- 
taste for the dangers of war, and the early part of 
his re^ was passed in rather disgraceful peace. 
His first undertaking was against those inveterate 
and fornudahle enemies of his kingdom, the Teu- 
tonic knights, whom he defeated. The Prus^anSt 

* Nino years after Uiis tUo Turks took ConstanUnofkle. 


wearied with the oppression of these fanatical bri- 
gands, rebelled against them, and {daced themselves 
under the protection of Casimir, in 1454. The 
knights did not surrender their conquests without a 
struggle, and the war was prolonged twelve years. 
The Poles overran all the Prussian territory which 
continued to side with the oppressors. So great was 
the devastation, that out of twenty-one thousand 
villages which are said to have existed before this' 
time in Prussia, scarcely more than thirteen thou- 
sand survived the flames, and nearly two thousand 
churches were destroyed.* llie knights were at 
length obliged to submit; and a treaty was con- 
cluded, by which they surrendered all Polish Prussia, 
and held the remaining portion as a iief of Poland. 
Casimir formed this new addition of territory into 
four palatinates, under the same government as the 
rest of his kingdom, excepting certain commercial 
privileges granted to the trading towns. Dantzig, 
'niom, Elbing, and Culm were important acqui- 
sitions, being of great mercantile consequence^ 
Dantzig was one of the principal Hanse Towns, 
commanding the commerce of the Baltic ; a^d Casi- 
mir conferred oh it the exclusive privilege of navi- 
gation on the Vistula. Moldavia, also, was now 
tributary to Poland ; so that this kingdom had then 
the means of uniting the commerce of northern 
Europe with that of the south. 

The system of internal policy was also undergoing 
several changes. In the early pait of this reign the 
senate confirmed the decree that the king was not to 
make war without their permission. In the year 
1467, the foundation of the Polish diet or parliament 
was laid. Before that period the senate consisted 
only of the bishops and great officers of the kingdom, 
who formed the king^s council, subject also to the 
interference of the nS>ility. 

* Tableau de la PologQe. MaU4 Brun^ augmento par Leonard 
Chodiko. Tom. i. p. 355. 



Learning began to be cultivated by the Polish gen- 
tlemen in this reign, and the Latin language was now 
generally introduced. It is said, that in a conference 
with the King of Sweden, Casimir, being addressed 
in Latin, was obliged to employ a monk as inter- 
preter ; and, ashamed of his ignorance, he enjoined 
the study of that language among the gentlemen of 
Poland by an edict. It has continued ever since 
almost a living language in that country. 

The first printing-press was erected at Cracow in 
J474.* The Polish language began to be cultivated 
and used by authors, and even written elegantly. 
Schools were generally established, to which the sons 
of the citizens, or even serfs, had the same access as 
the nobles. Kromer, the historian, called the Livy of 
Poland, son of a peasant, and raised to the bishopric 
of Warmie, and Janicki, of the same origin, noted for 
his Latin poems, and crowned with the laurel-wreath 
by Pope Clement VII., were among the numerous 
authbrs who lived in this reign. The name of Gregory 
of Sanok, the Polish Bacon, must not pass unnoticed. 
He was bom about the year 1400, and died in 1417. 
He held a professorship in the university of Cracow 
some time, in which office he introduced a spirit of 
liberal and independent inquiry, for which we could 
scarcely give the age credit. He hated the scholas^ 
tic dialect, says his biographer, ridiculed astrology, 
and introduced a simple mode of reasoning. He 
was also a great admirer and patron of elegant learn- 
ing, and was the first who introduced the works of 
Virgil into notice in Poland. 

The diets up to tliis period had been general assem- 
blies of all the nobles, that is, of the army; but the 
inconvenience of holding meetings of more than a 
hundred thousand horsemen obliged the Poles to 


* It is reported that there is a work extant bearing date, Cracow, 
1465; but £telnuidy says, the press in the monastery of Oliya was the 
Arst. The statement above is from Fodczaszynski.— J^o^wieiw sur la 
LitttratuTt Andenne it la Pologru. 


adopt the form of representation which had become 
almost universal in Europe. . Dietines, or colloquia^ 
had long been held by each of the palatines in their 
palatinates for the administration of justice, and these 
now began to appoint deputies for the management 
of the public business. In the course of time every 
district assumed the same privilege, and aC len^h, in 
1468, sent two deputies to a general diet. This first 
diet was convened to debate on the propriety of 
renewing the war against the Teutonic knights, of 
which we have already seen the conclusion. The 
system, however, was only gradually introduced. 
The nobles of many of the provinces refused to give 
up their rights to a deputy ; and Regal Prussia, in 
particular, was so tenacious of this privilege, that it 
has reserved even to modem times the power of* 
sending as many nobles to the diet as it pleases. The 
deputies also were bound to act precisely according 
to the instructions of their constituents, and the 
nobles still maintained their custom of general meet- 
ings or confederations when occasion required. The 
towns also at this time enjoyed the elective fran- 

Caaimir, having thus spent nearly forty-eight years 
in the service of his kingdom, extending its territory, 
conquering its enemies, framing its constitution, and 
civilizing it with arts and learning, left it to the care 
of his third son, John Albert, A. D. 1492. 

Good fortune and faction raised John Albert above 
his two elder brothers, but courage and policy main- 
tained him in his elevation. The latter of these car- 
dinal virtues in a king was not, however, always ex- 
hibited in the present monarch's councils. He had 
admitted an Italian, Buonacorsi, formerly his tutor, 
into his confidence, and showed much deference to 
his opinions. According to his advice, he attempted 
to lessen the preponderance of the nobility in the 
political scale. The plan was prudent ; and if it could 
nave been effected* and their power withheld till the 

52 HisTomr of Poland. 

tiers-etat was sufficiently strengthened with wealdi 
and arts to counteract its undue influence, Poland 
might, like England, have enjoyed a firmly-balanced 
constitution, in which the dissentient ranks are so 
well adjusted, that disorder and its remedy are always 
produced simultaneously. 

Albert impoliticly gave publicity to a design in 
which concealment was the principal requisite to en- 
sure success. Unfortunately, a circumstance which 
happened shortly after the disclosure rendered the 
king still more an object of suspicion to the nobles. 
The Polish troops were wa,ylaid by an ambuscade 
during a campaign a^inst the Walachians, and a 
great number of nobles, who almost entirely com^ 
posed the army, were put to the sword. This event, 
coupled with the king^s denouement, engendered a 
suspicion of treachery, and made the nobles the more 
on the alert, not only to preserve their privileges, but 
to intrench on those of the king and people. The 
Lithuanian nobles, in particular, were strenuous in 
their opposition to the king's design ; their principles 
had always been more exclusive than those of the 
Poles, but the danger which threatened, their privi- 
leges united both in the common cause. From this 
time' we may date their despotism over the serfs, who, 
not having allies in the commercial classes, were 
obliged to submit quietb*. The influence of the 
trading classes was checked by two causes. In the 
first place, every gentleman who had a house and a 
few acres of land could enjoy all the privileges of 
nobility; hence none but the lower order, or foreign- 
ers, would engage* in mercantile pursuits : and, 
secondly, the towns were composed chiefly of Ger- 
man strangers, Jews, and even Armenians, who had 
been long considered almost out of the pale of the 
law, and could not be admitted to the rights of natu- 
ralization. From this time, therefore, we may date 
the origin of the exclusive influence of the nobles; 
they became resolute in maintaitiing arbitrary author 


ilyover their serfs; the cominercial class were m- 
claded in the proscription of rights, being interdicted 
by the diet in 1496 from becoming proprietors of 
land or possessors of chm*ch preferment. 

But what Albert unintentionally pulled down from 
one part of the constitution he rebuilt in another; 
and to make amends for having thus weakened the 
political power of the people, he fortified their juridi- 
cal rights. In his time the law-courts were sub- 
mitted to more fixed regulations, and corruption and 
oppression of the people exposed and punished. 

In the reign of his successor, Alexander, who came 
to the throne 1501, the crown was still more debased. 
The king was prohibited from raising any money or 
using the revenue without the consent of the diet. 
This law, called Staiutum Alexandrinumj is said to 
have passed to check Alexander's prodigality to mu- 
sicians, to whose art he was passionately attached. 
All the Polish laws were revised and corrected at 
this period by the chancellor Laski, after whom the 
code is named. 

When Sigismund I. eame to the throne in 1507, 
he found that it was not a bed of roses. Faction 
rose up against him as a many-headed monster ; and 
it required a powerfql and long arm to decapitate the 
ever-growing heads, and perseverance with resolu- 
tion to sear the wounds. But the Polish monarch 
was not to be soon intimidated; he defeated the 
Lithuanians who had revolted, and routed the Rus- 
sian auxiliaries of the rebels. The latter success 
was in a great measure^owing to the artillery which 
was now introduced into the Polish army, or rather 
among their Bohemian allies and fellow-subjects. 

Albert, Marquis of Brandeburg, and nephew of 
Sigismund, had been elected Master of the Teutonic 
order, in the hope that his connexion with the Polish 
kings might be the means of advancing their interest. 
No sooner was he invested with this authority, than 
he renounced all allegiance to Poland, and refused to 



submit to his liege-lord Sigismund. He was, how- 
ever, soon brought to obedience, and obliged to 
resign his authority as master. This resignation was 
the knell of the Teutonic knights ; they were now 
deprived of all standing ground in Prussia, and were 
obliged to retire to Mariendal in Franconia. The 
Poles were thus delivered from one enemy; but little 
did they imagine that the successors whom they ap- 
pointed to the vacated authority would eVentusdly be 
their destroyers. Sigismund formed Eastern Prussia 
into a dutchy in 1225, and intrusted it to Albert as a 
fief. Polish or Western Prussia was hence called 
Regal Prussia, to distinguish it from the dutchy. 

But when the king had quelled all foreign troubles, 
he found others at home of a more insidious and less 
tractable nature. His wife, Bona, was the prime 
mover of these intrigues ; she had obtained a com- 
piete ascendency over the mind of her husband, who 
was no^ no more than a puppet which played her 
own game. The nobility, being summoned by the 
king to assemble at Leopol, or Lemberg, in Gallicia, 
obeyed his orders, but it was to make universal com- 
plaints against the queen and the administration. 
This confederation they styled Rokosz, in imitation 
of the Hungarians, who, in cases of public emer- 
gency, held their assemblies in the plain of Bokosz, 
near the city Pest. The confederation was not 
formed of very stubborn materials; for they were all 
dispersed, we are told, by a shower of rain. This 
assembly and protest, however trifling in themselves, 
were of much importance as establishing a prece- 
dent which was but too pften and obstinately imi- 
tated in following times.* 

No sooner had Sigismund Augustus, the son of 
the preceding monarch, ascended the throne, than 
factions were formed against him, because he had 

* Panltls Jorins, an Italian writer, and bishop of Nocera at tlmt time, 
WfB there were then but three heroes living, Charles V., Francis I., and 
fl^gimnnnd, and that either of them deserved to rule all Etirope 


married without the consent and concurrence of the 
diet. The object of his choice was Barba Radziwill, 
widow of a Lithuanian noble of no great consequence. 
This marriage had been contracted secretly before 
his father^s death, but he publicly acknowled^d it on 
coming to. the crown. Firm in his affection, and 
faithful to his vows, he would not break his domestic 
ties, although his constancy might cost him a king- 
dom.* The contest did not, however, come to this 
crisis ; for the king dexterously turned the attention 
of the nobles to their own interests, and heard no 
mare objections to his marriage. But Sigismund 
did not long enjoy the domestic happiness which he 
so well deserved ; for, in the course of six months, 
death made him a widower. 

Sigismund was not entirely freed from war, but he 
found time to cultivate the arts of peace very suc- 
cessfully. In this reign Livonia and Courland were 
annexed to the Polish crown. The order of the 
Knights of Christ, having the same statutes as the 
Templars, was founded in 1203, by the Bishop of 
Riga, who conferred on them the right to a third part 
of Livonia, which they were to conquer and convert 
to Christianity; and this grant was also confirmed by 
the pope. The first gi-and-master was Winno, who 
denominated the order Ensiferi. In 1238 they 
formed a solemn compact with the Teutonic knights, 
and adopted their statutes. They reduced Livonia 
and Courland, and in 1521 purcnased their inde- 
pendence of tl^ grand-master of the Teutonic order. 
The Reformation began now to spread in Livonia, and 
greatly weakened the power of the knights. At this 
time they had imprisoned the Bishop of Riga, Sigis- 
mund^s cousin, and massacred the envoys whom he 
sent to demand the release of his kinsman. Sigis- 

* The Arctabistiop of Gnesne yna very earnest in pressing him to 
divorce bis wife ; and the Bishop of Przemysl is said to have quoted the 
fUlowing lines of Bnripidefl, in defence of the injnstice h« -would da 
to her. 

Biirep ydp &6iKtiv %f% rvpawihoq vipt j 

lUXKioTw dJitciv— B«ripid. Phcta. v. 587 


mund was arming to wreak vengeance on them^, 
when, dreading the encounter, they submitted and 
formed an alliance with Poland. The Czar of 
Moscow, provoked at this step, invaded Livonia ; and 
the knights, not able to defend themselves, su^d for 
assistance from Sigismund, who repelled the Rus- 
sians. Livonia was surrendered to Poland in 1561 ; 
and Kettler, the grand-master, was invested with the 
dutchy of Courland as a fief. He was bound as vassal 
to furnish the king with 200 hors^ or 500 infantry, 
and was not allowed to maintain more than 500 
regular troops. 

The wai in which Sigismund was engaged with 
the Russians led to a consolidation of the union be- 
tween Poland and Lithuania. At the commencement 
of hostilities the czar was victorious, and even in- 
vaded Lithuania. The Polish nobles refused to 
march to the assistance of their fellow-subjects, but 
under the condition that the union should be con- 
summated. This was readily granted, and in 1569 
the desired arrangement was definitely concluded in 
a diet of both provinces at Lublin. Lithuania was 
united to Poland under the same laws, privileges, 
and government. It was agreed that the diets com- 
posed of representatives of both these countries 
should meet at Warsaw, which is a central town, and 
neither in Poland Proper nor Lithuania, but in 

The genius of Copernicus, the great precursor of 
Newton, had lately shone forth, 

velqt Inter ignes 

Lana minores. 

He was bom in 1473, at Thorn ; where his father, a 
citizen of Cracow, had settled after the accession of 
Polish Prussia to Poland. At the age of nineteen lie 
was sent to the university of Cracow,* where he pur- 

* It was tbere that, under the tuition of Albert Bnidxewski, Coper- 
nicus pursued his mathematical studies. Even at this early period astro* 
nomical calendars were annually published at this uniyersity ; and, to the 
hdnour of the professors, they were entirely dree fh>m astrological 


sued his mathematical studies miderthe noted Brud- 
zewski. Adam Zaluzianski is the Polish Linnaeus ; 
and in this same age pubhshed a work entitled Ale- 
ihodus Herbaria^ in which he exhibits his sexual 
arrangement of plants. There were perhaps more 
printing-presses at this time in Poland than there 
have ever been since, or than there were in any other 
country of Europe at the time. There were eighty- 
three towns where they printed books ; and in Cracow 
aloiie there ^ere fifty presses. The chief circum- 
stance which supported so many printing houses in 
Poland at this time was the liberty of the press ; which 
allowed the publication of writings of all the con- 
tending sects, which were not permitted to be printed 

Nor were the Poles less advanced in that most en- 
lightened feeling of civilization, religious toleration. 
When almost Sil the rest of Europe was deluged 
with the blood of contending sectaries; while the 
Lutherans were perishing in Germany ; while the 
blood of above a hundred thousand Protestants, the 
victims of the war of persecution, and the horrid 
massacre of St. Bartholomew, was crying from the 
ground of France against the infamous Triumvirate, 
and the hypocritical Catharine de Medicis; while 
Mary made England a fiery ordeal of persecution, 
and even the heart of the ^ virgin qti^en" was not 
entirely cleansed of the foul stuff of bigotry, but 
dictated the burnings of the Arians ; Poland opened 
an asylum for the persecuted of all religions, and 
allowed every man to worship God in his own way. 
"Mosques," says Rulhiere,* "were raised among 
churches and synagogues. Leopol has always been 

The *' Calmdrien Craeovim^ are even still in great repute in 

It ia rather a aingular coincidence, ttaongti perhaps acarcely worth 
remailifaig, that Gopemicus as well as Newton was concerned with the 
eoinage of his country. He wrote a treatise, " Sur la Maniere d'orga- 
Qiser les Monnaies Polonaises," which i« still in being. 

* ISstohre de P Anarchie de Pologne. 


the seat of three bishops, Greek, Armenian, and 
Latin ; and it was never inquired in which of theii 
three cathedrals any man, who consented to submit 
to the regulations of government, went to receive 
the communion. Lastly, when the Reformation was 
rending so many states into inimical factions, Poland, 
without proscribing her ancient religion, received 
into her bosom the two new sects.'* All parties 
were allowed a perfect liberty of the press: the 
Catholics printed their books at Cracow, Posen, 
Lublin, &c. ; while the followers of the Confession 
of Augsburg published theirs at Paniowica, Dom- 
browa, and Szamotuly ; the Reformers at Pinczow, 
Brzesc, Knyszyn, and Nieswiez; the Arians at 
Rakow and Zaslaw; and the Greek sectarians in 
Lithuania, at Ostrow and Wilna. 

In 1540 it was ascertained that there were not in 
the whole of Poland more than 500 Christian mer- 
chants and manufacturers ; while there were 3300 
Jewish, who employed 9600 artisans in working gold, 
silver, &c., or manufacturing cloths. In the reign of 
Sigismund Augustus, the Jews were prohibited from 
dealing in horses or keeping inns. 

Such was the state of his kingdom when Sigis- 
mund died, in 1572. With this monarch ended the 
line of kings of the house of Jagellon. 

Having thus arrived at another era in our historical 
narrative, let us cast a brief view on the tract we 
have traveled over. Under the dynasty of the Jagel- 
Ions, which lasted 186 years, Poland had attained its 
perfect growth and dimensions, and its constitution 
had also arrived at equal maturity. Jewel after jewel 
has since been stolen from the crown, till it has be- 
come but a simple badge jaf official distinction. There 
being no third order whom the kings could raise up 
against the nobles, which would have rendered the 
monarchy limited, but shielded it from total subjec- 
tion to the aristocracy, there was no alternative but 
to make the government a perfect despotism a^ in 


Russia, to preserve the regal authority. This was 
attempted, as we shall see, in after-years ; but the 
kihgs who undertook it had not sufficient genius or 
perseverance, and the aristocracy had attained too 
great an ascendency by the diet and confederation. 
Besides, the chief military forces of the kingdom were 
not composed of a distinct order, who might be won 
over to the regal side, but of the nobility and their 
retinues ; nor had the king that powerful engine, 
wealth, in his power, — all the revenue being at the 
disposal of the diet|,which was composed of the aris- 
tocracy. Under these circumstances, the king could 
only be ^^ a judge," as one of the future ^monarchs* 
expressed himself; and the state that Anomaly, a 
republic of aristocrats.f 


voland becomes an elective Monarchy — Religious Tolerfttion— Henry 
of Anjou elected^Henry absconds— Stephen Batory— Introdooes Uie 
Jesuits— Disciplines the Cossacks— Origin, Manners, Sec. of the Cos- 
eack»-|Sigisniund HI., Prince of Sweden, elected— Swedes rerolt, and 
expel Sifismond— Demetrius, the Russian Impostor— War with Rus- 
sia — The Poles tak^ Moscow, and carry the Czar Prisoner to Warsaw 
— A Pole Czar of Russia— Zolkiewski-War with Gust^vus Aiai- 
phus— Wladislas VH.— The Revolt of the Cossacks— Caaimir UI — 
Charles Gustavus overruns Poland— 19 repelled- Treaty of Oliva— 
Project of Partition— Revolts of the Nobles— Casimir ab^cates the 
Ttuooo—Idbarum Veto. 

Sigismumd's funeral bell was the tocsin of anarchy 
in Poland. Being virithout a male heir, this last of 
th^ Jagellons restored the crown to his subjects for 
their £sposal ; a trust which^occasioned them much 

* Henry. 

t The stale of Poland at the time of Sigismund's death is accurately 
described in a curious Italian manuscript in the Harleian Collection. It 
w entitled, *<Relarione diPolonia f and the author was an ambassador 
firam Venice to FDlaod at this period, as he states himself (perche io ma0 


perplexity. The nobles, among whom had sprung 
up that spirit of equality and jealousy which had so 
intrenched on the regal authority, would not bend to 
a rival of their own order; and with the same Reel- 
ing which has made them in late years rathei submit 
to the domineering and treacherous interference of 
foreign powers than bear any stretch or even appear- 
ance of power in their peers, they preferred to look 
abroad for a king. The Polish crown thus became 
a prize of competition for foreign princes, and it still 
possessed sufficient temptatioi^ to have many can- 
didates ; for jie8kte&4^ opportunity that a monarch 
backed wilkJextraneous forces might have of ex- 
tending the authority, there remained still many 
important privileges like interstices between the en- 
closures ojf the laws. The neighbouring potentates 
now began a struggle for Poland, and at length the 
unhappy cotntry became the prey of their conflicting 
interests in addition to the evils of civil dissension. 
During the interregnum which succeeded the death 
of Sigismund, the Archbishop of Gnesne, on whom 
the authority devolved at such times, convoked the 
diet to debate on the choice of a new king. In this 
meeting, which was held in 1573, the laws were 
passed which regulated the elections^ The motion 
made by John Zamoyski, representative of Belz, in 
Gallicia, that all the nobles should have a voice in 
the nomination, was carried ; and it was agreed that 
they should meet in a plain near Warsaw. In this 
diet also the coronatidn-oath, or pacta conventa, was 
revised. The principal articles were the same as 
have been ever since administered to the kings-elect: 
stripping the monarch of all active power, making 
the crown elective, and requiring regular convoca- 
tions of the diet every two years. l%ey bound him 

atato Ambaflciadore, &c.) He gives an exact descripdMi of the geogra- 
phy, huitory, commerce, ^c, as a preface to the account of the eleotM, 
which we shaU describe in the next chapter. To prerent an inlemV' 
tioB of the narrative, we will throw our extracts into the Appendix. 


also to observe perfect toleration of religious orin- 
ciples, promising among themselves (inter nos aissi^ 
derUes ae religione), as well for themselves as their 
posterity, never to take up arms on account of diver- 
sity in religious tenets. The Roman Catholic, how- 
ever, remained the state religion, and the kings were 
bound to be of that profession of faith. 

The nobles accordingly assembled at Warsaw, 
armed, and with all their pomp of retinue. Several 
candidates were nominated, among whom were Er- 
nest, son of the Emperor Maximilian of Austria, and 
Henr>^, Duke of Anjou, son of Catharine de Medicis, 
and brother of Charles IX., the reigning king of 
France. The latter was the successful competitor, 
and an embassy was sent to Paris to announce the 
decision. We cannot refrain from inserting, at full 
length, the description given of this Polish deputa- 
tion by an eyewitness then living at Paris : ^ 

^ It is impossible to express the general astonish- 
ment when we saw these ambassadors in long robes, 
fur caps, sabres, arrows, and quivers ; but our admi- 
ration was excessive when we saw tiie sumptuous- 
ness of their equipages, the scabbards of their swords 
adorned with jewels, their bridles, saddles, and horse- 
cloths decked in the same way, and the air of con- 
sequence and dignity by which they were distin- 
gnished. One of the most remarkable circumstances 
was their facility in expressing themselves in Latin, 
French, German, and Italian. These four languages 
were as familiar to them asllieir vernacular tongue. 
There were only two men of rank at court who could 
answ^ them in Latin, the Baron of Millau and the 
Marquis of Castelnau-Maurissiere. They had been 
commissioned expressly to support the hcmour of the 
Frendh nation, that had reason to blush at their igno- 
rance In this point. — They (the ambassadors) spoke 
our language with so much purity, that one would 
have taken them rather for men educated on the 
banks of the Seine and the Loire, than for inhabit- 



ants o( the countries which are watered by the Vis* 
tula or the Dnieper* which put our courtiers to the 
blush, who knew nothing, but were open enemies of 
all science ; so that when their guests questioned 
them, they answered only with signs or blushes.*^ 

Thus was Henry called to the throne, and -he who 
was engaged at the very moment of his election. in 
fighting against the Protestantsf now took the oath 
of toleration to all dissenters and sectaries. He ac- 
cepted the crown reluctantly ; for, although all was 
ready for the king's departure to Poland, this prince 
did not hurry to set out. However honourable the 
object of his voyage, he regarded it as an exile.| 
But no sooner had he reached Poland than he was 
informed of the death of his brother, and the vacancy 
of the French throne. Not choosing to forfeit his 
hereditary right and. the substantial authority of the 
crown of France, and knoMring that the Poles would 
not allow him to swerve from his oath, which bound 
him to reside in Poland, he took the singular resolu- 
tion to abscond, and leave the country by steadth. 
He was overtaken a few leagues from Cracow by 
one of the Polish nobles, but resolutely refused to 

This singular and unexpected event renewed the 
factions, some of which called Maximilian of Austria 
to the throne, but were at last obliged to yield to the 
opposite party, who chose Anne, Uie sister of Sigis- 
mund, and Stephen Batory, Duke of Transylvania, 
for her husband, A. D. 1575. 

This prince was possessed of rare qualities and 
high talent, having raised himself by his valour, and 

* Hiatont de J. A. De Thou, &c. 

t He was besieging RoclieUe, which wu in the poeaeMioa of lh» 

X De Thou, vol. iv. liy. 23. 

^ The Reltaume di Potonia, mentioned in the preceding chapter, cob- 
tains a fall account of this proceeding, which, as the author says, is m 
singular, that " non ai trova in vlcun istoria antica 6 modema un 


without the least violence or collusion, to the duke 
doffl of Transylvania; and he was now called spon- 
taneously to the Polish throne. Nor did he degen- 
erate after his exaltation, vanquishing the Russians 
in a series of battles, distinguished by striking fea- 
tures of barbarity on the side of the enemy, and 
valour, chastened with mercy, on that of Batory. 
Peace was at length concluded by the interposition 
of Possevin, the Jesuit, and legate from the pope. 

This was the circumstance which gave the Jesuits 
an introduction into Poland. Their order was then 
only noted for its learning ; and Batory, imagining 
he was acting for the improveinent of his people, 
intrusted to them the care of the university of Wibia» 
which he had just founded. Succeeding years, how- 
ever, showed them in a very different character in 
Poland from teachers and peacemakers. 

But the most politic act of this king was the 
addition to the strength of the nation, effected by 
establishing a standing army, and introducing an 
impi'oved discipline. He now also brought the Cos- 
sacks under some military order. It was that Cos- 
sack tribe called Zaporog (Cosaci Zaporohenses) 
that was thus rendered serviceable to Poland. They 
inhabited, or rather frequented, the islands and 
swamps of the Dnieper, which formed a barrier 
against their warlike neighbours. In the reign of 
Si^smund I. they were first armed against the Tar- 
tars, and a Polish officer, Daszkiewicz, was appointed 
their governor ; but no further notice was taken of 
them till the time of Batory. The absurd and mon- 
strous descriptions of this people and their manners, 
which were founded on rumour, have been fully 
credited by modem writers; and Voltaire, who is 
one of the greatest among fabulists, does ilot fail to 
magnify* the wonders.* We shall endeavour to 
throw a little clearer light on the manners of this 

* See History of Russia, and Charles XIT., book 4. 


tribe, from old authors of credit. The first is Chev- 
alier, who wrote a history of a war of the Cossaijks, 
which will shortly come under our notice, prefaced 
with remarks on their manners and government 
gleaned from actual experience.* The Cossacks 
were the southern borderers of Poland, and, like all 
.other people similarly situated, were continually 
canying oja an irregubur and predatory war ; hence 
their name, which impUes plunderers.^ The Ukraine 
also means ^on^ter country, and, in course of time, 
all its inhabitants were designated Cossacks. '' They 
were," says Chevalier, " only a military body, and 
not a nation, as some have imagined. We cannot 
compare them better than to the ' Francarchers* 
formerly established in France- by Charles VII.'' 
They made periodical naval expeditions every season 
against the Turks, and have even advanced within 
two leagues of Constantinople. Their rendezvous 
was in the islands of the Dnieper ; and when winter 
approached, they returned to their homes. They 
generally mustered 5000 or 6000 men^ their boats 
were sixty feet long, with ten or twelve oars on each 
side, but this must be understood only of their war- 

The other author whom we shall quote was one 
who lived at that period, and frequently had the com- 
mand of the Cossack troops, no less than the fadier 
of the famous Sobieski. Even then, it seems, they 
were the subject of curiosity and fablcj " I will 
describe,'' says he, " their origin, manners, and cus- 

* The editor of the Tableau de la Pdogne seema to imagine be is the 
first who has noticed Chevalier's Mrork ; in this, however, he is mis- 
taken, for the author <^ that heterogeneous compilation, The History of 
Poland, vol. xx^v. of the Universal History, quotes i^ or ratlMr mis- 
quotes it.— See Tableau de la Pologne, Chodzko's edition, vol. i. p. 464, 
and Univ. Hist. voL jxxiv. p. 155. Chevalier's book was jiublished at. 
Paris in 1663. / 

t Ot])er interpretations are given by some authors, biit setmingly tir- 

t One of his expressions is, qtumdoqtiidem hactenu* longi laiiqut 
ver varias trmtes/amam ecrum vervagcari cognoscamus 


toms, whicii I am acquainted with by hearsay, and 
have myself witnessed. They are chiefly of Rus- 
sian origrin, (hough many criminal refugees from 
Poland, Germany,, &c. are to be found among them. 
They profess the religion of the Greek Church. — 
They have fixed their residence in those naturally 
fortified places which are watered by the Dniester. — 
Their business is war, and when they are shut up, as 
it were, in their nest {tanquam nidtUo cdiquo cffixi)^ 
they consider it illegal to neglect athletic sports for 
any other pursuits. They live sparingly, by huntin|r 
and. fishing. — They support their wives and fami- 
lies with plunder.* They are governed by a preefect 
(hetman), whose sceptre is a reed, and who is chosen 
by acclamation in. a tumultuous manner. — ^He has 
absolute power of life and death. He Has four 
town counsellors. — The Poles have given them the 
Trychtymirow, in Kiovia. — Long habit has fitted 
them for maritime warfare. They use boats, on 
the sides of which they can occasionally fasten flat 
bundles of reeds, to buoy them up, and resist the 
violence of the waves and winds. With these boats 
they sail with great rapidity, and very often take the 
laden Turkish vessels. Not many of them use 
lances (Jrameis), but they iare all furnished with 
arquebuses (sclopetis) ;t and in this kind of warfare 
the kings of Poland can match the infantry of all the 
monarchs in the world. They fortify their camps 
with wagons ranged in several rows ; this they call 
tahor, and make them their last refuge from an 
overbearing enemy. The Poles were obliged to fur- 
nish them with arms, provisions, and forage for 

* Partft toties prsed& locupletati, rei tantum economics cum oxoribns 
et liberie operam navant.— P. 1 12. Comment. Chotin. Bell. How different 
is thin fh>m Voltaire's account, ** Us ne soufflrent point de femmes chez 
eox, mais ils vont enlerer tous les enftnts A vingt et trente lieues i la 
ronde, Ac." — Hist, qf Charles Xll. hock 4. 

t This, it must be remembered, was in the time of Jame| SoblesU, after 
Batory had disciplined them. 



their horses."* Such were the men wliom Batory 
enlisted in iJie Polish service. In the year 1576 he 
divided them into six regiments, and appointed $upe> 
rior and subordinate officers over them. "They 
were then only infantry," says Chevalier, "but 
Batory joined to them 2000 horse, and in a short 
time they consisted chiefly of cavalry." Their chief 
was called heiman, or atiaman ; and the king pre- 
sented him with the following articles as ensigns of 
authority,— a flag, a horse-taU, a stafl", and a mirror. 
Rozynski was their flrst hetman appointed by Batory. 

It is said that the king had formed the design of 
extending the regal authority, but death frustrated 
it in 1586. Few monarchs are more respected by 
the Poles than the one whom we have just described; 
and, compared with many of the PoUsh sovereigns, 
he certainly deserved the title conferred on him, 
" In republicd plus ^lyam rex.^^ 

Violent factions, m consequence of this event, were 
formed at the diet of election, and both Maximilian 
of Austria, and Sigismund, Prince of Sweden, were 
next elected to the throne. Sigismund's party pre* 
vailed, and took Maximilian prisoner, A. B. 1587. 
The successful competitor did not make an un- 
generous use of his advantage, but liberated him, 
and rejected the offered ransom, saying, "I will not 
add insult to misfortune. I shall give Maximilian 
his liberty, and not oblige him to buy it."t 

*" C!ominentarioruin Chotinensis Belli Libri Tres^ Auctore Jaeobo 
Sobieski. Daiitisci, 1640. We had^lmoet claimed the credit of beinf 
the first to make known these accounts of the Ck)esack8, and expose the 
fiibulous stories about them, when we perceived that Sahrandy had been 
before us in quoting Sobieski's book, and he particularly scouts Voltaire's 
fables. We must take the liberty of noticing one little mistrandaiion 
and anachronism. The Clossacks' " sclopeta"* were not " pistoletsj'— 
Salvcmdy^s Hist, de Pdogne avant et sous le Roi Jecai Sdbiefki. 1889. 
Vol. i. p. 205. 

t Ciampi has published at Florence a Latin manuscript on the struggle 
between Maximilian and Sigismund. It is adccvoTog ; but die emtor 
attributes it to John Michael Bruto, the Venetian, whd was engaged bf 
Batory to write a histonr of Poland. The narrative unfortttnatelybreabi 
off at the captiYity of Maximilian > 


Stgismund's family was related to the Jagellons 
on the female side, which, reconciled the Poles to his 
accession. His reign commenced with war; for the 
Turks, continually harassed by the Cossacks, and 
not being able to revenge themselves on that vagrant 
people any more than if they were an annoying 
swarm of locusts, called the Poles to account for 
the actions of their dependants. After considerable 
slaughter, which was interesting only to the victors 
and the victims, and of no service but to rid the 
Ukraine of a few thousand cut-throat robbers, 
peace was effected by the intervention of an English 

Sigismond's father dying about this time, the 
Swedish crown was bequeathed to the Polish king ; 
but the Swedes, who had adopted the reformed 
religion of Luther ever since the time of Gustavus, 
were apprehensive of the government of a Roman 
Catholic, as Sigismund was, and as he was obliged 
to declare himself before he could ascend the Polish 
throne. Nor were their fears groundless, for his 
very first acts were a bad omen for the Protestant 
religion.* He was accompanied by a popish legate, 
by whose advice he demanded that there should be 
a Roman Catholic chapel in every town, and ex- 
pressed his determination to be crowned by the pope's 
deputy. This was borne with impatience ; but when 
the king attempted to enforce his will with Polish 
troops, the murmur of discontent was raised to the 
shout of rebellion, and all the attempts of the bigot 
king to trample down the Swedes to obedience were 
of no avail. 

Sigismund's attention was now directed to the 
singular events which occurred at this time in 
Russia; and he furnished Demetrius, a young 
claimant of the c^arship, with assistance to obtain 
his pretended rights. Tlie story of this impostor 

* 1 uflbndorf. 


(for such he seems to be now generally confessed) 
forms another chapter for the Romance of History. 
The czar, John II. of Russia, left at his death a son, 
Demetrius, only nine years old, and another of the 
name of Theodore, twenty. ^Fhe latter succeeded 
his father, and Demetrius was intrusted to the care 
of his mother, who devoted herself to his education 
in the retired castle of Uglitz. Theodore married 
the sister of Boris, one of his chief officers, whom 
he loaded with favours. The in^te's ambition 
was only sharpened by his exaltation, and on the 
death oi his master there would be no obstacle to 
his ascent to the throne but Demetrius. This was 
soon removed ; there was no difficulty in finding 

" A fellow by the band of nature marked, 
Quoted and signed to do a deed of shame ;* 

and the youth disappeared. Boris at length obtained 
the crown, but found it a crown of thorns. The 
dreadful visions which ^ murder the curtained sleep" 
of guilt haunted the royal assassin, and something 
more than a phantom " shouted in his ear" Deme- 
trius ! The king was told that lie was still alive, and 
that another child had been the victim of his am- 
bition. A Demetrius was at this time in Poland, and 
he armed against Boris enemies more powerful over 
a villain than remorse of conscience. This young 
man merely repeated the comedy, or rather tragedy, 
of errors which was played by tne slave Clemens in 
the time of Tiberius,* and by Perkin Warbeck in 
the reign of Henry VII. It seems that he was 
originally a monk of the same age that his prototype 
would have been ; and, as the story runs, he also 
resembled him in two singular particulars, — one arm 
shorter than the other, and a wart on his cheek 
This coincidence probably first urged him to com- 
mence the imposture, and the unsettled state of 

* The description of this singular imposture is giTen in Tadlva. 
Ann. lib. ii. cap. 39 and 40. 


Russia and the difficulty of being detected might 
have encoHTaged him in the design. He in course 
of time took refuge with Mniszech, palatine of San* 
domir in Poland, who was a designing, bad char- 
acter, and promised him assistance provided he would 
tolerate the Roman Catholic religion in Russia, and 
marry his daughter Mariana. Sigismund could not ' 
openly advocate the cause of the impostor, but 
allowed his nobles to do so ; and by their aid Deme- 
trius was seated on the Russian throne. His reign 
did not last long, for the Russians rebelled and 
murdered him with a great number of his Polish 
adlierents. But the soul of Demetrius had a second 
and even a third* metempsychosis ; and the last 
impostor was equally defended and patronised by the 
Poles as the first. Mariana received him as a resti- 
tution from the grave,t and Mniszech as another 
stepping-stone to power to supply the place of the 
former. Sigismund, urged on by the Jesuits, who 
were now in his full confidence, and further stimu- 
lated by the ambition of conquering Russia, invaded 
that country, pretending that he came as an avenger 
of his murdered subjects. Zolkiewski,^ who, as his 
kinsman writes, was made both chancellor and 
grand-general (ob sua itmgmain rempubltcam merita), 
commanded the troops, and entering Moscow, took 
prisoner Basil Schouisky, the new czar, and his 
brother. The king^s son, Wladislas, was set on the 
throne, and thus Poland was once the disposer of 
that crown which is now wcmi by its despot. He 
was, however, soon deposed, and Sigismund did not 
attempt to reinstate him. Zolkiewski had the honour 
of entering Warsaw with a Russian czar in his train, 

« TiUs fiuree waa acted even the foortli time. 

t This eireametanee exposee nK»re than any thing else the deception 
«( tlM Mniszech fhmily. dampi, to whom we hare before alluded, has 
published an " Eeame Critieo," with unedited documents concerning the 
history of Demetrius, but as our limits do not allow any dlcressions, we 
Blast leave the reader to form his own ojHnion on its merits. 

t The maternal great-grandfather of John Sobieski. 


and leaving monuments of his victories, which have 
been the objects of the petty spite of Peter the Great 
and Catharine.* 

Sigismund had not abandoned his plan of regain- 
ing the crown of Sweden, and with this view he 
joined with Ferdinand, the Emperor of Germany, 
and assisted him against the voyvode of Transyl- 
vania, who opposed him. The Transylvanian was 
in alliance with the sultan, and urged him to make 
a diversion on the side of Moldavia, which at that 
time was under the power of the Turks. The Pala- 
tine of Moldavia had invited the Poles to his assist- 
ance, and accordingly the famous Zolkiewski, the 
conqueror of Russia, marched into that country with 
8000 regular troops, and irregular forces of Cossacks 
and Moldavian refugees amounting to about 20,000. 
The Turkish army was chiefly composed of Tartars, 
and numbered nearly 70,000. Zolkiewski, notwith- 
standing the disparity of forces, obliged the Tartars 
to give way; but being almost abandoned by his 
auxiliaries, and his little band being reduced to little 
better than 5000, he was obliged to'retreat. Like all 
experienced generals, Zolkiewski could play the 
losing as well as the winning game ; and an eight 
days' march in the face of a numerous army, used 
. to irregular warfare, must have required some tactics 

* Ib the chapel at Warsaw, fonnerly belonging to the Dominicans, 
were deposited the remains of these illustrioas saptives. The ashes 
were given up to the Rusmans at the peace of 1634, but the monument 
still remained. In the reign of Stanislaus AjiguMus, Catharine ordered 
her ambassador Repnin to break the marble tablet bearing the invidious 
inscription following : 

Jesu GhrisU Dei Filii 

Regis regum t>ei exercitunm glorie, 

Bigismundus III., rex Polonie et SaeciaB, 

Exercitn Moschovitico ad Clusinum cteso, Moscovis Metropoli deditiono 

accepta, Smolensco Reipublicse restitute. 

Basileo Szuyscio magno duci MoscoviiB, et flratri ejus Demetrio militia 
pnefecto, captivis jure belli receptis, et in arpe Gostinensi sub cuslmlis 
habitis, ibique vita Ainctis, &c. 

In the Chateau Royal of Warsaw there was a painting repremntinf 
the eaptiyity of the same persons, which Peter caused to be destroyed is 
the time of Augustus II. 


and management. Historians compare this retro 
grade movement to ^ the Retreat of the Ten Thou- 
sand ;'' and no doubt the Polish grand-general, if he 
had boasted a Greek tongue and a Greek sword 
would have made as wonderful a narrative as Xeno- 
, Dhon. But Zolkiewski was to suffer a different fate ; 
for when the troops had reached the Dniester, they 
were panicstruck at the sight of the enemy, an4 
fled in disorder. *' Zolkiewski,^' says the Polish 
historian,* ^ like Paulus iGmilius, disdained to sur- 
vive his defeat, and with the same valour which had 
marked his life he fell fighting for his country, and 
covered with wounds, on the banks of the Dniester, 
near the town of Mohilow." His son was taken 
prisoner, but both bodies were redeemed and buried 
in the same grave, with this inscription : 

Exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibns nltor. 

This voice from the tomb urged their descendant 
Sobieski to exact retribution from the Turks.t 

This was only the signal for fresh war : the sultan 
now headed his troops in person, but was eventually 
obliged to make peace.^ 

While the Poles were thus engaged in the south, 
the Swedes were making inroads in the norjth. 
Sigismund had not quietly given up the crown of 
Sweden ; but although his exertions were fruitless, he 
still cherished the hope of recovering it. The Polish 
king found an opponent in Gustavus Adolphus, who 
was now on the throne, and who withstood, not 
merely the Poles, but almost all continental Europe, 
at least the Catholic part. Livonia, the point of 
junction between the two kingdoms, was the seat 
of war. After some trifling struggles, Gustavus 
took the field in 1626, and laid siege to Riga. This 

* James Sobieski. * 

t Coyer, Vie de Sobieski. 

t llie particulars of tliis war are recorded by James Sobieski in tlio 
vretk before quoted. 


town surrendered in six weeks, and the Swedish khif 
drove out the Jesuits, who were its perpetual tor- 
mentors. But Sigismund was too stubborn to be 
taught the inutility of resisting the great Gustavus ; 
he would not see in him any thing but a young hot- 
headed competitor, and not the determined cham- 
pion of the «* Thirty Years' War." Battle lost after 
battle increased the demands of the Swedes, and 
lessened the power of the Poles. The Polish king was 
also the dupe of the courts ofVienna and Madrid,whose 
interest it was to make him divert Gustavus from the 
rest of Europe, and in consequence they promised to 
assist him with money and troops. These promises 
were never kept, and Sigismund continued obsti- 
nately to gnaw the file. The city of Dantzig, how- 
ever, defended itself very vigorously ; the Swedish 
admiral was killed, and Gustavus obliged to raise 
the siege. But the continued run of Si-fortune, at 
length opened the eyes of tlie Poles to their own 
folly and the treachery of their pretended allies ; 
and Sigismund was happy to make peace for six 
years, by which he resigned Livonia and part of 
Prussia, in 1629. 

Sigismund terminated this reign of trouble in 1632. 
Ever the dupe of the Jesuits, who were in his per- 
fect confidence, he lost one kingdom and weakened 
another which was so unfortunate as to continue 
under his power. Poland, the land of tdlerationr 
was now the scene of religious contest, and tiie 
Protestants were deprived of aU places of trust and 
power. General dissatisfaction resulted, and the 
nobles had formed a confederation against their king 
in 1607 ; but not being very resolute, they- failed in 
eanrying their point. In 1609 these confederations 
were authorized by law. The spirit of contention, 
however, still continued to divide house against 
house, and the father against his son ; intolerance 
ad^ed to the serf's chains, and put an embargo on 
commerce. Such were the effects for which Poland 


was Indebted to Sigismund III. He not only com- 
mitted actual injury, but sowed fresh seeds by in- 
trusting great power to the Jesuits. ^ He had, in 
short," says a French writer, **two faults, wMch 
generally occasion great misfortunes, — he was very 
silly, and very obstinate." 

So^e time after the accession o£ Wladislas VH., 
son of Sigismund, to the throne, died Custavus 
Adolphus, which event enabled the Poles to oblige 
^he Swedes to resign their conquests, and make a 
firmer peace in 1635, at Stumsdorf. Had all the 
acts of the new king been dictated by tlie same good 
policy, Poland would have been saved much lo«i of 
strength and influence. 

The Polish nobles were jealous of the independ- 
ence of the Cossacks, so different from the state of 
their own serfs; the Jesuits could notbear to tolerate 
them in their adherence to the doctiines of the Greek 
church, and longed to make them Catholics; the 
king, perhaps, was swayed by both reasons ; so that 
the sovereign, nobles, and Jesuits all united to prune 
the almost lawless freedom of that wild but useful 
tribe, and from this time may be dated their aliena- 
tion from the Polish interest. Wladislas ordered 
forts to be erected in the Ukraine to awe them ; and 
the Cossacks armed in defence of their right, but 
were defeated. In defiance of treaties, the P(rfes 
villanously butchered their hetman and many other 
prisoners. A compact made after this, binding tlie 
victors to withdraw their troops and restore the 
Cossacks to their full liberty, was as soon broken; 
the diet ordered the number of forces in the Ukraine 
to be increased, and that they should be reduced to 
the same state of subjection as the serfs. The 
Polish nobles seemed to imagine that oaths and en- 
gagements were not binding with unciviltzed people ; 
for they committed all kmds of outrages on them, 
both personal and general : at length an act of intol- 
erable injustice drove the Cossacks again to rdbel 



and they were obtaining many advantages when 
death carried off ^eir tyrant, Wladislas, in 1648. 

But the former bigot was succeeded by another : 
John Casimir, younger brother of the late king, was 
called to occupy the throne just vacated. Casimir 
was a Jesuit by principle, education, and character ; 
and the pope gave him a cardinal's hat, to free him 
from his religious ties that he might assume the crown. 

Under this king the Cossacks were as badly treated 
as under his predecessor. The Polish nobles con- 
tinued to oppifess them, and Casimir connived at 
the injustice ; at length, however, a notorious act of 
viUany roused them to revolts Chmielnicki, a man 
of some influence in the Ukraine, was deprived of 
a small tract of land by the Polish governor; and 
resenting the oppression, asserted his right, and 
taunted that officer as a tyrannical upstart. The 
governor, incensed at his resistance, imitated the 
violence of the other Polish nobles, carried off 
Chmielnicki's wife, and set lire to his house, in which 
his infant child perished. Chmielnicki drew his 
sword to revenge his wife's dishonour and his child's 
death, and joined the rebel Cossacks, who made him 
their leader. It was about this time that Casimir 
came to the throne, and feeling that the Cossacks 
were the aggrieved party, he refused to prosecute 
the war, but endeavoured to conciliate them by 
writing to the hetman and confirming him in his 
office. The Cossack chief withdrew ms forces, and 
negotiations were in progress ; but the nobles, con- 
federating at the instigation of the aristocrats, put 
an end to these pacific measures with the sword. 
The Cossacks taught the Poles that they could de- 
fend their own liberty as well as that of their former 
allies and present oppressors. The rebel forces left 
behind them awake of blood and devastation. They 
advanced into Poland, and even invested the king in 
his camp at Zborow. The Cossacks were credu- 
lous ; and believing a people who had deceived them 



SO often, consented to negotiate. It was then agreed, 
in 1649, that they should have the free use of their 
privileges and religion.* 

This treaty did not satisfy the npbles, who were 
both foiled in their undertaking and humiliated by 
their defeat ; they therefore determined to pay no 
more attention to it than the preceding agreements. 
Before the end of the year, the diet announced its 
intention of reducing the Cossacks to obedience. 
Casimir made the expedition quite a crusade, and 
received a sacred helmet and sword from Pope In- 
nocent X. His preparations were on as great a 
scale as if he desired the subjugation of a powerful 
nation, instead of a few thousand rebels, as they de- 
nominated the Cossacks ; besides an army of 100,000 
nobles, he assembled a body of 50,000 of the foreign 
troops who had fought in the thirty years' war. The 
hetman, not terrified at this gigantic armament, aUied 
himself with the cham of the Tartars, and encoun- 
tered the Poles. Victory declared in favour of the 
oppressors, and the Cossacks were dispersed ; but 
the hetman had yet sufficient resources to obtain a 
peace in 1651. Submission to despotism is a di^ 
tasteful lot, and happily cannot, under any circum- 
stances, be made a duty by the strictest treaties or 
vows, according to the well-known principle of 
moral philosophy, that improper promises are not 
binding ; so thought the Cossacks without the aid 
of a system of ethics, and submitted to the Rus- 
sians in 1654. Alexis was then czar : he gladly re- 
ceived his new subjects ; and assigning, as a pretext 
for war, an omission which the Poles had made in 
one of his titles, marched two armies into Poland, 
one towards Smolensko, and the other towards Kiow. 
While the Russians were ravaging the east, an- 
other and no less formidable enemy was arming on 

* Thebistory of tbUi war Is giren by Ch«VBlier in Uie woxk taftni 


' the north. Casimir, who sunk beneath the burden 
of one crown, would not resign the family preten- 
sions to another, — that of Sweden; and when Chris- 
tina, abdicating about this time, appointed her cousin, 
Charles Gustavus, her heir, he protested vehemently 
against the succession. Charles Gustarus armed in 
defence of his right ; and perceiving that in one of 
the letters from Casimir, only two d ceteras were 
used after his titles, instead of three, made it a pre- 
text for declaring war. It is supposed that he was 
also instigated by the Polish vice-chancellor, whose 
wife the cardinal-king, Casimir, had seduced ; and 
who was afterward banished, and took refuge at 
Stockholm. Charles Gustavus marched into Poland 
with 60,000 troops ; discontent and revolt increased 
their number with Poles, and the Swede entered 
Warsaw. The contemptible John Casimir fled to 
Silesia, and Charles Gustavus was master of Po- 
land. But the nobles were soon disgusted with 
their new tyrant ; and in 1656 they confederated in 
Gallicia, and Casimir joined the confederacy. For- 
tune smiled still more favourably: Alexis, jealous of 
the growing power of Sweden, withdrew his troops ; 
and even the hetman, who had received an envoy 
from Casimir, was satiated with revenge, and retired 
to the Ukraine. Charles was obliged to retrace his 
steps, and Casimir reached Warsaw again. It is pre- 
tended that Charles Gustavus now proposed a par- 
tition of Poland between Prussia and Austria ; but, 
fortunately for the kingdom, the czar declared war 
against Sweden, and diverted the conqueror from his 
design. The Elector of Brandeburg concluded a 
treaty of peace at Wehlau on the 19th of September, 
1657, satisfied with obtaining the independence of 
Ducal Prussia. Austria offered assistance now the 
danger was over ; and the treaty of Oliva was con- 
cluded on the 3d of May, 1660, between Poland, 
Prussia, and Sweden. Casimir resigned all preten- 
sions to the Swedish crown, and ceded Livonia to 




Sweden. It mu8( not be forgotten, that the et ceUroB 
of the King of Sweden's title were arranged to his 
satisfaction in one of the articles of this treaty. Part 
of the third article runs^ '* Dictis vero titulis et insig* 
nibus non utentur ad serenissimos reges regnumque 
Suecis in literis aliisve diplomatibus aut scriptis, sed 
observabitur ab utrinque receptus hactenus modus 
abbreviandorum titulorum cum et caeterationibus, it^ 
ut post verba Magnus Dux Lithuaniae tres et csetera- 
tiones in titulo serenissimi modemi Regis Poloniae et 
vicissim post verba Magnus Princeps Finlandiae, tres 
et cseterationes in titulo serenissimi Regis Suecias 

Thus was Casimir freed from this terrible coalition 
which had threatened to forestall the fate of his un* 
fortunate kingdom.* But even before the treaty of 
Oliva was concluded, the Poles, instead of conciliat- 
ing all parties, passed a decree in the diet against 

* Rulhi^re tells us tliat a Swedish ambassador -was employed to pro< 
pose secretly a treaty between Austria, Sweden, and Prtissia, to divide 
Poland between them. " I have discovered," says he, " this important, 
and till now unknown circumstance, in tbe archives of foreign affairs in 
Franoe.'' He does not, however, give his authorities ; and the f<Alowing 
extracts fVom the French ambassador's despatches expose a rather dif- 
ferent combination of circumstances. 

** They (the Poles) wish to get rid of the aid of Austria, which gives 
tb.em much more trouble than advantage. They know that the emperor 
and tbe Elector of Brandeburg wish for a continuation of the war, with 
the view that Poland must necessarily fhll into their hands," since 
Charles Gustavus would be engaged in opposing Russia. 

" From the camp before Thorn, 
" 2 Nov. 1658." 

'* The Austrian ministers will take every opportunity to throw new 
difficulties in the way of the treaty, and thQ Russians to break that wbich 
they made at Wilna, and to ally themselves with the Swedes. What 
pves the Poles the more apprehension is, the information they have 
received tXai. the czar has a treaty in hand with Sweden.— The house of 
Austria, which advises this nomination (the succession of the czar to the 
Polish throne) which, it would not wish to take place, flatters itself with 
the hope of then seeing the Poles obliged to submit to it for protection 
gainst the gmiid-duke, or that he will be reduced to the necessity of 
raaring the kingdom with her, and will be contented with a part, not 
^^K able to have the whole. 

** From the camp before Thorn, 
" 26 Oct. 1658." 

From the despatches of Be Lumbrea, the French ambassador to Po- 
wBd; amragtheHarleian Manuscripts. 



the Arians, most of whom had sided with Sweden* 
and persecuted them with confiscation, exile, and 
death. Another rupture also hroke out with the 
Cossacks ; the haughty nobles infringed on the treaty 
they had made with them in 1658, and the Ukraine 
again submitted to Russia. *^ Since then," says Sal- 
vandy, ** Warsaw has seen them keeping guard at the 
gates of her palace." 

The Poles kept the Russians at bay, and the famous 
John Sobieski distinguished himself in these cam- 
paigns ; but they were obliged to make peace in 1667* 
By the treaty, Severia and the Ukraine, on the east 
of the Dnieper, were ceded to Russia ; the Cossacks 
(Zaporienses) were to be under the joint dominion of 
both states, ready to serve against the Turks when 
required, and were ta have the free exercise of their 

This reign was as unfortunate in its internal policy 
as in its foreign relations. The king was entirely at 
the mercy of his queen, his mistresses, and the Jesuits. 
Many of the nobles, during the Swedish invasion, 
had urged the necessity of choosing a successor to 
the throne who might be able to fight their cause ; 
and many went so far as to wish the monarchy to 
become hereditary.* The emperor was proposed by 
many; but the queen, Maria Louisa, exerted herself 
to ensure the succession to the French prince Cond6, 
and in the diet of 1661 the king himself made the pro- 
posal. This unconstitutional proceeding produced 
great murmurs among the nobles ; the diet was dis- 
solved; and the seeds of serious revolt were thus 

* " I bare seen some of the Polish ministers, who hare stated, that if 
the war continues with Sweden, (fee, they shall be obliged to elect a 
successor who will be capable cf re-establishing their a&irs, and they 
see none who is more able to do so than^ the Archduke Leopold.— Bemdea, 
the vice-chancellor, who follows this party, did not hesitate to say that 
the liberty of the Poles was prejudicial to them, and that it was dedmbla 
they should hate an hereditary kinf."— De Lum^rtB, 81 Feb. 1667, JK8. 


sown which harassed Casimir during the rest of his 

Casimir, worn out by these and other troubles, 
took the resolution of resigning the sceptre which he 
could not wields and resuming his religious habit. 
He had been told in the diet " that the calamities of 
Poland could not 'end but with his reign;" and he 
addressed that diet in the following words : — 

** People op Poland, 
" It is now two hundred and eighty years that you 
have heen governed by my family. The reign of my 
ancestors is past, and mine is going to expire. Fa- 
tigued by the labours of war, the cares of the cabinet, 
and the weight of age ; oppressed with the burdens 
and solicitudes of a reign of more than twenty-one 
years ; — I, your king and father, return into your 
hands what the world esteems above all things — ^a 
crown ; and choose for my throne six feet of earth, 
where I shall sleep in peace with my fathers." 

After his abdication he retired to France, where he 
was made abbot of the monastery of Su Gennajn- 

It was in this king's reign that the liberum veto, or 
privilege of the deputies to stop all proceedings in 
the diet by a simple dissent, first assumed the form 
of a legal custom. " The leaven of superstition and 
higotry," says Rulhiere,t "began to ferment and 

* In this diet Casimir ])ronoiinced these remarkable words, which hare 
been construed as a singular prophecy of the dismemberment of Poland: 
"I hope I may be a ftUse prophet in stating that you have to fear the dto^ 
xnemberment of the republic. The Russians (Moseus et Russi) will 
attempt to seize the grand-dotchy of Lithuania as far as the rivers Bug 
and Narew, and almost to the Vistula. The Elector of Brandeburg will 
have a design on Greater Poland and the neighbouring palatinates, and 
will contend for the aggrandizement of both Pruseias. The house of 
Austria will turn its attention to Cracow and the ad(jacent palatinates." 
Rulhi^re pretends that Casimir bad the mysterious treaty in his eye whea 
he spoke these prophetic words ; but a more natural solution of the ques. 
tion is found in the letters before mentioned, which show that theapprs- 
lienaions Casimir expresses were not confined to him. 

t Histoixe de rAnarcUe de Pologne, vol. L p. 43. 


blend itself with all the other vices of the constitu- 
tion; they then became closely united, and their 
junction defied all remedy. It was then that in the 
bosom of the national assembly sprung up this sin- 
gular anarchy, which, under the pretext of making 
the constitution more firm, has destroyed in Poland 
adl sovereign power. — The right of single opposition 
to general decrees, although always admitted, was 
for a long time not acted upon. There remained but 
one step to complete the destructive system, and that 
was taken in 1652, under the reign of John Casimir. 
A Polish noble named Sizinski, whom his contempo- 
raries have denounced to the indignation of posterity, 
having left the diet at the period allotted for its reso- 
lutions, and by his voluntary absence preventing the 
possibility of any unanimity, the diet considered that 
it had lost its power by the desertion of this one 
deputy.'' A precedent so absurd, but so easily imi- 
tated, could not fail to have the most pernicious 

There can only be one opinion on this king's reign : 
he deserves any character rather than that of " the 
Polish Solomon ;" nor can we agree with the whole 
of the assertion that 

" He made no wars, and did not gain 
New realms to lose them back again, 
And (save debates in Warsaw's diet) 
He reign'd in roost anseemly quiet."* 

His reign, unfortunately for Poland, was any thing 
but an " unseemly quiet," and has added another 
proof of the bad effiects of ingrafting the sceptre on 
the crosier. 

The introduction of the Jesuits by Batory had a 
great effect on the progress of learning in Poland. 
The curious, however, count up 711 Polish authors 
in the reign of Sigismund III. The Polish language 
became xpore generally diffused in Lithuania, Gu* 



licia, Volhynia, Ac, where formerly the Russian 
was the prevalent dialect. The close intercourse 
which commeneed with France during the unfortu* 
nate administration of John Casimir introduced many 
of the comforts of civilization ; travelling w^ im- 
proved in Poland, inns were built on the high roads, 
and carriages came into general use. But sadly did 
learning languish in this stormy reign. The incur- 
sions of the Swedes, Cossacks, and Tartars swept 
away the libraries, broke up all literary society, and 
commerce shared the same fate. 


Michael Wiscdoweski elected— Intrigues against him— War with Tur- 
key—Treaty of Buczacz— Royal Confederation— Treaty broken — Death 
of Michael— Battle of Chocim— Election of Sobieski— SobicBki'a Ances- 
try—Life, Ac- Battle of Leopol— Coronation— Sobieski's Danger- 
Treaty of Zuranow— Alliance with Austria— Siege of Vienna— Sobi- 
eski succours Vienna and defeats the Turks— Leopold's Ingratitude— 
Sobieski defeated by the Tuits— Consequences of this War— Intrigusc 

War renewed— Complaints of the Diet— Religious Persecution — 

Sobieski takes the Jews into favour— Disorders of the Government— 
Bobie«ki dies. 

Many were found ready to take up the crown 
which Casimir had laid down ; and among other can- 
didates appeared the eldest son of the czar, the Duke 
of Neuburg, Prince Charles of Lorraine, and the 
Prince of Conde. But neither of these was consid- 
ered an eligible person; and faction, which makes 
nations the dupes of trivial circumstances and feeble 
individuals, raised an obscure monk to the sovereignty. 
This event seems to have disappointed more than the 
ostensible competitors^ The " famous" John Sobi- 
eski, who was now both grand-general and grand- 
marshal, which oflSces gave him almost absolute 
power both in civil and military affairs, 


— tbought one step higher 

Would set him highest,'* 

and was secretly clearing the way to take this de- 
cisive step. He succeeded so far as to persuade the 
Poles to reject the foreigners and choose a Piast ;* 
but- not the individual whom the great general wished 
to introduce. " If at this juncture," says his biog- 
rapher,! " he flattered himself with the hopes of the 
crown, the illusion was of short duration." A tu- 
multuous movement, which was of uncertain origin, 
called to the throne a Polish gentleman, obscure, un- 
known, and deformed, who was not invested with 
any office, who had never transacted any public 
Dusiness, and who himself rejected this unexpected 
honour with a shudder of apprehension. Michael 
Koribut Wie9nowie9ki was descended from the Ja- 
gellons ; but shrinking from the field of strife which 
had led his ancestors to the throne, he shut himself 
up in a jnonastery of Warsaw; in hope that he might 
live unmolested, and go down to the grave unob- 
served. He was almost dragged to the throne, and 
wept at being obliged to bear what so many were 
longing for, 1669. Casimir, on being informed of 
his late subjects' choice, said, " What ! have they 
set the crown upon *the headof that poor fellow?" 
Subsequent events proved that the ex-king was right 
in his hinted apprehensions. 

The senators, foiled by this nomination of the in- 
ferior nobles, took* every opportunity of exliibiting 
the king's weakness. Michael too gave them many 
grounds for complaint; he paid no regard to the 
pacta convenia, and married an Austrian princess, 
the archduchess Eleanora, without consulting the 
diet. The Cossacks, revolting, and being beaten by 
Sobieski, sued for aid from Turkey. 

At this time numerous intrigues were secretly 

* The party in fkvoxa of a native Pole was already formed by th9 
Bflfblesy who were enraged at the intrigues of the late queen wiUi . 
t Coyer, 


fomenting, and among others one with Sobieski at 
its head, to depose Michael and set a French prince 
on the throne. This was a faction of the aristocrats 
against the inferior nobles (la noblesse); Sobieski 
carried on a correspondence with Louis XIV., and 
invited him to name a king for Poland, to curb the 
license of the diet, — in fact, to use his own words, " to 
deliver the republic from the absurd tyranny of a 
plebeian nobility."* 

The approach of Mahomet suspended these in- 
trigues for a time. Sobieski, the champion of Po- 
land, again took the field; but in vain did he rally his 
little army. Kamieniec, a strong town and fortress 
in Podolia, in fact the only well-fortified place the 
Poles possessed, fell into the hands of the Turks on 
the 27th of August, 1672 ; and in September Maho- 
met encamped under the walls of Leopol, the capital 
of Gallicia. The pospolite, whom Michael had 
hastily assembled, imagining that the aristocrats 
were treacherously concerned in this invasion, con- 
federated at Golembe to defend their king. Michael, 
alarmed at having the Moslems in such close vicinity, 
made proposals to the sultan for peace, which were 
accepted. This disgraceful treaty of Buczacz alien- 
ated from Poland the Ukraine and Podolia, and made 
Michael a tributary vassal of Mahomet ;t who, satis- 
fied with this success, and harassed by Sobieski, 
withdrew his troops. The aristocratical j)arty pro- 
tested vehemently against this treaty, and the breach 
of privilege committed by the king in signing it 
without consent of the diet, although they were the 
very persons who had lately planned the abolition 
of the elective and inert monarchy. The confede- 
lates, however, firmly defended the act ; and so violent 
Were they, that they condemned a hundred of the 
most illustrious nobles to death, and enjoined all 

^ * Sobieski's letter to Louis XIV. of the 14t1i July, 167S.^Sae Ritf 
W*re, vol. 1. p. 53. 
t Be was to pay 33,000 ducats ammdly. 


others to subscribe to the confederacy under the 
same penalty. They summoned Sobieski to appear 
before them ; but with difficulty could he save the 
messengers from the vengeance of his soldiers* who 
swore to a man to defend their favourite leaden 
Winter advanced and dispersed the confederacies ; 
and in the beginning of 1673, all parties agreed to a 
meeting for the object of pacification* 

At the opening of the assembly, an obscure indi- 
vidual announced that he had an important commu- 
nication to make, no less than that Sobieski had sold 
his country to the sultan for twelve millions. Hun- 
dreds of voices immediately demanded vengeance 
on the man who dared to calumniate their great 
genend ; but he came in person to Warsaw to defend 
himself. The entrance of the illustrious culprit into 
the city was a triumph ; the king, hating him as he 
did, sent to compliment him, and the convocation 
looked upon him with that reverence which master 
minds always exact from ordinary, intellects. Ac- 
cording to his advice, the convocation dissolved into 
a regular diet ; and even those now crouched before 
him who had lately impeached him. The accuser 
was condemned to capital punishment; but Sobieski's 
authority and clemency arrested the sentence. The 
diet declared for war. 

Michael indeed still wore the crown, but Sobieski 
wielded the sceptre. He set out to encounter the 
Turks, who came to claim the tribute, payment of 
which was neglected ; and came up with them near 
Chocim, in November,, 1673. " My comrades," said 
he, as he beheld their immense and gorgeous camp, 
'* in half an hour we shall lodge un^sr those gilded 
tents ;" and he kept his word. " The day of Cho- 
cim,^* says Salvandy,* '< was too great to be counted 

* Histoire de Pologne avant et sons le Roi Jean Sobieski, par N. A. de 
Mvaody, vol. iL p. 158. 

TbiB attractiye worlc, if read with the restrictions contained in aji 
fKoellent critique in the Revue fiocydopediqiie, toI. zliii. p. 436^ y/tH 


in this sad reign." Disense, which had long preyed 
on Michael, carried him off on the verjr eve of the 
battle. In framing our opinion of this king's charac- 
ter, we must do him the justice to remember, that 
even a great man would have found it difficult to 
hold a consistent course in the midst of ctrcum- 
stances so trying as those in which he was thrown. 
The Poles, too, had no reason to complain ; they 
had forced the crown on his head in spite of his un- 
williqgness to accept it. 

Sobieski now played his part well ; he took every 
precaution to throw obstacles in the way of his com- 
petitors ; and at length, when the elective diet was 
in a state of hesitation, he took them by surprise and 
carried his point. His friend and partisan, Jablo- 
nowski, palatine of Polish Russia, thus addressed 
the assembly : 

*' Having arrived at the close of this stormy dis- 
cussion, we have all agreed what kind of a king our 
present circumstances demand. We know that the 
crown is a heavy burden, and it remains to see who 
has most strength to bear it. — ^We can have a chief, 
a companion and judge of our labours, a citizen of 
our country. I demand that a Pole shall reign over 
Poland. Among us is a man who, having saved the 
state ten times by his counsels and his victories, is 
regarded by all the world, as well as by ourselves, 
as the greatest, the first of the sons of Poland. One 
last consideration affects me. Poles, if we deliberate 
here in peace on the election of a king, if the most 
illustrious powers solicit our suffrages, if our strength 
is increased, if our liberty is in existence, if even we 
have a country, to whom are we indebted for it? 
Recall to mind the wonders of Slobodisza,Podha!ce, 
Kalusz, and, above all, Chocim, immortal names, and 
take for your king John Sobieski !" 

This harangue had the desired effect, and Sobieski 

fVirnish a rich treat fttr those admirers of Sobieski who are aoqnaiiitad 
with him ODly from the writings of Comior, Ck>y«r, or Palmer. 



was elected King of Poland ou the 19th of May, ' 

This great man was not merely one of Fortune*f 
minions. He had not, like many indeed, to contend 
with the disadvantages of an obscure birth or a con* 
tracted education. His immediate ancestry were 
not only illustrious, but powerful ; and he had from 
childhood every opportunity that Europe afforded to 
acquire the most recent information as regards the 
useful arts of war and poUcy, and £it the same time 
to cultivate science and elegant learning. His father 
and grandfather were distinguished in Polish history; 
the former was castellan of Cracow, the chief secu- 
lar senator of Poland, and four times marshal of the 
diet under Sigismund HI. He was a skilful and re- 
nowned general; nor were his talents confined to 
war ; we have before had occasion to allude to one 
of his literary compositions, the Commentaries of 
the Chocim War (Commentariorum Chotinensis 
Belli Libri Tres, Auctore Jacobo Sobieski), which is 
in- much better Latin than the modems have gene- 
rally \vritten. He married the granddau^h,ter* of the 
great Zolkiewski, who defeated the Russians at Mos- 
cow in the reign of Sigismund HI., and took the czar 
prisoner. We have recorded this great man's death 
as it is described by his relative. 

Sobieski first studied the art of war in France; 
where he was sent in his youth, accompanied by his 
elder brother Mark. "My children," said their 
father, at parting, " apply yourselves in France only 
to the useful arts ; as to dancing, you will have an 
opportunity of accomplishing yourselves in that 
among the Tartars." This was during the minority 
of Louis XIV. The embryo hero of Poland was ther 
enrolled among the grand muiketeersj a company 
which had been established by Louis XIII. On 

* Coyer calls her his daughter, but he is mistaken; nor is this the 
only instance. See Cioyer, p. 67, London edition, 176S. Compare wtt 
fialyandy, ycd. i. p. 165 



leaving France, the brothers visited England, Italy, 
and Turkey. When they returned to Poland, they 
found Casimir on the throne and involved in the 
troublesome war with the Cossacks and Turks. 
Their father was now dead, but their mother well 
supplied his place as a guardian to her sons. John, 
however, soon lost his brother in a conflict with the 
Tartars ; and his mother, with whom he was not a 
favourite, retired to Italy. Sobieski had incurred the 
displeasure of his mother by fighting two duels, in 
the latter of which he was wounded and prevented 
from being present at an affray with the Cossacks 
at Batowitz, in 1652, which proved fatal to Mark. 
The first of these was fought with one of the Pa^s, a 
powerful Lithuanian family, and originated in a dis- 
pute at the election of John Casimir. The Pa^s were 
from that time his declared enemies fqx life, and 
often did their intrigues cause him to regret, in his 
manhood, the impetuosity of his youth. Various 
charges of youthful gayety and thoughtlessness 
during his sojourn in France were also brought 
against him ; and John Sobieski was now considered 
but a young debauchee, and the degenerate descend- 
ant of a noble family. But soon did he "falsify 
men's hopes," and throwing off the mask of revelry, 
came forth in the character of the ^atest warrior 
of his age. He was instrumental m defeating the 
Cossacks and Tartars, for which service Casimir 
made him successively standard-bearer and grand- 
general. He also held with the last office that of 
grand-marshal, a place of great importance. 

Besides his merit, Sobieski availed himself of other 
roads to distinction and power. His marriage with 
Marie de la Grange, one of the maids of honour to 
the wife of Casimir, strengthened his influence at 
court. She was the widow of Zamoyski, Palatine 
of Landomir, and daughter of the Marquis d'Anquien, 
and a confidant of her mistress. " She was very 



ingenious and beautiful," says Connor ;* ^' but John 
was not very willing to marry her till Casimir prom« 
ised he would give him considerable places and 
make him grand-general." And this, says the same 
author, was the cause of his being made king. 

It has been already seen how impatient Sobieski 
was under the reign of Michael, and how he plotted 
his dethronement. ^ T^at act of open defiance to his 
sovereign, the infringement of the treaty with the 
Turks, rendered him a great favourite with the sol- 
diers ; he seemed to them another Camillus, throw- 
ing his sword into the scale which was to weigh the 

Before the coronation ceremonies were performed, 
hC/ determined to prosecute the war with the Turks. 
His object in deferring the solemnity of inauguration 
seems to have been that he might retain the office of 
grand-general for a time. Sobieski appears to have 
fought with the stimulus of personal animosity; 
every Moslem whom he killed was another libation 
of atonement to appease the manes of his slaughtered 
relatives'. Every enemy whom he laid low might 
have been the murderer of his uncle or his brother, 
and at least revenge was satisfied with the blood that 
was shed. After various skirmishes the Polish 
troops encountered the Turks and Tartars near 
Leopol in Gallicia ; the former mustered only 15,000, 
while they had to contend with above 60,000.t Al- 
though it was in the month of August there was a 
heavy fall of snow, which fortunately served to in- 
commode the enemy. The superstitious Poles ex- 
claimed, •* a miracle !" the writers of the times record 

* Connor was an Irish ^jrracian of some noto, and was angaged in 
that capacity by Sobieski. Be lias written a " History of Poland/' which 
is the work referred to. 

t These nujnbers are multiplied by Connor more than fbnrfold ; but 
as the Turkish troops were only an advanced guard, we adhere to thi^ 
number given by Coyer. Tha doctor pretendi too that Bobiaaki'k troofi 
•monntan only to 0000. 


it as, one, and Sobieski had too much good sense to 
undeceive them. 

Trusting that they had God on their side, they 
fought with the firm belief that they should conquer, 
and most probably every one of the 10,000 dead 
bodies which the Turks are said to have left on the 
field was in their eyes a confirmation of their faith. 
The enemy fled in one night as many leagues as they 
had marched in three days before. 

The vizier in the course of his retreat invested 
Trembowla, a small town strongly fortified, in Podo- 
lia, which was defended by Samuel Chrasonowski, a 
renegade Jew. He first tried negotiation, but the 
brave Jewish governor returned this answer : " Thou 
art mistaken if thou expectest to find gold within 
these walls: we have nothing here but steel and 
soldiers ; our number indeed is small, but our cour- 
age is great." The Turkish general then ordered 
the place to be cannonaded ; but all to no purpose. 
The wife of the Jewish commander was as resolute 
as her husband, and assisted with her own hands to 
supply ammunition. The Polish nobles who were 
stationed there did not, however, emulate the ex- 
ample of their female general, but began to plan a 
surrender. They were overlieard by the heroine, 
who ran through the thickest of the fire to inform 
her husband; and he, by dint of threats and per- 
suasion, induced them to hold out. 

The attack was carried on with increased vigour ; 
the sturdy walls of Trembowla trembled, and the 
governor began to fear that the Lord of Hosts had 
abandoned him. His wife perceived his anxiety, and 
seizing two poniards, said to her husband, *' One of 
these is destined for thee, if thou surrenderest this 
town ; the other I intend for myself." 

But the Jew was not fated to become a modem 
Pstus ; for almost at this very crisis the Polish army 
leaded by Sobieski appeared in sight, and gave the 
Turks more important matters to engage their altei 



tion. The Moslem forces were again routed with 
the loss of seven or eight thousand men, and retreated 
to Kanii6niec, the chief town of Podolia, where they 
made their stay during the winter. 

Sohieski spent the interim in the ceremonies of 
coronation, which were of great importance in 
Poland, where the king was little more than a rex 
designcUus till that form had taken place. The 
funeral of the deceased king was always deferred till 
his successor had been appointed to succeed him ; 
so particular were the Poles to avoid an appearance 
of interregnum and anarchy in a country whose very 
government was a tissue of insubordination. On the 
present occasion, by a singular coincidence, it hap« 
pened that two kings were to be committed to the 
grave. Casimir haB lately died in France, and one 
dirge was sung at the obsequies of both him and 
Michael. This was really a practical method of 
teaching new monarchs, that 

« witbin the hdlow crown 

, That rounds the mortal temples of a king 

Keeps Deaxh his conrt." 

The ceremony* is then concluded with a singdar 
form. Every new king is obliged to appear in the - 
Stanislas-Kirche, where Boleslas murdered the 
prelate. But, as if he were the perpetrator of the 
deed, John went to the spot on foot, and declared, 
as was the custom, that *^ the crime was atrocious, 
that he was innocentof it, detested it, and asked par- 
don for it, by imploring the protection of the holy 
martyr upon himself and his kingdom."! 

When all these pageants were concluded, John was 
agam obliged to take the field in September, 1676, 
as usual with an inferior force. He had 38,000 


* Tbe eoroDatkm medals bore fhe devfee of a naked sword pasring 
through several erowns of lanrel, and «t tht polat « vagat «iow]iivili 
Ibis inscripckHi, " Per has ad istamJ* 



against 200,000 Tarks and Tartars; yet he made a 
-stand at Zurawno, a little town in Pokucia on the 
west of the Dniester, and fortified his camp with in- 
trenchments. The Turkish army were encamped 
on the other side of the river, and had besides cut off 
the communication behind the Poles. The fate of 
Sobieski and Poland seemed now to hang by a hair. 
The king even condescended to send messengers to 
the Tartar prince with proposals of peace, but with- 
out any concessions. '* What brought us here,'' said 
the envoy to the cham, ** is the love of peace, which 
you yourselves stand in need of. We bring neither 
the petitions nor the looks of suppliants, but a cour- 
age that is proof against every thing ; and our swords 
shall procure us peace if our negotiations cannot*'* 
As he spoke these words he drew his sword half out 
of its sheath, which greatly provoked the chanj, 
though no further notice was taken of the imperti- 
nence ; but the Polish embassy was dismissed. 

The Turks now made an attempt to pass the river, 
hut were repulsed with great loss ; and Ibrahim, the 
vizier, seeing the danger of bearding the lion in his 
den, determined to annoy him at a distance. He 
opened trenches as if he was besieging a town, and 
the artillery was brought to bear on the PoUsh camp. 
A ball went through the king's tent ; but he refused 
to take any precaution for his own safety, feeling 
that the crisis demanded personal hazard, to let the 
soldiers see that they bore no more than their general. 
Ibrahim still remembered the terrible havoc So- 
bieski had made among the gigantic Turkish forces, 
and feared even what he considered the dying 
strength of the formidable Pole ; he therefore sent 
deputies with proposals of peace. They demanded 
the performance of the treaty made by Michael, and 
swore ** by their beards and mustachios, to ensure 
' the safety of the Polish army, offering to continue 
hostages till it had passed the Dniester, after signing 
« more solid. peace than the fonner." Ta these 


conditionb John refused to submit, and detennined 
rather to try the vast odds of so unequal a battle. 

There were only provisions for four days in the 
Polish camp, and the king gave orders for an attack 
on the following morning. This was an awful night 
for Sobieski ; it was one of those periods when even 
the gigantic mind labours under the burden of its 
own mighty efforts to achieve what seems impossible 
to ordinary men. He confessed, that he never felt 
any solicitude and anxiety equal to this ; but when 
he thought of the disgraceful treaty of Michael, he 
resolved to conquer or to die. 

Day, however, dawned with a brighter prospect 
on the Poles. Sedition had sprung up m the Moslem 
camp ; the janizaries were dissatisfied, and the Tar- 
tars, tired of this unprofitable kind of war, threatened 
to desert. Besides, news arrived that the Russians 
were advancing to the aid of the Poles ; and the 
French and English ambassadors were already 
arrived at Leopol, and demanded passports to go to 
the king's camp. These circumstances obliged Ibra- 
him to lower his authoritative tone, and he consented 
to make peace on acceptable terms. Two-thirds of 
the Ukraine were given up to Poland ; the other third 
was to remain in the hands of the Cossacks, under 
protection of the sultan. Podolia also was re- 
stored except Kami6niec, which was still retained. 

John returned to Poland with the credit of having 
finished the campaign honourably. He then gave 
the French ambassador an audience, and was invested 
with the order of the " Holy Ghost," by order of 
Louis XIV. This rather nettled the Poles ; " It was 
stooping to the pride of France," said they, '< to wear 
its livery." 

John had now an interval of five years' peace, 
though he could not be said to enjoy any of its 
sweets, for he was continually harassed by the petty 
warfare of political intrigues carried on by his 
wifb 3ad the Jesuits. Although the pacta cowvcntc^ 


expressly- forbade all female influence in the polity of 
the kingdom, Mary contrived to manage Sobieski 
and his diet according to her own will. *^ Her sweet 
temper," says Connor, '* refined sense, and majestic 
air gained her such affection with the Poles, such 
influence over the king, and such a sustained interest 
in the diet, that she managed all with a great deal 
of prudence.'^ She was present at all the debates, 
not in public, but in a private situation, where she 
could hear without being seen. She had one day a 
matter of personal interest, the increase of her allow« 
anee, before the diet, but the king endeavoured to 
defer it till the assembly were in a better humour. 
The queen, however, would not be put off, and sent 
her chancellor to the king with a message to that 
purpose. The king was incensed, and though he 
was obliged to obey, felt probably the more ready to 
do so as he was certain the demand would be re- 
jected. In this, however, he was mistaken, and was 
shown the extent of his wife's influence, for she had 
covertly gained over the deputies, and not the slight- 
est opposition was made to the proposal. 

Sobieski managed the Jesuits better. It was ru- 
moured that a ghost had appeared in the house of a 
Polish gentleman in yolh3mia, and had also made 
verj'^ serious remarks on the king and his govern- 
ment. Pasquinades of all kinds were laid to the 
charge of the scurrilous spirit; and a Jesuit, Gnie- 
vosz, chaplain to the grand-general, bore witness to 
the reality of the apparition. The king, who was 
not to be frightened by shadows, and was not to be 
made a dupe of the designing or the credulous, sent 
an intelligent officer to have a colloquy with the 
ghost, and demand his credentials from the king on 
the other side of the grave. The spirit was soon 
laid, and the king readily understood who were the 
plotters of the trick ; nor did he forget to retaliate. 
Seeing his Jesuitical confessor at comrt, he said to 
himi after mentioning the ghost story, •• Well, what 


does your rascal, Gnievosz, say to thatV The 
Jesuit imagined this but a prelude to further dis- 
grrace, and was so affected that he actually died in 
consequence before the expiration of eight days. 

The same order took the Uberty of encroaching on 
some of the queen's lands by means of interpolated 
or confused title-deeds ;^ but the king soon stopped 
this aggression also, resolutely but mildly. In writing 
to the general of the Jesuits, he said, '' I shall not 
summon your brethren at Jaroslaw to appear before 
the diet, where I should have on my side both jus- 
tice and the respect that is due to me. I am afraid 
of increasing by this means tlie hatred which is 
already borne you. I only advise you to be upon your 
guard against Uiose who have the management of 
your houses, ^c." This quickly produced a restitu- 
tion of the purloined property, and the Jesuits were 
in future more on their guard in affronting Sobieski. 
Had this king acted with the same good sense and 
determination in other matters of a similar kind, he 
would have made his reign much more happy and 

John had long wished to renew the war with the 
Turks ; and in addition to his inveterate and family 
hatred to that nation, the reproaches of the P^^s and 
their party, continually reminding him that Kami^niec 
was in their hands, spurred him on, and an opportu- 
nity now offered to do so. Leopold, Emperor of 
Germany and King of Hungary, had driven his Hun- 
garian subjects to revolt by infringements on their 
national liberties. The noted Tekeli, one of the 
principal nobles of that oppressed country, was their 
leader ; and tiiey then entered into an alliance with 
the Turks. Mahomet sent notice to Leopold, that 
the Hungarians were now the allies and subjects of 
the Porte, and that all the Austrian troops must be 
withdrawn from Hungary, unless he chose to be con- 
sidered the infringer of the peace. Leopold earnestly 
begged the aid of the Poles, but Sobieski seemed at 


first difiiinclined to assist the proud and tyrannical 
emperor. But he next turned to a more favourable 
Jistener in the queen. Several reasons made the 
proposal agreeable to her; she was piqued with 
Louis JCI V. for his neglect of her family, and* was 
glad to thwart him in his attempts to subject Leopold 
to Turkish invasion ; besides, the emperor promised 
to marry, the archduchess to her son, and to ensure 
the succession to the Polish crown in her family. 
Sobieski could not withstand Marv's artifices ; and, 
perhaps, he was in fact glad of the opportunity to 
break a lance with the Turks. He agreed to have 
48,000 men in readiness to assist Leopold whenever 
they might be required ; but a trifle almost deprived 
the emperor of this invaluable ally. Leopold agreed 
to give up his pretensions to the salt mines of 
Wieliczka, which had been pledged to the emperor 
by Casimir as a Becurity for 5,000,000 florins, and to 
advance 1,200,000 florins for the expenses of the 
expedition; but John refused to si^ the treaty, 
unless the emperor styled him His Majesty, which 
for a long time he obstinately refused. This demand 
was, without doubt, made at the instigation of Mary, 
who was piqued because Louis would not give her 
husband that title. Leopold was at last obliged, 
though reluctantly, to yield assent, and John Sobieski 
became his ally. 

Louis, in the mean time, had not been idle in 
attempting to counteract these designs. His am- 
bassador succeeded in attaching a strong party to 
his interest ; but the vigilance of Sobieski frustrated 
the plan, and the French ambassador, nettled at his 
defeat, returned to amuse and deceive Louis with 
telling him that the Polish king was grown too fat 
and gouty to be able to make a single campaign. In 
a few weeks, however, all Europe was told a very 
different story. 

The sultan's forces were ready in April, 1683, 
but as the truce was not expired, he did not take 


advantage of the unprepared state of Leopold^s army* 
He Uius sacrificed interest to truth and good faith} 
but he was a Barbarian, and had not been schooled 
in European sophistry. His opponents would have 
been, and in fact had been, less scrupulous. Sobieski 
had broken the treaty with the Porte in MichaePs 
reign, and Leopold had trampled on all engagements 
to which he had pledged himself with the Hungarians* 
If the God of the Christians did not make his sun 
shine on the evil as well as the good, the Turks would 
have been right in expecting that He " would soon 
deliver them' up to the faithful Mussulmans as a just 
punishment upon the Christians for their wanton 
violation of treaties." 

In the beginning of May, 1683, the Moslem army 
set out on its march. The troops amounted nearly 
to 300,000 men, but above two-thirds of them were 
Hungarians and Tartars. They were well provided 
with ammunition, and had more than three hundred 
immense pieces of artillery. Their general was 
Kara Mustapha, the grand vizier» who was invested 
with plenary power by the sultan. 

The route through Hungary was open to the 
Turks, who came as the allies and defenders of that 
country, so that no hopes remained for the Austrians 
but in their own resistance. The Duke of Lorraine, 
Leopold's brother-in-law, who had been one of So- 
bieski's competitors for the Polish crown, com- 
manded the imperial troops, who barely mustered 
37,000 men. 

The vizier marched his army from Belgrade along 
the western side of the Danube, and proceeded almost 
without a blow to Vienna. The emperor became 
now as timid and crouching in his adversity as he 
had been proud and overbearing in his prosperity. 
The haughty Leopold was to be seen running away 
before the Tartars from town to town, an edifying 
picture of humiliated tyranny. To ^dd to his 
troublesi the empress, who accompanied him, was 

siEGS or Tnsmri. 99 

then pregfnant, and even in this state she was obliged^ 
one night during their retreat, to sleep in a wood on 
a bundle of straw. This was a time for the bleak 
night- winds to whisper to Leopold that monition, 
^ Take physic, pomp !" Behind him he could see the 
farms and cottages of his poor subjects in flames, of 
which his tyrannical pride was the incendiary, as con- 
science, ho doubt, too plainly told him. But though 
he was the cause of all these troubles, he did not 
hazard a hair of his head to remove them, but left his 
capital to defend itself against the immense host of 
Turks pouring down upon it. 

Vienna is protected on the north by the Danube, 
and was at that time pretty strongly fortified on the 
other sides. On the south there is a plain of nearly 
three leagues in extent; and it was here that the 
vizier pitched his camp, which almost covered that 
surface.* The Duke of Lorraine threw a part of 
his infantry into the city, and stationed the rest in 
Leopolstat, an island of the Danube to the north of 
Vienna. It was on the 8th of July that the Turkish 
artillery began to play on the waUs, and the Austrians 
to tremble for the result. 

Count Starembourg commanded the garrison, 
which consisted of little more than 11,000 men, 
and in addition to them he armed the university and 
citizens. t He received no further aid from the 
Duke of Lorraine, who now retired from the island of 
Leopolstat, and was engaged in continual skirmishes 
with the Tartars. The siege went on with vigour, 
and by the 33d of July the Turks had made very 
near approaches to the walls. 

At tlus juncture the garrison received news from 

* The Tuiltish army encamped befbre Vienna amoahted to 191,800 
tten, as appeared from a list ftund in the Yteier's tent. — Connor, 

The author of a Journal of tbe Siege of Vienna states that the master* 
roll contained only 166,000, and that even this was purposely overrated. 
'—Journal of the Siege of Vienna. Harleian MSS. 

t The ahore manuaenpt rates them at 10,000, besides 2,383 annwl 




the Doke of Lorraine. He promised them speedy 
succoui, though this was most probably done pierely 
to inspirit them. The bearer of the message had 
swum across the four arras of the Danube, and had 
to return with his answer the same way. The bold 
messenger was not so fortunate this time, being taken 
by the enemy. The letter with which he was 
intrusted was sent back into the city, with another 
on the point of an arrow. The purport of the latter 
epistle was, "that all letters were now useless, for 
that God would soon deliver up Vienna to the faithful 
Mussulmans as a just punishment upon the Christians 
for their wanton violation of treaties." They re- 
proached the emperor for breaking a treaty which 
followed the battle of St. Gothard ; with infringing 
on the privileges of the Hungarians, and violating 
two treaties made with Tekeli. ^ They reproached 
the Poles for taking up arms without being attacked, 
and in defiance of the oaths they had sworn at 
Buczacz and at Zurawno. 

The siege was continued with increased vigour, 
and to add to the alarm of the citizens, reports were 
raised that traitors were making a subterraneous 
entry for the enemy, and that incendiaries increased 
the fires caused by the Turkish red-hot balls. 

The Duke of Lorraine sent repeated messengers 
to Sobieski to beg him to bring speedy succour; but 
the Polish troops could notbe assembled till towards 
the end of August, and even then they amounted 
only to 24,000 men.* Before Sobieski began his 
march he received a letter from the emperor, which 
shows how adversity can lower the pride of little 
minds. " We are. convinced," said Leopold, " that 
by reason of the vast distance of your army it is 
absolutely impossible for it to come time enough to 
contribute to the preservation of a place which is in 

* "The king, with hia son Prince James, Prince LabomirsU, and 
most of the Polish grandees, came with an anny only, arthey aasmed 
foat, of 34,000 men to relieve it (Vienna)."— Cotmuw. Let. 4. 


the most imminent danger. It is not, therefore, 
yom* troops, sire^ that we expect, but vour mafe$ty*i 
own presence ; being fully persuaded that if your 
royal presence will vouchsafe to appear at the head 
of our forces, though less numerous than those of 
the enemy, your name alone, which is so justly 
dreaded by them, will make their defeat certain."* 

The queen accompanied- him to the frontiers, and 
the following letter, which he wrote to her on the 
day after their parting, will make us more intimately 
acquainted with the champion of Vienna : — 

•* Only joy of my soul, charming and beloved 

Mariette ! 
**! have passed a very bad night here. One 
of my arms is numbed; I have also suffered great 
pain in the spine of my back. I shall have an attack 
of rheumatism after this. 

" Dupont has given me still more pain; he returned 
from you at nine in the evening, and has told me 
that the violent agitation you feel may probably 
affect your health. I beg you, my dear soul, to 
compose yourself and submit to the will of God. 
He wiU deign to grant me his guardian angels, and 
allow me to return to my friends safe and 80und."t 

Thus Sobieski, fifty-four years old, and in such a 
state of health, so weak and debilitated as to be 
obliged to be almost lifted on his horse, was the only 
man whom the empire could look to for aid. 

As Sobieski was on his march with his little army, 
he saw,' one day, an eagle flying by them from the 
right, and availing himself of the superstition of the 
Poles, he took the opportunity of encouraging them 
by interpreting it as a good omen. On another 

* Tbifl letter wu to be teen in Co7er>8 time in the archires of Poland. 

t Bisioire de Fologne avantet sons le Roi Jean Sobieski, per N. A. De 
BalTandy, torn. ill. p. M. There is also a collection of Sobieski'tt 
tetters, tranalaied by Count Plater, and published by the above aathor. 


occasion he perceived some singular atmospheric 
phenomena, which he turned to the same favourable 

The Polish forces marched along the banks of the 
Danube without any resistance^ and were joined 
there by the Duke of Lorraine and some other 
German forces hastening to the rescue of Vienna. 
The German generals expressed some anxiety as to 
the result of the conflict, but Sobieski cut them short 
by saying, "^ Consider the general you have to deal 
with, and not the multitude he commands. Which 
of you, at the head of 200,000 men, would have 
suffered this bridge to be built within five leagues 
of his camp? The man has no capacity.** He 
alluded to the bridge at Tuln, which the Duke of 
Lorraine had erected for the passage of the troops. 

As the Polish army crossed the bridge they were 
particularly admired for the fineness of their horses, 
their uniform and general appearance ; but one bat- 
talion seemed a sad exception, being very badly 
accoutred. One of the generals expressed his 
opinion to the king that it was a disgrace to the 
rest ; but Sobieski thought otherwise. " Look at it 
well," said he, as it was passing the bridge, "it is an 
invincible body, that has sworn never to wear any 
clothes but what it takes from the enemy. In the 
last war they were all dad in the Turkish manner." 

The Turks offered not the least opposition to the 
Poles as they crossed the bridge, ana all the imperial 
troops were safely assembled on the western side of 
the Danube by the 7th of September, and amounted 
to about 70,000 men. ' 

They could hear from Tuln the roar of the Turkish 
cannon. Vienna was, in fact, reduced almost to its 
last gasp. Most of the garrison were either killed 
or wounded, and disease was making even greater 
ravages than the enemy's balls. ** The grave con 
tinued open without ever closing its mouth«'^* As 

* Coyer. 


early as the S3d of August the officers had estimated 
that they could not withstand a general attack three 
days. If the vizier had pursued his advantage, 
Vienna must have fallen into his hands. But it was 
his object to avoid taking it by storm, in which case 
the plunder would be carried off by the soldiers, 
whereas, if he could oblige it to surrender, he might 
appropriate the spoil to his own use. So careless 
was he, too, in his confidence, that he had not yet 
ascertained that the Poles were arrived, till they 
were in his immediate vicinity ; and when the news 
was afterward brought to him that the King of Poland 
was advancing, **The King of Poland!" said he, 
laughing, " I know, indeed, that he has sent Lubo« 
mirski with a few squadrons." 

The governor, Starembourg, who had assured the 
Duke of Lorraine that '* he would not surrender the 
place but with the last drop of his blood," began 
nimself to despair of being longer able to hold out. 
A letter which he wrote at this period contained 
only these words : " No more time to lose, my lord, 
no more time to lose." 

The imperial army set out on the 9th of September 
for Vienna, but they had a march of fourteen miles 
to make across a ridge of mountains over which the 
Germans could not drag their cannon, and were 
therefore obliged to leave them behind. The Poles 
were more persevering, for they succeeded in getting 
over twenty-eight pieces, which were all they had 
to oppose to the 300 of the enemy. 

On the 11th of September they reached Mount 
Calemberg, the last which separated them from the 
Turks. ' " From this hill," says Sobieski's biographer, 
'* the Christians were presented with one of the finest 
and most dreadful prospects of the greatness of hu- 
man power ; an immense plain and dl the islands of 
the Danube covered with pavilions, whose magnifi- 
cence seemed rather calculated for an encampment 
of pleasure than the hardships of war; an innume- 



rable midtitude of horses, camels, and buffaloes | 
200,000 men all in motion ; swarms of Tartars dis- 
persed sdong the foot of the mountain in their usual 
confusion ; the fire of the besiegers incessant and 
terrible, and that of the besieged such as they could 
contrive to make ; in fine, a great city, distinguish* 
able only by the tops of the steeples and the fire and 
smoke that covered it."* But Sobieski was not im- 

gosed on by this formidable sight *' This man," said 
e, *' is badly encamped : he knows nothing of war; 
we shall certainly beat him." The eagle eye of the 
experienced warrior was not mistaken. 

On the eve of the battle, he wrote to the queen in 
these words : " We can easily see that the general 
of an army who has neither thought of intrenching 
himself nor concentrating his forces, but lies en- 
camped there as if we were a hundred miles from 
him, is predestined to be beaten." 

To add to the weakness of the Turkish army, 
great dissatisfaction had sprung up among the troops ; 
the length of the siege, disease, and, above all, a super- 
stitious presentiment of bad fortune, arising partly 
from the denunciations which the mufti had pro- 
nounced against the sins of the vizier, and partly 
from a conviction that they were transgressing the 
law by being the aggressors, was generS among the 
forces. The flower of the Moslem army too, the 
janizaries, began to murmur against their general's 
apparent cowardice : " Come on, infidels," they ex- 
claimed, " the sight of a hat will put u» to flight !" 
Such was the ominous state of the troops who were 
to withstand John Sobieski. 

The vizier called a council of war on this diay, 
which showed him the disafliection of his oflicers, as 
well as the soldiers. Most of them advised a retreat $ 
they had engaged in the expedition reluctantly, and 
fai opposition to their own counsel. Kara Mustapha, 

• Coyer. 

battij: of YTtanxA* 108 

however, was indignant at the thought of flight : he 
declared his intention of renewing the assault of the 
city, at the same time while the body of his arn^ 
kept the allied army in check. 

Sunday, the 12th of September, 1683, was the im- 
portant day, *< big with the fate" of Leopold, that was 
to decide whether the Turkish crescent was to wave 
on the turrets of Vienna. The cannonade on the 
city began at the break of day, for which purpose 
the vizier on his part had withdrawn from his army 
the janizaries, all his infantry, and nearly all his 
artillery. The light cavalry, the Spahis, the Tartars, 
and other irregular troops, were the forces destined 
to encounter the enemy ; so egregiously did Kara 
Mustapha miscalculate the strength of his opponents. 
They were commanded by Ibrahim Pacha, who was 
regarded by the Turks as one of the greatest generals 
of the age ; but, unfortunately for them, he was one 
of those who disapproved the war, and particularly 
the present plan of it. At eight in the morning there 
was some warm skirmishing ; at eleven the Christian 
army was drawn up in array in the plain ; and Kara 
Mustapha, beginning to apprehend that the allies 
were more formidable than he anticipated, had 
changed his design, and came to command his troops 
in person. He was stationed in the centre, and So- 
bieski occupied the same situation in his army. 

It was nearly fiVe in the evening, and the engage- 
menrhad only been partial ; for Sobieski's infantry 
had 'not eorae up, and the vizier was to be seen under 
a stiperb crimson tent, quietly sipping coffee, while 
the King of Poland was before him. At length the 
infantry arrived, and Sobieski ordered them to seize 
an eminence which commanded the vizier's position. 
The promptitude and gallantry with which this 
manoeuvre was executed decided the fate of the day. 
Kara Mustapha, taken by surprise at this unexpected 
attack, ordered all his infantry to his right wing, and 


the moirement pat all the line in eoniosioii. The 
king cried oat that they were lost men ; he ordered 
the Duke of Lorraine to attack the centre, which was 
now exposed and weakened, while he himself made 
his way through the confused Turks straight for the 
▼iziei's tent. He was instantly recognised by the 
streamers which adorned the lances of his guard, 
** JBy Allah !" exclaimed the cham of the Tartars, 
** the king is with them T An eclipse of the moon 
added to the consternation of the superstitions Mos- 
lems. At diis moment the Polish cavalry made a 
grand charge, and at the same time the Duke of 
Lorraine with his troops added to the confusion ; and 
the rout of the Turks became general. The vizier 
in vain tried to rally them. ^ iUid you,** said he to 
the cham of the Tartars, who passed him among the 
fugitives, ^cannot you help me?** **! know the 
King of Poland !" was the answer. ** I told you that 
if we had to deal with him, all we could do would 
be to run away. Look at the sky ; see if God is not 
against us.'' The immense Turkish army was 
wholly broken up, and Vienna was saved. 

So sudden and general was the panic among the 
Turks, that by six o'clock Sobieski had taken pos- 
session of their camp. One of the vizier's stirrups, 
finely enamelled, was brought to nim. ^ Take this 
stirrup," said he, ** to the queen, and tell her, that the 
person to whom it belonged is defeated." Having 
strictly forbidden his soldiers from plundering, they 
rested under the Turkish tents. 

Such were the events of the famous deliverance 
of Vienna as they were seen by the looker-on; and 
the outline of the narrative is filled up by one who 
was the best informed, and not the least impartial, no 
less than the great hero himself. '* The victory has 
been so sudden and extraordinary," he writes to the 
queen, " that the city, as well as the camp, was in 
continual alarm, expectmg to see the enemy retain 


every rabment.* — Night put an end to the por- 
efiiit, and besides, the Turks defended themselves with 
ftu7.(achamement) in their flight. — All the troops 
have done their duty well ; they attribute the victory 
to God and us. At the mbment when the enemy 
began to give ground (and the greatest shock was 
where I was stationed, opposite the vizier), all the 
cavalry of the rest of the army advanced towards 
me on the right wing, the centre and the left wing 
having as yet but little to do. — The emperor is 
about a mile and a half distant. He is coming down 
the Danube in a chaloupe ; but I perceive he has no 
great wish to see me, perhaps on account of the eti- 
quette. I am very glad to avoid all these ceremonies ; 
we have been treated with notibing else up to this 
time. Our darling (fanfan) is brave in the highest 


Among the spoil a large standard fell into the hands 
of the victors; and it was mistaken for that of 
Mahomet. It was sent as such to the pope, and sus- 
pended in the church of Loretto, "Where," says 
Connor, "I have seen it.*' The real standard is 
enclosed in an ark of gold, with the Koran and the 
prophet's robe, and is carried by a camel before the 
sultan or vizier. When it is displayed in battle, an 
officer is appointed to carry it off on the slightest 

* The paasaj^e which follows here offers a sinsnilar illustration of So- 
bieskrs mind, which, in the'midst of the exultation of a glorious victory, 
eould turn its attention to inquiriea into natural phenomena. *^ I have 
witnessed this night," he says, " a spectacle which I have long wished for. 
Our wagon-train set fire to the powder in several places ; the explosion 
was like .that of the last judgment; notwithstanding, nobody was 
wounded. / had an opporttmity of seeing on this occasion in what vfoy 
the clouds are formed in the atmosphere; but it is a mischance : it is 
certainly a loss of more than half a million (florins).* Of SobiesU's 

Khilosophy we shall taka orcasion to say more hereafter. We cannot 
elp remarking, too, another characteristic trait in this epistle : Sobieski 
seemtmore delighted at the large booty he has made than the importance 
or glory of the victory. Almost the very first word he addresses to his 
wife is about the riche»of the Turkish camp, apd nearly the whole of the 
long letter is more like aii appraiser's valuation, than a henys descriptioQ 
of a momentous battle. 
t Letter ix. of Salvandy^i eoUficUon. 


Tererse that may threaten the Turkish anny. This 
was the case in the present instance, but many writers 
Btill maintain that it was the real standard that was 


The loss on the side, of the victors was very triflings 
notwithstanding the importance of the victory; nor 
docs it appear from any of the statements to have 
been very great on that of the Turks. Immense 
treasures were found in the enemy's camp; so much 
so, that Sobieski had for his share some millions of 


On the following day John made his entrance into 
Vienna. The breach made by the Turks, and through 
which they expected to march to the destruction of 
the city, was the road which admitted its deliverer. 
The citizens received him with undisguised expres- 
sions of gratitude ; and even the stem waprior So- 
bieski shed a tear or two of joy at receiving the 
thanks and acclamations of the victims whom he had 
rescued from destruction. "Never," said he, "did 
the crown yield me pleasure like this !" The people 
could not help comparing him with their own dis- 
graceful sovereign, and exclaiming, "Ah! why is 
not this our master 1" With difficulty could the 
stem looks of the emperor's officers check these 
natural expressions of feeling. But Sobieski did not 
arrogate to himself only the glory of the victory ; 
he went to the cathedral to return thanks, and began 
to sing the Te Deum himself. A sermon was after- 
ward delivered, and the preacher, in the taste of 
that age of conceits and far-fetched puerilities, chose 
the foUowing text for the occasion : — ^ There axw a 
man sent from God, whose name was John.^** So- 
bieski found upon the towers of this church the 
Turkish crescent which had been erected there by 
the great Solyman in 1529, and was to be left as a 
monument of his unfinished expedition according to 

* Salvandy calls Uiis " POoquenU i$upiratim •* 


the conditions upon which he agreed to raise the 
siege. He ordered this memento of Austrian dis- 
grace to be torn down and trampled under foot.* 

But the low-minded Leopold, who had descended 
to such adulation and entreaty when danger threat* 
ened, could not bear to witness the triumph of his 
deliverer. Every report of the cannon, which an- 
nounced a fresh tribute of applause to Sobieski, fell 
like a reproach on his ears. He. lingered on his 
journey on the banks of the Danube, unwilling to 
add by his presence to the honour of his rival and 
his own shame. *' It was the weakness of the coun- 
sels that you had a share in,'' vsaid he, turning spite- 
fully to one of his ministers, **that occasions me 
this disgrace." 

Leopold's weak mind sunk under the burden of ^ 
such a favour; and envy and spleen, together with a ' 
sense of his own littleness, would not allow him to 
magnify his benefactor and the object of his jealousy 
with expressions of gratitude. " A man who re- 
minds us of a favour' cancels it," says a pithy apho- 
rist ;t and to this we might add, that he who receives 
a kindness ungraciously doubles the obligation. But 
not so thought the emperor. In this moment, when 
the heart should have been eager to pour forth its 
gratitude, he was deferring the evil day by disgrace- 
ful quibbles about the ceremony with which he was 
to receive Sobieski. He inquired whether an elect- 
ive king ever had an interview with an emperor, and 
how he was received. " Receive him," said the Duke 
Qf Lorraine, who had been one of Sobieski's unsuc- 
cessful competitors for the Polish crown ; '* receive 

* This atory ia otherwise parapbramd by tbe author of the manu- 
aerlpt **Joarnal of the Siege of Yienna" belbre quoted; but we are 
rather akepdcal about thia work, aa well aa> the published " Jourual,'* aud 
not the leaa about the latter, because the distinguished author of the 
*'Aanala* de llSmpire," yoitidi<e,gi?e« credit to aoine of its eiaggvrafeed 

t Bodiefimcaolt. 

108 msrOlLY OF 1H>LAN0. 

him with open arms, since he has preserved the em* 
niie." The emperor, however, refused to give his 
benefactor the right hand, and John was too good^ 
natured and unceremonious to urge this point of un- 
meaning and trumpery etiquette. At length it wa« 
agreed that the interview should take place on horse- 
back in the open plain, and that they should remain 
facing each other, which would not allow much 
punctilio in the mclde of salutation. 

At the appointed hour, John Sobieski rode up to 
the emperor in the same armour which he had worn 
in the defence of Vienna, and accosted him with the 
ease of conscious but unassuming rank. The em- 
peror, on the contrary, was very distant and ceremo- 
nious, and began to recount in a very ungracious 
, manner the services the Germans had rendered the 
Poles at different periods. At length he wrung from 
his lips the word gratitude for the deliverance of 
Vienna ; at which Sobieski merely remarked, " Bro- 
ther, I am glad I have done you that small service.** 
The young Polish prince James came up at this mo- 
ment, and his father presented him to Leopold, with 
these words, " This is a prince whom I am educating 
for the service of Christendom." The emperor 
merely nodded, although this was the young man 
whom he had promised to make his son-in-laW. 
One of the Polish palatines, stepping forward to kiss 
the haughty emperor's boot, was checked by So- 
bieski, exclaiming, " Palatine, no meanness." The 
interview was then at an end. 

Sobieski was no doubt much disgusted with this 
treatment, and felt inclined to return to Poland, but 
his ammosity to the Turks and the hope of uniting 
Ms son to the house of Austria, made him ^ digest 
the venom of his spleen." He also kept in mind the 
adage of an old Polish poet, which he quotes in one 
of his letters to the queen : " He who cannot con- 
ceal his vexation msusies himself a laughingstock 

Leopold's ikgiiatitude. lOil 

I fbt Ids enemies :'* and he determined to prosecute 

\ the war.* 

t Sobieski thus describes this singidar meeting :-^ 
<< I had my interview with the emperor the day be* 

> fore yesterday, that is,, on the 15th. He arrived at 
Vienna some hours after my depBrture.-^*-We sa* 

! luted each otlier politely enough; I paid my com- 
pliments to him in Latin, and in few words. He 
answered me in the same lang'uage in picked terms* 
•^I presented my son to him, who approached 
and saluted him. The emperor only put his hand to 
his hat. — He treated the senators and hetmans* 
and even his relation the prince Palatine of Belz, in 
the same way. To avoid tiie seandal and comments 
Of the poiUie, I again addressed a few words to the 
emperor, after which I turned my horse; we saluted 
each other, and I rode back to my camp. The Pala* 
tine of Russia showed our army to the emperor as he 
had desired him ; but our peo[^ are very much 
piquedt and compUin highly that the emperor did not 
deiirn to thank them, except by touching his hat, for 
so miany pains and privations. After this 8eparati<»^ 
every thing is suddlenly changed ; it is as if they did 
uot know us any longer.— They give us no more 
fomge or pipvi^on.". 

Kor was Sobieski the only one who experienced 
such treatment : ^ Ingratitude," says Salvandy, ^ was 
the spiid of the imperial -comt. Generals, vassals, 
and ^^lies saw their sesrvieesoondem&edito the same 

* Ooimor ghnw a liferent aeeepnt of tb« f nteiriew. <* Next day after 
Ufl entry,** «ayfl be^ " tbe emperor came to meet him, and made him his 
ackiiowledimente with the moftt endearipg ezpreseioaa imaginable^ 
tHiOe King John received bis compliments with a modesty equal to his 
«i>iirage.*'-»Vt»I. i. let. ir. Tbis is, bowe^r> one of the unmeaning 
passages wlueb are so fteqnent in the doctor's meager narrative, and he 

f laces the inteiriew on the wrong day ; he afterward sayii that the 
'oles ** were highly disgnsted at the ill treatment they received fVom 
the Germans." The ** Jdornal of the Siegti" gives nearly the same ac- 
count, as might be expected, 
t SobiesU nere dsseribes, among otber tldngs, all th« m^nntiflB of tlii 



neglect." All but Sobieski began to desert * tbil 

cause. . 1. 1. r 

But Fortune was now going to check for a mo- 
ment his honourable and triumphant career. A rem* 
nant of the Turkish troops, was stationed at the? 
bridge of Barcan, on the Danube, and John attempted 
to dislodge them without the assistance of the impe- 
rial troops; in fact, they were not very speedy in 
following him. But the Moslems rushed on uneX" 
pectedly, and the Poles suddenly became disordered 
and fled. Sobieski was exposed to great danger, and 
while carried away by his unmanageable horse, 
bruised and tired in the scuffle, he saw through the 
cloud of dust a young man who was caught by his 
cloak by a Turkish soldier: this was no other than 
his son. For a moment he was in awful suspense, 
expecting that he -should be the eyewitness of his 
child's death ; but the young prince fortunately es- 
caped with only the loss of his cloak. 

The imperial troops came up and saved the Poles 
from further slaughter, and tlie great John Sobieski^ 
the deliverer of Vienna, was now to be seen lying, 
overcome with fatigue and vexation, on a bundle of 
hay. His son was brought to him, and that served 
in some degree to lighten his sorrow. Re however 
addressed the German generals, who had come so 
opportunely to his rescue, with his characteristic af- 
fability and candour. " 1 confess I wanted," said he, 
** to conquer without you, for the honour of my own 
nation. I have suffered severely for it, being soundly 
beaten ; but I will take my revenge with you and for 
you. To effect this must be the chief employment 
of our thoughts." He also wrote to the queen that 
he was advancing towards the enemy, and that she 
must expect they would be defeated, or bid bun fare- 
well for ever.** 

- , ever. 

John soon came up with the Turks again, and 
^ped off his late disgrace ; after which, the winter 
oemg far advanced, he proceeded over the Carpathian 


inoiiiitains, and took up his quarters at Cracow on 
the 84th of December, 1683. 

He was disgusted with the continual petty attacks 
of jealousy from all quarters ;— of kings, generals, 
and politicians. How strikingly are his bitter feel- 
ings poured out in the following words, which were 
written to the queen a short time before he began his 
inarch to Cracow. " How knowingly these states- 
men speak in their chimney-comers ; and when they 
happen to find themselves mistaken in their calcula- 
tions, what does it signify to them 1 They will re- 
cant, and that is all ! Oh ! I renounce altogether for 
the future the whole of these alliances and their 
commands, even if they were of all Europe!" 
Louis XI v., who, with all his weakness and sdl his 
tyranny, was considered as\a sort of deity in the 
eyes of the humble disciples of legitimacy, was also 
a "jealous god," and devoutly did all his servants 
keep his comonandment, "Thou shalt have none 
other gods but me !*' Most studiously did the French 
official gazettes avoid the name of Sobieski; but 
glory like Iris cannot be " hidden under a bushel." 
While they attempted to decrease the honour of the 
victory, by ascribing it to a panic of the Turks, they 
own that this terror arose from their hearing the king 
was there in person. " Such," says Salvandy, " was 
the petty war of the French politicians against John 
Sobieski. This is a strange way of depressing his 
glory. Flattery, with ail its invention, would in vain 
strive to equal this compliment." 

How different was the spirit of the letter written 
to Sobieski by Christina, the notorious ex-queen of 
' Sweden, then resident at Rome ! " I am tormented 
with the passion of envy; a trouble which is the less 
tolerable, as it is new to me. I never envied any of 
nay contemporaries till to-day. Your majesty alone is 
an object of envy to me, and teaches me that I am 
subject to that feeling of which I thought myself 
entirely incapable." 


Pope Innocent IL, who was too insignificant to 
excite the envy either of Louis or Leopold, wa»made 
the hero of the grand day of Vienna. To his prayers 
and money the two monarchs attributed the glorious 
victory. Leopold, as if to inflict on himself the bit- 
terest irony, caused medals to be struck of himself, 
with arms in his hand, saving the empire. He also 
ordered a statue to be erected to the pope, the libe- 
rator of Christianity. The silly old man absolutely 
ordered a grand triumphal procession, in which ban- 
ners were exhibited, bearing the portraits of himself 
and the emperor. 

Glory was the only advantage the Poles obtained 
by this memorable campaign. Sobieski wrung the 
title of Majesty, as above mentioned, from Leopold, 
and received the unwilling compliments of most of 
the European princes. Poland gained the alteration 
of the title inclyta restmbliea to serenimma, and 
thus were Sobieski and his kingdom rewarded for 
saving Austria , and Eastern Europe, by two empty 
titles. The king!s thanks were really affront, inso- 
lence, and breach of promise ; and Poland saved a 
serpent from death which afterward turned and 
stung her for the kipdness.* 

But these were not the only ill consequences &£ 
this glorious expedition, as we shall see in the course 
of the history. The victory was indeed one of those 
grand convulsions in the polity of Europe which are 
felt for ages. Frpm the famous 12th of. September, 
the Turks never gained an inch of ground. The 
effects it had on Poland were very different from 
what might be at first anticipated. '^ This famous 
deliverance of invaded Germany," says one who 
thought long and deeply on the subject,t '* became a 
continual source of troubles : not only had it given 

* Some striking comments on Sobieski's policy, or rather impolicy, to- 
wards the court of Vienna, may be seen in Shedvandy's Histoire de Po> 
logne avant et sous leRc^ Jean Sobieski, torn. iiL p. 276. 

t Rulhi^re, torn. i. p. 03. 


rise to a war which the republic was not in a state to 
carry on, but it also produced an alliance which 
eyentually became more fatal than the war itself/* 
The truth of this will be soon seen. 

The king attempted in the following year, 1684, 
to make a more profitable campaign. Kamieniec* 
Podolski had long been a bone of contention to the 
Poles and Turks, and was so still. The latter people 
had been its masters some years, as there has been 
occasion to mention before in the course of this his- 
tory. It stands in the south of Podolia, on the craggy 
banks which form, as it were, the joints of the Dnies- 
ter and one of its tributary streams. It was from its 
strength and situation a place of great importance to 
the Poles ; but S^bieski contented himself with erect- 
ing a small fort at three miles' distance from it, and 
returned to enjoy the sweets of peace. 

He now rather incurred the displeasure of his sub- 
jects by taking a Jesuit of the name of Vota into his 
familiarity ; and though it cannot be supposed from 
John's treatment of that order it was from any par- 
tiality to the intriguing society, he allowed him in 
conjunction with the queen tO attain great influence 
over him. Vota was a man of the world, weU in- 
formed, and a much more' agreeable companion than 
Sobieski was accustomed to meet at his court in that 
age of limited information. This preference gave 
great umbrage to the Poles, and was probably the 
cause of much opposition which John now met with. 
They expressed their displeasure in every possible 
way, and, among others, by a caricature of a long 
procession drawn up by a Jesuit beating time with 
ihe king and two other Jesuits, who were holding a 
music-lx)ok, to which he seemed to pay great atten- 
tion. This silly burlesque nettled Sobieski extremely, 
— ^but an opposition of a more substantial nature was 
now preparing for him. 

This great king imagined that his privileges ought 
to be somewhat extended by reason of his talents, 



and occasionally took the liberty of oversteppingr the 
laws ; but this could not be allowed by a people so 
devoted even to the shadow of liberty, and it gave 
rise to frequent contention. In one instance the king 
convened the diet at Warsaw in February, 1685, 
although the law appointed it to meet that year at 
Grodno in Lithuania. The Lithuanians, however, paid 
110 regard to his summons, and held a separate diet 
in their own province, while the Poles assembled at 
Warsaw. Sobieski was obliged to temporize, and 
adopted an expedient, with the consent of the non- 
contents to hold the diet in Poland as a subordmate 

But he was again called to order in this very as- 
sembly. He had illegally disposed of the office of 
grand-chancellor of Lithuania without announcing 
it to the diet, and the Lithuanians were much nettled 
at this stretch of prerogative. Pa9, a senator, and 
who had expected to succeed to the vacant post, was 
so vehement in his complaints, that Sobieski, for- 
getting every thing in his rage, laid his hand on his 
sword, and half-drawing it, exclaimed, <'Do not 
oblige me to make you feel the weight of my arm.** 
Pa9 was not to be daunted by this gesture or ebul- 
lition of rage, and imitating the threatening action, 
retoited, '' Remember, that when we were equals^ou 
knew by experience how capable I am of dealing with 
you in that way." This was in allusion to a duel 
which they had fought in their youth. It must have 
been a humiliating admonition to John SobieskL 
Nor was this the only fracas of the kind that oc- 
curred this session, for the queen, who was perpetu- 
ally intriguing in this way, made her husband the 
constant butt of his nobles. 

John was no doubt glad of an opportunity to es- 
cape from this scene of vexatious wrangling. Peace 
was to him no peace ; in the camp be had thousands 
at command, whereas in his own palace he could 
scarcely give his orders to a menial without asking 

I WAK Wn^H T17BKBY. 115 

leftve from the diet ; on the field of battle he was an 
absohite lord and the admiration of all, but in his 
council the most illiterate and vulgar of the *' plebeian 
nobility'' was his superior, could ridicule his policy, 
and cross all his designs. He therefore renewed the 
war against the Turks for the recoyery of Kami^niec. 
But the first campaign passed, and the crescent still 
waved on the walls of the town. 

Mahomet now offered, on condition that Sobieski 
would secede from the league, to restore Kami6niec 
and defray the expenses of the war. As the recovery 
of this place was the only ostensible cause of ihib war, 
had justice and policy guided the councils of the Po« 
lish king, he would have accepted the offer ; but the 
artifices of his wife and the Jesuit Vota, backed by 
the hopes that Leopold held out of making Walachia 
and Moldavia hereditary sovereignties in the Sobieski 
family, overbalanced the king's solicitude for the in- 
terest of his people, and he rejected the proffered 
restitution. This unfortunate and interested deter- 
mination was, probably, one of the chief causes that 
led the way to the destruction of Poland, .as it ulti- 
mately obliged John to enter into an allumce with 

The war went on, and the several conflicts of this 
campaign were a series of studies which taught Prince 
Eugene, then abbot of Savoy, the art of war. They 
were, however, ot no advantage to Poland. The 
only interesting occurrence was the king's halt at 
the biuying-place and fatal battle-field of his great an- 
cestor Zolkiewski. What must have been his feel- 
ings when he gazed on the pyramid that covered his 
bones, and read one of the inscriptions, ** L^im of me, 
how sweet and how honourable it is to die for one's 
country !" 

After this excursion, or rather military tour, So- 
bieski retired to Leopol, the capital of Gallicia, where 
the Russian enyoys were awaiting him. In this year, 
168a» on the 6Ui of May* he conduded a treaty with 


the czar, by which he confirmed the alienation from 
Poland of Smolensko, Czemi6chow, Kiow, and Se- 
yeria.* The king had not the permission of the 
diet to do so, although it was required by law ; .but 
he was paid down one million of money, and prom- 
ised a further remittance, — an irresistible offer to 
Sobieski. The ambassadors were in high credit with 
the, queen, and she most probably exerted her influ- 
ence also on the occasion. This disgraceful treaty, 
which will ever be a damning blot on Sobieski's 
character, 3ielded to the Russians the finest part of 
the Ukraine and the beautiful cities watered by the 


When the diet assembled in the year 1688, great 
complaints were made of the intrigues of the king 
and his wife to get their son James nominated suc- 
cessor to the crown; but the queen had provided 
against this and other demurs which were to be ex- 
pected, by engaging Dombrowski, one of her parti- 
sans, to dissolve the meeting by his veto. This was 
done without the king's knowledge; and he convened 
a senatorial assembly, or the upper house, to debate 
on the emergencies of state. But the discussion took 
a, very different course from what he. wished: the 
senators inveighed most bitterly against the queen's 
intrigues and the interested policy of the king, and 
called him ^^an in/ringer of the laws, an oppressor of 
the people, and an enemy to his covntry,** This was 
strong language, but too much like the truth; and 
Sobieski was glad to dissolve the meeting. 

* Thefie, it will be remembered, had been only pnyrisioaftUy ceded 
by John Casimir in 1667. 

t Thifl scandalous breach of privilege did not go nnnocioed by th& 
Poles, bnt " in vain did the nobility reject such a shamefUl treaty, and 
wish to investigate the business with severity. The diet which followed 
having been broken, a year was lost ; and when in a subsequent year 
another diet wishe<l to enter into the inquiry, death had carried off Uw 
two statesmen whose in rormations they were to take. The republic, dis- 
owning this treaty, never named any commissioner to regulate tiw 
ancient limits ; and until latter days they have remained undetemunad, 
a continual subject of dispute between the two people, which dates.lts 
crifln from this treaty of perpetual feace/'^Rulkiire, torn. *. p. tt 



Nor did his subjects without the Walls of the 
senate-house couch their sentiments in more dis- 
^ised language. A clergyman was preaching before 
the Queen on confession, and had the boldness to use 
the foUowing language : ^ Kings confess only small 
sins, and say nothing of great; it is well known 
there is a prince in the world who thinks it no crime 
to sell offices of state, and to sacrifice his country 
to his blind complaisance for a wife.^ Surely Po- 
land must have been the head-quarters of candour. 

Another diet was convened in the following year, 
and the deputies were as refractory as before. They 
reproached him with the treaty of 1686, and debated 
whether they should retract it. Raphael Leszczyn- 
ski,* palatine of Posnania, made very severe remarks 
on the queen. " She is exalted,** said he, •• above 
the rest of her sex in spirit and abilities ; but a mere 
woman in intrigue and artifice,** &e. Another sena* 
tor addressed the king, *' Either cease to reign at all, 
or reign with justice.** This was the Bishop of 
Culm, whom Sobieski ordered to apologize ; but he 
refused, and was supported by his brother senators.- 
John threatened to abdicate, but soon forgot to put 
his threat into execution. 

It was on one of these occasions that the great 
man, enraged at the petty annoyance of factions, 
burst forth in this eloquent appeal : ** It is tnie they 
have told me there was a remedy for the troubles of 
the republic; — that the king should not divorce 
liberty, but re-establish it. * • • Has he then vio- 
lated it 1 Senators, this holy liberty in which T was 
bom, and in which I grew up, rests on the faith of 
my oaths, and I am not a perjurer. I have devoted 
my life to it ; from my youth, the blood of all my 
family has taught me to found my glory on this de- 
votion. Let him who doubts it go visit the tombs 
of my ancestors; let him follow the path to immor* 

• Ha was the filthy of the fbtureldag StanltUub 


talit^ which they have shown to roe. He will find, 
by the traces of their blood, the road to the country 
of the Tartars, and the deserts of Walachia. He 
will hear issuin? from the bosom of the earth, and 
beneath the cold marble, voices which cry, Let than 
learn Jrom me how honourable and sweet it is to die 
for our country! I could invoke the memory of my 
father, the glory he had, of being called four times 
to preside in the assemblies in this sanctuary of our 
laws, and the name of buckler of liberty which he 
deserved. * * * Believe me, all this tribunitial elo- 
quence would be better employed against those who, 
by their factions, invoke upon our country that ciy 
of the prophet which I seem, alas ! already to hear 
resounding over our heads : ' Yet forty days, and 
Nineveh shall be destroyed !' " 

The most remarkable circumstance that occurred 
in this session was the trial of Lysinski, a Lithuanian 
nobleman, for atheism. He was, in fact, a religious 
and benevolent man, but sufficiently intelligent to 
ridicule some of the current superstitions. He was 
unfortunately rich, and that was the principal wit- 
ness against him. The ground of accusation was a 
note which he had made on a book written by a stupid 
German, to prove the existence of a Deity. The 
reasoning was inconclusive ; which Lysinski observ- 
ing, wrote on the margin, ergo non est Deus, He 
was tried by some bigoted Catholic bishops, and 
found guilty, *' not only of having denied the exist- 
ence of a God, but the doctrine of the Trinity, and 
the divine maternity of the Virgin Mary." 

Zaluski was one of those villains who were con- 
cerned in the torment, an office which even the most 
degraded systems of theology have allotted to devils. 
We will let him condemn himself out of his pwn 
mouth. " The convict was led to the scaffold," he 
says, ^' where the exeputioner first, with a red*hot 
iron, tore his tongue and his mouth, with which he 
had been crud towards God; then they burnt his 


hands, instruinents of the abominable production, at 
a slow fire. The sacrilegious paper was thrown 
into the flames, — ^himself last : that monster of the 
age, that deicide, was cast into the flames of expia- 
tion, if sueh a crime could be atoned !" To prevent 
his escape, they even violated one of the laws, that 
no nobleman is to be apprehended till convicted. 
Th^ king did hot interfere to stop the hellish execu- 
tion, but allowed the annals of Poland, till that time 
so free from the disgrace of persecution, to be now 
sallied. Even the pope discountenanced the inhu- 
man and unjust cruelty. 

Nor were the reproaches of bis diet the only vex- 
ations John had to endure ; his sons, imitating the 
intrigues of their father, gave him perpetual uneasi- 
ness. ** It will be easier for me," said he, when 
setting out for his last campaign in 1691, ^ to get 
the better of the enemy I am going in quest of than 
of my own sons." This was the last time he un- 
sheathed the sword, and it was again to no purpose. 
He was now sixty-one years old, and two-thirds of 
that time had been spent in *' the tented field." His 
health was broken with vexation, and his frame 
shattered with his wounds. 

Sobieski had outlived his glory; he was now 
nothing but a sick dotard, nursed and managed by 
hi^ wife. She was. continually rendering her hus- 
band and herself more and more obnoxious to the 
people. She intrusted the care of the king's health 
to a Jesuit, a physician of the name of Jonas, and 
engaged another of the same persuasion to farm his 
estates. The latter, whose name was Bethsal, 
besides extorting great sums from the Poles, had 
the audacity to enter into a traffic of offices with the 
Queen's connivance. This excited the greatest in-* 
dignation ; and a petty war of brochures and carica- 
tures was begun to the great annoyance of the 
government. One of the pictures represented a 
loreign negotiator counting out money to Bethsal, 


who vas examining it Tery carefdly ; &e king com« 
^eted the group, and was busied in secreting a por* 
tion of the treasure )n the corner of his robe. In 
another orint, John appeared feeble and childish, sit* 
ting on the lap of a young woman, and suckled by 
an old one. He seemed to be i^uinking under the 
weight of many crowns, which were, however, made 
to appear tamishedi and stripped of their ornaments. 

But the public did not content themselves with 
these harmless attacks; frequent attempts wete 
made to assassinate the hated publican, which he 
frustrated by having in pay a guard of thirty Polish 
iioUes. His time came at last; he was disgraced, 
and died in poverty. 

Under such a government every thing was iast 
verging to decay; the diets were no sooner assembled 
than dissolved, that Truth might not be allowed a 
hearing; riots and fights were substituted for debate; 
the soldiers were clamouring for their arrears, and 
levying contributions on the people. The generals 
set at defiance all authority, and were engaged only 
in their own aggrandizement. *' All the departments 
of government which require strict superintendence, 
such as the command of the troops and the manage* 
ment of the revenue, intrusted to generals and minis* 
ters independent of all authority but that of the diet, 
were without control.*** Happily for Sobieski, he 
was not doomed to witness the consequences of this 
villanoHs administration; death came kindly and 
laid low his gray locks with their withered laurels^ 
before the nde hand of rebellion had succeeded in 
tearing them from his brow. 

The 17th of June, 1696, was his last day of trouble. 
He revived for a few moments from his insensibility 
only to regret that he was alive again. ^ I was then 
well," said he ; a sad confession of misguided hero- 
ism, sfiete renown, and disappointed anroition I 

* RoUil^ 


When the mighty is fallen, the most low and dam 
tardly will stride over his body to see " where his 
great strength lay,^ and descant on his weakness. 

** 'i>iXoi ii ws^Saaftov vhs *Axai0y> 

pT KoiJdti^aavTO 0t)i)v xai ados iyvriv 
tiKTopof ifhS* ipa ot rii ivovrtjtt ye itapiarTiJ* 

The vulture will feed on the dead lion, and the car- 
rion crow will peck at the stranded whale. The 
corpse of Sobieski furnishes the same treat for those 
birds of prey, the petty critic and the musty moral- 
ist. But Fame puts her finger on her lips as she 
points to the death-bed of John Sobieski. Those 
tattered Turkish banners, as they sprinkle their dust 
on the cold corpse of the hero beneath, awaken more 
thought and solemn reflection in one glance, than 
the tongue could exhaust in hours. 

In his person, says his physician,* " he was a tall 
and corpulent prince, large-faced, and full-eved, and 
went always in the same dress" with his suDJect8.''t 
His character is portrayed in his political career, and 
his actions speak for themselves. In war he was a 
lion, but in peace he was the plaything of others. 
Had he lived in the age of barbarous heroism, he 
would have been a Hercules bending before an Om- 

Glorious as the reign 6f Sobieski had been in 
many particulars, it has had a most pernicious effect 
on the destiny of Poland. This is fully exemplified 
in the preceding pages, and the melancholy truth 
-will but too often present itself to the thinking mind 

* Connor. 

t " The king was a well-spoken jirinee, of very easy access, and 
extremely eivU, and had most of the good qnalities requisite in a gentle- 
fiwn ; he was not only well versed In military affkirs, bat likewise in 
all polite and scbolastic learning ; besides bis own tongue, tbe Sdavo* 
fiian, be mideretood the Latin, French, Italian^ German, and Tnrkish 
lAOgnages; be delighted much in natural philosophy, stid in all parts 
of pbysic ; he used to reprimand the clergy for not admitting in the 
imiversities and schools the modem philosophy : he loved tohear per^ 
dSscourse of these matten.''-<Coiifior, let (▼ 



in the subsequent narrative. Similar reoarks ar« 
applicable to the state of learnings in this period 
More books, perhaps, were printed now than in ttu 
two preceding reigns, and there were more literarj 
names ; but it was aU the conventual learning of the 
Jesuits. Sobieski himself was a patron of learnings, 
and many are found who extol his talents and spirit 
of inquiry; but his. philosophical conversations, 
which they adduce in proo(^* aca evidences indeed 
of his love of knowledge, but neither of a very free- 
thinking nor free-spirited mind. It would scarcely 
be going too far, perhaps, to say that this would also 
give a tolerably just estimate of the literary and sci- 
entific character of the whole of the Polish nation 
under his administration. 


' ingnatna IT., Elector of Saxony, raisee himself to tbe Thron^^De- 
talna hia Saxon Troopa in Poland^-Makea Peace with Tvriiey>-At- 
tempta to anise Livonia— Forma an Alliance with Peter the Great of 
Raaaia— Defeated by Charlea XII. of Sweden— Dethroned by Charles 
XII.— Stanislaa raiaed to the Throne— Anguatmi reaumea the Crown, 
and ia again depoaed— Charlea defleated at Paliowa— Augustoa reaa- 
oenda the Throne— Charlea XH. Prisoner in Turkey— Retoma to 
Sweden— Attempt to aaaaaainate Stanialas— Death of Chariev— Op* 
preaaion of the Proleatanta— Death of Aufiiataa. 

Sobieski and his intrigues, so long a stumbling- 
block of offence in the eyes of the Poles, were no 
more ; but the rancour and vehemence of contention 
still survived. A people in this dissentient state of -i 
feeling were not likely to be calm, impartial adjudi- I 
cators. While the most powerful Polish and foreign 
interests were nullifying each other by opposition, a 
noble of inferior rank and influence started a new 

* One of these metaphyaioal diaciiasiona ia girea by Cttyior 


candidate, and carried his point. This was no other 
than John Przependowski, Castellan of Culm, who 
had first united with the Prince of Conti, one of the 
most popular of the candidates for the Polish crown. 
But be wished to derive some profit from his vote,* 
and finding the prince's finances exhausted, he looked 
round the different courts for another patron. He 
yvsLS bold and born fojr intrigue, and therefore well 
adapted for his present purpose. He had married the 
daughter of General Flemming, who was then in high 
favour with Frederic Augustus, Elector of Saxony, 
and afterward his prime minister. This connexion 
brought him in contact with the elector, whom he 
found just suited for his design. Augustus was a 
young, wealthy, ambitious monarch : ** No prince 
was ever more generous," says Voltaire, "gave 
more, or accompanied his gifts with so much grace.** 
His religion, professedly the Lutheran, stood in the 
way ; but there is something ithat will remove more 
mountains than faith, and it was opportunely remem-> 
bered that the young elector had recanted the re- 
formed belief two years before, during a sojourn at 
Rome, and he was now as good a Catholic as the 
Poles or the pacta conventa could require. 

Money purchased Augustus jdenty of votes, but as 
he was late in the field, there were some too firmly 
cngaffeS by the Prince of Conti to be decently trans- 
ferred. The consequence was, that on the 27th of 
June, 1697, both were elected by their different par- 
tisans, the archbishop declaring Conti king, and the 
bishop of Kuiavia Augustus. But notwithstanding 
the informality of the latter election, nothing was to 
be said to the 10,000 Saxons, with whom he came to 
take possession of his kingdom ; he was acknow- 
ledged king, and the Prince of Conti sailed back to 
Frsuice unanointed. 

* See Hist dee BeTolutloDs de Fologne, pu M. PAb1>d Fontataeti 
torn. U. p. 138. 


But Augustus had not yet been crowned, a cere- 
mony essentially requisite to invest him with fiill 
authority ; and he was anxious that it should take 
place. There was some difficulty even in this; 
all the regalia were locked up in the treasury at 
Cracow in the keeping of officers in Conti's in- 
terest. The law forbade breaking open the doors^ 
but the Saxons *' laughed at locksmiths*' and broke 
down the wall. It was also necessary that the arch- 
bishop should perform the ceremony, but he also 
was in the other interest; the diocess was therefore 
declared' vacant, and newly filled. There was still 
another impediment ; — the funeral of the late king 
ought to precede the inauguration, and the corpse 
was in the hands of Conti^s party at Warsaw ; but 
the Saxons substituted an effigy, and the coronation 
was solemnized, and the elector proclaimed king 
under the title of Augustus II.* It was observed 
that the king fainted during the formalities, as if 
his heart failed him at the thoughts of the charge he 
was taking on himself. 

This forced election was the first of the disgrace- 
ful series of events which laid the yoke on the necks 
of the Poles, and at last rendered them mere bonds- 
men. Since this period Poland has always received 
her kings under the compulsion of foreign arms.! 
The czar and the King of Sweden even offered to 
support the present election; but Augustus found 
that he and his Saxons were sufficiently strong to 
fight their own battles. 

The pacta eonvmta required Augustus to dismiss 
his own troops; but he was too prudent to trust 
himself to subjects who were not yet reconciled to 
his *' usurpation," and looked about for a pretext to 
retain them. This was readily found ; he emploved 
them against the Turks, and the Poles were satisfied* 

*ThB fint AngwtQi ww StiflpaHwd Angwtut, 


But this war was ended by the *;- ^^^ designs, a German 
in January, 1699, and the king wasobiffe, ^,v^^,t«| -.ru;. Vo^^- 
another occupation. This also too soon presented 
itself. Sweden was now under the government of 
a miuoryt smd as Poland had long looked with a 
ingering eye on Livonia, which had been ceded 
by the treaty of Oliva, in John Casimii^s time, he 
thought it would be a favourable Juncture to at- 
tempt its recovery ; and the service of the Saxons 
in that undertaking would make the Poles forgive 
their intrusion. He attempted it entirely at his own 
risk, without the concurrence of the Poles, and in 
fact in direct opposition to some of their representa- 
tions. The bishop who had crowned him told the 
king, ^' his attack on Sweden was a gross violation 
of the rights of nations and of equity, which the 
Almighty would not fail to punish ;*' a judgment, 
says the historian, which seems to be dictated by 
the spirit of divination. 

His first attempt was not so successful as he had 
anticipated, and he engaged Peter the Great, Czar of ^ 

Russia, to assist him. Peter entered very willingly 
into the plan ; he wished to found a port on the east 
of the Baltic ; Jngria, the north-east part of Livonia, 
seemed just adapted for it, and he thought it would 
pay him very well for his share of the. enterprise. 
The meeting took place on the 26th of February, 
1701 at Birze,| a small town in the palatinate of 
Wilna in Lithuania. But the monarcks did not 
devote the time solely to business ; drunkenness and 
debauchery seemed a fit preparative for such in- ^ 

iquitous treaties. For fifteen days Peter the Great, 
the clvilizer of Russia,^ and Augustus were in a con- 
tinued state of intoxication. The contract was 

* By tbis treaty tbe Poles regained Kaml^mec, bat gave up thdr en- 
^Eoaehment In Moldavia, &e. 

t Charles xn., then not eighteen. 

t Commonly known by the name of Birzen. 

% ** Tbe czar," says Voltaire, ** wbo oonld reflnm bla nation, oonld 
Mver correct In binuielf his dangerous prop«Hifllty to debaocbery." 


IS4 HXflTORT OP yOI^j^j^ 

But Augustus had not^-^j^h asecne; an unjust _„.. 

monj^Msentt^l;!^ Jffiousands of their hushands, fathers, 

brothers, and sons, was made the freak of a drunken 


But Charles, the young Swedish monarch, althougfa 
only eighteen, was not to be made the tame Yictim 
of such flagrant injustice. He was apprized of theii 
designs, and chose to anticipate them. He had 
routed the Russians at Narva in the preceding year, 
and made even Moscow tremble. But Justice fougrht 
for him, and his soldiers were animated by the ex- 
ample of their youthful hero. These were the troops 
whom the Russian savages called ^ terrible, insolenit, 
enraged, dreadful, untameable destroyers."* He 
then marched against the Saxons in Livonia, and 
came up to them on the banks of the Dwina. The 
river was very wide at the spot and difficult to pass, 
but Charles was never to be daunted. He caused 
large boats to be prepared with high bulwarks to pro- 
tect the men, and observing that the wind was in the 
enemy's face, lit large fires of wet straw, and the 
smoke spreading along the banks of the river, con- 
cealed his operations from the Saxons. He directed 
the passage himself, which was effected in a qusuler 
of an hour, and he was much mortified at being only 
the fourth to land. He rallied his troops and routed 
the Saxons. He did not stop till he arrived at Birze, 
the town where Augustus and the czar had {banned 
the expedition. He felt, he owned, a satisfaction at 
entering Bii-ze as a conqueror, where the leagued 
monarchs had conspired his ruin some few months 

What a different scene was the court of the water- 
drinker Charles from that which the drunken Peter 
had held here ! and the difference did not pass unno- 
ticed. As the young warrior was sitting in this place 
one day at table, observing his usual sobriety, and 

* flee Um pnUio jirayer wed by the Rofsiaiu after UiBir deltaL— 


apparently buried in his g^rand desifl^ns, a German 
colonel, who wa.s in waiting, remarked in his hearing, 
that the feasts which the czar and Augustus ha^ 
made here were very unlike his majesty's. ** Yes,** 
said the king, starting up, *^ and I shall make them 
digest them less easily." From that moment the 
dethronement of Augustus was fixed. 

The news of Charles's approach was nearly as 
a^eeable to most of the Poles as it was terrible to 
Augustus; they considered him as their champion 
against the tyrannical and intruding Saxons. The 
primate wrote to the Swedish king, assuring him of 
this feeling; and Charles expressed himself as the 
friend of Poland, although the enemy of their sove- 
reign. Augustus was aware of this, and disfnissed 
the Saxon troops, to regain the favour of his subjects. 
This step had the desired effect for a time: the 
primate, traitor as he was to both* parties at heart, 
pretended to rouse the king's awakening popularity 
which he could not check ; and the people were so 
gratified by the concession, that most of the influ- 
ential palatines swore to defend their sovereign to the 
death. This adherence to their falling monarch was 
daily increasing, when unfortmiate dissensions in 
Lithuania once more severed ib.e bond of union. 
That province had been divided into two contending 
factions ever since the death of Sobieski; and party- 
spirit had run so high that the contest became quite 
a civil war. The family of Sapieha, the great 
general of Lithuania, and that of Oginski, the great 
standard-bearer, were the leading interests. As 
long as the Saxons remained in Lithuania, Sapieha 
was protected from the violence of Oginski, who was 
backed by most of the nobility ; but after their de- 
parture, he and his adherents were left exposed, so 
that their only alternative was to make the Swedes 
their protectors. Under these circumstances Au- 
j^stus could offer but little opposition lo Charles, and 
;a deputation was sent to the Swedish monarch, with 


proposals for peace. " I will make peace at War- 
saw," was the young but firm warrior's answer; and 
at the same time he added, that he came to make war 
on Augustus the usurper, and his Saxons, and not 
against tbe Poles. 

Augustus now saw the tide was against him, 
and despaired of gaining his point by direct sailing; 
he therefore tried another tack. He felt the inutility 
of ministerial persuasion on the Swedish monarch ; 
but Charles was young, and youth, he thought, might 
listen to the wiles of beauty, although it turned a 
deaf ear to the arguments of bearded lips. The 
Countess of Konigsmark* seemed eminently quali- 
fied to try the experiment of laying siege to the 
inflexible warrior's heart. She was beautiful, 
talented, and witty, mistress of foreign languages, 
and well skilled in the tact of conversation. She 
was, besides, of Swedish birth, had considerable 
estates in Sweden, and was familiar with that court ; 
80 that she seemed to have a claim on the entree to 
Charles's audience-chamber. She accordingly re- 
paired to the enemy's camp in Lithuania ; but had the 
mortification to find that all her beauty and accom- 

Elishments were lost on the Swedish monarch, for 
e obstinately refused to see her. She waylaid him, 
pursued him, dodged him in his rides, but the rough 
Adonis still escaped from his artful Venus. At 
length, one day, she plotted so well that she pounced 
upon him in a narrow lane, and was at his feet before 
he was aware of it : the insensible king saluted her 
without speaking a word, turned his horse's head, 
and was out of sight in an instant. 

His last and most sanguine hope being blighted, 
Augustus felt that all was lost, and that his kingdom 
had departed from him. But he yet fought up against 
fortune: he had privately recalled his Saxons, and 
then assembling all the troops he could, mustered 

* She vnm one of the mistresses of Augustus, and mother of Marshd 


nearly 34,000 men* Augustus now found himself in 
that perplexing dilemma in which a|l kings who 
thru&t themselves upon a people by force are always 
at some period deservedly placed. The Poles, at 
best only lukewarm in his cause, were converted into 
ardent enemies by this recall of the Saxons. While 
Augustus was engaged in marching from palatinate 
to palatinate, to canvass his partisans, Charles 
pushed on unopposed to Warsaw, which capitulated 
on the first summons, on the 6th of May, 1703. Au- 
gustus, however, marshalled his troops in the plain 
of Klissow, and waited for the arrival of the Swedes 
to %ht for his crown. £ven now his army doubled 
that of Charles ; but the Poles, who composed the 
greater part of it, did not engage willingly. Au- 
gustus indeed fought bravely; but in vain did he rally 
Bis .troops : three times they again recoiled. Fortune 
still frowned on the Polish monarch, and he fled 
towards Cracow. An accident favoured his escape, 
and prolonged the struggle : — Charles had a fall from 
his horse as he was pursuing him, and was detained 
in bed six weeks on his march. Augustus made 
good use of this respite, reassembled his troops, and 
prepared for another battle; but discontent and rebel- 
lion thinned his ranks: the Poles dreaded further 
opposition to the formidable invader, and began to 
fall into his will, in consenting to raise to the throne 
James Sobieski, the eldest son of their late monarch. 
Against such numerous enemies, no resistance could 
be offered: protraction of the war -was useless, 
for difficulties only stimulated the Swedish hero. 
** Should X have to stay here fifty years," said he, 
^' I will not go till I have dethroned the King of 
Poland." Augustus therefore fed to Saxony, taking 
however the precaution to secure the persons of 
James Sobieski and his brother Constantine. 

The throne being thus vacated, it only remained 
ibr Charles to fiU it; but he was for some time unde» 
t^miiaed who flM>uld be the chosen person* 


counsellorB advised him to step into it himself; but 
fate, tathe shape of military glory, diverted him from 
that design. ,He first fixed on Alexander, Sobieski's 
third son. He, however, only wished for the enlarge- 
ment of his brothers, and to revenge them, having 
none of the lihidinem dominandi; and it was in vain 
tiiat the King of Sweden and the nobles entreatea 
him to change his mind ; he was immoveable. The 
neighbouring princes, says Voltaire, knew not whom 
to admire most, the King of Sweden, who at the age 
of twenty-two years gave away the crown of Poland, 
or the Prince Alexander, who refused it. 

But kingdoms do not long go begging; and all 
men are not so disinterested as Alexander Sobieski. 
When Charles told young Stanislas Leszczynski, the 
Polish deputy, that the republic could not be de- 
livered from its troubles witnout an election ; — ^ But 
whom can we elect," said Stanislas, " now James 
and Constantine Sobieski are captives ?" The king 
looked with an eye of scrutiny at his interrogator, 
and thought to himself, " Thou art the man !" He, 
however, deferred that answer until he had further 
examined his young proteg^. 

Stanislas was descended from an illustrious Polish 
family ; his father was crown- treasurer and Palatine 
of Posnania, to which latter office his son succeeded. 
He added to innate talent the polish of education, 
and commerce with society both at home and abroad. 
"Stanislas Leszczynski,** said one of his contem- 
poraries, "the son of the grand-treasurer of the 
crown, is regarded among us as the honour of our 
country. A happy facility of manners makes him 
win his way to all hearts.*' He was courageous, 
and at the same time mild in his disposition, and had 
a very prepossessing appearance. In fact, Charles 
was so much struck with him, that he said aloud he 
had never seen a man so fit to conciliate all parties. 
He was also sufficiently hardy and inured to service 
to please the rough king in that respect ; and after 


the conference the Swedish monarch exclaimed^ 
"There is a man who shall always be my friend!" 
and Stanislas was King of Poland. 

But the formality of election was observed, al- 
though it was, in fact, nothing .but a ratification of 
Charles's choice. Many other candidates were also 
nominated ; and though Stanislas was the most popu- 
lar among them as well as the nominee of the lord 
of the ascendant, the primate, Radzielowski, objected 
to him, ostensibly on account of his youth. '* What 1** 
said Chailes. **He is too young,*' answered the 
primate. " He is not so young* as myself,"* replied 
the king, impatiently, and he sent the Swedish count, 
Horn, to Warsaw to enforce the election. Horn 
niet,iiowever, with some resistance from the inde- 
pendent Poles. " Are we assembled," said one of 
the nobles, ^ to act in concert for the ruin of Poland^ 
whose glory and safety depend wholly on the free- 
dom of the people and the liberty of the constitu- 
tion 1 Let our independence be our first care, then 
let us think of an election. Shall we call that 
revolution legitimate which springs from fear of 
being hewn down by the troops of armed foreigners 
who surround us, and insult the dignity of the republic 
with their presence 1" Several nobles, roused by 
this appeal, entered their protests, which, according 
to law, would check the election; but this trifling 
opposition was disregarded, the Swedes shouted, 
** Lbng live Stanislas Leszczynski, King of Poland !" 
and the election was registered. The constitution 
was certainly infringed by the Swedish influence* 
but Augustus was not a fit person to complain of 
unconstitutional acts. 

Stanislas was no sooner seated on the throne, and 
enjoying the honeymoon of royalty at Warsaw, 
than the alarm-bell sounded, and Augustus, with an 
army of 20,000 Saxons, was seen marching to-regaia 

* Cbarlea was twnity-two, and SUnialas twenty-feron 


his capitaL The city was nnfortified, and the new 
king; was oUiged to flee with his family to their 
protector, Charles. The work of dethronement was 
now to he all done over a?ain. The Swedish 
monarch had not lost any of his activity; he over- 
took Aug:ustus unexpectedly in Posnania, and a battle 
was fought at Punitz, on' the borders of Silesia* 
The Saxon army consisted almost entirely of foot, 
whereas the enemy were all cavalry. Augustas 
now first showed modem tacticians that it is not 
impossible for infantry to withstand the charge of 
cavalry. SchuUemburg directed the evolutions, and 
he was not unworthily supported by the king, although 
he had received Ave wounds. The Saxons found 
the utility of that military disposition which British 
generals have adopted in late wars, and on which 
they have so much prided themselves. They formed 
themselves into solid bodies, presenting on all sides 
a hedge of bayonets. The Swedish cavalry in vain 
attempted to break their ranks; the Saxons stood 
their ground till night-fall, although inferior in num« 
her, and made good their retreat. This was cer- 
tainly no contemptible specimen of the military 
talents of Augustus, although a great portion of the 
credit is of course to be given to the skill of 

The Saxon army retreated, and the Swedes fol- 
lowed and overtook them again on the banks of the 
Oder. Charles now imagined they must fall into 
his hands, as they were unprovided with pontoons 
or boats to effect the passage, but in this he was 
mistaken* SchuUemburg pas^ his whole army 
over during the night with a very trifling loss ; and 
Charles himself was obliged to own that " To-day 
SchuUemburg has the better of us.** 

Notwithstanding aU this display of courage and 
tactica, Augustus could not support his falling for* 
tune« and again withdrew to Saxony. Charles, tired 
of haTing to fight his battles over again so often in 


Poland, resolved to put an end to the Saxons' occa^* 
«ional excursions, by carrying the wax into their 
own country. Augustus now began to tremble ; the 
Sjwedish king could as easily appoint a new elector 
as a new king. To avoid these consequences he 
submitted to the conditions Charles imposed. These 
were, to resign all pretensions to the crown of Poland, 
to break off all treaties against Sweden, and to set at 
liberty the two Sobieskis. 

After these preliminaries were settled, Charles 
and the ex-king had an interview at a place called 
Guttersdorp, or Gutersdorf. The Swedish king was 
as usual in bis military uniform, a coarse blue coat 
with gilt buttons and jack-boots. The conversation, 
as may be imagined, was not very lively; they were 
not so friendly disposed to each other as to chat 
without reserve. Besides, Charles was no talker, 
and most probably his taciturnity was a cover for 
his want of information. The only subject he started 
for the amusement of Augustus was his jack-boots. 
These he gravely assured him had never been ojfF 
his legs for six years, except when he lay down. 
That men who can find nothing to talk about but 
jack-boots should rule the destinies of millions ! 

Bdt at length the Swedish monarch began a 
theme even more distasteful to Augustus than jack- 
boots* He required him to write Stanislas a letter 
of congratulation on his accession to the throne : this 
was, indeed, making the ex-king feel his debase*- 
ment. The letter ran as follows : 


*^ We have not considered it necessary to enter 
into a private correspondence with your majesty; 
nevertheless, to please his Swedish majesty, and that 
they may not charge us with any disinelination to 
satisfy bis wish, we congratulate you hereby on your 
accession to the<;rown, and hope that you will find 
IB your* country more faithful subjects than those we 



have left there. Everybody will do us the justice 
to believe that we have been paid by ingratitude for 
all our benefits, and that most of our subjects have 
only exerted themselves to hasten our ruin. We 
hope that you may not be exposed to like misfor- 
tunes, recommending you to God's protection. 

" Your brother and neighbour, 

•* Augustus, King." 

»< Dresden, April 8, 1707." 

To this Stanislas replied, — 

" Sire and Bbothkr, 
" Your majesty's communication is to me a fresh 
obUgation from the King of Sweden. I feel obliged 
for your congratulation on my ascent to the throne; 
I trust that my subjects will never have reason to be 
wanting ia their fidelity to me, as I shall observe the 
laws of the kingdom. 

" Stanislas, King of Poland." 

In the mean time Peter the Great was not idle; 
he felt much aggrieved that Augustus had capitu- 
lated without his knowledge ; but he forgave him on 
hearing how severely he was already punished by 
the hard conditions of the treaty. The Russians, 
under the command of Menzikoff, overran Poland in 
the absence of Charles and Augustus, who were in 
Saxony ; forming a rallying point for the adherents 
of the ex-king, and plundering the opposite party. In 
fact, Peter treated Poland more as a vanquished 
province than an allied state, ravaging, levying con- 
tributions, and carrying off all the valuables he could 
lay hands on. The news that Stanislas and Charies 
were returning from Saxony soon put a check to 
this injustice ana obliged him to retreat. 

As Charks'S army was on its march to Poland, it 
passed near Dresden, and the king, who was usually 
a few hundred steps in advance of his guard, was 
suddenly missed, and at the moment none could gi^s 


any account of him. Being so near the ex-king's 
residence, he formed a momentary resolution to pay 
him a passing visit. A horseman, accompanied by 
two or three officers, had passed the gates under the 
name of Carl, and hurrying to the psdace, presented 
Augustus with theunexpected apparition of his con- 
queror, Charles aII. of Sweden, with his coarse 
blue coat, gilt buttons, and jack-boots. He did not 
come, however, to make any further demands, but 
after paying his compliments, which were no doubt 
very sparing, ended his singular visit, and marched 
on against the Russians. 

The fate of Stanislas was so completely depend- 
ent on that of Charles, that the history of the latter 
is also the history of the former. The Swedish hero, 
leaving his proteg^ in Poland, pursued the czar, who 
had retired into Lithuania, although it was in the 
month of January, 1708. The result of this singular 
campaign forms one of fame's coonnonplaces : 

« dread Pnltowa's day, 

When fortune left tlie royal Swede," 

at once stripped Charles of the title of Invincible, 
the hard earnings of nine years' victories, drove him 
to seek an asylum in Turkey, and dragged Stanislas 
from the Polish throne. 

Augustus, on hearing this unexpected news, imme- 
diately returned to Poland, and resumed the diadem 
in spite of his oath.* The pope's dispensation sanc- 
tioned the perjury; Polish inconsistency favoured 
the new revolution ; and the victorious arms of Rus- 
sia confirmed all. Stanislas knew it was in vain to 
resist, and did not wish to shed blood in a useless 
struggle ; he therefore retired to Swedish Pomerania. 
He defended that province against the united Rus- 

* Tbe details of nil theae skignlar events may be seen in ** M^moire* 
■or les Oemieres Revolutions de la Polo^ne, par Prebendoftki. Rotter- 
dam, 1710,** and In the *< Histoire des Revolutions de Pologne, par At 
PAbM dea FoDtaiDes » 



sianSf Saxons, Poles, and Swedes, and Augusttw 
wished to pat an end to the contest. Stanislas 
agreed to abdicate, but Charles's consent was re- 
quired to satisfy the newly-raised king. The Swede« 
*' proud though in desolation," merely answered to 
all the persuasions, " If my friend will not be king, 
I can soon make another.'' Stanislas determined ta 
tiy what could be effected by a personal interview, 
and " risking more," says Voltaire, " to abdicate a 
throne than he had done to ascend it," undertook to 
travel in disguise through the midst of his enemies 
to Charles's retreat in Turkey. He stole one eve- 
ning from the Sweditih array which he commanded 
in Pomerania, and traversing the enemy's lines with 
a passport under the name of Haran, after many 
dangers reached Jassy, the capital of Moldavia. He 
here styled himself a major in Charles's service, not 
knowing that the king was at that time far from a 
good understanding with the Porte. On this hint 
the suspicions of the Turkish officer were awakened, 
who, being acquainted with the ex-king's person 
by description, saw through the disguise and arrested 

Among other questions which the Turk put to his 
prisoner was, what rank he had held in the Swedish 
service. " Major sum,''^ said Stanislas. •* Imo maxi-' 
mus «s," retorted the officer, confirmed in his con- 
jecture. He was thenceforth treated as a captive, 
though as a king, and the Porte ordered him to be 
conveyed to Bender at the very moment that Charies 
was removing to his temporary prison. 

" Tell him," exclaimed the inflexible Swede when 
he heard of his apprehension, '* never to make 
peace with Augustus ; assure him fortune will soon 
change !"* 

* ETen when Charles was confined at Adrianople be peratsted ob- 
■tinately in this opinion. In a letter which he wrote to Stanislas flwa 
that place, he says, ** We most not be intimidated by all that the eril 
dwlyning can oontiiTe to rain ns. I haTe that firm nUaniDe <a jov 



This prediction seemed about to be verified, 'when 
the Turksy stimulated by the intrigues of the Swedish 
monarch, took up arms against the Russians, and 
investing Peter on the banks of the Pruth, obliged 
him to make that famous capitulation in 1711. By 
this he was bound to withdraw all his troops from 
Poland, and never interfere in the affairs of that 
government ; besides which, Charles was to be en- 
sured an unmolested return to his own kingdom. 

Peter was, however, no sooner out of danger than 
he forgot his oath, and instead of withdrawing his 
troops from Poland^ reinforced them. In 1713, 
great complaints were made about this encroach- 
ment, and the czar pretended to countermand them, 
but still kept them on the confines of Lithuania. 

In 1714 Charles returned to Sweden, and at the 
same time Stanislas, resigning all preteiisions to Po- 
land, retired to the little dutchy of Deux-Ponts in 
Germany, which was presented to him by the King 
of Sweden, who possessed it by inheritance. He 
remained there till he was deprived of it by Charles's 

The return of the Swedish monarch was a pretext 
for retaining the Saxon troops in Poland. But even 
this excuse did not satisfy the justly discontented 
Poles; they avenged the insults and ravages of 
these intruders by the lives of many hundreds of 
them. This was the declaration of open war be- 
tween the king's troops and the confederated nobles. 
Augustus in vain opposed his infuriated subjects , 
and after his army had been almost annihilated, 
called upon the czar for assistance. This induced 
the confederates to negotiate ; and under the terror 
of a Russian army, peace was concluded between 

majesty's pradence, that yon will continue to defend our common inter* 
eats wiib the same courage and with the same constancy that you have 
done hitherto ; dnd that hy your gloriouR example, you will animate the 
Poles to do the same."— From the MS8. in the Library at Nancy. Ses 
CEavres cbcdaies de Stanislas, dec., par Hdme. de St. Oufa. 



the monarch and his people in 1717. It uras then 
agreed that the Saxons should leave the kmgdoni^ 
and this engagement was accordingly kept. At the 
same time -the Polish army was decreased to 18,000 
*iien, under the pretence of curbing the influence of 
he two grand-generals. This was a most pemi* 
eious step to the independence of Poland, as it ex- 
tended its defence almost entirely to the pospolitef 
who could never compete with the large standing 
armies which were now kept up by its neighbours. 
^ Imprudent nation ! which allowed itself to be dis* 
armed at the very moment when new dangers were 
about to threaten it ; which almost sc^ly intrusted 
its defence to the convocations of the pospolite, at a 
time when all the other nations of Europe had dis- 
covered the inutility and abandoned the use of that 
mode of protection."* 

In the mean time Peter had obtained all the Livo- 
nian territory he aimed at, and was willing to era- 
brace the schemes of the Swedish minister to enter 
into a treaty with Charles, to re-establish Stanislas, 
make a descent on EUigland, and in fact become the 
arbiter of Europe. The conferences were earned 
on with the greatest secrecy, but sufficient trans- 
pired to make Augustus tremble. His minister, 
Flamming (with or without his master's concur- 
rence is a question), employed some French mis- 
creants to carry oif Stanislas and bring him prisoner 
to Dresden. This he thought would be a bar to the 
inimical designs of the allies. The villains were 
discovered and taken before the ex-king as assas- 
sins, expecting summary punishment; but the be* 
neficent and philosophic Stanislas reproved them 
mildlv, ** What injury have I done you, my friends ?*• 
said he; "and if none, why should you a*tcmpt 
my life ? Were I to retaliate I should take away 
yours ; but I forgive you ; live and become better.^ 



This was acting up to his own aphorism, '^ We an 
amply revenged by having the power to pardon ;"• 
. and gives him a stronger claim to the title of '* be- 
neficent philosopher" than all his writings, were they 
a hundred times more voluminous. 

The Kiugof Poland publicly disclaimed all know- 
ledge of the plot, but we must leave his protestation 
to plead for itself. At that time it had the effect of 
shifting the onus of censure to Flemming's shoul- 
ders, and at any rate the minister was not un- 
justly scandalized. 

^The death of Charles, in 1718, broke the alliance, 
aiid averted the danger which threatened Augustus* 
Such waa the termination of the unjust attack on 
I^vonia : Peter was the only gainer, while the King 
oi Poland had been dethroned, plundered of his 
treasures in Saxony, and had only recovered his 
crown by breaking his oath, sacrificing his power 
and becoming almost a mere Russian viceroy. 

Poland now enjoyed for some years a state of 
comparative peace, but it seemed likely to be dis*- 
turbed, in 1726, by disputes about Courland; The 
dutchy had been held as a fief of the Poles ever since 
t 1561, under the express condition that when the 
^ line c^ succession was extinct it should revert to 
Poland. The diet held in this year (1736), taking 
into consideration the old age of the childish diike, 
who in fact no longer held the reins of government^ 
raving been deprived of them by Ann, who was the 
niece of Peter the Great, and had married the late 
duke, determined to annex it to the kingdom, and 
accordingly sent commissioners to divide it into 
palatinates. But this the Comianders stoutly re 
sisted, and elected Count Maurice, of Saxony (A&r- 
dial Saxe), natural son of Augustus, tlieir duke; an 
election that pleased' neither the Poles nor ihe Rus^- 

* Ou est bien veng^ jqnand on a le ponvoir de pardonner. Pens^e* 
IHToraes.--^ StanMtM " Woito itf a BRRMtfMiir Pbitoaop^^ 


sianfl, and was set aside, the dutchy remaining under 
the power of Russia till the death of Auffustus. 

The same diet held a debate on another singular 
event, which at the time threatened to be of some 
importance. Nearly two years before this time the 
Jesuits were making a public procession with the 
Host in the streets of Thorn, and some young scholar 
of the order insisted that the children who were 
present should kneel. This they refused to do, being 
Lutherans, as were most of the inhabitants of the 
ci^r, and a scuffle ensued. The offending Jesuit was 
taken into custody, and his order, highly incensed, 
imperatively demanded his release, which being re- 
fused, they attacked the citizens, and some blood was 
shed on both sides. The townspeople, enraged at 
this breach of their privileges, broke open the Jesuits* 
college, plundered it, profaned all the objects of wor- 
ship, and among others an image of the Virgin. The 
Catholics of Poland, fired at the profanation, im- 
mediately came to the diet almost infuriated with 
fanatic zeal. A commission was appointed with ab- 
solute power to examine into the business, and punish 
the impiety. It was in vain the Lutherans pleaded 
their grievances; the magistrates were capitally con- 
demned for not exerting their authority, seven other 
citizens suffered the same fate, and numbers were 
banished or imprisoned. Three persons, accused of 
throwing the Virgin's image into the fire, lost their 
right arms, and the whole city were deprived of the 
freedom of public worship.* 

The persecuted dissidents carried their complaints 
before all the Protestant princes ; and Prussia, Great 
Bri and Sweden interested themselves in their 
behalf. Augustus began to fear the intervention of 
force ; but the threat was vox et praterea nihilj and 
the poor Lutherans were left to digest their troubles 
with prayer and patience. 

axtlieoay'g Hiitory of Ancutiw O. 


The king spent the rest of his reign in attemptini^ 
to make tl^ crown hereditary, and to stretch its pre* 
rogatives. The 31st of January, 1733, ended his 
eventful life, and gave the Poles another opportunity 
to save their falling country. The biographer of 
Augustus makes his funeral oration a series of an- 
titheses, and seems to consider his character a sort of 
htsus natur€e, because it was a compound of many 
qualities. But he was like all other men in whose 
minds no one passion has established absolute mon- 
archy over the rest ; he rang the changes of pleasure 
and repentance, sense and folly, inaction and ex- 
ertion. He kept a sumptuous court ; and if the first 
part of his reign undermined the constitution of 
Foland, the latter part corrupted its morals. But 
notwithstanding his luxuries and extravagance, he 
amassed considerable wealth. It is said that he had 
coUeeted at Dresden* porcelain to the value of 
twenty-four millions. So fond was he of trumpery 
of this kind that he gave Frederic William of Prussia, 
one of his most dangerous neighbours, his finest regi- 
ment of dragoons in ei^cbange for twelve vases. He 
left his son twelve millions in his treasury, and an 
army of thirty-three thousand good troops^ to pur- 
chase or seize the crown of Poland. 

The reign of Augustus Imstened the decline of the 
Poiish nation by many conspiring causes^ nor was it 
more favourable to the advance of learning; only 
luxury and sumptuousness were encouraged by this 
monarch's example. Many learned men, indeed, 
might be mentioned ; but none who had any influ- 
ence on the public mind. The slothful voluptuous- 
ness of the latter part of this reign, which succeeded 
the anarchy of the commencement, Completed the ruin 
it had begun ; and Augustus ha^ left behind him the 
character of one of the most splendid as weU as most 

* The Chmen Vault (GrUne Gewslbe) of DncNleft iB gtUI an oftjeet of 
enrkwUri witb its collection of gaudy But eootly ttiSoh 


athletic sovereigns of Poland, to be balanced against 
the irretrievable injury he has done both to this king- 
dom and his electoial dominions.* 


BtanMas re-elected— The Russians enter Poland and proclaim tbe 
Elector of Saxony King— Siege of Dantdg— Escape of Stanislas ftnm 
Dantzig— Stanislas abdicate»— Augustus HL— Count Bralh, Ihims 
Minister— Intrigues of the Czartoryski Fftmily— Frederick the Greitt 
invades Saxony— Tbe Death of the Empress Elizabeth terminates the 
War— Intrigues of Pdniatowski and Catharine— Life, Education, Ac. 
of Poniatowaki— Catharine murders Peter and is proclaimed Empress 
— Poniatowski's Disappointment— His Intrigues— Factions against 
Augustus— Death of Augustus. 

After the death of Augustus, the Poles turned 
their eyes towards their ex-king, Stanislas. During 
his exile, his daughter, Mary Leszczynski, had 
become Queen of France, and the French kin? 
(Louis XV.) interested himself in the election of 
his father-in-law. But Stanislas had experienced 
the precariousness of Polish popularity, and felt the 
influence of Poland^s neighbours too keenly to enter 
into the lists with very sanguine hopes. " I feel," 
said he, before his departure from France, ** that I 
shall soon be near my enemies, and far from my 
friends.'^ His reluctance was combated and over- 
come by persuasion, and the repeated invitation of 
the Poles; and he consented to wear the diadem 
once more. 

But the intrigues of the late king to bring in his 
son as his successor had not been entirely useless : — 
a considerable party supported his pretensions; 

* Many wonderftil feats of strength are still related of Augustus, such 
as that he could lift a trumpeter in f\ill armnur in the palm of his hand. 
Hi9 immense cuirass and helmet, which are shown even to the present 
day In the Bus&ammert or armoury of Dresden, bear at leut mom pv> 
tial testimony to tbe truth of these traditions. 


Russia was tempted by the new elector's promises 
to resign all claim to Courland and to advance his 
interests ; while Austria, glad of an opportunity to 
become the arbitress of an adjacent state, deter- 
mined to ensure her client's election, and thwart 
their rival, France. These two powers took the 
most careful precautions to intercept Stanislas on his 
way to Poland ; a Russian fleet was cruising on the 
Baltic, and the authorities of Germany were on the 
alert to cut off any approach by land. A stratagem 
readily frustrated this design ; it was generally an- 
nounced in France that Stanislas would go by sea, 
and to add apparent confirmation to the report, the 
Chevalier de Thianges, who strongly resembled him, 
embarked at Brest with all the formalities of royalty, 
and set sail for Dantzig under his name. 

In the mean time the real Stanislas, in disguise, 
accompanied only by one gentleman, took the route 
through Germany. They travelled under the title 
of merchants, and eluded the vigilance of all the 
guards. They reached Warsaw almost on the very 
eve of the election ; the announcement of Stanislas 
stifled aU opposition, and on the 11th of September, 
1733, the unanimous suffrages of 60,000 nobles pro- 
claimed him king. But Russia and Austria were 
not to be easily foiled ; the latter threatened, and the 
former marched an army of 60,000 to enforce its will, 
and make the deluded Poles feel that independence, 
once forfeited, is not readily to be redeemed. These 
barbarian troops plundered as they went; and the 
armies of the state, which had been so injudiciously 
decreased during the last reign,, amounting now 
barely to 15,000 undisciplined men, could yield their 
feUow-subjects no protection ; so that the affection 
even of the F'oles was aUenated from a king who 
was obliged to leav^ them to the mercy of tlieir 

The French court endeavoured to oppose the 
alliance of Turkev and Sweden against that of the 



144 HSBTORT O^.f0tAXD, 

Rnssiaiui and Austriaxn^tit their aid was too distant 
to be of any service, the consequences were felt, 
indeed, for some years in Europe, but the interests 
€i Poland were not one jot advanced by it, such was 
the overwhelming power of its enemies. Stanislas 
was again stripped of his ephemeral honours, and 
took refuffe with his nobles in Dantzig, almost the 
only city m Poland which could stand a siege. 

The Poles ** summoned all their energies" to make 
a last and desperate resistance ; they kept the Rus- 
sians at bay on the other side of the Vistula till the 
legal term of election was nearly expired. It was 
not tin the very last day allowed by law that they 
-could force their passage to Warsaw, and they then 
assembled a small number of Polish nobles, some of 
whom were brought in chains, to elect Augustus ill. 
King of Poland. This mockery of royalty over, they 
marched on Dantzig, where Stanislas was expecting 

This city defended itself with great obstinacy for 
more than five months. Eight thousand of the assail- 
ants perished in one attack ; and one part of the in- 
trencnments is still called " the Russian cemeteiy.'' 
But no serviceable aid arrived from France ; and Po- 
land was too enfeebled and intimidated to provoke 
its tyrants still further. Treachery at length led to 
the surrender of Dantzig ; the governor of one of the 
forts capitulated, and ** then,^' says Stanislas, " the 
city had my permission to do the same." 

This town was no longer a safe place of sojourn 
for the king, who was the principal or almost sole 
object of the besiegers' vengeance. Further resist- 
ance would only serve to involve the Dantzigers stiH 
more deeply in trouble ; so that Stanislas resolved to 
leave the city, and advised it then to submit to una- 
▼oidable capitulation while it could obtain favourable 
conditions. He has himself described his hazardous 
and singular flight,* and the narrative forms a very 

* liettre de Stanislas, Roi de Fologne, A la Reine de France sar sol 
Depart de Dantzig.— See tbe Works ofStanMaa. 



tntcfrestiiigf portioii of the works of oyal author. 
Count Pomatowski, Palatine of Mazovia, who had 
saved Charles XIT. at Pultowa, and served him in 
Tnricey, still adhered to the Swedish monarch's 
^ friend f* and he was commissioned to annomice the 
kirk's design to the citizens. One of the deputies 
of tbe city came up to the palatine as he was [peak- 
ing, and said to him, ** What, sir, do yoy speak seri*- 
ously ? Are these the true sentiments of the king 
enr master V^ " Yes," replied Poniatowski, ** I have 
heard from his own lips what I have now the honour 
to announce to you." 

«« What !" added the deputy, "does the king him- 
self exhort us to submit to the will of a conqueror ?" 
The palatine answered in the affirmative. " Good 
God !" exclaimed this man again, *' our king leaves 
us then T What is he going to do with himself?" 
At this instant he staggered^ ceased to speak, and 
fell dead at the feet of Poniatowski. 

It was onthe night of the 37th of June that Stan 
islas left Dantzig, in the disguise of a peasant, and 
succeeded in passing safely beyond the enemy's lines* 
He was obliged to take shelter in a hut near the 
banks of the Vistula, from which, on the followingf 
uoming, he could see the city walls crumbling be- 
tore the artillery of the Russians. This, said the 
king to himself, is the reward of my subjects' fidelity. 
Stanidast the man of sorrow, and acquainted with 
grief, who had so often shaken hands with misfor^* 
tune, was unmanned at the sight, and shed tears. 
He was afterward in constant danger of falling into 
the hands of the Russians and Cossacks, and on one 
occasion his guides were so terrifi:ed that they threat- 
ened to leave him to his fate. '* What, you cowards," 
said Stanislas, ** do you mean to abandon me ?" " Do 
you wish," retorted they, "that we should expose 
ourselves to be hung in ensuring your safety, which 
is nothing to us ?" " Hung or not," exclaimed the 
^Dg» wiw an affectation of rage» "you have no, 



longer any time to deliberate ; you have eDga|[ed to- 
accompany me, and you shall not quit me until I 
thinj^ I can dispense with your rascally company^ 
Hear,and tremble at the resolution you make me take. 
If your promises, if your oaths, if the reward you 
expect, if the regard you owe me— if nothing can 
stop you, I will that moment call here the Cossacks ; 
and if I must perish by /your flight, I would as soon 
perish by my own indiscretion, and revenge myself 
at the same time for your perfidy." Stanislas wa» 
not, however, obliged to have recourse to this fatal 
expedient; his guides changed their tone, and he 
arrived safe at Marienwei^er, a little town on the 
Prussian frontier. He was afterward kindly received 
by Frederic I., then king, and well lodged at Kon- 


Lewis took up arms against the emperor, one of 
the princes inimical to his father-in-law. The result 
of tnis war was, that a treaty was signed at Vienna, 
in October, 1735, by which Stanislas was ensured 
the possession of his hereditary estates, the title and 
honours of King of Poland, and the dutchies of Lor- 
raine and Bar, which, after his death, were to de- 
volve to the crown of France. It was also agreed, 
that his partisans should be reinstated in their estates 
and dignities ; and on these conditions Stanislas re- 
^ nounced all pretensions to Poland. He then pro- 
ceeded to his new sovereignty, and devoted himself 
to literature and philosophy, not forgetting that best 
.philosophy, how to make Ms people happy.* 

* The goodnoM of th» ** benefioent phikwopbei^s" beart is eibibited i» 
munberless instances^ bmt none is more striking than his treatment of 
the children of the very Aognstus who had deprived him of his throne 
and if liven him flrom his coonOry. When Frvderie the Great orerran 
Saxony in 1766. the elector, calcolating on the generosity of Stanialasr 
abaolntely confided, bis children to his protection. " HeaTen," said the 
warm-hearted and forgiving philosopher, " no doubt drove me tnm my 
cMUitry that I might be able to affbrd you an asylum in misfbrtune: It 
is sweet to me to be able to revenge myself by kindness to you. Tea 
■hall not be mere visiters in my court ; and until the day when you em- 
brsM your Attanr, I, my flriends, I wlU supply his place. This vxnA- 


The partisans of Stanislas still continued faithful 
to Inm ; and while he was at Konigsher; issued a 
protestation against the unlawful election of Augus- 
tus, and confederated themselves at a little village 
«n the confines of Moldavia, on the 6th of August, 
1735. The document was signed hy the bishop of 
Kiow, Sapieha, grand-treasurer of Lithuania, and 244 
other Polish senators.* In answer to this, Stanislas 
addressed a letter to them, entreating them to submit 
to necessity. "Will you follow," said he, "the 
counsels of him who will never cease to love you I 
Imitate my example, lay down your arms, and, do 
not subject yourselves, by useless obstinacy, to the 
reproach of wishing to perpetuate trouble among 
your brothers." 

In 1736 the Poles, in conformity to the wish of 
their exiled king, united in a diet of pacification. 
They still preserved the liberty of the tongue, and, 
even in the presence of Augustus, declared it a 
capital offence for any one in future to invite the aid 
of foreign troops. In this session, also, the dissi- 
dents were stripped even of their small remuant of 
power, being^ totally excluded from all shaire in the 

lent man liTed to the adranoed age of edgfaty-nine ; but the extreme part 
jDf thia long life was imbittered by the death of hla grandaon, the danpnin. 
a promiaing yonth, with whoae education immenae labour and care bad 
lieen taken, «nd who profited fVom hU advantages. About aiz weeks 
aAer thia aad event the venerable old king accidentally set Are 'to hfai 
clothes, and waa so seriously burnt before assistance could be afRnded 
liim, that he died soon after, on Feb. S3, 1766. 

For once the tombalione speaka the truth ia anmmliig np the eharaetor 

Hie jacet Stanislaa I 
Cognomine beneflcna, 
Per variaa sortie humane vices jactatua, noa firactua 
Ingena orbi apectacninm 
Ubique vel in exillo, rax beandis populis natua, 
Lttdovici ISgeneri eomplexu exceptus, &c. 
* See Mdme. de St. OuSn^s Work, p. 98. where the proteetatkm is copied 
at ftiU firom the M88. at Nancy. 

t The number and Influence of the ffissidents, it will be remembered, 
had been greatly diminished in the last reign, and the diet of 1736 Mily 
iBxeeui«9d a project whidi had been long meditated. The disaident aoblei 


If peace alone could have restored Poland, it would 
have been completely regenerated under the reign 
of Augustus. He devoted himself solely to the 
amusements of society and hunting; he imitated 
his father's luxurious magnificence, Uit it was more 
from habit than taste : 1^ ruined himself with ex- 
travagance, without having any inclination for it, and 
in coUecting pictures, without having any taste for 
them. He was a moral " good sort of man,*^ and 
though strikingly handsome, continued inviolably 
faithful to his wife, the ugliest princess of the age. 
A habit of familiarity rendered Count Brulh his 
favourite and prime minister. This servile depend- 
ant made it his whole business to please the king, 
and enter into his amusements. . But to others ha 
was the proudest of men; and though hk master 
was simple and unostentatious, he affected the very 
extreme of magnificence and pomp. In the midst 
of all the proud feelings of his heart, there lurked a 
servile superstition, which made him one of the 
most abject of creatures. This he studiously kept a 
secret however, till one day two visiters, entering 
his private apartments hastily, saw with surprise the 
proud and pompous minister on his knees, with his 
face to the ground, before an illuminated table. 
Brulh, rising £istily from his kneeling position, as if 
ashamed of being detected, said to them, ** Alter 
having served my temporal master all day, I must 
give some few moments to eternity." 

To the care of this man did Augustus intrust the 
interests of his kingdom, that he might pursue with* 
out interruption his favourite amusements. Saxony 

were now encmred the possession of tlieir property, and could hold any 
military or otber offices which did not confer executive autbority. They 
also still enjoyed the elective franchise, thoush they were not allowed to 
l>e depnties. They were also declared guilty of high-treason if they 
Attempted to recover their privileges by the aid of foreign princes. These 
laws, since the cause of so much fhtal discord to Poland, passed at the 
time without opposition, and even under the protection qC iUiaaiam. 
Iipqpa.— Xi*tti*re. toL I. p. l«. 


vr^s his most agreeable residence, and as he was 
obliged to I'etum to Poland during the sessions of 
the diets, he was always pleased to see them sos- 
pended by the liberum veto, and always contrived to 
effect the rupture himsplf, if the deputies happened 
to be themselves unanimous. It is said that on one 
occasion, the diet being uncommonly long-lived, not 
knowing how to force a veto, he turned over the 
Polish laws, and discovered that it was illegal to 
debate by candlelight; accordingly he ordered his 
partisans to prolong the debate till night, and to call 
for candles, lliey were brought, and immediately 
the Poles, who " strain ^t a gnat," when privilege is 
concerned, exclaimed against the violation of the 
laws, and the diet was dissolved. 

This was almost the invariable termination of the 
sessions, during the thirty years which this reign 
lasted. The state of affairs may be readily ima- 
gined : all public business was at an end ; the chief 
officers were ali^iost uncontrolled, and no ministers 
were sent to foreign courts. The pospolite neglected 
all military exercises, and became a mere mass of 
men, courageous, it is true, but without arms; without 
discipline, and equally incapable of commanding and 

While the generality of the Poles were enjoying 
this peace in idle voluptuousness,' some few of the 
more powerful nobles were plotting the overthrow 
of the republic, and the establishment of a virtual 
monarchy. This party was headed by the princes 
Czartoryski, who were a branch of the Jagellon 
family. There were two of them, Augustus and 
Michael. The former was palatinate of Polish 
Russia, and had become master of great wealth by 
marrying a rich widow. This added to his rank and 
gave him immense influence, and he had thousands 
of partisans who almost considered him their only 

* RoUii^ ytA. I ^ 185. 


}3f BisTORY or roi.4iiB. 

'si<mai«h« His brother Michael was of a diffnresi 
character, and possessed another kind of influence* 
but equally powerful. He was a desigrning states- 
nan, and added to his authcwrity as grand-chaacellor 
of Lithuania a complete mastery in the managrement 
of intrigues. ■ It is said that he could count on his 
list of friends and partisajis above a hundred thou- 
•and nobles, with all of whom he was intimately ac- 
quainted, and could estimate to a nicety their different 
interests. Their sister had married the Count Poni- 
atowski, who distinguished himself as a firm adhe- 
rent of Stanislas and of Charles XII. His father 
was an illegitimate son of one of the Sapieha family, 
and thsough their interest he had been introduced to 
the notice of the Swedish monarch. 

Each of these three brothers had an eye to the 
throne, but so warily did they proceed in their de- 
signs that they avoided all collision. At the same 
time they conciliated the Russians and were appa*- 
rently In their interest, but it was only with the view 
of lulling their suspicions to sleep and disarming 
their opposition. They were also the ostensible ad^ 
herents of Augustus, and had a complete ascendency 
over his minister Brulh. 

Such was the political state of Poland in 1762; 
when England and France, on the eve of a waj^ 
about their American colonies, were employing their 
envoys to secure the alliance of the different courts 
of Europe. The English minister contemplated the 
union of Russia, Saxony, and Poland (which seemed 
to form but one interest), together with Austria; and 
sent Sir Charles Hanbury WiUiams on a private 
mission to effect this negotiation at Warsaw, on his 
road to Russia.* This intriguing agent inunediately 

* Hulhidre evidently commits a considerable error In his desoriptioo 
«r Williams's character. He says, that " He is still notorious in Loodon 
$K having attempted to estabhsh pure deism under the form of a nev 
religion,** &c. It was David Williams who did this ; <aiter being a dis* 
senting minister, he opened a chapel in Caviendish Square, in 1776, on the 
avowed pnnciplei of detoBL This same penwui was one of the itrtDiiow 


saw the stater of politics ia Poland, aad niade tfaa 
Czartoryskis his confidants. They entened with 
avidity into his schemes, trusting that the event of 
the negotiation would lead to a good opening for 
their designs ; and engaged to support the plaii with 
all their strength in the approaching diet, which was 
to be held at Grodno in the October of the same 

France did not remain an idle speetatress of this 
intrigue, but employed Count Broglie to counterptot* 
He had a very difficult part to act ; no faction was 
ready formed to enlist in nis cause, but, on the con- 
trary, all the Poles were distrustful of an alliance 
with France, who had always been a useless ally to 
Poland. In a word, says Rulhiere, he stood alone. 
But, undaunted, he persevered in his attempt, and 
w£dted for circumstances, which he knew are some- 
times the machmes as well as prime movers of 

The CzArtoryskis employed one of the deputies to 
dissolve the diet, and at the same time to make a 
formal protestation against the king's ccHiduet. Their 
motive in this was, to draw up a defence of Aus[ustii8, 
and under pretence of forming a confederation to 
defend him from faction, to make it subservient to 
their own views* 

This plan was frustrated by the opposition of 
Count Branicki, grand-general of the kingdom, the 
most respected and powerful person it Poland. He 
was at the same time the firmest patriot in his coun- 
try, and had stood up against every oppressor, from 
the king himself to the meanest noble. The Czar- 
toryskis had soughthis alliance, and trusted, that by 
mariying him to one of their nieces they had ensured 
his support. In this, however, they were mistaken i 

Advocates of tbe French revolution, and, what ^U be better wi iwiibw ei, 
tie was founder of the "Literary Fund."— See Rulhi^e, voL L p. d06; 
jand eoroiiarB witk Cbaimti^ Gen. Biof . IMct and Gsmteman's HaftF 
Ste 1810. 


Branicki was ready to sacrifice all personal consider- 
mtions to the welfare of his countiy. He did not, at 
ISrst, perceive the design, and even added his name 
to the long list of confederates. But Mokranowski, 
a dependent Polish noble of the grand-general, pene- 
trated the scheme, and boldly protested against it. 
He seized the signed document in the midst of the 
assembly, and hurrying with it to Branicki, pointed 
out to him the fatal consequences of allying with 
th^ir rival Russia. After speaking to this eiSect, he 
tore the paper to pieces ; and the astonished grand- 
general embraced him in a transport of admiration, 
and swore to him an eternal friendship, 

Branicki now declared for Broglie and France; 
and Count Brulh seized with avidity this opportunity 
of escaping from his dependence on the Czartoryskis, 
and entered into a coalition with this new party in 
the name of his master. His real motive for this 
change was, to revenge himself on that powerful 
family for refusing his proffered alliance by marriage. 

Russia found herself bound both to Augustus and 
the Czartoryskis, but the authority and wealth of 
England soon gave the latter interest the prepon- 
derance in her eyes, and she threatened iPoland with 
an invasion in support of her clients. Hiree years 
had passed in these intrigues, and France, as faith- 
less an ally as ever, forgot her promises, and left 
Augustus to extricate himself from the dilemma into 
which she had decoyed him. 

But the year 1766 opened with a complete revolu- 
tion in all the alliances of Europe, and averted the 
vengeance of Russia from the King of Poland. 
Austria, bent on recovering Silesia, which had been 
seized by Frederic the Great, leagued with France 
and Russia ; the admission of France into the league 
threw her enemy, England, with whom she was at 
war on account of the American colonies, into the 
opposite party. Saxony was drawn into the former 
aUiance by many obvious motives. Fredenc en« 


f»g^ with the English to jdirert the enemy from 
uieir Hanoverian possessions, and overran Saxony. 

Augustus was obliged to abandon his electoral do- 
jQainions to their fate, for the bad adminietration and 
extravagance of BruUi had rendered them almost de- 
fejiceless. The following is a characteristic incident 
of the Saxon and Polish court, llie king, when he 
found himself reduced to the necessity of flight, 
took the greatest care to save his pictures, antiques, 
and porcelain, and never gave a thought to the state- 

These circumstances reconciled for a time the twp 
factions of Poland; and Russia was now as warm in 
the defence of Augustus as she had been before in 
opposition to Mm. A hundred thousand Russians 
marched through Poland on the road to Saxony, and 
the Empress EUzabeth, in addition to this assistance, 
rasiffoed her pretensions to Oourland, and permitted 
the JEing to nominate Ids third son Char&s to the 

The Russian troops, after traversing the territories 
of their ally, and exacting contributions on their 
xoad, entered the Prussian dominions. Frederic 
defeated them at Zomdorf* in 1758, but so obstinately 
did they stand their ground even when they were 
butchered without quarter, tiiat he exclaimed, **It is 
harder to kill them than to conquer them !" They, 
however, revenged theousehres at Zulikaw and Cus- 
trin, and took possession of Berlin. 

Frederic, surrounded with enemies, was almost 
teduced to the last extremity; he began to mistrust 
the energies of his veteran army of the seven years* 
war, and carried poison about him as a last resource 
of escape. Saxony was deUvered Irom its invaders, 
and Augustus, in fancied security under the shield of 
Russia, was employing Brulh to engage her to ensure 
the succession to the Polish crown in his family. 

'^ A village ■iz mUes to ili« nottb-eaai of ClHtiili, tillicli li Mllit 
At WDttUDce of <he Waitht ajid Ote. 


But the death of the Empress Elizabeth put an 
end to all these vain projects. Her successor, Pe- 
ter III., had long viewed with pleasure the league of 
Russia against FVederic, for whom he had con- 
ceived a great admiration, and his first act on coming 
to the throne was to make peace with him. This 
entirely frustrated the designs of the allies, as well 
as of Augustus, whom Peter treated with the greatest 
contempt, and even refused to give his envoys an 

The emperor and Frederic formed three resolu- 
tions with regard to Poland. The first was, that the 
successor of Augustus should be a Pole. This de- 
termination owed its origin to the intrigues of the 
Czartoryskis. The second, to protect the dissidents ; 
and the third, that Russia should resume the posses- 
sion of Courland. 

Peter's wife, Catharine, adopted nearly the same 
line of policy as her husband, but with very different 
motives. Her object was to raise her lover, Ponia- 
towski, to the throne. This young count was the 
fourth son of Poniatowski, the brother-in-law of the 
Czartorvskis, who has already come under our no- 
tice. Fortune marked him for one of her favourites 
from his very cradle. At the time of his birth an 
Itatian adventurer, of the name of Fomica, lived in 
his father's house in the capacity of surgeon ; he was 
at the same time a pretended astrologer and ^chy- 
mist, and most probably assumed those titles to in- 
gratiate the favour of his protector, whose character 
was strongly tihctured with superstition. Aware of 
the ambitious views of the family, he predicted that 
the new-born child would wear a crown ; and the 
parents readily believed what their hopes made pos- 
sible, and their influence probable. They gave the 
boy the ominous and regal name Stanislas Augustus. 
The countess, at the same time, ambitious from pride 
;uid credulous from a romantic disposition, applied 
herself with great care to train up this young scicn 


of royalty. She made him swear to abjure the se- 
ductions of love and pleasure till he was thirty years 
old, that nothing might turn his eyes from the crown 
which she pointed out to him. 

But young Poniatowski was not bom to tread the 
thorny road of ambition ; he was naturally a volup- 
tuary; and while his mother lectured him on the 
sciences of war and politics, he nummed over to him- 
self the licentious songs of the French poets, who 
were his favourite authors.* He possessed a showy, 
superficial knowledge of literature, and had some 
tact in conversation, both in public and private; 
but, fortunately for Poniatowski, it was not his 
mind that was to lead him to the high elevation he 
aimed at. 

This second-rate intellect was set in a person of 
the first order of beauty: there was an air of supe- 
riority in his S3rmmetrical but characteristic counte- 
nance, and his figure, without being majestic from its 
height or strength, was marked with that more com- 
manding and intrinsic majesty of carriage which 
seems to proceed from gigantic feelings, instead of 
large bones and rigid muscles. 

JBut, after all, Poniatowski was one of those men 
who could be almost any thing, and are absolutely 
nothing ; he was one of those characters which Na- 
ture draws out in a neutral-tint of light and shade, 
ready to take every colour, but which she sends into 
the world without any. He had pride, but it was not 
pride of intellect, rank, or spirit ; ambition, but it 
Was a mere craving after he knew not what, which 
Was as much satiated by fulsome approval of a dog- 
gerel sonnet as the proudest success of important 
schemes ; a kind of philanthropy, but it was a mere 
love of his species, and did not assume either of those 
definite characters, patriotism, friendship, or charity; 
warmth of heart, which, as it was not associated 



with the afllbetionfl and feelings of any parti0ol«v ob« 
ject, had no gratification but sensual passion. 

Such was the state of Poniatowski's mind and 
character when Sir Charles Williams, the English 
ambassador, arrived at Warsaw. Some similarity of 
feeling and disposition led to an acquaintance be-i 
tween these two young men, which grevf into firm 
friendship, and, as may be supposed, did not much 
tend to renovate the youthful and pliant Pole's prin^ 
ciples. Under the care of this dissolute friend, Po- 
niatowski took a butterfly-tour through foreign coun- 
tries, sipping, as he skimmed along, only the froth 
of society. He made a short sojourn at Paris^ that 
city of gayety, so congenial, to his habits, while Wil- 
liams proceeded to discharge his diplomatic duties in 
Encland. The young P(Se was quite intoxicated 
with the pleasures of the French capital ; gamed, in- 
trigued, made love, and swore eternal anection to 
every woman he met. So miguarded was he, and so 
favourably were his addresses received, tha^ thirty 
ladies are said to have encountered each other, one 
day, in his country-house, to lay claim to their gay 
deceiver. His finances could not bear the estrava* 
gant drafts which his {Measures and gaming drew 
upon them ; so that he was involved in debt, and iba 
harpies of the law laid their unhallowed hands oh 
the embryo kin^. From this dilemma he was de-^ 
livered by one of his female firiends,* and then made 
the best of his way to England to rejoin WiUiams* 
The only fruits oi his visit to Paris were an expe^ 
lience in the wiles of captivating the female heartf 
and an affectation of kingly dQ>ortmenty which he 
studied in Louis XV. The former of these acquire- 
ments, as will be seen, gained him the thnme, amd 
the latter taught him how to fidl it, 
Williams was bow appointed wabBMaadGr t0 Pe^ 

* It mm Hadame OeoflHn. wift of a rich glass maniiflMCiinr, f • 
ivhooi FMiiatowaki was IJBdeUsd ftptUa UidiMaa. 

vcmiTowasa nr fatour. 157 

teiBburg, and the CzartorYskis gladly sehzed hi8i>ffer 
lo take Ponlatowski to Russia as his secretary. The 
wily diplomatist threw his young friend in the way 
of Catharine, who was then only grand-dutchess, and 
whose heart was opened to any attachment by the 
eontempt she had for her husband Peter. Williams 
conbived to let them hiiTe a private interview in the 
English consults house^ where Catharine went on 
foot, and alone, in a Russian winter's night.* Po- 
niatowski was young,t handsome, and fascinating, 
well experienced in the arts of winning woman's 
affections, and bold enough to seize the decisive mo« 
ment of victory. What a different language did love 
HOW speak to that which Catharine had been ac- 
customed to hear ! Instead of the coarse jests of s 
Russian boor, she now listened to the wirty and vo- 
luptuous seductions of French elegance and if the 
former could feid the way to her heart, what resist- 
ance was to be now expected 1 The Pole's blan^ 
diBhments this night falsified the dogma that love 
" has no great influence on the sum of life,"J for 
whUe they won a woman s affections, they gained a 
crown which contained within its circumference 
the destinies of millions, and the sway of Poland. 

When the English ambassador was obliged ta 
leave Petersburg, Ppniatowski contrived to prolong 
his stay, by obtaining a diplomatic commission inr 
the service of Augustus. The French ministerr 
Coimt Broglie, on hearing that thss young emissaiy 
of the Czartoryskis was nominated ambassador from' 
the Polish court, said to Bruhi, ^ This complaisance 

•Hm grandrdtllGB one night detected Peniatoweki entering CatlMH- 
lijufe paMce, bot fteafal of eompnxinising the interest of the court by 
teiOf violence to a foreign minister, and being at the same time not ttM' 
most seneitiTe of husbands, satisfied himself vvith committing the in- 
truder into cuJBtody. Catbaiine did not hesitate to confiront her injured* 

hnsbaad: the couple made an amicable arrangement, the lover 
liberated, «Bd Catharine promised to give her husband's mistnM av 
wmiBl^Mnskon.'-See Euihi^re's ** Anecdotes sur la Russie;** 
t Only twenty-three. t Johiuww 



will cost the house of Saxony the thTone.*^ This 
was one of those safe calculations of cause and effect i 
which enable the thinking mind to speak withttte 
true spirit of prophecy. Nor did Poniatowski de viaie 
from the line of conduct which was anticipated ; for 
60 indefatigably did he follow up the advantage he 
had gained over Catharine's heart, that shortly after 
this time she introduced her lover to some young 
Poles, with whom she was suppinp^, as th.eir .future 
king. With so little circumspection was the love 
affair carried on, that even the gfand-duke, regaixHess 
as he was of his wife, and whose treatment, in fact, 
had emancipated her from all ties to him, except 
those which "the church links withal," began to think 
it was time to open his eyes, and exclaim " non omr 
nihus dormioP^ The grand-chancellor, too, Bestu 
cheff, who was one of Catharine's confidants, was 
disgraced about this time, and the loss of his protec 
tion further exposed Poniatowski to animadversion 
For some months the overs' embraces were im 
bittered by the tears of anticipated separation,— 
every meeting was ended with lingering looks of 

"And thoDgb they bope and tow, they grieve. 
As if that parting were the last." 

At length the dreaded day arrived; the Polish 
minister recalled his emissary, and in vain Catharine 
and her train supplicated the empress on their knees 
and with tears ; Poniatowski was sent to Poland to 
lament over his blighted hopes, and his mistress was 
left to weep till she could find a new gallant to con- 
dole with her. The young count carried back with 
him a letter to his father from the grand-dutchess» 
containing these words : ** Charles XII. distinguished 
your merit ; I shall know how to distinguish your 
son-'s, and raise him, perhaps, above Charles XIL 
himself." The old man treasured up this epistle, and 
always carried the precious document in his bosonk 


t the same time Catharine cherished an implacable 
animosity against the Saxon Prince Charles, and the 
Prench and Austrian ambassadors, who she fancied 
had been instrumental in Poniatowski*s removal; 
and slie did not fail, as the sequel of the history will 
shoi^9 to retaliate when she had the power. 

All these circumstances tended to increase the Rus-. 
sian influence over the destinies of Poland. When 
« ven the proudest of the Polish nobles could so openly 
recognise the supremacy of their ambitious neighbour 
as to beg for the crown as a fief, that neighbour must 
have been conscientious indeed, and more so than 
smy of the more civilized states of Europe, to dis- 
claim the right thus admitted. Even Turkey now 
abandoned all resistance to the encroachments of 
Russia on this devoted republic^ as it has been 
strangely designated. Mustapha was sultan, and hav- 
ing a taste for war, or rather for military gewgaws 
and sihows, entertained a high opinion of Frederic 
the Great, and in defiance of the laws of Mahomet 
kept by him his portrait, which, even to the present 
day, is the only picture said to be ever admitted into 
the seraglio. 

Nor £d the Prussian king neglect to cherish and 
make use of this admiration ; he wrote to the sultan, 
and descended to the fulsome flattery which even he 
could stoop to when it answered his purpose. ^ You 
ought to have been bom three ages sooner,'* ran the 
letter; but the compliment was thrown away on 
Mustapha, who in vain consulted all his wise men 
about the meaning of it.* The sultan, however, gave 
Frederic the credit of intending to say something 
polite, and promised in return to enter into an ami- 
cable arrangement with Priissia, and consequently 
\ Russia, in token of which he made his troops set out 
to attack the Austrians. 
But while Frederic's heart yet beat high with the 

f * Rnlbi^ie, yol. i. p. 390i 



hope of his hated rird's ruin, by means of the OTer- • 
whelming league he had formed against her, an un- 
expected event falsified all his calculations. In i7[63 " 
Catharine made the murdered body of her husbsuui 
her footstool to the throne of Russia, and the death 
of Peter loosened the bonds of alliance with Prussia. 
These were tidings of great joy to Poland, which 
stood trembling between her armed and leagued 
neighbours, whose mutual jealousy was her only 
safeguard. But none of the Poles could have leceived 
^e news more gladly than Poniatowski. 

Count Brulh, who could so convenientiy adapt him- 
self to events, was the first to announce the affair to 
the young count. His messenger found him in bed, 
with a picture of the empress on both sides of himi, 
one in the character of Bellona, and the other as 
Minerva. On hearing the tidings, Poniatowski leaped 
from the bed almost frantic with joy, and on his knees 
addressed Heaven and the pictures in turn. He was 
already on his flight to the arms of his mistress, but 
his uncles prudently detained him till they had ascer* 
tained die posture of affairs. 

Catharine gave Poniatowski's impetuosity plenty 
of time to cool, for she did not send him a single 
message or line for more than a month. Rumour itn 
the mean time explained this delay, but not at all f x> 
the young count's satisfaction ; for she whispered thi'it 
Orloff, a young Russian, who had been instromentiil 
in raising the empress to the throne, had stepped int^ 
his place. At length the wished-for billet arrived^ 
containing these words concerning her ambassador^ 
**I send Keyserling to Poland with orders to makci 
you, or your cousin Prince Adam Czartoryski, king." 
To counterbalance this, it contained mention of 
Orloff's services, which Poniatowski felt were praised, 
far too warmly for mere gratitude. In the midst of 
this alternation of hope and fear, joy and perplexity, 
we will leave the disappointed count weeping, as was 
his ridiculous custom to do« and proceed to inquirei 



what was the result experienced by the rest of the 
OPoles on this change in the dynasty of the Russian 

Catharine immediately lowered the towering hopes 
of Frederic, by countermanding her troops, and thus 
bli^lited an undertaking which might have been of 
momentous import to tlie Polish state. She did not 
forget her resentment against Prince Charles, Duke 
of Courland, and informed Augustus, very coolly, 
. that he must depose him. Opposition was in vain, 
and after some useless demur the order was obeyed, 
and Biron, the former Russian duke, reinstated. 
This compliance was exacted by the dread of 15,000 
Russians in Courland, and 2000, whose stay had been 
{HTOlonged ever since the late war, at Grandentz, a 
strong town in the palatinate of Culm. This treat- 
ment of his son was a heavy blow to Augustus ; Po- 
land had now no more charms for him, for the smadl 
remnant of power which Russia left him wsts wrested 
from him by the contending factions. Fortunately, 
peace now restored to him Saxony, and an asylum 
from the troubles and vexations of his kingdom, nor 
did he delay long to avail himself of it. 

But while Augustus was so ready to abandon his 
throne, there was another who was longing, and lite- 
rally crying for it. Poniatowski soon found that no 
competition was to be feared from Adam Czartoryski, 
who was too modest to aspire to an honour which 
his father had aimed at and could not attain ; and he 
then urged him the more earnestly and with the 
greater show of sincerity to accept the offer of the 
empress. But there are moments when the heart 
will make itself heard in spite of the wiliest h3rpocrite, 
and in these the count was heard to say, ** We must 
not make fortunes for others which we may make 
for ourselves." 

Tlie ambassador whom Catharine sent to Warsaw 
to further her former lover*s views was Coimt Key- 
serling, an old diplomatist, who had grown gray m 



intrigues and viflany. He had been originally a 
profeBSor in the university of Konigsberg, and duacing 
one of his missions to Poland had seen Poniatowski 
when a child, and amused himself with giving^ him 
instructions in Latin; in remembrance of which, he 
now still called him his son and pupil. 

Poniatowski and the Czartoryskis, however, mel 
with opposition; but this, in fact, only served to 
advance their interest, as it became a pretext for the 
direct interference of Russia. Prince RadziwiU wa« 
their mortal enemy, and besides being the richest and 
roost powerful noble in the kingdom, was, in spite 
of them, appointed Palatine of Wilna, the most inu 
portant officer in Lithuania. He had even a regular 
army at his service, which was furnished with artil- 
lery. With this equipage he went to Wilna to assiune 
the authority of his office, which he proceeded to 
exercise in investigating the elections of deputies in 
direct opposition to the intrigues of the Czartoryskis. 

This party, however, backed as they were by the 
Russian interest, and who had, besides, at their dis- 
posal the treasure and army of Lithuania, assembled 
to tjheck their rival's intention. But they were not 
sufficiently stron? to awe RadziwiU, who, although 
his opponents had confederated and sent for Russian 
assistance, persevered in his object. Catharine was 
not yet firmly seated on her throne, and was obhged 
to concede something to the will of her ministers; 
and she did not at first dare to send troops to Poland 
with the avowed purpose of aiding a faction. 

She therefore pretended that they were only to 
march through Lithuania, on their route from Cour- 
land to the Ukraine. £ven this, without permission, 
was an aggression ; but the Poles had too long de- 
graded themselves in the scale of nations to be able 
much to resent the insult. Her emissaries privately 
threatened the Radziwillians, and she more than 
hinted to the king by letter that she must interfere 
if he continued to favour that j)arty. 


Eig|ht thousand" Rassians, who announced them- 
fiel?e8 only as a vanguard of a larger body, entered 
Lithuania and encamped near Wilna. But the Poles,, 
who always reserve their energies for the last emer- 
geiicy, so far from being daunted l^ this army, ex- 
claimed against the^ villany of Poniatowski and his 
party, who were ready to sell their country to its 
enemies. ^ Poland," said they, ^ will have no arbiter 
but God!** Prince Radziwill, with an increased 
army, kept watch on the movements of the traitors 
Hid their Russian allies, being determined to exter- 
minate Uiem on the first appearance of violence. The 
old but excellent Branicki and his band of patriots 
supported the prince with heart and soul ; and Mok- 
rano^ski was sent to the Russian ambassador, Key- 
serling, to demand an explanation of his mistresses 

Keyserling felt that he must temporize, and having 
m vain tempted the noble envoy with bribes, assured 
kim that Oatharime had no inimical design, and that 
the troops would be soon withdrawn. Frederic of 
Prussia was rather alarmed at the movement of the 
Russians ; and the cham of the Crimea, learning that 
they were approaching the frontiers, where he was 
encamped, sent their general this message : ^ If you 
louclra single Polish hut, in five days I will come to 
breakfast with you with a hundred thousand Tartars.** 
Afraid of these consequences, Catharine ordered her 
troops to leave Lithuania. 

Poniatowski wept with rage at seeing his traitorous 
designs on his country again frui^ated. He was 
present on the day when Branicki, his brother-in-law, 
was leaving Warsaw after the negotiation with Key- 
serling ; and the old man, espying him, made him get 
into his carriage, and began to reason with him, in 
hopes of kindling some sparks of patriotism in his 
breast. " Your ambition," said the venerable monitoiv 
'^misleads you; it is conducting you to slavery, and 
perhaps your greatest success will only serve to mark 


the epoch of the entire destruction of your country.** 
Poniatowski answered only with tears. The grand- 
general, inquiring how he was to interpret them, and 
receiving no answer but fresh tears and muttered 
invectives against the house of Saxony, stopped his 
carriage for his degenerate relative to alight, cbrove 
on, and never spoke to him again. 

Fortune, however, was not so stem towards the 
count as his brother had been ; for she now drew 
from her wheel a prize for him, which soon proved 
to be nothing less than the crown he sighed for. 
The news arrived that Augustus was dead, and 
Poniatowski breathed freely again. This event hap* 
pened on the 5th of October, 1763. He was then in 
nis sixty-seventh year, and had reigned thirty. This 
monarcn was one of those men who have nothing 
distinct from their species, merely nati consumere 
Jruges. His character is too easily read to require 
any commentary. These ** stupidly good" princes 
are more fatal to states in dangerous times than 
despots themselves ; for the latter, in such cases, are 
not allowed time to misemploy their talents or their 
cunning. " Augustus," says Solignac,* ** had, like 
his father, all the virtues of peace, but very little mili- 
tary talent ; the crown of Poland was the cause of 
misfortune to both." The worthy secretary of Stan- 
islas seems to have overtaxed his candour in the 
former clause of this sentence ; the combination of 
" all the virtues of peace" would have made a much 
greater man than Poland has been fortunate enough 
to possess for a king. 

This reign was more propitious to the cause of 
learning than the preceding. Among the followers 
of Stanislas to France were the Bishops Zaluski, and 
the Abb^ Konarski, who brought back to Poland an 

* Hiitoire de PoIogne,vol. tL Soliffnac was secretary to StanlalM 
LeracsyMkl, and aceompanied him to Lorraine. His history i« carried 
down to 1773, bat we cannot give it mneh credit for accuracy, Uberaiity,or 
impartiality. It is of some ose, bowever, as a check on tlie ralak 


FBoeRSss or ueisifiNo. 165 

f ardent enthusiasm for studious pursuits, and a wish 
I to elevate their national literature from its debase- 
I ment. Zaluski, Bishop of Kiow, traversed almost all 
r the countries of the Continent in quest of books and 

manuscripts, devoting the whole of his revenues and 
f property to this noble puipose. After forming a 

princely collection of more than 200,000 volumes, he 
: made a present of it to the public. 

> The exertions of Konarski were not less praise- 
I worthy. He was of the society of the Piarists, an 
^ order which had been introduced into Poland in 1642, 
I on precisely opposite principles to the Jesuits. He 
r established a college at Warsaw (Collegium Nobilium 
. Scholarum Piarum) at his own expense. His pub- 
h lications on learning, politics, and religion were 
I written in the boldest spirit of reform ; he introduced 
r the legitimate drama, and freed education from the 
r conventual shackles of the Jesuits. His exertions 
i were at first •* as the small pebble" that " stirs the 
I peaceful lake," but they soon spread wider and wider 

> throaghout Poland; and all the glorious attempts 
' since made at enlightened reform in liteiature and 
\ policy, may be said to have owed their existence 
■ to him* 



forced Eleetlnn of Stanislas FoniatowsU— Bold Resistaiiee oflffokra 
nowsU— Confederatioii— The Gonrederates oflbr the Crown to Henry, 
Brother of Frederic the Great— Ck>ronatioa of Stanislas— Aneodoce 
of StanisIas-^Dlaims or the Dissidents; supported by Rnssi&j rejected 
by the Dlet--Conftdenicy of the Dissidents— Confedemcy of the Con- 
stitutionalists— Repnin's Treachery— Polish Bishops banished to Si- 
beria—Dissidents confirmed in their Rights— Confederacy of Bai^— 
A.ttempt to seize Repnin— Bar taken by the Ru8slan»— Rnptme 
between Russia and Turkey— Defeat of the Turks— State of the Coo* 
federates— The Confederates transfer their Council to Eperies— Visited 
by Joseph n 

Nothing perhaps awakens more passions, bad and 
good, than competition, and few things have been 
sought with more eagerness than a crown. In addi- 
tion to the stimulus which Poniatowski felt in com- 
mon with other aspirants to the Polish diadem, his 
long expectations, which must have almost grown 
into a claim in his own mind, spurred him on to the 
contest. His cousin, whose name Catharine had put 
as a candidate with his, had entirely abandoned the 
field, and even sent his written determination to the 
empress to that puiport. But the deceitful count, 
either from the idea of adding effect to his situation, 
or in conformity with his habit of hj^crisy, affected 
the greatest sensibility at the thought of the important 
charge he was about to take on himself, and this too 
at the very»time when he was forging new chains for 
his country. " I foresee," said he, " that I shall have 
a difficult reign ; I shall find only the thorns while I 
leave to others the flowers. Perhaps, like Charles I. 
of England, I shall suffer a long imprisonment." 
The amusements which this sentimentalist marked 
out for himself to while away the tedium of this 
prophesied confinement, were the care of his toilet, 
the study of his curls, and the folds of his cravat* 


The Poles in general, or at least all those who did* 
not expect any advantage from the enslavement of 
their country, would not allow themselves to imagine 
thatPoniatowski, one of Catharine's kept men, could 
ever wear the Polish crown ; and wished their hero 
Branicki to accept it, in full confidence that he would 
restore its tarnished lustre. But although age had 
not chilled Branicki's patriotism, it had cur^d his 
spirit of enterprise, and he felt that even were he 
elected he should be king only of half his people. 

Count Oginski, who had married Michael Czarto* 
ryski's daughter, was another and powerful rivsd to 
Poniatowski. He went to Petersburg in the hope 
of subverting his relative's interest with Catharine, 
and even Orloff exclaimed in full court when he saw 
him, ** This is the man who ought to be king, and 
not a poor player like Pqniatowski." But the em- 
press was resolute, and when she was told one day 
that her lover's grandfather had been a dependant of 
the Sapiehas, she coloured at the word, but exclaimed 
imperiously, " Had he been so himself, I wish him to 
be King, and he shall be !" 

Nor did Catharine confine herself to mere protesta- 
tions ; she kept 60,000 troops on the frontiers ready 
to enforce her will, and sent Prince Repnin to War- 
saw to urge on the tardy Keyserling. He was a fit 
agent for such a mistress and such a mission. He 
said, before his departure, that '* his sovereign should 
give Poland whatever king she thought fit, the 
meanest gentleman, Polish or foreign ; and that no 
power on earth could hinder her." He had been one 
of Poniatowski's boon companions at Petersburg, 
and felt a pleasure in renewing his acquaintance* 
He brought him 100,000 ducats, and assured him of 
further support. 

Frederic wished to conciliate Catharine; he 
seemed to enter into all her views, and signed a 
treaty to prevent all change in the Polish government, 
and to confer the crown on a Piastr He also sent her 


lover the riband of the order of the Black fiagley as 
a testimony of his favour. Forty thousand PrussiajOMi 
were on the frontiers, and -ten thousand Russiani, 
were on their march to Warsaw. . 

Branicki and Radziwill were still firm to their duty: 
the latter arrived at Warsaw with a considerable 
number of troops, which, with the other forces of the 
republicans, amounted to 3000 men. 

On the 7th of May, 1764, which was the stated time 
for opening the diet of election, the Russians were 
drawn up without the city, and guarded all the ave-> 
nues. Poniatowski was strongly guarded, and the 
whole of the senate-house was filled with soldiers* 
But only eight senators out of fifty ai^aied ; and 
Malachowski, whose duty it was to open the sessioUf 
as marshal of the last diet, did not for some time 
make his appearance. Mokranowski was engaged 
during this interval in registering, in Uie very buU£ng 
which was invested by his enemies, a manifesto 
against the legality of tiie diet, held under the awe 
of foreign arms. 

When this was done, Mokranowski entered the 
house, leading the old marshal, who held his staff 
reversed, which was a sign that the diet was not yet 
opened. Mokranowski exclaimed, with a higH voice^ 
'^ Since the Russian troops hem us in, I suspend the 
authority of the diet.'' Inmiediately, the host of 
soldi^ers who were present drew their swords, and 
rushed at the- bold patriot. This first outrage was 
prevented ; and Mokranowski, sheathing his sword« 
which he had drawn in his defence, and looking round 
at the deputies, who wore cockades of the Czar- 
toiyski family colours, said to them, ^ What, gentle* 
men, are you deputies of your country, and assume 
the livery of a family?" 

The old marshal then spoke: '< Gentlemen, since 
liberty no longer exists among us, I carry away this 
staff, and I wUl never raise it tiU the pubHc is de- 
liyered from her troubles." Mokranowski supported 


tlie old man, and again drew on himself the ven 
greance of the villanous soldiers. '' Strike," shonted 
ne, crossing his arms, *' strike, I shall die free, and in 
the cause of liberty !" This signal determinatioa 
arrested the arms raised against him, and his enemies 
feared to render their cause obnoxious by the mas- 
sacre of such a justly respected patriot. Th^ 
turned to the marshal, and ordered him to resign the 
staff; but he was made of equally impenetrable stuff 
as his coadjutor. "You may cut off ray liand,*^ he 
said, ** or take my life ; but I am marshal, elected by 
a free people, and I can onl^r be deposed by a free 
people. I shall retire." This Tenerable man was 
eighty 3rears old. They surrounded him, and op- 
posed his departure; but Mokranowski, perceiving 
their violence, cried out, " Grentlemen, respect this 
old man ; let him go out ! If you must have a victim, 
here am 1 :— respect age and virtue !" At the same 
time he repelled the attacks on him ; and the crowd 
reached the door, which the chiefs of the opposite 
party ordered to be opened, being afraid of the con- 

The determined conduct of these two patriots de- 
prived the faction of even a semblance of consti- 
tutional sanction of their lawless proceedings ; but 
Poniatowski, who was now growing more expe* 
rienced in the arts of despotism, prolonged the diet, 
and ordered the deputies to commence the election 
of a marshal as if no protest had been made» Pnnce 
Adam Czartoryski was chosen, and this junto,* con- 
sisting scarcely of eighty members, instead of about 
300, with self-constituted authority, and in defiance 
of every principle of law, justice, or patriotism, com- 
menced a proscription of all the leading constitution- 

The patriots, finding that force was to be the 

* It i« ranarked by Solignac, that most of the noblM prannt at thta 
diet were in the German coetnme; whereas if this had been the eaae at 
any other tinw they would have been maMacred.— HM. vol vk 



arbiter, left Warsaw in two bodies ; one, under tfae 
grand-general, proceeded to attempt a confederation 
in Poland, and the other, under Radziwill, to enter 
Lithuania for the same purpose. When the diet 
heard this, they deprived the grand-general of his 
office, and intrusted it to Augustus Cjsartoryski, who 
had orders to send against him all the troops, foreign 
or native, which he could collect. The same instruc 
tions were issued with regard to Radziwill. 

The small body of men under Branicki decreased 
daily, and they were obliged to take refuge on the 
borders of Hungary. Radziwill on his road encoun- 
tered a detachment of Russians and gave battle. 
His wife and sister, both young and beautiful, accom- 

ganied him. Such a cause, and such an emergency, 
ave before now nerved the delicate female to tread 
the field of warfare, and in the present instance these 
fragile, lovely creatures were to be seen on horsebaek, 
wim sabres in tlieir hsmds, animating their brothers in 
arms to revenge their betrayed country. Among the 
Poles there was one individual who particularly 
attracted their notice by his hardihood and beauty, 
and they honoured him with their personal approba- 
tion. He was a poor and obscure gentleman, named 
Moraski ; but one of Radziwill's sisters had con- 
ceived such an admiration of him, which his beauty 
had fostered into love, that within eight days after the 
fight she conferred on him her hand, dowered with 
an immense fortune. Hireling barbarians could not 
at first resist enthusiasm like this, and some hun- 
dreds of them were left on the field. But strong as 
patriotism is, it is not irresistible ; and traitors' arms 
are of the same metal and temper as those wielded 
by the wannest lovers of their country; Radziwill 
was obliged to fly, and sought refuge in Turkey. 

The constitutionalists now turned to Prussia as a 
last resource, and Mokranowski flew to Berlin to have 
a conference with Frederic. He pointed out to him 
the gross violation which the Russians had made of 


their constitution, and the danger of their encroach- 
ments. Frederic pretended that the republicans had 
attempted to make the crown hereditary in the house 
of Saxony. "Besides," said he, "you are the 
•weakest; you must submit." The Pole replied, 
** Your majesty did not set us such an example ; you 
resisted, single-handed, all Europe." "Without a 
favourable juncture," observed the king, " I should 
have been undone." " One presents itself," returned 
Mokranowski; "and your majesty's talents have 
directed fortune's junctures." Frederic observed 
that they were accustomed to receive their kings 
from Russia. "She has only given us one, and 
'we wish no more frort her. But will yxxva majesty 
jiever appear except as a secondary character among 
us % — ^Assume the part that becomes us : give us 
-a king; give us your brother^ Prince Henry." 
^* He will not turn Catholic." " At least, sire, pre- 
serve our liberty." The king assured Mokranowski 
that he had no other intention, and turning the con- 
versation on the Poles, attempted to persuade him to 
«nter his service, so justly did he appreciate merit. 
This offer was declined, and they parted. 

The field was now entirely clear fqr Poniatowski, 
^nd the Russians allowed no time for new opposition. 
Keyserling, the ambassador, was enlisted in the 
count's service by more than one motive. The de- 
generate Pole threw himself at his feet, in tears, 
and swore that he would never exert his regal au- 
thority but according to his directions, and that under 
the name of Poniatowski Keyserling would rule. On 
the 7th of September, 1764, barely 4000 nobles, in- 
stead of the usual number of 80,000, assembled in the 
field of election, and the count beheld the consumma- 
tion of his wishes. 

No prince, says Rulhiere, ever ascended the throne 
under more perplexing and unfortunate circumstances 
Ahan Stanislas Augustus. To this we may add, none 
was ever less qualified to remedy themt and few have 


, been aflUcted with them more deservedly. H^ had no 
longer the support of Catharine ;> her jealousy had 
been roused by rumours of his gallantries, and her 
good sense most probably saw through the showy 
disguise of his imbecility, and began to be ashamed 
of her former admiration. With so little satisfaction 
, did she receive the news of his election from Count 
Oginski, that she said, coolly, ^ I congratulate you 
on it,'* and withdrew. The majority of the Poles 
submitted unwillingly, and even those who had been 
most eamestin his election must have regarded the 
traitorous intrigue, now it was divested of its bustle 
and excitation, in its natural deformity. 

The coronation took place on the 25th of Novem- 
ber, and, as if to observe a consistent opposition to 
the laws, it was performed at Warsaw, instead of 
Cracow. * Stanislas, ashamed of the Polish costume, 
which he would in fact have only disgraced, refused 
to sacrifice his long black curls to appear with his 
head cropped, as was customary, dressed himself in 
a theatrical style with a helmet, and presented him- 
self in this garb to receive the sacred unction, amid 
the sneers of his subjects. 

The Czartoryskis availed themselves of the oppor- 
tunity offered by the coronation-diet to reform the 
laws, so as to render the constitution virtually mo- 
narchical.! The change was insidious, but time ren- 
dered it too apparent. This same assembly decreed 
two statues, one to Augustus, the other to Michael 
Czartoryski. On the same night placards were posted 
in different parts of the.city with this merited sarcasm : 

" Erect two gibl»etfl ; that is thdr fit montunent." 

Stanislas bore his honours as might be expected ; 

* Soligntc. 

t Justice, howerer, obliges us to mention that many of the changes 
ware really beneficial, such as those relating t6 the coinage, aud weights 
and measures. Whether the tariff; which was now ibr the first time 
introduced into Poland, desenres the same character, is at least a que*- 
tiooable poiat. 


frivolity, show, and extravagance now ezliibited 
^emselves under royal protection. He p i etended to 
turn his attention to military matters, and raised 
several regiments ; but he ordered the cadets tj wear 
such immense helmets and such high plumes, that a 
gust of wind blew down his young army. The count, 
however, sometimes made his chameleon character 
assume the show of a stem moralist on showy follies 
and extravagance, and on this account we can readily 
believe an anecdote told by Solignac* He one day 
went to pay the voyvode of Kiow a visit, and saw 
among the company a nobleman veiy conspicuous by 
the sumptuoueness and costliness of his dress. The 
king had the impertinence to ask him why he was 
decked out so finely ; and was answered that it was a 
token of respect to his majesty. " You are mis- 
taken,'* said Stanislas, with disgusting affectation, ** a 
Pole ought to be distinguished only by courage and 

Even now Stanislas Augustus was but a viceroy 
of Russia. The ambassador Repnin remained at 
Warsaw, boasting that " it was he who had put the 
crown on his head," and ready to make him feel that 
it was he also who kept it on. More than SO,(X)0 
Russian troops were scattered over the kingdom, and 
though Branicki and his party bad been allowed to 
return to Poland, and did not offer any resistance to 
the existing authority, they could hot actively support 
it. The king had also destroyed the slight check of 
jealousy which Frederic might have presented to 
the encroaching influence of Russia, in displeasing 
that monarch by proposals to Catharine to enter into 
an alliance with Austria, Prussia*s mortal enemy, 
l^tanislas Augustus did this from the views he had of 
ibrming a matrimonial alliance with an archduchess. 
Frederic discovered the plot, and exclaimed, with 
a burst of rage, ** I will break his head with his 
xiarown !" 

* liistoire de Pcdo^e, voL yU 
P 2 



All parties regarded the approaching diet of 1766 
BE the crisis which was to determine their fate. The 
dissidents looked forward to it for the restitution of 
their privileges under the protection of Catharine. 
Poland, formed by the junction of states professmg 
different religions, was naturadly tolerant, but still the 
Roman Cathohc was predominant The next power- 
ful sect, the Greek church, was united to the papists 
in the enjoyment of offices and privileges. Those 
properly called dissidents, such as the Lutherans and 
Calvinists, were chiefly of the lower orders in the 
towns of Polish Prussia, and numbered but very few, 
and those the poorer nobles, in their sect. The 
Catholics have always been '^exclusives ;" and, as we 
have already seen, on the accession of Augustus in. 
they deprived the dissidents, that is, the few nobles 
who still lingered in that sect, of all personal share 
in the government. They had still the privileges of 
holding military offices, and the right of election, but 
could not be deputies themselves. At the same time, 
when the diet decreed these disabilities, they declared 
those dissidents guilty of high-treason who imr 
plored tiie protection of foreign powers. These 
Protestants had presented a petition to the diet of 
election that they might be reinstated in their former 
rights ; but the bigoted Catholics had treated the re- 
quest with contempt, torn the paper in pieces, and even 
deprived the dissidents of the right of holding offices.* 
lliey renewed the amplication at the coronation-diet, 
but with the same want of success. In imitation, 
therefore, of the other party, they determined to 
sacrifice the general ^ood, which in fact was now 
severed from theirs, to particular interest, and obtain 
from Russian interference what their own nation 
refused them. The battle of hostile creeds always 

* We iiae nearly tbe eame words u a Catholic historian. Em 
lie terms such oatngeoiu seal <<fluiaticism.''-*See Rolhi^, torn, ii 


•elicits the same bad passions ; bigotry, jealousy^ and 
revenge are ever the three furies, ready to kin^e 
the fame of religious discord. Catharine listened 
to their memorial, and informed the Polish ambas- 
sador that their demands must be granted, adding, 
** I forewarn you if you do not yield to me what I 
now request, my demands shall be without bounds.*** 
Repnin^ also presented a memorial to the diet, statins, 
that ^ his mistress wished to re-establish the dissK 
dents,' whether. Greeks, Lutherans, or Calvinists, in 
all their former privileges ; and that if she met with 
any opposition which resisted persuasion, she should 
be obliged to employ force, and that she was resolved 
upon it/' The following declarations sound strangely 
in a Russian despot's mouth. " It would be i^utting 
one's eyes to proofs, not to admit, as a princifde, that 
the constant refusal to listen to their representations, 
and to do justice to their grievances, must neces- 
sarily produce the effect of freeing them from their 
ties to an association in whose advantages they 
would no longer participate ; and that, restored fully 
to the condition of the community of freemen, they 
wiU be authorized, without any law, divine or human, 
forbidding such a step in their case, to choose among 
their neighbours judges between them and their 
equals, and to avail themselves of their alliance if 
they cannot in any other way defend themselves 
from persecution.''t The Russians, too, had suffi- 
cient forces at hand to support their authority ; more 
than 20,000 were still in Poland, and there were 
40,000 on the frontiers. 

Stanislas Augustus had further weakened his 
authority by alienating from himself the support of 
bis imcles ; so that the deputies for the approaching 
diet were divided into two sepsffate parties. Eight 

* An offlcUl defence of ttie cause of the disaidents was pnblMHd at 
Feteraburg in Dec. 1706.— See " Expoattloa dec Droita des Diaaidents.'' 

t See ''Expeaition dea Dratta^ea Dlaaidenta," to vvbicb tbia *' De^a^ 


only were of neither faction, but conscientious ps 
triots ; these were, Malachowski, who has before coma 
under our eyes in such an honourable point of view 
his'son, Count Wielhorski, Count Czazcki, and four 
Prussian deputies. 

In this dilemma the king; found himself obliged to 
conciliate his uncles, and the two parties were thu9 
united in determined opposition to all concession to 
the dissidents. In pursuance of the advice of his 
new counsellor, Stanislas Augustus convoked the 
bishops, and other senators who might be expected 
to be warmest against the Protestants, and nearly all 
pledged their 6aths to support him in his resistance. 
Thus reassured, he told the Russian ambassador, 
'' that he was determined to defend his holy religion.** 

The diet opened on the 6th of October, and after 
the pacta conventa were read, according to custom, 
before the united bodies of senators and deputies, 
that they might protest against any infringement 
which might have been made, Soltyk, the patriotic 
bishop of Cracow, remarked that the first article was 
concerning the defence of the .established religion, 
and he felt himself bound to complain of the dissi- 
dents for having sought the aid of foreign powers, 
contrary to the laws. He then moved that they 
should never grant them any concessions, bat con- 
firm the penal statute. The Poles, who had been so 
disunited in their, country's cause, rose now with one 
heart and voice at the call of intolerance, and the 
diet re-echoed the sentiments of the bishop with a 
general shout of acclamation. But Poniatowski's 
courage began to fail at the thought of such open 
defiance to Russia, and he deferred this subject for a 
future day. This meeting, however, carried one 
good resolution ; namely, that the elections in tiie 
dietines should be decided by plurality of sufirages* 
instead of unanimous acclamation, which had l^ea 
(he cause of great confusion and delay. 

The Russian ambassador, in the mean time, wai* 



making a counterplot. He now addressed himself* 
to the constitutionalists, and all the former oppo- 
nents of Poniatowski. He told them that now was 
the time to escape from the yoke that had been 
forced on them. The Radziwillians and the par- 
tisans of Saxony also listened to his temptations. 
One of Russia's most active agents was Podoski, a 
man admirably suited to carry on such an intrigue. 
Although an ecclesiastic, and educated for the church 
from his infancy, he appeared at "Warsaw as an ad- 
vocate of the dissidents. The reason of this seem- 
ing anomaly was a passion he had long felt for a 
Lutheran widow. The most upright patriots fell 
into his i^ares; to all remonstrances from the court 
party they answered, that their object was to recover 
tiieir lost liberty, and overthrow a hated dynasty, 
and that it was allowable to make even Russians 
eonduce to this end. 

The king still further thinned the rankS'Of -his par- 
tisans b^ attempting to carry a law to make aU 
motions in the diet concerning the militaiy forces 
and taxes carried by a plurality instead of a una^ 
nimity of votes. He expected that this would enable 
him to obtain some power over the diet, since he 
could ensure a majority although he could not stop 
every patriot's mouth. This attempted innovation, 
however salutary it might have eventually proved, 
alarmed the deputies, and they received the proposal 
with shouts of indignation. Many of those who 
had been most devoted to the king but a few mo- 
ments before, now showed themselves his adversa- 
ries, the more openly as they had to regain the con- 
fidence of the new party they then adopted.* 

Catharine only increased her demands in favour of 
the dissidents, and 40,000 Russians entered Poland. 
The dissidents confederated at Thorn, on the dOth 
of March* 1767 ; but notwithstanding old men an4 

• JRnlhWie. 


even children were pressed into the service, the list 
of confederates contained the nanaes of only 573 
gentlemen of the Lutheran or Calvinistic profession; 
artisans and peasants composed the majority:* This 
was the party which the Russians represented as a 
great portion of the nation, and which the Poles 
magnified into an enemy so formidable as to require 
such determined resistance. But still the malecon- 
tents would not make common cause with these 
dissidents, although they disowned adl allegiance to 
the king. 

Repnin's agent, Podoski, however, planned a con^ 
federation of the constitutionalists. He held out to 
them the hope of crushing the Ozartoryskis, pre- 
serving the constitution from the encroachments of 
Poniatowski, and promised in Repnin's name that 
he should be deposed. All the old patriots rallied 
at the promise, and more than 60,000 nobles signed 
their names to the confederacy. They were in sus- 
pense on whom to confer the office of marshal ; but 
Catharine anticipated their wishes, and ordered them 
to choose the patriot prince Radziwill, whom they 
accordingly sent for. He reached Wilna the capital 
of his province on the 3d of June, and was reinstated 
in all his former authority and possessions. The 
marshals of 178 particular confederations met at 
Radom, a town fifteen miles from Warsaw. 

Repnin showed the king the list of confederates, 

* This is the number stal^ by Rolhldre, bat the printed list of eon- 
federates contains only 804. 

The following are the grievances -^mplained of in the act of confMe* 
ration : prohibition of public worship, e?iLclusion from offices, corporations, 
and incapacity of being witnesses in law-courts, &c. 

A deputy duly elected, named Pietrowski, was expelled disgraceAiir; 
from the diet of 1718, only for being a dissident Many were accused 
of blasphemy, their property was ronflscated, and they were obliged K 
escape ftiom the kingdom. One of them, of the name of Unruk, havinf 
accidentally lost his portfolio containing religious extracts fh>m differ* 
ent authors, was accused of blasphemy, and sentenced to lose bis hM4 
The tragedy at Thorn was. too bloody to have been forgotten. The act 
fc^icludes by calling for the protection of Russia, Sweden, Great Brit^lB 
0^mO9rk, and Prussia.— 6o2t%. Starosta of Tuchel Marshal, 


and said to him, exultingly, ^ You see I am your 
master; you cau retain your crown only by submis* 
sion.^ The king now began to make some conces^ 
8ions,.and the Russian was less decided about his 

The confederates were now made to feel their 
folly in trusting to Russian faith. A detachment of 
Catharine's troops encamped near Radom, and a 
Russian colonel, who accompanied Radziwill, being 
desired to withdraw, produced an order from his 
ambassador to be present at all deUberations of the 
confederates. He also pulled out a list of conditions^ 
which the empress required to be unanimously agreed 
to. They were surprised to find, that besides en- 
suring the privileges of ike dissidents, they required 
{)rotestations of fidelity to the. king, and an acknow^ 
edffment of Catharine's right of interference. The 
high and threatening tone of the colonel immediately 
disclosed to them the snare they -had been decoyed 
into, and they wished to abjure the confederacy and 
disperse. Six marshals only, out of 178, were will- 
ing to submit, and the Russian, under pretext of 
giving them guards of honour, kept them in custody 
till he could receive further instructions from Rep-' 
run. The next day he drew up a battery in front 
of the town-hall, where the Polish nobles were 
assembled, and while his men stood to their gunsy 
with lighted matches, he ordered the marshals to 
sign the manifesto. Podoski, who had just arrived 
£rom Warsaw, where Repnin had ensured him the 
archiepiscopal see, which was then vacated, was the 
first to sign. The marshals then afilxed their names 
also, but with written reservations, which, in fact, 
annulled the meaning. BadziwiLt was declared 
marshal, and the confederates, entirely at the mercy 
of the Russians, remained in suspense to see the 

The king's resolution entirely forsook him, and 
he submitted to Repnin at discretion. All parties 


were now in Russia's power; Radziwill was kept 
giardedy and the ambassador was sole despot. He 
•▼ermled the dietines in the election of deputies for 
a diet, and obliged most of them to sign a pape? 
drawn up in these words ; ^ I subscribe and pledge 
myself to Prince Repnin, ambassador plenipotentiary 
of her majesty the empress of all the Russias ; and 
promise him that I will have no connexion or corres- 
pondence, that I will not even converse with any 
senator, minister, or deputy, with any ambassador 
«r other foreign minister, or with any one whatever 
whose sentiments are contrary to the projects pro 
posed by the said ambassador, to be received and 
passed into a law in the diet ; moreover, I promise 
him that I will not introduce to the diet any thing 
of all that has been enjoined and recommended in 
my instructions from the nobles of my district ; and 
tluit, in a word, I will not oppose in any way the will 
of this ambassador; and in case of infraction of 
this engagement, I submit myself to the penalty of 
degradation of rank, confiscation of property, death, 
or any such like punishment it may please the said 
ambassador to inflict." Let this speak for itself. 

The diet was opened on tlie 5th of October, 1767; 
and Repnin, having some few days before assured the 
bishops and those from whom he expected the great- 
est resistance^ **that whosoever persisted in his 
obstinacy should repent it," expected impMcit obe- 
dience. The first proposal was to establish a legisla- 
tive commission, which would be entirely under tiie 
control of Russia. Some few patriots yet raised 
their voices against the gross oppression ; the bishop 
of Cracow was among the foremost, and his exam- 
ple animated others. But Russian despotism is not 
accustomed to bear such opposition with impunity ;r 
and the ambassador determmed to airest the prin- 
cipal ringleaders of this patriotic sedition, and sent 
them to Siberia. These were the bishop of Cracow, 
the bishop of Kiow, the palatine of Cpacow, and his 


son* The king, who could not forgive the recent 
opposition he had experienced, even urged Repnin to 
take this viUanous step, particularly as it included 
the bishop of Cracow. On the 13th of Octoberi 
while Soltyk, the bishop of Cracow, was supping 
with his friend,, the marshal of the court, the Russian 
soldiers inve3ted the house, and entered by three dif 
ferent ways»- There was, however, still one unob< 
served passage by which he could escape and |ake 
refuge with the Prussian ambassador. This he dis-> 
dained to do ; and when the soldiers broke into the 
room where he was, he rose, and approaching the 
fireplace, threw into the flames the papers contain** 
ing the secret plans of the patriots, which he always 
carried on his person. Then turning to the officer^ 
he said to him, *' Do you know me 1 Do* you know 
that I am a sovereign prince,* a senator, and a priest f 
The Russian answered, his orders were to arrest 
him ; and Soltyk followed him without the slightest 

On the same night the other marked patriots 
shared the same fate. The venerable Zaluski, bishop 
of Kiow, was the restorer of learning in Poland, and 
bad devoted an immense fortune, besides his reve-« 
Hue* to that purpose. By his own exertions he had 
formed a library of 200,000 volumes, and presented 
it to the pubUc ; but these services did not shield him 
horn the despotism of Russia, and he was arrested 
with his brother patriots. They were conducted by 
a military guard with the greatest rigour and bar-* 
barity towards the frontier, nor were they allowed 
even the liberty of speaking. Catharine offered 
them their liberty if they would promise to desist 
from their opposition ; this proposal was made to 
each separately in their dungeons, but rejected with 
disdain by every one. They were then transferred 
to Siberia^ and the empress, wishing to erase even 

* fie WM sorerdgn duke of Semia*, 



the memory of such patriotism, forbade all mention 
even of their names. 

This scandalous violation of all national and indi- 
vidual right made a ^preat sensation among the Poles, 
and the senate and deputies went in a ^dy to the 
king to protest against it. They found this'effigy of 
royalty seated quietly in his study, and amusing 
himself with sketching designs of pageants for the 
anniversary of his coronation. Tlie only redress 
they could obtain from him was a message to the 
ambassador demanding an explanation of the late 
proceeding. Repnin answered that he was respon- 
sible only to his mistress; but that the prisoners had 
been guilty of disrespect to the empress, had en- 
deavoured to attach suspicion to her intentions, and 
that they should not be set at liberty until the busi- 
ness of the diet was entirely settled. He also 
threatened tp give the city up to pillage, if any fur- 
ther opposition was made to the proposal of a legis- 
lative commission, and that he would bring all male- 
contents to the scaffold. 

At the next assembly of the confederated diet, 
Radziwill, as iharshsd of the confederacy, demanded 
if they agreed to the motion. Six voices only an- 
swered the first inquhy, three ihe second, and the 
third produced but one assent. Sixty commission- 
ers, however, were appointed from tne senate and 
deputies, with sovereign authority to decree what- 
ever regulations seemed fit with regard to the re- 
ligion, 3ie laws, government, frontiers, and privi- 
leges of the nation. Tlieir resolutions, proposed by 
the Russians, were to be brought before a regular 
diet, who were to have only the right of ratifying 
them without any discussion. None of these com- 
missioners were to absent themselves without per- 
mission from Repnin; fourteen of them were a suf- 
ficient number to act; and thus a majority oi eigfal 
persons had it in their power to decide the fate of 
the coDstitutioa* 


Repiiin was now uncontrolled dictator; be had 
the disposal of all offices ; Poniatowbki submitted 
quietly to hiis orders, and amused himself with wit- 
nessing the reviews and evolutions of the Russian 
troops — a worthy employment for such a king. He 
strove to win Repnin's favour by outdoing even his 
former agents in servile submission. 

The conferences of the commissioners were held 
altemat^y at the ambassador's and the prima.,"'! 
houses. The afifair of the dissidents was the first 
that was laid before them, and eight deputies of that 
sect were present as its advocates. The ministers 
of the foreign Protestant courts, England, Prussia, 
Sweden, and Denmark, were also admitted, to add 
weight to the cause. Repnin even here played the 
dictator, and checked all freedom of discussion. — 
This business was concluded on ike 19th of Novem- 
ber ; the dissident nobility were then admitted to the 
same privileges as the Catholics, excepting that they 
were not eligible to the crown. 

The commission next proceeded to the reform of 
the constitution.* The libenun veto was re-estab- 
lished in all its absurd extent, and' Poland was thus 
continued in its primitive impotence, incapable of 
aggregate exertion, and consequently at the mercy 
of its ambitious neighbour. Some few laudable re- 
forms were nuxed with these ; the serfs were some- 
what ems^icipated, the nobles being deprived of the 
right of life and death over them; and pecuniary 
compositions for crime, which still disgraced PoUmdt 
were now abolished. / 

The diet was then convened to ratify this new 
constitution. It was the most scanty assembly ever 
known ; most of the senators were absent, and not a 
single Lithuanian deputy made his appearance. But 
even this small body was not unanimous in submis- 
sion to Russian despotism, — one of the Prussian 
deputies protested against the forced diet and ^ 
sconded. Th^ diet was then virtually dissolved; 

. 1 


but although the Russians had themselves enacted 
the law of unanimity, they obliged the meeting to 
continue their session, and give their sanction to tlie 
new laws. The diet was dissolved on the 5th of 
March, and the confederation of Radom broken up. 
But the spirit of Polish independence was not en* 
' tirely annihilated ; while the Russians were lording 
^ it 80 despotically at Warsaw, patriotic confederacies 
Were secretly forming, and at the very time when the 
diet broke up,' rumours reached Repnin's ear that 
they wfere already matured. TTie bishop of Kami^** 
niec, Krasinski, had entered into the spirit which ac- 
tuated Soltyk in opposing the Russian subjugation, 
but habit and character made him adopt more wary 
expedients. He had been long known as an upright 
member of society^ but had been always considered 
timid and undetermined. Constitutional weakness 
made him shudder at the report of a gun, and faint 
at the sight of a drawn sword; but a courageous 
spirit tenanted this feeble body, and even when his 
nerves trembled with fear, his mind laughed at the 
weakness, and remained undaunted.' This tempera- 
ment, however, made him always prefer the long 
course of wary perseverance which requires strength 
and determination of mind, to the dashing style of ac« 
tion which demands animal spirit and strong nerves. 
While the bishop of Cracow was declaiming in the 
diet, he was negotiating with Turkey for aid against 
Russia. He obtained a promise of support from the 
sultan, provided Austria would remain neuter, and 
his next object was to ensure this proviso. But 
cautious as he was, his known connexion with Sol- 
tyk rendered him an object of Repnin's suspicion, 
and he would have been arrested at the same time as 
the other patriots had he not eloped. In the disguise 
of a physician he eluded the strictest vigilance, and 
was even called on to prescribe for one of the officers 
who was pursuing him. On another occasion, when 
in imminent danger of being discovered, he escaped, 


concealed in an old chest, which served as a seat in 
a peasant's sledgfe. When he had arrived in a place 
of safety, where several of his attendants had orders 
to await him, he assumed the Prussian uniform, as 
well as the rest of his little troop; ai^d in this disguise 
passed several Russian detachments, and even ap- 
proached Warsaw, where, having made some com* 
munication with his party, he set out for Silesia on 
his route to Vienna to obtain llie promise of neu- 

But all the bishop's wary designs were frustrated 
by the impatience of one of his partisans : Joseph 
Pulawski, starosta of Warka, had been an emissary 
between the bishopis of Kami^niec and Cracow, and 
entered eagerly into their projects. He had long 
followed the profession of the law, and was chosen 
for one of tlie counsellors of the confederation of 
Radom. Repnin had a contemptible opinion of him, 
and made no demur at the choice ; but the bishop of 
Cracow riead his character better, took him into his 
confidence, and lodged him in his palace. From 
this moment he incurred the suspicion of Repnin, 
who, one day, even threatened to strike him, be- 
cause he put on his cap in his presence, though he 
had done the same. This personal insult added 
fresh fuel to Pulawski's patriotic fire, and jnade him 
impatient to revenge himself on the enemies of him- 
self, as well as his country. The bishop of Kami6- 
niec was so much too tardy for him, that he resolved 
to act for himself, and communicated his design to 
several of the nobles aX Warsaw, from some of 
whom he obtained money, and from others orders 
for their domestic troops. Michael Itrasinski, the 
bishop's brother, entered promptly into his schemes, 
and these two left Warsaw to traverse the country 
and raise confederates. 

. Pulawski was accompanied b3r three sons and his 
nephew. Notwithstanding their youth, he took 
them to one of his estates near Warsaw, coonmuni- 



<^ted his designs, and employed them as agfentfl, 
Leopol, the capital of Polish Russia, was the first 
place proposed for a rendezvous ; but finding them* 
selves too narrowly watched there, they fixed oa 
Bsir, a little town in the palatinate of Podolia, five 
leagues from Kami^niec, and seven from the Tuiidsh 
frontier. Eight gentlemen only formed the first 
assembly of the confederacy. Pulawski, his four 
relatives, Count Krasinski, and two other nobler, but 
more than three hundred had pledged their word. 
The 29th of February, 1768, was the memorable day 
which dates the commencement of this famous con- 
federation. Their first step was to sign an act by 
which they renewed the confederation of Radora 
under the Marshal Radziwill. Their manifesto was 
B protest against the imposition of the Russian 

In a very short time the confederates mustered 
SOOO men ; they sent deputies to Turkey, Saitony, 
and Tartary, and now openly invited all to join them. 
But they found that they had reason to apprehend 
that they were premature ; the whole country was 
occupied by the enemy, and most of the- nobles were 
without arms. When the bishop of Kami^iec was 
informed of the confederation, he was so enragedat 
their rash impetuosity, that for a moment he wa- 
vered whether he should discountenance them; but 
patriotism was predominant in his mind, and be 
hastened to Dresden, Vienna, and Versailles to sue 
for support. 

Repnin was violently provoked at the proceedings 
of the patriots, and perhaps more so by a personal 
attack in their manifesto. He tlut»atened to mas- 
sacre them all without delay, but he was not bold 
enough to issue the order; the Turks remin<ted him 
of his engagement to virithdraw his troops, and hs 
was obliged to devise some semblance of a just pre* 



text for their retention. The kin;, afraid of kit 
«i]bject8, readily coimtenanced this denen* and a 
small number of servile senators requested the Rus- 
sians^ protection against the rebels, as they termed 
them. The Russian troops, therefore, were liet in 
motion against the confederates, and intercepted all 
their communications with Poland. Several skir- 
mishes took place, jalways to the advantage of the 
patriots ; Pulawski assembled his soldiers, and fur- 
ther animated them with harangues. 

The senate, in the mean time, tried what could be 
4Dne by negotiation, and Mokranowski was ap« 
pointed emissary to the confederates. This patriot 
himself mistrusted the confederation, and feared it 
was but a badly concerted and • useless rebellion. 
He, however, freely accepted the commission, wish- 
ing to ascertain the state of affairs with his own 
syes« and trusting, that if he found them 'strong 
enough to deliver their country, he should be able to 
draw the king into the design; and if not, that he 
oould save them, from massacre by necrotiation. 
The king even assured him that none could be more 
ready than himself to -throw off the Russian yoke. 
Before hs departure, Mokranowski obtained from 
the senate written credentials, in which the patriots 
were recognised as a confederation, and thus shielded 
from the consequences of illegal rebellion. 

Repnin in the interim had received his orders 
from Russia. Catharine dedared the confederates 
rebels and enemies td their country and king, and 
that she would lay waste the whole kingdom imless 
he united his troops with hers. Notwitl^anding an 
armistice had been declared during the conference, 
tiie Russians marched seven regular fegiments, and 
5000 Cossacks, towards Bar, burning', fullaging, and 
murdennff through the idiole course of their route, 
and attacked snudl parties of the confederates by 
sorprise. Pulawski was, told that his three sons had 
fiendied in these skinwlBfaes: his answer wwi *I 


am sure they have done their duty.** But, on the 
contrary, young Casiinir Pulawski was still livings, 
and had repulsed the Russians three different times, 
with the determination and experience of a veteran, 
although he was hut twenty-one years of age. 

Mokranowski was thus made the apparent instm- 
ment of a perfidy ; but such was the uprightness of 
his character, that even the victims themselves ex- 
onerated him from all suspicion of connivance in the 
villany. He returned to Warsaw and told the king^ 
^ Sire, either they deceive you, or you have deceived 
me. Be the case which it may, I cannot serve you 
any longer." He left Poland for France, and en- 
deavoured to obtain the support of the French court 
in favour of his unfortunate countrymen. 

Notwithstanding the threats of Russia, fresh con- 
federations were daily forming. Count Joachim Po- 
locki was at the head of a party of patriots in Gal- 
iicia, and others were only w^ting for an opportu- 
nity to aid him in all parts of the kingdom. The 
Russians were the objects of almost universal de- 
testation; Repnin was execrated, and a plan was 
formed, even under the secret sanction of the king, 
to seize him. The daring individual who underto(» 
this hazardous scheme was Dzirzanowski* one of the 
chamberlains. Fortune had thrown him into the 
strangest vicissitudes of life ; he had fought in the 
French armies in the East Indies, and organized the 
sepoys in the European manner; chance then took 
him to America, Portup^al, and Spain, and at last he 
found himself in Pohiatowski's palace, where his 
vivacity and anecdote made him a great favourite 
of the king ; but a violent love for his country still 
formed one of the ingredients of his anomalous 
diaracter, and he advoc;ated the patriotic cause with- 
out much disguise. His attempt miscarried, and 
flight alone saved him. The discovery only served 
to irritate Repnin and increase his activity against 
the confederates. Polocki's little army was obliged 

to take refuge in Turkey, and the Rusrians prepared 
to exterminate the confederation of Bar. The Cos- 
Backs of the Ukraine took advantage of the Potith 
troubles, and committed the most barbarous atroci- 
ties under the Russian direction. 

While Pulawski was absent from Bar, and at- 
tempting to rally Polocki*s routed army, the Rus- 
sians, conjointly with the king's troops, attacked the 
town. The fortifications were very trifling; a few 
embankments of earth, a dry ditcli, and palisades. 
For a time the confederates made a stubborn resist- 
ance : a monk, named Mark, animated with fanati- 
cism, exh6rted them, and reminded them that tiiey 
were fighting for their religion. He mounted the 
ramparts at the very moment when the Russians 
were about to fire their first gun, and made a sign of 
the cross. The cannon burst, an accident which 
was then very common from the badness of the 
Russian artillery. The besieged cried out that it 
was a miracle, and imagined that the hand of God 
was stretched forth in their defence. But dissen- 
sions lonong the confederates counteracted the good 
effects of this enthusiasm ; in a few days the town 
was taken by assault, and 1200 prisoners were car- 
ried in chains to Russia. 

New confederations were ibrme^ in Lithuania, at 
Lokroczim near Warsaw, and at Cracow. The lat- 
ter place became, from its situation, the rallving 
point of the patriots, and resisted the enemies^ at- 
tacks six weeks. But an event happened about this 
tune, more serviceable to the* cause than all these 
feeble and partial efforts. On the frontiers of Podo- 
lia there stands the little town of Balta, within the 
Turkish limits, and separated from Poland only by 
a rivulet. The Tartar governor, Jakoubaga, an in- 
veterate enemy of Russia, had long sought an occa- 
sion to embroil that country in a war with Turkey. 
By the persuasion of the French ambassador, he 
urged a small remnant of the scattered confederates 

100 HISTORY or ^LAMD. 

to attack the Rnssiane, and decoy them into the 
Turkish territory. The enemy porsued them to 
Balta, took the town, and slaughtered a considerable 
number of Mussulmans: the place was fired, as sup- 
posed, by the Tartar himself; and the Russians, 
thinldng the confederation was entirely quelled, 
withdrew. Jakoubaga sent information of the affiaiir 
to Constantinople, and the grand vizier summoned 
the Russian ambassador to an audience. In the 
winter of 1768 the Turks and Tartars entered New 
Servia, a province which the Russians had unjustly 
seized, and took back 35,000 prisoners. 

This news revived the spirits of the confederates. 
Pulawski returned from his refuge in Moldavia, but 
trusting imprudently to a Tartar governor, he was 
arrested. Confederations were daily forming in 
Lithuania, under Radziwill, Count Pa^, and others. 
There were also other spectators interested in the 
approaching contest b^ween Russia and Turkey: 
Austria and Prussia kept each other in check, each 
with 200,000 men in marching order, and waited for 
the result. 

The opening of the campaign in 1769 was inaus- 
mcious : the Russians entered Moldavia, drove the 
Turks before them, and took Chocim. This, how- 
ever, was but a temporary success, and their retreat 
was as rapid as their inroad had been impetuous. 
The skirmishing recommenced with the confederates, 
but without any advantage. Of all the family of 
Pulawski Casimir alone survived, and he saved him- 
self by a retreat to Hungary, with an escort of only 
ten men. 

Three hundred thousand troops, the main body of 
the Turkish army, entered Moldavia, in the direction 
of Poland. The Poles dreaded the Turks for visiters 
as much as they did the Russians ; and the bishop 
of Kami^niec wrote from his retreat at Teschen, in 
Austrian Silesia, which was now the head-quarten 
oi the confederates, to Count Polocki, that ^ to bring 


in the Turks to drive away the Russians, was like 
setting fire to a house to drive away vermin.** 
.Polocki went himself to the Turkish camp to endeav- 
our to direct their operations against the Russian 
frontier. The grand vizier, who commanded the 
army, was named Mahomet Emin ; he had raised 
himself from the station of a wandering silk mer- 
chant to his present lofty office ; but his talents had 
not been directed to the study of war, for this was 
the first military expedition he had ever been en- 
gaged in. He expressed an animosity against 
Poland as decided as Russia ; and his policy was to 
ruin it irrevocably, " to make a desert there, that it 
might be no more a subject for ambition, jealousy, ot 
war; that the system of protecting Poland, and en- 
tering into an alliance with her, for the object of 
using it as a rampart against the Russians, might be 
good for the Christian courts, which, by unstable 
alliances which they make and unmake at will, 
change and rechange the face of all Europe. It 
pleases them; but such a plan could never enter 
among the counsels of an empire which makes its 
operatiohs depend only on its, will and power, and 
whose policy has always been to surrotmd itself on aU 
tides TSfith aeserts,^^ 

Such a man did not bid fair to be a very favour- 
able auditor, and when Polocki represented that the 
confederates flattered themselves, ^ that in this un- 
toward conjuncture Poland would meet with the 
same aid that the Porte had granted her in so many 
instances, and that the arms of the Turks would 
assist her to recover her liberty;" Mahomet re- 
joined, *' He thinks we are not acquainted with our 
history. Teach him that the Porte has never sup- 

gorted infidels, and that it remembers how often it 
asjiad reason to complain of the Poles. He imagines 
that he is treating here with a Christian power, accus- 
tomed to sport with truth and falsehood. Do you 
know,** added he, turning to his officers, ** what these 
people call their liberty) Itisthe inht of living with* 


out laws.'' When hirwrath had effervescedf the ctiaiii 
of the Tartan added his influence to that of Polocki $ 
and it was agreed that a detachment of Turks and 
Tartars, under the command of the cham, should 
march towards the Dnieper, and at the same time 
the confederates, with an auxilisury army, should 
proceed to the deliverance of their coimtry, while 
the grand vizier, with the main body, should advance 
as fat as Bender, to watch the issue of the enemy's 

Peremptory orders in the mean time reached the 
Russian army, to take Chocim, on the Dniester* 
The confederates and their Turkish detachment had 
the same destination, and thus the two armies daily 
approached each other, although such was their want 
of precaution and intelligence, that neither was 
aware of it until close at hand. A rencounter took 
place ; but the Turks fled precipitately at the first 
discharge of artillery. They w6re mostly raw soU 
diers^ and were so startled at the enemy's facility in 
managing their great guns, that they imputed it to 
magic ; and one of the pachas, who was taken 
prisoner, requested to see ^ those enchanted cannon, 
which were moved," said he, " by a word, and fired 
more than a hundred times without being reloaded." 
Fifteen thousand of the fugitives threw themselves 
mto Chocim, where theywere joined by the confede* 
rates under Polocki. 

The Russians invested the town on the 14th of 
July, and turned the^siege into a blockade; but the 
courage and prudence of Polocki made it hold out 
three weeks, at the expiration of which time the 
siege was raised by a Tuikish- pacha, Moldavangi, at 
the head of 4000 men, and the cham soon arrived, 
having made a countermarch on receiving news of 
the Russian inroad. The enemy repassed the Dnies« 
ter in the night, and cut down the bridges. At 
this very time the vizier lost his head, and the Pacha 
Moldavangi was elevated to his important office* 
HfteotPifrdcted a temporary bridge, a n d before oiowk 


fng it, published a manifesto of a very different spirit 
from what might have been expected from his pre- 
decessor, and which completely reconciled the Poles 
to the Turks' entrance into their country. On the 
Ifeth of September the Turks passed the river to the 
nninber of 60,000, and attacked the Russians with 
some advantage. But a rumour had for some days 
prevailed in the Turkish army that the bridge was 
endangered by the rapid current of the river, swollen 
by continual rains: a panic struck them, when thev 
looked back for a moment, at the sight of the unsa/s 
but only means of retreat ; the battle was at an end, 
and they rushed in an immense mass towards the 
tottering bridge ; the weight of the cannon was too 
much for the temporary structure, the rafts gave 
way, and left 6600 or 70OO.men on the side nearest 
to the enemy. These were mostly cut to pieces ; 
sedition and discontent sprung up in the Turkish 
anny, and one general rout ensued; Chocim was 
deserted, and the road into Moldavia was open to the 

Thus were the fond hopes of the confederates 
again blighted. During the successes of the Turks 
the confederation had become nearly general, and one 
decisite victory only was wanting to arm allPolandr 
Stilly however, a small party held up their heads, and 
•♦hoped even against hope." In the beginning of 
November the marshals and deputies of the district 
confederacies met at Biala, or Bilitz, a town on the 
frontiers of Silesia, half of which is in Poland and 
half in Silesia, and proclaimed Couiit Krasinski 
marshal-general of the kingdom, and Count Polocki 
commander-in-chief of the forces. Count Pa^ was 
appointed locum tenens^ in the absence of these two# 

The king still remained a mere cipher; he had 
7000 troops, but they acted only as his own guards, 
ttis former t3nrant and keeper, Repnin, was recalled^ 
but his policy still continued his influence, and the 
only liberty which the court psuty could obtaiB^ al 




the expense of an extraordinaiy display of spiiiV 
was to remain neuter, and watch the struggle between 
the Russian oppressors and the Turkish championa 
of their countiy. 

The winter drove the Russians back to Poland^ 
and, wearied with their campaign, they seemed to 
relax from their former vigilance and cruelty to the 
confederates. The Russian ambassador, Volkonski, 
who had succeeded Repnin, was a shade or too less 
bloody ; old age had somewhat blunted his tyrannical 
spirit, and he sat down, contented for the present - 
with cutting off the confederates' communicatioa 
with their council at Bilitz. The state of the patriots^ 
so long accustomed to skirmishing warfare, may be 
readily imagined. Hunted like wild beasts, many 
were almost become so; persecuted like outlaws^ 
some began to think legal ties were no longer bind- 
ing; the confederate soldiery '* wandered without 
plan, without restraint, without discipline; issuing: 
from the depths of woods to seize their subsistence 
in the villages with armed force ; without ammuni- 
tion, and obliged even to steal lead from the churches 
to make balls."* 

Finding that their retreat at Bilitz Was not so safe 
from the Russians as they could wish, and that the 
communication with Poland was restricted, the con- 
federates removed their council to Eperies, in Hun- 
gary, and trpops of patriot soldiers occupied the 
passes of the Carpathian mountains. They were 
visited here by the emperor Joseph II., who held 
some conversation with Count Pag and other chiefe;. 
and Pag seized the moment to request an audience 
for the next day, which was granted. The confer- 
ence, however, was fruitless. In the month of 
February, 1770, the confederates made an attack on 
Petrickau, a town forty leagues from Warsaw, and 
even approached the capitsd, but were obliged to 


disperse. A continued' series of skirmishes then 
enstfed among the Carpathian mountains, where the 
patriots took refuge. All this, however, was merely 
the ebullition of the spirit which was working un- 
seen in Poland, and which only waited for a single 
favourable opportunity to burst forth. The little 
council of Eperies sat watching, impatiently, the 
progress of spring to hear the signal for the renewal 
of hostilities between Russia and Turkey, trusting, 
that in the struggle some fortunate crisis, of whidi 
they might take advantage, would present itself. 


Grand Flan of the Russian Campaign in 1770— Insarrection of Greece^ • 
Elphinston sails into the Dardanelles— Russian Fleet in the Levant-^ 
Deftat of the Turks by Land— State of the Conrederates— French 
▲gents, M. de Taules, Dumourier, and Viom^nil — Valiant Defence of 
Czenstochowa— Vloro^nirs Account of the Confederates— Saldem, and 
Roflsian CrOelties — The Austrians seize Zipis— The Prussians enter 
Poland — Attempt to carry off Stanislas fWmi Warsaw— Decline of the 
Confederacy — ^Treachery of Zaremba — ^Treaty between Russia, Aus- 
tria, and Prussia— Dispersion of the Confederates. 

The Russian plan for the campaign of 1770 was 
on a grand and almost romantic scale. Two armies 
were to enter Turkey on the north, one by Moldavia, 
the other by New Servia; two fleets were to set 
sail, one to scour the Mediterranean, and the other 
from the Black Sea; the Dardanelles were to be 
forced, and all these armaments, military and naval, 
meeting from the north, east, south, and west, at 
Constantinople, were to overthrow the throne of the 
sultans. Another and a nobler scheme formed also 
a part of the design ; Greece was to shake off her 
chains and aid the destruction of her tyrants. 

This project is ascribed to the gigantic genius of 
Peter the Great; and it must be confessed that its 


marked features and character give it a very probable 
affinity to the tower^lg offspring of that great man's 
mind.* In February, one Russian fleet under Admiial 
Spiritoff was on the coasts of the Peloponnesus ; and 
by the beginning of May another squadron reinforced 
it. The latter was commanded by Elphinston, a 
Scotchman, who staked his head to the empress 
that he would force the Dardanelles. So confident 
was he of success, 'that, during his stay in London, 
where he put in on his passage, he freely stated 
his plan to bombard Constantinople. ''A naval 
fight," said he, "will take place; we shall gain it 
with God's good-will, and then we shall pass these 
famous Dardanelles as easily as I drink this pot of 
beer." The Peloponnesus, Thessaly, and the ** Isles 
of Greece" rose up ii^ arms at the sight of the 
Russian ships. On the 5th of July the Russians 
burnt the Turkish fleet of above twenty-five ships in 
the straits of Scio, and £lphihston sailed to the 
Dardanelles. The Russians, either through fear or 
jealousy, refused to accompany him ; he sailed alone 
into the midst of the chai:^nel, without firing a single 
gun, cast anchor, ordered a flourish of trumpets and 
drums, drank tea, and rejoined the fleet. But so 
disgusted was he at his disappointment that he 
left the service, and returned home. There is no 
doubt that the Russians might have struck a decisive 
blow, the Turks being almost entirely unprepared. 
So chimerical did the project appear to the Turkish 
minister when the French ambassador warned him 
of it, that he took up ^ map, and pointing out Peters* 
burg, said to him, "Show me now a fleet can sail 
from there to here ! We have never had any Rus- 
sians on the south ; we can only fear them on the 
north." But such indecision and. discord prevailed 
in the Russian fleet, that they took up their winter- 
quarters in the island of Paros without having struck 

* The idea was not exclusively Peter's own, for Sobieski, infteior • 
])|g mind was to tbe czar's, had pn^Mosed thjs sdieme to Leopold. 


any effective blow. The seeds of liberty, however, 
' wmch were now sown in Greece were not ** cast by 
the road-side, but had taken root,'* and already borne 
fruit. Thus was this year, which " paved the way 
to villain bonds'* for one nation, the first dawn of 
liberty to another.* 

The Russian armies had taken the field about the 
end of June, and marched on their destined routes. 
That which proceeded from New Servia invested 
Bender on the Dniester. The other, consisting only 
of 17^00, entered Moldavia, and ^countered the 
Turks on the banks of the Danube. The Moslem 
troops amounted to 150,000; but notwithstanding 
the immense disparity of numbers, victory declared 
on the side of tne Russians. On the 26th of Sep- 
tember Bender was taken by assault; Ismail also 
fell into the Russians' hands in October ; and thus 
the campaign again broke up unfavourably to 

All this argued ill to the cause of the confederates; 
and to add to their alarm, an ominous amity seemed 
to be springing up between Prussia and Austria. 
Frederic and the Emperor Joseph had interviews, 
both on the 25th of August, 1769, and again on the 
3d of September, 1770. This latter conference would 
have alarmed the patriots still more, had they known 
that a messenger from Turkey was present at it, to 
request the mediation of the two powers to effect a 
peace with Russia. France was the only nation 
which continued to uphold the confederates. The 
consistent policy of the French minister, the Due de 
Choiseul had armed the Turks in their cause; and 
still continued covertly to lend them some feeble 
.aid. M. de Taulesf had been employed, towards the 

* The interesting history of the Greek insurrection and the Rossian 
expedition is given in Rolhidre's valuable work. — Histoin de PAnarchU 
de JPotofTte, vol. iil. p. 287. 

t lUs geotlcioan is the author of a work on the Man in the Iran 
Uftsk, in which he satfafhctorily solves that historical riddle. 



lattier part of 1768, to negotiate with the council, and 
convey them a considerable sum of m<Hiey ; bat 
found their cause so ho^less that he returned as he 
went. Ten or twelve French officers had beea 
enrolled among the confederates in the last cam- 
paign.* During the present yearthe French minister 
allowed them a subsidy of 6000 ducats a month ; and 
M. Durand, the resident agent at Vienna, had the 
charge of transmitting it. M. Dumourier was com« 
missioned, in July, by the government to confer and 
act with the council. He reached Eperies in August, 
and endeavoured to establi^ unanimity between the 
confederates. His reports of their military strength 
are contradictory, and in fact their forces were very 
fluctuating ; but at this time they seem to have been 
as follows, namely — ^about 1600 men under Wale wski, 
the palatine of Sieradz, 1000 under another partisan, 
and 4000 or 5000 more under Zaremba and PulawskL 
Zaremba was chosen marshal of Great Poland, into 
which province he contrived to make frequent in- 

The council had formally proclaimed the throne 
vacant ; and the act was registered in all the public 
offices of Poland. Three confederates went to 
Warsaw, entered the palace, and in observance of 
the legal form, one of them presented to the king a 
summons to appear before the council of the con- 
federation. Poniatowski took the paper, thinking it 
a petition ; and while he was casting his eye» over 

* Among these was tbe Chevalier Thesby de Belcour, who has giToa 
Q8 a picture of the state of the patriots at that time. " Our marsfaala 
were living on the worst terms with each other.— I must do that justice 
to the Poles which they deserve ; they are brave and courageous ; but, 
unlbrtunalely, they depend too much on their valour ; they have neglected 
to instruct themselves; and their neighbours, more enlightened and 
better disciplined, have derived frrnn their knowledge of the art of war 
every possible advantage.— The spirit of cabal and self-love, so out of 

glace, particularly in such circumstances, spoils all.— The Poles had the 
eat opportunities to distinguish themselves. — We may say the Polst 
liave destroyed themselves.^— See M6moire de M. Le Chevalier Thesby 
de Bdcour, Colonel au Service des ConSkdkrH de Pologne, p. (17 or 
^Jeittren Fartieuli^iei da Btron de Viom^oU, dBC.** 


it) the three confederates, lost in the crowd, were 
^oon out of sight. 

In the latter part of August, 1770, Pulawski came 
4own from the mountains and seized the fortified ab- 
bey of Czenstokow, on the banks of the river Warta. 
Four thousand Russians laid siege to it in Jan. 1771. 
The patriots were so badly supplied with clothes, 
that even at this season of the year the sentinels 
were obliged to leave their dresses for those who 
relieved guard ; and in case of an attack, many were 
obliged to fight in their shirts. Every assault fur- 
nished them with a new supply of dress, and by the 
end of the siege all the garrison was dressed in Rus- 
sian uniforms. The enemy were obliged to raise 
the siege, leaving 1200 men dead. 

The confederates were never more formidable 
than in the winter of 1770 and the beginning of 1771. 
They occupied all the advantageous posts, and were 
abundantly supplied with ammunition and* pro- 

Tlie year 1771 brought the patriots no brighter 
prospects on the side of Turkey. The campaign 
opened in April ; and the Russians being still victo- 
rious, the Turks grew weary of a war which was 
dnly a series of defeats and losses. Proposals of 
peace were made formally by the 30th of May, and 
the negotiation continued, under the mediation of 
Austria and Prussia, till the next year. The naval 
expedition effected nothing of consequence ; in fact 
it served only to ruin the trade of the Levant, as well 
that of the Christian nations as of the Turks. 

In the beginning of 1771 the confederates under 
Pulawski had about 5000 horse in the palatinate of 
Cracow on the confines of Hungary ; 4000 horse un- 
der Zaremba in Great Poland on the west of the 
Warta ; 800 foot garrisoned in the abbey of Czen- 
stokow, and other scattered troops not under subor- 
dination. There were also nearly 3000 confederates 
armed in Lithuaoia. Dumourier had introduced 


Stricter discipline among these troops, which ren- 
dered them more formidable the present year than 
when their numerical strength had been much 
greater. This agent, however, was no longer acting 
under the direction of the French minister, the Due 
de Choiseul having been superseded in December, 
1770, by the Due d'Aigufllon ; and it was observed 
that Dumourier began to stretch his brief authority, 
and dictate to the council. Pulawski had been sur- 
prised by the Russian general Suwarow, at the head 
of more than 3000 men, and obliged to retreat ; and 
Dumourier took on himself to pass on that distin- 
guished patriot the censure of cowardice. But the 
censor met with a reverse himself at Landscow* 
immediately after. His own account of this affair, 
which he gives in his Memoirs, shifts all the blame 
on the Pole's shoulders,! and mentions his own share 
of the transaction with much self-satisfaction. Thi^ 
happened on the 23d of June, and from this time 
Dumouriei's ardour in the patriotic cause was en- 
tireljitextinguished. He represented the confederates 
as unworthy of any protection, and advised a speedy 
termination of the contest.^ About this time the 
Baron de Viomenil was deputed by the French 

* Or Lanckrona, near Cracow. 

t ** D (Damaorier) Teat se mectre & la tite des Ijthaaiiiens d'Orsofwsko, 
vree le Priooe Sapieha ; cea iiches lUent, masaaeraat eux m^mes 8a- 
IHcba, jeune prince pletn de ooarage. Oraowako et qudqoea aatres aont 
tkfen. , n court aax hussards de Schfitz, qui an lien de sabier, font one 
deeharga des carabines et prennent la Aiite, dec."— Fi« de Dumourier. 

t " An end mast abeolateiy be pat to tbia war. Tlie di version ofPo* 
land occapies bat very few Rossians ; it enriebea them, and gives tbem a 
lexitiinate prttext to augment and airengtben thor army at the ex- 

Ksnse of the country.— The confederation has no military resources, 
othing remains but the negotiatioa or the patriotic powers to save Po- 
land fVom the slavery to which disfnraceAil manners, cowardice, insub- 
ordination, disorder, and the incapability of its defenders are dragging 
it."—" Notice sur le General Dumourier,'" {vefixed to ** Lettrea partica- 
li^rea du Baron de Viomenil." 

Tbia is the name Dumourier who was so notorioos in the FMich 
revolution, and who afterward recanted and came to En^and, when he 
was taken into the minister's pay. He died near Henley in 1823.— See 
JUa Lilb writieD by hioaeU: 


minfster to sueceed DtnnourieT.* He says he found 
*^ the troops ruined, undisciplined, and without any 
consistency or order; — ^the soldiers wi^out pay, 
akoost naked, badly fed, badly armed, and still worse 
trained. — The troops of the' confederation, which 
amount to 6300 horse, and 1800 infantry, occupy in 
the two Polands a line of 140 French leagues from 
the frontiers of Hungary at Nowitarg, as far as the 
Warta, a little beyond Posen. The Russians oppose 
to these troops m these two povinces a force of 
10,600 infantry and cavalry, and 6000 of the king*8 
troops ; there are about 3000 Russians in Lithuania, 
and as many armed confederates.'^f 

The Russian ambassador, this year, resident at 
Warsaw, was Saldem; a man whose cjiaracter may 
be summed up in the few words, that he was a 
worthy successor of the preceding. He designated 
the confederates ^ brigands and rascals,^ and ordered 
tlSe commanders not to treat them as prisoners of 
war, but as criminals. 

Tliese orders were readily obeyed ; and, in fact, 
the preceding campaign Lad been carried on too 
much in this spirit. Belcour, the French officer be- 
fore mentioned, tells us, that the Russians *' plundered, 
ravaged, and committed the most barbarous and 
revolting atrocities ;" and that he himself saw 600 
wagon-loads of booty carried off to Russia. Dre- 
witz, a colonel in the Russian service, made himself 
most notorious for cruelty to the confederates. He 
used to enjoy sights of torment, like an Indian 
savage. ^ He used to cause," savs Belcour^! '* the 
hands of some, the feet, &e, of others, to be cut off, 
and put into their mouths ; he used to order those 
wnose figure did not please him to be cut in pieces : 
all these brutalities were executed in his presence, 

* He set ont in Angnst, 1771, tnth sevenl French aflleeri» to the aid 
flf the confederates. 
t Lettres de Viom6nil, let. i. t P* 88. 



and he seemed to take delight in them."* Thii 
fiend in human shape fomid too many imitaton 
among the Russian officers. Clemency is one of the 
virtueB which has always been banished by tiie me* 
nials of despotic gOTemments ; but it is pleasing to 
find, that although the sufferings of slaves are known 
not to awaken much fellow-feeUnff and sympathy 
for others, the privates were much more mercifol 
than their leaders. One exception was found among 
the horde of savages in Weymaon, the commander- 
in-chief; but the bloody Saldem contrived to have 
him removed from his office. 

The patriots were branded with opprobrious names 
by more persons than Saldera. Poniatowski, abject 
as he was, had flatterers, who couched their compli- 
ments to him in invectives against his enemies. 
** The kingdom,'* says Solignac, one of this train, 
'^ was inundated with writings against Stanislas Au- 
gustus ; and who were the aujthors of these libels, 
which thus traduced virtue .^—Brigands, stained with 
blood, leagued with the enemies of the state." We 
will let the confederates themselves protest against 
this, in the following words : " To qualify with Uie 
odious title of rebels the inhabitants who wish to 
shake off the yoke of oppression ; to name those who 
exert themselves to defend their laws and liberty, 
disturbers of the public peace ; to treat as an inso- 
lent mob an assembly composed of the most en- 
lightened and respe(itable persons among the Poles! 
is this acting generously on the part of people 
from whom we ought with justice to expect assist- 
ance?" Acf 

** All hope," wrote Yiom^nil, at the latter part of 

* Tba editor of this "Mtoioire>* instnuates tbat this pictun of b«iw 
banty is over-dnwn by fielcour, whose spleen was afltcted by his being 
made prisoner and sent to Siberia for two or three years ; he says, nlm, 
tbat these cruelties were not sanctioned by the auihorities. This, bow- 
s<rer, Is incorrect. 

t Manifesto da Oopate Oginski, Grand-G^^ral de Lithuanie. Da If 
Sept. 1771. 


the year 1T71, " depends on the continuation of the 
war between the Turks and Russians." As early as 
1770, the Austrians had shown the confederates that 
no protection was to be expected from that quarter ; 
and an ominous seizure of the little starosty of Zips* 
had called forth, even from Poniatowski, a letter of 
protestation against the injustice. Maria Theresa 
answered this very unsatisfactorily in January, 1771^ 
and the Austrians advanced, instead of withdrawing. 
The Prussians, too, impatient to be let loose on this 
devoted kingdom, made similar encroachments on 
the north-west ; and, entering from Silesia, advanced 
as far as Posen and Thorn. Four thousand Prus- 
sian cavalry, under pretence of seeking horses, had 
advanced to the Dniester, and taken up their quarters 
on its banks. Such were the prospects of the Polish 
patriots at the close of the year 1771. 

An attempt, to seize the king, which was made 
about this time by some of the confederates, and 
failed, brought much discredit on their cause. The 
friends of the patriots represent their design to have 
been merely to obtain his person ; whereas the other 
party industriously disseminated the report that their 
object was assassination. Strawinski was the framer 
of 'the plan, and he proposed it to Pulawski ; but he> 
wishing to avoid the odium, and yet not altogether 
opposed to the scheme, refused his sanction, while 
he withheld his dissent. " 1 give you no orders,"" 
said he ; *' but I forewarn you that I shall approve the 

I abstained from it for the interest of the confedera- 
tion. Why should you suspect me of wishing to dis- 
credit, when I seek only to serve it ? It is Ponia- 

* This is a littie district, consisting of sixteen towns, situated amoor 
die Carpatbian mountains. It bad Axrmerly been- in the possession of 
Hnngaiy, but bad been inortfaged in 1387 to Poland. More will be saUl 
of this seiztire in the fl>Uowing cluipter^ 


towski living that I have resolved to deliver up 
to it.'** 

Notwithstanding this pretended refusal of conni- 
vance, Pulawski fSed the time for the attempt, whicb 
was the 3d of November. He also employed himself 
in making diversions of the Russian troops from 
Warsaw, so that 200 only were left in the city.. 
Strawinski had ascertained that the king would be 
passing from his uncle's house to the palace that 
evening ; and accordingly, at half past nine, the king 
was seen to come out, attended by two persons, in his 
carriage, two pages, two outriders, and followed by 
two guards, and two valets on foot. Strawinski had 
divided his men into three bands. The first came up 
as Russian patrols, and stopped the advanced guar^ 
while the second attacked the carriage, and the third 
was stationed at the entrance of the wood of Bielani^ 
without the town. The two m.iards resisted and were 
killed ; and Poniatowski, ' after soj(ne trouble, was 
dragged on horseback, without any injury, but a little 
rough handling in the hurry: and the confederates 
rode on with their prize towards their place of des- 

The alarm, in the mean time, was given by the ser- 
vants, but in the confusion of the moment, no steps 
were taken to stop the fugitives. Not far from War- 
saw the troop met with a ditch, which they were 
obliged to leap, and in so doing the king's horse broke 
its leg, and the delay which this caused separated 
the second company from the first. Attempting to 
find them, they lose their way in the dark, get into a 
marsh, lose each other, and Poniatowski is soon left 
with only one mian. This confederate's name was 
Kosinski, who, from being before one of the boldest 
conspirators, now becomes the most timid. This 
man had been especially charged by Strawinski to 
ieize the king, and take charge of mm; but, falling 

* BoIbidre'tonBtoiMde riAarchie de Fdogiie,taBL !▼. p 131 


on his knees, he declared himself his prisoner. The 
king conducted him to a mill that was at hand, wrote 
to Warsaw for a guard of forty men, and was in the 
city early in the morning. The conspirators were 
pursued by the Cossacks, said one of them killed ; 
"While Kosinski, for being either a coward or traitor, 
"Was rewarded as the preserver of the king's life. 

It was immediately rumoured in Warsaw that 
Poniatowski had escaped assassination, nor did he 
discredit the assertion, although he was a living proof 
that his death was not intended. He said, in his usual 
strain, that he even regretted he had not accompanied 
the confederates to the fortress of Ozenstokow, be- 
cause he would have harangued and converted the 
malecontents, and that this triumph of his eloquence 
would have been the most glorious event of his reign. 

Foreign courts congratulated Poniatowski on his 
escape from murder, and gave further currency to 
the report. Two of the conspirators were afterward 
tdken and executed, and the rest, among whom Pu- 
lawsk'i was comprehended, were condemned by the 
same sentence to capital punishment.* 

The odium which was studiously attached to this 
attempt stOl further injured the cause of the patriots* 
They were denounced as rebels, assassins, and bri- 
ffands. Every thing conspired to render llie approach- 
mg year, 1772, the last of Polish independence. 
Tiom^nH and his^ little band, indeed, still urged on the 
confederates to make ft dying struggle ; Pulawski, 

* Solignae, and others of tbe same party, represent this attempt in fh» 
most odious light. They even penrert the fhets with the greatest auda- 
city, pretending to give a most circumstantial account of the wound* 
(aome call them bulfet-gFazes, others sword-cuts) which they say Stan- 
Mas received flpom the confederates. Solignac relates another story ; he 
says a gunpowder plot was discovered, and tbat the powder was really 
laM xasSer the palace, that the match was lit, and that in ten minuter 
more tiie explosion would have taken place. The reader will Judge what 
degree (rf'trust is to be given to tUs author's impartiality, when he And* 
him taUting of the " odious" name of the confiedarate«, of the " virtue" of 
Stanislas, and calling the patriots "brigands stalaedwlth blood, a&d^ 
leagued with tbe enanues of the state."— 6ea S«liciia6li Biflt>i Tol-ti- 


Kossakowski, and Zaremba formed a line with their 
little armies, amomiting to about 6,000 men, from 
Czenstokow to Widawa in Great Poland ; Choi^i, a 
distinguished French officer, seized the castle of 
Cracow on the night of the 1st of February, and 
bravely defended himself : but all proved of no avail. 
On the 18th of March the council issued orders for 
the troops in Great Poland to unite and attack a de- 
tachment of the Russians at Peterkow. Zaremba 
refused to obey the command, in consequence of 
which the troops in that province were almost entirely 
broken up. The Prussians continued to advance in 
Great Poland as far as the Warta, and gave the con- 
federates notice to evacuate many oftheir posts.* 
The present conduct of Zaremba was suspicious, and 
the event showed that the fear of his treachery was 
too well founded. "His extraordinary conduct," 
wrote yiom6nil,t " can be imputed only to designs 
very fatal to the republican party ; and we may ex- 
pect every moment that he is going to make his own 
peace, or that he will allow all his troops to be taken 
uncollectively by the Prussians. — ^In either case I 
can only foresee the loss of all his corps, and conse- 
quently the entire destruction of the confederation. 

* The following ia a copy of the letter addressed by the Pmssiaii 
general to ihe authorities of the oonfMerate troops. 

Hemstadt, March S9, 1771 
I have had the honour to receire the letter which )'ou have been pLetmd 
to address to me of the 16th of the present month. To satisfy yon, sir, I 
must t^ you it is by command of the king, my master, that I ha^ 
ordered the seizure of the forage in question, in the vicinity of Szdnri, 
Koblin, &c. His roiyesty, having determined to advance his troepsaalhr 
as Wuta, has at the same time commissioned me to inform the gentle- 
Bten of the confeder^ion, that they will be acting prudently to withdrew 
their fbrces flrem the towns and the environs of Frauenstadt, lassa, 
RawitE, &c. This is the will of the king, my itaaster, which I beg yoo^ 
Mr, to convey to Marshal Zaremba : and 1 hope, that to avoid the dis* 
agreeable consequences, of which the confederation would be the mA 
cause, they will not delay to evacuate this territory. 

I have the honour to be, &e, 

(Signed) CuLTBilr 
ToM. SieraxowBkL 

t LattrM PtftltfQli^zei ds Vioi|i6iill, let. U. p,?». 



••— M. Piwinicki, who has just arriyed from Great 
Poland, assures me that the Prussians on the 3d and 
3d of this month (April) have attacked Zaremba's 
troops, who occupied the little towns of Frauenstadt, 
Lezno, and Szduri. This, sir, is the decisive moment ; 
to all appearance the Prussian forces will soon have 
their right on Cracow, and their left on Dantzig.** 
A few days afterward Zaremba announced his resig- 
nation to the council, and applied to Saldem, the 
Russian ambassador, for an amnesty. About the 
saipe time, too, the confederates were informed by 
Prijice Jablonowski, their deputy at Vienna, that an 
aniance was signed between Austria, Russia, and 
Prussia, and that they designed to seize some pa« 
latinates. On the 22d of April, the castle of Cracow 
was obliged to surrender, and nearly at the same time 
10,000 Austrians under Count Esterhazy entered Po- 
land from Hungary. The council was broken up ; 
all the posts were deserted, and the confederation 
was at an end. The chiefs dispersed into foreign 
countries. Pulawski retired to America, and fell in 
the cause of freedom near Savannah ; while a few 
of ihe patriots, assembled at Braunau in Bavaria, 
made a useless protestation against the invasion, and 
sent it to the different courts of Europe. 

Such was the fate of the famous confederates of 
Bar. Like all other unfortunate enterprises, theirs 
has been repeatedly the object of vituperation and 
scandal. They have been viewed as bigots and law- 
less rebels, by the jaundiced eye of power ; and even 
those who think for themselves have deemed it use- 
less to defend a cause that no longer existed, for the 
sakje of abstract argument on general principles. 
But that must be short-sighted reasoning indeed 
which sees in the alfair of the dissidents the pnly 
cause of the confederacy, or, in fact, any thing mor^ 
than one of the ostensible grounds of complaint. 
The grievance^ which rankled in the breasts of the 
i^nfederates form the burden of their manifestoes, 



aad are, "suspension of the liberty of the diets, 
foreign encroachment, seizure of the principal men of 
the nation, &c." That they were not lawless rebels 
is well proved by Count Oginski, the grand-geaeral 
of Lithuania, in his manifesto of the 12th of Sep- 
tember, 1771. '*One of the most ancient rights 
of the Polish state,** he says, "Is, that whenever 
foreign troops enter the country, the generals should 
assemble the army of the republic,** &c.* No syllo- 
gistic reasoning fortunately is requisite to draw the 
line between right and wrong in this case of political 
oppression; every feeling of indignation at the 
Cjrranny of Russia hses up in evidence to aid the 
justice of the cause of the Polish confederation* 


Origin (rf'the Plan of Partition— Prediction of Stanialaa-r-Relations of the 
three Powers— Frederic— Maria Theresa— Kaunitz— The Emperor 
Joaeph has an Interriew with Frederic at Neisa— Intenriew at Neu- 
atad— Frederick Encroachments and Tyranny in Polish Pmaaia— 
The Anstrians seize Zips— Prince Henry*s Visit toPetersbarg— Prinee 
Henry proposes the Partition— The three Powers sign the Treaty of 
Partition—DiTision— " Defences" of the three Powers—" Deduction," 
&c.— The Dietof Partition— Patriots, Reyten, Korsalt, d:c.— PonlnsU, 
the Marshal — Heyten*s bold Resistance— The Diet appoint Comrais- 
Bionera^The Treaty is ratifled— Parmanaot OoancU— InactioQ of 
Foreign Powers. 

The fulness of time was now come to show the 
Poles the accomplishment of the prophecy which 
had been so often shouted in their ears to no purpose 
by the true friends of the repuWic, that the mutual 
jealousies of their neighbours was not a su^cient 
safeguard from foreign encroachment and oppression. 
They seemed to forget, that even supposing tha 

* Bee Vlom^nil^s Letters, p. lOZ 


ihaes of Europe were able to counterpoise each 
other, the balance of power was constantly vibrating; 
and that the equilibrium might be preserved, as well 
by making the Polish shares to be taken by the 
several powers proportionate, as by keeping to their 
own boundaries. 

One who was the most competent to judge of the 
interests and prospects of Poland, from having been 
its sovereign, nad exhorted them many years before, 
in the plainest and most forcible terms, to open their 
eyes to their danger. " I reflect," said the royal and 
beneficent philosopher, Stanislas Leszczynski, " with 
dread upon the perils which surround us ; what force 
have we to resist our neighbours ? and on what do . 
we found this extreme confidence which keeps us 
chained, as it were, slumbering in disgraceful re- 
pose 1 Do we trust to the faith of treaties t How 
many examples have we of the frequent neglect of 
even the most solemn agreements ! We imagine 
that ou( neighbours are interested in our preserva- 
tion by their mutuaj jealousy — a vain prejudice, which 
deceives us ; ridiculous infatuation, which formerly 
cost the Hungarians their liberty, and which will 
surely deprive us of ours, if depending on such a 
frivolous hope we continue unarmed ; our turn will 
come, no doubt; either we shall be the prey of some 
famous conquerors, or, perhaps, even the neighbouring 
powers will combine to divide our states,'"* In vain 
were this and similar appeals made to the Poles ; sad 
experience only was to convince them of their tmth. 

The whole of the preceding history has been an 
exposition of the course of events which finally left 
Poland so entirely at the mercy of the adjacent 
powers ; and it now remains for us to solve that sin- 
gular problem, — ^how the three states, Russia, Prussia, 
and Austria, agreed to forget for a time their mutual 
jealousies to portion out this unfortunate country. 

* ''ObaerrMions on tbe dangeTs to which Poland is expooed hy iHtnf 
ataiaM of il« goTeiiunent."--S«e " (Euvres ChoisieB de StaiiiaUs.' 



Some writen, possessed ivith the lore of redaciiig 
political transactions to one rigid scale of cause and 
elSect, and at the same time of exhibiting tiieir 
acumen by threading the mazes of events up to re- 
mote circumstances, pretend to trace the design of 
the partition of Poland for more than a century back* 
Rulhiere seems to plume himself on the idea : ^. The 
projects executed in our days against Poland," he 
observes, *' were proposed more tlmn a hundred years 
ago. I have discovered this important and hitherto 
unknown circumstance in the archives of foreign af- 
fairs of France." This point had been canvassed 
under the reign of John Casimir ; and it only remains 
to be remarked, that such very sidbtle analjrsis of the 
motives and progress of actions generally overshoots 
the mark, since no men can act always according to 
rule, but are in some degree influenced by circum- 
stances and caprice. It would be equally absurd to 
imagine that Frederic, in the comidicated intrigues 
which preceded the first partition, was actuated by 
one deeply laid scheme of policy to arrive at one 
end, the possession of Polish Prussia. It was, in- 
deed, absolutely essential for him to obtain this 
province, to consoUdate and open a communicati<m 
between his scattered dominions, which then, as 
Voltaire says, were stretched out like a pair of 
gaiters ; but it remained a desideratum rather than a 
design,* since he knew that neither Russia nor 
Austria would be inclined to permit the aggression ; 
for the former had evidently marked out &e whole 
of Poland for herself, and would consider Frederic 
an unwelcome intruder; while Austria, which had 
lately experienced the Prussian king's encroach- 
ments, was more jealous than ever of his obtaining 
the slightest aggrandizement, and had openly de« 

* Frederic bad some distant hopes in the early part of his reign 
"Quatre points principaux e'oflh)ient A mes yenx; la SUcsie, la Pnutt 
Polonaiaej la Oueldie Holandoise, et la Pomeranie Suedoise. Je me flzai 
A la Sileaie, et Je laisse au terns le soin d'exeeater dim pntfets far les 
antras potat»."^Matiniu dfvn tboi^ p 38. 


elaied, that she would not allow the aeizore of the 
least Polish village. His views, however, widened 
as he advanced, and no doubt he spoke with sin- 
cerity, when he told the Emperor Joseph that ** he 
had never followed a plan in war, much less any 
plan in policy, and that events alone had misgeBiea 
all his resolutions.'* Admitting.the truth of uus, we 
proceed to trace out the circumstances which pro- 
duced this crisis. 

The relations of the three comts, at the commence- 
ment of the war between Russia and Turkey, did 
not portend any thing like a coalition; Frederic, 
indeed, was in alliance with Russia,* but also secretly 
favoured the sultan ; Austria was all but an open 
enemy of both Russia and Prussia. Circumstances, 
however, obliged Austria to forget her hatred ta 
Prussia, and Frederic thus became the mediator 
between the courts of Vienna and Petersburg. 
Frederic had every reason to wish to lull the sus- 
picions and jealousies of Austria, that he might be 
left in undisputed possession of Silesia; and that 
power, moreover, was no longer an object of dread 
or jealousy to him, for the seven years' war had 
reduced its resources to the lowest ebb.t The dis- 
positions of the court of Vienna cannot be comprised 
m so few words ; its situation was much more com- 
plicated, its policy more embarrassed, and the persons 
who governed it will be much more difficult to make 


Maria Ti&eresa was now not veiy far from the 
tomb, and after all the arduous struggles she had un>- 
dergone for the defence of her states, the vicissitudes 
she had experienced, and the exhaustion of her 
resources, she determined to end her days in peace. 
She devoted almost the whole of her time to super- 

* Thbi tTMty WM condQdedhi April, 1763, after tlie pcao* of Hiborti- 
Inin, and was to be in force eifht years, 
t Bolhidre, torn. iv. p. 158. 
i Bollii^ giTcea latooxed aoalyria of the eomt of Vienna. 


fititions devotions in a gloomy chamber hung romi^ 
^ith death's heads, and a portrait of her late husband 
in the act of expiring. She yet cherished, however, 
«ome of the feelings of mortality, implacable hatred 
to Frederic, and contempt mingled with hate for 
Catharine, of whom she never spoke but with dis- 
dain, calling her ^ that tBomanJ" Besides, she could 
sometimes also silence the reproaches of conscience, 
80 as to seize for th^ public use the bequests of the 
pious for religious purposes, and to confiscate the 
revenues of rich monasteries apparently without any 
compunction. Men fancied, says pur author,* th^ 
they could foresee in all this conduct that if this just 
and religious princess had power enough over her- 
self to silence her generosity and even sometimes 
her piety, she might perhaps be capable in some state 
crisis of incurring still greater remorse, and silence 
justice. Her minister, Kaunitz, to whom she iur 
trusted all the management of a£fairs, is not the least 
important personage in this drama, nor did he underr 
rate his own consequence. " Heaven," said he, " is a 
hundred years in forming a great mind for the restora- 
tion of an empire, and it then rests another hundred 
years ; on this account I tremble for the fate which 
awails this monarchy aft^r me," Throughout a long 
and arduous ministry he had shown himself the 
most subtle . and refined politician, unfettered in his 
schemes by any remorse or feeling, and making a 
boast that he had no friends. Sudh a man was well 
fitted to play the part allotted to him. After the 
conclusion of the long war, he had made it his policy 
to repair the damages the empire had sustained by 
alliances, and even his opposition to Frederic daily 

But it was another agent who commenced the cour 
pexion between Austria and Prussia. Joseph, Mari% 
Theresa's son, and co-regent with his mother, de» 


tested this pacific policy, and longed for war. He 

was, however, obliged to submit; for Maria dreaded 

the effects of this warlike propensity, and kept the 

government in the hands of her ministers. He had 

continual contentions with the empress, and urged 

her to improve her finances by conquest or aggression; 

but ail the power he could obtain was the command 

of the troops, which he augmented to 200,000 men^ 

and prganized them under the counsel of his field- 

marsh^y Lasey. In his mania for military matters, 

he vi^ted, in 1768, all the fields of battle of the last 

war, and after traversing Bohepiia and Saxony, and 

learning from his generals the causes of the defeats 

and. vietories, he approaehed in the course of his tow 

the borders of Prussian Silesia, where Frederic was 

engaged in his annual reviews. The king sent a 

polite message, and expressed a great desire to be 

personally acquainted with him. The young prince 

could not pay a visit to the former enemy of his 

family without previously consulting his mothert the 

empress ; and the interview was deferred till the next 

year; when it took place on the 35th of August, at, 

Neiss, a town in Silesia. 

At this period the war between Russia and Turkey 
engrossed general attention, and seems to have 
formed the principal subject of the conference; but no 
resolutions of any importance were agreed to. The 
flattering manner in which Frederic received the 
voun^ prince must have made a great impression on 
his mind ; and the extravagant compliments which 
were lavished on him were highly gratifying to 
youthful vanity, from such a great man. Frederic 
frequently repeated that Joseph would surpass Charles 
v.; and though it has the appearance of irony 
to those acquainted with the aen<kiement of this 
youthful monarches character, it was probably not 
intended so, for Frederic, we have seen before, could 
stoop to the most servile adulation when it answered 
his purpose. Be that as it may, the effect on Joseph 


was the' same, for on his return he spoke of the 
Prussian monarch with the highest enthusiasm. 

Maria Theresa was growing old, and the Austrian 
ministers began to turn to the rising sun ; the eyes 
of Kaunitz were opened to the policy of cultivating 
a friendship with Prussia ; and the correspondence 
between the two e9urts became every day more fre« 
quent. This led to another conference between the 
two princes at Neustadt, in Moravia, which was held 
on the 3d of September, 1770, and at which Kaunitz 
was present. The king was more courteous than 
ever ; he appeared in the military uniform of Austria, 
and continued to wear it as long as he.remaiiled in 
the Austrian territory. He made use of every species 
of compliment ; one day, as they were leaving the 
dining-room, and the emperor made a motion to give 
him the precedence, he stepped back, sajdng, with a 
significant smile and double entendre, not lost on 
Joseph, -'* Since your imperial majesty begins to ma-* 
noeuvre, I must follow wherever you lead." Nor did 
he i^are his civilities to Kaunitz, with the view of 
removing th\e rankling feeling which had often made 
that conceited minister exclaim, *'The King of 
Prussia is the only man who denies me the esteem 
which is due to me." Kaunitz insisted on the ne- 
cessity of opposing the ambitious views of Russia, 
and stated that the empress would never allow Catha- 
rine to take possession of Moldavia and Walachia, 
which would make her states adjoin those of Austria; 
nor permit her to penetrate farther into Turkey. He 
added, that an alliance between Austria and Prussia 
was the only means of checking Catharine's over-* 
bearing power. To this Frederic replied, that being 
in alliance with the court of Petersburg, his only 
practicable measure was to prevent the war from 
becoming general by conciliating the friendly feel-? 
ings of Catharine towards Austria. On the day after 
this conference, a courier arrived from Constanti- 
nople, with the news of the destruction of the Turkisli 

Motives op the coalition. 215 

fleet, and the route of their army, and to request the 
mediation of the courts of Vienna and Berlin. To 
this both readily assented, but without agreeing upon 
any terms. 

Frederic did not forget to follow up his former 
mode of tactics with the emperor ; he pretended to 
make him the confidant of all his designs, a species 
of flattery most gratif3dng to a young prince. On 
his return to Berlin, also, the king aiSected to imitate 
the Austrian manners, and uttered several pompous 
panegyrics on the talents of Joseph, who had recited 
to him some of Tasso's verses, and nearly a whole 
act of the Pastor Fido. 

Thus did Frederic avail himself of circumstances 
to commence an amicable correspondence with 
Austria, and he thus became the me<hum of commu** 
nication between the hostile courts of Vienna and 
Petersburg* No more direct intelligence, however^ 
existed between these two states than before; for 
nreat as was Theresa's hatred against Catharine^ 
Catharine's was no less violent ; and even when Aus^ 
tria made friendly overtures, through Frederic, con- 
cerning mediation between Turkey and Russia, she 
desired Frederic to desist, and rejected the inter • 

A channel of communication^ however, was opened 
between the three conspiring powers ; and the next 
step was for one of the triumvirate to brpach the 
iniquitous partition plot. It is made a matter of 
much dispute which of them started the project, and 
they all equally disclaim the infamy of being its 
author. The fact, no doubt, was, that in this, as in 
all other unjust coalitions, they did not, in the first 
instance, act on a preconcerted plan ; but each indi-* 
vidual power cherished secretly its design, and like 
designing villains, who understand one another, 

'^ Withott ey«% can^ ai^ iMnnM MQiid of woidi,*' 

ntS E18T0RT 07 POLANIT* 

the ecmspiring parties were naturally drawn toge^er 
by the similarity of reckless atrocity in their designs. 
It cannot be imagined that the scheme of partition 
originated with Catharine; she had long been the 
resd mistress of Poland, the king was nothing moie 
^an her tenant at will, and it required only a little 
time for the whole kingdom to sink into a Russian 
province. The intentions of the other powers^ began 
to evince themselves more plainly in 1770. Frederic 
began to throw out hints of claims on certain Polisb 
districts ; he obliged the Polish Prussians to furaiflh 
his troops with horses and com, in exchange for 
debased money, which was either forged Polish silver 
coin, only one-third of its nominal value, or false 
Dutch ducats, seventeen per cent, under the proper 
value.* By this disgracefi^ species of swindling, it 
is calculated, he gained 7,000,000 of dollars. The 
young Poles were enrolled jji the armies by force ; 
and every town and village in Posnania was taxed 
at a stated number of marriageable girls, who were 
sent to stock the districts of the Prussian dominions 
depopulated by the lon^ wars. Each girPs portion 
was to be a bed, two pigs, a cow, and three ducats 
of gold. It is said that one town alone was obliged 
to furnish the Prussian general. Belling, with Sty 
gills. Under pretence that the magistrates of Dantzig 
prevented the levies, troops were marched into the 
territory of &e dty, a contribution of 100,000 ducats 
was exacted, and tOOO young men were pressed fot 
the Prussian service. Frederic's mihtary possession 
^ of Posnania, as weH as the greater part of Polish 
' Prussia, seemed to be but too consonant with hi]» 
hinted cladms, and his arbitrary levies evinced, not 
merely intended, but actual possession. 

Austria, too^ was playing a similar part on the 
south. In the spring of 1769 Birzynski, at the head 
of a small troop of confederates, entered Liri)owlar 

* He pablisbed an edict on the SQtli of October, 1771, conumadinf aH 
pifMiui totihi iOMiiBOBey oflbMd Ijy bis tvoeiiB. 


OBe of the towns in the staroisty or distiiet of Zips, 
or Spiz, with the intention of levying conthbotions, 
as he was accustomed, in a disorderly manner. This 
little district is situated to the south of the palatinate 
of Cracow, among the Carpathian mountains, and 
had been originally a portion of the kingdom of 
Hungary. The confederates were followed by the 
Russians, and took refuge in Hungary, as was their 
custom. This near approach of the Russians to the 
imperial frontiers was made a pretext by the court 
of Vienna for concentrating a body of troops there ; 
and at the same time hints were thrown out of Aus- 
tria's claims, not only to this, but some of the adjacent 
districts. Researches were ordered to be made into old 
records, to establish these pretensions; the Austrian 
troops seized the territory of Zips, and engineers 
were employed by the empress to mark out the 
frontier. They advanced the boundary line along 
the districts of Sandecz, Nowitarg, and Czorsztyn, 
and marked it out with posts furnished with the im- 
perial eagle. Stanislas had complained of this pro- 
ceeding in a letter of the 26th of October, 1770; to 
which the empress returned for answer, hi January, 
1771, that she would willingly make an amicable 
arrangement, after peace was estabtished, to settle 
the disputed frontier, but that She was determined to 
claim her ri^ht to the district of Zips, and that for 
the present it was requisite to pursue the operation 
of demarcation. The empress seems to have been 
instigated not only by the characteristic avidity of 
Austrian policy, but by jealousies awakened by the 
near approaches of the Russian troops. Besides, it 
is a point of some consequence to be remembered, 
though it seems to have escaped the observation of 
most historians, that she had before her eyes a fearful 
proof of the danger of an uncertain frontier in the 
affair of Balta, which was the ostensible cause of the 
war between Turkey and Russia. This open en- 
eroachment on the Polish territory, however, was a 



fatal precedent ; Catharine and Frederic conld ad^ 
vance, as exo jses for th6ir proceedings, that they were 
solely intended to restore tranquillity to Poland ; and 
that their possession was only temporary, whereas 
Theresa's was a permanent seizure. Frederic, there- 
fore, endeavours strenuously in his writings to ex- 
onerate his intentions from censure, and shifts the 
odium of this step on Austria ; but whether he is 
absolutely innocent of the " injustice," as he him- 
self calls it, or adds to his guilt by the height of 
hypocrisy and cant, is a question not very £fficult 
of solution. 

The three powers could now readily understand 
each other's designs; but the first communication 
which took place between them on the subject oc- 
curred in December, 1770, and Jan. 1771. In the 
former month Catharine invited Prince Henry, Frede- 
ric's brother, who had before been a personal ac- 
quaintance, to her court; and the wily despot of 
Prussia urged him earnestly to accept the invitation. 
He reached Petersburg in the midst of the public 
festivities and rejoicings for the victories over the 
Turks ; and having, like his brother, abundant flattery 
at will, he seized the opportunity of loading Catharine 
with compliments. It would be absurd to suppose 
that the empress, masculine as her mind was, could 
be insensible to this species of attack; she, like all 
other followers of ambition and conquest, made the 
applause and admiration, even of the vulgar, the aim 
of her life ; and it can only be affectation in those 
who pretend to despise the adulation which they so 
eagerly labour for. Henry was admitted to confi- 
dential conferences, and so well did he avail himself 
of his opportunities and influence, that he succeeded 
in persuading the empress to accept the mediation 
of Austria between Turkey and Russia, — ^a commis- 
sion with which he was charged by his brother. It 
was in these conferences that the fate of Poland was 
decided; while Catharine was hesitating about 


accepting the tenns Austria proposed, which were 
that she should renounce her design upon Moldavia 
and Walachia, the news arrived at Petersburg that 
the Austrian trpops had taken possession of Zips. 
Catharine was much astonished at the proceeding, 
and remarked, that if Austria seized the Polish terri« 
toiy, the two other neighbouring powers must 
imitate her example until she desisted. This hint 
suggested to Henry a mode of removing those objec- 
tions of Austria which impeded the negotiation. 
He knew that the court of Vienna was as eager for 
aggrandizement as Russia, and that all her jealousies 
would be allayed by a similar accession of territory ; 
that at the same time she would never consent to 
have the Russians as her neighbours in Moldavia 
and Walachia, but would have no objection to their 
making an equal increase to that immense empire 
elsewhere. Frederic's consent, also, must be pur- 
chased by an equal allotment; where then, he 
thought, were there three such portions to be found 
but where Austria pointed out. Catharine approved 
of the plan after a few moments' reflection, but men- 
tioned two impediments; — first, that when her troops 
had entered Poland she had solemnly declared that 
she would maintain the integrity of the kingdom ;* 
and next, that Austria would not receive such a pro- 
posal from her without suspicion. These difficulties 
were readily removed, the first by breaking the en- 
gagement, and the second by making Frederic the 
negotiator with the court of Vienna. 

Frederic's admirers pretend that he was unac- 
quainted with this intrigue, and when the plan was 
made known to him, opposed it strenuously ; " but 
that on the following day, having reflected on the 
misfortunes of the Poles, and on the impossibility of 
re-establishing their liberty, he showed himself more 
tractable." It is to be hoped, that for the sake of 

* The 9th section of the code of 1767 stated, " that no part was evet 
to be dismembered,^ 


Fredeii- 's remnant of character, this is not true; 
after the singular manner in which he had evinced 
his concern for " the misfortunes of the Poles," and 
his solicitude for their " liberty" in Polish Prussia, 
such pretensions would haVe been the very height of 
hypocrisy* His scruples, at any rate, if any such 
existed, were soon dispelled; and he exerted himself 
in persuading the court of Vienna to enter into the 

Austria was but too ready to fall into the design ; 
the conflicting views, indeed, between Maria Theresa, 
Joseph, and their minister Kaunitz gaye rise to 
some complication of politics and consequent delay. 
Frederic, strongly as he is said to have disclaimed 
the plan in the present instance, was now the only 
party impatient to conclude it. *< The slowness and 
irresolution of the Russians," he says in his M^ 
moires, "protracted the conclusion of the treaty of 
partition ; the negotiation hang chiefly on the pos- 
session of the city of Dantzig. The Russians pre- 
tended they had guarantied the liberty of this little 
republic ; but it was in fact the English, who, jealous 
of the Prussians, protected the lil^rty of this mari- 
time town,t and who prompted the Empress of Russia 

* The natnre of a negotiation of snch a cbaracter as the above ren- 
dered it profoundly secret: rhe principals transacted the business as 
much as possible without toe intOTVention of agents, and would not, of 
course, be the persons to expose their own iniquitous proceedings ; conse- 
quently, much mystery is thrown over the early stages of the plot. Rnl- 
hidre and all those writers who have had the greatest fheilities for 
investigation agree that the partition was planned at the period <^ 
Henry's visit to Petersburg. The above version of the story is taken 
thiefly from Prince Henry's own statement.— See the "Souvenirs,* 
p. 87, in " Lettres particuli^res du Baron de Viom^nil sur les Affiux«s de 
Pologne en 1771 et 1773, &c*' It differs in a few points from Rulhidre^ 
account Histoire de TAnarchie de Pologne, vol. iv. p. 208. 

t The Russians did not merely pretend to have guarantied the liberty 
of Dantzig. There was a formal treaty signed by Russia, Great Britain, 
Denmark, Sweden, and Prussia, with Dantsig, in 1767, which promised 
to protect the conmierce of that city. The English, too, wore bound to 
InteriKMe in favour of Dantzig, having made similar treaties in 1655 and 
1707. These may be seen in the Appendix to ** Letters concerning tht 
Pieneiat State of Poland," by J. Lind. London, 1772. 


not to consent to the demands of his Prussian 
majesty. It was requisite, however, for the king to 
determine ;*and as it was evident that the master of 
the Vistula and the port of Dantzig wouldf in time, 
subject that city, he decided that it was not necessary 
to stop such an important negotiation, for an ad- 
vantage which in fact was only deferred ; therefore 
his majesty relaxed in this demand. — After ^o many 
obstacles had been removed, this secret contract was 
signed at Petersburg, 17th Feb. 1772. — The month 
of June was fixed on for taking possession, and it was 
agreed that the empress-queen should be invited to 
join the two contracting powers and share in the par- 

It now remained to persuade Austria to join the 
coalition. Joseph and Kaunitz were soon won over, 
but Maria Theresa's conscience made a longer re- 
sistance. The fear of hell, she said, restrained her 
from seizing another's possessions. It was repre- 
sented to her, however, th^t her resistance could not 
prevent the other two powers from portioning out 
Poland, but might occasion a war which would cost 
the valuable lives of many ; whereas the peaceable 
partition would not spill a drop of blood. She was 
thus, she imagined, placed in a dilemma between two 
sins ; and forgetting the command, " do not evil that 
good may come," she endeavoured to persuade her- 
self that she was doing her duty in choosing the least* 
She yielded at length with the air of some religious 
devotee, who exclaims to her artful seducer, " may 
God forgive you !" and at the same time sinks into 
his arms. The contract was signed between Prussia 
and Austria on the 4th of March, and the definite 
treaty of partition which regulated the three por- 
tions was concluded on the 5th of August, 1772. 

Russia was to have, by this first partition, the 
palatinates of Polock, Witebsk, and Mscislaw, as far 
as the rivers Dwina and Dnieper,* more than 3000 
square leagues; Austria had for her share Red 



Russia (Gallicia), and a portion of Podolia and Little 
Poland as far as the Vistula, about 2500 square 
leagues ; and Prussia was to be contented with Po- 
lish Prussia (excepting Dantzig and Thorn with 
their territory), and part of Great Poland as far as 
the river Notec (or Netze), comprising about 900 
square leagues. All the rest of the kingdom was to 
be ensured to Stanislas under the old constitution. 

All the three powers thought it necessary to pub- 
lish some defence of their conduct ; and, in separate 
pami^lets, they attempted to prove that they had 
legitimate claims on Poland, and that their present 
violent seizures were only just resumptions of their 
own territory, or equivalent to it. 

Rulhiere says that Catharine only made her claim 
as a just indemnification for the trouble and expense 
which she had devoted to Poland ; this, however, it 
will be found, by referring to her defence,* is not the 
case. She sets forth the great kindness she had 
shown the republic by ensuring the election of a Piast 
(Stanislas), and uses these remarkable words on the 
subject, " That event was necessary to restore the 
Polish liberty to its ancient lustre, to' ensure the 
elective right of the monarchy, and to destroy 
foreign influence, which was so rooted in the state, 
and which was the continual source of trouble and 
contest.'' She then exclaims against the confede- 
rates : '* Their ambition and cupidity, veiled under 
the phantom of religion and the defence of their 
laws, pervade and desolate this vast kingdom, with- 
out the prospect of any termination of tlus madness 
bui; its entire ruin." She then proceeds with her 
" Deduction," endeavouring to prove, from old au- 
thors, that it was not till 1686 that the Polish limits 
were extended beyond the mouth of the Dwina and 

* Ezpoti de la eonduite de la oour imperiale de Ronde fUhi.-^ dt 
la sereniaaime Republique de Pologne, avec la dedaction dea titna anr 
laaqneii elle fonde sa prise de possession d'an equivalent de aes-draUa 
tl precaotkNM A la aharge de eette pttiaaanea. Patanbvrf , 1771. 


the little town of Stoika on the Dnieper, five miles 
below Kiow. The following is a specimen of the 
lawyer-like sophistry which the empress employs to 
establish her claim to the RusAian territoryr which 
remained in the hands of the Poles after the treaty 
in 1686.* ** The design of such a concession being 
only to put an end to a bloody war more promptly, 
and by a remedy as violent as a devastation (aussi 
violent qu'une devastation) to ensure tranquillity of 
neighbourhood between two rivaj and newly-recon- 
ciled nations, it necessarily follows that every act 
on the part of the subjects of the republic of Poland, 
contrary to such intention, has, ipso fado, revived 
Russians indisputable and unalienated right to all 
that extent of territory. — ^It must be observed, also, 
that this arrangement about the frontier was only 
provisional and temporary, since it is expresslv said, 
that it shall only remain so until it has been otherwise 
amicably settlea. The object was, therefore, to give 
the nations time to lay aside their inveterate hatred ; 
and to remove immediate causes of dispute between 
the different subjects, and consequent rupture be- 
tween the two states. Russia sacrificed tor a time 
the possession of the territory which extends from 
the fertile town of Stoika to the river Tecmine, and 
from the right bank of the Dnieper, fifty werstes in 
breadth along the frontiers of Poland. There is no 
idea of cession here on the part of Russia ; it is a 
pledge (gage) which she advances for the solidity of 
the peace, which ought to be returned to her when the 
object of it is effected. This is the only reasonable 
construction which can be put upon the stipulation, 
* urUU it has been otherwise amicahly settled** Russia 
is not to be a loser because the confusion of the in- 
ternal affairs of Poland has never allowed that 
country to come to a definite agreement on this 
subject notwithstanding the requests gf Russia.^ 



It does not demand much acumen to miveil sucfi 
impudent sophistry as this. The assertion that the 
arrangfement was only provisional and temporary 
is false ; the treaty, indeed, left the detail of tjhe 
boundary line to be drawn out by commissioners, as 
must always be the case in arrangements of this 
kind, and as was meant to be implied by the words 
which the Russian minister transforms into ^ until it 
has been otherwise amicably arranged'^* 

Such was the weak manner in which the Russian 
diplomatists imagined to deceive Europe ; their de- 
fence indeed is as triumphant a proof of the badness 
of their cause as the most earnest friend of Poland 
eould desire. Our surprise ihay well be excited at 
the weakness of the argument, particularly when 
we remember that Catharine^s servants had long 
been trained in glossing over the basest and most 
shameful transactions ; '^ The ministers of Peters- 
burg," said a contemporary writer,* " are accustomed 
to appear without blushing at the tribunal of the 
public in defence of any cause ; the death of Peter, 
and assassination of Prince John, inured them to it.** 
Such a work hardly requires refutation.f Every 
sophism and every falsehood is a damning argument 
against the Russian cause. Truth, in fact, is outraged 
in every page of the writing ; and one striking in 

* 8ee Letters ooQcerning the Preaent State of Poland, by J. Lind. 
London, 1772. These letters, written by one wbo had such excellent 
ikcilities to arrive at information, would be valuable if not debased by ft 
mere cynic's love (ambiguous at the best) for the good cause. 

t This will be found, however, in '< Les Droits des trois Pnissanceft 
Alli^es sur plusieurs Provinces de la.Republique de Pologne.^-Les re- 
flexions d*un gentilhomme Polonais sur les Lettres patentee et preten- 
tions de ees trois Puissances. Londres, 1774." This work was originally 
written in Polish by Felix Loyko ; it contains an elaborate leAitatioa 
of all the historical quibbles of the three partitioning powers. 

Notwithstanding the force of truth and justice, it is surprising bow 
even sofoe great minds can be warped. Malte Brun makes the follow- 
ing remark in his Precis de Geographie. " The partition of Poland was, 
on the part of Russia, much less an invasion than a reprisal of fbriner 
invasions. If the Russian manifestoes, in 1772, had developed this his- 
torical fact with energy, the pity of Europe for Poland would be 
■idtnbly leawned." 


Stance will suffice. Catharine states that the Polish 
govehiment would never make any arrangement 
about the frontier; but the fact is, that even as late 
as 1764 commissioners were appointed at the diet of 
coronation for this very purpose ; but the Russians 
refused to nominate theirs: again in 1766, when 
Count Rzewinski, Polish ambassador at Peters- 
burg, made a similar application, he was answered 
that the affairs of the dissidents must be first 

The Austrian pretensions were even more elabo- 
rately drawn up than those of Russia. In the fast 
place, the district of Zips, the first sacrifice to Aus- 
trian rapacity, came under consideration.* Sigis- 
mund, who came to the Hungarian throne in 1387, 
mortgaged this district to Wladislas II. (Jagellon), 
King of Poland, in 1412, for a stipulated sum of 
money.f It is commonly called The Thirteen 
Towns of Zips, but the district contains sixteen. 
No reclamation of it had been made till the present 
time ; it had then been in the undisputed possession 
of Poland nearly 360 years. The chief demur which 
the Austr^ans now made to the mortgage was, that 
the King of Hungary was restricted by the consti- 
tution, as expressed in the coronation-oath, from 
alienating any portion of the kingdom. But even 
this plea, wezk as it is under such circumstances, is 
not available ; since it is proved that this article was 
never made a part of the coronation-oath until the 
accession of Ferdinand I. in 1527. 

The Austrian minister endeavoured also to estab- 
lish the right of his mistress to Gallicia and Po- 
dolia, as Queen of Hungary, and the dutchies of 
Oswiecim and Zator,t as Queen of Bohemia : ^ What 

*8ot** Dednctian mir I'Hypoth^iie de Zipc, 1773.'* 

t *' S7.000 soixantaines de gnm de BoMme.'' This snm has been estl- 
mated from betinreen 906,3d0 to 209,440 Polish dacata, preaent worth. 

t See ** Lea Droita de la Conronne de Gtongrle aur la IlQaaie-SoQga 
(Gallieia) et aur la Podelle ainal (jue d« la Cotirooiie de Bohtaie aur \m 
Ihiah^a d'Oawiedm et Zator.* 


lastly establishes indisputably the ancient claim of 
Hungary to the provinces in question is, that in 
several seals and documents of the ancient kings 
of Hungary preserved in our archives, the titles and 
arms of Gallicia are always used.'* After exhaust- 
ing the records,* and stating that the crown of Hun- 
gary has ne^er in any way renounced its rights and 
pretensions, the author modestly winds up his argu- 
ments in the following way : ** Consequently, after such 
a long delay, the house of Austria is well authorized 
in establishing and reclaiming the lawful rights and 
pretensions of her crowns of Hungary and Bohe- 
mia, and to obtain satisfaction by the means which 
she now employs ; in the use of which she has ex- 
hibited the greatest moderation possible, by confining 
herself to a very moderate equivalent for her real 
pretensions to the best provinces of Poland, such as 
JPodolia, &C.*' 

Frederic argues his cause on ifte general prin- 
ciples of civil law.f ** Since, then," he says, " the 
crown of Poland cannot pVove express cessions, 
which are the only good titles between sovereigns 
to confer a legitimate possession of disputed prov- 
inces, it will perhaps have recourse to prescription 
and immemorial possession. We all know the 
famous dispute among the learned on the question 
of prescription and natural right, whether it obtains 
between sovereigns and free nations.J The affirma- 
tive is founded only on that very weak argument, 

* The inrolved ai^uments and abstruse researches concerning Gal- 
licia amonnt to very little more than the statements, 

That Mary, the eldest daughter of Louis (King of Poland and Hnn- 
nry), whom she succeeded in Hungary, tranquilly possessedRedBussia 
(Gallieia); and 

That this kingdom was seized by her sister, Hedwiga, with vio- 

t See " Les Droits de sa majest(^ le Roi de Prusse comme Marquis de 
Brandebvrg sur le duchd de Pomerillie (Pomerania) et plusieurs autrea 
Pistrlcts da Boyaume de Pologne, avec les Pieces Justiflcatives." 

t Grotius, Puffendorf, Wolff, &,c. have supported the affirmatiTe i 
l>u Puy, Breoning, Ac. the negative. 



that he who for a long time has not made use of his 
rights is presumed to have abandoned them ; a pre- 
sumption which is at best doubtful, and cannot 
destroy the right and established property of a 
monarch. Besides, even this presumption altogether 
vanishes when the superior strength of a usurper 
has prevented the lawful proprietor from claiming 
his rights, which has been the case in the present 
instance. Time alone cannot render a possession 
just which has not been so from its origin; and as 
there is no judge between free nations, no one caa 
decide if the time past is sufficient to establish pre- 
scription, or if the presumption of the desertion (of 
rights) is sufficiently proved. But even leaving tms 
point undetermined, the prescription which the re- 

Eublic of Poland could allege in the present case 
as not any of the qualities which the advocates of 
prescription require, to render it valid between free 
states."* We do not imagine that our readers 
will coincide with Frederic in the following opinion: 
•* We flatter ourselves that when the impartial public 
has weighed without prejudice all that has just been 
detailed in this expose, they will not find in the step 
-which his majesty has taken any thing which is not 
conformable to justice, to natural right, to the gene- 
ral use of nations, and, lastly, to the example which 
the Poles themselves have given in seizing all these 
countries by simple matter of fact.f We trust also 
that the Polish nation will eventually recover from 
its prejudices ; that it will acknowledge the enorr 
mous injustice which it has done to the house of 
Brandeburg, and that it will bring itself to repair it 
by a just and honourable arrangement with which 

* The " Exposd" refers ns to Grotins de Jure Bell, et Pads, lib. iL 
c. 4, &c. 

t It is hardly requisite to point out tbe strange and absurd oversight 
which the learned civilian and poUtician has committed here. Truth, 
however, will peep out in spite of all Frederic's cunning. Those half 
d(»ea words obviate the necessity of a formal reflitation. 



his mijesty will willing^Iy comply, sincerdy wishing 
to cultivate the friendship and good-fellowship of 
this illustrious nation, and to live with the republic 
in good union and harmony/'* 

We have thus given the three monarchs liberty 
to plead for themselves ; and no one can rise from 
the perusal of their " Defences" without feeling ad- 
ditional conviction of their injustice, and resentment 
at their hjrpocrisy. We must own we are almost 
inclined to interpret Frederic's appeal as a sneering 
{>arody on the cant of diplomacy in general ; but, in 
whatever Ught it be viewed, it gives additionaL.'in- 
sight into the heart and head of that military despot 
•and disciple of Machiavelli.f 

Iniquity almost always pays virtue the compliment 
of attempting to assume her semblance ; and the 
three wholesale plunderers, therefore, Russia, Aus- 
tria, and Prussia, determined to give some show of 
justice to their violent seizure, oy wringing from 
their victims a ratification of their claims. But 
" the children of this world" with all their wisdom 
cannot invariably preserve consistency, and cunning 
as the villain may sometimes be, he will at some 
time or other make the most disgraceful mistakes. 
By requiring further ratification, the three powers 

* This and Frederic's other namerons manifestoes and defences are 
answered by Feiix Loyko in the coilection of pamphlets brfore quoted. 
Be does not forget to remind Frederic that he praises the honour of 
his fhther for refusing to seize Polish Prussia, when he was instigated 
by*France to do so in 1734, replying that it would be wnjust.Sto Md- 
moires de Brandeburg. 

t Frederic's character is even yet more deeply implicated, if the fht- 
lowing statement is correct ; and we have no reason to doubt it **^ I caa 
positively assure you, that a member of the diet, who had reiuetantly 
signed the constitution which rejected the demands of the cUssidents, 
and wliich had been flraroed and supported by the bishop'of Cracow, 
told the prelate, ' Your excellency has persuaded us to pass a resolution 
which cannot Ml of bringing on ns the resentment of our neighboui«>' 
The bishop, laying his hand cently on the member's shoulder, answered, 
* Be persuaded, sir, I should not have counselled you to this step if I 
had not the most positive assurances ftom the King of Prusaa ttuu he 
would be harmless in it.'" The author states that this passed in his 
LaUPt UtterSflBLu, 


admitted tbfit their anterior claims were not well 
fpmided ; am common sense ought to have told them, 
that if the former claims were not just, the latter, 
depending o^ the same title, were rendered still less 
so by aggra^ted violence. Every show of justice 
in a villanoi^ action rises up in sterner judgment 
against the perpetrator, inasmuch as it evinces de- 
sign, and mdkes him responsible for the motive. 
These remarkv might be applied to Catharine, Fred- 
eric, Maria Theresa, or Joseph ; for though they 
may shield themselves from personal accusation by 
acting under the vague titles of powers, states, or 
governments, tie evasion is mean and cowardly; 
for particularly in such despotic governments aB 
theirs the passbns and wills of the rulers are the 
directors of every political scheme.* 

The three potrers fixed on the 19th of April, 1773, 
for the opening of a diet at Warsaw to ratify their 
claims. Their ttoops were in possession of all Por 
land ; the capital in particular was strongly invested ; 
and Rewiski, Benoit, and Stakelberg, the Austrian, 
Prussian, and Russian ministers, were on the spot to 
overrule and direct all the debates. They declared 
that every deputy who opposed their proposals should 
be treated as an enemy of his country, and of the 
three powers. Frederic himself states, in his de- 
scription of this transaction, that the deputies were 
informed if they continued refractory that the whole 
kingdom would be dismembered ; but, on the contrary, 
that if they were submissive the foreign troops 
would evacuate by degrees the territory they iii- 
teiided to leave to the republic. The diet was to be 
confederated, that the Poles might be deprived of 
their last resource, the liberum veio. 

* B^gm says, and it has been said a Imndred dmea before, that <' We 
may solve nearly all the enigmas of politics by flrat Istndying both the 
good and bad qualities of those who direct than: dn the passions and 
weaknesses of goTemws always have more inauence on events iiua 
the interests of the governed.'*— ZJecode HisUnigue ou Tableau Bolitiqu* 
4( rA(rq|>e dqwM 1786*1790^ par W. Le OooDle de 86CIV. 



Some few patriots still raised their voices, even 
in the midst of the united armies of Russia,' Austria, 
and Prussia ; and among these Reyten was the most 
distinguished. He was a Lithuanian by descent, 
had acted a good part in the confederacy of Bar, and 
had earned a character which made the electors of 
Nowogrodek select him for their representative in 
the present memorable diet. His colleague was 
Samuel Korsak, a worthy coadjutor, who did not 
turn a deaf ear to his father's parting words : " My 
son, I send you to Warsaw accompanied by my old- 
est domestics ; I charge them to bring me your head, 
if you do not oppose with all your might what is 
now plotting against your country.* 

Poninski, a creature of the allied powers, was the 
marshal of the diet, appointed by the intervention 
of the ambassadors ; and when the session opened, 
one of the deputies nominated him, and he was im* 
mediately proceeding to take the seat, without wait- 
ing for the election, but several members rose to 
protest against this breach of privilege, and Reyten 
exclaimed, '* Gentlemen, the marshal cannot be thus 
self-appointed; the whole assembly must choose 
him ; I protest against the nomination of Poninski : 
name him who is to be your president." Some 
voices instantly shouted, " Long live the true son 
of his country, Marshal Reyten." Poninski retired, 
adjourning the session to the next day. 

On the following mornings Poninski again made 
his appearance, merely to postpone the assembly 
one day more. When this period arrived, he went 
to the hall with a guard of foreign soldiers, to sta- 
tion some of his faction at the doors, and to prevent 
the entrance of the public. Reyten, Corsak, and 
their little band of patriots were soon at their posts, 
when Reyten, perceiving that the people were not al- 
lowed to enter, exclaimed, ^ Gentlemen, follow me. 
Poninski shall not be marshal of the diet to-da^,if I 
live !" It was already twelve o^clock, and Poninski 


did not appear, but a messenger arrived to state that 
he adjourned the meeting. " We do not acknow- 
ledge Poninski for marshal," replied Reyten; and 
seeing many of the members about to retire, he 
placed himself before the door with his arms crossed, 
and attempted to stop the deserters. But his exer- 
tions proving useless, he threw himself along the 
doorway, exclaiming, with a wearied but determined 
voice, ** Go, go, and seal your own eternal ruin, 
but first trample on the breast which will only beat 
for honour and liberty !" There were now only fif- 
teen members in the hall, and of these but six perse- 
vered in their patriotic determination ; namely, Rey- 
ten, Korsak, Durin, Terzmanowski, Kozuchowski, 
sLnd Penczkowski. At ten a message arrived from the 
Hussian ambassador, invitin? the noncontent depu^ 
ties to a conference at his house. Four of them, 
among whom was Korsak, accordingly went ; and 
Stackelberg at first addressed them mildly, but find- 
ing them resolute, began to threaten them with con- 
fiscation of their estates. On this Korsak rose, and 
declared, since they wished to seize his possessions, 
-which were already, however, mostly plundered by 
the« Russian armies,' there was no occasion for so 
many preliminaries ; and he actually put into his 
hand a list of all his property, adding, " This is all I 
have to sacrifice to the avarice of the enemies of my 
country. I know that they can also dispose of my 
life ; but I do not know any despot on earth rich 
enough to corrupt Or powerful enough to intimidate 

Reyten remained still at his post, and the four 
patijots on returning found the doors closed, and lay 
down without for the night. On the following day 
the ministers of the three poweris repaired to the 
king's palace, and Stackelberg threatened him with 
the immediate destruction of his capital, unless he 
gave his sanction to the forced confederation. Stan- 
ifiOas demanded the advice of his council, but re« 


ceived no reply; and taking their silence for an 
assent, and not knowing how to evade a direct an- 
swer, he yielded to tKe ministers' demands. The 
corrupt diet held their assembly without the hall, 
because Reyten was still at his post ; — such was 
their dread of even one patriotic individual. On 
the 23d of April, when Poninski and the confederates 
entered, they found Rejrten stretched senseless on 
the floor, in which state he must have lain thirty-six 
hours. Such was the determihation with which he 
resisted the oppression of his country ; and so en- 
tirely were all the energies of his mind devoted to 
the cause, that when he learned its fall, he lost his 

The allies began to redouble their threats, and 
signified to the deputies their intention of portioning 
out the whole of the kingdom, if any more opposition 
were offered; but, notwithstanding, the diet con- 
tinued stormy, and many bold speeches were made. 
Of all situations the king's must have been the most 
perplexing and irksome ; but no person was better 
adapted to act such a part than Stanislas. He made 
the most pathetic appeals to his subjects, and fre- 
quently spoke in a strain more fit for an unfortunate 
but patriotic hero, than for one who had done nothing 
but affect a few tears (for we can hardly doubt that 
they were hypocritical) over the misfortunes which 
he had brought on his country. The following sen- 
tence must have sounded strangely in his mouth : 

* When Poninski informed Reyten that the ministers had conde- 
tcended to set aside the sentence of outlawry against him, and hesides 
ofEbred him 2000 dncats to defray his traveUing expenses to whateTsr 
country he chose to retire, the stanch constitutionalist answered, " I 
bzve with me 5000 ducats ; I make you an offer of them, provided yoa 
will resign the marshal's staff, and with it corruption and dishonour.* 
One of the Prussian generals who was present, struck with the disin- 
terestedness of the patriot, exclaimed, Optime vity gratulor tibi : optim* 
rem tuam egisti. This truly great man, in one of hts violent fits of ia- 
sanity, brought on by distress at the fkte of his country, one day seised 
a glass from which he had been drinking, broke it to pieces with his 
ta^ and awaliowing the fingmenta, expired on the Stb of Aognat, 17BIL 


^Fecimui qua potuimusy omnia tenkmmuSf nihU 
omisimus.^^* Again, on the 10th of May he abso- 
lutely had the audacity to defend his political con- 
duct, stating, that *' He had always done his duty 
whenever, any business depended on him^^t 

On the 17th of May the diet. agreed to Poninski's 
motion, to appoint a commission that, in conjunc- 
tion with the three ambassadors, should regulate the 
limits of the four countries, and determine upon the 
changes in the Polish government. On the 18th the 
commissioners were nominated by the king and 

Some small remains of liberty lingered even among 
the commissioners, and called for fresh threats and 
violence from the allied powers. At length they 
agreed to ratify the treaty of the 5th of August, and 
establish a permanent council, in whom the execu- 
tive power was to be vested. This council consisted 
of forty members, and was divided into four depart- 
ments, which engrossed every branch of adminis- 
tration. The king was the nominal president, but 
the real authority was possessed by the Russian 

The partition was not fully arranged till 1774, and 
then Prussia and Austria began to extend their 
bounds beyond the agreed limits. Vappttit vieni 
en mangearU, and these encroachments were a sad 
augury of future partitions to tlie Poles. 

The indifference with which other states regarded 
this partition was indeed surprising. France, in 
particular, might have been expected to protest 
against it ; but the imbecility and dotage of Louis 
Xy., and the weakness of his minister, paid too little 
attetition to the interests of their own nation to be 
likely to think of others. They made the most frivo- 
lous excuses, and even had the meanness to attempt 
to shift the blame on the shoulders of their ambas- 

* Disconn du Roh, prononc^ A la Di^te le 5 Mai, 1773. 
t DiMOun dtt Boi 4 la Di^te, 10 Mai, 1773. 



sador at Vienna, pretending that he amused himself 
with hunting, instead of pohtics, and had no know* 
ledge of the design of partition until it was consum- 
mated. Louis contented himself with saying, with 
an affectation of rage, ^ It would not have happened 
if Choiseul had been here !*' Some few patriots in 
England declaimed on the injustice of the proceed- 
ing ; but the spirit of the ministry, which was occu- 
pied in wrangling with the American colonies about 
the imposition of taxes, was not likely to be very 
attentive ta the cries of oj^ressed liberty. ' 

The partition is not one of those equivocal acts 
which seem to vibrate between .right and wrong, 
justice and injustice, and demand the most accurate 
analysis to ascertain on which side they prepon- 
derate. Argument is thrown away on such a sub- 
ject ; for to doubt about the nature of a plain deci- 
sive act like this, must necessarily proceed from 
something even worse than uncertainty and skepti- 
cism concerning the simple fundamental princi js 
of moral action. A little reflection, however, will 
not be lost on so memorable a portion of history, 
which opens a wider field for instruction than the 
** thousand homilies" on the ambition, and glory, and 
other commonplaces of Greek and Roman history. 
Such great political crimes reveal a corresponding 
system of motives of as black a hue, and even the 
narrowest experience teaches us that motives are 
never so well traced as in their results. The cor- 
rupt principle which prompts injustice and deceit in 
foreign transactions would operate equally in do- 
4mestic affairs ; anAthe minister who uses hypocrisy 
and falsehood in manifestoes and treaties would not 
ihcruple to do the same in matters of private life. 
An implicit confidence in enemies like these was 
one of the amiable " crimes" for wldch " Sannatia 
fell nnwepL" v 



9ta#e of Foland— Stanislas picni osB S a Beforin— DM of 1788, or Oob- 
stitutional Diet— Alliance witli Pnissia— Gtonstimtioa of tbe 3d of 
May— JiVesoIution of Stanislas— Treachery of Frederic William— 
Oppoaition of Russia to the F<dish Reform— OonfMeracy of Tttvowiea 
Frederic Williana's Letter to Stanislas— The Russiaiis enter FMaiid 
— Irresolntlon of Stanislas— The Pmssians enter Poland— Frederie*li 
Manifesto— Opposition of the Confederates to Russia dvercom^— 
Fredsrie's Clainuh-^'yranny of SieTsrs— Conceanon of the Dtec— 
Second PartitiaiH 

Thb adverse fate of the confederacy of Bar had 
exhausted most of Poland's best blood, 3Bd the gall- 
ing Russian yoke had broken her few choice sur- 
Tiving spirits ; so that this once proud and gallant 
nation was bent as supinely and submissively to its 
despots as if their domination had been founded on 
the rock of ages. But the free spirit of inquiry, 
wliich had gone forth during the latter part of the 
last reign, could not be confined by Russian chainsi 
and it soon roused many minds from their disgrace- 
ful lethargy. The ex^grtions of Konarski ^ad long 
weakened the influence of the Jesuits, and even the 
few remains of conventual superstition were swept 
away, in 1773, by Pope Clement's famous bull, which 
gnonounced the suppression of that powerful order. 
The same diet which had sealed the fatal treaty of 
partition had appropriated the revenues of the Jesuits 
to the purpose of national education, and at the same 
time established a commission to superintend this 
important work. This excellent institution served 
to counteract the- demoralizing eifects of foreign 
subjugation; the ''medicine 'of the mind^ was uni- 
versally administered; the national literature was 
strenuously cultivated; every young Pole now 
«tadied the history of his country; and the pre- 


ceptor finished his lectures on the story of patriotimif' 
with the stirring monition, '* Go 4hou and do like* 
wise !" 

AH these causes pressed forward the Poles in that 
march of improvement which it is now our pleasing 
office to record. In the diet of 1776 the king him- 
self urged the necessity of revising the constitution; 
and proposed Zamoyski, the patriotic chancellor, 
whose memorable resignation, in 1767, was yet fresh 
in their memory, as the proper person to undertake 
the task. The proposal was received with universal 
applause, and Zamoyski laid his new code before the 
diet in 1780. He recommended the abolition of those 
two fatal privileges, the liberum veto, and election of 
the monarch; another equally important scheme 
was the emancipation of the serfs; the trading classes 
also were to be raised to a share in the government, 
by having the right of electing deputies for the diet; 
commerce was to be encouraged ; and, in short, Poland 
was to overtake the other states of Europe in civiliza- 
tion. Zamoyski had himself set the example of 
emancipating his serfs on his lands in Biezun, thus 
giving them an interest in the welfare of the country. 
He was imitated by the king's nephew, Stanislas 
Poniatowski, and other nobles; but the generality 
of the Polish nobility were more short-sighted to 
their real advantage, and Russian policy backed 
them in their opposition to this liberal and politic 
design ; so that not only was the new constitution 
rejected in the diet of 1780, but Zamoyski was pro- 
nounced by most of the voices a traitor to his coun- 
try. This attempt, though unsuccessful, was not 
without its good effects. 

The king still cherished the scheme, but fearing 
the interference of Russia, he obtained from Catha- 
rine, with whom he had an interview in her progress 
to the Crimea in May, 1787, a solemn promise that 
she would not make his proposed changes the plea 
for another invasion. The Emperor of Austria, who 


alsoTisited Catharine, made him a simQar assmrmce. 
In August of the same year war breaJcing out between 
Russia and Turkey, Catharine suggested an offensive 
and defensive alliance with Poland. This offer was 
referred to the diet of the next year. 

In the mean time FSrederic William, successor 
of his uncle Frederic the Great, was plotting with 
England, Holland, and Sweden, against Russia and 
Austria, apd pretended to the Poles that he attached 
much importance to their friendship. As an induce- 
ment to detach them from Russia, he, so far from 
opposing the change in the constitution, gave it his 
full approval. The diet was convoked for the 30th 
of September, 1788, and was confederated, which 
emancipated it from the shackles of the Hberumveio; 
and on the 12th of October the Pfussian minister 
presented to the diet a memorial protesting against 
the league with Russia against Turkey, and offered 
the alliance of Pnissia in its room: The diet returned 
for answer, that they had no ii)tention of entering 
into any offensive alliance with Russia. 

The diet at the same time proceeded inthchr work 
of independence ; they decreed the increase of the 
army to 100,000 men, and established a commission 
of waiv which was to be entirely independent of the 
king or the council. They also demanded that the 
Russian troops should immediately evacuate the 
kingdom. This called forth a protest from the Rus- 
sian minister, stating, that ''he must regard the 
least change in the constitution of 1775 as a violation 
of the treaties." The Prussian ambassador, on the 
contrary, assured them, that his master would not 
interfere in any of their arrangements, or control 
their deliberations. The ordinary duration of ihe 
diet was now almost expired, and they decreed to 
prolong it indefinitely; an innovation which gave the 
Russians fresh umbrage. 

The Poles were for some time wavering between 
Russia and Prussia. On one side it was Brged* that 


it was folly to set the former at open defiance, while 
they were so entirely at her mercy, and that " with 
the 'protection of Russia they could reform their con- 
stitution, und render their political existence firmer, 
and, perhaps, recover one-third of the possessions 
which they had lost." On the other hand, the oppo- 
site party argued the advantages of the Prussian 
alliance, at once ensuring a new constitution and 
protection from Russia. Credulity has ever been a 
Polish weakness ; and none but a Pole would have 
thought of Russian restitution, or have trusted to the 

grotection of Frederic William. It is amusing to 
ear how seriously the Poles talk of the importance 
of their alliance. "All these powers," says Count 
Oginski,* speaking of Prussia and her allies, " which 
agreed in principles, found that it was necessary to 
comprehend Poland in this new league," &c. No 
doubt Poland would have served for " abisirrier to 
the ambition of Russia," that is, might have received 
for a short time the blows intended for Prussia, as a 
reward for its fidelity to Frederic William. This 
king's aim had long been to obtain possession of 
Thorn and Dantzig, that the commerce of the 
Vistula might be entirely at his mercy. Aware, 
however, that the Poles would not willingly part 
with these towns, he ordered his ambassador, Luc- 
chesini, to hint his wish, but to state also that he 
did not make it an essential article of the treaty. 
Other reasons biassed the Poles against Russia. 
She of the three dividing states was the most hateful 
to Poland ; her ministers still domineered there, her 
troops still plundered and insulted the inhabitants, 
while the Prussians had left them without rankling 
the wounds they had made. The Prussian ambas- 
sador at Warsaw further inflamed this hostile feel- 
ing, by affecting to tell, as a confidential communi* 
cation, '^ That Russia had proposed to the King of 

• Vol. L p. 2». 


Poland to pat him in possession of Great Poland if 
he would remain neuter in the war a^inst the 
Turks." The lie passed from mouth to mouth with 
full belief; the alliance with Prussia was decreed by 
the diet on the 15th of March, 1790, and the treaty 
of commerce was the next subject of debate. 

Now that Frederic William had enticed the Poles 
to throw off the yoke of Russia, which they would 
hardly have dared to do had they not depended on 
his sanction and that of his allies, his end was 
answered. He began to talk more decidedly about 
the cession of Thorn and Dantzig. He knew the 
Poles had gone too far to retract and make their 
peace with Russia ; and that in case of a termination 
of the Turkish war, Catharine would punish their 
revolt by further confiscation, in which case Frederic 
must have a pretext for seizing these two towns. 
He says in his letter to Stanislas, dated the 11th of 
August, 1790, " I have no objection to a discussion 
of the existing treaty of commerce, or the conclusion 
of a hew one, foreseeing with certainty that it will be 
acknowledged that the proposal which I have made 
(the cession of Thorn and Dantzig) to compensate 
me for a considerable loss of my customs, t^ an(2 
always will be the only just and practicable way to 
render the commerce of the Polish nation as flounsh- 
ing as possible," &c. The Poles were naturally 
averse to jrield the commerce of the Vistula entirely 
into the hands of Prussia; and instructed their 
ambassadors, to the various courts in alliance with 
Prussia to endeavour to set aside the demand. All 
these attempts were useless;* Dantzig and Thorn 

* Pitt, tbe English minister, expremed himself very decidedly on this 
point to Gonnt Oginski, the Polish ambassador. " What advantage," he 
■aid to thfit nobleman, "do yon derive fVom these two outlets for your 
prodaetlons in the state of weakness in which you are at present groan- 
ing under the protection of tbe court of Petersburg? The King of 
Prussia, in oJBeiing you his friendship and a treaty of alliance, presents 
you with the means of escaping IVom this abject state, and that alone 
would be worth the expense of making the few sacrifices tbe> reqnirs 


must be the price of the commercial treaty.* Not* 
withstanding the Poles felt this, the diet in the early 
part of 1791 decreed that no portion of the states of 
the republic was ever to be alienated. They thus 
deprived themselves even of the show of protection 
from Prussia, and undertook to make all these pro- 
posed changes entirely on their own responsibility. ' 

The diet, however, proceeded boldly in their work 
of reform. In April, 1791, the towns were admitted 
to the elective franchise ; the absurd authority of the 
dietines was abolished, excepting when in a change 
of the civil or criminal laws ; the liberum veto was 
abrogated, imaibimity in the diets being no longer 
required, but a i^urality of votes was decreed siSl- 
cient in general matters, while, for declarations of 
war, treaties, &c. three-fourths of the votes were 
requisite, and for taxes, &c. two-thirds. But the 
3d of May was the grand day which was to give 
birth to the new constitution. The articles had l^en 
long in preparaition, and the king now expressed his 
full sanction of the measure. The reformers were 
well aware that there still remained some enemies to 
the proposed change ; and though the 5th of May was 
the day proposed, they altered it to the 3d, that they 
might anticipate any coalition of the opponents. 

On the grand day thousands of spectators thronged 
the royal castle of Warsaw, where the diets are held, 
to witness the fine spectacle of a nation throwing off 
the trammels of an antiquated and absurd legislature. 
After the patriotic Marshal Malachowski had ad- 
dressed the assembly in terms appropriate to the 
solemnity of the occasion, he proposed that the report 
of the commission for foreign affairs should be read. 

of yon, and trtiich (he conrt of Berlin proposes to yon as ihe oondftiM 
t>f ehterinc into a treaty of conuneree witli Fdtand."— Bftoiotres da 
Bnchel Oginski, torn. i. 

* 86gnr says, that after the conrention of Relclienbach, ** Rrederie 
William spoke no more of Dantsig and Thorn," vol . i. p. 290. He most 
mean as a compensation fbr the possessions wUch Austria was to i^ecatti 
by tlie treaty wiUi Turkey. 


Hie object was to disEplay the siniBter designs of 
Russia, and the consequent necessity of using the 
most enlightened policy to counteract them. When 
this startling document had been gone through, Po- 
tocki called on the king, as the only person who was 
mifettered by party jesdousy, to devise the most efi* 
•cacious means to save the country. 

Stanislas rose, and declared that the only mode to 
preserve the kingdom from the dangers to which the 
abuses of its legislature had exposed it was by abol* 
ishing all those abuses, and establishing immediately 
a new and solid constitution* He added, that, having 
been convinced of this a long time, he had prepared 
a plan which he would submit to the assembly. 

The new constitution called forth some passionate 
invectives from the opposition members, but the re- 
formers far outnumbered their opponents, and Zabi-> 
ello, a Livonian deputy, called on the king and the 
diet to take an oath of adherence to the constituticm 
immediately. The proposal was received with shouts 
of applause ; the king ordered the bishop of Cracow 
to administer the oath to him, and afterward added, 
" 1 have sworn, and I will never swerve from it. I 
call on all those who love their country to follow me 
to the church to take the same oath." He then pro« 
ceeded to the cathedral, followed by all the diet except 
twelve members ; and all the bishops, ministers, 
senators, and deputies repeated the soleipn oath to 
support the constitution. 

The principal articles were as follows :. 

The Catholic religion was to remain that of the 
state f^all other sects were tolerated, but the king was 
to be a Roman Catholic. 

The eligibility of the throne was abolished, and 
the family of Saxony was to be called to the succes 
sion on the death of Stanislas, "j^^he executive power 
was intrusted to the king and his council composed 
of six ministers, who co^d be deprived of their office 
by a mfljoiity in the diet. While the diets were AOt 



sitting, the king was to have the power of making 
treaties, &c. The regulations of the 18th of April 
concerning the deputies of the citizens were con- 
firmed. The liberum veto and all confederacies were 
abolished entirely, and it was agreed that a revision 
pf the constitution was to take place every twenty- 
fifth year. 

Congratulations poured in upon Stanislas from 
almost all the courts of Europe ; and even the pope 
was\imong the number of congratulators. The po- 
liticians in England were enthusiastic in their admira- 
tion of the new constitution. •* It is a work," Tsaid 
Fox, " in which every friend to reasonable liberty 
must be sincerely interested." ♦'Humanity," ex- 
claimed Burke, "must rejoice and glory when it 
considers the change in Poland !" Frederic William 
testified his approbation of the proceeding in Ms 
letter to the king, dated the 23d of May. Among 
other things, he says, "I congratulate myself on 
having had it in my power to contribute to maintain 
the liberty and inaependence of the Polish nation, 
and one of my most pleasing cares will be to support 
and draw closer the bond which unites us." 

Notwithstanding the ardour of Stanislas in the 
work of reform, those who were acquainted with his 
character felt the greatest apprehensions about his 
determination. He burst into tears one day, on 
hearing that such fears existed, and assured his au- 
ditors 'Hhat those persons were much mistaken 
about him ; that he had always been unfortunate, 
but never guilty towards the nation ; that his conduct 
would belie the bad opinion entertained of him, and 
that no human force could shake the sentiments he 
professed, and would manifest, in exposing his life, 
if it were necessary, to support the constitution, and 
consolidate the happiness of Poland." 

Although Frederic William joined the other princes 
in congratulations to Stanislas, ou his important 
reform in the constitution, his heart did not go widi 

TREATY OF reichbkbacr: 248 

them. His politics were undergoing a complete 
change; and his mind, naturally tortuous, readily 
glided through the ever-winding paths of events 
which sprung up at this time in such confusion. The 
death of the emperor Joseph, in January, 1790, was 
one of these important circumstances. His suc- 
cessor, Leopold, found his throne tottering to the 
very foundation, and gladly availed himself of Frede- 
ric's hatred to exertion, to avert a Prussian inroad, 
and obtain peace.* A treaty was concluded between 
the two powers at Reichenbach, on the 27th of July, 
1790, including Turkey. This treaty had the most 
important influence on the pohtics of Europe gene- 
rally; and Poland, being almost the focus for tiie 
intrigues, of the three adjacent courts, experienced 
their effects in the highest degree. Russia, aban- 
doned by Austria, found it expedient to make peace, 
which she did with Sweden, within eighteen days 
after the convention of Reichenbach. Although the 
sultan had one enemy the less, he also was inclined 
to a cessation of war, since at best he could only aim 
at making the least disadvantageous peace: this 
seemed the critical moment, before Russia recovered 
from her alarm ; and the treaty was concluded be- 
tween Catharine and the Porte, at Jassy, on the 4th 
of August, 1791. Russia was thus set at liberty to 
turn her attention to Poland, almost at the very crisis 
when Frederic had grown less than lukewarm in their 
cause, and Leopold had not had time to forget that it 
had been allied against him. The French revolution, 
too, which burst out about this time, had the highest 
influence on the fate of Poland : dangers drew the 
monarchs of Europe more closely together, and they 
now more than ever dreaded the name of reform. 
The prudence and uprightness of Leopold, however, 
acted for some time as a check to Frederic William's 
versatility and treachery : but this was removed by 

* Tbe motives wblch cbanged Fredsric*! po}ili«fa TiawB nay be iwa 
In Bkgaf» Decade ffiatori^oe, toI. i. p. 980. 


the emperor's death, on the 1st of March, 1792. 
Eyen if the King of Prussia had been honest in his 
promises to Poland, his alarm at the revolutionary 
proceedings in France would have prevented him 
from performing them in defiance of Russia, that he 
might be at liberty to attempt to crush the nascent 
spirit of independence in France. All the negotia- 
tions between the three powers were now veiled in 
the closest secrecy ; but time has since shown, that 
Catharine made private and distinct arrangements 
with Prussia and Austria, to prevent any opposition 
to her designs on Poland. 

On the 1 6th of April, 1792, the deputation for the 
management of foreign affairs laid an official notice 
before the diet concerning the hostile preparations of 
Rulssia. Notwithstanding this, the diet went on 
toldly in their work of reform ; and the 3d of May, 
the Anniversary of the new constitution, was set apart 
for public rejoicing. But some gloomy presentiments 
imbittered all the festivity ; Felix Potocki, Branicki, 
and Rzewinski, the three chief nobles who opposed 
the reform, although apparently isolated from the rest 
of the Poles, had been endeavouring secretly to make 
converts, and had been during some time at Jassy, 
an omen that boded no good. The diet invested the 
king with full executive power, placing the army 
entirely at his orders, and allowing hini to employ 
foreign engineers. They also ordered thirty millions 
of money to be placed at his liisposal, should war 
break out, and gave him liberty to convoke the 
pospolite, in case the army of 100,000 men was not 

News shortly arrived that the recusant nobles had 
signed an act of confederacy at Targowica,* on the 
14th of May ; and four days after, the Russian minis- 
ter presented a protest from his mistress, against the 
innovations, promising to pardon ail those who woidd 

* They conld only minter Uitatten. 


renounce them, but threatening all who refused to do 
so. Although this declaration of war, for such it was, 
must have been expected by all the thinking Poles, 
they had no doubt hoped for some fortunate event to 
avert the blow : and, ever credulous, some still de- 
pended on, Fiederic William. This monarch, how- 
ever, soon undeceived them ; for in answer to the 
king's letter of the Slst of May, he says, "I will 
frankly confess, that after all that had passed during 
the last year, it was easy to foresee the difficulties in 
which the King of Poland now finds himself involved. 
On more than one occasion, the Marquis of Lucche- 
sini has been commissioned to communicate my fears 
on that point, as well to your majesty as the leading 
members of the government. Since the time when 
the re-establishment of the general tranquillity in 
Europe has allowed explanation, and since the Em- 
press of Russia has evinced a decided opposition to 
the revolution of the 3d of May, my way of thinking 
and the language of my ministers have never varied. 
While I viewed with a calm eye the new constitution 
which the republic has made for itself with my ap^ 
proval and concurrence, I never thought of support- 
ing it, or protecting it. , 

" Your majesty will feel that, the state of things 
having entirely changed since the alliance I con- 
tracted with you, and that the present conjunctures, 
produced by the constitution of the 3d of May, not 
being conformable to the engagements which were 
stipidated, it is not my part to comply with the ex- 
pectations of your majesty."* 

We hardly dare to allow ourselves to express our 
feelings on reading this letter, but prefer to give the 
opinion of one who had more experience in the un- 
worthy tricks of politicians. " We have often seen,** 
says Count S^gur, '* justice sacrificed to ambition in 
politics, but never have politicians allowed themselves 

* See S6gvr*« Decade, tdI. U. p. 88& 


to disown engagements so public, so recent, and to 
sport so openly with the faith of treaties.*** 

On the 18th of May the Russian army, consisting 
of 80,000 troops of the line and 20,000 Cossacks, 
received their orders to enter Poland. The Polish 
army consisted of three divisions, one headed by the 
king's nephew, Joseph Poniatowski, the second by 
Michael Wielhorski, and the third by the famous 
Kosciusko. Stanislas promised to put himself at the 
head of Ws troops, and the Poles in general looked 
forward with sanguine hopes. Those, however, who 
knew the king had no such expectations,t and were 
not surprised when he formed a new council of war, 
and ordered Joseph Poniatowski to retire towards 
the river 'Bug, in order to concentrate the forces 
about Warsaw. Several skirmishes occurred, in 
which the Poles had, in general, the advantage. 

Kosciusko had a glorious affair at Zielence, on the 
18th of June ; and Mokranowski distinguished him- 
self at Polonna, at the head of his cavalry. But the 
battle of Dubienka was the most decisive affray in 
this short and tantalizing campaign. Headed by 
Kosciusko, the Poles withstood an enemy three times 
their number, and made an honourable retreat, after 
much slaughter. The courage and prudence exhibited 
by Kosciusko on this day marked him out to the 
Poles as one of their greatest military champions. In 
Lithuania the army was restricted by similar orders, 
and the Russians advanced almost unopposed. 

Notwithstanding his timid counsels, the king con- 
tinued to act the hero at least in words, and fre- 
quently exclaimed, with enthusiasm, ** that he would 

* By the 6th article of the treaty of 1700, Frederic WiUlam was 
bound to protect the republic from foreign interference, **at any time or 
in any manner."— S6gur*s Decade Hiatorique, vol. ii. 

t The Polea, it must he confessed, showed the most tender regard to 
the divine person of their king. *< I do not speak," says Oginski, " of the 
design which it is said he formed to repair to the camp of Dubuo, where 
a body of 12,000 men were assembled ; for this enterprise would have 
cost too many tacrifieei qf kUpuu^ AoMte."— il^m, de Mickd Ornt 


rather die gloriously than betray the confidence of 
his nation^ and sacrifice the interest of his subjects." 
Every day, however, gave the lie to this assertion, 
and his irresolution was hourly exhibited more 

Of this his observation on reading a spirited pro« 
test of the Lithuanians against the traitorous con- 
federacy is a striking exemplification : ^ It is weU, 
very well ; but are they not afraid of compromising 
themselves, and exposing themselves to persecution, 
if chances happened to turn out against us t" This 
short remark speaks his real sentiments. On the 
22d of June he wrote to the empress, offering to 
make the grand-duke Constantine his successor ; but 
he only received reproaches for having violated the 
pacta conventa^ and a palpable hint to join the con- 
lederatiou of Targowica. On the 23d of July the 
king signed the act of the confederates, and Poland 
was O'-ice more in the hands of the Russians. The 

Eatriot officers were discharged ; the army was dis- 
anded, or scattered in small detachments, and the 
inhabitants of the various districts were obliged to 
accede to the confederation, and declare that all the 
proceedings of the constitutional diet were acts of 
despotism. The latter part of this year was spent 
in making these arrangements, and negotiating with 
the confederates. 

Early in 1793 the Prussian troops entered Great 
Poland. The confederates, whose commissioners 
now sat at Grodno, in vain remonstrated with the 
Russian minister ; their only answer was, that he 
was ignorant of the designs of Frederic William, 
but they must take care not to incense that prince 
by imprudent hostilities, without having previously 
consulted the court of Russia. The confederates, at 
least all those who were not mere creatures of 
Catharine, now began to repent their rashness, and 
they issued a protestation, on the 3d of February, 
against the Prussian invasion, wound up with these 


words: "We will preserve our republic whole^ or 
none of us wiU survive our disaster." 

To add to the calamities of Poland, the richest 
bankers of Warsaw, in whose hands capitalists liad ^ 
vested immense sums, declared themselves insolvent. 
This shock was severely felt by the greatest portion 
of ifae moneyed Poles ; for the bankers, by giving as 
high a rate of interest as seven or eight per cent., 
were the holders of most of the capital. 

On the 25th of March Frederic issued a mani- 
festo, stating openly his intention of seizing Great 
Poland,* and assigning as motives for this treachery 
and disregard of his former treatiesr that the princi- 
ides of jacobinism were gaining ground fast in that 
country ; ^ that the spirit of French democr^y and 
the principles of that atrocious sect, which seeks to 
make proselytes on all sides, begin to take deep root 
in Poland, so that the manoeuvres of the jacobin 
emissaries are powerfully supported there, and that 
there are already formed there several revolutionary 
clubs, which make an open profession of their senti- 
ments."! He admits that he had previously con- 
certed this invasion with the courts of Vienna and 
Petersburg; that he intends tp incorporate several 

« Oginski commits some egregious blunders in this part of bis Me- 
moirs. He quotes Frederic's manifesto of the 25th of March, " It is 
known by all Europe," &c., as one dated the 16th of January. 

It is evident the count never read the original, for he makes the sen- 
tence " Le Roi aime," &c. the termination, whereas it is in the middle. 
I'e says also that Dantzig is not named in this manifesto ; whereas we 
And, " In consequence, we have resolved, in concert with her majes^ 
the empress of ail the Russias, to take possession of the districts above 
named, eu wU as of the towns of Thorn and Dtmtzig, and to incor]^ 
rate them in our states/* &c.— See Appendix to S^gur. 

t As these singular documents are of great importance) we nfrill 
transcribe a few striking clauses. After stating that he has ordered his 
troops to enter Poland, he proceeds, '* He flatters himself, that with ftel- 
ings so pacific, he may depend on the good-will of a nation whose wel- 
flire can never be indiffereut to him, and to which he wishes to give real 
f roofs of his affection and regard.^ To add the last step to this climax 
of galling insult, he orders all the inhabitants, '* under penalty of tbe 
punishment customary in su^ cases of reftasal/' to take an oath of all** 
gianoe to hiowelf and hw succMaoni. 


districts of Gteat Poland and the towns of Thorn 
and Dantzig with his states, promising, at the same 
time, to maintain all the inhabitants in their posses- 
sioit^, privileges, and rights, secular and ecclesiastic. 

The empress ordered her minister, Sievers, to con- 
cert with the envoy of Prussia, Bucholz, the partition 
of the kingdom ; and on the 9th of April they laid 
before the commissioners of the confederates at 
Grodno a declaration, involving the destiny of Po- 
land* After having formerly stated that they only 
came as allies of the majority of the nation, they 
now complain that " the spirit of faction and discon- 
tent has spread to such a great extent, that those 
who give themselves the trouble of fomenting it and 
renderifig it general, having failed in their intrigues 
with foreign courts to attach suspicion to the designs 
of Russia, have directed all their efforts to fascinate 
the eyes of the people, always easy to seduce. 
They have succeeded so far that this same people, 
after being frustrated in their criminal designs, have 
become the sharers in the hatred and enmity which 
they have vowed against the empire of Russia. 
Without mentioning here several facts generally 
known, and which prove the hostile inclinations of 
the greatest part of the Poles, it will suffice to say 
that they have abused the principles of humanity 
and moderation which directed the generals and offi- 
cers . of the army bf her majesty the empress in 
their operations and in their conduct, according to 
the empress's orders given them in this particular j 
so that they had risen against them in every wayi 
ill treating them, turning them into ridicule, and Km 
boldest among them have even dared to speak of ttw 
Sicilian Vespers, threatening them with the sot6 
fate." They state that they have the consent^ 
Austria to limit the extent of Poland, and invite fhil 
Poles to a diet, to co-operate with them in makii^ 
this arrangement. ^ 

The ministers obliged the confederated cdmmissiwi 


to re-establish the permanent council which had been 
instituted in 1775, which was so readily made an in- 
strument of Russia, and which had been abolished 
by the reformers. They also urged the king and his 
new council to convoke the diet immediately at 
Grodno ; but before issuing the circular letters for 
the election, Stanislas resolved to try his personal 
influence with Catharine, and offered at the same 
time to abdicate the throne. To this proposal she 
replied, through her minister, that the moment he 
chose for abdication was the least opportune ; and 
that all considerations ' of propriety required him 
to retain the reins of authority in iiis hands until 
he had extricated the kingdom from its present 
troubles. ' 

To ensure a majority in the diet, the ministers 
obliged the commission of the confederacy to pass a 
temporary law, called ^anct^ttm, dated the 11th of 
May, that those should not be eligible who had not 
acceded to the confederacy, or had concurred in the 
establishment of the new constitution. To make 
security still more sure, another 5anci^t^//i was passed, 
which extended the restriction to all 'who had pro- 
tested against any of the commissioners* decisions. 
To enforce these laws Russian garrisons were placed 
in all the places appointed for the dietines. 

The king was now as imbecile as ever; and his 
answer to Count Oginski^s proposal to plan a deter- 
mined resistance is a sad omen of his conduct. 
J* God is witness,*' said he, " of the purity of the in- 
J^ntions of my heart ; I have nothing to reproach 
npQfself with ; the misfortunes which overwhelm Po- 
j^d consume me with grief, and shorten my days, 
H^out a possibility of my being able to be useful 
1^ it. — Under any other circumstances Count Ogin- 
gfe's project would be very good ; but, to sum up our 
^^cidation, what result would be produced by this 
Shodomontade on my part, which does not suit either 
Vay age or my strength, exhausted by labours and 


perpetual vexations V* He opened this fatal diet on 
the 17th of June, by announcing his fears for the 
fate of his country, and recommending negotiation 
as the only means of procuring any alleviation of 
their troubles. The Russian and Prussian ministers 
sent a note to the assembly, requiring them to com- 
ply with the demands contained in the manifesto of 
the 29th of March. The diet, although so artfully 
picked by Russia, was not at first very tractable; 
some little portion of patriotism found its way into 
it in spite of the care and scrutiny employed. Sie- 
Ters, Catharine's minister, demanded that the treaty 
should be signed on the 17th of July ; and this an- 
nouncement, which brought the Poles face to face 
with the destiny preparing for them, roused even the 
most listless. "They threaten us with Siberia," 
said the deputies ; " those deserts will not be without 
charms for us; every thing there will recall the 
cause of our country to our minds ! Well, let us go 
to Siberia! Conduct us there, sire! There your 
virtue and ours will make our enemies tremble !" 
At this exclamation, a part of the assembly rose 
spontaneously, crying out, "Yes, let us go to Siberia! 
Let us set out l" After this burst of enthusiasm, 
Karski, deputy for Ployk, having in his eye some 
who did not, he knew, share in tMs j[)atriotic feeling, 
declared that ^ if there was any one in that hall i^m 
dared to sanction the treaty, he would be Hi^/ii/St to 
teach him what fate a traitor desert^s." Misfortune, 
remarks S6gur, has its intoxl6§ition as well as happi- 
ness. The king was highly alarmed at these remains 
of patriotism, and exhorted the diet to comply with 
the demands of the ministers. The bishop of Livo- 
nia exerted all his powers of artifice as well as ora- 
tory to induce them to submit; he assured them 
that "when the Empress of Russia was satisfied, 
she would not insist on the cession of the provinces 
which the King of Prussia had invaded ; and, conse- 
quently, by making the concessions to Russia they 


woold avoid those which Prossia lequired.'' The 
ardour of Uiese credulous patriots was soon cooled ; 
the motion passed with a majority of seventy-three 
▼oices against twenty, and, after a few days' debate 
on the several articles, the sad and disgraceful treaty 
was signed on the 23d of July. On the following 
day the Prussian minister demanded concessions, 
similar to those just made, in his master's name. 

But, humiliated as the Poles were, they could not 
stifle their indignation at Frederic WiUiap's treach- 
ery; he it was, they said, who, by his deceitful 
promises, had urged them to rebel against the tyr- 
anny of Russia; he was the Satan, exclaimed they, 
who tempted us to eat the forbidden fruit of liberty, 
and now he not only laughs at our misfortune, but is 
one of the instruments to inflict it. They copld not 
forget how warmly he had expressed his approval of 
all the reforms he now complained of. He could not 
erase from their remembrance the letter he had writ- 
ten to his ambassador at Warsaw, Count Goltz : " In 
conformity with the friendly feeling which has al- 
ways led me to co-operate for the prosperity of the 
republic as well as to consolidate its new constitution, 
a feeling of which I have never failed to give every 
proof ia my power, I admire and applaud the import 
ant step* which the nation has taken, and which J 
insider essential to consolidate its welfare. — I re- 
QfiQ@^ryi9iij^ to. present, in the most solemn manner, 
Wf\»vm^aif. G«>jggratulations to the king, to the mar- 
abpJ^iPf /^he^^i^ 5^4^ t{iose who have contributed 
toBttflHf«t#HPffft5«4li W(6'%7fi>iPut imprecations were 
BfWfJiqfflOfc^oiw^roi^if^XtejQEflg^ and 

3Wto^© ?|^ift«*yisid filf^il^iWBppti^Jies of seeing 
*«[5iSpi»Wy^rtift jSW^g#Ji/^^fflqp^tSpecies of 
»IWI&«^T3*e feSgi lhft*mt($jf ^fDarjk^§6npccasion. 

ffimAm^^f^iS^^ hi^ ^ii^^e^ffji^.into the 
9Mx^^^Mv^}mm^%^^9li'ilm m?ip0^es of 

-9gno-),hn/j ; h*i[)/.vni [)Kif jjiagfn^I lo ioni>l ai 


Ilia country ; and the diet absolutely had the patience, 
on many occasions, to hear him exclaim, ^ We have 
done all that lay in our power, we have made every 
attempt, and we have omitted nothing !"♦ But when 
he urged the deputies to ratify the treaty, their for- 
bearance was exhausted : they told him some hard 
truths ; — that he was only the instrument of Oatha* 
rine to tyrannize and oppress the Poles ; that had he 
not paralyzed their arms in the campaign of 1792, 
they might now be enjoying their liberty, or at least 
the satisfaction of having done their duty. 

This was only a procrastination of the evil day ; 
Russian despotism, which at home knew no other 
law but " to say to this man go, and he goeth, and to 
another come, and he cometh," was not mollified by 
migrating a few miles farther to the west ; and on the 
32d of September Sievers sent another declaration 
to the diet to insist on the immediate ratification of 
the treaty, and finished this note by announcing his 
intention, that, to prevent all disorder, he should or* 
der two battalions of grenadiers, with four pieces of 
artillery, to surround the castle where the diet was 
held. No strangers except the Russian officers, who 
-were strictly charged to prevent the deputies even 
from moving from their seats, were to be admitted. 
At the same time, said Sievers, he ensured the depu- 
ties a perfect freedom of debate ! Even then the 
diet would not submit without reservation to the de- 
mands of Russia. Surrounded as they were with 
the sworn slaves of Catharine, some few members 
still raised their voices against this prostitution of 
the forms of liberty. 

Russian patience was exhausted; on the same 
night four members, who had distinguished them- 
selves by their patriotism, were dragged from their 
liomes by Russian soldiers ; and it was in vain that 
the diet protested against the violence. Sievers 

* Fecimus qtuB potuumUf omnia tmUmimuSf niMil otmsiimis, W«l» 
his word*. 



even still had the effrontery to say, that " he had 
never pretended to curb the freedom of speech and 
discussion ;" but he added, " that he was not account- 
able to any one for arresting the four deputies ; but 
that he would teach Poland that first of laws, how to 
respect sovereigns, which the jacobin principles and 
those of the 3d of May did not observe." To this 
threat the diet made no answer ; but preserved an 
obstinate silence. Notwithstanding that the Rus- 
sian general, who was present, informed them that 
they must remain in that hall until they acceded to 
the demands, and tliat if these means failed he was 
instructed to use rigour, not a mouth was opened. At 
three in the morning the general rose to jeall in a 
detachment of soldiers, when a traitorous deputy in 
the Russian interest proposed that silence should be 
considered as a consent to the motion,' and accor- 
dingly the marshal of the diet, Bialinski, who was of 
the same party, put the question, if the treaty should 
be signed without reservation? This was three 
times repeated without answer, and he declared that 
it ha4 received the sanction of the diet, and ac- 
cordingly it was signed on the 5th of September. 

The very principle of the partisans of the worst 
abuses of government is injustice, and, fortunately for 
the cause of liberty, its features declare it so plainly 
to belong to the family of vice, that it cannot always 
avoid detection. The confederates of Targowica 
soon showed how little they had been influenced in 
their proceedings by love for their country and its 
ancient constitution ; for they confiscated, plundered, 
and tyrannized even more than the Russians. But 
they received the treatment they deserved : they had 
answered the purpose Catharine wished, namely, to 
furnish a pretext for the invasion ; and she, having no 
further service for them, in September dissolved the 

The diet performed their last sad and unwilling 
office on the 33d of November. They pulled down 



the beautiful structure of the constitution they had so 
proudly erected, and Poland, at least the remains of 
it, relapsed into the former absurd mode of legis- 

The allied powers did not forget to " reduce the 
republic of Poland into narrower limits :" Catharine 
advanced her frontier into the middle of Lithuania 
and Volhynia; and Frederic William had the re- 
maining portion of Great Poland, and part of Little 
Poland, for his share of the spoil. The limits, how- 
ever, it must be remembered, were not definitively 
marked out ; military possession was the only ten- 
ure, and the Poles found that empresses and kings 
set at naught the denunciation, '* Cursed is he who 
.removeth his neighbour's landmark." 

The remaining portion of the kingdom was ensured 
to Stanislas, to be governed by the old laws ; but he 
was not allowed to reign alone even over this nar- 
row domain. Tlie. Russian ambassador was abso- 
lute master at Warsaw, and Russian troops were the 

Such was tlie end of the short-lived constitution of 
the 3d of May. Ephemeral as it was, it suggests 
some important reflections. There are certain stages 
in disorders of the political constitution as well as 
the physical, in which no remedies can afford any 
service, but, on the contrary, prove fatal. When 
corruptions and abuses are so widely disseminated 
as they were in the Polish government, nothing 
short of a radical reform can be beneficial : parti^ 
weeding is useless ; one weed left behind is sufficient 
to produce another crop of the noxious plants equal 
to that which we removed. But to bear such a radi- 
cal reform popular strength is requisite, and unfor- 
tunately Poland had delayed the desirable remedy 
till its force and resources were too much exhausted; 
and its sad fate is a warning to other states, not to 
defer the important season till too late. 



Patriots at Dresden and Leipzig— Patriotic Conspiracy at Warsaw— The 
Patriots of Warsaw correspond with Kosciusko— The Russian Minis- 
ter orders the Troops to disband— Madalinski reftises, and inarches to 
Cracow — Kosciusko enters Cracow — Confederacy of Cracow — Kosci- 
usko declared Generalissimo — Kosciusko's Life — Kosciusko marches 
against the Russians— Insurrection at Warsaw, and Expulsion of the 
RuaaUuie- Lithuania — Barbarities at Warsaw— Kosciusko's Camp at 
Wola— The King of Prussia invests Warsaw ; retreats — Insurrection 
In Great Poland — Suwarow marches against the Patriots — ^Battle of 
Macieiowice, and Kosciusko taken Prisonei^Tlie Russians take Praga 
—Massacre of Praga — Warsaw surrenders — Russian, Prussian, and 
Austrian Prisoners— Third Partition— Stanislas's Abdication ; I>eath ; 
and Character. 


The Poles have a proverb, " You may strip a Pole 
to his shirt, but if you attempt to take his shirt he 
will regain all." Although they have not precisely 
verified this, they seem always to have kept it in 
their eye as a principle of action ; they have always 
submitted in the first instance to the greatest aggres- 
sions with wonderful indifference and docility, but 
have generally made the most determined resistance 
to the finishing act of tyranny. " The proud Poles" 
might be expected to find the yoke of subjugation 
more galling than any other nation in the wodd ; it 
was still a country of nobles, men whose only busi- 
ness was to rule, and cherish lofty feelings. Those 
who were too devoted to their liberty to stay to wit- 
ness their country's oppression were now wandering 
outcasts in foreign lands ; but wherever they went 
they carried with them hearts which still yearned for 
their homes, although they could not find any enjoy- 
ment in them without independence. Dresden and 
Leipzig were the chief places of refuge for these 
patriots, among whom Potocki, Koloiitay, Mala- 
chowski, Mostowski, and Kosciusko were the most 
conspicuous. They were not, however, willing to 


sacrifice the lives of their countrymen in rash and 
useless struggles, but waited for a favourable junc- 
ture to unsheath the sword once more against theii 
oppressors. But their fellow-patriots in Poland, who 
were feeling more keenly the pains of tyranny, were 
more impatient, and obliged them to hasten then 
plans, ** and thus,'^ says one who was enlisted among 
them,* " they left to Providence the issue of the mosJ 
rash enterprise that could be conceived." The de 
sign was first formed at Warsaw, and the revolution 
regularly devised a commission of four persons form 
ing the active body. Their agents were spread al' 
over the kingdom ; the plot was^ speedily maturing 
and would no doubt have become general had nor 
the explosion been forestalled. 

Igelstrom, who had succeeded Sievers, and wat 
invested with plenary power, insisted on the imme 
diate reduction of the Polish army to 15,000. At thiff 
time it consisted of about 30,000 men, divided into 
small bodies, scattered in different parts of the king- 
dom under the surveillance of the Russian troops. 
The permanent council was obliged to obey the 
mandate, and issued the orders. This was the signal 
for throwing off the galling yoke. A strict corres- 
pondence had been carried on between the Poles 
abroad and their brother patriots in Poland. Cracow 
was fixed on as the point of junction, and unanimous 
consent placed the noble Kosciusko at the head of 
the confederacy.. The patriots of Warsaw had sent 
two emissaries, in September, 1793, to this great man, 
who had retired to Leipzig, and he then commenced 
communications with Ignatius Potocki and Kolontay. 
Not satisfied with report, Kosciusko went to the 
frontier of Poland, that he might ascertain the state 
of feeling ; he then forwarded his companion Za- 
jonczek to Warsaw, where he staid ten days undis- 
covered. His report was that " the members of the 

* Count Oginski. . 



conspiracy were zealous, but too enthusiastic, that 
their only coDnexion with the army was through 
Madalinski, Dzialynski, and a few subaitems.*^* Ka- 
pustas, however, a banker of Warsaw, made himself 
very instrumental in preparing the minds of the peo- 
ple for the grand attempt proposed ; and Madalinski 
Eledged himself to risk all if they attempted to oblige 
im to disband his brigade. 

The approach of such a man as Kosciusko to the 
frontier could not be kept secret. While Zajonczek 
was at Warsaw, Kosciusko had an interview with 
Wodzicki, commander of 2000 troops, near Cracow, 
and the circumstance came to the ears of a Russian 
colonel stationed there ; but fortunately Kosciusko 
was apprized of the event, and to lull suspicion im- 
mediate^ retired to Italy. 

The arrival of Stanislas and the Russian ambas- 
sador at Warsaw from Grodno was the signal for 
fresh persecution. Arrests daily took place, and 
Mostowski, one of the chief senators, was imprisoned. 
About this time Zajonczek returned from Dresden, 
and the king being aware of it, and knowing he was 
one of the emigrants, suspected his design, and in- 
formed the Russian minister ; in consequence of which 
the patriot was ordered to leave the kingdom. 

Madalinski was the first to draw the sword of re- 
bellion. He was stationed at Pultusk, about eight 
leagues from Warsaw, with 700 cavalry ; and on re- 
ceiving the order to disband the corps, he refused, 
and declared it was impossible till their pay, which 
-was two months in arrears, was advanced. After 
this, which occurred on the 15th of March, 1794, he 
set out for Cracow, having previously traversed the 
new Prussian territory, made several prisoners, and 
exacted contributions. 

Kosciusko was aware of this bold step, and though 

* Hifltoire de la Revolution de Fologne en 1794, par un T^flnoin On- 


he would probably have advised more caution, knew 
the die was caat, and that it was now too late to de- 
bate. He hastened from Saxony, reached Cracow 
on the night of the 23d of March, where Wodzicki^ 
with a body of 400 men, was ready to receive hipi, 
and on the following day was proclaimed generalis- 
simo. The garrison and all the troops at Cracow 
took the oath of allegiance to Kosciusko ; and a deed 
of insurrection was drawn up, by which this great 
man was appointed dictator, in imitation of the Ro- 
man custom in great emergencies. His power was 
absolute ; he had the command of the armies, and 
the regulation of all affairs political and civil. He 
was commissioned, however, to appoint a national 
council, the choice being left to his own will. He 
was also empowered to nominate a successor, but 
he was to be subordinate to the national council. 

Never before was confidence so fully and so un- 
scrupulously reposed by a nation in a single indi- 
vidual ; and never were expectations better grounded 
than in the present instance. Thadeus Kosciusko* 
was born of a noble, but not very illustrious, Lithua- 
nian family, and was early initiated in the science 
of war at the military school of Warsaw. In his 
youth his affections were firmly engaged to a young 
lady, the daughter of the Marshal of Lithuania ; but 
it was his fate to see his love crossed, and his 
inamorata married to another. Prince Lubomirski. 
He then went to France, and on his return applied 
to Stanislas for a military appointment ; but was re- 
fused because he was a favourite of Adam Czartory- 
ski, whom Stanislas hated. Kosciusko sought to 
dispel his disappointment in the labours of war. The 
British colonies of America were then throwing off 
the yoke of their unnatural mother-country — their 
cause was that of justice and liberty, and one dear 

* He WM bom on the 12tta of Februajy, 1746, at tha obateaa of Sicn* 
niewicze, near Braesc-LitewakL 


to the heart of a young proud-spirited Pole. Oiif 
young hero served in me patriotic ranks of Gates 
and Wa^dngton, and was appointed aid-de-camp to 
the latter great general. When the glorious struggle 
in the new worid was crowned with success, he te- 
turaed to his own country, where he found an equally 
glorious field for his exertions. He held the rank 
of major-general under Joseph Poniatowski in the 
campaign of 1792, to wliich ofiice he had been raised 
by the diet, and we have already seen what a glo- 
rious earnest he then gave of what was to be ex- 
Sected from him, had not his .ardour been checked 
y the king's timidity and irresolution. 
The first acts of the dictator were to issue sum- 
monses to all the nobles and citizens ; to impose a 
property-tax, and make all the requisite arrange- 
ments which prudence dictated with regard to the 
commissariat of his little army. On the 1st of April 
he left Cracow, at the head of about 4000 men, most 
of whom were armed with scythes ; and marched in 
the direction of Warsaw, to encounter a body of 
Russians more than thrice their own number, which 
he understood were ordered against them by Igel- 


The patriots encountered the enemy on the 4th of 
April near Raclawic^, a village about six or seven 
Polish miles* to the north-east of Cracow. The 
battle lasted nearly five hours, but victory declared 
in favour of the Poles; 3000 Russians being killed, 
and many prisoners ; eleven cannon, and a standard 
taken. This success confirmed the wavering pa- 
triots, and accelerated the development of the insur- 
rection throughout the kingdom. In vain did the 
king issue a proclamation, by order of Igelstrom, 
denouncing the patriots as the enemies of the coun- 
try, and Erecting the permanent council to com- 
mence legal proceedings against them; the tame 

* A Polish or German mile ic nearly equal to two Frencb iMgoefi of 
-flye to a degree. 


submission of these dependants of Ig^elstrom only 
served to increase the irritation of the patriots. The 
state of Poland is thus described by the Russian 
minister himself, in a letter of the 16th of April, ad- 
dressed to the secretary of war at Petersburg, and 
intercepted by the Poles : — 

" The whole Polish army, which musters about 
18,000 strong, is in complete rebellion, excepting 
4000, who compose the garrison of Warsaw. — The 
insurrection strengthens every moment, its progress 
is very rapid, and its success terrifying. I am my- 
self in expectation of seeing the confederation of 
Lublin advance, and I have no hope but in God and 
the good cause of my sovereign. Lithuania will not 
fail, certainly, to follow the example," &c. 

On the same day Igelstrom ordered the permanent 
council to arrest above twenty of the most distin- 
guished persons whom he named. He also issued 
his orders to the grand-general to disarm the Polish 
garrison of Warsaw. The 18th of April was the 
appointed day, as the most favourable to the design, 
since it was a festival, Easter eve, and most of the 
population would be at mass. Strong guards were 
to be stationed at the church-doors; the Russian 
troops were to seize the powder magazines and 
arsenal, and the garrison were then to be immediately 
disarmed. In case of resistance, the Cossacks re- 
ceived the villanous orders to set fire to the city in 
several places and carry off the king. The design, 
however, fortunately transpired on the very same day 
that it was formed. Kilinski, a citizen of Warsaw, 
discovered the plan, and informed the patriots that 
Russians, in Polish uniforms, were to form the guards 
which, on the festivals, are stationed at the churches. 
In confirmation of his account, he assured them that 
one of his neighbours, a tailor, was at work on the 
disguises.* A private meeting of the patriots imrne^ 

• Ofltoin d0 bi BoToliitlon «a 17M, p v un Ttooin Ocolairo. 


diately took place, in which it was determined to 
anticipate it by unfurling the standard of insurrec- 
tion on the 17th. The precipitancy of the plot did 
not admit of much organization, the only concerted 
step was to seize the arsenal, which was to be the 
signal for the insurrection. 

At four in the morning a detachment of Polish 
guards attacked the Russian picket, and obtained 
possession of the arsenal and the powder magazine, 
and distributed arms to the populace. A most ob- 
stinate and bloody battle took place in the streets of 
Warsaw, which continued almost without intermis- 
sion during two days. But notwithstanding the supe- 
riority in number of the Russian troops, amounting 
to nearly 8000, the patriots were victorious. This 
glorious success was not obtained without much 
bloodshed; above 2200 of the enemy were killed, 
and nearly 2000 taken prisoners. The most san- 
guinary affray took place before Igelstrom's house, 
which was defended with four cannon and a bat- 
talion of infantry. But nothing could withstand the 
impetuosity of the Poles ; Igelstrom narrowly es- 
caped to Krasinski's house, where he made offers to 
capitulate. The king exhorted the people to sus- 
pend their attack ; in the pause, while the patriots 
were expecting Igelstrom^s submission, he escaped 
and fled to the Prussian camp which was near War- 
saw. But the patriotic spirit of the Poles on these 
glorjous days was unalloyed by a particle of selfish 
or dishonest feeling; in obedience to a proclamation 
demanding the restitution even of this lawful plunder 
of Igelstrom^s house, and issued three days after the 
event, all the bank-notes were brought back, and 
even the sterling money to the amount of 96,000 
ducats of gold. Many striking instances of disin- 
terestedness were elicited by this proclamation, biit 
the following must not be passed over in the crowd. 
A private soldier presented himself at the treasury 
with 1000 ducats of gold which had fallen into hia 


hands, and for a long time refused any reward for his 
honesty; it was with extreme reluctance that he 
accepted even a ducat, repeating, that he found all 
the reward he desired in the pleasure of serving his 
country and performing his duty. 

On the 17th, the people crowded to the castle, 
where they found General Mokranowski and Zakrzew- 
ski, who had formerly been president of the city under 
the constitution of the 3d of May. The latter was 
reinstated in his post by unanimous acclamation, 
and the general was appointed governor. Mokra- 
nowski was one of the old body of patriots, and had 
signalized himself in the campaign of 1792.* They 
established a provisional executive council, consist- 
ing of twelve persons besides themselves. The 
council declared at their first meeting that they sub- 
scribed without reservation to the act of insurrection 
of Cracow ; they also sent a deputation to the king 
to testify their respect to him, but at the same time 
prudently expressed their intention of obeying the 
orders of none but Kosciusko. The dictator imme- 
diately ordered all the inhabitants of Warsaw to lay 
down their arms at the arsenal to prevent any dis- 

The Lithuanians did not long delay to obey the 
call of their Polish brethren: on the night of the 
93d of April, Jasinski, with 300 soldiers, and some 
hundred citizens, attacked the Russian garrison at 
Wilna, and after a repetition of the scene of carnage 
at Warsaw, were left masters of the city. 

Fortune, however, was not uniformly favourable to 
the good cause. A body of nearly 40,000 Prussians 
entered the palatinate of Cracow, and effected a 
junction with the Russians near Szczekociuy, . and 
the K&ig of Prussia arrived in a few days to head 
them in person. Kosciusko advanced with 16,000 
regular troops and about 10,000 peasants, to the de- 

* At tbe bead of tlw cavalry, in the engagemeat at Zieienoe, on tlia 
ism of Jane 


fence of Cracow ; and, being ignorant that the enemy 
were reinforced by the Prussians, found himself en* 
gaged with a force double his own. The engage- 
ment of Szczekociny took place on the 6lh of June : 
the Poles lost about 1000 men, but made their retreat 
in good order, without being pursued. Kosciusko, 
in announcing this affair to the supreme council, says, 
•* We have sustained a trifling loss, compared with 
what we have caused the enemy. — ^We have effected 
our retreat in good order, after a cannonade of three 
hours." Another body of the patriots suffered a 
similar defeat near Chelm, three days after; and to 
complete the climax of misfortune, the. city of Cra- 
cow fell into the hands of the Prussians on the 15th. 
These untoward events, following in such rapid 
succession, began to depress the spirits of the 
Poles ; and the violent and seditious exclaimed that 
these reverses were caused by traitors, and were 
greatly to be attributed to the neghgence of the 
government in not punishing the numerous individ- 
uals who crowded the prisons. Warsaw threatened 
to exhibit a revival of the bloody deeds of the Moun- 
tain butchers of the French revolution. On the 27th 
of June, a young hot-headed demagogue inflamed 
the passions of the rabble with a bombastic harangue 
on the treachery to which he ascribed the recent 
reverses, and urged the necessity of checking it, by 
making an example of the persons now in custody. 
On the following day they went in a crowd to the 
president, to demand the immediate execution of the 
unfortunate prisoners ; and being refused, they broke 
open the prisons and actually hung eight persons. 
This disgraceful and almost indiscriminate butchery 
was with difficulty stopped by the authorities.* 
Every true patriot lamented deeply this blot on the 
glory of their revolution, and none more than the 

* The " T^moin Oculaire'* of the revolution of 1794 ascribes mneh 
of this excitation to the intrigues of Stanislas and bis paity ; and It 
must be con fee s o d tbat tbe kinf did not eviacs very patriotic fwiliaga. 

, KosonrsKo m his camp. 206 

humane and upright Kosciusko. ''See," said he, 
** what tragic scenes have passed at Warsaw, almost 
before my eyes! — The populace have indulged in 
unpardonable excesses which I must punish severely. 
*^The day before yesterday (the 28th) will be an 
indelible stain on the history of our revolution ; and I 
confess that the loss of two battles would have done 
us less harm than that unfortunate day, which our 
enemies will make use of, to represent us in an un- 
favourable li^ht in the eyes of all Europe !"* -He 
ordered a strict investigation, and seven of the ring- 
leaders were hung. 

The Emperor of Austria had preserved a neutrality 
up to this time ; but on the 30th of June he announced 
his intention to march an army into Little Poland, 
** to prevent by this step all danger to which the 
frontiers of Gallicia might be exposed, as well as to 
ensure the safety and tranquillity of the states of his 
imperial majesty."t The Austrians entered Poland 
accordingly without opposition, but offered not the 
least molestation to the Poles. The invasion, how- 
ever peaceful, was only like a " shadow before" of 
** coming events." 

In the mean time the Prussians and Russians con- 
tinued to approach Warsaw, at the distance of three 
leagues from which Kosciusko was encamped, at a 
place called Pracka-Wola. It was here that one of 
his brothers in arms, and who has recorded the events 
of this portion of his glorious career, found him sleep- 
ing on straw. The picture he draws of this great 
man in his camp is an interesting view of the hero 
who upheld the fate of Poland. " We passed," says 
Count,Oginski,J "from tfosciusko's tent to a table 
prepared under some trees. The frugal repast which 
we made here among about a dozen guests will 

* M^moires de Michel Oginiki, sar la Pologne et 1m Folonals depafai 
1788, Jtwqn'& fin de 1815, vol. i. p. 460. 
t Proclamation of the 30th of June. 
% Memoirea but la Polocpie et Ice PoIonai«« 



nerer be effaced from my memory. The presence 
of this great man, who has excited the admiration of 
all Europe ; who was the terror of his enemies and 
the idol of the nation ; who, raised to the rank of 
generalissimo, had no ambition but to serve his coun- 
try and fight for it ; who always preserved an un- 
assuming, affable, and mild demeanour; who never 
wore any distinguishing mark of the supreme au- 
thority with which he was invested ; who was con- 
tented with a surtout of coarse gray cloth, and whose 
table was as plainly furnished as that of a subaltern 
officer; could not fail to awaken in me every senti- 
ment of esteem, admiration, and veneration, which 
I have sincerely felt for him at every period of my 

The enemy continued to advance towards Warsaw, 
and encamped near Wola,* a league from the city. 
They were 50,000 strong, 40,000 Prussians and 
10,000 Russians. The city had been hastily fortified 
at the commencement of the insurrection, and with 
the protection of Kosciusko's army resisted all the 
enemy's attacks. The first serious combat took 
place on the 27th of July, and was repeated on the 
1st and 3d of August, when the Prussians attempted 
to bombard the town, but not a house was injured. 
On the 2d Frederic William wrote to Stanislas, 
recommending him to use his influence to inducb the 
inhabitants to surrender; to which the King of Poland 
answered, that it was not in his power to do so while 
Kosciusko's army lay between Warsaw and the 
enemy. The same spirit of patriotism, however, did 
not animate all the Poles ; but it is satisfactory, 
though apparently singular on the first appearance, 
to find that the defaulters in the good cause were 
chiefiy rich capitalists, men who in Poland at that 
time had scarcely a thought beyond stock-jobbing. 
But these malecontents formed only a small portion 

* The fiunoas field of election is in the immediate neighbooiliood of 
ibiM place. 


of the people, and were obliged to cherish their 
opinions and wishes in secrett On the 16th of 
August, General Dombrowski, who had lately had 
some advantage in skirmishes with the Russians at 
Ozerniakow, attacked them a second time, but was 
obliged to retire. This was followed by many warm 
actions, in which Dombrowski, Prince Joseph Ponia- 
towski, Pozinski, and many others eminently distin* 
l^ished themselves. The hottest affair took place 
in the night of the 28th. Dombrowski was attacked, 
while at the same time General Zajonczek was ad- 
vancing his troops against the Prussian army. The 
courage and patriotism of the Poles predominated on 
this occasion. In the night of the 5th of September 
the Prussians and Russians made a sudden and un- 
expected retreat, with so much precipitation that 
they left the wounded and sick, as well as a great 
})ortion of their baggage. 

This sudden retreat of the King of Prussia, with a 
superior army of 40,000 men, appeared at first so un- 
accountable, that even Kosciusko imagined it was a 
feint, and would not allow his troops to pursue them ; 
but the real cause was the news that insurrections 
had broken out in the Polish provinces which had 
been recently annexed to Prussia. The Prussian 
yoke was even more galling to the Poles than that 
of Russia, on many accounts. In all his new prov- 
inces Frederic William had introduced German laws, 
and even went so far as to oblige his vanquished 
subjects to learn the language of their victors ; so 
that the Poles foresaw that even the very traces of 
the Polish nation were to be erased from the face of 
the earth.* The inhabitants of Great Poland had 
not been deaf to the call of their brethren of Cracow 
and Warsaw ; Mniewski, castellan of Kuiawia, and 
other leading men, had found means to open a com- 
munication with the patriots at the very commence- 

* Bm M^moirM de BUcbel Osioflki, ToL U. p. IS, 4«. 

268 msTORY OF Poland. 

meat of the revolution, and had even contiiTed to 
fonn inagazines of arms and ammunition in some 
retired woods during the space of five months, with 
such circumspection that not the slightest suspicion 
was excited. On the 23d of August, when most of 
the Prussian troops were engaged in the siege of 
Warsaw, and but weak garrisons were left in the 
Polo-Prussian towns, a small body of confederates, 
having assembled in a wood near Sieradz, attacked 
the Prussian guard, seized the magazines, and re- 
mained masters of the town. The insurrection be- 
came general in a few days ; the palatinates of Kaliz 
and Posen joined the confederacy by the 35th, and 
Mniewski with a handful of heroes marched to 
Wloclawek, a town on the Vistula in the palatinate 
of Brzesc-Kuiawski, where he seized thirteen large 
barks laden with ammunition, designed for the siege 
of Warsaw. These bold examples were imitated in 
the other palatinates ; the spirit of patriotism began 
to evince itself even in the heart of Dantzig, and one 
of the patriotic detachments penetrated as far as 

Such was the state of affairs which called Frederic 
William from the siege of Warsaw. His ministers 
and officers prompted him to take the most severe 
measures to reduce the patriots; in the execution of 
which Colonel Szekuby signalized himself by exces- 
sive barbarity ; but this cruelty only served to render 
their tyrants the more odious in the sight of the 
Poles, and to animate them in their battle of freedom. 

Kosciusko sent Dombrowski with a considerable 
number of troops to second the insurgents ; and so 
admirably did he perform his orders, that by the 
middle of September all Great Poland, except a few 
towns, was in the possession of the patriots. 

The good cause was not thriving so prosperously 
in Lithuania ; Wilna had fallen into the hands of Uie 
Russians on the 12th of August, and nearly aU the 


Test of the province soon shared the same fate. 
Catharine, to crush the revolution, ordered her gene* 
ral, Suwarow, to march from the frontiers of Turkey 
towards .Warsaw; and on the 16th of September he 
attacked a body of the Polish army at Krupczyce, a 
little village to the east of Brzesc-Lltewski, and drove 
them towards this latter place. The attack was re- 
newed on the following day, when the patriots were 
overpowered by superior forces, and many were 
taken prisoners. 

. This unfortunate defeat laid open the road to War- 
saw, so that Kosciusko was obliged to advance to 
support the flying army. He proceeded to Grodno, 
and having appointed Mokranowski commander of 
the Lithuanian army, he returned to prevent the 
junction of Suwarow with Fersen, who headed the 
other Russian corps. 

The 10th of October was the decisive day; Kos- 
ciusko attacked Fersen, near Macieiowice. The 
battle was bloody and fatal to the patriots ; victory 
v^as wavering, and Poninski, who was expected 
every minute with a reinforcement, not arriving, 
Kosciusko, at the head of his principal officers, made 
a grand charge into the midst ol the enemy. He fell 
covered with wounds, and all his companions were 
killed or taken prisoners. His inseparable friend, 
the amiable poet, Niemcewicz, was among the latter 
number. The great man lay senseless among the 
dead; but at length he was recognised notwithstand- 
ing the plainness of his uniform, and was found still 
breathing. His name even now commanded respect 
from the Cossacks, some of whom had been going to 
plunder him ; they immediately formed a litter with 
their lances to carry him to the general, who ordered 
his wounds to be dressed and treated him with the 
respect Jie merited. As soon as he was able to travel 
he was conveyed to Petersburg, where Catharine 
condemned this noble patriot to end his days in 



prison.* Clemency, indeed, was not to be expected 
from a woman who had murdered her husband. 

Such was the termination of Kosciusko's glorious 
career. The news of his captivity spread like light- 
ning to Warsaw, and every one received it as the an- 
nouncement of the country's fall. " It may appear 
incredible," says Count Oginski, "but I can attest 
what I have seen, and what a number of witnesses 
can certify with me, that many women miscarried at 
the tidings ; many invalids were seized with burning 
fevers ; some fell into fits of madness which never 
after left them ; and men and women were seen in 
the streets wringing their hands, beating their heads 
against the walls, and exclaiming in tones of despair, 
' Kosciusko is no more ; the country is lost I'" 

In fact, the Poles seemed altparalyzed by this blow : 
the national council, indeed, appointed Wawrzecki 
successor to Kosciusko, but they despaired of being 
able to withstand the Russians, and limited their 
hopes and exertions to prevent Warsaw from being 
taken by assault ; for which purpose they ordered the 
troops to concentre near the city. They fortified 
Praga, one of the suburbs of Warsaw, which was 
separated from the city by the Vistula, and was most 
exposed to attack. Every individual, indiscrimi- 
nately, was employed in the works. Suwarow, 
hearing that the King of Prussia was advancing 
towards Warsaw, did not choose to have his prey 
taken out of his mouth; and hastened with forced 
marches, joined Fersen, attacked the Poles on the 
26th of October before Praga, and drove them into 
their intrenchments. 

The batteries of Praga mounted more than 100 
cannon, and the garrison was composed of the flower 
of the Polish army. On the 4th of November, Su- 
warow ordered an assault, and the fortification was 
carried after some hours' hard fighting. Suwarow, 

* Ob tbe death of Calharine, as will be mentioned liereafter, lie ob- 
tained bia Ubttrty. 


the butcher of Ismail, a fit jppeneral for an imperial 
assassin, was at the head of the assailants, and his 
very name annomices a barbarous carnage. Eight 
thousand Poles perished sword in hand, and the Rus- 
sians, having set fire to the bridge, cut ofif the retreat 
of the inhabitants. Above 13,000 townspeople, old 
men, women, and children, were murdered in cold 
blood ; and to fill the measure of their iniquity and 
barbarity, the Russians fired the place in four dif- 
ferent parts, and in a few hours the whole of Praga, 
inhabitants as well as houses, was aheap of ashes. 

The council, finding that Warsaw could not be 
defended any longer, capitulated on the 6th of No- 
vember ; many of the soldiers were obliged to lay 
down their arms, and the Russian troops entered the 
city. The authors of the revolution, the generals, 
and soldiers who refused to disarm, had quitted 
Warsaw ; but being pursued by Fersen, many were 
killed or dispersed, and the rest surrendered on 
the 18th. 

All the patriots of consequence who fell into the 
hands of the Russians were immured in tlie prisons 
of Petersburg, or sent to Siberia. Ignatius Potocki, 
Mostowski, Kapustas, and Kalinski were among the 
captives. Their treatment, however, was not so 
cruel as it has been frequently represented; Kos- 
ciusko's prison, for instance, was a comfortable suite 
of rooms where he beguiled his time with reading and 
drawing: Potocki was equally well lodged, and 
amused himself with gazing at the passers-by ^om 
his windows. This was not, indeed, an exact ob- 
servance of the article of capitulation,** We promise 
a general amnesty for all that is passed,"* but it was 
the very acme of honour, compared with the general 
tenor of Russia's conduct towards Poland. 

The King of Prussia, as vengeful as the weak and 
bad generaUy are when in power, was less merciful 

* Siztb aitiole of Uie capitnbttioa. 


even than Suwarow. He appointed a commission to 
judge and punish those who nad been concerned in 
the insurrection, as if they were honAfide his own 
subjects. Many patriots, too, who were so unfor* 
tunate as to fall into the Prussian's hands, were 
doomed to pine in the fortresses of Glogau, Magde- 
burg, Breslaw, &c. ; and Madalinski was one of these. 
Austria buried some of the patriot^ in her prisons of 
Olmutz, thus consmnmating the triumph of bar- 

On the 24th of October, 1795, the treaty for the 
third partition of Poland was concluded; but the 
arrangement between Prussia and Austria, as to the 
limits of the palatinate of Cracow, was not settled till 
the 21st of October, 1796. 

By this third and last partition Russia acquired the 
remaining portion of Lithuania, and a great part of 
Samogitia, part of Chelm on the right of the Bug, 
' and the rest of yolh3mia. Austria obtained the 
greater part of tlie palatinate of Cracow, the pala- 
tinates of Sandomir and Lublin, with a part of the 
district of Chelm, and the parts of the palatinates of 
Brzesc, Polachia, and Masovia which lay along the 
left bank of the Bug. Prussia had the portions of 
the palatinates of Masovia and Polachia on the right 
bank of the Bug ; in Lithuania, part of the palatinate 
of Troki and Samogitia, which is on the left bank of 
the Niemen; and a district of Little Poland forming 
part of the palatinate of Cracow. Thus the banks 
of the Pili9a, the Vistula, the Bug, and the Niemen 
marked out the frontiers of Russia, Prussia, and 
Austria. Such was the result of the glorious but 
unfortunate revolution of 1 794. The want of success 
is to be attributed to uncontrollable circumstances; 
some,* indeed, think that Kosciusko's mildness was 
one of the causes which in the first instance ener^ 
vated the confederacy; but perhaps more is to be 

^ * « L'exods de la doaceor 6tait le defirat de Kosciuako."— JKft jwr 
Thawin Oetdairt. 


imputed to his emancipating the serfs, and enrolling 
them among his troops, a step which was obstinately 
and selfishly opposed by many of the rich nobles. 
None, however, can deny that this great and good 
man acted up to every tittle of his oath. ^ I, Thadeus 
Kosciusko, swear to the Polish nation, in presence of 
the Supreme Being, that I will never employ the 
power which has been intrusted to me against any 
citizen ; but that I will exert it only to defend the 
integrity of my country, to recover the national inde- 
pendence, and to strengthen the general* liberty of 
the nation!"* 

Stanislas Augustus was thus left without a king- 
dom; the Russian ambassador obliged him to go to 
Grocbio, where he signed a formal act of abdication 
on the 3dth of November^ and accepted an annual 
pension of 200,000 ducats, which was ensured to him 
by the three powers, with the promise that his debts 
also should be paid. On the death of Catharine, 
which happened in November, 1796, he went to Pe- 
tersburg, where he ended his unhappy and dishonour- 
able life on the 12th of February, 1798. 

Harsh and uncharitable as the world is, even the 
most unworthy and degenerate generally find some 
few so merciuil as either from warmth of heart or 
fellow-feeling to defend them; and it would be 
strange if Stanislas had not some panegyrists. But, 
disagreeable as is the office of the mond censor, the 
character of Stanislas, being wound up with the 
destinies of a nation, ought not to pass by unnoticed. 
Stanislas stands in the usual predicament of kings 
and prominent personages, between flattering ad*> 
mirers and severe detracters. The usual course, in 
such a case, is to measure the evil with the good and 
t?ike the mean between them ; but this, though the 
readiest mode of arriving at a result, is not the surest, 
since it proceeds on the presumption of the truth both 

* 1U» wu the oath he took at Cmeow. 


of the favourable and unfavourable statements. In 
, the present instance the estimate need not be merely 
speculative, since there are abundant data on whi(^ 
to calculate. The warmest panegyrists of this unfor- 
tunate king venture no further in their praises than 
to give him credit for good intentions in policy, and 
to plead his patronage of learning and the arts as a 
palliation for his political errors. With regard to the 
first excuse, it may be remarked, that moral weak- 
ness or imbecility is no more admissible as an excuse 
for error than recklessness of character, since the 
latter is equally constitutional as the former. The 
second plea requires more investigation. It is cus- 
tomary to attribute to Stanislas the advance in 
learning and education which decidedly evinced 
itself in his reign ; but while we admit his talent and 
taste for the triles of literature and art, which is the 
utmost that can be proved, we must observe that the 
grand impetus to intellectual improvement was not 
given by Stanislas. He certainly spent not only his 
revenue, which was considerable, but contracted 
great debts, which were twice paid by the state ; but 
it was mostly on frivolous writers, bad painters, and 
loose women, that those sums were expended. Hie 
progress of education and liberal inquiry is to be 
attributed to Konarski and his coadjutors, and the 
commission of education also, which was appointed 
by the diet, comes in for a share of the credit. 
Poniatowski, indeed, patronised great men in litera- 
ture and the arts ; but the effect of such patronage 
is at best of doubtful benefit; and the merit of 
the patron is of a negative character, being so migced 
up with vanitjr and love of notoriety. It has been 
said by Rulhiere, who has been pronounced " one of 
the most interesting and sagacious of modem his- 
torians,"* that "no magnanimity, no strength 
appeared in his character ; that he only thought id 

* Bdinbnrgb Berlew, Jamury,' 1814. 


becomingr a patron of all the arts of luxtnyi and par* 
ticularly to cultivate little objects of this nature, to 
which he attached the highest consequence.** His 
panegyrist could only assume that he was not one 
of the chief causes of his country's annihilation, but 
cannot deny that no monarch could have been more 
suited to produce such an unfortunate effect; and 
though his censor might admit the truth of his asser- 
tion, ** I have always wished for the happiness of nly 
country, and I have only caused it misfortune !"* he 
would remind the royal criminal that even ^ hell is 
paved with good intentions.*' 


l^lista Patriots at Paris and Venice— The French Direetorr promisa 
Aflslatance— Polish Confederacy at Paris— Oginski sent to Constanti- 
nople— Buonaperte's Letter to Goineki— Polish Confederacy in Wala- 
ehia broken up— The Emperor Paul, on his Accession, liberates the 
polish captives— Kosciusko— Polish Legions ; in Lombardy ; at Rome 
— Buwarow, in Italy, defeats the Second Legion— Battle of Nori— 
Legion of the Danube — Legions perish in St. Domingo- War declared 
between France and Prussia— The French enter Warsaw— Treaty of 
Tilsit— Grand-dutchy of Warsaw— Frederic Augustus— New Caa- 
stitution— Diet of 1809— War with Austria— The Anstrians enter 
Warsaw— Prince Ponlatowaki inyades Gallicia— Retreat of the Ana 
trians— Part of GalUela, dus. added to the Grand-dutcby. 

Never was there a period in modem history when 
the door of hospitality was so sternly closed by most 
European nations against the unfortunate sons of 
liberty, as when the Polish patriots of the revolution 
of 1794 were exiled from their homes. The abuses 
of the French revolutionists had brought their cause 
into discredit even among those who had at first 
been their most zealous defenders; and as the 
generality of mankind take impressions for opinions, 

*Ofiiuki'sM«iiioirM|T9l.iLp 3t7 


and accidental associations of ideas for reasoning* 
they began to annex an opprobious meaning to the 
very name of liberty. Many Englishmen, who had 
lately been so warm in their admiration of the Polish 
patriots, began to think, and even argue, that it was 
better for them to enjoy peace under any yoke than 
to prolone the struggle for independence. England, 
too, soon followed in the path which had been marked 
out by Frederic William, the Emperor of Austria^ 
and the Duke of Brunswick,* to chastise the stubborn 
recusants of legitimate monarchy. France was 
almost the only government where hberty was 
.heartily cherished ; for in spite of all the jacobinismf 
bloodshed, and anarchy, the spirit of independence 
retained its existence there. It must be remem- 
bered, however, to use Buonaparte's words, that that 
nation " Had eighteen ages of prejudice to conquer;** 
and such a victory was noj; to be gained without 
great sacrifices and much revulsion of feeling. To 
France, then, the expatriated Poles looked for aid; 
the country which had " promised assistance to all 
nations which revolted to obtain liberty and equal- 
ity ,"t could not turn a deaf ear to those who had 
such strong claims on their protection. 

All the Polish nobles who had escaped the dun- 
geons of the three partitioning powers, hastened 
either to Venice or Paris. Francis Barss, the Polish 
^ agent employed in the capital by the late govern- 
ment, was still resident there ; and by his means a 
confederacy was formed, which maintained a regular 
correspondence with a similar society at Venice. 
The French ambassador at the latter place assmied 
the Poles of the protection of his government, and 
even offered them a room under his roof for their 

* See the Declaration addressed by the Doke of firanswlclc to tb« 
people of France.— Segal's Decade Historique, Pit^ces Joistificatlvee 
, vol. it. p. 358. 

t D«»de Hist., toI. U. p. 139. 



The treaty of peace which was signed on the 5th 
of April, 1795, at Bile, between France and the King 
of Prussia, did not augur any great sincerity on the 
side of the French ministers in their assurances to 
the Poles. They persuaded Barss, however, that it 
was only temporary, and that no mention of Poland 
being made in the treaty, they did not give their 
sanction to Frederic William's usurpation. 

The confederacy at Paris, with the advice and 
protection of the French ministers, commissioned 
Count Oginski to proceed to Constantinople to nego* 
tiate with the divan in favour of the Poles, in con- 
junction with the French ambassador.* The con- 
federates appointed a commission of five persons to 
transact their affairs, and obtained a promise from 
the minister at Paris to furnish the Poles with arms, 
and use his influence to raise a loan at Constanti- 
nople of fifty millions of piastres. In the beginning 
of 1796 they sent emissaries into Lithuania and 
Gallicia to form new confederacies to co-operate 
with that at Paris. The inhabitants of Gallicia had 
already drawn up an act of confederacy, on the 6th 
of January, 1796, which they forwarded to France. 
Above 2000 Polish soldiers of all ranks assembled 
in Walachia and Moldavia, and their meetings were 
connived at by the Turkish government ; this privi- 
lege, however, was the chief advantage obtained by 
Oginski's mission and the interest of Aubert-du- 
Bayet, the French ambassador. 

Oginski relates the following curious anecdote 
respecting Aubert-du-Bayet. "On the evening of 
the same day, 21st of October, 1796, we went to 
take a walk al Campo dei Mertu Aubert-du-Bayet, 
separating himself from his suite, and taking me by 
the arm, examined attentively the sepulchral stones 
which covered the cemeteries of the Turks and the 


* TheiDstractions to OfinsU were formally signed by twenty of the 
principal confederetes at ni}H, Their meetings were held at the HAtel 



Annenians; and told me that he was looking for a 
place for his grave, for he was sure he shoidd end 
his life at Constantinople. After having walked a 
long time, he said to me that he could not find in the 
whole of that place a fit spot in which to deposite 
his body ; and that he should prefer to be buried in 
the court of the H6tel de France, near the tree of 
liberty which was planted there. I joked him on 
this presentiment ; but he did not cease to repeat 
that he should die at Constantinople, and that he 
should not live more than a year.** 

'* This presentiment was verified, as I have since 
learned from several French oflicers whom I had 
known at Constantinople. I believe that Aubert- 
du-Bayet died ver^ nearly on the anniversary of the 
day which I have just mentioned."* 

The reader will recognise a striking resemblance 
between this tale and a prose fragment written by 
Byron, which Polidori is said to have made use of. 

Buonaparte was at this time at the head of the 
army in Itady, engaged against the Austrians. Sui- 
kowski, a Pole, was one of his aids-de-camp, and 
he particularly recommended the confederates to 
interest the general in their favour. If that could be 
effected, he said, our hopes for the re-establishment 
of Poland would no longer be doubtful; for the 
general enjoys already the full confidence of the 
French nation, and cannot fail to be some day at the 
head of the government. On receiving a letter from 
Oginski on the subject, Buonaparte reflected some 
time, and said to his aid-de-camp, ''What must I 
answer? What can I promise? — Write to your 
fellow-patriot that I love the Poles, and esteem them 
much — ^that the partition of Poland is an act of 
iniquity which cannot be defended — that after having 
finished the war in Italy, I will go myself at the 
head of the French to oblige the Russians to restore 

* See Oginski, toI. ii. p. 238. 



Poland ; but tell him also that the Poles must not 
depend on foreign help, that they must arm them- 
selves, annoy the Russians, and keep up a commu- 
nication in the interior of the country. All the fine 
promises which will be made them will amoimt to 
nothing. I know the diplomatic language and the 
indolence of the Turks. A nation which has been 
crushed by its neighbours cannot be restored but by 
sword in hand.'' 

The Poles, assembled in Walachia and Moldavia, 
began to be impatient to make an incursion into 
Gsdlicia, under the command of Dambrowski.* To 
this they were instigated also by the French ambas- 
sador at Constantinople, who sent Genera] Cara- 
Saint-C3nr to join them. His object was to make a 
diversion of the Austrians from Italy in favour of the 
French army under Buonaparte. He defended this 
rash scheme, by quoting from Voltaire the lines — 

" Un henrenx temeraira 
(Tonfbnd en agiaaaat celui qai d6UMre.* 

Oginski left Constantinople without deriving any 
further benefit from his mission, and proceeded to 
Bukarest, the head-quarters of the Poles in Wala- 
chia, to dissuade them from their mad project. He 
found that Dambrowski had caused lumself to be 
appointed commander-in^hief of the armies of Po- 
land and Lithuania, that he designed to penetrate 
into Gallicia, raise contributions and recruits, to in- 
cite the peasants and artisans to rise by proclaiming 
the system of equality, and to fill his ranks with all 
the prisoners in the Austrian jails. Oginski forbade 
this iniquitous scheme by the French ambassador's 
authority, and recommended the Poles to do nothing 
without the will of Cara-Saint-Cyr. • This advice, 
however, was not observed ; shortly after, about a 
hundred of them, headed, by Denisko, a Pole, who 

* The reader miut distinguish between this man and DombrowaU* 
-WhosigiuiUisfld liimself in 17M, and wUl be mentioned again. 


had accompanied Oginski and was left by Mm, made 
an irruption into Gallicia, but meeting with some 
Austrian troops, fifty of the Poles were killed, twelve 
were taken and hung, while the rest escaped. This 
absurd expedition is supposed to have been under- 
taken at the instigation of the French ambassador, 
to ascertain what troops there were in Gallicia. It 
proved fatal to the confederacies in that province, 
many of the inhabitants being compromised, aU of 
whom were detected, laden with chains, and thrown 
into prison. The design being thus discovered, the 
Poles broke up their assembly in Walachia, and dis- 
persed in Poland, France, and Italy. 

The death of Catharine, which happened on the 
17th of November, 1796, delivered the Poles from 
one of their most detestable tyrants. Her successor, 
the emperor Paul, commenced a new era in Russian 
history, — ^that of clemency. His behaviour to Kos- 
ciusko was almost heroic : he went to see him in his 
prison, embraced him warmly, and told him that he 
was free. The emperor also proposed to present 
him with a high military post in his service : this, 
however, was declined. Paul gave him 1500 serfs 
and 12,000 roubles, solely as a testimony of regard ; 
but Kosciusko was determined to go to America, 
and returned the presents. He then proceeded by 
way of England* to the new world ; when, having 

* It was in 1708 that he touched at England on his passage to Amaica. 
He staid some time at Bristol in the house of M. Vanderhort, the foreign 
consul, where Dr. Warner had an interview with him, which he Se- 
scribes in his <' Literary Recollections," and gives a pleasing pianre of 
this great man. 

« I never contemplated a more interesting human figure than Kos- 
ciusko stretched upon his coach. His wounds were still unhealed, and 
be was unable to sit npright. He appeared to be a small man, spare 
and delicate. A black silk bandage crossed his fkir and high, but some- 
what wrinkled, forehead. Deneath it his dark eagle eye sent forth a 
stream of light, that indicated the steady flame of patriotism which still 
burned within his soul ; unquenched by disaster and wounds, weak- 
ness, poverty, and exile. Contrasted with its brightness was the pale* 
ness of his countenance, and the wan cast of every feature. He spoke 
very tolerable English, though in a low and feeble tone ; but his conver- 
sation, lepieCe with fine sense, lively remailc, and sagacious answen^ 


Koscnrsso. 281 

spent some time with his old comrades, he came to 
Paris and settled in the neighbourhood of Fontaine- 
bleau. All the rest of the Poles whom Catharine 
had left to pine in prison were also set at liberty ; 
and those who had been sent to Siberia, amounting 
nearly to 12,000, were allowed to return to their 
homes. Kindness and clemency are more formida- 
ble weapons in the hands of an enemy than the 
sword: this beneficence, perhaps, was more fatal to 
Polish independence than scores of Praga butcheries, 
and Paul was a more dangerous enemy to the lib- 
erty of Poland than the bloody Suwarow. Grati- 
tude kept most of the Poles who were liberated on 
an honourable parole ; and even the rest of the pa- 
triots whose possessions lay in the Russian domain 
began to abate in their ardour, now that those two 
stimuli were removed, self-interest and revenge for 
the actual persecution of their fellow-patriots. Kos- 
ciusko never drew his sword again. 

Prussia also had discontinued the Polish persecu- 
tion since the treaty of BMe, and liberated her 
prisoners. Frederic William even proposed to fol- 
low the advice which Dombrowski had given him in 
1796, when this patriot general was received at court 
with other Polish officers, and the king asked him 
if the Poles were satisfied, and what was their 
opinion of him. To this Dombrowski answered, 
that the Poles would have nothing to desire further, 
and that'the king might depend on . their fidelity if 
he would place one of his sons on the throne of Po- 
land, and establish the constitutional government. 

evinced a noble understanding and a cultirated miiid. On rising to 
depart I offered him my hand : he took it. My eyes filled with tears ; 
and he gare it a warm grasp. I muttered something about * brighter 

grospectfl and happier days !' He faintly smiled^ and said (they were 
is last words to me), ' All ! sir, he who devotes himself for his country 
must rtot look for his reward on this side the grave."'--i>r. Warner' » 
laterary Recollections^ vol. ii. p. 132. 

One of the numbers of the Gentleman's Magazine for 1817 (in which 
year Kosciusko died) contains ah article on the life of this great man, 
chiefly extracted firam the Moaiteur. 



The king made no remark at the time, but it is said 
that preparations were afterward actually made to 
put this plan into execyition.* 

The Austrian government, on the contrary, per- 
severed in its usual grinding policy, and did not 
strike off a single link from the Polish chains. 
Their prisons were still filled with patriots, and every 
day fresh victims were hung up like scarecrows to 
terrify the insurgents. The Poles, notwithstanding, 
eagerly flocked to join the ranks of the French 
armies who were fighting these inveterate despots 
in Italy. 

Dombrowski, after leaving Berlin, arrived at Paris 
in September, 1796, and in me following month laid 
before the directory a plan to raise a Polish legion 
of refugees to serve under the French general against 
their common enemies. The French constitution, 
however, did not allow any foreign troops to be taken 
into pay, but the directory recommended him to lay 
the project before the Cisalpine republic which had 
been lately formed in Lombardy by Buoiiaparte. 
With the approbation of the general, an agreement 
was accordingly signed at Milan, on the 7th of Jan- 
uary, 1797, with the provisional government, to tike 
the Poles into pay. These troops were to keep 
their national costume, but to adopt the French 
cockade ; their motto was to be, Gli uomini liben 
$<mo fraieUi. (Freemen are brothers.) In a few 
weeks 1200 men were under arms : they were at first 
formed into two battalions, but two more were soon 
added. This was the origin of the famous Polish 
legions. They began their career in March, but . 
their first service was not the most honourable — to 
quell the insurrections in Lombardy. The Polish 
legion came in for a share of the censure which 
many writers have passed on this portion of the 
service' of the army of Italy, but it seems that much 

• Ogliiflki, VOL IL p. S70. 

POLISH LE010N8. 888 

more might be urged in defence of this duty than 
could be stdvanced for many military affairs which 
have originated nearer home, and on which many 
persons still look with much satisfaction. The 
Poles, at any rate, had no reason to be ashamed 
of the war with Austria ; there was much affinity 
between the cause in which their allies were now 
fighting and that which had been their own in 1793 
— ^resistance to foreign interference with domestic 
policy. This was a war, too, which the enemy had 
begun with threatening " exemplary and ever-memo- 
rable vengeance, by giving up the city of Paris to 
a military execution," &c.* The invasion of Lom- 
bardy, one of Austria's strongholds, needs no de- 
fence : to arm the Lombards against their tyrants, 
and for their own freedom, was not only prudent but 
generous policy ; and to attack those insurgents who 
made common cause with the Austrians, equally 
with the enemy, to execute the leaders of revolt 
against the provisional government, were certainly 
justifiable steps, and surely they could not be pro- 
nounced " ferocious,"! according to the modem 
common-law in military matters. 

The Poles showed, if not their approval of the 
f^rench cause, at least so much animosity against 
their tyrants, the Austrians, that by April Dom- 
browski had 5000 men under his command. About 
this period Charles de la Croix, the French minis- 
ter for foreign affairs, proposed to Oginski and the 
Polish confederates, to make a diversion of the Aus 
trians in Gallicia ; and it was arranged that the Polish 
legions should pass into Dalmatia to join the patriots 
who were then in Walachia, and invade Hung^ary 
where they were to be supported by the French emis- 
saries.J The Poles even allowed the directory to for- 

♦ The Duke of Bninswick^s intemperate and ridicnloiw maikilteto.-* 
Bee Sugar's Decade, Pi^es JustiQcatives, vpL U« P* 358. . 
f See Family Library, No. IV. 


ward this rash plan to Buonaparte, with instruction to 
put it into execution ; but a]l their " hopes vanished," 
says Oginski (who, en passant^ was not one of the 
most sanguine Polish patriots), when news arrived 
that the preliminary treaty of Leoben was signed 
on the 18th of April, 1797. The Poles had borne 
the treaty of Bale with murmurs, but this peace with 
Austria was *'the uhkindest cut of all;" and many 
of them now ^doubted of assistance from France, 
and began to ^consider all hopes of aid from that 
quarter chimerical. 

The Polish legions were, however, still engaged 
m Italy, forming part of the corps which laid low 
the treacherous and tjnrannical oligarchy of Venice.* 

The patriots formed the plan of establishing the 
constitutional diet of 1792 at Milan; and it was 
proposed that it should consist of the same members, 
or as many of them as could be induced to join it. 
Malachowski, who had been marshal, readily con- 
sented to lend his sanction, and they had even fixed 
on a paJace at Milan for the purpose. The two 
agents, Narbutt and Kochanowski, who bad been 
sent to treat with the patriots, unfortunately fell into 
the hands of the Austrians, and the papers found on 
. them implicated many persons within cognizance of 
the court of Vienna, and another series of persecu- 
tion was the only fruit of this ill-contrived scheme. 
Malachowski suffered a ye^ir's imprisonment, and 
then had to pay a high ransom for his freedom. 

The definite treaty of Campo-Formio signed on 
the 3d of October, 1797, was'Sad tidings to the Poles. 
Dombrowski requested Buonaparte to allow a Polish 
commissioner to be present at the congress, but was 
answered, that " the prayerj? of every friend of liberty 

♦ The Foreign Quarterly for the second quarter of 1831, in the reriew 
of the "History of the Italian Legions In Italy," is very severe on the 
Poles, and particularly on Dombrowski. The author of the artirle 
seems to be strongly imbued with virulence.—*' Leltre de Jean Woy 
.tyadcit PolonaiSt au General Dombrowski^ ITOS.** 


were for the brave Poles, but that only time and 
destiny could re-establish them." Buonaparte, how- 
ever, always expressed the highest admiration for 
tlie bravery of the Polish legions. One evening, after 
his return from Italy to Paris, he was present at a f^te, 
where Qount Oginski was requested to play a march 
which he had composed for these patriots. *' Come,** 
said Napoleon, to those who summoned him, " let 
us go and hear, they are talking of the Polish legions : 
we must always help the brave Polish legions, for 
these Poles fight like devils.*' 

The Polish legions were now the representatives 
of their nation, whose very name would almost 
have been forgotten, had they not so frequently and 
gloriously reminded Europe of the existence of that 
proud nation of cavaliers. They now numbered 
nearly 8000 men, divided into two corps, the first 
commanded by Kniazi6wicz, the second by Wiel- 
horski. The first legion was employed against the 
pope in 1798, and on the 3d of May Dombrowski 
marched into Rome. He obtained the trophies 
which Sobieski had sent to Italy, after the siege of 
Vienna; namely, the Turkish standard and sabre 
which had been deposited at Loretto. The flag 
afterward always accompanied the legions, and the 
sword was sent to him who was most worthy to 
succeed Sobieski, — Kosciusko. 

The Poles were doomed to be severe sufferers in 
the next campaign, in 1799, against the Russians and 
Austrians. The allied armies of Russia and Austria 
entered Italy under the command of the savage Su- 
warow. The second lesion was stationed at Man- 
tua, and had to sustain me onset of their old tyrant 
and butcher. Out of nearly 4000 men barely one-half 
escaped from Mantua. After the bloody days of the 
26th of March and the 5th of April, the gallantry, but 
ill fortune of this proud remnant of the second legion, 
reduced it to 800. Mantua was obliged to capitu- 
late on the 28th of July, and a secret article of the 

286 msTORT OF Poland. 

treaty promised that all deserters should be given 
up, but that their lives were to be spared. The 
Austrians immediately seized the Poles,* and obliged 
them to enter their ranks, and Wielhorski was sent 
a prisoner to Austria. Out of the whole of the 
second legion only 150 escaped to France. 
^ The first legion's service was equally severe. 
After marching from the south of Italy to join the 
army in the north, Dombrowski obtained the com- 
mand of the left wing. On the 17th and following 
days the bloody affairs of Trebbia took place. The 
Poles were now brought hand to hand with their op- 
pressors, the Russians, and Suwarow, the butcher 
of Praga. Their fury cost them, in the course of 
these days, more than a thousand men. The battle 
of Novi, which was fought on the 15th of August, 
1799, was even more bloody and fatal to the Poles; 
and the legion was almost entirely annihilated. 

After the conclusion of the campaign in Septem- 
ber, the few survivors, in spite of their late reverses, 
resolved to raise fresh legions. On the 11th of No- 
vember, 1799, the famous revolution took place 
which raised Buonaparte to the consulship of France, 
and the laws which forbade foreigners to serve in 
the French army being abolished by the new consti- 
tution, Dombrowski repaired to Paris, and obtained 
leave to raise seven new battahons of infantry and 
one of artillery, to be entitled the First Legion. 
Kniazi^wicz also was commissioned to raise a corps, 
partly cavalry, to be employed under Moreau in the 
army of the Rhine. By October, Dombrowski led 
more than 5000 men to Italy, and Kniazi^wicz at 
the head of 3500 marched to join Moreau. The vic- 
tory of Hohenlinden, on the 3d of December, is at- 
tributed in a great measure to the gallantry of " the 
Polish legion bf the Danube." 

The peace of Luneville, signed on the 9th of Feb- 
ruary, 1801, ended the services of the Polish legions 
for the present. The legion of the Danube wa^ 


ordered to Italy to join that of Dombrowski, and 
when they assembled at Milan in March, 1801, they 
numbered 15,000. fiut the peace brought no ad- 
vantage to the Polish patriots, and many of them, 
disgusted with what they thought French ingratitude, 
left the seiTice. The remaining portion were sent 
-with the army under Leclerc to reduce the famous 
negro, Toussaint, and the black insurgents of the 
island of St. Domingo. Jablonowski, who had a 
brigade in the last campaign, commanded the Poles, 
devoted to this fatal and disgraceful service. Nearly 
the whole of the legion perished by the sword or 
the yellow fever ; and the few survivors fell into the 
hands of the English, and were obliged to serve in 

Brighter hopes dawned on the Poles in 1806, when 
Buonaparte laid low one of their tyrants, Prussia. 
The league between Russia and Prussia against 
France was hailed by the patriots ; for now their in- 
terests no longer clashed with their allies, but the 
same battle-field would serve for the Poles to fight 
for their emancipation, and for Buonaparte to crush 
his enemies. Napoleon felt what powerful allies 
the Poles, fighting for liberty, would be against 
Russia and Prussia, and used many arts to engage 
them in tha cause. There was one man then living 
near Foritainebleau, whose very name would have 
raised the whole population of Poland — Kosciusko. 
Buonaparte made him the most pressing invitations 
to share in the approaching campaign, and urged 
him to issue addresses to the Polish nation, calling 
upon them to embrace the present opportunity of 
regaining their liberty. But Kosciusko was not one 
of those who were dazzled by the splendour of Na^ 
poleon's career, and he divined that the military 
despot would be equally treacherous as hereditary 
tyrants. Well might he answer the emperor's emis- 
saries, " What ! despotism for despotism ; the Poles 


baTe enongfa of it at home, without going so far l» 
purchaae it at the pnce of their blood. '^ 

The more ardent and sanguine spirits among the 
Polish patriots were not so skeptical, but engaged 
in the campaign with the highest hopes. The de- 
cisive day of Jena, the 14th.of October, 1806, brought 
one of Poland's tyrants down to the dust, and the 
French troops were cantoned in Berlin. The hearts 
of the Polish patriots must, indeed, have beat high 
as ihey marched through the capital of Prussia, but 
their nopes must have almost amounted to certainty 
when the French anny entered the Polish territory. 
In the beginning of November, Dombrowski and 
Wybi9ki published, by order of Napoleon, an address 
to the Pciish nation, announcing the speedy arrival 
of Kosciusko, and calling on Sn to throw ofif the 
foreign yoke. A proclamation was also sent out in 
Kosciusko's name : of such weight was that name, 
that even truth was thus sacrificed to obtain its sanc- 
tion to the cause.-f- 

The deception, however, did not succeed, and the 
refusal of Kosciusko to join the undertaking ope- 
rated powerfully on many minds. The whole of 
Lithuania would have obeyed the call of that great 
man ; but this one deficiency threw discredit on the 
whole of Napoleon's protestations. Many of the 
Lithuanians eyed the emperor's past acti^ with 'se- 
verity and his promises with suspicion, and felt con- 
vinced that, provided Alexander would compromise, 
Napoleon would sacrifice the Poles to more impor- 

* K<wdiuko seemato bave sbared in a great degi ee the feeling of thoM 
who, being eet flree and mildly treated by Paul, imagined that it woold 
be an act ^ ingratitude to appear in arms against him, although for their 
eoontry. The patriots sent him a letter on his liberation, " but," says 
Oginski, ''be would pot commit himself by directly answering a l^er 
KMr o se e d to him with forty signatures. He contented himsdf with 
expressing, in the answer be made me, how sensible and grateftd be 
WW for the sentiments they felt for him, and he repeated the sincere 
prayers which be never ceased to make for the welfore of his feUow- 
fUxiotM-^—Ogintki, vol. ii. p. 287. 

1 A long absurd appeal was also published in bis name shortly bdbra 
Us'libarttimi, in which be is made to talk of his cruel jailer, iroos, dec. 
▲ pamphlet too was written to expose this paloable forgery. 


lint interests. It is confessed, however, that above 
1S,000 men left Volhynia and Lithuania to join the 
Polish lemons, and at the first news of the approach 
of the French army the Poles drove out the Prus- 
sian garrisons from Kalisz and several forts, and by 
the 16th of November, Dombrowski had formed four 
QQW regiments at Posen* 

A Russian army under Benningsen had occupied 
Pdish Prussia<£arly in November, and entered War- 
saw to repress the general rising of the Poles ; but 
finding themselves obliged to retire on the approach 
of the French army, they had intrusted the com- 
mand of the city to Prince Joseph Poniatowski. 
The French advanced-guard under Murat, entered 
Warsaw on the 26th of November. He appointed 
General Gouvion St. Uyr governor of this capita], 
and instituted a provisional government. 

Napoleon established bis head quarters at Posen 
on the d7th of November. His entry was a triumph, 
and the people went out to meet him as the sa« 
viour of their country. On the 11th of December 
he siffned a treaty of peace with Saxony, which he 
raised into a kingdom. On the 18th he entered 
Warsaw, and the afifairs of Pultusk and Golymin, 
though not very glorious to the French arms, cleared 
Prussian Poland of Russian troops. 

The bulletin issued at Posen on the 1st of De- 
cember, 1706, was not at all adapted to increase the 
ardour of the Poles. Like most of Napoleon's docU'< 
ments of this kind, it is couched in mystery. 

** Shall the throne of Poland be re-established ?'' 
it runs ; ^ and shall this great nation resume its ex- 
istence and in^pendence ? Shall it spring from the 
abyss of the tomb to life again t God only, who 
holds in His hands the issues of ail events, is the 
arbiter of this great political problem; but cer- 
tainly there never was a more memorable or inter- 
esting event."* 

* TliLi WM iiiMrCed la the Moniteur for the ISlh of Deoembcr 



Tilis bulletin produced much luke warmness a.map£ 
many of the Poles, and they began to suspect with 

(justice, that their independence was indeed a ^ prob- 
em,*^ U it was to depend on Napoleon Buonaparte. 
On the 14th of January, 1807, a supreme legislative 
commission was established at Warsaw, of which 
Madachowski, Potocki, and Prince Joseph Ponia- 
towski were the chief members. The late posses- 
sions of Prussia in Poland were divided into six 
departments — Warsaw, Posen, Plo9k, Kalisz, Brom- 
berg, and Bialystok. 

'nie pospoliu had been summoned to assemble by 
the 1st of January, and they took the field with the 
French troops with their accustomed gallantry. 
The anniversary of the glorious constitution of the 
3d of May at length dawned on Warsaw, and never 
did a people hail more fervently the recovery of 

The bloody battle of Friedland, fought on the 14th 
of June, 1807, reduced the allies to submission, and 
the treaty of Tilsit was signed on the 7th of July. 
Now that Napoleon had obtained one great point, 
the acknowledgment of his title by Russia, till then 
the only recusant on the continent, he began to 
forget his faithful soldiers the Poles. He was per- 
haps as apprehensive of a continuation of the war 
with Russia as Alexander himself, after the severe 
specimens he had seen of Russian fighting at Eylau 
and Friedland. He also professed a greflt esteem 
for the Russian emperor, and far from raising ob- 
stacles or expressing a wish for concessions, he 
^ve up the district of Bialystok to the empire. It 
18 also stated, on good authority, that Napoleon 
offered to unite Prussian Poland to the Russian em- 
pire, on condition that Alexander would agree to his 
continental system.* As the views of Russia did 

• « He (fid not scrapie to propose the rennion of Warsaw and Pn»- 
sian Poland to tbe empire of Russia; aad though all Napoleon's parti- 
have denied and thrown doubt on this proposal, it is neyeitheieas 


DirrCHT 09 WARSAW. 291 

Dot entirely coincide with his wishes, the treaty of 
Tilsit declared that the portion of Poland lately 
possessed by Prussia should be formed into an inde- 
pendent government, under the title of the Dutchy 
of Warsaw. It consisted of about 1800 square 
leagues in extent, divided into six departments, 
Posen, Kalisz, Plo9k, Warsaw, Lomza, and Byd- 
goszcz; and the population amounted to about 
4,000,000. Frederic Augustus, king of Saxony, 
the same whom the constitution of the 3d of May 
had called to the throne, was chosen by Napoleon to 
be grand-duke. 

A commission was appointed by Napoleon to draw 
up a constitution for the new dutchy ; and the code 
was presented to the emperor, and approved, on the 
S2d of July, 1807. Slavery was abolished. Two 
legislative chambers were instituted to form a diet. 
The executive power was vested in the king's 

On the 30th of November Frederic Augustus 
arrived at Warsaw, and regulated the economy of 
his little dutchy. The principal offices were all 
filled with distinguished Poles, and Prince Joseph 
Poniatowski was at the head of the war department. 
Julian Niemcewicz, the poet, and friend of Kos- 
ciusko, was appointed secretary of state. The 
army was raised to twelve regiments of infantry, 
six of cavalry, a brigade of artUlery, and the legion 
of the Vistula. It was portioned into three divisions 
under the command of Poniatowski, Za'ionczek, and 

The first diet was held on the 10th of March, 1809, 
and Ostrowski, formerly treasurer of the crown, 
Was chosen marshal. The session was limited to 
fifteen days. Forty-eight millions of florins were 
voted for the government. The Code Napoleon was 
also introduced by a great majority. 

tnie tbat it was made, and I hare alnce seeo ttw moit antlieiitie prooft 
oC it/'-'OimtIa, vol. fi. p. 944. 

392 HISTORY or foiaiid. 

Scarcely had the diet finidied its labooTBy when 
Austria declared war against France on the 6tii of 
April. The Archduke Ferdinand, with aboye 30,000 
men, entered the dutchy by Konskie wi&out any 
preliminaries, and on the 15th, Poniatowski received 
a letter from him stating the views of Austria. But 
the prince was not disposed to listen to such repre- 
sentations ; but put himself at the head of about 
10,000 troops and marched against the enemy. He 
was attacked at Raszyn, four leagues from Warsaw, 
on the 19th of April, and made an obstinate stand 
till nightfall, and withdrew in good order. Warsaw, 
whose fortifications were not then very strong, 
could not be expected to make a very long resist- 
ance, and Poniatowski knowing the inutility of en* 
dangering the city by the feeble resistance of his 
little army, accepted the offer of Ferdinand to have 
an interview on the 20th of April. The terms agreed 
on were, that the city of Warsaw should te in- 
trusted to the hands of the Austrians, while the 
army was at liberty to remove where it pleased. 
The archduke exacted obedience in Warsaw, by 
planting loaded cannon in the principal streets, and 
requiring hostages. 

Prince Poniatowski adopted the bold advice of 
Dombrowski, to enter Gallicia and rouse their sub- 
ject brethren there to rebellion : insurrection imme- 
diately followed his daring entrance, and on the 14th 
of May he marched into Lublin. On the 19th San- 
domir was taken by assault, and other towns soon 
surrendered. On the 28th of May the Poles en- 
tered Leopol, where the inhabitants embraced their 
Polish brothers with tears of joy. A pco visional 
government was instituted at Zamosc, and the 
whole of Gallicia rose up in favour of their brave 

Dombrowski, who with his corps had been left in 
the dutchy of Warsaw, exerted himself to raise 
levies against the Austrians. He defeated them at 


Thorn, on the 14th of May ; and following np his 
victory, he drove the enemy towards the frontier. 
Ferdinand, finding his quarters insecui^, and hearing 
of the reverses in Austria, levied a contribution in 
Warsaw of 40,000 florins, and fled secretly with his 
aid-de-camp, and his troops followed in the night 
of the 1st of June. On the next day Zaionczek and 
his corps entered Warsaw. 

The Emperor of Russia had engaged at the inter- 
view of Erfurth, in 1808, to act in conjunction with 
France, but had been very tardy in executing his 
promise ; now, however, that victory declared against 
the Austrians in Austria as well as Poland, he ordered 
48,000 men into Gallicia, who, however, merely fol- 
lowed in the wake of Poniatowski. The enemy 
retreated, and evacuated Gallicia on all points. 

The dutchy of Warsaw appointed a government 
for the occupied country ; but orders came from Na- 
poleon to establish a provisional government in his 
name ; which was done, and allegiance sworn to the 
emperor. On the 15th of July Poniatowski entered 
Cracow, and on the 16th was published the armistice 
which Austria had entered into with Napoleon, after 
the battle of Wagram on the 6th of July ; an envoy 
was sent to Napoleon to acquaint him with the events 
of the campaign, and Poniatowski was complimented 
with a sword, and a cross of the legion of honour. 

The treaty of peace was signed at Vienna on the 
14th of October. The Poles were again deceived by 
Napoleon ; only four departments of the conquest, 
Cracow, Radom, Lublin, ^nd Siedlce, were added to 
the dutchy of Warsaw, while the circles of Tamopol 
and Zbazaz were ceded to Russia. The salt mines 
of Wieliczka were to be in common between Austria 
and the dutchy. 

This accession of territory to the dutchy was, how- 
ever, of very beneficial eflfect to the Polish cause, and 
more perhaps in its tendency than its immediate 
ecmsequence. It was an earnest to the Poles of future 



advancement ; and they flattered themselves, that» as 
the dutchy of Warsaw was gradually extendingf, it 
would at length attain the complete growth of the 
ancient kingdom of Poland. 


state of tbe Datchy of Warsaw in 1S12— Napoleon'ti Desigiui; IVettj 
with Aaatna— Alexander's Treatment of the Uthnaniaas-^iualan 
InTasion-^^Napoieon enters Wilna—- Napoteoo's Answer to the Potai 
— Confederacy— Buniing of Moscow and Retreat of the Freoch— 
Wilna and Warsaw entered by the Rnssians— Ptince PoniiUowdi 
retires to Cracow ; Joins Buonaparte in Saxony ; Is drowned at Leipsic 
—Polish LegiMis follow Napoleon to France— The Allies enter Paris 
— Koecinsko's Letter to Alexander— Alexander's Answer— Dom- 
browski and the Polish Legion return to Warsaw — Congress of Vienna 
—The Kingdom of Poland annexed to Russia— New Coostitntioa— 
Lithuania, Posnania, Gallicia, and Cracow— Diet of 181^In(Hnge- 
ments of the Constitution— Death of Alexander— Nicholas — Polea 
involved in the Russian Conspiracy ; aoquitted— Nicholas erowned at 
Warsaw in 1829— Infringements of the OonstitutioDr-PraEipecta of 

The year 1812 was destined to form another im- 
portant era in the annals of the Poles. A small frac- 
tion indeed of the Polish population were restored to 
their rights, but the libertv thus obtained was not the 
substantial and invaluable blessing for which they 
had fought and bled so many years ; their grand-duke 
was a mere vassal of Napoleon, and the dependence 
of the dutchy on FVance was unavoidable, since it 
was too limited, and its resources too contracted, to 
enable it to defend itself. 

It was, at this time, in the most lamentable state 
of wretchedness. **Nothing,'* says M. de Pradt,* 
" could exceed the misery of all classes. The army 
was not paid; th6 officers were in rags; the best 
houses were in ruins ; the greatest lords were com- 

* Napoleonii andMunador at Wanaw.»8M Hliloiie da 1 


pdied to leave Warsaw, from the want of money to 
provide their tables/* The Poles flattered them- 
selves, however, that the grand scale of their miUtary 
establishment, so disproportionate to the present 
magnitude of the dutchy, was a proof that Napoleon 
did not intend to confine his exertions to what had 
already been effected, but meant the dutchy only as 
a nucleus for future increments. 

The Poles fancied also that their hopes were about 
to be realized when Buonaparte threatened Russia 
with the invasion of 1813. He took every precaution 
to impress them with the belief that it was his design 
to restore the kingdom of Poland to its former state ; 
and Montalivet, his minister for the home department, 
haying let fall some hints in public, that such a plan 
had never fallen into his views, he commissioned 
Marshal Duroc to remove the bad impression thus 
caused, by making the strongest assurances of Napo- 
leon's interest in the Poles, and persuading them 
that the remark had been made only to blmd iht 

Napoleon's determination was by no means formed 
with respect to Poland ; on one occasion He inad- 
vertently exposed the insincerity of his promises, by 
owning that nis conduct to that country was ^ merely 
a whim." It is certain that he could have had no 
objection to see the kingdom of Poland re^establishedy 
since it would have formed a strong barrier against 
Russia; but lie did not wish to render the rupture 
between himself and Alexander irremediable, as he 
would have done by openly wresting Lithuania from 
him. His dedre was, that all the movements of 
Poland miffht seem to proceed from herself. With 
regard to the Austrian share of that kingdom, he had 
made up his mind, in case of the re^stablishment of 
Poland, that it should be restored for an indemnifi- 
cation. On the 14th of March, 1818, he concluded 
a treaty with the court of Vienna, and some of the 
secret aitictes were concerning this buainess. Napo* 

396 mSTORT OF polahd. 

leon gaarantied the possession of GaUicia to Austria, 
even if the kingdom of Poland were re-established ; 
but in that case, ** if it suited the views of the Em- 
peror of Austria to cede Gallicia in exchange for 
some Dlyrian provinces, the arrangement was to take 

The conduct of the Emperor Alexander to the 
Lithuanians was calculated to make them weigh 
Napoleon^s promises and designs with suspicious 
precision before they credited them. They were 
not now, as they once were, happy to catch at the 
most distant gleam of hope, when no misfortune 
could have much aggravated their miseiy ; but they 
had something to lose by failure, some degree of 
happiness at stake. The good policy of Alexander 
tended to make them subjects rather than slaves. 
Their taxes were not. raised ; their privileges were 
preserved ; their laws underwent very little change, 
and they had the appointment of most of their officers. 
Alexander expressed the greatest anxiety for their 
welfare ; he established eight governors of Lithuania 
over the eight divisions, prepared a liberal const!- . 
tution for them, and even proposed to raise them into 
a distinct kingdom. He particularly wished the new 
constitution to extend its protection over the serfs. 
** Particularly, do not forget the peasants," he said 
to Count Oginski, whom he employed to draw up a 
plan of the laws ; *^ they are the most useful class, 
and your serfs have always been treated like helots." 
These words sound strangely in a Russian despot^s 
mouth, particularly when we remember the state of 
the Russian serfs.* Alexander too patronised the 
learned institutions ; and it is a singular fact, that 
the university of Wilna flourished more under the 
dominion of Russia than it had ever before done. 
He ordered public schools to be instituted dependent 
on the university, and appropriated their ancient 

* Alexander pretended to ameliorate it by an ookiM ; Intt'Yery Uttto 
nil banefit waa dehved ftom it. 


teyeiraes to the same purpofle. Nor were these ex- 
ertions fruitless : Wilna became the sdoum of learned 
men; education was generally dimised; and the 
Lithuanians began to think to whom they were in- 
debted for these good things, and how ** gentle a 
tyrant" they had found in the Russian despot. 

SeYenty thousand Poles marched in the colossal 
army which Buonaparte led against Russia in 1812. 
On the 26th of June the diet of the dutchy of Warsaw 
assembled ; and Prince Adam Czartoryski was ap« 
pointed marshal. The minister of finance, Thadeus 
Matuszewig, had been directed by Napoleon to make 
a report of the state of the country on this day ; the 
speech was prepared by the French ambassador* 
Pradt, and was delivered in full diet. At the words, 
^ Shall Poland exist 1 What do I say f It does ex- 
ist,*' one burst of enthusiastic applause prevailed 
among the vast assembly of deputies and spectators. 
' The Poles now felt certain that they should see their 
kingdom spring up afresh ; Warsaw was one scene 
of festivity, and the national cockades of blue and 
amaranth were evenr where exhibited. The ex- 
pressions, '^ the kingdom of Poland," and ^ the body 
of the Polish nation," had been introduced into the 
speech by the express orders of Napoleon ; and the 
Poles firmly trusted that they would not be vague 
words. The diet decreed a general confederation ; a 
confederate council of twelve was appointed, of 
which Prince Czartoryski was president ; and its first 
act was to recall from the Russian service all Poles 
in every capacity, and to declare them absolved from 
their oaths of aUegiance to the emperor. The diet- 
ines were convoked to accede to the confederacy, 
which they did unanimously. 

In the mean time the FVencharmy had entered 
Lithuania, and on the 26th of June Napoleon reached 
Wilna. A deputation, commissioned by the diet to 
wait on him there, presented him with an address, 
which was prepared by himself. His answer was 


mysterious and unsatisfactory. ^ In my situation I 
have many interests to conciliate and many duties to 
perform. If I had reigned at the time of ^e first, 
second, or third partition of Poland, I would have 
armed all my people to support you. — 1 love your 
nation ; during the last sixteen years I have seen 
your soldiers at my side in the fields of Italy, as well 
as those of Spain. I applaud all that you have done ; 
I sanction the efforts you wish to make ; I will do 
every thing in my power to second your resolutions. 
— I have always used the same language since my 
first appearance in Poland ; I must add here, Uiat I 
have guarantied Austria the integrity of her states, 
and that I cannot authorize any design or step that 
may tend to disturb her in the peaceable possession 
of the Polish provinces which remain under her 
power. Let Lithuania, Samogitia, Witepsk, Polock, 
Mohilow, Volhynia, the Ukraine, and Podolia be 
animated with the same spirit which I have wit- 
nessed in Great Poland, and Providence will crown 
with suocess the purity of your cause ; will reward 
this devotion to your country, which has so much in- 
terested me in your behalf, and has given you so 
many claims to my esteem and protection, on which 
you may depend under all circumstances.** 

This evasive speech cooled the ardour of the Poles; 
and most of the Lithuanians who had remained in in- 
decision now felt convinced that nothing was to be 
expected from Napoleon, and that the Russian despot 
was a man of better faith than the military tyrant of 
France. Napoleon's proclamation on entering Lithu- 
ania had roused their suspicions, by announcing 
to his troops that they were now treading on the 
enemy's ground. The soldiers too behaved to the 
inhabitants as enemies, villages were burnt or plun- 
dered, the com cut down green for the horses, mur- 
ders occurred, women were insulted^ and Napoleon 
expected that the people who were thus treated would 
receive him as a friend. Instead of finding <<a]l 


Poland on horseback,*^ as he escpected^he found that 
many people fed at his approach, and that the rest 
eyed him with suspicion. 

The deputies of the kingdom of Poland called on 
the Lithuanians to join the confederacy; and ac- 
cordingly the dietines were convoked for that pur- 
pose on the 15th of August. Napoleon established a 
provisional government at Wilna, distinct from that 
of the dutchy. It consisted of seven members and a 
secretary-general. They ordered ten regiments to 
foe raised, and several rich nobles volunteered their 
fortunes to equip them. Notwithstanding their ex- 
ertions, the levies went on slowly ; the poipoliie^ 
which Napoleon had estimated at more than 100,000, 
decreed him a guard of honour, but only three cava- 
liers followed him.* 

The Polish troops, commanded by Prince Ponia- 
towski, formed the fifth corps of the '^grande arro^e.'* 
They distinguished themselves in the battles of Mir, 
Smolensko, Borodino, Kalpuga, &c. At length came 
the dreadful confiagration of Moscow, and the still 
more dreadful retreat. The Poles shared in all its 
horrors, and displayed much vigour at the bloody 
passage of the Beresina. On the 3d of December 
Buonaparte deserted his army, and proceeded incog- 
nito to Paris by way of Warsaw. His singular ren- 
counter with the Abb6 de Pradt is wcU known. The 
feeble exertions of the Polish government were of no 
avail, and the appeal of Frederic Augustus raised 
no soldiers. A proclamation was issued at Warsaw 
on the 20th of December, calling on the Poles to 
join the confederacy. " Rise, heroes of Lanckrona 
and Czsenstochowa !" ran the invocation, but in vain. 
Prince Joseph Poniatowski was appointed com- 
mander-in-chief of the Polish forces, as well as min- 
ister at war. Nearly 20,000 men still survived the 
Russian campaign. The remains of the ''grande 

• S^gnr't BMtUn de Napoleon et do la Grand* Aim««. 

800 msTORT Of POLANP. 

uni^'^ passed *throag-h Wilna on the 9th of Decern* 
ber, and the Russians entered on the following day. 
The Emperor Alexander arrived shortly after his 
army, and proclaimed a general amnesty to all the 
Poles who had formerly been under his governments 
Poniatowski reached Warsaw with his corps on the 
25th of December. He united himself with the Aus- 
trian troops commanded by Prince Schwartzenberg, 
and they vacated Warsaw on the 7th of February, 
1813, and marclied towards Cracow, where the Poles 
on their arrival mustered barely 3000 men. ' Dom* 
browski and his small corps accompanied the French 

On Poniatowski's retreat from Warsaw all author* 
ity was suspended; the ministerial council with* 
drew to Petrikau, and afterward to Ozenstochowaf 
where the members dispersed. The Russians soon 
took possession of the city, having previously pub- 
lished an amnesty. A temporary government was 
immediately instituted, of which t&i)resident was 

Poniatowski remained at Cracow till May, where 
he formed a new corps called that of Cracus. By 
May he augmented his httle arqiy to nearly 13,000 
men, 6000 of whom were cavalry. This body left 
the Austrian territories, reached Zittau on the 10th 
of June, 1813, and joined Napoleon, who was then 
with his army in Saxony. 

Buonaparte had again taken the field on the 18th 
of April, 1813, in Saxony, where he was joined by 
the wreck of the " grande arm^e.** Poniatowski's 
body soon formed the eighth corps. The battles of 
Dresden, &c. were only preparatory to the decisive 
day of Leipzig, th^ 19th of October. Poniatowski 
was ordered to cover the retreat of the French army; 
and the officer whom Buonaparte had appointed to 
blow up the bridge over the Pleisse, doing so before 
the time, the remaining troops were obliged to 
plunge into the stream for safety. The co^usion 

KOS€ir8KO*6 ' LETTER. 301 

Was dreadful, and fatal to the chivalrous Poniatow. 
fiki ; after being twice wounded, he rushed into the 
stream and svaSi for the last time. He had heen ap- 
pointed marshal of the empire by Buonaparte only 
four days before. Thus ended the glorious but un- 
fortunate career of this gallant solSer, who main- 
tained to the last the proud character of a patriotic 
Pole, and threw a redeeming lustre on the sullied 
name of Poniatowski. 

The survivers of the Polish army, under the com- 
mand of Sokolnicki, retreated with the French 
army, and particularly distinguished themselves in 
the battle of Hanau on the 30th of October. Four 
days after this, Buonaparte, hearing that they in- 
tended to return, harangued the officers on their 
route. •* You have ever acted faithfully to me," said 
the sinking emperor; ''you would not abandon me 
without informing me, and you have even promised 
to accompany me as far as the Rhine. — To-day I 
widi to give you some good advice. Tell me, when 
do you intend to return 1 — You are free to go home, 
if you please. Two or three thousand men the less, 
brave as you are, will make no difference in my 

The Poles felt that they were bound in honour 
not to desert Napoleon merely because his glory 
was on the wane ; and accordingly accompanied him 
to France. 

After the allies had entered Paris in 1814, Kosci- 
usko, who had been living near Fontainebleau, sent 
a letter to the Emperor Alexander,, on the 9th of 
April :-^ 

" Sire ; if from my obscure retreat I diaire to address 
my petition to a great monarch, a great general, and, 
al)ove all, a protector of humanity,* it is because your 
generosity and magnanimity are well known to me 

* This cannot be termed republican sincerity 



I request three favours of you : the first is, to grant 
a general amnesty to the Poles without any restrio- 
tion, and that the serfs scattered in foreign countries 
may be regarded as free if they return to their homes; 
the second, that your majesty will proclaim yourself 
kin? of Poland, with a free constitution approaching 
to that of England, and that you cause schools to 
be established there for the instruction of the serfs; 
that their servitude be abolished at the end of ten 
years, and that they may enjoy the full possession 
of their property. If my prayers are granted, I will 
go in person (though ill) to throw myself at your 
majesty's feet to thank you, and to be the first to 
render you homage as my sovereign. If my feeble 
talents could yet be of any utility, I would set out 
instantly to rejoin my fellow-citizens, to serve my 
eountry and my sovereign with honour and fidelity. 
'* My third request, though personal, sire, is near 
my heart and feelings. I have been living fourteen 
years in the respectable house of M. Zeltner, of the 
Swiss nation, formerly ambassador from his country 
to France. I owe him a thousand obligations, but 
we are both poor, and he has a numerous family. I 
beg for him an honourable post, either in the new 
French government, or in Poland. He has talents, 
and I vouch for his fidelity under every trial.* 

** I am, &c. 

" Kosciusko/' 

To this Alexander returned an autograph answer. 

'^I feel gfeat satisfaction, general, in answering 
your letter. Your wishes shall be accomplished. 
With the help of the Almighty, I tnist to realize the 
regeneration of the brave and respectable nation to 
which you belong. I have made a solemn engage* 
ment, and its welfare has always occupied my 
thoughts.-*How satisfactory it would be to me 

* Oginftki, Tol. it. p. 175. 


general, to see you my helpmate in the accomplish- 
ment of these salutary labours ! Your name, your 
character, your talents, will be my best support. 
"Accept, general, the assurance of all my esteem.* 

" Alexanoir." 

After the treaty of Fontainebleau was signed, 
Dombrowski requested Alexander's permission for 
the Poles to return to their country ; he was told 
that they would march with the Russian army, and 
on their arrival at Warsaw, would be at liberty to 
leave the service or continue in it. The grand-duke 
Constantine, Alexander's brother, was appointed their 
commander-in-chief. They entered Posen on the 
26th of August, 1814. On their route they passed by 
Nancy in Lorraine, where the remains of Stanislas 
Leszczynski, one of their favourite monarchs, were 
deposited ; and performed a funeral ceremony over 
his tomb in the church of Bonsecours. Sokolnicki 
delivered an oration on this interesting occasioh.f 

A few days after Alexander's return to Petersburg 
in July, 1814, he gave an audience to the deputies 

* Ko0ciueko again wrote to Alexander at Vienna, on the 10th of June, 
1815. He found that Lithuania was not to participate in the adyantages 
of a constitution, and he says, " One anxiety only troubles my soul and 
my joy. I was born a Lithuanian, sire, and I have only a few years to 
lire ; nevertheless, the veil of Aiturity still covers the destinies of my 
Dative land, and of so many provinces of my country. I cannot forget 
the TnagTianimous proifiises which your imperial majesty has deigned 
to make verbally to me and to several of my compatriots." To this no 
answer was returned, and Kosciusko felt certain that bis apprehensions 
were well founded, and on the 13th of June he announces his intention 
of retiring to Switzerland This design he soon put into execution, and 
went to reside at Soleure, where he ended his glorious life on the 16th 
of October, 1817. His corpse is deposited in the cathedral of Cracow, 
in the same chapel where Sobieski and Joseph Poniatowski had been 
laid before him ; and on the summit of the artificial mountain, Bronis- 
lawa, national gratitude has erected a monument to his immortal 

t "These,'' sud the orator, "are the wrecks of the numerous pha- 
lanxes raised and reproduced as by enchantment, and which that Polish 
Bayard (Joseph Poniatowski) has so many times conducted to victory : 
these are the precious remains of a troop which he formed fbr glory ; 
these are warriors cpvered with honourable scare, &c,"-— See CEuviw 
GboisieB de Stanislas, dec.— Hiat. par Mdme. de 8t. OvMn. 


of the Lithuanian govemmentSy and cohclnded his 
address to them with these words, ^ Tell your con- 
stituents that all is forgotten and pardoned, and that 
they must not have any doubt of the interest that I 
feel for them and the desire I have to see them happy 
and content.'* 

The fate of the Poles was now an object of solici- 
tude to every liberal mind in Europe, and the consul- 
tations of the congress of Vienna were watched with 
the greatest impatience. The same feeling which 
leagued the allies against the usurpation of Buona- 
parte bound them to atone for their own sins in that 
way towards the Poles, by restoring to them their 
independence. " The avowed principle of the grand 
confederacy which has so recently delivered the 
world was, that all should be united for the protec- 
tion of all, — that the independence of each state 
should be secured by the combination of its neigh- 
bours, — and that henceforth they alone should be put 
in jeopardy who attempted to violate that mutual 
paction of defence by which all were defended. — Is 
it not natural in such a moment to look for the res- 
toration of Poland T** Even the allies had no reason 
to make the Poles' allegiance to Napoleon an objec- 
tion to their re-establishment, since that charge was 
equally applicable to themselves; Russia, Austria, and 
Prussia having all, at different times, been accessa- 
ries to his schemes.! 

On the 3d of May, 1815, the congress of Vienna 
decided the fate of Poland. The fifth article of the 
treaty between Russia and Austria declared that the 
dutchy of Warsaw should be formed into a kingdom^ 
to be united to the crown of Russia, but should enjoy 
a separate constitution and administration. The 
portion of Eastern Gallicia which had formed part 

* Bee an aiticle on Poland in the Edinbnrffh Rerfew of Bflptflnbcr. 

t See an Appeal to the Alliea and «be EngUab Natioii on bohalf af 
Poland, 1814. 


of the dutchy was now ceded to Austria, as well as 
the salt mines of Wieliczka. Cracow, with its terri- 
tory, was created into a republic with a distinct con- 
stitution,* under the protection of the three powers. 
A portion of the dutchy was also given to Prussia 
under the title of the grand-dutchy of Posnania. It 
was also added, ** that the Polish subjects of the 
respective powers should obtain a representation and 
national institutions, regulated by the mode of politi- 
cal existence which each of the governments to 
which they belong shaU think useful and proper to 
be granted." 

On the 25th of May Alexander issued a proclama- 
tion, and on the 20th of June he was proclaimed 
King of Poland at Warsaw. All the authorities 
repaired to the cathedral, and took the oath of alle- 
giance to the new king. The administration con- 
tinued in the hands of the provisional government 
until the constitution was framed. Alexander had 
previously appointed a commission at which Count 
Ostrowski presided for this purpose. The emperor 
himself arrived at Warsaw in November, 1815, where 
he was received with the greatest acclamations. 
Medals of the emperor were struck with the inscrip- 
tion Unu8 nobis restituit rem. On the 24th of Decem- 
ber, 1815, the hew constitution was completed ; it was 
very similar to the constitution of the 3d of May ; 
and the principal articles were as follows : — 

The government consists of three states, namely, 
the king, and an upper and lower house of parliament. 
The executive power is vested in the king and his 
officers. The monarch is to be hereditary ; he de- 
clares war, appoints the senators, ministers, counsel- 
lors of state, bishops, &c., convokes, prorogues, or 
dissolves parliament. The king may appoint a lieu- 
tenant, who must either be a member of the royal 
family or a Pole. The king, or his lieuteoant, i9 

* Thte may be Men in OgineU, toL iv. p. 106. 



. ftssisted by a state council, consisting of the minis- 
ters of aoTninistration ex officio, and connsellors, 
whom the king may choose to appoint. The minis- 
terial administration is divided into fire departments : 

1st. The department of public education. 

2d. Judicial department, chosen from the mem- 
bers of the supreme tribunal. 

3d. Home and police department. 

4th. War department. 

5th. Finance department. 

Each of these departments is under the control of 
a minister. 

The ministers are responsiUe for any act or de- 
cree contrary to the constitution. 

The king and the two houses of parliament form 
the legislative authority. The senate, or upper hoascy 
consists of princes of the blood-royal, bishops, pala- 
tines, and castellans. Their office is for life, and 
they are appointed by the king. The senate, how- 
ever, presents two candidates for a vacancy, and the 
choice rests with the monarch. A senator is re- 
quired to pay taxes to the amount of 12,000 Poli^ 
florins. The number is never to exceed half of that 
' of the lower house. 

The lower house consists of seventy-mven mem- 
bers, to be elected by the nobles in the dietines, one 
for each district, and iifty'K>ne members elected by 
the commons. The qualifications for a member we^ 
that he must be of l£e age of thirty years, and pay 
annual taxes to the amount of 100 Polish florins. 
£very member vacates his seat by accepting a civil 
or military office. The electors among the commons 
are landhidders, manufacturers, and those having a 
stock or capital to the amount of 10,000 florins, all 
curates and vicars, professors, public teachers, &c., 
aU artists distinguished for talent, whetAier in the 
useful or elegant arts. 

The diet is to meet every second year at Warsaw, 
and to sit thirty days. All moticms are decided by a 


majority of votes, and a bill passed in one hoose is 
to be then forwarded to the other. All money bills 
must be read in the lower house first. The king's 
consent is necessary to every bill. 

The supplies were to be voted every four years. 

Religious toleration was guarantied, as well as the 
liberty of the press;* and no person was to be 
punished without the sanction of the laws. 

The emperor appointed the Polish veteran ZaJbn- 
czek his lord-lieutenant. 

Such was the constitution to be enjoyed by 
4,000,000 of the Polish nation. The other portions 
of Poland, Polish Prussia, Lithuania, GalUcia, and 
the republic of Cracow, were not, in appearance, 
equally fortunate. The congress of Vienna promised 
constitutional charters to each of them, but the 
promise has been kept only in letter. The grand- 
dutchy of Posnania was granted a diet by Prussia in 
18S3 ; it meets every second year. Their privilege 
consists in making representations to the kmg, who 
reserves the right of decision. Most of the offices 
are held by Germans, although the diet obtained a 
promise that Poles should be eligible. Gallicia sdso 
nas a diet which sits every year at Leopol for three 
days, to receive the orders of government. 

Lidiuania formed a distinct province, governed by 
the ancient laws, modified by the emperor's edicts. 
It is supposed that Alexander designed to unite it to 
the kingdom of Poland; but his intention was not 
executed. It was divided into three govemments, 
Wilna, Grodno, and Minsk, and governed by Lithua« 
nian nobles. The magistrates were appointed by the 

The first constitutional diet of the kingdom of 
Poland was held in 1818. The emperor opened it in 
person on the 15th of March. One of the remarks 
made in his speech was certainly true. — ^** Notwith- 

* TbA IbUowIng rMtriction ii added to tlUB article.—** Tbe law will 
.appoint the meana of cbeckiog ita abasea." 


Standing my efforts, perhaps, all the evils you have 
had to groan under are not yet repaired. Such is the 
nature of things, good can only be effected slowly, 
and perfection is inaccessible to human nati^re.^ 

Soon did the fine professions of Alexander begin 
to prove delusive; the .authorities commenced by 
trespassing on the pale of the constitution. So 
closely was Kosciusko's prophecy fulfilled, that it 
seemed as if his shade were still speaking from the 
tomb. " From the very first, I foresee a very differ- 
ent order of things ; that the Russians will occupy, 
equally with us, the chief places of government. 
This certainly cannot inspire the Poles with very 
great confidence ; they foresee, not without fear, that 
in time the Polish name will fall into contempt, and 
that the Russians will soon treat us as their sub- 
jects."* The article of the constitution which de- 
clared the liberty of the press was nullified by an 
act of the 31st of July, 1819, and other similar en- 
croachments of power began to be experienced. 

The diet of 1820, however, fought bravely for their 
liberties, and threw out, with a* great majority, a bill 
to abolish the responsibility of ministers, one of the 
grand articles of the constitution. They also im- 
peached the two ministers who had signed tiie ordi- 
nance for the suspension of the liberty of the press. 

The ministers determined to be revenged for this 
opposition, and squandered three-fourths of the reve- 
nue yearly on the army, so that the remainder was 
barely sufficient to meet the expenses. In conse- 
quence of this, the secretary of state, who was al wa]^ 
resident with the king, and was now at Petersburg, 
issued a writing, stating that it would be necessary 
to devise a change of the political existence of Po- 
land if she could not support her government in her 
present form. This was soon answered by an abun- 
dant contribution. 

* Lettn de Kosclmto an Prince Adam (^sarior/iU^ Vieona, Imw 11; 


A state prison was soon established at Warsaw ; 
espionage became general, and prosecutions imbit- 
tered the feelings of the Poles against their tyrants. 
An ordinance was passed in 1825, before the as* 
sembly of the diet, and signed by Prince Lubecki, 
which abolished the publicity of debate in the diet; 
thus at once destroying one of the important checks 
which honesty has upon every species of chicaner}^* 

In the same year, on the 1st of December, died 
the Emperor Alexander, King of Poland. Constan- 
tino, the heir-apparent, having resigned his right of 
succession as long back as 1823, and still adhering 
to his determination, his brother Nicholas succeeded 
to the throne. ' On the 25th of December he issued 
a proclamation to the Polish people, in which he 
promised to preserve the constitution granted by his 
brother inviolate. ** Poles," he says, " we have 
already declared that our invariable wish is that our 
S^ov^Timent may be only a continuation of that of. 
the emperor and king Alexander I., of glorious 
memory; and we declare to you, consequently, that 
the institutions which he has given you shall remain 
without any changes. In pledge, I promise and 
swear before God that I wiU ol»erve the constitu- 
tional charter, and that I will exert all my care to 

maintain its observation.**! 

The conspiracy in Russia broke out on the 26th 
of December, 1825, and the persons appointed to in- 
vestigate it pretended that its ramifications extended 
to Warsaw. Above 200 persons were arrested in 
Poland and Lithuania, and a commission was insti- 

* <' This Tiolfttiou was made by the advice of the sworn eneirty of 
Poland, the ferocious Nowoeikow, who, daring his long residence in our 
eaiHta], was only the imitator of the barbarous Repnin. To account ibi 
■Qch arbitrary conduct they made use, according to the Russian custom, 
of a diplomatic pretext ; namely, the government pretended that it wished 
In that way to avoid all influence over the elections. This motive, in- 
deed, was only a trick employed to deceive Europe, fbf the government 
eoly redoubled its inflaence.''~La Grande Semame dea^ PoUmaUt ou 
Histoire des Memorablea Jaumdes de la Rgvoluiion de VorfOtM, 1831, 

t Oginaki, vol. iv. p. 315. 

>tr»4o«k or 

X • .ui.ttv io lilt) oo0»titiitioii» toil 

« . •cH^t.tu oi leu |.)erMMi8« ot 

.i.N^ ' ^t» umv liisGovefT of the 

>. •« tttt«»iK* MicieUed had existed 

^.&. "^iCiioittcH 'lowever* coid> 

>«.H>utu«Hiaiii<iiiiK this ille^ 

v« . •^ t< rrt^ (He luvestt^tios 

• 'IK t|Mt pei^sMmacensed 

\ t'v ♦ven' acqutlted in 

...V .ii. •• tt r, .mi oi (leaeral 

<UNi^M* . r '*?Je s«ef)tie» 
' tv^M.<i ^>tii ^» }aB!d. 

« M' •til ". *niiM :uhl 
• .> u *nl 

^ ■%>* « ^^Vfcteii 

«. * 


But we expect better things ; it is to be trusted, for 
the rredit of humanity in the I9th century, that the 
crime of a Catharine, the treachery of a Frederic 
"William, and the hypocrisy of a Maria Theresa shall 
no longer succeed $ but that, on the contrary, the 
•• proud Poles" will go forth to victory with, at least, 
the prayers and good wishes of all but their despots ; 
and that true liberty, so long a stranger to this brave 
nation, may forget her predilections as a ** mountain 
nymph,** and take up her abode once more in the 
plains of Poland 



[ExtFBcted fhnn tiie Metropolitan Magioiiie, No. L, May, 1831.] 

t^reliminary Views— The Grand-dnke Ckmstantine's Barbarities— Politi- 
cal Persecutions — Qise of Major Lnloisinski — Revolntion of 1830— 
Attack on Gonatantine's Palace — ^Escape of Ck>nstantine — ^Rise of the 
Engineers and Students — Polish Troops join the Patriots— ChlopicU 
appointed Dictator ; resigns the Command of the Army to SkrzyneckL 

Amid the varied conflicts of opinions among man- 
kind, there are fortunately a few points on which 
there appears to be no possibility of the slightest 
discrepancy. And in the foremost rank of these 
may be placed the gross violation of any natural 
right, either in the case of 'an individual or a nation, 
under the cloak of expediency. In such cases right 
feelings unconsciously give the first impulse, and 
this is eventually confirmed by the sober dictates of 
deliberate reason. It is in this way that, we appre- 
hend, the wrongs of Poland have excited so general 
an interest among mankind; have called forth 
such unqualified indignation against the partitioning 
powers, and such sympathy for her sufferings. Yet 
it may seem strange, amid such general sympathy, 
that no effort should have been made to save the 
devoted land of heroes. The truth is, that, notwith- 
standing this universal influence, nothing could be 
done to remedy the evil. The partitions occurred 
when all Europe was engrossed with internal affkirs; 
and, under these circumstances, to dictate to the 


three most powerful nations in Europe was impracti- 
cable; and the chance of attaining the object by 
friendly negotiations, when the second case arose, 
was completely destroyed by the destructive torrent 
of the French revolution, which, in its ruthless pro- 
gress, threatened the annihilation of society, and 
menaced with complete extinction every institution, 
however sacred and useful, if opposed to its wild 
career. By such, means, those most deeply inter- 
ested in resisting the very principles of tne Poli^ 
spoliation were driven (in self-defence) to league 
with her spoliators; and thus their power of vindi- 
cating her rights was suspended by the paramount 
necessity of oppoaing similar principles, operating on 
a more extended sphere. It was in vain, it could be 
clearly demonstrated, that the partition of Poland 
afforded a precedent, no less than the fraudulent con- 
quest of Silesia, for any apt of political robbery; for 
at that very moment circumstances rendered it a 
superior consideration to check the spread of the 
example. Thus, unnoticed, Poland would have re« 
mained unconscious of the enthusiastic interest ex- 
cited by her fate, had not the fervid eloquence of 
the poet and the orator occasionally betrayed feel- 
ings of indignant sympathy, and showed that, though 
the flame was smouldering the fire was unextin- 
guished, and that it might afterward burst forth in 
one glorious blaze. At last a ray of hope gleamed 
on Potish patriotism. In 1806 Napoleon, then in the 
full splendour of his glory, proposed the restoration 
of the kingdom of Poland. With the political events 
and considerations that influenced this extraordinary 
man, we have at present nothing to do, further than 
to state the historical fact that the visions which had 
flitted before the eyes of the delighted Poles passed 
away, that there was no restoration of the kingdom 
of I^oland, and that all their highly-wrought expecta- 
tions terminated in the erection of the dutchy of 
Warsaw in 1807. Political distractions crowded fast 


314 POLAND. 

Upon each other, and at last the datchy of Warsair 
fell into the hands of the victorious Russians after 
that campaign which cast Napoleon from the odious 
and unenviable rank of dictator of the destinies of 
continental Europe. 

The negotiations which commenced with the 
downfall of Napoleon, and were completed by the 
treaty of Paris in 1814, necessarily embraced the 
future condition of Poland, which, though then 
occupied by the Russian troops, had, from previous 
cession to France, become a fit subject of arrange- 
ment, not for the eventual benefit of Russia alone, 
but for that of the entire European commonwealth. 
At that period the Emperor Alexander displayed a 
spirit of liberality, which appeared to have owed its 
origin to various circumstances. Madame de Stael 
has well delineated his moral character, by saying 
that he was " an accident," — ^the mere creature of 
circumstances. Thus, on his return from witnessing 
the prosperity of this country, he was so enamoured 
of free institutions, that he ordained the establish- 
ment of * trial by jury" throughout Poland, within 
six months. In this he was carried away by mere 
impulse, without the slightest regard to the fitness 
or unfitness of the institution (however admirable in 
some situations) to the wants, habits, and even pre- 
judices of the people among whom he proposed to 
naturalize it. There were, however, in addition, 
some important considerations which may not have 
been without height in producing a concession in 
favour of Poland. 

Throughout all the reverses of Napoleon, even 
when deserted by his dearest connexions, the Poles 
remained faithful, and never faltered from their 
allegiance. Such chivalrous devotion obtained for 
the gallant Dombrowski and his band of heroes a 
favourable capitulation. But it was incompatible 
with the policy of the restored French government 
lo retain in the centre of France men so deeply 



pledged to their unsuccessful rivd. The Poles, 
however, refused to return to Uieir native land with- 
out an assurance that their national independence 
should be recognised. Alexander also knew that 
the tenure by which a Russian throne is held is 
somewhat frail, and appreciating the fidehty of the 
Poles, sought to secure their devotion by conferring 
the boon mOst ardently desired; and, as the first 
mark of favour, he conferred his brother Constantine 
upon them as the commander-in-chief. It is probable 
that each of the enumerated circumstances had an 
influence on the emperor's mind, while the whole 
determined him to re-erect the kingdom of Poland, 
in opposition to his first intention of annexing his 
recent conquest to Russia as a dependent province. 

Austria, at this time animated, in all human proba- 
bility, by jealousy of her great rival, favoured the 
scheme, and even offered to sacrifice a part of her 
own dominions. 

France was decidedly favourable ; while the British 
government advocated the same cause, from con- 
sidering the future kingdom a rampart against Rus- 
sian aggression. This view was communicated to 
the congress of Vienna by Lord Castlereagh, in 1815, 
and he urged the restoration of the kingdom of 
Poland so energetically, that hi^ view was adopted, 
and the hope was reanimated that the days of 
Sobieski might again be revived^ 

The rapidity with which this decision was made 
probably owed much to the return of Napoleon from 
Elba, which rendered it imperative that Polish parti- 
sanship should not swell the ranks of the invader. 
It was accordingly decided, that the grand-dutchy 
of Warsaw should be attached to the empire of 
Russia under the name of the kingdom of Poland, 
and that it should be governed by separate institu- 
tions. The treaty of Vienna contains on this point 
the following article : — 

"The dutchy of Warsaw, with the exception ot 

tl6 TOVMMD. 

those piOfinceB and distncto iHiidi are otfaenriae 
disposed of by the following aiticlefly is united to 
Rossia. A mall be irreDocabty homtd to the BmssUm 
empire by its ctmstUviion, to be enjoyed by his majesty 
the emperor of all the Russias, his heirs, and socees- 
sors for ever.** 

Thus it was estaUished, that by the constitntion 
alone the two sovereignties were united under one 
head. It is curious to remark the opinions of the 
Emperor Alexander himself on this point, as dis- 
played in a letter from him, dated Vienna, 30th of 
April, 1815, to Count Ostrowski, the president of the 
Polish senate : — 

"' President of the senate, Count Ostrowski, 

'^ It is with peculiar satisfaction that I announce 
to you, that the destiny of your country is about to 
be fixed by the concurrence of all the powers assem- 
bled at the congress of Vienna. 

^ The kingdom of Poland shall be united to the 
empire of Russia by the title of its own constitution, 
on which I am desirous of founding the haiqpiness of 
the countiy. If the great interests involved in gene- 
ral tranquillity have not permitted all the Poles to be 
united under one sceptre, I have at least endeavoured 
to the uttermost of my power to soften the hardships 
of their separation, and every where to obtain for 
them, as far as practicable, the enjoyments of their 
nationality.'' This was published according to an 
authority given by the emperor to the court. 

Thus a part of Poland was re-estaUished as a 
separate state, by the act of all the powerB of Europe ; 
and although the Emperor of Russia was to be king 
of Poland, still the indopendence and separate exist- 
ence of the kingdom were perfect. We shall here- 
after see how consistently these principles have been 

From the time of the first re-establishment of the 
kingdom until 1620, the affairs of Poland went on 
ai^»rently in conformity with the constitution; but 


tiiere were perpetual breaches of that formal grant, 
until the Spanish revolution burst forth : then the in- 
trigues of Austria, and the apprehension entertained 
Inr Alexander himself of military revolution, led to 
the establishment of the sadly-misnamed Holy Alli- 
ance, and an attempt waa made to suppress entirely 
in Poland the spirit of national independence, which 
at one time, if not actually fostered, had been cheered 
by the smiles of the autocrat. 

The Count Zaionczek, a Pole, was nominally the 
king's lieutenant, but the real power was invested in 
the grand-duke Constantine, who held the appoint- 
ment of commander-in-chief of the army. This per- 
sonage, who has played so conspicuous a part in the 
affairs of Poland, is worthy of something more than 
a mere passing notice. Though possessed of very 
considerable talents, he is, in fact, an untamed tiger, 
giving way on all occasions to the most violent 
paroxysm^ of temper. He has a deep sense of the 
rights of his order, and holds the feelings of every 
other class of human beings as absolutely naught. So 
soon, therefore, as he found that his imperial brother 
was no longer t^e liberal patron of constitutional 
rights, he gave the most unrestrained license to his 
capricious and violent injustice. A few instances 
are better than general assertion : — ^A most opulent 
.and respectable man named Woloski, the principal 
brewer of Warsaw, had, through some of his people, 
without his own knowledge, hired as a servant in his 
establishment a Russian deserter. The offender was 
detected, and proof of innocence on the part of his 
employer being disallowed,, the grand-duke, by his 
individual decree, ordered this respectable individual 
to be fettered, and in that condition he wad com- 
pelled to woit with a wheelbarrow in the public 
streets ! His daughter, an amiable young lady, ven- 
tured to appeal to the mercy of the grand-duke in 
behalf of net parent; and the unmanly monster 
kicked Iter down stairs, u^ing at the same time the 



most abudive lan^age. In the same way, he caused 
two Polish officers to be seized in the dead of night, 
and without trial, or even accusation, sent them to 
Russia. Some of the publishers of Warsaw having 
incurred his displeasure, he sent soldiers in the 
middle of the night to break up the presses and to 
destroy ;the types. Taxes were levied without con- 
snlting the diet ; and when a distinguished member, 
Niemoyewski, protested against such proceedings, 
he was arrested and sent to his country-house under 
the charge of Cossacks, who kept him there for ten 
years, notwithstanding the most urgi^it afiaiis that 
required his attention elsewhere. The students, too, 
especially at Wilna, were persecuted and harassed 
by a most notoiious person, named. Nowozilzoff, 
who succeeded Prince Adam Czartoryski as curator 
of the universities. This fit tool in Constantine's 
hands displayed on every occasion the most atro- 
cious rapacity and an entire absence of common 
humanity. One of the richest inhabitants of Lithua- 
nia had been arrested at the instance of this modem 
Sejanus ; but 15,000 ducats, or 7000/. sterling, effected 
his liberation. His most infamous act, if it be pos- 
sible to give any pre-eminence in acts all most pre- 
eminently wicked, was performed on the following 
occasion : — A boy of nine years of age, a son of 
Count Plater, had in the playfulness of childhood 
written in chalk on one of the forms, " The 3d of May 
for ever !" that being the anniversary of Kosciusko^s 
constitution. The fact was discovered by some ci 
the innumerable spies, employed even among these 
infants, to Nowozilzoff, who instituted an inquiiy 
among the boys — ^not one would betray poor Plater: 
they were all ordered to be flogged with the utmost 
severity! The unhappy offender declared that he 
had written the offensive words. The grand-duke 
condemned him to be a soldier for life, incapable of 
advancement in the army; and when his modier 
threw herself before his carriage to impkxe foi^give- 


ness for her wretched child, he spumed her like a 
dog with his foot ! 

Every one possessed of the means naturally fled 
from such unneard-of tyranny, and, among others, 
a highly accomplished gentleman, who sought refuge 
in I^ndon. Constantino sent an emissary after him, 
in the foolish belief that he could carry him off. The 
emissary soon discovered the folly of his errand, and 
returned, to the great chagrin of his master. 

Slaving the heads of females who displeased him 
was a common occurrence ; and, on one occasion, 
four soldiers were severely punished because they 
abstained from carrying such an order into effect, as 
they found it impossible to do so without using per- 
sonal violence. Tarring and feathering the shaved 
heads of the offenders was also a favourite recrea- 
tion of the conimander-in-chief, whose delight it was 
to witness these barbarities. 

This career of cruelty and oppression on one oc- 
casion met widi a reproof, and the manner in 
which it was received is too illustrative of the grand- 
duke's character not to be recorded : Among other 
subjects of his oppression was a Polish officer of 
rank, who was confined in a foul dungeon placed 
under a common sewer. There the unhappy man 
was wasting away in a noisome and pestilentisd at- 
mosphere. -Hiis happened to reach the ears of one 
of those men who do honour to their high calling, — 
a bold, intrepid priest, who considered himself bound, 
as the minister of a benevolent Deity, to interpose, 
and if possible to soften the obdurate heart of the 
tyrant. By the mere accident of receiving permis- 
sion from the grand-duke Michael, he was admitted 
to Constantine's presence. He stated the object of 
his visit firmly but respectfully. The grand-duke 
stormed— the priest declared, that undeterred by 
menaces he would fulfil what he deemed a para- 
xaount duty. Astonished at this, the grand-duke 
sprang ovA of iho wiadow« dedaring that there waa 

320 POLAND. 

a madman within. The priest was conveyed to a 
convent, where he was confined ; but his interference 
effected no relief to the individual he sought to serve, 
nor did he obtain any general relaxation. 

While acts of private oppression were calling forth 
all the hatred to Russia which is the birthright of 
every Pole, political tyranny was superadded, as if 
it were desLiable to concentrate upon one point the 
entire indignation of a brave and devoted people. 
We have already adverted to the patriotic associa- 
tion, modelled almost after the recommendation of 
the Emperor Alexander. TMs association, formed 
by the celebrated General Dombrowski, had at first 
a masonic and military character; having, as its 
object, mutual good offices among the army. Its 
existence was perfectly known to Alexander ; who 
alleged in his discourses to the diet, and indeed on 
all occasions, that he could not reunite, as he ear- 
nestly desired, the Polish provinces in actual union 
with Russia, with the revived kingdom, because he 
could not discover among them either a Polish spirit 
or a desire to become Poles. He therefore recom- 
mended that the association formed should extend its 
objects and become the means of promoting a 
national spirit. Of his intervention abundant proof 
was furnished, in prosecutions on which we shall 
hereafter touch. For a time this recommendation 
was not acted upon; but in 1820 it was adopted-, 
when unhappily the causes, as we have already seen, 
which effected an entire revolution in the emperor's 
political views, induced him to denounce the associa^ 
tion as treasonable. And for its suppression, in 
direct violation of the constitution, he appointed a 
military commission, which tried and condemned 
civilians without any of the prescribed formalities; 
and, as if he were desirous of rendering its proceed- 
ings still more odious, he composed it of men of 
infamous character,— Hauke, Blomer, Komatowski, 
Chankiewicz, and others, mere tools of the grand- 


^hike ; who, in point of fact, issued the proclama- 
tions, dictated the sentences, and provided for their 
due execution. One of the most atrocious acts of 
this most atrocious period is the treatment of Major 
Lukasinski, a Polish officer of high character and 
blameless life. He was distinguished by the grand- 
duke, indeed was especially favoured on all occasions ; 
but, being a member of itie association at the time 
that it became particularly obnoxious, he was arrested, 
and after some time brought into the presence of his 
imperious chief | who, addressing him in terms of 
kindness and friendship, invited him to repose con- 
fidence in the known attachment he felt for him : 
thus thrown off his guard, the unhappy man spoke 
-with frankness and candour. He was removed to his 
dungeon, tried on his confession to the grand-duke, 
was convicted, and condemned to be deprived of all 
his honours, to chains, and to perpetual imprison- 
ment. In compliance with this sentence, he was 
conveyed to the fortress of Zamosc, where upwards 
of a thousand perscms similarly circumstanced were 
confined. One of the grand*duke's emissaries was 
introduced into the prison ; he got up a conspiracy 
for effecting the. escape of the prisoners, and, without 
the privity of the wretched Lukasinski, contrived to 
procure his nomination as the leader of the con- 
spirators. Then further persecutions were instituted, 
and for this imputed crime, which, even if real, could 
not be blamed by any man, he was condemned to 
death. This was, however, too humane ; death would 
have afforded relief to the wearied sufferer, which 
was not the object of Constantine. It was therefore 
commuted to perpetual imprisonment and a wkeely 
pLoeoiNo! And it was directed that a record should 
be kept for Constantine's especial information of the 
effect of each blow on the wretched victim ! Hu- 
manity recoils at recording such atrocity, such ccdd- 
Uooded ferocity ; and we should not have ventured 
0B making the statement, had not the facts been 

322 POLAND. 

attested by documents found among the papers of 
the grand-duke after his precipitate retreat from 
Warsaw last November. To gjuard against the pos- 
sibility of relief or escape,' Lukasinski was alter- 
nately confined in a prison in the heart Of Warsaw, 
or in the fortress of Goura; and he was instantly 
removed, if the scene of his actual sufferings were 
even suspected. Unfortunately for him, at the 
moment of the insurrection of Warsaw he was at 
Goura ; and although jewels, papers, and other valua- 
bles were left behind, Lukasinski was too precious not 
to be carried off with scrupulous care. The actual 
history of his sufferings would have contributed to 
animate even the most torpid patriotism, when even 
the imperfect statements that are now communicated 
to the English public cannot fail to excite a disgust 
and detestation for the tyrant, only equalled by the 
S3rmpathy for the victim of his persecution. But not- 
withstanding these increasing grounds of dissatis- 
faction, — nay, of deep and unqualified abhorrence,^- 
the good sense of the associated regenerators of 
their country's freedom prevailed over their excited 
feelings. The ferocity of the unprincipled savage 
but confirmed them In the path of duty, and in the 
necessity of the utmost caution. Yet thus rendered 
circumspect, they never forgot that these practical 
illustrations of tyranny imposed upon them addi- 
tional and more urgent duties to their country. 
Under these convictions they restricted their opera- 
tions to the most narrow limit, and nothing beyond 
Poland and Poles was ever regarded in even a 
speculative view. Yet, in spite of all this caution, on 
the breaking out of the Russian conspiracy, after the 
death of Alexander, in favour of Constantino, in oppo- 
sition to his younger brother the present emperor, 
attempts were made to connect the Polish asscMsia- 
tion with the Russian revolt. 

Under this pretext an immense number of the as- 
sociation, already in bad /Odour from having been 


denounced by Alexander, were arrested. The most 
chosen victims were persons eminent for their rank, 
attainments, virtues, and patriotism ; not that noisy 
and presumptuous quality miscalled patriotism, which 
displays itself in idle declamation and useless turbu- 
lence, but in that silent devotion to the best interests 
of their country, illustrated by improving its con* 
dition and by promoting every measure calculated to 
benefit the people. The individuals so arrested were 
declared by an imperial ordinance to be guilty, in 
defiance of an acquittal by the senate, which alone 
could legally investigate the charges. ^ The imperial 
decree then issued, condemning the accused to im* 
prisonment, exile, and every penalty that unprinci* 
pled caprice could suggest. In this career of criminal 
folly a singular step was taken, without the chief 
movers conceiving it possible to produce some most 
important effects in the sequel. The whole of the 
alleged offences were published, the defence sup- 
pressed; but, as 4^ese offences involved only what 
every Pole felt to be a sacred duty, the disclosure 
produced fresh ardour in the cause, and led to the 
establishment of innumerable other associations, all 
of which conduced mainly to the recent explosion. 

Among the illustrious men there is a gentleman, 
now in London, whose personal suffering may be 
considered a fair example of the system pursued. 
His career may be described as one of pain and 
misery. His father — ^a distinguished champion of the 
liberties of his country at the period of the last par- 
tition — ^was expatriated ; being accompanied with his 
wife, the subject of the present detail was born during 
their flight, and was seized with his father's property 
by the government! He was placed with a man 
who appears to have possessed some of the feelings 
of humanity, for on the death of his own child, he 
reported the stranger to be dead, at the same time 
restoring him to Tiis parents. Subsequently to the 
e8tablifl£inent of the dutchy <^ Warsaw, he entered 


the service of Napoleon, and senred with distinetion ^ 
but was taken prisoner in 1812, and was three yeant 
in prison. After the cession to Russia, and the es- 
tabhshment of the kingdom, he wished to retire from 
military life ; and, after fourteen refusals to accept 
'his resignation, the permission to retire was most 
ungraciously granted. His pertinacity had offended, 
and his integrity made him a marked man. Accord'^ 
ingly, on the occasion of which we speak, he was 
arrested (having at that time previously spent about 
seven years in Russian prisons), and without condem- 
nation placed in a dark dungeon, where for eleven 
months he neither saw the face of man nor the light 
of day. At the expiration of that time he, veith 
others, was suddenly taken from their cells, thrown 
into common carts, and conveyed under a burning 
sun to St. Petersburg, where he was kept in rigorous 
custody, until he had completed his fourth year o( 
additional captivity. Almost at the mcHiient of his 
arrest he had been married to a lovely and amiable 
female : he had no intercourse with his family during 
his wearisome confinement ; and when he returned to 
be cheered by domestic affection, he found that he 
had become a father, but that his wife, worn oat by 
her feelings, was no longer the beautiful partner of 
his hopes and fears, but an exhausted being, <hr(^ping 
fast into her grave. — She died in two months! Acts 
like these necessarily roused that spirit which has 
since spoken in the voice of thunder to the oppressor. 
The suppressed indignation burst forth on the smh 
of November, 1830, in the following manner r^ — ^The 
police of the grand-duke, ever on the alert to render 
themselves acceptable to their master, by aflording 
him objects on which he might wreak his ruthless 
passions, planned an association for the purpose of 
involving the most respectable and distingwshed per^ 
sons in Poland; and for that purpose inveigled a 
number of ardent youths, just after the revolution in 
Paris, to attend meetings, and to avow pa^riotir 


opiiiioiiB. The prime conspirator, either from mdo* 
lence, or a belief that there mig^ be danger in de^ 
vising a new organization for the association, vsed 
that which had been discovered dnring the early 
proceedings against the patriots. A copy of this 
scheme falhng into the hands of some of the mem«* 
hers of the actual associations, excited a snspicion 
that they had been betrayed ; and the recollection 
of former horrors decided them to take instant 
measures for hberating themselves from their de» 
testable thraldom. 

ponstantine had established a school for the edu- 
cation of inferior officers, with a view to destroying^ 
the national character in the army. The nombers at 
this estaybHshment were at this time 180, of whom 
not moro than six or eight were parties to the asso* 
ciation. These, however, early in the evening of the 
day already mentioned, went into their barrack, ad- 
dressed their comrades, explained their views, and 
without a single dissentient, not even excepting one 
individual who was sick in bed, they armed them- 
selves, and commenced their operations. 

In order to understand their proceedings it is ne- 
cessary to give a short account of local circumstances. 
Thc^grand-duke, thongh affecting a reckless courage 
on all occasions, did not choose to incur the risk of 
Hving in the centre of Warsaw, but established him- 
self at the palace of Belveder in the outskirts of the 
city, having at a short distance the barracks of three 
regiments of Russian guards. From some wMmsieal 
motive he surrounded the barrack with a wide and 
deepditch, over which 8ome]very narrow bridges were 
thrown, so that by boats it was most convenient^ 
crossed. Constantine had no goards about his resi- 
dence, but the (^guised spies were so numerous^ 
Uiat no stranger could approach beyond the outer 
gate without intemiption. Tlie habits of the grand- 
duke, too, favoured the plan of the conspirators. 
His usual Draetice was to rise at lbur» to appear 


tnumg the troops and in public until his hoar of 
dinner, which is two in the afternoon ; then to retire 
to bed, sleep until seven or eight o'clock, then rise 
a^n and devote himself to amusement for the eve- 
nuif . The hour chosen for proceeding to his palace, 
for the purpose of making him a prisoner to be de- 
tained as a hostage, was seven. At that time 
the young soldiers proceeded to the bridge of 
Sobieski, where the main body posted themselves, 
while a dozen of the most determined pressed for- 
ward to complete their object. They forced their 
way into the palace, where they were first opposed 
by the director of the pohce^ one Lubowidizki, who 
fled on being wounded : next they encountered the 
Russian General Gendre, a man infamous for his 
crimes ; he was killed in the act of resisting. Lastly, 
when on the point of reaching the bedchamber of the 
grand-duke, who, alarmed, had just risen, they weie 
stopped by the valet-de-chambre Kochanowski, who 
by closing a secret door enabled his master to escape 
undressed through the window. He fled to his 
guards, who instantly turned out. . Disappointed in 
their prey, the devoted band rejoined their com- 
panions at the bridge of Sobieski, where they had 
been awaiting the result of the plan. On finding 
that the first object had failed, they resolved on re- 
turning into the city. In doing this it was neces- 
sary to pass close to the barracks, where the soldiers 
were already mounted,^but unable to cross the ditch 
from the precautionary arrangements of the small 
brides. They could therefore only fire on the 
hostile party, who, from being thus peculiarly situ- 
ated, returned the fire so briskly that they killed 300 
before they retreated, carrying off only one of their 

Earty wounded. On reaching the city, they instantly 
berated every state prisoner, were joined by the 
school of the engineers and the students of the uni- 
versity. A party entered the only two theatres 
open« calling out ** Women, home— men, to arms I** 


Both requisitions were instantaneously com|ilied 
with. Tne arsenal was next forced ; and, in one 
hour and a half from the first moyement, sp ^ectr»Bal 
was the cry of liberty, that 40,000 men were in arms. 
The sappers and the fourth PoUsh regiment declared 
in favour of the insurrection very soon : and by 
eleven o'clock the remainder of the Polish troops 
in Warsaw, declaring that their children were too 
deeply compromised to be abandoned, espoused the 
popular cause. On learning this the srand-duke fell 
back, forcing two regiments of Polish guards along 
with him. 

Nowoziizoff, the criminal coadjutor of the grand- 
duke, from some presentiment of danger, had gone 
to St. Petersburg a day before the revolution broke 
out. The functionaries, thus abandoned, to check 
the spread of principles opposed to those of Russian 
policy, invited the most distinguished patriots to join 
them. These were Czartoryski,* Radziwill, Niem- 
cewicz, Chlopicki, Pa9, Kochnowski, and Lelewel. 
No good, however, resulted from this heterogeneous 
assemblage; for, in the hope of accommodation, the 
patriots were induced to allow the grand-duke to 
retire under a convention, when they might have 
captured his entire army. The escape of so detested 
a person and his myrmidons excited great dissatis- 
faction ; but no excess was committed, although the 
exuberance of joy among the patriot bands produced 
a thousand extravagant demonstrations of their 
feelings. Disorder might, however, have followed; 
and Chlopicki, a man of stem character and known 
, devotion to the cause, declared himself dictator ; a 
declaration that was universally satisfactory, from 
the acknowledged qualities of the man. The attempt 
to blend his mUitaiy duties with political details, m 
the end, proved more than he was equal to* He 
summoned the diet, and seLc negotiators (Prince 

* See note) p. 3SA. 


Ldbscki and Bfr- Desdenld) to St. Petersburg, he de- 
manded uncontrolled antiiority, which was granted 
with one dissentient ^oioe. lezierski retunied from 
Petersbm^ muncoeaBiul ; as the basis of negotiation 
insisted upon by the emperor was nncondittonal mAh 
mission. Chiopicki, cHssatisfied with his own fail- 
nre, vetired, and for two days there was no executiye 
power; yet no one breathed a thought of aban- 
doning the cause. The diet then chose RadziwHi 
as commander-in-chi^: though bravct honourable, 
and intelligent, he wanted mihtaiy experience ; and 
assumed the authority merely to prevent anarchy. 
Chlopicki discharged the functions of the major- 
general of the army ; and the prince, with the ap- 
proval of all classes, soon resigned the supreme 
command to the present generalissimo, Skrzynecki, 
who has so nobly vindicated his claim to the ardo- 
oos tadc imposed upon him. 


won TO PAGS 3S7. 

This illustrious personage, Prince Adam Gzaitoiyski, it 
the eldest son of the late prince of the same house, and it 
descended from the family of Jagellon, the ancient sov^ 
reigns of Lithuania. His father was long known, not only 
as a nobleman of the first rank in Poland, but as one of the 
j^st accomplished scholars in Europe. Such was his repu- 
tation, that at the period of the last vacancy in the throne 
of Poland, Poniatowski (afterward king) was deputed by the 
di^t to propitiate the Empress Catharine, to second the- 
election of Ozartoryski ; but the deputy's handsome form 
found such favour in the licentious eyes of the modem Mes- 
salina, that he ceased to urge the suit of the diet, and 
returned the avowed nominee of his imperial mistress. 
Prince Czartoryski's claims on the throne, popularity, and 
consequent influence rendered him odious to the court of 
St. Petersburg ; and when the last act of spoliation was per-, 
petrated, his lands were ravaged, his beautiful castle of 
Wlawy destroyed, and a sentence of extermination pro- 
nounced against him, unless he would consent to send hU 
two sons, one the subject of this notice, and the other 
Prince Constantino Czartoryski, as hostages to St. Peters- 
burg. To avoid this wretched alternative, the prince and 
his princess, who still survives, consented to the separatioSy 
and the two young noblemen were placed under the eye oif 
those who were deemed worthy, by the autocrat, of reform* 
ing th«r principles. The talents displayed by both brothers 
■oon obtained for them the admiration of the court ; and ai 
it was of great importance to gain them over, eveiy mark of 
imperial favour was heaped upon them by the Emperor 
Alexander, with whom, from infancy, they had established 
tenftf of the utittoflt ftmiUarity. Theelder brother bdd fi>r 




a long time the poitfolio of the foreign office, and, in his 
officiu ci^aeity, accompanied his imperial master to the 
■cenes of some of hia moat serious disasters. Daring Na- 
poleon's invasion, Prince Constantino was in Poland, and 
confiding in the integrity of the then master of the destinies 
of Europe, and breathing naught but fireedom for his 
country, he joined the banners of the invader, and raised a 
regiment at his own expense to aid in the cause of libera- 
tion. At Smolensk he received a severe wound, from the 
effects of which he has never yet recovered. He resides 
at Vienna. 

The influence of Prince Adam Czartoryski proved to be 
•ingaiarly useful to Poland after the downfall of Napoleon. 
He interposed, and interposed successfully, between the 
anger of Alexander and his suffering country ; and, on the 
•stabliriunent of the kingdom of 'Poland, was appointed the 
earator of aU the universities, both there and in the incor" 
porated provinces. These duties he sedulously discharged, 
until he was superseded by the notorious Count Novozilzoff. 
From this period he has tived in retirement, faithfully per- 
forming all the duties of private life. The promotion of 
agriculture, science in all its branches, and kindly offices 
among mankind constituted his occupations until recent 
events drew him from his privacy. The first call was made 
by the Russian functionaries, as stated in the text, for the 
purpose of self-protection ; the second was that of his de- 
voted country, when a government was essential to success. 
He was choeen not only one of the five members of the 
executive body, but its president, a station which he still 
honourably fiUs. Into ms new office he has carried all the 
ttnostentatiotts and disinterested virtues that adorned Pu« 
lawy, and there is little doubt that if (and no one suspects 
that such will not be the case) the independence of Poland 
be &iriy won, the choice of Us country will point to him 
as its sovereign. Having finished his academical career at 
the university of Edinburgh, he early acquired a strong 
taste for En^sh institutions and for Englishmen, and of 
Ais he gave substantial proof by devoting 250/. a-year to 
(he exclusive purchase of English books. Hie revenues are 
enormous, but his liberality is unbounded ; and as it is a 
rule hi his munificent establishment to provide libeia^ fo( 
Uie Ihmilies of all his d£jpendanta» his laeaM ace 


fively reitrieted, bat his penonal wants are few ; and that 
he 18 ready to accommodate himself to circmnstances was 
well shown by his only observation on hearing of the con- 
fiscation of his larffe property in Fqdolia by Nicholas. 
** Instead of riding, I must walk ; and instead of sumptuous 
fare, I must dine on buckwheat."* Such is a faint outline 
of this illustrious man's character. Were it only for the 
admirable example of such an individual guiding the reins 
of the government of a devoted people, it is most ardently 
to be hoped that Poland may triumph over her enemies, and 
be raised to that rank from which she was degraded onl^ 
by the basest of treasons. 

* Tlis oommon fbod of tbe poor. 

' '^ 

•» »• 


The following extracts from the Constitution 
given by Alexander to the kingdom of Poland are 
annexed, to show how far the Russians violated the 
laws mside by themselves. Both in letter and in 
spirit, the whole were arbitrarily abrogated. 


PoUiieal Relations of the JSIingdcnu 


The crown of the kingdom of Poland is hereditary in our 
person, and that of our descendants, heirs, and suceessors, 
according to the order of suocession established for the im- 
perial throne of Russia. 


The external political relations of onr empire shall be 
QOBunon to the kingdom of Poland. 


General Cfuarantees, 

The Roman Catholic religion, professed by the greatest 
part of the inhabitants of the kingdom of Poland, sliall be 
the object of the peculiar care of the government, but with* 


out deTOffsting at all from the liberty of other fonos of wor- 
ship, which, without exception, may be followed, and enjoy 
the protection of government. Th4 difference in Christian 
sects makes none in the enjoyment of civil and political 

ABTtCLV 16. 

The liberty of the press is guarantied. The law will 
rebate the means of repressing its abuses. 

ABTtOLE 17. 

The law e^alfy protects aU citizensi withmit distinction 
$M to dass or conitition. 


No person shall be arrested, but according to the forms 
and in cases determined by law. 


Every individual arrested shall be brought, within three 
days at furthest, before a competent tribunal, to be exam- 
ined or judged acconling to the i>re8cribed forms. If he is 
acquitted at the first investigation, he shall be set at liberty. 


In cases determined by law, bail shall be granted. 


Public employments, civil and military, can only be ex- 
ercised by Poles. 


The Polish nation shall have, for ever, a national repre- 
sentation ; it shall consist of the king and two chambers. 
The first shall be formed of the senate, the second of depu- 
ties and delegates of the commons. 



The government rests in the person of the kinff. He 
exercises the functions of executive power in au their 

▲rpfiiiDix. 985 

plenitude. All execative or •dministntiTe aotliority can 
only emanate firomhim. 

▲KTIGLS 46. 

An our sacceMOTS to the kin^om of Poland aire bound 
to be crowned kingi of Poland in the capital^ according to 
the form which we will eatabliah» and t]^y ahaU take the 
oath below : 

^ I ewear and promiae, before God and on Hia ^oi^I, to 
maintain and support the constitutional charter with all my 


An the king's orders and decrees shall be countersigned 
by a minister at the head of the department ; and who shall 
be responsible for every thing that these orders and decrees 
may contain contrary to the constitution and laws. 

Of the Regency » 

▲RTICLB 58. 

The regent of Russia shaU take the same oath in th* 
presence of the members of the regency of the kingdom. 

CHAFT£R in. 

Of tJie Lieutenant and Council of State. 


The coundl of state, presided over by the king or his 
lieutenants, is composed of ministers, state counseHors, 
master of requests, as weU as persons whom it may please 
the king to appoint specially. 


The state council is divided into the coancU of.adminlt- 
tiation and the general assembly. 



Of the Branches qfthe AdnUnistratum. 


fhe execution of the lawti flhall be intrusted to tiko di^ 
ferent brsnehea of pubtic administration mentioned below; 
namety :-^ 

] . The commission of worship and public education. 

8. The commission of justice, chosen from the memben 
of the supreme tribunal. 

3. The commission for the interior and the police. 

4. Commission for war. 

6. Commission for finance and the treasmy. 
These different commissions ^aU be each presided and 
directed by a mimster named for that purpose. 


The chief minister of the departments and the members 
of the commissions of government shall answer and are 
responsible to the high national court for every breach of 
the constitutional charter, laws, or decrees of the king of 
which they shall be guilty. 

National Representation* 



The legislative power rests in the person of the king and 
In the two chambers of the diet» conlbimably to the arrango- 
ments of the article 31. 


The ordinary diet assembles every two years at War- 
saw, at the time determined by the kmg's summons. The 
session lasts thirty days. The lung caa prorogue, adjourn, 
and dissolve it. 


4RTI0I.K 93* 

When the diet do not Tote a new budget, the old one is 
to be in force till next session. NeTertheless, the budget 
ceases at the end of four yearS| if the diet is not convoked 
during that period. 


It rests with the king lo lay the motions of the council 
of state before the chamber of the senate, or that of the 
deputies : excepting the motions about finance laws, which 
must first be carried in the chamber of deputies. 

jlbticlb 102. 
Motions are carried by a majority of votes. 


A bill thrown out in one chamber cannot be modified by 


If the king gives his sanction, the bill passes into a law^ 
The king orders the publication in the prescribed forms.— 
If the king refuses his sanction, the bill is void. 


Of the Senate, 


The senate is composed, 

Of princes of the blood, imperial and royal ; 

Of bishops ; 

Of palatines ; 

Of castellans. 


The number of senators cannot exceed half the number 
of members and deputies. 


To be eligible for a candidate 'to the office of senator, 
palatine, or castellan, one must be thirty-five years old, and 



pay taxes yearly tp the amomit of 2000 Polish florins, and 
nnito the conditionB required by the fixed laws. 

Of the Chamber of Deputies, 


The chamber of deputies is composed, 

1. Of seyenty-seven members elected by the dletines or 
assemblies of nobles, at the rate of a member for every 
district ; 

2. Of fifty-one representatives of the commons. 

The chamber is presided by a marshal chosen firom &6 
members and named by the king. 


The members of the chamber of deputies remain in office 
during six years ; they are renewed m thirds every second 
year. Consequently, and for the first time, only one-third 
of the member of the chambers of deputies will remain in 
office, during two years, and another third four years. The 
list of members going out at these periods shall be formed 
by lot. 


To be eligible to the chamber of deputies, the age of 
thirty years is Requisite, the enjoyment of civil rights, and 
to pay taxes of 100 Polish florins a year. 


The king has the right to dissolve the chamber of depu- 
ties. If he m^Les use of this right, the chamber separates, 
and the king orders in the course of two months new 
elections of members and deputies. 


Of the Judicial Order. 

AlpnchE 138. 
The judicial order is constitutionally independent. 

▲FPBXDIX. 839 

▲BTIOI.I 144. 

Justices of the Peace* 

There iliall be justices of peace for all classes of the in- 

▲STICLB 165. 

An former laws and institutions eontraiy to the psesent 
•re abrogated. 

Given in our rojal castle at Warsaw on the 16-27 Nor. 

(Signed) ALEXANDER. 


QCT 1 d WW