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Motto of the Polish Legions of the Napoleonic Era. 




Copyright, 1917 



The Great War has placed the Polish Question foremost 
among the political problems which must be solved at the close 
of the present hostilities. 

With the progress of the war has come increased oppor- 
tunity for a just and equitable recognition of Poland's national 
and political rights. Russia and the Central Powers have been 
outbidding each other in their promises to Poland. As a mat- 
ter of expediency, by their act of November 5, 1916, the Central 
Powers allowed that part of Poland which was under Russian 
rule prior to the outbreak of the war to be organized into a 
Polish state. The contingencies of the war as well as the 
pressure brought to bear upon the governments of Germany 
and Austria-Hungary by the Poles forced the two Emperors 
to proclaim this act. They did it reluctantly and after long 
delay, realizing that it was a step toward a truly independent 
Polish state and that such a state is unthinkable without an 
outlet to the sea which can be obtained only by the cession of 
the Polish possessions now held by Prussia and without 
Galicia, where Polish national life has had its fullest and most 
intense expresLion. During the present war Galicia has borne 
the same relation to Poland's independence as Piedmont, in 
Cavour's time, bore to the unification and liberation of Italy. 

Whatever motives the Central Powers may have had in 
proclaiming Poland's independence and whatever plans they 
might have laid for its future undoing, by this act they have 
put the Polish Question on an international basis and have 
made Russia's earlier promises for Polish autonomy under 
Russian sovereignty appear very insignificant. What is more 
important, however, is that they have thus made it possible for 
Poland to express in no mistaken terms her demand for com- 
plete independence and to take the preliminary steps toward 
the organization of her own political state. 

As Mr. J. H. Harley, editor of the "Polish Review," pub- 

lished in London, says: "Poland is fully abreast of the most 
progressive western ideas, and by 'independence' she does not 
mean simply freedom of speech or power to regulate her own 
economic system, not simply the power of administering laws 
made for her by another, but the free and unfettered liberty 
to realize her own legislative ideas, the right to raise and con- 
trol her own army and to manifest her own public policy amid 
the nations of Europe." * 

The Poles have fully demonstrated that they are well able 
to resume an independent state existence, not only by their 
accomplishments in Galicia under home rule, but by the re- 
markable achievements in the other sections of Poland as well, 
despite the indescribable oppression of Russia and Prussia. 
During the course of the present war, with most meagre re- 
sources, unaided they have accomplished wonders of organ- 
ization by enlightened self-help and unity of purpose. 

To quote Mr. Herbert Adams Gibbons : "In considering 
the fitness for independence it is just as absurd to hark back 
to the weakness and the faults of Poland of the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries, as to judge Germany and Italy of 
to-day by the Germans and Italians of two hundred years ago. 
It is what the Poles are to-day that counts. The reconstitution 
of Poland as an independent state is not only a wise political 
step in establishing a durable peace, but is also an act of justice 
to one of the largest and best races of Europe, which has pur- 
chased the right to be free by heroic sacrifices willingly made 
and by the abiltiy amply demonstrated to survive and thrive 
through four generations of persecution . . . The creation of 
an artificial buffer state closely allied in race and sympathies 
with one or the other of the rival powers or too weak to resist 
her neighbors would be a makeshift and a farce. But the 
Poles are neither pro-German nor pro-Russian, nor are they 
weak. In numbers, in brains, in vitality, in wealth, in unity 
of spirit, they are stronger to-day than ever in their history, 

"The Polish Review," London, January 1917, p. 15. 


and as an independent nation would very rapidly become the 
seventh great power of Europe." * 

The present volume has been undertaken with a view of 
presenting an accurate account of the political and social evolu- 
tion of Poland, based especially and largely on Polish sources 
of information. There are very few works in the English 
language which reveal a true understanding of Polish history. 
They are either prejudiced and unfriendly or sentimental and 

The author of this volume strove to steer clear of ex- 
tremes. It has been his endeavor to present to the American 
public a coherent and yet not too extended account of the 
development of the country and to indicate the causes of the 
phenomenal growth and the subsequent decline and disappear- 
ance of the Polish state. He also endeavored to give his read- 
ers a description of Polish life and struggles during the period 
following the partitions of the country and to construct, from 
the fragments he was able to gather, as accurate and complete 
-a picture as possible of the events which took place in Poland 
from the beginning of the war until the overthrow of the autoc- 
racy of Russia and the entry of the United States into the 
war, the two outside circumstances which will have a powerful 
bearing upon the equitable solution of the Polish Question. 

As long as Russia continued to be a rapacious, imperial- 
istic autocracy, Poland's future could only be a dark one. The 
relations, however, of an independent Polish state, within 
properly drawn boundaries, to a truly democratic and unag- 
gressive Russian republic cannot be anything but neighborly 
and harmonious. The participation of the United States in the 
war assures to it a potent influence in the post-bellum settle- 
ment of European questions, which will be exercised for the 
promotion of justice and democracy. What the attitude of the 
United States toward the Polish Question will be, has been 

* "The Future of Poland," The Century Magazine, New York, 
December 1916, pp. 191-192. 


foretold in the memorable address of President Wilson to the 
Senate on January 22, 1917, when he spoke for a "united, inde- 
pendent and autonomus" Poland. It is the hope of the author 
that this volume may contribute in a modest measure to the 
understanding of the life and aspirations of the Polish nation. 

In order to vivify the text and to visualize some of the 
cultural achievements of Poland, the book has been very fully 
illustrated. The selection of illustrations has been the best 
that could be made under conditions obtaining during the war, 
which rendered communication with Poland very difficult. 
Only such material was available as could be obtained in 

Thanks are due to the publishers for the painstaking ef- 
forts in securing the illustrations and also to all those who 
co-operated in this as well as in other respects. 

The author is under obligation to Professor Franklin H. 
Giddings and Professor James T. Shotwell of Columbia Uni- 
versity, and to Mr. Clarence M. Abbott, who read large parts 
of the manuscript, for their encouragement and valuable sug- 

He also wishes to express sincere chanks to all his friends 
who helped in proof-reading and in the preparation of the 

Few references have been given throughout the book be- 
cause the great majority of the works consulted in the prepara- 
tion of the volume are in Polish. It was considered inadvisable 
to distract the reader's attention by reference to sources which 
he could not consult. It may, however, be added that the 
recognized standard histories of Poland and only the most 
reliable sources were used. 

In order to facilitate the pronunciation of Polish names a 
key to pronunciation has been appended to the volume. 

E. H. L-C. 

New York, April, 1917. 



CHAPTER I. Early Poland. 

First Settlements of the Slavs 1 

Growth of Military Organization 5 

Social and Political Structure of Early Slavic Life 8 

Religion of the Early Slavs 10 

CHAPTER II. Beginnings of the Polish State. 

Influence of the Roman Catholic Church 12 

Growth of the State 16 

Relation of Poland to the German Empire 21 

Alliance with the Holy See 24 

Polish Laws of Inheritance . 26 

CHAPTER III. The Decline of Monarchical Power. 

Prerogatives of the Grand Duke of Cracow 30 

Restriction of the Sovereign Power of the Princes 34 

German Settlements in Poland 35 

Jewish Immigration to Poland 40 

CHAPTER IV. The Consolidation of Poland. 

Acquisition of Pomerania 42 

Polish Crusade Against the Prussians 45 

Causes of Political Consolidation 46 

Difficulties with the Knights of the Cross and the Disloyalty of the 

German Settlers 49 

Lokietek's Proclamation of Poland's Political Sovereignty and the 

Ensuing Wars 52 

Acquisition of Ruthenian Territories 55 

Internal Reforms 55 

CHAPTER V. The Union with Lithuania. 

Extinction of the Piast Dynasty 64 

Origin of Special Concessions in Favor of the Nobility 66 

First Civil War Over Royal Succession 66 

Union with Lithuania in Defence Against Teuton Aggressiveness.. 68 

Social and Political Significance of the Union 69 

University of Cracow 71 

Importance of the Union for Lithuania 77 

Defeat of the Order of the Cross 80 


CHAPTER VI. Oligarchal Rule in Poland. 

Settlement of Difficulties with Lithuania 85 

Growth of the Special Privileges of the Nobility 86 

Ascendency of Ecclesiastical Power 89 

Suppression of Hussitism in Poland 91 

Turkish Campaign for the Liberation of the Balkan Slavs 92 

Subordination of the Church to the State 94 

Struggle with the Oligarchy 97 

Prussia's Request for Admission into the Polish State 98 

Extension of Polish Influence to Hungary and Bohemia 101 

Turkish and Muscovite Perils 101 

Humanism in Poland 102 

CHAPTER VII. The Republic of Nobles. 

Beginning of Serfdom 106 

Growth and Decline of the Polish Cities ; . . . 108 

Growth of Political Power of the Nobility 122 

Mazovia 131 

Duchy of East Prussia 131 

Ukraine 133 

Lack of Adequate Miltary Preparedness 136 

CHAPTER VIII. The Protestant Reformation and the Golden Age 
in Poland. 

Precursors of the Reformation 137 

Growth of the Reformation Movement 139 

Unpopularity of the Movement Among the Lower Classes 142 

Cultural Effects of the Reformation 142 

Protestant Sects 150 

Collapse of the Effort to Establish a National Church 151 

CHAPTER IX. The End of the Jagiellon Dynasty and the Begin- 
ning of the Era of Popular Election of Kings. 

Zygmunt II August, 1548-1572 153 

Restitution of Alienated Crown Lands 156 

Cities Ruined by Unwise Economic Legislation 157 

War with Ivan the Terrible, 1562-1571 158 

Acquisition of Inflanty or Livonia, 1561 159 

Hereditary Union of East Prussia with Brandenburg, 1563 160 

Union of Lublin, 1569 160 

Death of the Last Jagiellon, 1572 164 

Cowl Confederacy 164 



"Viritim" Elections 166 

Warsaw Confederacy and the Statute of Religious Tolerance, 1573. . . 166 

Election of Henri Valois, 1573 167 

King's Flight in 1574 168 

Royal Elections Afforded Opportunity for Foreign Monarchs to 

Meddle in Polish Internal Affairs 169 

"i i ii '^ 

CHAPTER X. The Catholic Reaction. 

Reforms of Stefan Batory, 1576-1586 170 

Bigotry of Zygniunt Vasa, 1587-1632 177 

Growth of Jesuit Influence 180 

Rebellion Against the King 184 

War with Muscovy 185 

Echoes of the Thirty Years' War 186 

Uniate Church 188 

CHAPTER XI. The Polish Constitution. 

The Polish Republic 192 

The King 193 

The Elections 193 

Powers and Duties of the King 195 

Offices 196 

Incompatibilia 198 

The Diet 198 

Canfederacies 201 

Administration of Justice 203 

Finances 204 

National Defence 205 

Legal Status of the Various Classes of the Population 208 

CHAPTER XII. The Cossack Wars. 

Political and Economic Conditions of the Country in the First Half 

of the XVIIIth Century 224 

Entanglements of Foreign Policy 230 

Conditions on the Ukrainian Frontier 234 

Chmielnicki's Rebellion, 1648 239 

Further Cossack Wars 241 

CHAPTER XIII. The Passing of Poland's Position as a Great 

Causes of the War with Sweden, 1655-1660 249 

Treason of the Polish Nobility 250 

Uprising of the People , 251 



Swedish Alliance and the Polish League 253 

Defeat of Sweden and the Peace of Oliva, 1660 255 

Growth of Religious Fanaticism 255 

Causes of the War with Muscovy, 1658-1667 256 

Rebellion of Lubormirski, 1666 257 

Truce of Andrushov 260 

Ascending Star of John Sobieski 260 

Abdication of King John Kazimir, 1668 261 

Political Corruption 261 

King Michael Korybut Wisniowiecki, 1669-1673 262 

Turkish War and the Treaty of Buczacz, 1672 263 

Golomb Confederacy 264 

Victory Over the Turks at Chocim, 1673 264 

King John III Sobieski, 1674-1696 265 

Peace of Zoravno, 1676 268 

Alliance With Austria, March, 1683 269 

Battle of Vienna, 1683 270 

Holy League Against Turkey 273 

Political Anarchy and Sobieski's Death, 1696 274 

CHAPTER XIV. The Disintegration of Political Sovereignty. 

Election of August of Saxony, 1697 276 

Close of Hostilities with Turkey, 1698 277 

Beginning of the Northern War, 1700-1721 278 

Election of Leszczynski 1704, and the Civil War 281 

Abdication of August II, 1706 281 

Russian Campaign and the Battle of Poltava, 1709 282 

Withdrawal of Leszczynski, 1710 283 

Russian Intervention in Poland 283 

The Civil War, 1715-1717 284 

First Dumb Diet, 1717 285 

Religious Intolerance 285 

Union of the "Three Black Eagles," and August's Death, 1773 286 

Interregnum, 1733-1735, and the Second Election of Leszczynski 287 

Russian Interference and August III , 288 

Dzikow Confederacy, 1734 289 

August III, 1733-1763, and his times 289 

Intellectual and Political Awakening 291 

Stanislav Konarski 293 

Reform Parties 294 

Last Royal Election, May 7, 1764 296 

Stanislav August Poniatowski, 1764-1795 300 



Reforms of the "Family" 300 

Russian Intrigue Against the "Family" 301 

Radom Confederacy, 1767 302 

Second Dumb Diet, 1768 303 

Bar Confederacy, 1768-1772 304 

CHAPTER XV. The Three Partitions. 

First Partition, August 5, 1772 310 

End of the Bar Confederacy 312 

Spoils of Russia, Prussia and Austria 312 

Diet of 1773 and the Treaty of Cession 314 

First State Board of Education in Europe 315 

Changes in the Constitution and the Permanent Council 319 

Improvement in Economic and Social Conditions 321 

Renaissance in Art and Science 323 

The Reform Party 328 

The Opposition 329 

Political Conferences with Catherine at Kaniow 330 

Project of a Russo-Polish Alliance 331 

The Four Years' Diet, 1788-1792 332 

Alliance with Prussia, 1790 332 

Accomplishments of the Four Years' Diet 334 

Constitution of May 3, 1791 336 

Provisions of the New Constitution 339 

Foreign Hostility to the New Constitution 342 

Confederacy of Targowica 343 

Second Partition of Poland, 1793 345 

The Last Diet 346 

The Rising of Kosciuszko, 1794 349 

Third Partition of Poland, 1795 355 

CHAPTER XVI. Napoleon and the Duchy of Warsaw. 

Attitude of England and France Toward the Polish Tragedy 356 

Post Partition Regime in Poland 357 

Hopes and Plans of the Polish Patriots 359 

The Polish Legions 361 

Pro-Russian Turn in Polish Politics and Czartoryski's Plans 368 

Defeat of Prussia and Napoleon's Promises to Poland 372 

Treaty of Tilsit, 1807 374 

The Duchy of Warsaw, 1807-1815 375 

Economic Problems 381 

War with Austria and the Conquest of Galicia, 1809 382 



Franco-Prussian War 386 

End of the Duchy of Warsaw 389 

CHAPTER XVII. The Congress of Vienna and the Kingdom of 

Fifth Partition of Poland 396 

Republic of Cracow 399 

Grand Duchy of Posen 401 

Galicia 402 

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland 403 

The Reaction 411 

Secret Patriotic Societies 415 

Persecutions in Lithuania 417 

Trial of Members of the Polish National Patriotic Society 420 

Coronation of Nicholas I at Warsaw 422 

The Outbreak of the Uprising 423 

CHAPTER XVIII. The War with Russia and the Aftermath. 

Causes of the Polish Failure 426 

Dilatory Tactics 427 

The Uprising Turns into a Regular War 431 

Deposition of Tsar Nicholas 1 432 

The Dictatorship of Skrzynecki 434 

The Close of the War 441 

Immediate Consequences of the War 443 

Reflection in Literature of the National Tragedy 446 

Adam Mickiewicz 447 

Juliusz Slowacki 451 

Zygmunt Krasinski 454 

The Emigrants 458 

The Further Consequences of the Polish War with Russia 461 

Revolutionary Activities 463 

End of the Cracow Republic and the Slaughter of the Galician Gentry 464 

The Year 1848 466 

The Reaction 468 

Illegal Annexation of the Congressional Kingdom to the Russian 

Empire 470 

CHAPTER XIX. The Uprising of 1863 and the Era of Positivism. 

Shattering of Polish Hopes by Tsar Alexander II 471 

Political Demonstrations 474 

Wielopolski's Administration 479 



Rising of the Revolutionary Tide 481 

Shortlived Polish Home-Rule 484 

The Revolution of 1863 487 

The End of the War 493 

Vengeance of the Russian Government 494 

The Lot of Lithuania 496 

The Censorship 499 

The Era of Positivism and Its Reflection in Literature 502 

Social and Economic Changes Following the Collapse of the Revolution 513 

Socialism and the People's Party : 518 

Brutality of the Prussian Regime 521 

Galician Home-Rule 527 

The Ruthenian Problem 541 

CHAPTER XX. Constitutional Russia and- the Poles. 

Russo-Japanese War and the Political Awakening of Russia 546 

Severity of the Russian Rule 549 

Suppression of Polish Educational Activities 551 

Attitude of the Duma Toward the Poles 554 

Polish Representation in the Duma 557 

The Jewish Problem 559 

CHAPTER XXI. The Polish Question and the Great War. 

The Re-Opening of the Polish Question 668 

The Polish Policy and Military Preparedness 570 

The Supreme National Committee 575 

The Manifesto of Grand Duke Nicholas 578 

The Growth of the Polish Legions 581 

The International Status of the Polish Question 585 

Russian Rule During the War 586 

The Fall of Warsaw and the Dubious Policy of the Central Empires. . 589 

Polish Self-Help During the War 59i 

The Heroism of the Polish Legions 595 

Joseph Pilsudski and the Forcing of the Polish Issue 598 

The Proclamation of Poland's Independence, November 5, 1916 603 

The Provisional Polish Government 605 

The Solution of the Polish Question 609 


INDEX . 617 



Sculpture by W. Szymanowski. 


Early Poland -. - ! / . 

The classical and generally accepted historical 

theory designates central Europe and the mountain 

sides of the Carpathians as the habitat 

of the Slavs several centuries before 

Settlements ,, . , . i i 

of the Slavs Christ. According to this theory, the 
Prussians, Lithuanians, Letts, Jadz- 
wings and Zmuds lived to the north and east of the 
Slavs, and the Ugro-Finnish peoples surrounded 
them in a great semicircle from the north of Riga to 
the lower Volga. 

Recent studies based on linguistic data and on 
geographic nomenclature indicate that the distribu- 
tion of peoples in the east of Europe was different 
from what was hitherto believed. According to these 
later studies, the Carpathians were originally in- 
habited by the Teutons; close to them on the west 
were the Celts; the Prussians, Lithuanians and Letts 
lived to the north, in the region now known as the 
province of Minsk. The Ugro-Finns had their settle- 
ments along the middle Volga, stretching from there 
through what is now central Russia to northern 
Poland and Prussia. Wedged in between these 
peoples were the ancient aboriginal Slavs, with their 
settlements along the River Niemen. The oldest 
names of these settlements were of an Indo-European 
and not Ugro-Finnish origin. It was only much later, 
about the beginning of our era, that the Slavs, pressed 


by the Ugro-Finnish peoples, who originally oc- 
cupied the middle course of the Volga, moved further 
south, and occupied the abandoned settlements of the 
Teutonic and Celtic peoples, who migrated further 


west. It was then only that the Carpathians and the 
Vistula became the cradle of the Slavs, whence they 
spread in all directions in the first century after 
Christ. They reached the Don on the east, the Baltic 
on the north, the Adriatic on the south, and went as 
far as the River Rhine on the west. 

Archeology has not as yet determined the west- 
ern-most boundaries of Slavdom. The primitive cus- 
tom of the Slavs of burning their dead, which lasted 
throughout the Stone Age and well into the Bronze, 
has deprived us of the oldest anthropological ma- 
terials. It was not until the beginning of the Iron 
Age that burial was added to the ancient custom of 
incineration. In time, burial superseded the older 
custom almost completely and osseous remains, to- 
gether with abundant decorations, implements, uten- 
sils and arms are found in the tier graves of the west- 
ern Slavs as well as in the mounds of the east. For a 
long time the differences between the Slavic and Fin- 
nish graves in the east, and between the Slavic 
and Teutonic graves in the west, could not be defi- 
nitely established. Thanks to the painstaking labors 
of the Danish archeologist, Sophus Miiller, our 
knowledge of the matter has become more exact, and 
we can now distinguish between the Slavic and the 
Teutonic graves of the earlier (incineration) as well 
as of the later (burial) periods. The distinguishing 
features of the Slavic graves are ear chains made up 
of a number of circular "chopper-links" (Hacker- 
ringe), rings and earrings, made of twisted bronze 
wire, wooden pails with iron hoops, urns and earthen- 
ware of a peculiar shape, with carved, undulating and 
linear ornamentation on the outside surface. This 
contribution of archeology has thrown great light 
on the prehistoric anthropology of the Slavs and 
changed the view that the prehistoric Slav was of a 


FIG. 2 

FIG. 3 


(Reproduced from Prof. J. Talko-Hryncewicz. i 

brachocephalic type. This was inferred from the 
fact that the brachocephalic type is prevalent among 
the present day Slavs. The dolichocephalic skulls 
found in the excavations in Russia and Poland were 


attributed to the Teutons, and no attention was paid 
to the objects found with the skulls. Modern criteria 
established the fact that the Slav settlements existed 
not only at the mouth of the Vistula and on the 
shores of the Baltic along the Elbe and Oder, but ex- 
tended as far as the Rhine. 

The westernmost outposts of the Slavs were very 
early annihilated by the Teutons, who pushed the 
Slavs toward the east. This early German "Drang 
nach Osten" was halted by the Slavic tribes living 
along the Warthe, 1 Oder 2 and Netze 3 Rivers, called 
Poloni by the early Latin chronicles. They called 
themselves Polanie or inhabitants of the plains 
or fields, "pole" meaning field in the Slavic lan- 
guages. They were a strong, sturdy race, predomi- 
nantly agricultural. Their extensive and fertile lands, 
reclaimed from primitive forests, stretching amidst 
the great chain of lakes and riverlPfnade possible an 
early intercourse between^hese peoples, who thereby 
attained a higher economic and social structure. It 
was in this region that the nucleus of the Polish 
Nation was formed. 

Owing to the frequent raids of the Norsemen 
the people of this region early organized an effective 
military force of defense. Under the 
protection of the military bands and 
Organization their chiefs the fields could safely be 
cultivated, and the little fortified towns 
(grody), which became places for the transaction of 
intratribal business and barter, for common worship 
and for the storage of goods during a foreign in- 
vasion, could be successfully defended and the wrongs 
of the people redressed. The military bands and their 
leaders soon became the unifying force, and the forti- 

*i,2,3, i n Polish these rivers are known as: Warta, Odra and Notec. 


fied towns the centres of a larger political organiza- 
tion, with the freeman (Kmiec or Kmeton) as its 
base. The first historical town of this nature was that 
of Kruszwica, on the Lake of Goplo. It soon gave 
place to that of Gniezno (called Gnesen by the Ger- 
mans) or Knezno, further west, which by its very 
name indicates that it was the residence of a Knez, 
or prince or duke. In time Poznan (Posen) became 


the princely town, and the principality began to as- 
sert itself and to grow westward to the Oder, south- 
ward to the Barycza and eastward to the Pilica 
Rivers. In the east this territorial expansion met with 
the armed opposition of another large tribe, the 
Lenczanians, which was similarly organized under a 
military ruler and which occupied the plains between 
the Warta, Bzura and Pilica Rivers. Further east, 
in the jungles of the middle course of the Vistula to 
the north of Pilica, lived the most savage of the Pol- 
ish tribes, the Mazurs. This tribe was the latest to 


come under the sovereignty of the principality which 
began its political existence on the bank of the Goplo 
Lake under the leadership of the wheelwright Piast, 
whose dynasty ruled the country till 1370. To the 
north of the Netze River, between the Oder and the 
Baltic, lived the northernmost of the Polish tribes, 
known as the Pomorzanie, or people living by the sea. 
"Po" in Polish means "by" and "morze" the sea; 
hence the name of the province Pomorze, later 
changed by the Teutons to Pomerania. 

Some historical writers attribute the change in 
the political organization of the primitive Polanie 
tribe to the influence of foreign commerce which for 
geographic reasons had early centered around the 
Goplo. At that period the lake was a very large body 
of water with a level at least ten feet higher than 
at present. The many small lakes now existing in 
the region were in all probability a part of Goplo, and 
the valleys of the vicinity constituted the bottom of 
the lake. There are many reasons to believe that such 
was the hydrography of the section in that remote 
age. In his description of Goplo, written five hundred 
years ago, Dlugosz, a Polish historian, speaks of a 
vast body of water, leading us to believe that the lake 
then was much larger than it is at the present time. 
There is reason to believe that five hundred years 
previous to this historian's time, before the primeval 
forests were cut, the lake was still larger. The sup- 
position that Goplo at the time of its highest level 
was connected by means of small navigable streams 
with the rivers Warta, Oder and the Vistula is quite 
plausible. The constructive fancy of the economic 
historian sees flotillas of the Pomeranian merchants 
moving to and fro from Stettin down the Oder and 
Netze. Here they met merchants from the east, the 
southeast and the southwest of Europe. The Byzan- 


tian, Roman and Scandinavian cultures met at 
Kruszwica, the largest town on the banks of this 
vast internal sea of Poland, and exercised a revo- 
lutionary effect upon the modes of thought and the 
political institutions of the tribe. Otherwise the sud- 
den transformation which took place from the tribal 
and communal organization of the people, which still 
existed in the second half of the eighth century, to 
the militaristic structure of society with a strong 
princely power, as is known to have existed in the 
ninth century, becomes almost unaccountable. The 
pressure from the west and north was, no doubt, an 
important element, but it alone would hardly seem 
sufficient to explain the change. Economic and cul- 
tural reasons had unquestionably exercised a great 
influence in the rapid moulding of a new form of 
political life which was more adapted to conditions 
that had arisen since the change from nomadic pur- 
suits to settled agriculture. 

Though somewhat differing in civilization, the 

tribes which later formed the Polish nation were 

kindred in their social, moral and reli- 

The Social gious ideas. They were scattered in 

Structure' ^^ danS O1 " S eilteS > boimd b y ties Ol 

of Early blood. The lands belonging to a group 

Slavic Life or family were held in common. The 
work was done in common under the 
direction of the "starosta," the elder or patriarch of 
the gens. He was the chief executive, and had con- 
trol over the crops and the allotments of work. It 
must, however, be noted in this connection that since 
the earliest times there existed private property in 
movables, especially in tools. The Polish Slavs, un- 
like the others and especially the Southern Slavs, 
never had the so-called "zadrugas" or great com- 


munal households. From their early history they 
exhibited a strong individualistic propensity. 

Important matters were decided by a popular 
assembly called "Wiec," to which belonged all the 
male adults of the community. It is impossible to 
determine accurately the relation between the power 
of the Wiec and that of the starosta. It varied from 
place to place and from time to time; sometimes the 
popular assembly maintained supreme power; some- 
times the starosta gained ascendency and endeavored 
to make his office hereditary. In many instances he 
was successful. 

As elsewhere in a similar primitive social organ- 
ization the individual did not exist outside of his 
clan. The solidarity of the members of the clan was 
the basis for protection and any injury sustained by 
a member of the clan at the hands of an outsider was 
an offense against the whole community. The prin- 
ciple of blood vengeance prevailed. He who did not 
belong to a clan had no protection and either perished 
or was made a slave, becoming the property of the. 
clan as a unit, and, in later stages, of certain individ- 
uals within the community. The slaves were recruited 
chiefly from among the prisoners of war, but some 
were bought. In some instances murder was punish- 
able by slavery. The children of slaves were retained 
by the masters as slaves. 

Concomitant with the growth of the "grody" 
and the increased demands of the military princes, 
came the agglomeration and greater economic ex- 
ploitation of the slaves in the interests of the small 
fortified towns and their garrisons. Settlements 
given over entirely to slaves sprang up around the 
"grody," and certain specified tasks were assigned to 
the inhabitants. Some settlements ground grain, 
some supplied bread or fish, others cared for horses 


and cattle, built boats or made shields, and the settle- 
ments were named for the industry in which the in- 
habitants engaged. This distribution of occupations 
among the settlements lasted well into the twelfth 
century, the occupations having become hereditary 
from father to son. The names of many such "pur- 
posely created " (narokowe) villages have survived 
until the present day. 

We do not possess adequate sources of informa- 
tion as to the primitive religion of the Polish Slavs. 
Like all primitive peoples they deified 
the forces and phenomena of nature. 
Early Slavs The surrounding world was filled with 
supernatural beings: gods, goddesses 
and spirits. It seems that none of the Slavic peoples 
had any idea of a god as a supreme being ruling the 
whole world. In some places certain deities were 
worshipped more than others, but there was no 
gradation or hierarchy of gods. One feature of the 
Slavic religion that distinguishes it from that of the 
Teutons was the calmness and serenity of the Slavic 
gods, a difference which emphasizes the peaceful 
character of the Slavs. 

The most generally recognized deity was Swia- 
towit (Indra), the Slavic Zeus. He was pictured with 
four faces, hence seeing everything; with a cornu- 
copia in his right hand a sword in his left hand. He 
was worshipped particularly in Pomorze (Pomera- 
nia) and on the Island of Rugia (Rugen). The other 
well-known deities were Perun, the god of storms; 
Welles, the god of cattle; Lada, the goddess of order 
and beauty; Marzanna, the goddess of death; Dzie- 
wanna, the goddess of spring; Radegast, the protec- 
tor of merchants and guests. In addition, the woods 
and waters were filled with nymphs, sirens and 
fauns. The Slavs believed in the immortality of 



the soul and in an afterworld, with punishment and 
reward. The dead were the objects of particular care, 
and funerals were very elaborate and carried on with 
great pomp. Certain days of the year were set aside 
for offerings and prayers to the dead. Some people, 
particularly women, had special powers of communi- 

FIG. 5 


FIG. 6 

cation with the spirits of the dead, and their services 
as intermediaries were often sought. Generally 
speaking, however, this class of sorcerers and magi- 
cians did not develop into a permanent priestly class. 
The only exception to this rule were the Slavs on the 
Elbe and in Rugia among whom a class of profes- 
sional priests is known to have existed. 


Beginnings of the Polish State 

The recorded political history of the Polish Na- 
tion begins with the conversion of the people to 
Christianity, which took place in the 
The year 963 A.D., when the Polish Prince 

influence Mieszko I, 960-982, facing a German 

of the Roman . , , ' . , & r ,. r 

Catholic invasion, forsook the faith of his fathers 

Church and by so doing halted the march of 

ruthless extermination by the Germans, 
ostensibly undertaken in the name of Christianity. 
Exhausted by previous wars with his northern 
neighbors and realizing that he could not withstand 
the triumphant armies of Otto I of Saxony, founder 
of the Holy Roman Empire, conqueror of France, 
Denmark, Burgundy and Bohemia, Mieszko prompt- 
ly recognized the sovereignty of the German Em- 
peror and embraced the new faith. Closely follow- 
ing the official introduction of Christianity and the 
establishment of the first Bishopric in Poznan 
(Posen) comes the overweening influence of the west- 
ern world. 

The monasteries established in Poland were 
branches of Italian, French and German abbeys. The 



(J. Mateykoi 

FIG. S MIESZKO I (960-982; 


foreign methods of organization and of agriculture 
brought over by them from the west exercised a very 
powerful and beneficent influence upon the product- 
iveness of the Polish farmer and upon his modes of 
life. He was taught the use of more developed agri- 
cultural implements and was shown how to drain 
swamps, build better houses, plant orchards, and do 
many other things which he had not known. 

The establishment of a monastery was almost 
invariably accompanied by an influx of foreign labor- 


ers. They were brought over to produce certain 
things which the natives could not, and which were 
needed by the friars. The craftsmen, however, were 
not the only foreign working element which arrived 
in Poland at the time. The country was changing 
from its former basis to more intense agriculture, and 
this change necessitated a larger labor force, and 
many German peasants settled in Poland. Moreover, 
the grants of land given to the monasteries in the 
various sections of the principality did not, as a rule, 
include the right to the population settled on these 


donated domains. To do the necessary work on their 
extensive estates the monasteries were oftentimes 
compelled to resort to foreign labor which, when im- 
ported by them, was chiefly non-free in character. 
In this way the monasteries, which at the time of 
their introduction into Poland were the only large 
private landowners, supplied an example of organiza- 
tion of large manors and the utilization of the half 
free class of foreign peasants who became attached 
to the soil (adscriptitii). 

By adopting the Church of Rome, Poland, like 
Bohemia, Moravia and Croatia, joined the common- 
wealth of the nations of western Europe and became 
spiritually as well as socially separated from the rest 
of Slavdom. The double set of influences at work, 
the Byzantian and the Roman, not only cleft the 
Slavic peoples in twain, but created two entirely dis- 
tinct civilizations which frequently clashed with each 
other in a very severe manner. 

Since the days of Mieszko I the Polish forms of 
political and spiritual life have been consciously 
moulded according to western models. In the in- 
ternal administration of the Polish principality the 
organization of the German burgwards was followed. 
The patriarchal form of life was gradually dissolving 
and the "grody" were combined into counties admin- 
istered by governors called "castellans," from the 
Latin word "castellum" or castle. These officials 
were the personal representatives of the Prince, and 
were recruited chiefly from the descendants of the 
chiefs of the subjugated tribes or the earls of the 
former democratic townships. They soon formed the 
nucleus of a feudal aristocracy. The political life of 
the people became more centralized, and, as in west- 
ern Europe, more subjected to the power of the feudal 


With the growth of the power of the Prince the 
burdens of the people grew heavier. Mieszko was 
compelled to maintain a large and permanent stand- 
ing army to preserve the unity of his principality. 
The taxes of the people had to be increased for the 
maintenance of this army. In addition to the support 
of the army, of the Prince and his Court, and the re- 
quirement of supplying them with food, forage and 
lodging, greater personal services were requested for 
the building and up-keep of the fortified towns and 
roads. Furthermore, the introduction of tithes for 
the maintenance of the churches and the clergy, most- 
ly foreign and whom the people hated, added much 
to the pressure put upon them. 

In compensation for the added economic burdens 
came a powerful swing of national development and 
political consolidation. Boleslav the 

Brave ' 982 - 1025 A - D ' the oldest son 
of Mieszko, having disposed of his 

brothers, with whom he was joint heir to the domains 
of his father, became the single ruler of Poland and 
determined to push her boundaries far and wide. 
After having successfully checkmated the Bohemian 
and Ruthenian invasions, Boleslav defeated the 
Pomeranians and conquered the Baltic seacoast. In 
the year 999 A.D. the old commercial town of Cracow 
was annexed, and after beating back a Hungarian 
invasion, Boleslav added Trans-Carpathian Slavonia 
to Poland. 

With the death of Emperor Otto III (1002 A.D.) 
the imperial branch of the House of Saxony became 
extinct, and during the interregnum a period of in- 
ternal dissension ensued in Germany and Italy. At 
the same time a civil war was in progress in Bohemia, 
and, taking advantage of the situation, Boleslav en- 
tered Prague, proclaimed himself Prince of Bohemia, 



FIG. 10 BOLESI.AV THE FRAVE (982-1025) 

(J. Mateyko) 


in the year 992 


and fused the two principalities into one State (1003 
A.D.). But this did not prove to be a lasting con- 
quest, as very soon after Henry II of Bavaria became 
the German Emperor, and a joint expedition of Ger- 
mans and Bohemians was sent against Boleslav. A 
bloody and devastating war began which lasted four- 
teen years. Boleslav was compelled to abandon his 
claims to Bohemia. He retained, however, most of 
the conquered territory of the other Slavic peoples on 
the west and east, the German marks between the 
Oder and the Elbe, the City of Kieff and many towns 
of Red Russia. At the end of his reign Poland ex- 
tended from the Baltic on the north to the Danube 

(In the Ermitage Museum at Petrograd) 

on the south, and from the rivers Bug and Dniester 
in the east to the Elbe in the west. 

In addition to his qualities as a warrior, Boleslav 
was a statesman and diplomat of conspicuous ability. 
He realized that his achievements would not be last- 
ing unless the ancient Slavic law of equal rights of 
inheritance of all the male heirs was changed to that 
of primogeniture. This could be achieved only by 
making the Polish principality a kingdom. The Pope, 
desirous of curbing the power of the German Em- 
peror but fearing him, deferred giving his consent. 
Another reason for his hesitancy to acquiesce in 
Boleslav's request was his disinclination to concede 
to the Polish monarch the power of nominating bish- 
ops, which his investment with royal prerogatives 


at the time of the death of Boleslavthe Brave 982-1025 


would carry. Not awaiting the Pope's final decision, 
the impetuous Boleslav convoked the Polish bishops 
at Gniezno (Gnesen), the seat of the archbishopric, 
and was crowned there by the archbishop amid great 
splendor, and in the presence of his feudatories and 
his great army of twenty thousand warriors. This 
was a bold defiance to the German Emperor, whose 
sovereignty he ceased to recognize (1024 A.D.). 


A coalition of the German Empire with Bohemia 
and all the other conquered countries which came 

under the rule of Boleslav, led to a war 
The Relation which, by the year 1040, left Poland 
th^Germa stripped of almost all her previous con- 
Empire quests. The internal strife between the 

two sons of Boleslav the Brave and the 
revolt of the people against oppressive taxation and 
brutal treatment, experienced at the hands of the 
Church and the feudal lords, contributed to the Polish 
defeat and plunged the country into a state of chaos 
and dissolution which for a time threatened its very 
existence. Cities, castles, churches and monasteries 


were burned and demolished, and in many places the 
people reverted to paganism after having murdered 
the hated priests and monks. 


As in many other instances, so in this crisis in 
Polish history, outside circumstances averted the dis- 
ruption of the Kingdom of Boleslav. The growing 
power of Bohemia aroused the fears and disquietude 
of the German Emperor, Henry III. A strong Poland 


was needed to curb the Bohemian ambitions. The 
Germans lent their aid to Kazimir the Restorer (1040- 
1058 A.D.), who, with the help of his loyal feudato- 
ries, reconquered some of the lost provinces, restored 
unity and peace, and began to devote himself to in- 
ternal reorganization along German lines. He estab- 

(J. Mateyko) 

lished a bureaucracy and an ecclesiastical hierarchy, 
rebuilt cities and churches, and imposed very heavy 
taxes and duties on the people in an effort to reduce 
them into complete subjugation to the warriors and 
clergy. In compensation for the aid of Germany, 
Kazimir recognized the sovereignty of the German 
Emperor and renounced the title of King. 

The political history of Poland from the intro- 
duction of Christianity to the end of the Xllth cen- 


tury turns around the relation of the Polish sover- 
eigns to the German emperors. The suzerainty of 
the German Emperor was recognized by the rulers 
of Poland only when the Germans were in a position 
to force them into this relation. As soon as either 
internal dissensions or foreign wars enfeebled the 
power of the German Empire, the Polish state imme- 
diately tried to secure emancipation. 

(J. Mateyko) 
FIG 15 BOLESLAV THE BOLD (1058-1079) 

It fell to the lot of Boleslav the Bold, or Gener- 
ous, the successor of Kazimir (1058-1079 A.D.), a 
man of power and strong will, to restore 

the lor y of the Kin g dom of Boleslav 
Holy See tne Brave by an alliance with the Pope. 

In the beginning of the existence of 
the Polish state, Mieszko I, in an endeavor to loosen 
the ties binding him to the German Empire, had 
sought to establish an entente with the Pope, John 


XV, and confided Poland to the protection of the 
Apostolic See. In token of this relation an annual 
gift, known as St. Peter's pence, was sent to the Pope 
by the King. In establishing direct relations with 
the Pope, Poland endeavored to eliminate the inter- 
vention of the Emperor in her foreign relations. At 
times under the pressure of the Emperor, the rela- 
tions with Rome became less intimate, but no oppor- 
tunity was missed to re-establish them. As a matter 
of fact, the annual St. Peter's pence was regularly 
sent to Rome until the end of the Xllth century. 

During the reign of Boleslav II the Bold, oc- 
curred that famous struggle for supremacy between 
Pope Gregory VII, Hildebrand and the Emperor 
Henry IV. In recognition of the assistance shown 
him in this conflict, the Pope crowned Boleslav as 
independent King in 1076 A.D. Seeking revenge, the 
Emperor recognized the Bohemian ruler as King and 
offered him the Polish provinces of Cracow and 
Silesia. A war followed which led to internal dis- 
sensions in Poland. In carrying out rigorously the 
reforms of Hildebrand, the King made many enemies 
among the clergy. His despotic character was also 
resented by the nobility. Under the leadership of the 
king's brother, Wladyslav Herman, a revolution 
broke out. The Bishop of Craco'w interdicted the 
king and joined the Bohemians. For this he paid 
the penalty of death. The story goes that the in- 
furiated king personally murdered the Bishop in the 
church at mass. Recent studies, however, show that 
the bishop was tried for treason by the King's Court, 
was found guilty and was executed. 

The civil war resulted in the king's defeat and 
he fled the country. Cracow and southern Poland 
went to Bohemia, and Poland once more became a 
feudatory of the German Empire, and the new ruler, 


Wladyslav Herman (1070-1102 A.D.), lost his title 
of king. 

By a skillful playing off of Poland and Bohemia 
against each other, and by the active encouragement 
of internal hereditary strifes, the German Emperors 
kept both of these western Slavic nations from devel- 
oping into powerful states. 

(J. Mateyko) 
FIG. 16 Wt.ADYSt.AV HERMAN (1070-1102) 

A principal cause for the constantly recurring 
civil wars was the Slavic laws of inheritance, which 
Boleslav the Brave failed to abolish, and 
which Kazimir tried to modify by estab- 
iiiheritance lishing the so-called seniorate. This 
was a system of inheritance whereby 
all sons were equal sharers in their father's estate, but 


the oldest son, the senior, became the supreme lord 
over all of them. It was a compromise measure de- 
signed to retain the old customs and laws of Poland, 
and to preserve at the same time the political unity, 
which was gravely threatened after the death of each 

(The Oldest Known Seal of a Polish Prince) 

The years following the death of Wladyslav 
Herman witnessed one of these terrific internal 
strifes which, in this instance, was aggravated by a 
German invasion, finally repelled by Boleslav the 
Wrymouthed (1102-1138 A.D.), who succeeded also 
in conquering Pomerania and extending the Polish 
possessions on the Baltic Seaboard, far across the 
Oder up to and including the Island of Rugia 
(Rugen). He died, however, a feudatory of the Ger- 
man Emperor. 


at the time of the death of Boleslav theWrymouthed 1138 


Mindful of the dangers of another civil strife 
after his death, he obtained the sanction of the Em- 
peror and of the Pope to the Kazimirian principle of 
seniorate. The aristocracy of the land, which had 
grown during the years in wealth and class con- 
sciousness, was opposed to a strong centralized gov- 
ernment. They preferred a number of smaller prin- 
cipalities, which precluded the centralization of 
power in one ruler, and gave more offices and free- 
dom to themselves. It was due to their antagonism 
that the imperial and Papal sanction of the seniorate 
failed to bring the desired results. 


The Decline of Monarchical Power. 

Following his theory of seniorate, Boleslav the 
Wrymouthed divided the country into five principali- 
ties Silesia, Great Poland,* Mazovia, 
The Preroga- Sandomir and Cracow. The first four 
Grand' Duke provinces were divided among his four 
of Cracow sons who became independent rulers. 

The fifth province, that of Cracow, was 
to be added to the senior among the Princes who, as 
the Grand Duke of Cracow, was the representative of 
the whole of Poland. No sooner did Boleslav die 
than his oldest son, Wladyslav, conceived the idea of 
restoring Poland's unity by depriving his brothers of 
their shares. He met with the determined opposition 
of the Church and the magnates, who clearly recog- 
nized that a centralized power was detrimental to 
their interests and influence. The Archbishop of 
Gnesen hurled an anathema at Wladyslav and two 

* The name was not meant to indicate that the principality was 
larger than the others, but that it was "older," "original" Poland. The 
Latin name Major Polonia was mistakenly translated as "Great Po- 
land." The principalities of Cracow and Sandomir, having come later 
into the fold of the Polish state, were named "younger Poland," but 
in the course of time, in contrast to the misnomer "Great Poland," 
became popularly known as "Little Poland." 


powerful potentates organized an army against him. 
A civil war ensued, which, despite the help received 
from outside and the interference of Friedrich Bar- 
barossa, ended in the defeat of the Grand Duke of 
Cracow. This marks the beginning of the era of dis- 
integration of the young Polish state and the decline 
of monarchical power in Poland. The principalities 
of Silesia, Great Poland and Mazovia had become 
divided into smaller units, with further sub-divisions 
and occasional fusions. Separatist interests and jeal-, 
ousies led to almost incessant warfare. 

The ruler of Cracow retained the title of Dux 
Polonise, the Duke of Poland, but the security of his 
office depended upon his relations with the aristoc- 
racy and clergy. Kazimir the Just (1177-1194) had 
been obliged to summon a council of nobles and 
clergy and to surrender certain of his rights and 
privileges. He was also compelled to promise to call 
such councils when important matters of state were 
to be decided upon. At the Council or Synod of Len- 
czyca, held in 1180, the Church, under the threat of 
an interdict, enjoined the Duke from the exercise of 
his right to the personal property of deceased bishops 
(lus Spolii) and to certain levies for his officials and 
representatives. In return for these concessions or 
immunities the Council abolished the seniorate and 
vested in the line of Kazimir the Just the perpetual 
right to the principality of Cracow. Thus the right 
of seniority in the House of Piast the Wheelwright 
gave way to the law of primogeniture in the line of 
Kazimir the Just. This right was frequently con- 
tested by armed interference. The authority of the 
Duke of Cracow was not adequately defined by law 
and was nil in actual practice. The heads of the 
smaller principalities were, in fact, independent 
rulers. They were free to establish alliances for de- 



FIG. l!i J:OI,l<;si,A V THE WRYMOL'THED (. 


as subdivided amongthesonsofBoleslavtheWrymouthed 



fensive and offensive warfare, to make treaties and 
to maintain independent customs barriers. In other 
words, Poland of the XIII century was no longer one 
solid political entity. The sovereignty of the former 
state became diffused among a number of smaller 
independent political units, with only the common 
bonds of language, race, religion and tradition. 

(J. Mateyko) 
FIG. 20 KAZIMIR THE JUST (1177-1194) 

The princely power was theoretically unlimited. 

By the "grace of God" the princes were absolute lords 
of their dominions. Actually, the exer- 
cise of their power depended on the 
strength or weakness of the barons and 
clergy, and on their own skill in playing 
off the interests of the one against those 
of the other. The barons and the clergy 

became very powerful in the XHIth century. Both 

The Restric- 
tion of the 
Power of the 


classes acquired large land holdings with jurisdiction 
over their subjects. The Church grew constantly 
stronger on account of its splendid organization, its 
accumulation of wealth and the moral control it exer- 
cised over the people. Then, too, it had become more 
independent since the adoption of the Gregorian re- 
forms, which deprived the king of the power to ap- 
point bishops. By their presence at the Councils of 
the Prince, called "Colloquia," they, in conjunction 
with the barons, exercised direct control over the 
affairs of the principality. The Colloquium was called 
at such times as state business demanded. In addi- 
tion to the relatives of the prince, the barons and pre- 
lates were invited to attend it, and at these gather- 
ings matters of foreign policies, as well as of internal 
administration, were determined. The granting of 
franchises, the fixing of taxes and matters of like 
nature were decided at these meetings, and at times 
the Colloquium also served as the Prince's Court. 
The Colloquium was the nucleus of what later devel- 
oped into the Senate. 

Synchronous with the metamorphosis in the 

structure of the Polish State and sovereignty was 

an economic and social impoverishment 

German Q ^ countrv Harassed by civil strifes 

Settlements , , ? ... J . . 

in Poland an( ^ foreign invasions, like that ot the 

Tartars in 1241 A.D., the small prin- 
cipalities became enfeebled and depopulated. The 
incomes of the Princes began to decrease materially. 
This led them to take steps toward encouraging im- 
migration from foreign countries. A great number 
of German peasants, who, during the interregnum 
following the death of Friedrich II Hohenstaufen, 
suffered great oppression at the hands of their lords, 
were induced to settle in Poland under certain very 


favorable conditions. German immigration into Po- 
land had started spontaneously at an earlier period, 
about the end of the XI century, and was the result 
of overpopulation in the central provinces of the Em- 
pire. Advantage of the existing tendency had al- 
ready been taken by the Polish Princes in the Xllth 
century for the development of cities and crafts. Now 
the movement became intensified. 

Studies of the development of the German settle- 
ments in Poland indicate that they sprang up along 
the wide belt which was laid waste by the Tartars in 
1241. It was a stretch of land comprising present 
Galicia and Southern Silesia. Prior to the Tartar 
invasion these two provinces were thickly settled and 
highly developed. Through them ran the commercial 
highways from the East and the Levant to the Baltic 
and the west of Europe. Cracow and Breslau were 
large and prosperous towns. After the Tartar bar- 
barians retired the country was in ruins and the popu- 
lation either scattered or exterminated. Large num- 
bers were taken prisoners. The refugees went north 
and helped to colonize the sparsely inhabited areas 
and to clear the forests to the east of the Vistula in 
Mazovia. On the heels of the receding Tartars came 
the Germans. Theirs was a movement along the line 
of least resistance. The new settlers were spared the 
hard labor of the pioneers as the soil they occupied 
had been used for arable purposes centuries before. 
There was no need of clearing primeval forest or 
colonizing an utter wilderness. 

It would be a mistake to think that all the new- 
comers were Teutons. Slavic tribes, at that time, 
separated Poland from Germany, and the Germans 
who came to Poland went through this Slavic screen 
and brought with them numerous autochthons of the 


border Slavic lands. Upon arriving in Poland the 
settlers from the west restored agriculture, rebuilt 
the cities and came into the possession of all the ad- 
vantages the fertile soil and the favorable geographic 
position gave them. 

The entrepreneur (known by the Latin name of 
villicator), who brought over a number of settlers, 
received, in addition to the compensation for his 
services, a piece of land for the colony of which he be- 
came the chief (woyt), with hereditary right to cer- 
tain taxes. These rights he could concede or sell. He 
was also the judge of the colony. He was free from all 
duties except those of a knight and a tax collector, 
and responsible to nobody except to the Prince. The 
settlers, after dividing among themselves the land 
granted to them by the Prince, proceeded to build the 
city with its town hall, market-place and church in 
the centre. The streets ran radius-like from the 
centre. The town was surrounded by a mound and 
ditch, beyond which lay the arable fields, pastures 
and woods. The settlers were given every privilege 
of building the towns in the way to which they were 
accustomed, and to govern themselves according to 
the practice of their native country. For a number 
of years, varying in each case, the settlers were free 
from all taxes or duties. After the expiration of the 
term of years they had to pay a stipulated annual tax 
into the Prince's treasury. The tax was to be paid in 
money, not like that of the Polish grody, in kind and 
services. In addition they were, in some instances, 
required to maintain defensive walls, towers and 
gates, and to supply impedimenta for war and armed 
servants. In their internal affairs they were given 
full home rule and were free from all interference by 
representatives of the Prince. They governed them- 


selves according to German law, the chief (woyt) and 
a chosen jury constituting the court. Appeals from 
the decisions of this court could be taken to the Court 
of the Prince or to the higher courts in the German 
cities. The administration was in the hands of a 
City Council, consisting of the burgomaster and ad- 
visors, either elected by the people or appointed by 
the Prince, this depending on the terms of the char- 
ter. The artisans established guilds which regulated 
the quality and price of products. The Prince had the 
sole authority to grant town charters. Sometimes he 
gave this power to the feudal and ecclesiastical lords 
of the principality. 

In this way beside the Polish "grody" sprang 
into existence a large number of towns, with Ger- 
man laws, customs and institutions. The ancient 
towns of Cracow, Lwow, Poznari, Plock and others 
received a large admixture of German population, 
and became regarded by the metropolitan towns in 
Germany as their branches and as outposts of Ger- 
man trade and civilization in Poland. The common 
law of the country was supplanted by the Magdeburg 
and Halle law, German silver coins became the 
money of the country, and all municipal records be- 
gan to be kept in the German language. Had it not 
been for the Tartar invasion, Polish towns would 
have developed normally and created a city popula- 
tion truly Polish, which would have been organically 
allied to the whole social and national fabric. As it 
was the cities became oases for a foreign element, 
hostile, or at least indifferent, to the country, and 
this condition became responsible in a measure for 
the excessive prerogatives gained in the future by 
one class of the Polish nation, the nobility, who alone 
bore the brunt of national defence. 


Similar to the growth of German towns was the 
development by colonization of villages based on 
German law. To induce settlers in the unoccupied 
areas the Prince granted tracts of land exempt from 
taxes for a number of years. All the settlers on these 
lands were absolutely free. The only obligation was 
the payment of an annual rent to the Prince, collected 
for him by the organizer of the settlement, who, in 
compensation for his work, received in hereditary 
right a large grant of land, a flour mill or tavern. In 
addition to the duties of a tax collector the organizer, 
called soltys, was to render military service and act 
as the police officer of the village. He was also the 
presiding officer of the jury chosen by the villagers. 
In all administrative matters the village, like the city, 
had complete home rule. Except for the town hall 
and the town council the villages did not differ much 
from the towns. With the consent of the Prince, 
barons and prelates could either establish new free 
settlements or change the legal basis of the already 
existing native villages in their domains from the 
Polish to the German law. 

On account of the advantages that the German 
method of settling gave to land owners, it became 
very popular with them and exercised a great in- 
fluence upon the administrative, economic and par- 
ticularly, political life of the country. The influx of 
great masses of the German element, that had all 
the support of their native country as well as of the 
military Teutonic Orders, which settled on the Baltic 
seacoast in the beginning of the Xlllth century and 
from its earliest days engaged in a ruthless war of 
extermination on the autochthonous population under 
the guise of spreading Christ's gospel, destroyed 
political cohesion. 


An additional foreign element began to settle in 

Poland in great numbers at the same time. The Jews, 

persecuted all over Europe during the 

Jewish Crusades, fled to Poland where they 

Immigration '. , . . , . 

to Poland were received in a most hospitable man- 

ner. They settled in the towns and be- 
gan to carry on commerce and banking. As illus- 
trative of the friendliness of the Poles toward these 
newcomers may be cited the statue of Kalisz, pro- 
mulgated by Prince Boleslav in the year 1246 
by which the Jews received every protection of the 
law and which imposed heavy penalties for any in- 
sults to their cemeteries, synagogues and other sanc- 
tuaries. About the same time Prince Henry IV of 
Wroclaw (Breslau) imposed heavy penalties upon 
those who accused Jews of ritual murder. Anyone 
who made such an accusation had to prove it by six 
witnesses, three Gentiles and three Jews, and in case 
of his inability to prove the charge in a satisfactory 
manner he was himself found guilty and subject to 
severe pnuishment. 

While the Jews adapted themselves to their new 
environment and coalesced, to a degree, with the 
native population, the German element, backed by 
their government, became aggressive and sought to 
dominate the country. The rich German town people 
were supported in their endeavors by the clergy, who 
arrived from Germany in great numbers and oc- 
cupied prominent church positions. It was with the 
aid of the Germans that the dauntless but German- 
ized Leszek the Dark (1278-1288), and after him 
Henry Probus (1289-1290), who joined the ancient 
Polish Duchy of Silesia to the German Empire, 
ascended the throne of Cracow. The German 
influence grew disquietingly. A strong antagonistic 
movement arose and the clash of the two forces con- 



stitutes the pith of Polish history during the next 
century. The conflict resulted in complete Poloniza- 
tion of the German element and among the descend- 
ants of these settlers there have been many of the 
most ardent Polish patriots. This is eloquent testi- 
mony of the great assimilative powers of the people 
and of the state building capabilities of the Poles. 


The Aquisi- 
tion of 

The Consolidation of Poland 

That part of the Baltic seaboard which lies be- 
tween the Vistula in the east and the Oder in the 
west, and bounded by the Notec on the 
south, was inhabited by the Pomera- 
nians, a cognate Slavic people, who, 
separated from Poland by virgin forests, 
long resisted the numerous armed attempts to bring 
them into the fold of the Polish state. No regular 
wars could be carried on with them but guerilla war- 
fare, resembling that of Charlemagne with the Sax- 
ons, lasted for over a century. Finally in 1109, by a 
brilliant victory near the town of Naklo on the Notec 
River, Boleslav the Wrymouthed succeeded in forc- 
ing the Pomeranian princes to recognize the sover- 
eignty of Poland. 

The administration of the newly acquired terri- 
tory was left to the native princes. The people of the 
southern part of Pomerania accepted Christianity 
and became incorporated into the diocese of Great 

The advantages secured by the accession of the 


seacoast could not be immediately exploited by the 
Poles, for it was necessary to defend vital national 
interests against a new German invasion, sent by the 
Emperor Henry V in the year 1109. After a defeat 
at Wroclaw (Breslau) the Germans were forced to 
retreat, having devastated a large area of Poland 
and exterminated many prosperous towns. In this 
war the city of Glogow (Glogau) became famous 
for its desperate defense, in the course of which the 
children of the town, captured by the Germans and 
carried in front of their siege machines, were killed 
by their fathers. 

After the war with the German Empire Pome- 
rania again claimed the attention of the Polish 
sovereign. Aided by the Prussians, a neighboring 
people on their east, the Pomeranians, under the 
leadership of Swietopelk of Naklo, rebelled. The re- 
bellion was crushed and Pomerania, together with 
the cities of Naklo, Santok, Czarnkow, Uscie and 
others, was incorporated into the Duchy of Great 
Poland. Suspecting other princes to the east of 
Pomerania to be in sympathy with Swietopelk, the 
victorious Boleslav the Wrymouthed crossed the 
Oder, conquered the Lutics, another Slavic tribe on 
the Baltic, took their chief city of Stettin and went 
further west, vanquishing the Slavic peoples of Meck- 
lenburg and Brandenburg and along the Baltic sea- 
coast up to and including the Holy Island of Rugia 
(Rugen) in 1121. Since that time the name of Pome- 
rania has been applied to the whole stretch of the 
Baltic seacoast extending from the mouth of the 
Vistula to the Isle of Rugia. 

Boleslav endeavored to introduce Christianity 
into the conquered territories but all attempts proved 
futile until the arrival of the mission of St. Otto, the 
chaplain of Boleslav's father, who, instead of appear- 


ing as a poor ascetic, came, aided by the power of the 
Polish sovereign, in full dazzling splendor of a prince 
of the Church and won the hearts of the people by 
his gifts and kindness. By 1130, when the first bishop- 
ric in Pomerania was established at Wolin, and the 
people of the country, who had so persistently fought 
Christianity, were all converted by the apostolic en- 
deavors of the Polish ruler and his saintly bishop. 

Further extensions of Polish influence to the 
west, or even a firm grounding of the Poles in the 
newly conquered territories, were rendered impos- 
sible, first by an unfortunate war with Hungary, 1132- 
1135, and then, after the death of Boleslav the Wry- 
mouthed in 1138, by the above described division of 
Poland into five independent principalities with the 
ensuing civil strifes and the disappearance of a con- 
structive political polity. 

About the year 1147 the Margrave Albrecht the 
Bear, Henry the Lion of Saxony, and the Danish 
King Waldemar the Great organized a joint expedi- 
tion against the Northwestern Slavs. The expedition 
crowned the centuries long efforts to subdue the 
Slavs. On the Slavic lands, between the Elbe and the 
Oder, Albrecht founded a new German Duchy called 
Brandenburg from the old Slavic town of Branibor, 
and settled it with Teuton colonizers, mostly from 
the Netherlands. The Saxon Prince and the Danish 
King divided the Slav territories on the lower Elbe 
and the Island of Rugia. The Lutic Prince of Stettin 
became at first a feudatory of the Saxon Prince and 
later of the German Emperor. The autochtonous 
Slavic population of these regions was either exter- 
minated or pushed into Poland, which lost all of the 
seacoast west of the Vistula. Following this, a con- 
siderable number of German colonizers occupied the 
lands watered by the lower course of the Vistula. 


To offset the losses in the west the Polish princes 

turned their attention to the Prussians who occupied 

the Baltic seaboard from the right shore 

The Polish o f th e Vistula to the Niemen, and ex- 

Crusa s tended south, through bogs and forests, 


Pussians as ^ ar as tne Narev. Further south of 

them, on the Narev and the right shore 
of the Bug, west of the Mazurs, lived the Jadz- 
wings, a tribe closely related to the Prussians. 
Both the Prussians and the Jadzwings came under 
partial Polish suzerainty by the end of the XHIth 
century during the reign of Kazimir the Just, 1177- 
1194, but this did not prevent their constant ferocious. 
raids on Mazovia, which proved most exasperating 
to the Mazurian princes. All Christian missions 
among the Prussians were unavailing. They clung 
tenaciously to paganism. In order to make it pos- 
sible to wage constant and unrelenting war against 
these heathens, Pope Honorius III relieved the Poles 
from expeditions to Palestine and proclaimed 
throughout Germany a crusade against the Prus- 
sians. Two such crusades were undertaken, one in 
1219 and another in 1222, but both without percep- 
tible success. 

After a defeat suffered at the hands of the fierce 
Prussians, Conrad, Prince of Mazovia, decided to 
The Political turn for help to the Knights of the 
Aggressive- Cross, the German order, which after 
ness of the returning from Palestine settled on the 

Knights of the Baltic in the early part of the Xlllth 
century soon after the Knights of the 
Sword established themselves at the estuary of the 
Dvina for the purpose of converting the Lithuanians. 
For their help in the campaign against the Prus- 
sians, Conrad granted to them the districts of 
Chelmno and Nieszawa in Mazovia. It was custom- 


ary for princes in those days to bestow such large ter- 
ritorial gifts on ecclesiastical corporations, but the 
grants did not involve the loss of princely sovereignty 
over them. Not so did the Knights of the Cross re- 
gard this cession. Their ambition from the first was 
to found -an independent state on Polish territory, 
and in pursuance of this design they obtained, prior 
to the receipt of the grants of Conrad, a charter from 
Emperor Friedrich II to organize all the lands they 
might acquire or conquer into a feudal state of the 
German Empire. They also obtained from Pope 
Gregory IX the privilege of complete freedom from 
any church intervention in their territories. 

With such plans in mind they arrived in Mazovia 
in 1228. They were received with open arms by the 
rulers and the people, and were supported most loyal- 
ly throughout their campaign against the Prussians, 
which lasted over half a century, until the whole of 
Prussia as far as the Niemen was conquered. Having 
finished with the Prussians they turned against the 
heathen Lithuanians who lived to the east of Prus- 
sia, along the middle Niemen and its tributaries. 
They soon began to exhibit their real designs with 
reference to the Poles, who were not heathens, and 
who, through the Mazurian prince, had induced them 
to undertake the crusade against the Prussians and 
who had bestowed upon them help and friendship. 

The pressure of Brandenburg in the northwest 

and of the Order of the Cross in the northeast led to 

a realization, on the part of the Poles, 

T , h * *? V se f of the imminent danger from the Teu- 

of Political , . 

Consolidation tons an( ^ tne nee d of concerted action 
against them. Moreover, the constant 
civil wars between the Polish princes were ruining 
the people and thwarting the economic, social and 
political progress of the country. The need of a 



fusion of the small political units into a powerful 
kingdom became apparent, particularly among the 
clergy, who were the most enlightened and educated 
people of the time and 'who by their church organiza- 
tion formed the one truly Polish institution. 

This budding tendency toward the unification 
of the state was strongly supported by the cities, as, 

FIG. 22 PRZEMYSLAV I (1295-1296) 

in addition to the wars, the various tariff restrictions 
and the multifarious other taxes hampered the devel- 
opment of commerce and industry. 

The period preceding the unification of the coun- 
try abounded in warfare and bloodshed. Prince 
Przemyslav, of Great Poland, with the consent of the 



Pope, crowned himself King of Poland in Gniezno 
(Gnesen) in 1295, but a few months later was mur- 
dered by the agents of Brandenburg. After his death 
the struggle between the various princes who strove 
for the high dignity again became acute. As a com- 

(J. Mateyko) 
FIG. 23 WACI-.AV I (1300-1305) 

promise Waclav, King of Bohemia, was crowned 
King; of Poland in 1300. All Poland, except Mazovia, 
came under his sceptre. The unification, however, 
entailed the loss of national independence and sub- 
jected Poland to a rigid administrative rule of Bohe- 
mia and to a strong German influence, which at that 
time had already become predominant in Bohemia. 



One of the princes of Great Poland, Wladyslav 
Lokietek, 1306-1333, an able and enterprising man, 
who, by the unification lost his title to 
sovereignty, fled abroad, enlisted the 
help of the powerful Pope Boniface 
VIII, and, chosing an appropriate 
moment when Bohemia became in- 
volved in a war with Hungary, ap- 
peared in Poland. He met with a cor- 
dial reception in all the parts of the 
country. Cracow and the whole of 
Little Poland, Kujawy at the lower course of the 

The Difficul- 
ties with the 
Knights of 
the Cross and 
the Disloyalty 
of the German 


Vistula, and Pomerania, joined him. Great Poland 
alone chose another prince of their own, and Mazovia 
did not participate in the struggle. 

At this juncture the Markgrave of Brandenburg 
invaded Pomerania and conquered it. Lokietek, at 
war with Great Poland, asked the Order of the Cross 
to help him against the Markgrave. This they did, 
but after defeating the Brandenburgians turned 
against the Pomeranians. Following a most cruel 



slaughter of the population, the province was annexed 
by the Knights, who established there at the city of 
Malborg, on the Vistula, their permanent capital. 

They immediately proceeded to Germanize this 
newly conquered province. By joining hands with 
the other German order they formed an extensive 
and powerful Teutonic Empire. In this way Poland 
became isolated from the sea by a formidable foe who 


commanded at the time the admiration of all Europe. 
Lokietek hesitated to risk a war with the Order. The 
case was submitted to the Pope who issued a decree 
commanding the Knights to restore Pomerania and 
repay to Lokietek all war expenditures. This they 
refused to do. 

While the difficulties with the Knights were 
growing, the German element in the city of Cracow 



(J. Mateyko) 



succeeded in organizing a rebellion against Lokietek 
in favor of a Germanized prince. The rebellion, led 
by the mayor and the bishop, was crushed and the 
Germans dealt with very severely. The city was de- 
prived of its home rule and was for a time governed 
by appointive officers of the prince. The severe 
punishment of Cracow had a discouraging effect upon 
the German troublemakers in other Polish cities. 
They soon abandoned their nationalistic political as- 
pirations and returned to peaceful vocations. 

Similarly successful were Lokietek's expeditions 
against his enemies in Great Poland. Before long 
all the Polish principalities united into 
Lokietek's one political state. The inherently con- 

Proclamation structive force of the Polish genius as- 
Poh P tk 1 ai nd ' S serted itself despite the powerful in- 
Sovereignty fluences that were arrayed against it. 
and the Lokietek was but an incarnation of the 

Ensuing Wars national spirit that had produced Boles- 
lav the Brave and Boleslav the Wry- 
mouthed and that revealed itself most powerfully in 
the days of Jagiello and on many subsequent occa- 
sions in the course of Polish history. The union 
brought about by the leadership of Lokietek was, 
however, personal at first. The severeign was the 
only bond that kept the various provinces together. 
In their internal organization the component parts of 
the unified state were completely autonomous and 
governed in exactly the same way as they had been 
before the consolidation took place. To give to the 
political unity an adequate outward expression 
Lokietek strove for royal dignity. With the consent 
of the Pope he was crowned in 1320 in Cracow as an 
independent King of Poland. 

This act led to a prolonged and costly war with 
the German Emperor, who was antagonistic to the 


Pope, and, having renewed the struggle of the Em- 
perors against Rome, still regarded Poland as his 
vassal. Emperor Ludwig joined forces wih John of 
Luxemburg, King of Bohemia, who, as a son-in-law 
of Waclav, claimed the right to the throne of Poland, 
and with the Markgrave of Brandenburg declared 
war on Poland. 

Foreseeing the war, Lokietek forged a chain of 
friendships: first with the Scandinavian countries, 
then with Hungary, by giving away in marriage his 
daughter Elizabeth to the Hungarian King, Karl 
Robert. He also approached the heathen Lithuani- 
ans, which was a bold step for a Christian prince to 
take, and in 1325 his only son, Kazimir, married 
Anna Aldona, the daughter of the Lithuanian Grand 
Duke Gedymin. 

The struggle began in 1327 and was not termi- 
nated at the time of Lokietek's death in 1333. The 
war proved disastrous. By the treaty of Trenczyn 
in Hungary, the new Polish King Kazimir, 1333- 
1370, acknowledged the right of Bohemia to suze- 
rainty over Silesia and Mazovia. The pearl of the 
Polish crown, the westernmost province of Silesia, 
was thus forever torn from Poland. Kazimir, how- 
ever, succeeded in retaining Polish spiritual influence 
over the province by insisting that it be not severed 
from the Archbishopric at Gneseii, and Mazovia soon 
reverted, in 1355, into the fold of the Polish state as 
a feudatory of the Crown. 

Final peace with the Knights of the Cross was 
established in 1343 after a drawn-out suit brought 
against them by the order of the Pope Benedict XII 
for the recovery of Pomerania and other occupied 
territories. Demands had also been made for com- 
pensation for their inhuman treatment of the native 
population and their wanton destruction of life and 



FIG. 27 KAZIMIR THE GREAT (1333-1370) 

(J. Mateyko) 


property. The court rendered a verdict in favor of 
Poland. Conscious of their superior military power 
they refused to obey the verdict and Poland had to 
submit to the loss of Pomerania. Kujawy, however, 
and the other occupied territories were returned to 

Kazimir could not undertake another war for the 
restoration of Pomerania, as the country was ex- 
hausted and as his attention was direct- 
The Acquisi- e( j ^0 Ruthenia where, on account of 
Ruthenian t ^ ie extmc tion of the reigning dynasty 

Territories ne na< ^ to press his claims as against 
those of other pretenders. After a pro- 
longed war with the Tartars and Lithuanians, the 
western part of Volhynia was annexed to Poland 
and the Prince of Podolia recognized the overlord- 
ship of the Polish sovereign. Kazimir endeavored 
to reach the seacoast of the Black Sea but his ex- 
pedition was unsuccessful. 

The acquisition of new lands in the east with a 
population element different in religion and lower in 
civilization, together with the chaos that existed in 
the internal affairs of the country ruined by internal 
dissensions and by long and bloody foreign wars, led 
Kazimir to devote his thoughts and energy to the 
material upbuilding of the land, and to the restora- 
tion of law and order in his vast domains. 

The law of the country was a compound of the 

native common law and of the German law. It was 

differently interpreted in the different 

localities. The chaos gave rise to in- 

Reforms .... << 1 

justice in the application of the law and 
its enforcement, and pointed very clearly to the acute 
need of uniformity and of establishing a firm, well 
defined judicial and administrative system. In 1347 


in the year 1341 Reign of Kazimir the Great 



a special council was called to Wislica to improve 
the laws. The results of their labors of many years, 
known as the Statutes of Wislica, where a body of 
uniform laws with special regard for the local condi- 
tions of the several sections of the country. It may 
be noted in this connection that Poland in the time 
of Kazimir had a large number of eminent writers 


and jurists. Janko of Charnkov wrote a valuable 
contemporary history in the form of chronicles, simi- 
lar to that of Gallus, who wrote in the Xllth century 
during the time of Boleslav the Wrymouthed. 

By the time the Wislica statutes were drafted, 
slavery had ceased to exist in all parts of Poland, but 
the relations of peasants to landowners were not 
uniform throughout the country. They differed from 



place to place. Almost universally the taxes in kind 
had ceased to exist. It may be of interest to note that 
in Kazimir's time the exigencies of commerce de- 
manded a regulation of the monetary problem and 
.that the Wislica statutes provided that "there shall 
be throughout the country uniform money of a con- 
stant value and weight." One of the reasons for this 


requirement, as given in the statute, was "that the 
state might not look like a many-headed monster." 
Both taxes and tithes were paid in money. The 
peasant was free to make contracts with the land- 
owner for the use of leased land, but he was often- 
times helpless in preventing the landlord from exact- 
ing more than the contract stipulations provided, 
especially when the settlements were based on Ger- 
man law and the landlord was the "soltys," or the 


chief and judge of the village. In many instances the 
peasants were leaving the settlements and taking 
with them all the stock received from the landlord. 
Such migrations were frequent at that time. The 
tracts of land laid waste by the Knights of the Cross 
in the lake region of Prussia and the country for- 
merly occupied by the Jadzwings, whom the Cheva- 
liers completely exterminated, offered opportunities 
for advantageous settlement. Polish colonization of 
these regions was going on very rapidly. A similar 
colonizing movement was taking place in the ac- 
quired provinces of Ruthenia. The Polish peasant 
was settling there on the German law basis and was 
bringing with him western civilization to these re- 
mote eastern regions. Likewise many of the towns- 
people and of the nobility settled in Ruthenia and 
became in time the natural bond between the natives 
of these provinces, whose faith bound them to Con- 
stantinople, and the rest of the empire whose tastes 
and connections were those of the west. 

Although Kazimir realized that unity in religion 
would be most desirable for the solidarity of the na- 
tion, and with that in view founded Roman Catholic 
bishoprics in Przemysl, Wlodzimierz (Vladimir Vol- 
hynski) and Chelm, and established two religious 
orders in Ruthenia, yet he gave complete freedom 
and encouragement to the prevailing Greek religion. 
The Ruthenian bishopric at Halicz was raised to the 
dignity of a metropolis to make it independent of the 
See of that Church, recently moved from Kieff to 
Moscow. His religious tolerance was well exhibited 
in his relations with the Jews, who, persecuted prac- 
tically all over Europe, settled in large numbers in 
the Polish cities. The protection afforded to them 
in the XTIIth century in Kalisz and Great Poland was 
extended by Kazimir throughout his kingdom. 


The German settlers in the villages, forming 
small foreign islets in a great native sea, had in the 
course of time become completely amalgamated with 
the native population. In the cities, however, where 
they clustered in large groups, they preserved their 
distinct identity and had strong German attachments. 
Shielded by their independent municipal organiza- 
tions they remained entirely foreign to the country of 
their adoption. They formed an anomaly in the body 
politic, which proved dangerous in times of war. 


Kazimir like his father Lokietek who had to face an 
open rebellion on the part of the German city element, 
well realized the gravity of the situation and strove 
to modify the relations of the cities to the crown. In 
1356 Kazimir established in Cracow a court for city 
affairs, to which appeals from local municipal courts 
were to be taken. This court was established to 
obviate the need of appealing to the Courts of Mag- 
deburg and Halle. 

By special protection of the rights and safety of 
merchants Kazimir gave an additional stimulus to 


Polish commerce. Poland was and still is the natural 
bridge between Europe and the East. Commercial 
routes between the Baltic and the Black Sea, between 
Russia and the Hanseatic cities cross in Poland. 
Some of the Polish cities, like that of Kalisz, ruined 
during the recent war operations, were known in 
antiquity. In the XlVth century a number of large 
and prosperous cities, like Wroclaw (Breslau) and 
Cracow were in constant touch with the largest trad- 


ing centres of the world. The products of Polish in- 
dustries were at the time successfully competing with 
those of other industrial countries and Polish cloth 
(polenschen Laken) compared favorably with that of 
Flanders. Famous were the cloth-halls of Poland, 
and that still standing in Cracow is a magnificent 
example of Polish municipal architecture of the 
middle ages. 

To increase the natural advantages of the Polish 
cities, Kazimir improved the roads, constructed 


bridges, suppressed highway robbery, and built large 
storehouses in the cities and along the roads and 
navigable rivers. Through colonization he founded a 
large number of new towns, encouraged industries 
and navigation. He strengthened, by walls and 
castles, the defenses of the country. To protect the 
native merchants he promulgated a law whereby for- 
eign merchants were debarred from retail sales. In 
the development of the cities and in the growth of 
their wealth and importance he saw a support of the 
kingly power against the disquietingly growing 
might and lawlessness of the magnates and nobility 
and the independence of the church. 

Kazimir's reforms and particularly the strong 
executive arm of the government were strongly op- 
posed by both the magnates and the clergy, and a 
number of armed uprisings were organized, all of 
which were suppressed by the King. He realized, 
however, that reforms, no matter how wise or bene- 
ficial, cannot be forced upon a nation by the superior 
will of a sovereign, and that law and order cannot be 
enforced unless they have the respect of the people. 
To educate political leaders he founded an Academy 
of Sciences in Cracow in the year 1364. This was the 
second academy of the kind in Europe, that of Prague 
preceding it by a few years only. For purposes of 
comparison it may be of interest to state that the 
University of Vienna was founded a year later, and 
that of Heidelberg two years later. The University 
of Erfurt was established in 1392, of Leipzig in 1409, 
of Cologne and of Rostock in 1419, of Halle in 1694, 
of Breslau in 1702, of Gottingen in 1736 and of Berlin 
in 1809. The University of Moscow was founded in 
the year 1755 and that of St. Petersburg in 1819. 
Even before the founding of the Cracow Academy a 
number of writers and scientists of high attainment 


and originality appeared in Poland. The most dis- 
tinguished of them was Ciolek, known by his Latin 
name of Vitellio, who is considered as the founder of 
the science of optics. 

By the end of Kazimir's reign Poland was unified 
politically, not only in the person of the King, but 
through the legal, economic and social reforms which 
he had been able to bring about. Well aware of the 
profound changes which were taking place in the life 
of contemporary Poland, he and his advisors endeav- 
ored to frame legislation that would meet adequately 
the new conditions. Expression was given to the 
really true conception of the function of all legisla- 
tion in the opening sentences of the Wislica Statute 
which stated that "no one should wonder or con- 
demn if, with the change of times, the customs and 
laws also change." The evolutionary conception of 
law, as thus expressed in this first Polish Statute, is 
truly remarkable. The principle served as a guide for 
future generations and Polish political thought indeed 
never recognized immutability or fixity of state or- 
ganization or of traditional legal concepts. The life 
of the citizen was never fettered by rigid law en- 
actments. On the contrary, laws were made to meet 
newly arising conditions as soon as they became dis- 
cernible. This explains the fullness of Polish life 
which so often puzzled foreign observers, brought up 
as they were under the traditions of absolutism. It 
explains also both the strength and the weakness of 
the Polish Republic. 

Though Kazimir's foreign policy failed to bring 
back into the Polish fold the lost provinces, yet for his 
wise administration and peaceful achievements he is 
known in Polish history as Kazimir the Great, who 
"found Poland of wood and left her of stone." 


The Union with Lithuania 

With Kazimir the Great the Polish dynasty of 
the Piasts came to an end in 1370. Kazimir was mar- 
ried thrice but left no male heir. Long 
don o^thT before his death the matter of succes- 
Piast Dynasty Slon to the throne was widely discussed. 
Realizing the growing dangers to the 
country from the Order of the Cross on one side, and 
from the German Empire, Bohemia and Branden- 
burg, all united under one dynasty, on the other, the 
King and the country saw the need of a permanent 
union with another strong nation. The Hungarian 
King Ludwig, son of Karl Robert and Elizabeth, 
Kazimir's sister, was chosen heir to the Polish 
throne. In acceding to this choice in preference to 
a native Prince of the House of Piast the magnates 
demanded certain guarantees from Ludwig. First, 
that he would restore the lost provinces, particu- 
larly Pomerania, to Poland; second, that no Polish 
troops would be used in wars carried on in the inter- 
ests of Hungary; third, that the public offices in 
Poland would be given to Poles exclusively; and 
fourth, that there would be no interference with home 


rule and with the privileges and exemptions in force 
at the time. After having sworn to all the above 
named guarantees, Ludwig was proclaimed heir to 
the Polish throne without any opposition on the part 
of the numerous Piast princes. 

(J. Matey ko) 
FIG. 33 LUDWIG (1370-1382) 

In 1370 Ludwig, then King of Hungary, ascend- 
ed the throne of Poland. Ambitious but narrow- 
minded, he soon came into conflict with the Polish 
nobles, whom he desired to subdue as he had subdued 
the barons of his native land. Feeling against him 
rose high when he tore Red Russia from Poland and 
gave it to one of his friends with a feudatory title. 
Great Poland openly rebelled. Soon, however, he en- 
tered into a compromise with the nobles, particularly 
those of Little Poland, over the matter of succession 
to the Polish throne. Ludwig had no son, but he 


had three daughters, and his desire was to leave a 
throne to each of them. 

To insure the consent of the nobles to the ac- 
ceptance of his second daughter as Queen of Poland 

he entered into a pact with them by 
The Origin which, for the support of his daughter, 

he promised the restoration of the lost 

Concessions r . ., 

in Favor of the provinces, reconfirmed his pre-corona- 
Nobiiity tion guarantees and offered certain ad- 

ditional privileges, and a practical ex- 
emption from taxes, except on land, and those were 
made very low. This famous covenant-of-JLoszyxe, 
made in 1374, introduced a new feature into the 
political life of the country. Henceforth the Kings of 
Poland were forced to make certain agreements 
before their titles and prerogatives were recognized 
by the nobles. The other importance that attaches 
to this covenant lies in the fact that for the first time 
in Polish history class privileges received legal sanc- 
tion. Heretofore only individuals had been granted 
exemptions. Now the whole nobility, or knighthood, 
as a class, were given certain special privileges. 

After the death of Ludwig, in 1382, an open 

revolt broke out against his daughter Mary, who was 

betrothed to Siegmund, Markgrave of 

The First Brandenburg, and son of Emperor Karl 

Civil War IV It f d that through such a 

Over Royal . fe , , 

Succession union German domination would again 
be forced upon Poland. During the in- 
terregnum lasting two years, Jadwiga, the younger 
daughter of the deceased king, married to an unim- 
portant German prince, was agreed upon as Queen of 
Poland by the confederacy of Great Poland, with the 
specific understanding, however, that the queen 
reside permanently in Poland. This confederacy of 



FIG. 34 JADWIGA (1384-1399) 

(J. Mateyko; 


the nobility was the prototype of a political organiza- 
tion which was peculiarly Polish, and which played 
an important role in the future history of the 

After a fierce civil war among the various fac- 
tions which desired to restore one of the native 
princes to the throne, the youthful Jadwiga was 
crowned as the sovereign of Poland on October 15, 

The magnates of Little Poland, who, until the 
maturity of the Queen, were to be the regents of the 
country, now conceived a plan of anul- 
The Union ling Jadwiga's marriage and uniting 

with Lithuania Poland and Lithuania against their 
^ D .' common enemy, the Order of the Cross, 

Teuton through the marriage of the Queen with 

Aggressive- the Lithuanian Prince Jagiello. At the 
ness time Lithuania was in the throes of a 

civil war skillfully grafted upon the 
country by the intrigue of the Grand Master of the 
Order, who, in a peaceful development of Lithuania 
and her growing propensities toward Christianity, 
saw a vanishing opportunity for further conquests. 

The founder of the Lithuanian Empire was 
Gedymin, 1315-1341, who had carried his successful 
expeditions against the Northern Slavs and Ruthe- 
nians as far as Pskov on the north and the Dnieper on 
the east, and conquered Kieff on the south. Though 
a pagan himself, Gedymin favored Roman Catholi- 
cism, built churches in Wilno and Novogrodek, gave 
his daughter, Anna Aldona, to Prince Kazimir the 
Great, and intended to become a Christian himself, 
but his plans were frustrated by the intrigues of the 
Order of the Cross. After his death Lithuania be- 
came divided among his sons. At the time of Jad- 


wiga's ascendance to the Polish throne Lithuania 
consisted of two independent duchies, one with a 
native Lithuanian population and the other com- 
posed almost entirely of conquered Ruthenian terri- 
tories. After a long feud between the rulers of the 
two duchies, craftily supported by the Chevaliers of 
the Cross, peace was established to make joint war 
against the Order possible. This peace came at the 
time w T hen the Polish statesmen were planning the 
union with Lithuania.- It was not difficult to induce 
Jagiello to make the first move. He consented to 
receive baptism in accordance with the Roman 
Catholic rites and to introduce Catholicism in Lithu- 
ania. He also agreed to extend the privileges of the 
nobility and pledged himself to restore to Poland her 
lost provinces. The new covenant with the King 
guaranteed : first, all Polish offices to the local 
nobility; second, compensation for military service 
outside of Poland; third, the right to elect judges of 
certain courts; and fourth, jurisdiction over the peas- 
ants in the landowners. 

The first guarantee was a severe blow to concen- 
tration of military power in the hands of the King, 
for the commanders of the castles could 
not be appointed from among other than 
local nobles, and the second guarantee 

Significance . , . r . , .. 

of the Union P ut a restraint on his treedom with ret- 
erence to foreign affairs. In divesting 
the King of the power to appoint criminal judges the 
nobles scored a great victory which was, however, 
largely exploited by the magnates to further their 
control over the rank and file of the nobility. The 
fourth privilege gave the landlords supreme power 
over their peasants. 

With the coronation of Jagiello in 1386, who, on 




(J. Mateyko) 


baptism, took the Christian name of Wladyslav, all 
of his domains in Lithuania proper, as well as in 
White and Black Russia, Ukraine, Volhynia and else- 
where, became integral parts of the Polish state. 
These extensive lands over which Poland had waged 
long wars thus became peacefully united with Poland. 
At about the same time Red Russia was reclaimed from 
Hungary by force of arms, and the Hospodar of Mol- 
davia, seeking protection, against Hungary, paid 
homage to King Jagiello and became his vassal. In 
1389 Wallachia recognized Polish sovereignty, and 
in 1396 Bessarabia followed the course of her neigh- 
bors. In this way Poland reached the lower Danube 
and Dnieper and the shores of the Black Sea. A 
strong, healthy colonization movement again re- 
sumed its natural course into the sparsely settled ter- 
ritories of Ruthenia, Volhynia and the fertile plains 
between the Dniester and the Dnieper, carrying with 
it advanced agriculture, industries and prosperity, 
law, order, language and literature. The Polish in- 
fluence had not died out in what is now Roumania 
until the beginning of the past century. A hundred 
years ago Polish still was the language of the upper 
classes of that country. 

Polish science took a powerful upward swing 
after the reorganization of the Kazimirian Academy 

The University "! 14 - Q lleen J adwi g a . a noble and 

of Cracow pious woman, bequeathed her personal 

wealth for the endowment and enlarge- 
ment of the Academy. A School of Theology was 
added to the existing departments. King Jagiello, 
after whom the University had been named, gave in 
perpetuity the income from certain domains toward 
the maintenance of the institution. The charter, or- 
ganization and character of the old Academy was 
changed. The bishops of Cracow became the heredj- 




tary ex-officio chancellors of the Academy and the 
professors, students, librarians and other officers were 
organized into a university corporation and came 
under special jurisdiction. The office of the Rector 
of the University was made elective, the incumbent 
to be chosen from among the professors. 

jBractica aecalaurij Dofya 
ma iCracouientfs ue tjaffutt- 


Soon the fame of the new university spread 
over all Europe and attracted a large number of 
scholars and students from foreign countries. In 
the second half of the XVth century almost one-half 
of the students enrolled were of foreign birth.* The 
total enrollment was very large and both the student 
body and the teaching staff were recruited from all 

*L. Litwinski "Intellectual Poland," N. Y. The Polish Book 
Importing Co., Inc., 1916, p. 32. 


strata of society. Beside the sons of the potentates 
sat young men from the humbler ranks of nobility, 
of city birth and even peasants. 

By means of large donations wealthy patrons in- 
creased the endowment and opportunities of the 


Academy. Several commodious and well equipped 
college dormitories were built, and a number of pre- 
paratory schools established. The stimulus given by 
the Academy to the intellectual life of the country 
was pronounced and beneficent. "The University 



became the living link connecting Poland with Euro- 
pean education and science. ... It gave rise to that 


union of Poland with the civilization of the west, 
which moulded the country's character and history, 


and which has left on her an imprint so strong that 
nothing can remove it."" 

At the time the University was reorganized, 
theological questions were occupying the minds of 
the greatest thinkers of Europe. The Cracow Acad- 
emy came at once to the front in these discussions 
and made important contributions. The respect with 
which the ecclesiastical world listened to the disser- 
tations of the Polish scholars and the influence they 


exercised at the deliberations of the great Church 
synods of the XVth century is an eloquent tribute to 
the scholarship of the Academy. In spite of the pre- 
occupation of the faculty with problems of theology 
and the control the Church exercised over the teach- 
ing at the University, Humanism found an early 
echo at Cracow. Great as was the reputaton of the 
University for its theological dissertations, it was 
insignificant in comparison with the renown it 

* S. Tarnowski, "Historya literatury polskiej," Krakow, 1903, 
p. 29-30. 


gained by its contributions to science. The mathe- 
matical and astronomical works of Voyciech of 
Brudzev, the medical knowledge of Matthew of 
Miechow and the glory of the immortal Copernicus, 
astronomer and economist, placed the Jagiellon Uni- 
versity among the foremost European temples of 


For Lithuania the union with Poland had the 
most far-reaching political and cultural advantages. 
The impor- The civilization of Lithuania was very 
tance of the low at the time. Slavery was the basis 
Union of her social and economical structure, 

for Lithuania The p r j nce ' s power was absolute. He 
was supreme lord over the life and death of his 
subjects. The Lithuanian nobles or "boyars" held 
lands as feudatories and had no right to dispose of 
them. Without the permission of the prince they 
could not even marry. Through the union with 
Poland the "boyars" received many rights and privi- 
leges similar to those which the Polish nobility en- 
joyed. The introduction of the Roman Church and 



the spread of the standards of European civilization 
which came with the mighty tide of Polish coloniza- 
tion brought Lithuania into the family of western 
nations. She shook off the influence of the east to 
which she had nearly succumbed under the influence 
of Northern Slavic and Ruthenian peoples, who 
were under her sovereignty and whose life standards, 
though low, were still higher than those of the Lithu- 
anians. Before the union with Poland Ruthenian had 


become the language of the court and of the nobles. 
Though crude, it was superior to the Lithuanian 
tongue which never developed into a literary lan- 

By uniting with Poland, Lithuania could freely 
concentrate her energy on the Order of the Cross, as 
the wars with Poland for the supremacy over Ruthe- 
nian provinces naturally ceased. This was a great 
political advantage. 



(J. Mateyko) 

The enemies of Poland and Lithuania were quick 

to perceive that this union of the two countries was 

against their interests and decided to 

bring- about its disruption. For this 

Position in the .... , f . , 

Dual State purpose they utilized Jagiello s cousin, 

the indomitable Duke Witold, who was 
the ruler of another part of Gedymin's empire, and 
who had temporarily abandoned the old feud which 
existed between his father and Jagiello. Entangled 


in the web cleverly spun by the Order of the Cross, 
the ambitious Witold declared war against Jagiello. 
To stop the bloody civil strife Jagiello appointed 
Witold the sole Governor of all Lithuania and Ruthe- 
nia. Witold accepted the appointment and adopted 
the title of Grand Duke of Lithuania. Order was soon 
restored in the domains under Witold's rule and ex- 
tensive foreign conquests were made. He recaptured 
Smolensk, which remained under Polish sovereignty 
for over a hundred years, until 1514; the republics of 
Pskov and Novgorod also came under his control. 
These successes, together with his far-reaching 
schemes of capturing Moscow and crushing its over- 
lords, the Tartars, led him subsequently to refuse to 
pay tribute to Jadwiga and her husband. But the 
defeat he suffered at the hands of the Tartar Khan 
led to another treaty between Poland and Lithuania 
in 1401, by which Witold was recognized as Grand 
Duke of Lithuania for life, but after his death the 
duchy was to revert forever to the Polish crown. In 
the adoption of this new treaty the Lithuanian boyars 
for the first time in their history took part in matters 
of state, and officially concurred in the stipulations 
of the treaty. By a special document the Polish 
nobles promised the Lithuanian boyars that after 
Jagiello's death no king would be elected without 
their knowledge and consent. 

In the course of one of his wars with Jagiello, 

as payment for help Witold ceded to the Order of the 

Cross that part of the territories abut- 

:?i/T? tm g on tne Baltic which lie between 

of the Order . XT- 11 T^ 

of the Cross tne JMiemen and the Dvma, known as 
Zmudz. When the union with Poland 
was restored he realized that he had made a bad 
bargain and demanded the return of the province. 
The warlike Master of the Order, Ulrich von Jun- 






gingen, answered by sending an overwhelming ex- 
pedition, joined by the best troops of Brandenburg, 
Hungary, Stettin and volunteers from all over 
Europe. They were met by an army of one 
hundred thousand Poles, Lithuanians and their vas- 





sals at Grunwald in the Mazurian Lakes region, a 
little south of the recent battlefield of Tannenberg, 
where the Russians met with such disastrous defeat 
at the hands of von Hindenburg. Five hundred years 
ago the same battlefield saw the crushing defeat of 


the Teutons. The might and glory of the Order was 
forever shattered, and Poland soared up as one of the 
most powerful states of Europe, extending from the 
Baltic to the Black Sea, and from the Oder and the 
Carpathians to the Dnieper. 

This stupendous victory welded more firmly the 
bonds uniting the peoples of Poland and Lithu- 
ania. In the year 1413 the representatives of the 
nobility and clergy of the two countries met at 
Horodlo, on the River Bug, in Volhynia, and con- 
firmed the previous treaties between the two coun- 
tries. It was agreed to introduce into Lithuania the 
Polish institutions and offices, and, in the future, to 
call joint political conventions of representatives of 
the two countries. The coats-of-arms of the Polish 
nobility was given to the Lithuanian boyars of the 
Roman Catholic faith to express by this outward sign 
of brotherhood the spirit permeating the union of the 
two nations, which was so beautifully worded in the 
sentences of the Horodlo treaty: "He shall receive no 
grace of salvation whom love does not sustain .... 
It is love that creates laws, rules nations, builds cities 
and leads the republic to her best destinies, perfects 
all virtues of the virtuous .... Therefore, we pre- 
lates, knights and nobility of the Polish crown by this 
document do unite our homes and future generations 
with the knighthood and nobility of Lithuania." 


The Settle- 
ment of 
with Lithuania 

Oligarchial Rule in Poland 

The sentiments voiced in the treaties with Lithu- 
ania were expressions of a lofty political ideal which 
the Lithuanian people, due to their 
political immaturity, were slow to appre- 
ciate at first. The far-sighted Witold 
of Lithuania realized the great impor- 
tance of the union, as only thus united 
could Poland and Lithuania withstand the pressure 
exerted upon them by their neighbors. But his ambi- 
tions would not allow him to become entirely recon- 
ciled to an inferior role, and he never could tolerate 
having Poland play the master part. After the battle 
of Grunwald he suddenly withdrew from the field, 
and by this action prevented Jagiello from exploiting 
the victory in a way which the defeat suffered by the 
Knights justified. The city of Malborg, capital of the 
Order, remained in the hands of the Knights, who, by 
the breathing spell afforded through the retirement 
of the Lithuanians and Ruthenians, were able to 
gather their scattered forces. This was the reason 
that Jagiello could obtain from the Order only the 
recession of Zmudz, and an indemnity of one hundred 
thousand bushels of small Prague silver coins. 


Subsequently, on account of Witold's ambition 
and the nefarious intrigues of the Knights, a new war 
with the Order broke out, which lasted for a number 
of years and the settlement of which was entrusted to 
the Church Council of Constance. For a long time 
Witold held the unruly princes of his domains in an 
iron grip and compelled them to respect the union, but 
toward the end of his life he again fell prey to the 
enticements of the German Emperor, who offered him 
a separate crown. The emperor looked with disfavor 
upon the union of the two countries, and in order to 
sever it, took advantage of the vanity and ambitions 
of the old prince. Only the energetic intervention of 
the magnates of Little Poland and the death of 
Witold prevented a disruption of the union. 

The elements in Lithuania which were least 
benefited by the union were the Ruthenian princes 
and boyars belonging to the Greek Church, who had 
been denied the dignities, rights and privileges of the 
Roman Catholic nobility. The death of Witold in 
1430 afforded opportunity for an open revolt. The 
Lithuanians and Ruthenians proclaimed Swidry- 
giello, the youngest brother of the King, Grand Duke 
of Lithuania, in violation of the existing treaties with 
Poland by which Lithuania, after the death of 
Witold, was to return to the sovereignty of Poland. 
To avoid possible hostilities Jagiello recognized 
Swidrygiello's title, but in spite of this, the latter, 
incited by the Emperor and the Order, declared war. 
He suffered a serious defeat at Lutsk in 1431. Mean- 
while the Teutonic knights again invaded the prov- 
ince of Great Poland and burned twenty-four cities 
and over a thousand villages. Poland was then com- 
pelled to ask for a truce of two years. 

Because of his ill success in arms and his policy 
of fostering the religious schism Swidrygiello was 


forced from his throne by his subjects. He was re- 
placed by Zygmunt, one of Witold's brothers, who, 
by the treaty of Grodno, in 1432, was recognized by 
Jagiello as Grand Duke of Lithuania, with the under- 
standing, however, that Lithuania's independence 
would cease with Zygmunt's death. By the same 
Grodno treaty the nobles of Lithuania and Ruthenia, 
who were of the Greek faith, were admitted to full 
citizenship, and were given Polish escutcheons on 
equal terms with the Roman Catholic nobles. Con- 
sidering the prevailing feelings and prejudices of the 
Roman Catholic world of the XVth century, one can- 
not but admire the spirit of the convention which, in 
this noble way, endeavored to lay solid foundations 
for the extension of the Polish state and to base them 
upon principles of justice and equality. 

By the trend of events narrated in this and the 
subsequent chapters, these political ideals of justice 

and equality were in time narrowed 
The ^^ down in their application to but one 
Privileges* class the nobility, a term which in time 
of the Nobility became synonymous with citizenship in 

Poland, and which did not necessarily 
imply ownership of land. 

The Polish nobility came into existence at a time 
when the Poles were in a comparatively early stage 
of social development, when the clan was the basic 
unit of the social structure. With the introduction 
of escutcheons, whole clans were admitted to nobility. 
In this manner, unlike the other European nations, 
where nobility developed in a relatively later stage 
of social evolution, a great many elements of a low 
economic and social status became nobles, and this 
also accounts for the fact that there were proportion- 
ately more nobles in Poland than in Western Europe, 
and that there were no differences in the grades of 


nobility as found among other nations. The subse- 
quent additions to the nobility were also numerous 
and were accomplished either through adoption or the 
conferring of nobiliary honors. The former method, 
which required the consent of the clan, was the usual 
practice until theXIVth century, when it was replaced 
by that of nobilitation by the king, who, in an earlier 
period, conferred his own escutcheon upon the candi- 
date, admitting him, as it were, to his own clan. At a 
later date various coats-of-arms were bestowed at the 
nobilitation ceremonies. All those who had an es- 
cutcheon were nobles. The possession of land was 
not a necessary prerequisite to a title of nobility, but 
those of the nobility who were land owners in some 
instances enjoyed special privileges. / 

In the time of Wladyslav Jagiello the nobility * 
became strongly differentiated from the other classes 
of society, and the magnates among the nobility ac- 
quired almost absolute power in matters of state. 
Many causes were responsible for the development of 
an oligarchic monarchy in Poland at that time. The 
King was an uneducated foreigner who had to rely 
upon native advisers to gain popularity. Unscrupu- 
lous and powerful magnates took advantage of this 
circumstance to secure for themselves privileges in 
addition to those granted to them and to the nobility 
in general by the Koszyce Pact with King Ludwig in 
1374, and subsequently by King Jagiello at the time 
of his coronation in 1386. Moreover, the almost in- 
cessant wars which Jagiello was obliged to carry on 
required great sacrifices in men and wealth. To ob- 
tain them he had to make frequent requests of the 
nobles and magnates who, in return for their services, 
demanded concessions and privileges. The war taxes 
weighed heavily upon them, and, as many of the 
nobility were poor, the constantly increasing tax 



levies tended to impoverish them still further. This 
accounts for the fact that in spite of the broadened 
political privileges gained, the rank and file of the 
nobility were unable to assert themselves in the 

(J. Mateyko) 

government. In the local conventions called by them 
from time to time they demanded reforms and partici- 
pation in the affairs of the country on the basis of 
the principle of "no taxation without representation." 


Bending to their will, the king would frequently 
submit his more important projects to the approval 
of these conventions. The custom took firm root, and 
the nobility did not miss a single opportunity of 
insisting upon their rights and of endeavoring to 
obtain further privileges. 

On the eve of an expedition against the Teutonic 
Knights in 14,22, the nobility assembled at Czerwinsk 
and obtained, in return for the promise of participa- 
tion in the expedition, several economic and fiscal 
privileges, and the recognition of the principle that a 
nobleman's property cannot be confiscated without 
due process of law. In 1430, only two centuries after 
the Magna Charta, and almost a century before the 
English "habeas corpus law" was enacted, the Polish 
nobles secured at Jedlnia, in consideration of the re- 
cognition of the claims of Jagiello's sons to the throne 
of Poland, the famous privilege: "Neminem captiva- 
bimus, nisi jure victum," according to the terms of 
which no nobleman could be arrested except upon the 
verdict of a court or when caught in the act of com- 
mitting murder, arson or theft. The same Jedlnia 
Act required the consent of the nobles to the coinage 
of money by the king. 

The privileges gained by the nobles, which re- 
sulted in restrictions of the regal power, were also 
aimed at the magnates, who usurped all 

*-pv A 

the hisrh state offices and exercised un- 

cendency of , i -, , T^I. 

Ecclesiastical dlie P ower over legislation. This cir- 
Power cumstance led the clergy to side with 

the nobles against the magnates. With 
the help of the nobles the clergy soon secured control 
over the destinies of the country, its government, edu- 
cation and foreign policy. 

Jagiello was married four times, and only by his 
last wife was there male issue. The first son, Wladvs- 


lav, was born ten years before Jagiello's death. Upon 
the ascent to the throne of Poland by the youthful 
king, the regency of the country was placed in the 
hands of Zbigniew Olesnicki, Bishop of Cracow, and 
later Cardinal, a man of power and ambition, who had 
already played a very conspicuous part in the affairs 
of the country at the. close of Jagiello's reign. During 
the regency he became practically omnipotent. It 
was because of this ecclesiastic rule in Poland that 
the union with Bohemia, eagerly sought by the Hus- 
sites, did not come to pass. As is well known, the 
Huss movement in Bohemia was partly religious and 
economic, but principally nationalistic. It was the 
uprising of the middle and lower classes of Bohemia 
against the German rule and the supremacy of Ger- 
man influences. The upper strata of the Bohemian 
nation were at that time completely Germanized and 
had assumed German names. The ruling dynasty of 
the kingdom was that of Luxemburg. When Huss 
was treacherously burned at the stake in the year of 
the Council of Constance, 1415, an open revolution 
broke out in Bohemia, which lasted for a period of 
over fifteen years. The Catholic clergy were banished 
and Hussitic services introduced. The Taborites, or 
radical wing of the Hussites, destroyed many castles 
and churches. In 1419 the Bohemian King died and 
the throne was to pass to his brother, Emperor Sieg- 
mund. The Hussites then turned to Jagiello with an 
offer of the crown of Bohemia. The Polish clergy im- 
mediately raised a cry against it. The Archbishop of 
Gnesen, Nicholas Tromba, who, at the Council of 
Constance, was a candidate for the Papal tiara, called 
a synod at Kalisz, which resolved to bend every effort 
to crush the spread of the Huss doctrines in Poland 
and to deal sharply with the heretics. At the same 
time Emperor Siegmund, in order to gain Polish sup- 


port, approached the Polish sovereign widower, of- 
fering the hand of his sister-in-law, with a dowry of 
the much-coveted Province of Silesia. The marriage 
did not come to pass. Neither did the union with Bo- 
hemia. Submitting to the pressure of the powerful 
clergy, Jagiello reluctantly refused the Bohemian 
crown. The Czechs then turned to Witold, who ac- 
cepted the invitation on condition that they make 
peace with the Church. He converted King Jagiello 
to his views, and soon an armed expedition, under the 
leadership of Zygmunt Korybut, the king's nephew, 
was ready. This action led the Pope, Martin V, to 
proclaim a crusade against Poland, and the Emperor 
started to form a coalition against Jagiello and 
Witold. In view of this coercion and also in view of 
the fact that Korybut did not succeed in reconciling 
the Czechs to the Church, Witold was compelled to 
resign from his plans. 

Due to the ceaseless work of the clergy the reac- 
tion against the Hussites in Poland reached its apogee 
in the edict of Wielun, 1424, which com- 
manded all the Poles residing in Bo- 
Hussitism hernia to return to Poland, and those 

in Poland of the Poles who were suspected of sym- 

pathies with the heretics were turned 
over to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Bishop Olesnicki, 
who was responsible for the edict, was also instru- 
mental in bringing about the meeting of the Emperor 
with Jagiello and Witold, at which they promised to 
recall the armed expedition from Bohemia. Soon after- 
ward Emperor Siegmund died and again the Czechs 
turned to Poland with an offer of the crown. At that 
time Olesnicki was regent, Wladyslav III, the youth- 
ful son of Jagiello, being King of Poland. It goes 
without saying that the offer was again declined. 
A large portion of the nobility, under the leadership 


of Spytek of Melsztyn, Abraham of Zbonz and others, 
protesting against what they considered a short- 
sighted policy, bound themselves into an armed 
confederacy. They were defeated and their followers 
dispersed. After their defeat, Hussitism in Poland 
came to a speedy end, but the dissatisfaction with 
the ecclesiastical regime, which was responsible 
for increased taxation, for a disastrous war with 
Turkey, and which failed to exploit the possibility 
of a union with Bohemia, grew and bore fruit with 
the ascent of Kazimir Jagiellonczyk, the second of 
Jagiello's sons, to the throne of Poland. 

The above mentioned war with Turkey was a 

direct consequence of Olesnicki's plan to secure the 

crown of St. Stephen's for King Wladys- 

The Turkish j av jjj ? d u nng whose childhood he had 

Campaign for managed the a ff a i rs o f the country. The 

the Liberation . J 

of the Balkan union with Hungary was to compensate 
Slavs the loss of Bohemia and to pacify the 

minds of those who were dissatisfied 
with his policy regarding the Czechs. Moreover, 
the union would have given an opportunity of 
rendering services to Christianity by expeditions 
against the infidel Turks, who, for almost a century, 
had established themselves in Europe and were 
threatening western civilization. Hungary had been 
carrying on constant wars against the Ottomans, and 
of late John Hunyadi had achieved great fame in his 
campaigns against them. The union with Hungary 
under the existing circumstances was most unpopular 
among the Polish magnates, who foresaw the burdens 
it would impose and the difficulties into which it 
might lead the country. The contrary view, how- 
ever, championed by Olesnicki, prevailed and soon 
after his coronation the youthful Wladyslav III or- 
ganized a crusade to liberate the Serbs, Bosnians and 


other Balkan peoples from the Turkish yoke. Large 
Polish forces joined the Hungarians. The first cam- 
paign in 1443 was very successful. After his dis- 
astrous defeat at Nish the Sultan Amurad asked for 
peace and offered as a price the return of Serbia, 
Albania and the other provinces which the Turks had 


taken from Hungary; he also offered to evacuate a 
large number of fortresses and to release all war 
prisoners, and an indemnity of one hundred thousand 
florins in gold. The terms were so extraordinary that 
no one believed that the Sultan could ever respect 
them, but with the advice of Hunyadi and other con- 
servative men, peace was agreed upon at Szegedin 
on August 1, 1444. The news was received with joy in 
Poland. The home affairs of the country demanded 
the king's attention. A special assembly of nobles 
was immediately called at Piotrkow. Unfortunately, 


however, the Papal legate, Cardinal Julian de Cesar- 
inis, was able to persuade the warrior boy-king that 
his oath of peace with the infidels was not binding, 
and that in the interest of the Church war should be 
resumed immediately. On the 24th of September, 
less than- two months after the treaty of Szegedin, 
Wladyslay was again in the field. The only ally 
whicfc kept his promise to help in this expedition was 
.Wallachia. The Greeks and the Serbs did not send 
the promised assistance. Overwhelming Turkish 
forces surrounded the Christian army at Varna on 
November 10, 1444, and almost entirely annihilated 
it. The Polish King met his death on the battlefield. 
"He was the only king in a Christian state," says the 
Polish historian Bartoszewicz, "who desired disin- 
terestedly to save Christianity." But he succeeded 
only in dragging, his country into countless diffi- 

The deceased king's brother, Kazimir Jagiellon- 

czyk, who had been discharging the office of Grand 

Duke of Lithuania, was very slow in 

The Sub- ascending the Polish throne to which 

ordination of , 3 , j 1 ,1 u-i-i. 

the Church ne was e l ec ted by the nobility, as- 

to the State sembled in April, 1445, at Sieradz. The 
chief reasons for his procrastination 
were his ambition to restore to Lithuania the 
provinces of Volhynia and Podolia, which were ad- 
ministered by Polish Governors, and his disinclina- 
tion to subscribe to the liberties and privileges of 
the clergy and nobility. When, after many fruitless 
presentations, the king remained recalcitrant and 
insisted that the two provinces be put under Lithu- 
anian control, and that he be not compelled to sign 
the pacta conventa, the magnates conditionally elect- 
ed Boleslav of Mazovia. Thus threatened, Kazimir 
accepted the crown on June 18, 1447, without, how- 


(J. Mateyko) 



ever, for the time being, taking an oath for the preser- 
vation of the privileges granted by his predecessors. 

His first act after the coronation was to curb the 
power of the clergy by subordinating the church to 
the state. This effort found a sympathetic echo 
among the nobles, and was in accord with the then 
modern precepts of Humanism, which, in spite of the 
medieval teachings of the Cracow University, were 
taking root in Poland, and had a warm supporter in 
the energetic and wise young king. The gentry was 
at odds with the Church at the time over the ways the 
tithes were collected. In view of the enormous de- 
preciation of currency it was to the advantage of the 
nobles to pay the tithes in specie. For the same 
reason the Church insisted that the tax be paid in 
kind. The struggle over this issue lasted for many 
decades. The efforts of the Polish ruler were 
strengthened by the then existing schism in the 
Church. As is well known, the cause that led to the 
schism was the question of the superiority of the 
Council over the Pope. The Council of Basel, 1431- 
1449, holding an affirmative view on the subject, de- 
clared Pope Eugene IV, who was of the opposite 
opinion, deprived of his dignity and elected Felix V 
in his place. Bishop Olesnicki, who at that time was 
regent of Poland, concurred in the view laid down by 
the Council of Basel, but proclaimed the country's 
neutrality with reference to the two popes, an attitude 
which prevailed until the ascent of Kazimir Jagiel- 
lonczyk. The new king saw in the schism an oppor- 
tunity to secure the coveted privileges, and informed 
Pope Nicholas VI, Eugene's successor, of his readi- 
ness to recognize him, provided the right of nomina- 
tion to ninety benefices in the arch-diocese of Gnesen 
be granted to him, as well as a part of the church 


tithes, which he needed for a war with the Tartars. 
This recognition of the Pope Nicholas VI, in opposi- 
tion to the Cracow University and to Bishop Oles- 
nicki, as well as the king's success in securing from the 
Pope the desired concessions, were a great blow to 
the ecclesiastical power in Poland. The victory was 
clinched when the king, after an obstinate fight es- 
tablished, in 1460, his appointee at the See of Cracow. 
The nomination of bishops then became a recognized 
attribute of the Polish sovereign. 

The fight of the king with the Church was grati- 
fying to the nobles, but they were restless over the 
fact that no recognition of their own 
with the" gg e privileges was forthcoming. Bound, on 
Oligarchy one hand, by his promise to return the 

provinces of Volhynia and Podolia to 
Lithuania, and, on the other, pressed by the Poles to 
take an oath on their liberties, the king tarried with 
the convocation of the Diet, fearing that the existing 
tension between Lithuania and Poland might lead 
to a disruption of the union. He was also desirous of 
postponing the sanction of the Polish liberties to 
which he was politically and temperamentally averse, 
and which tended to saddle an oligarchic rule upon 
the country. 

The Lithuanian claims were finally granted by 
the Poles, but in practice, only Volhynia came under 
Lithuanian control, Podolia remaining with Poland. 
The king seized upon the retention of Podolia as an 
excuse for opposing the Poles, who were clamoring 
for a recognition of their privileges. A strong oppo- 
sition arose with Bishop Olesnicki at its head. Only 
in 1453, six years after his coronation, did the king 
finally swear to respect and preserve the liberties 
granted by his 'predecessors. He also submitted to 
the demand for an advisory council of four digni- 


taries, without whose consent he should undertake 
nothing of importance. The king's submission to this 
demand was a signal victory for the magnates. The 
privileges sanctioned by the king, though embracing 
the whole of the nobility, redounded chiefly to the 
benefit of the wealthy potentates, and the great mass 
of common nobility remained without relief in their 
economic difficulties, caused by the constant wars 
and the lack of security against the iniquities of the 

In his fight against the aristocratic oligarchy the 
king could not rely upon the cities as did the rulers of 
other parts of Europe. The cities, which elsewhere 
in Europe constituted the buttress of the kings 
against the feudal lords, were, in Poland, losing their 
strength after the fall of Constantinople and were, in 
addition, inhabited in a large proportion by Germans, 
Jews and Armenians, who took no great interest in 
the matters of state and remained foreign to the 
country in which they lived and traded for genera- 
tions. The great mass of citizen-nobles constituted, 
therefore, the only element which could be utilized 
by the king to curb the oligarchy. External circum- 
stances expedited the extension of the rights and 
privileges of the Polish knighthood. 

The Prussians, suffering from the heavy fiscal 
burdens placed upon them by the Knights of the 
Cross, and seeing greater economic ad- 
Prussia's vantages for themselves by joining 
AdS f n r Poland, turned to Kazimir with a re- 
mto thTpolish quest that he accept them under his 
State sovereignty. The union of the Prussian 
nobility and of the cities, known as the 
Lizard Union from the emblem it chose, repeatedly 
petitioned the king to admit their country into the 
fold of the Polish state, which guaranteed to its citi- 


zens liberty, safety and prosperity. The king's final 
consent to their request, against the advice of Bishop 
Olesnicki, led to a war with the Order. At the call 
of the crown in 1454, great hosts of the nobles of 
Great Poland assembled at Gerekwica, not far from 
the city of Chojnice. Here they demanded of the 
king an extension of their rights which, in view of 
the impending war, was granted. Very soon after- 
ward, a similar charter was granted to the nobility 
of Little Poland, assembled in camp near the city of 
Nieszawa. Th^si2it^i^^i_^iQS^2L^i3iy^l^^, were 
made to apply to the nobility of the whole of Poland, 
and constituted the beginning of a regular constitu- 
tion in Poland. These statutes became in reality the 
organic law of the country regulating the relation- 
ship of the various classes constituting the Polish 
nation. They abolished the usage of common law in 
the courts of justice and introduced the general ap- 
plication of the Wislica statutes as amended since 
the time of Kazimir the Great. They also exempted 
the nobility from the jurisdiction of the king's, courts 
except in cases of murder, arson, theft and rape. 
Henceforth all cases came before judges nominated 
by the nobility and appointed by the king. The stat- 
utes limited the rights of the peasants, of the towns- 
people and of the Jews. They provided that no war 
could be declared by the king without the consent of 
the local land assemblies of the nobility, and that no 
new constitution or any law which would apply to the 
nobility could be promulgated by the king without 
the consent of the local land assemblies. The king 
was requested to attend the assemblies, either in 
person or by proxy. The local land conventions were 
to elect plenipotentiaries to represent them in the 
larger or general gatherings, the time and place of 
which was to be designated by the king. These gen- 


eral assemblies, jointly with the king, had the power 
to make laws for the whole country. Representatives 
of the general assemblies were to convene at Piotr- 
kow at stated intervals to advise the king in matters 
relating to state business. The dignitaries, without 
whose advice the king was not permitted to under- 
take anything of importance, constituted the continu- 
ation of the ancient Colloquium, which later de- 
veloped into the Senate. 

The war with the Order of the Cross, which 
caused this internal revolution in Polish affairs, lasted 
for twelve years, 1454-1466, and thanks to the unfal- 
tering support of the Prussian towns and nobility, 
ended in a complete triumph of the Polish arms. By 
the treaty of Thorn, 1466, Pomerania, Chelmno and 
Michalow and the western part of Prussia with the 
cities of Malborg and Warmia, went to Poland. The 
eastern part of Prussia, with its capital Krolewiec 
(Konigsberg) remained in the hands of the Order as 
a fief of Poland. The Great Master of the Order 
pledged himeslf to recognize no other sovereigns ex- 
cept the Pope and the Polish King, and to form no 
alliance or declare war without the consent of the 
King of Poland. In return, he received a seat in the 
Polish Council of the Crown. The victory of Poland 
over the Order was hailed with joy by the Prussian 
nobles. They preferred the political liberties of 
Poland to the iron rule of the Order and manifested 
their sympathies by assuming Polish names. The 
barons von der Baysen changed their family name to 
Bazenski, the barons von Unruh to Niepokojczycki, 
the counts von Hutten to Czapski, the von Oppelins 
to Bronikowski and so along the line. 

By the crushing of the Order and by the free 
access to the Baltic and the possession of such ports 
as that of Gdansk (Danzig), Poland became a great 


political power, with inherent -pp^sibilities !foi au 
enormous economic expansion, which was so un- 
fortunately thwarted by the ensuing wars. 

The war with the Order made it impossible for 
Kazimir Jagiellonczyk to press his claims to the 

thrones of Bohemia and Hungary, after 
The Extension t h e childless death of Wladyslav Haps- 
* Po burg, son of Emperor Albrecht, whose 

Hungary and beautiful sister he had married. The 
Bohemia Hungarians proclaimed Matthew Kor- 

win, the son of John Hunyadi, as their 
king, and the Bohemians chose George of Podiebrad, 
a Hussite. The dissatisfied Catholic element in Bo- 
hemia turned to Poland. Kazimir intervened, and 
as a consequence his son ascended the throne of 
Bohemia. Soon afterward Hungary, at the death of 
Matthew Korwin, who left no legal sons, united with 
Bohemia under the same sceptre. Polish influence 
was, in this way, established over a wide area and in 
foreign lands, but at the same time it was rapidly 
waning in the old native province of Silesia. The 
clergy of that province, guarding against the spread 
of Hussitism which exercised such a peculiar fascina- 
tion over the western Slavs, were Germanizing the 
autochthonous population by all available means, 
The Bishop of Breslau threatened with dispossession 
those of his Polish peasant tenants who would not in 
the course of five years adopt German customs and 
the German speech. 

A break with the Lithuanians was also impend- 
ing in spite of the perils which threatened both 

Poland and Lithuania from the Turks 
rh f J urkish . in the south and from the growing ag- 

and Muscovite . - , , TU 

Perils gressivenes of Moscow on the east. 1 he 

Turks settled on the Moldavian coast 

of the Black Sea in 1480, and occupied Akerman and 


Kilia, strong fortresses guarding the mouths of the 
Dniester and" 'Danube, and endangered Polish trans- 
continental commerce and the Polish political sover- 
eignty in Moldavia. On the east, the expanding 
autocracy of Moscow had already throttled the free 
Russian republics of Pskov and Novgorod, and was 
exhibiting disquieting designs for further conquests. 
Lithuania became restless. 

At the time when the foreign policy with refer- 
ence to the new T ly arising conditions on the east was 
being shaped, Kazimir died in Grodno on June 7, 
1492, after a reign of forty-five years, rich in great 
events, men and glory. His character and achieve- 
ments gave him an illustrious name and a prominent 
place in Polish History. 

It was during the reign of Kazimir that Human- 
ism gained a firm footing in Poland and a host of 
talented poets, historians and political 

Humanism in ,-, i i- -, 

Poland thinkers sprang up. 1 he beginnings oi 

Humanistic currents in Poland date as 
far back as the second decade of the XVth century. 
In a short while the new turn in literature and phil- 
osophy found numerous adepts on the banks of the 
Vistula. A literary society known as "Sodalitas 
literaria vistulana" was organized at Cracow in 1489 
composed of young enthusiastic poets and writers. 
The classic authors were studied profoundly and 
numerous literary productions ^hved the way for the 
future development of national art and literature. 
The Polish writers soon became masters of the classic 
style and earned their laurels from the Popes, as did 
Klemens Janicki (1516-1543). The tradition of Latin 
letters continued well into the XVIIth century, al- 
though the Polish language in literature had by that 
time superseded Latin almost completely. For his 
beautiful lyrics Matthew Sarbiewski (1595-1640), a 


professor at the University of Wilno, received the 
laurel wreath at the Capitol of Rome, and for cen- 
turies after his death his works in neo-Latin were 
studied beside the Roman classics in the principal 
colleges of Europe. 

One of the earliest Humanists in Poland was 
George of Sanok w.ho contributed a great deal toward 
the awakening of interest in the ancient authors and 
in their philosophy of life. He was soon over- 
shadowed by a series of remarkable thinkers and 
writers. The struggle for supremacy between the 
King and the Church and the unsettled social condi- 
tions created a body of original political thought. 
Senator Jan Ostrorog (1420-1501) wrote a remark- 
able treatise advocating the subjection of ecclesias- 
tical power to that of the State. He advised the curb- 
ing of the excessive prerogatives of the nobility and 
urged the nationalization of cities, the equalization 
of laws and the abolition of certain privileges. The 
favorable reception which Ostrorog's theories re- 
ceived in contemporary Poland is an indication of 
political maturity of the Polish nobility, and also 
shows how deeply the principles of sound political 
thinking had become imbedded in Polish life. Po- 
land's political experience radiated abroad. The work 
"De Optimo Senatore" by Bishop Goslicki, of Posen 
(known in Latin as Goslicius), was widely read and 
commented upon all over Europe. 

Just as the struggle of the Crown with the Church 
called forth a whole literature on political and social 
philosophy, so the controversy with the Knights of 
the Cross, submitted to the Popes and Church Coun- 
cils for adjudication, gave rise to juristic studies 
and historical research. The able defense of Po- 
land's claim against the Order presented in the 
"Tractatus de potestate Papae et Imperatoris re- 


spectu Infidelium"at the Council of Constance in 1415 
by Paul of Brudzev, rector of the Cracow University 
made the author famous in Europe. This is but one 
of the numerous treatises prepared by Polish scholars 
on the subject. Towering above all other writers 
stands the historian Jan Dlugosz (1415-1480), who is 
considered superior to the celebrated historians, 


Commineus and Guicciardini. The "History of 
Poland" by Dlugosz, one time secretary of Car- 
dinal Olesnicki, is one of the most profound his- 
torical works of the XVth century. The erudition 
of the author, the painstaking examination of the 
sources, his searching criticism and gift of analysis 
and observation, his masterful classifications and 
method of presentation mark an era in history 
writing and laid solid foundations for all future na- 
tional histories of Poland. 



The end of the XVth century records Poland not 
only as one of the largest empires of the continent 
but as a country with a well developed and pro- 
nounced culture of her own. 


The Republic of Nobles 

Immediately after the death of Kazimir Jagiel- 
lonczyk, John I Olbracht was elected King of Poland, 
Th 1492-1501. The Lithuanians elected his 

of Serfdom* 1 " 8 y oun g er brother, Alexander, as Grand 
Duke of Lithuania in violation of the 
existing agreements. The new king was educated in 
accordance with the principles of Humanism, and, 
like his father, was determined to resist the power of 
the secular and temporal lords, and in these efforts 
sided with the nobility, whose idol he had become. 
The first two Diets which he convened during his 
reign, in 1493 and 1496, both at Piotrkow, amplified 
the statutes of Nieszawa. By the new law the nobility 
were exempted from tariff duties and other fiscal 
burdens, the peasants were restricted in their right 
to leave their villages, and the landlords were given 
the power to represent their peasants in the courts. 
Thereafter no peasant could appear in court unac- 
companied by his landlord. This last provision, 
amplified by further statutes, finally threw the whole 
peasantry into complete dependence upon the private 
jurisdiction of the landowners. The peasants lost 


their right to leave their settlements without the per- 
mission of the landowners, and the family could send 
but one of their boys to study in a city. By a further 
regulation they were not permitted to leave the coun- 
try for seasonal work in neighboring states where 
higher wages prevailed. 

(J. Mateyko) 
FIG. 51 JAN I OI.BRACHT (1492-1501) 

This movement to restrict the peasants coincides 
with the opening of the Baltic and the accession 
of the large Hanseatic port of Gdansk (Danzig), 
through which a great opportunity presented itself 
for selling Polish grain and other agricultural prod- 
ucts in Europe. To be able to produce grain for ex- 
port the landowners needed a reliable and cheap labor 
force. Even prior to this time, as a result of the 
enormous depreciation of currency that took place 
in Poland, and similarly throughout Europe, in the 
XVth and XVIth centuries a tendency had arisen 
among the landlords to demand rent in the form of 


services and produce rather than in specie, as had 
been the custom since the days of the first German 
settlements. Payment in services and other restric- 
tions formed the foundation of serfdom. The year 
v 1496 is regarded as the beginning of legal serfdom in 
Poland, leading to a patrimonial form of agrarian 
life, with the manor as the centre of every economic 
unit, and the landlord the source of supreme law and 
power. The same year ushered in the era of gradual 
decline of Polish cities. From this brief account it 
may be observed that the economic development of 
Poland was in complete contrast to that of contem- 
porary England. 

As has been mentioned before, the cities and 
towns of early Poland served chiefly as stations for 

transitory foreign commerce. Such was 
The Growth ^he original character of Kruszwica, 
the d p e ih ne Cracow, Lemberg, Posen and Breslau. 
Cities In a later period when the Germans 

settlers changed the mode of Polish 
urban life and made them the foci of various crafts 
and industries, the cities became more closely fused 
with the entire social and economic fabric of the state. 
The cities, producing domestic utensils, cloth, beer 
and other articles of daily use, began to exchange them 
for the grain and other farm products of their im- 
mediate vicinity. In the XHIth and XlVth centuries 
the Polish cities produced broadcloths, metalware, 
wire, tin sheets, swords, knives, paper, furniture, 
glassware, bricks and pottery in considerable quan- 
tities. In 1357 a whole street in the City of Cracow 
was inhabited by glass-workers, and at Posen a glass 
factory was established at the beginning of the 
Xlllth century. 

Aside from the local merchants, the Polish cities 
had merchants who engaged in foreign commerce. 



They acted as intermediaries between the north and 
south, and the east and the west. Salt, silks, spices, 
wine, lemons, precious stones, trinkets and articles 
of a similar nature were imported, and cloth, grain, 
tallow, bristles, hides, furs, naval stores, lumber and 
other raw products were exported. Cities like Lem- 
berg were important commercial centers for foreign 


trade. Here were agents from many marts, such as 
Venice, Holland and Constantinople. The earliest 
exports of grain went to Holland, England and 
France. At the initiative of Emperor Emanuel Pale- 
olog, regular exports of Polish grain to Constanti- 
nople began in the XlVth century. This was respon- 
sible for the energetic colonization movement in 



fertile Ruthenia during the reign of Kazimir the 
Great. The Levant trade had always been a very 
important item in the commercial business of the 
country, and the fall of Constantinople proved to be 
disastrous to the prosperity of the ancient and most 

(W. Lozinski) 


important Polish cities. The difficulties put in the 
way of the Polish merchants by the Order of the 
Cross controlling the Baltic seacoast were relieved 
after the Jagiellon victory at Grunwald, in 1410, as 
considerable concessions were then obtained. In 1466 


Prussia, with its seaports, became a part of Poland, 
and the whole course of the Vistula came back under 


the control of Poland. It afforded a great boom to 
commerce and agriculture, particularly since under 
the progressive law promulgated by Kazimir Jagiel- 


lonczyk, in 1447, all navigable rivers were declared 
the property of the Crown and therefore public prop- 
erty, free for general use. Large freight fleets sailed 
back and forth upon the Vistula, carrying endless 
cargoes of wheat, rye, hemp, tar, honey, wax, bristles, 
fats, lumber, skins and furs to Danzig. The acquisi- 
tion of Danzig and such other ports as Klaypeda 
(Memel) and Krolewiec (Konigsberg) resulting in 
an enormous increase in exports, caused a revolution 
in the economic and political life of the country. 
Its effect upon the organization of agriculture and 


the lot of the peasant has been mentioned. The 
nearer the district was to the Vistula and the easier 
the access to that Nile of Poland, the sooner were 
changes visible, and the earlier did the peasant lose 
his individual liberty and become a serf. 

The enormous growth of exports produced a 
marked effect upon the cities. Due to the introduc- 
tion of credit on a most extensive scale, they grew in 
wealth, and numerous families acquired enormous 
riches. At one time five European sovereigns were 
entertained by a merchant in Cracow. Private pal- 


aces, artistic public buildings and beautiful churches 
adorned the towns. Art flourished. Vit Stwosz, the 
great Polish sculptor of the time, who designed the 
triptych of the high altar in the Church of the Holy 
Virgin Mary, was not a mere accident. He was a 
product of his milieu. Many foreign, particularly 
Italian, architects were brought over to design public 
and private buildings. In daily life the burghers wore 


sumptuous dress of silk and lace, fine furs, gold, jew- 
elry and precious stones. "Poor, indeed, was the master 
artisan or merchant who did not use silver tableware 
at home and whose wife did not possess a bonnet or- 
namented with pearls." The many gold, silver and 
bronze candelabra, chandeliers, candlesticks and 
other domestic utensils left from that period, still 
found in churches, museums and in private families 



as heirlooms, bring testimony to the prosperity and 
high standards of the cities of the XlVth and XVth 
centuries. The chroniclers and other writers give us 
absorbingly interesting descriptions of city life. 


The cities were clean and salubrious. Life was 
quiet, industrious and moral, particularly in the 
earlier centuries. Private property was regarded as 


a sanctity, and the smallest theft was punished 
severely, sometimes by death. Heavy punishment 
was similarly visited upon dissolute women. 

The houses in the cities were built of stone or 
brick and covered with tile roofs. In the XVIth cen- 
tury all new houses were required to be built of stone, 
eliminating the waste and danger of fires. To help 
the poorer inhabitants to rear more expensive struc- 
tures the city fathers exempted their properties from 


all taxation for long periods of time, frequently for 
twenty years or more. At the end of the XVth and 
the beginning of the XYIth centuries all the principal 
cities established municipal waterworks, and pipes 
carried the water to every house. Sanitary regula- 
tions were numerous and strict. Since the XHIth or 
XlVth century there was not a city in all Poland 
which did not have a hospital, an almshouse and a 
free public bath. In the larger cities physicians were 
employed to visit regularly the hospitals and to super- 


vise the drug stores. In cases of contagious disease 
home quarantine was maintained, and during epidem- 
ics large numbers of physicians were employed by 
the city, and indigent persons received free food to 
sustain their vitality and resistance. By law, graves 
were dug three yards deep. 

The fire regulations were very definite. Many 
cities awarded special prizes to those who were most 
proficient in extinguishing fires. Chimney sweepers 
were retained in every town, and in many cities the 


building of narrow streets was prohibited. The 
streets were well paved and kept clean. Residents 
were not permitted to put garbage in front of the 
houses, and refuse of all kinds was regularly collected 
and carted away to the dumping grounds outside of 
the city limits. 

The development of Polish commerce in the 
XVth century is said to have been greatly stimulated 
by the excellent postal service enjoyed by the cities 
during this period. In 1583 the postal monopoly was 
farmed out by the king to Sebastian Montelupi, a rich 



merchant of Lemberg, who organized a remarkably 
regular postal exchange with foreign countries. Dur- 
ing his administration the larger cities received their 
mail regularly every week, and the rates charged 
were uniform and moderate, in accordance with a 
schedule based on distance zones. 

The causes of the decline of the Polish cities 
The fall of Constantinople and the 

were numerous. 


discovery of sea routes to the Orient have already 
been mentioned. The heterogeneous character of the 
population, which, in addition to economic differ- 
ences, created class and racial -struggles within the 
municipalities and made impossible harmony and 
strength, was another important factor. This dis- 
integration of municipal harmony was taken advan- 
tage of by the powerful magnates and by the officers 
of the Crown, who had jurisdiction over the Jews 



and over those parts of the community which were 
not within the corporate limits, to extend their 
powers and prerogatives. 

With the disruption of the patriarchal relations 
between the masters of the guilds .and the journey- 
men and apprentices, .the cities witnessed many 
strikes and riots. The municipal government became 
demoralized and its competence gradually curtailed. 


The artisans were too much concerned with their 
trades and class struggles, and the merchants too 
much absorbed in their commercial transactions, to 
pay much attention to the political events that were 
taking place in the country and to the concentration 
of power in the hands of the nobles. Meanwhile, 
pernicious legislation was being enacted, which cut 
the arteries of city prosperity and development. The 
very heterogeneity of the city populace, consisting of 



from one-eighth to one-fifth of Germans or of their na- 
tionally undigested descendants, of a still larger pro- 
portion of Jews, and an admixture of other foreign 







elements, such as Scotchmen, Frenchmen, Italians 
and Armenians this heterogeneity was also respon- 
sible for the indifference of the cities in the destinies 


of the country and for the neglect to exercise the 
right they possessed to representation in the national 


The law exempting nobles from paying export 
duties when shipping their products abroad gave to 
the landlords great advantages over the merchants. 


Similarly injurious to commerce was the privilege 
given to the nobles of importing foreign wares for 
personal use, duty free. The merchant's usefulness 
became thereby curtailed in a considerable degree. 



With a view of monopolizing" all the land of the coun- 
try, the nobility secured the passage of a law in the 
memorable year 1496 forbidding burghers to own 


land outside of the city limits. Thus the source of the 
merchants' supply of large quantities of farm prod- 
ucts for export was eliminated. Further legislation 
of this sort, which went so far as to prohibit a burgher 
from occupying an ecclesiastical office higher than 



that of a canon, coupled with the keen foreign com- 
petition the merchants had to encounter, interior city 
disorders, jealousies and competition among the 
cities, and perpetual and devastating wars, were addi- 
tional causes for the rather precipitous decline of the 
once flourishing Polish cities with their splendid 

From Georg Braun's "Civitates Orbis Terrarum," 1491 

civilization. In the XVIIth century the cities had 
already become but a shadow of their previous glory. 
It was during the reign of John Olbracht that 
the nobles secured extraordinary privileges and eco- 
The Growth nomic advantages. Satisfied with their 
of Political gains, they voted the necessary money 
Power of the for the war planned by the king. Jointly 
Nobility with his brother Wladyslav, King of 

Hungary and Bohemia, John Olbracht organized a 



campaign against Turkey to reconquer the coast of 
the Black Sea and to overawe the vacilating Hos- 
podars of Moldavia. The campaign resulted in a com- 
plete collapse of the plans of the king and the annihila- 
tion of an army of 80,000 men. The defeated ruler 
then proceeded to organize a crusade against Turkey 

From Georg Braun's "Civitates Orbis Terrarum," 1491 

jointly with the German Emperor, the Hungarian 
King and the Pope, but he died suddenly in the midst 
of the preparations. 

At the time of the king's death Lithuania was in 
the throes of a war of her own with Muscovy. Nine 
years of independence had convinced the Lithuanians 
of their error in striving to sever the bonds uniting 
them with Poland, and hence the news of the election 
of Alexander, Grand Duke of Lithuania, to the throne 



of Poland, was received with great joy by them. The 
pact uniting Lithuania with Poland was renewed. 
Henceforth Lithuania and Poland were to form one 
inseparable unit. The elections of the king were to 
be held in common, all alliances and privileges were 
to be made binding for the two countries, the money 
was to be the same, and Polish kings were to become 
automatically, upon their election, Grand Dukes of 


Lithuania. The separatist tendencies among the 
Lithuanians came to an end with the death of John 
Olbracht and the ascent of Alexander. The new king, 
unlike his father and brother, was favorably inclined 
toward the oligarchy. Upon his becoming Grand 
Duke of Lithuania in 1492 he had granted a privilege 
to the Lithuanian potentates by which all the activi- 





ties of the Grand Duke came under the control of the 
Council of Magnates. Upon his coronation as King 
of Poland in 1501 the Polish magnates obtained from 
him a similar privilege. By this act the rather ex- 
tensive powers of the king were in a large measure 
obliterated, and his role was reduced to that of the 
President of the Senate. This important grant is 
known as the Mielnik privilege. By the provisions 

(J. Mateyko) 
FIG. 71 ALEXANDER (1501-1506) 

of this act the Senate could, in the name of the people, 
refuse obedience to the king in instances of "tyran- 
nical behavior" on his part. The nobility, disorgan- 
ized through great losses in their ranks suffered in 
the war with Turkey, was unable to resist the return 
to power of the magnates, but tried to oppose them 
by the employment of such means as the refusal to 
pay taxes or to serve in the army. These circum- 


stances led to a state of almost complete disorgan- 
ization in matters of internal administration, intensi- 
fied by an economic crisis and the gathering black 
clouds on the boundaries of the country. The Order 
of the Cross ceased to pay homage to the king, the 
Tartars and Wallachians were ravaging the southern 
provinces of the country, and intervention in the war 
carried on between Lithuania and Moscow grew 
near. In view of the situation the king convoked the 
Diet which met regularly every year, until order 
was restored and conditions regulated. In order to 
offset the extraordinary powers of the Senate the 
nobility forced through, at the Diet held at Piotrkow 
in 1504, a law called the "Incompatibilia," which 
defined the powers and duties of the various crown 
offices and specified which of these were "incom- 
patible," i. e., which of them could not be held by the 
same person at the same time. 

The next year at the Diet which met at Radom, 
a statute was passed known by its two initial words 
as "IiliiLe^d/' This statute provided that nothing 
new could be undertaken without the unanimous con- 
sent of the three estates : the King, the Senate and 
the representatives of the land assemblies of : the 
nobility. This statute also provided that no noble- 
man should engage in trade or commerce, under the 
penalty of forfeiting his right to nobility. The nobil- 
ity opposed the establishment of a regular army, fear- 
ing that it might become a powerful weapon in the 
hands of the king, but solemnly declared their duty 
and readiness, as land owners, to defend the country 
from foreign enemies. With few exceptions the rep- 
resentatives of the cities were entirely eliminated 
from the Diets. 

Soon after the signing of the new statute Alex- 
ander died, and his brother, Zygmunt I, the youngest 


FIG. 72 ZYGMUNT I (1506-1548) 


son of Kazimir Jagiellonczyk, was elected King of Po- 
land and Lithuania. There was general feeling that 
Prince Michael Glinski, w r ho was known to have plans 
for establishing an independent kingdom of Ruthenia, 
was responsible for the death of King Alexander, 
and, fearing that dissensions might arise if a new 
monarch were not elected at once, the Lithuanians 
proclaimed Zygmunt as their sovereign even before 
the Poles had a chance to express their preference. 
Poland soon followed the wise course taken by the 
Lithuanians and proclaimed Zygmunt King of 
Poland. The reign of Zygmunt I (1506-1548) known 
as the Old, because he was forty when he ascended 
the throne, abounded in great events in internal as 
well as external affairs. It was in his reign that the 
nobility finally established itself as the dominant 
factor in Polish life to the detriment of the cities and 
peasantry, in spite of the king's leanings toward a 
strong government by a selected group backed by a 
well disciplined regular army and a responsible force 
of administrative officials. In the first part of his 
reign the king distinguished himself by his ability 
and character. Many intricate problems were satis- 
factorily solved, the exchequer was replenished, 
jurisdiction regulated, a state mint established, and a 
large number of the mortgaged crown estates re- 
deemed. In the second part of his reign, as an elderly 
man, he succumbed to the influences of his Italian 
wife, Bona Sforza, a woman of low instincts, treacher- 
ous and greedy, and ready to exploit her position in 
order to increase her private fortune. No methods 
were too mean to be employed in gaining her ends. 
Through her pernicious influence corruption crept 
into public life, high offices were given to incompe- 
tent favorites and state revenues used to swell private 
fortunes. A tide of indignation against corruption 




and the squandering of the royal domains swept 
through the country, and an open revolt broke out 
under the leadership of the powerful and impetuous 
Peter Zborowski. 

While important administrative reforms were 
being introduced many other influences were at work 
M . to make Zygmunt's reign memorable. 

Humanism had made triumphant in- 
roads into Polish thought despite the attempts of the 
Cracow University to stem it, and laid the foundation 
for the mighty swing by which the Protestant refor- 
mation made its appearance in Poland. At that time 
the complete fusion of Mazovia with Poland in 1529 
took place after the extinction of the Piast Mazurian 
dynasty. Previously Mazovia had been a vassal prin- 
cipality with an autonomous government, completely 
independent of the Polish government. The entrance 
into Polish political life of the Mazurs, who at that 
time were much inferior in education and economic 
and political development to the rest of Poland, made 
itself felt immediately because of their steadfast ad- 
herence to the Church and ancient custom, and their 
aversion to progressive tendencies. Only one year 
after their entry into the Diet added burdens were 
put upon the peasants, and henceforth serfdom be- 
came more strongly entrenched. 

At the same time that Mazovia, with its capital 
of Warsaw, came into the fold of the Polish state, 
,,. r -i. a precious Polish possession, that of 

The Duchy , . , 

of East Prussia ^ russia, was, through the shortsight- 
edness of the King and his Council, 
drifting away from Poland. At the time when the 
Reformation was making great headway in the north- 
ern states of Germany, Albrecht Hohenzollern-An- 
spach, Grand Master of the Order of the Cross, de- 



cided to abandon the Roman Church, and, with the 
consent of the Polish King, became the secular prince 
of the vassal province of East Prussia. One of the 
reasons which led the king to give his consent to 
this recognition was the ferment the Reformation 
was causing in West or Royal Prussia, and the riot- 
ing at Danzig and elsewhere. He feared that a 

(J. Mateyko) 


refusal might lead Albrecht to bring the whole of 
Prussia into an armed contest with the Crown. He 
preferred to settle the matter amicably, and by the 
Treaty of Cracow, Albrecht was recognized as 
hereditary Prince of East or Ducal Prussia, under the 
sovereignty of Poland, with a right to the first seat in 


the Polish Senate. After signing the treaty, Albrecht 
paid public homage to the Polish King at the market 
place of Cracow in 1525. The Pope and the German 
Emperor protested, and it is only to be regretted that 
instead of confiscating the territories of the Order 
after its secularization, as he had a right to do, ac- 
cording to the terms of the Treaty of Thorn, the Po- 
lish King chose the other policy, which proved to be 
one of the greatest blunders in Polish history. The 
whole course of Polish, and perhaps of European his- 
tory, would have been different had not Zygmunt 
been bent upon this policy, which, in addition to the 
reason given above, he was persuaded to follow be- 
cause of the wars he was carrying on with Muscovy. 
The second of these conflicts with that power ended 
in 1522, and resulted in the loss of Smolensk, an im- 
portant strategic point which, from that date until 
1611, remained in Muscovy's hands. Further reason 
for endeavoring to avert a possible Prussian rebel- 
lion was the political anarchy in Hungary and the 
fear of a war with Turkey, which constantly threat- 
ened Poland. 

The southern frontier of the country had also to 
be guarded against the Tartars of Crimea who per- 
TT1 . petually harassed Poland's borderlands. 

Ukraine * J , , . 1-1 

Many castles and tortresses were built 
by Zygmunt to hold them back, among them being 
the famous fortress of Bar. Of the Polish generals 
who distinguished themselves in defence of the coun- 
try during the reign of Zygmunt I, the name of Jan 
Tarnowski stands out most prominently. It was he 
who defeated Petryllo, the -Moldavian hospodar 
whose expedition was undertaken at the promptings 
of Muscovy. Tarnowski's victory over the Molda- 
vians at Obertin in 1531 is one of the beacon lights in 
the remarkable military annals of Poland. No single 



victory, however, could put an end to the Moldavian 
and Tartar raids which were a curse to the civilization 
of that region, and rendered the proper development 
of the fertile black soil of Ukraine almost impossible. 
Flourishing settlements were annihilated over and 
over again by fire and sword. This condition was 
one of the causes that retarded thePolonization of the 


Soldier and Statesman, Author of a Famous Military Work 

"Consilium Rationis Bellicae." 

native semi-civilized people. Another was the lack 
of aggressiveness on the part of the Poles. In defer- 
ence to the feelings of the native population, Roman 
Catholic churches or Polish schools were seldom built 
in these regions, and the descendants of Polish set- 
tlers, finding no buttress in Polish institutions, often 
lost their language and religion, accepting those of 
the Ruthenians. Moreover, the constant fighting with 


the Tartar, Turkish and Moldavian raiders lowered 
standards of civilization and developed a warlike, 
self-reliant but impetuous and almost unmanageable 
frontier race. 

The exalted conception of political freedom and 
the universal respect the Poles have always enter- 
tained for the rights of other nationalities proved to 
be a source of political weakness as exhibited in the 
state polity with reference to Prussia and Ukraine. 
In her political ideals Poland was a pioneer among 
the nations and hard, indeed, is the lot of the pioneer 
and leader! She, like France at a later period, bled 
profusely that new and higher forms of life, which 
she worked out in her experimental laboratory, might 
replace the hoary moulds that had been hampering 
the progress of mankind. 

To enable the peaceful development of Ukraine 
and Podolia a regular army was kept in a chain of 
border towns and attempts were made to draft into 
service the half-civilized refugees from everywhere, 
but mostly from Ukraine, who formed a kind of 
bandit republic around the cataracts of the lower 
Dnieper. The citizens of that republic, known by the 
Tartar name of Cossacks, lived by piracy and high- 
way robbery. Polish generals were sometimes suc- 
cessful in utilizing this republic of outlaws, robbers 
and plunderers for staying Turkish and Tartar ex- 

The other neighbor who interfered with the 
development of the frontier territories of Poland was 
Muscovy which, since the times of Ivan III, exerted 
constant pressure in her efforts to establish a foot- 
hold in the west, encouraged by the German Emperor 
and German princes, who disliked the growth of 


Threatened on all sides, the country made every 
effort to change its fiscal basis and to establish an 

adequate system of taxation for pur- 
poses of defence. Following the exam- 

re- P^ e ^ otner countries of Europe, the 
paredness King endeavored to form a regular 

army. When plans miscarried, he 
proposed another measure, whereby the country 
was to be subdivided into five sections, each section 
contributing its knighthood once in five years for a 
year's service at the frontiers of the country. Those 
who wished to be excused from -service could do so 
on the payment of a stipulated tax. The excellent 
measure was passed by the Diet, but was rendered 
practically inoperative by the impossibility of agree- 
ment as to the methods of property appraisals and 
the preservation of registers and tax lists. The great 
reforms planned by the King arid his Chancellor, 
John Laski, the Archbishop of Gnesen, and supported 
by a great body of patriots, fell through because of 
the shortsightedness and stinginess of a small group 
of obstructionists. 

What is true of democracies even now applies 
in a greater measure to Poland of that period. The 
large mass of the citizenry was preoccupied with 
their daily tasks and duties and could not devote 
much time and thought to the affairs of government. 
The Polish nobility never shirked their duties in the 
defense of the country but it was impossible for them 
to keep in close touch with government matters, par- 
ticularly in those days when the means of transmis- 
sion of intelligence were meagre and undeveloped. 
This laissez faire attitude gave opportunity to the 
selfish and unscrupulous elements to defeat the 
purposes of legislation and reforms and to use them 
for the benefit of their individual interests. 

From Georg Braun's "Civitates Orbis Terrarum," 1491 


The Protestant Reformation and the Golden Age in' 


The efforts of Zygmunt the Old and of the patri- 
ots to change the fiscal system of the country, and to 
introduce satisfactory administrative 


" A . and military reforms, were considerably 

cursors of the , , J . . , * 

Reformation retarted by the progress of the rrotes- 

tant Reformation which, at that time, 
absorbed the attention of the country and occupied 
the minds of the people to the exclusion of all other 
matters. Luther's "heresy" was immediately and 
sympathetically echoed in Poland after its promulga- 
tion in Germany. The ground was well prepared for 
it. Religious, political and economic conditions simi-- 
lar to those which made it popular in the German 
states existed in Poland. The Polish clergy led as 
dissolute a life as did the clergy elsewhere/in Europe. 
The indignation of the nobles at the freedom the 
clergy enjoyed from taxation and other burdens was 
intense. Strong was also their opposition to the 
church tithes as well as their resentment at Papal 
interference in matters of state. The renowned writer 
of the time of Kazimir Jagiellonczyk, Jan Ostrorog, 
in his dissertation, "Monumentum pro reipublicae 
ordinatione congestum," expressed the prevailing 


opinion when he wrote in 1473: "The Polish King 
recognized nobody's supremacy save that of God; 
instead of assuring the new Pope of his obedi- 
ence he will sufficiently fulfill his duty if he congra- 
tulate him, and at the same time remind him that he 
should rule the Church justly. It is below the dignity 
of the king to write to the Pope with humility and 
humbleness. . . . The clergy are obliged to help the 
state; one should not be indignant when the king 
orders the melting of church utensils for public needs. 
All payments for the benefit of the Pope should be 
abolished. Poland needs all the funds she can spare 
for the war with invaders and for the preservation of 
internal order. The proclamation of jubilee Papal 
bulls as well as fees for funerals, marriages, etc., 
should be prohibited. The king should nominate the 
bishops. In order to decrease the large body of fait- 
neants, the number of cloisters should be restricted, 
the admission of foreigners to them prohibited, and 
sermons in the German language restricted." Such 
were the predominant sentiments of the time, in true 
keeping with the teachings of Humanism, which 
spread in Poland through constant contact with Ger- 
many and Italy, in the principles of which several 
generations preceding the Reformation had been 
reared, and in accordance with which they shaped 
their views and opinions. The memory of the Huss 
movement had not completely died out in Poland, and 
the similarity of Luther's teachings with Hussitism 
made them popular. Moreover, the political demands 
of the nobility, striving for complete emancipation 
from ecclesiastical jurisdiction and for the establish- 
ment of a national Church, with the king or a synod at 
the head, formed a fertile soil for the reception of the 
Reformation, the seeds of which took firm root in all 
parts of Poland with the exception of Mazovia. 


That Poland was not free from "heretics" at all 
times since the XlVth century can be inferred from 
the fact that as early as 1326 the famous Pope John 
XXII "was compelled" to appoint a special inquisitor 
for Poland in the person of Peter of Kolomea, a 
Dominican. There is, however, no documentary evi- 
dence of any work of the inquisitors in Poland. 

The Lutheran movement began in Prussia and 

in the larger Polish cities, such as Cracow, where the 

German element was considerable. One 

The of the first and most ardent representa- 

Growth of the , r T .LI n i j T 

Reformation tlves of Luther in Poland was Jan 
Movement Seklucyan. But Lutheranism was not 

as popular as Calvinism, for the reason 
that the latter was considered more appropriate for 
a free republic, and was more pleasing because of its 
recognition of laymen in church councils. In addi- 
tion to these two schools a great variety of other 
teachings found ready followers in Poland. Hun- 
dreds of reformers, fleeing persecution in their own 
countries, came to Poland, where they were accorded 
complete freedom of action and speech. The Queen's 
confessor, Francis Lismanin, an Italian, was one of 
the most active workers in the court circles. Two 
other Italians, Francis Stankar and Lelius Socino, 
and a Pole, Peter of Goniondz, preached against the 
Trinity and organized a sect known under different 
names: Socinians, Arians or Antitrinitarians. The 
various sects found their patrons among the powerful - 
magnates. The relatives of the once famous Bishop 
and Cardinal Olesnicki became the followers of 
Zwingli, and the Radziwills of Lithuania adopted 
Calvinism, as did most of the magnates and nobles 
of Little Poland. In Ruthenia, under the leadership 
of the magnate Stadnicki, the Antitrinitarians became 
supreme. Ancient Hussitism revived, and under the 


name of the Bohemian Brotherhood conquered al- 
most the whole of Great Poland. There were also 
many independent Polish reformers. The Primate's 
nephew, the younger John Laski, achieved consider- 
able renown not only in Poland, but in Germany, 
Denmark and even in far-distant England. Here he 
enjoyed the protection of King Edward VI, and be- 
came an intimate friend of Primate Cranmer, in 
whose house he lived while in England.* 


With the growth of the movement the income 
and the power of the established Church diminished. 
Royal edicts against the heretics were not enforced 
and Church anathemas were disregarded. Priests 

* A great deal of very interesting information about the Reforma- 
tion in Poland is to be found in the two volumes of Count Valerian 
Krasinski's "Sketch of the Rise, Progress and Decline of the Reforma- 
tion in Poland," published in London, 1838-1840. 


who married were shielded by the nobles. Tithes 
were uncollectable and decrees of ecclesiastical courts 
unheeded. Animosity and spitefulness went so far 
that because he wore his cap during the mass pre- 
ceding the session of the Diet of 1552, Deputy Rafal 
Leszczynski was chosen president of the chamber. 
No discussion on any matter was allowed at this re- 
markable Diet until the Church agreed to suspend its 
right to civil jurisdiction. The bishops for a time 
remained obstinate, but finally were compelled to 
pledge the suspension of church trials over the nobles 
as well as over their peasants until the matter be 
settled with the Pope by a special delegation sent to 
Rome. Some of the deputies went so far as to de- 
mand the exclusion of the bishops from the Senate, 
the confiscation of all church estates for the purpose 
of national defense, the abolition of the celibacy of 
the clergy, and like measures. Laws were passed 
forbidding the execution of Church decrees by the 
government and the collection of St. Peter's pence. 
The non-conformists were not, however, able to ob- 
tain equal rights with the Catholic clergy in teaching 
religious doctrines, but received equal rights in filling 
crown offices. 

The Reformation spread like wildfire among the 
upper classes and in the cities. Many churches were 
converted into Protestant places of worship, images 
burnt, many priests of high and low rank abandoned 
the Church, and young ladies of the best families did 
not hesitate to marry priest-apostates. The life of 
the nobles and the city patriciate was thoroughly re- 
volutionized. When the Papal legate, Alois Lippo- 
mano, appeared at the Diet of Warsaw in 1556, he 
was hailed with the cry : "Ecce progenies viperarum." 


The masses of the peasantry and of the city 
plebs, however, remained almost untouched by the 
new religious currents, and stubbornly 
The Unpopu- resisted all attempts to convert them to 
j nty the new order of things. This was the 

Among cause of the ultimate collapse of the 

the Lower movement which, however, 'by the stimu- 

Classes lation it gave to independent thought 

and by the utilization of the Polish 
tongue instead of the mediaeval Latin for purposes of 
propaganda, created the Golden Age in Polish life 
and literature. 

The Gospels and the Bible were translated into 
Polish, and a large number of pamphlets and discus- 
sions intended for the great mass of the 
The Cultural p eO ple to whom no other, except their 

Effects of the . L . ' . ., V 

Reformation native language, was intelligible, was 
printed in Polish. By that time even 
the burghers began to consider Polish as their native 
tongue, and although a considerable minority still 
continued to use German, yet in 1536 the City Council 
of Cracow proclaimed Polish as the language to be 
used in prayers and sermons in the churches of that 
town. The German and Latin books began to be 
supplanted by Polish prints. 

The art of printing found a very early applica- 
tion in Poland. In 1465, only a few years after the 
invention of the art, a German printer was invited to 
Cracow by the University. He printed two books: 
"Joannis de Turrecremata Cardinalis S. Sixti vulga- 
riter nuncupati. Explanatio in Psalterium finit 
Cracis" and "Omnes libri Beati Augustini Aurelii." 
The earliest book containing a text in the Polish 
language was printed in Breslau in 1475 and is at the 
present time in the possession of the British Museum. 



The first Slavic books were published at Cracow. 
Owing to the freedom and tolerance existing in Po- 
land at the time and to the interest taken in scientific 
matters, the Polish capital became the center of cul- 
tural activity for a large area, comprising the Eastern 
and South Eastern nations of Europe. The earliest 
books for Hungary, Moldavia, Transylvania, Ruthe- 
nia and Lithuania were printed at Cracow. In 1490 
a book store was opened in that city and a few years 

Statue <lencbos 






later a permanent press was established. The jarge 
printing activity contributed to the spread of the" 
doctrines of Humanism and of the Reformation and 
incidentally to the development of Polish literature. 
The Cracow University was hostile both to the 
new religious tenets and to the profanation of science 
and literature by the employment of anything but the 
Latin language. It clung to its medieval concep- 




tions but maintained a high order of scholarship in 
science and mathematics. At its request a globe was 
made in 1510 which is the first known globe to men- 
tion the name of America. The wrong placing of the 
new name serves but to emphasize the ancient origin 
of this remarkable Polish relic which preceded by five 
years the celebrated Frankfurt-Weimar orb of 
Schoner. The Globus Jagellonicus was first described 
by Prof. Thaddeus Estreicher in 1900 in the Transac- 
tions of the Cracow Academy of Sciences for that year. 
There he points out that the Polish globe is the earliest 
globe of the after Columbus era, that it is the earliest 
to indicate any part of the New World and the first to 
delineate the South American continent. It is also 
the first globe on which the continent of America is 
shown to be distinct from that of Asia. The fact that 
the University of Cracow possessed in 1510 or there- 
abouts a globe indicating the latest geographical dis- 
coveries throws indirect light on the keen interest 
taken by the Polish scholars of the time in the pro- 
gress of science. 

In this connection it may also be worth while to 
mention that it was the Cracow edition of Ptolemy, 
prepared in 1512 by Jan of Stobnica, a professor of 
the Jagiellon University, which first contained a map 
of North and South America, showing the connection 
of the two continents by an isthmus. . 

Eager as the University evidently was to keep 
abreast with the latest discoveries in science and 
geography, it was equally determined in its opposi- 
tion to the new currents in philosophy and. theology. 
No Humanists were tolerated on the faculty, and 
as a consequence the University lost in time its best 
professors and most of its students. The nobility and 
the burgesses sent their boys abroad, to Erfurt, to 
Padua, Venice, Pavia, Paris and elsewhere. The 


young men returned full of enthusiasm and new ideas 
about life, government and religion. A host of 
talented writers appeared. Some discussed matters 
of state freely and criticised the existing conditions, 
pointing out, as did the highly gifted Andrew Frycz 
Modrzewski, the necessity of equalization of all the 
estates before the law, and the advantages of a pros- 
perous and free peasantry. Others, like Orzechowski, 
thundered against the despotism of the nobility, the 
iniquities and the foreign character of the Church 


(1558-1629) (1550-1602) 

and the great privileges of the Jews in matters of 
money lending and usury. A large number of his- 
torians, poets, dramatists and fiction writers sprang 
up among all classes of society. Klemens Janicki, the 
poet-leureate, was a peasant; Simon Szymonowicz, 
the author of beautiful bucolics, was of city birth; so 
were other distinguished writers, like Sebastian 
Klonowicz and the brothers Zimorowicz. Nicholas 
Rey, the greatest satirist of the time, was born in a 



noble family, but of modest circumstances. Polish 
literature really had its beginning with Rey. His 
pictures of life, men and conditions are masterpieces 
of style, wit and perspicuity. They served as models 
to many future writers. 




At this time Polish national consciousness 
reached its fullest realization in art as well as in 
science. Copernicus (1473-1543), one of the most 
revolutionary minds the world has known, who by 
his epoch-making researches freed science forever 


from the shackles of theology, like all truly great 
men, was far from narrow specialization. That he 
published a remarkable work on money is well known 
to economic historians. But the treatise he wrote in 
support of his country's claims to the territories that 


had been illegally occupied by the Order of the Cross 
is less generally known and it is precisely this patri- 
otic trait in Copernicus which, aside from the ever- 
lasting glory he brought to Poland's name, has en- 
deared him forever in the heart of his nation. 


Just as Polish science of the XVIth century 
was crowned by the immortal works of Coper- 
nicus, so was the Polish Parnassus of that age 
glorified by the writings of John Kochanowski (1530- 
1584), the nobleman of Sandomir. Until this day 
his poems and dramas delight the most fastidious 
taste by their beauty, deep thought and fine senti- 


ment. The stimulus given to writing in Polish sup- 
plied by the religious reformers gained momentum 
as time advanced, and as early as 1548, at the funeral 
of King Zygmunt the Old, the Bishop of Cracow, for 
the first time in history, used Polish at so solemn an 
occasion. King Zygmunt August and his sisters 


spoke the most elegant Polish. Martin Bielski wrote 
a history of Poland in Polish. Latin was being sup- 
planted, but of course not completely. It was still the 
medium of expression of the philosophical and scien- 
tific minds of Poland, who were plentiful in that glori- 
ous period. Joseph Strus, the king's physician, was 
widely known in Europe by his writings. His work 
on "The Pulse," published in Posen, created a great 
stir in the medical world of the time. James Przyluski 
published a monumental and masterful codification 
of the laws of Poland, with commentaries. Simon 
Marcius Czystochlebski wrote a work concerning 
pedagogical problems, and Martin Kromer became 
the worthy successor of John Dlugosz, the famous 
Polish historian of the time of Kazimir Jagiellonczyk. 

A high type of culture evolved. Freed from the 
shackles of feudalism and scholasticism, enriched by 
the toil of a serf-peasantry, the Poles of the upper 
classes, with their exuberant nature and impression- 
able minds, created in the XVIth century a distinct 
and high civilization of their own, akin in many ways 
to that of the Latin and the Teuton worlds, yet dif- 
ferent from both of these by virtue of a different 
racial, geographic and social environment. 

The Reformation in Poland was doomed to fail- 
ure because the large mass of the peasantry was in- 
imical to the reforms, as were the poorer 

TheProtes- i< , ,., ,.,v \ 

tant Sects nobles who in mentality differed very 

little from the peasants. Another cause 
for the ultimate failure of the movement was the 
weakness of the Protestant element caused by their 
differentiation into a number of denominations com- 
batting each other. The Protestant leaders, realizing 
the dangers of a divided front, bent every effort 
toward uniting the various factions into one large 


body, and to working jointly for the establishment of 
a national church, similar to the Church of England. 
They finally succeeded, in 1570, in uniting the less 
radical wings. This union was known as the Concord 
of Sandomir. The Anti-Trinitarians did not join in it. 

While the non-Conformists were quarreling, the 
Roman Church, after the Council of Trent, picked up 
its old self-confidence and courage and launched a 
vigorous counter-movement under the leadership of 
Hosius, Bishop of Warmia, and the Papal Nuncio, 
John Francis Commendoni. It was chiefly due to the 
indefatigable energy of these two men that the 
crumbling edifice of the Roman Church in Poland 
was saved from destruction. 

In the meantime the nobility was bringing strong 

pressure to bear upon the new king, demanding the 

limitation of the rights of the clergy. 

Collapse . Submitting to it, Zygmunt II August 

f li? proclaimed, in 1562, the Statute of Tol- 

to Establish , ' , Ti 1 

a National erance, which, among other things, de- 

Church prived the ecclesiastical courts of the 

power to enforce their decrees. This 
step led the Pope to enter into negotiations with 
Ivan the Terrible, the great enemy of Poland, where- 
by Ivan was to use his military power to punish the 
Polish nation for its tolerance of heretics. Indigna- 
tion rose high, and a break seemed to be imminent 
after the Papal Nuncio refused to grant the king a 
divorce from his third wife, Catherine Hapsburg. 
Preparations were being made for the convocation of 
a religious council, for which the reformers were 
busily preparing, and to which they invited Calvin. 
The Pope protested against the holding of this coun- 
cil, and the king, ill and hesitating, fearing a break 
with the Pope, vetoed the proposal establishing an in- 
dependent Church of Poland. In the same year, 1565, 


the first Jesuits brought over by Bishop Hosius ap- 
peared in Poland, and an era of feverish activity 
against the heresy began. The established Church 
was able to rally the great masses and at the local 
elections to force through representatives favoring 
the Church. As their numbers increased in the Diet 
they were able, aided faithfully by the Mazurs, to 
stem the progress of the plans for "the improvement 
of the Republic" championed by the "Dissidents," the 
name by which the non-Conformists were known in 

FIG. 86 VIEW OF KROSNO. From G. Braun's "Civitates orbis terrarum," 1491 



The End of the Jagiellon Dynasty and the Beginning 

of the Era of Popular Election 

of Kings 

Eighteen years before the death of Zygmunt the 
Old, the Diet consented to recognize his son by the 
second marriage as successor to the 
throne, with the understanding, how- 
ever, that henceforth elections of the 
king would not be restricted to the Diet 
but would be "viritim," i. e., open to the whole body 
of citizen-nobles. 

In 1548 Zygmunt II August became King of 
Poland. No sooner did his coronation take place than 
he came into a serious encounter with the Diet on 
account of his marriage with Barbara Radziwill, 
which, when heir to the throne, he had contracted 
without the knowledge and consent of the Senate. 
It was in violation of the constitution and his divorce 
was demanded. The king, who loved his wife ten- 
derly, refused to submit to the demand of the mag- 
nates whose personal jealousies inflamed by the 
machinations of Bona, the Queen Dowager, and her 
camarilla, were the chief motives for the humiliation 
of the king and his wife. A deadlock, lasting 1 two 
years, ensued. The opposition finally surrendered 



and Barbara was crowned queen in 1550. In his 
fight against the Senate the new king had exhibited 

(J. Mateyko) 

FIG. 87 ZYGMUNT II AUGUST (1548-1572) 

a great determination and strength of character, 


attributes which unfortunately were not his in sub- 
sequent dealings. He failed in leadership in matters 


which were then shaking the body politic to its foun- 


dation. His devious course with reference to the 
Reformation has been traced in the last chapter. The 
example of Henry VIII of England and the separa- 
tion of the Church in the Scandinavian countries 
fired the imagination of the Protestant leaders in 
Poland, who were persistently clamoring for an in- 
dependent Church and demanding action on the part 
of the king. Time-honored tradition and reasons of 
state prompted caution. The undecided king, the 
centre of conflicting currents, discouraged by the 
lack of unity in the Protestant camp and influenced by 
the strong representations of Pope Paul IV, dodged 
the issue, deferring its consideration from Diet to 
Diet, not strong enough to face it squarely and to 
throw its lot with one side or the other. 

Zygmunt II August similarly evaded the re- 
quests of the nobles for administrative reforms. It 
was only in 1562 that the king con- 
sen ted to the consideration of the pro- 
Crown Lands gram for the "Betterment of the Repub- 
lic." As on a previous occasion the 
Deputies, so now the Senators, in their patriotic en- 
thusiasm expressed themselves ready to give up the 
charters or "the donation lists," as they were called, 
granted to them by former monarchs and which en- 
titled them to large estates in the royal domains. 

The Jagiellons had found it necessary, in the 
course of events, to distribute their large domains 
among the lords as well as among the minor nobles 
to secure the necessary support for their foreign and 
domestic policies. By this time the royal domain had 
become very insignificant and as a consequence the 
state treasury, which depended almost exclusively 
upon the proceeds from those domains, was almost 


depleted. At the memorable session of the Diet of 
1562 a law was passed whereby all land grants issued 
after the year 1504 were declared void and lands or- 
dered to revert to the Crown. Three-fourths of the 
revenues from the returned domain were to be used 
for the maintenance of the king and of all the Crown 
offices and officials, and one-fourth was to be devoted 
to the maintenance of a regular army for the defense 
of the country. The measure was of great political 
and administrative value. Henceforth no grants of 
Crown domains could be made; the king could, how- 
ever, bestow the life use of some of them as "panis 
bene merentium" upon those who distinguished them- 
selves by faithful service. Unfortunately, this soon 
became a source of corruption. 

The Diet of 1562, which met for putting through 
measures for bettering the status of the Republic, 

enacted most pernicious legislation re- 
* garding the economic life of the coun- 

tr ^' ^ abolished all restrictions on the 
Legislation free export of raw products and the free 

import of manufactured goods, and 
prohibited free export of domestic manufactures. 
The blighting effects this measure had upon industry 
were soon visible. The agrarian nobles profited by 
the lucrative exchange of their produce for the manu- 
factured articles of foreign countries, but the Polish 
cities, already impoverished and not only deprived of 
protection afforded by a tariff but prohibited from 
exporting abroad, rapidly declined and faded into 
"rotten boroughs." The last possibility of the Polish 
King ever attempting to join with the cities against 
the nobles was thus removed. It was also in the time 
of Zygmunt II August that the struggle with Mus- 
covy, which since that time has practically never 


ceased, took on very serious aspects. Averse to war, 
the Polish King still was drawn into it by the dis- 
quieting aggressiveness of Ivan the Terrible, the first 
Czar of Muscovy, who endeavored to "break a win- 
dow" into the Baltic. The Poles were quick to see 
the danger coming from the east. Zygmunt August, 
appraising the situation correctly, saw in Muscovy 
the most formidable foe of the Polish state. The 
Polish ambassador at Rome informed the king that 
Ivan's agents were busy forming a coalition against 
Poland with the Pope at the head. The Pope, 
desirous of curbing the Reformation in Poland, 
welcomed Ivan's plans, designed to punish the 
heretics. To offset Ivan's plans the king took steps 
to assure himself of the friendship of the Hapsburgs 
and consented to marry Catherine, the daughter of 
Ferdinand I and sister of his first wife, two years 
after the death of the beloved Barbara Radziwill, his 
second wife. 

War with Muscovy came as a result of the claims 
of sovereignty of the Knights of the Sword over the 
Archbishop of Riga. The Knights of 
the Sword, amalgamated since 1237 
TMriWe" with t ^ ie Knights of the Cross, were the 

1562-1571 masters of that strip of the Baltic littoral 

which comprised Courland, Esthonia 
and Livonia, the last being known in Poland by the 
name of Inflanty. Ivan decided to exploit the feud. 
He sent an army against the Knights and took a few 
cities. The Grand Master of the Order, receiving no 
support from the German Emperor, resigned and 
Gothard von Kettler took his place. The Swedish 
King, joining Ivan, overrode Esthonia, and the 
Danish fleet occupied the seacoast of Courland and 
the Island of Osel. The Letts revolted against their 
Teutonic oppressors. Kettler and the Bishop of 


Riga, seeing that they would be unable to defend 
the country, turned to Poland for help and offered 
Livonia to the Polish crown. Kettler, following the 
example of the last Grand Master of the Order of the 
Cross, threw off his religious vows and became a 
secular prince of Courland and a vassal of Poland. 
After the extinction of his house, Courland was to 
become an integral part of Poland. 

Meanwhile, Livonia came under Polish sover- 
eignty with a wide local autonomy. The accession of 
that province was very valuable. It 
The Acquisi- g ave p o i an( j the estuary of the Dvina, 

orTvoni? 11 ^ With the Cit y f Ri & a and Other C0n - 

i56i venient ports on the Baltic. 

Sweden and Denmark, content with 
their large acquisitions, soon entered into peace 
negotations with Poland. Ivan, however, seeing 
in Poland's aggrandizement a blow to his ambition, 
resorted to arms and the war begun by him lasted 
a whole decade. The King of Poland protested 
to Queen Elizabeth of England against the illicit 
trade in arms which the English sailors were carry- 
ing on and threatened with death penalty those 
of them who might be caught indulging in it. In 
this document Poland sounded the following remark- 
able note of warning: "The Muscovite, who is not 
only our opponent of to-day but the eternal enemy of 
all free nations, should not be allowed to supply him- 
self with cannons, bullets and munitions or with 
artisans who manufacture arms hitherto unknown to 
those barbarians." * In 1571 peace was finally con- 
cluded, according to the terms of which a part of 
Livonia and the Lithuanian city of Polotsk went to 

* Sir Donald Mackenzie Wallace "Russia," Encyclopedia Brit- 
tanica, 1911, Vol. XXIII, p. 896. 


While the war with Ivan was going on the ruling 
family of East Prussia became extinct and the coun- 
try was, according to the treaty of 1525, 
The Heredi- to revert to the Polish crown. Owing, 
tary Umon however, to the engagement with Mus- 

of East Prussia ' , ... * -,11, vu 

with Bran- covy and the still unsettled terms with 
denburg, 1563. the Scandinavian countries, Joachim 
Hohenzollern, the Elector of Branden- 
burg, was able to prevail upon Poland to allow him to 
establish himself permanently in East Prussia and 
thus to unite it with Brandenburg by a dynastic 
union. Polish diplomacy failed to recognize the 
grave danger of this expansion of Brandenburg. 
Every effort was then strained to stay the Muscovite 
menace and to establish a closer union with Lithu- 
ania and Ruthenia for more effective defense against 
the Muscovite aggression, the far-reaching conse- 
quences of which were not then fully discernible to 
west European diplomacy despite the Polish warning. 
The need of a closer union was the more urgent 
because the king was childless, and upon his death a 
strife was certain to ensue. The Tagiel- 

The Union of t, 1 u T vt. 

Lublin 1569 * ons nac * hereditary rights in Lithuania 
and Ruthenia, but none in Poland. The 
two countries had separate parliaments, armies, money 
and institutions. The laws of the two countries also 
were not exactly the same; different also were the 
systems of taxation and of land tenure. The need of 
a more unified and homogeneous organization was 
frequently pointed out by the Polish statesmen and 
was favored by the nobles of Lithuania and Ruthenia, 
as it would give them the enjoyment of greater privi- 
leges and possibilities and opportunities for a broader 
social and economic development. The two countries 
had a similar economic basis and one and the same 


system of water routes. Moreover, Polish coloni- 
zation at the time reached the Dnieper, and the 
Polish, Lithuanian and Ruthenian families became 
considerably interrelated by marriage and lost their 
separatist race consciousness. The Polish language 
had become the common property of the nobles of the 
three nations. The opposition was limited almost 
exclusively to the magnates, who were loath to lose 
the great prerogatives they enjoyed under the less 
democratic laws of Lithuania. Throughout Polish 
history, until this very day, this element of large 
landowners of Poland, Lithuania and Ruthenia has 
consistently opposed all reforms which aim at the 
democratization of the country. They would rather 
see the country disrupted than see it democratic. 

At the time of Zygmunt II August the body 
politic was still healthy enough to curb the anarchy 
of the magnates and when the Lithuanian and 
Ruthenian lords, after repeated attempts and persua- 
sions on the part of the king and the patriots, which 
continued for several years, remained obstinate and 
left the convention, the king, amidst great enthusiasm, 
most solemnly declared the union accomplished "in 
contumacium." This took place in 1569 in the City 
of Lublin, and hence the union is known by the name 
of that ancient and historic town. It was a great 
political achievement and was characterized as the 
union of "the free with the free, and of the equal with 
the equal." It established equal rights and equal 
duties for all nationalities throughout the whole of 
the vast domains of the Republic stretching from the 
Baltic to the Black Sea, and from the Oder to the 
Dnieper. In order to place the two countries on a 
constitutional equality, the king abdicated his heredi- 
tary rights in Lithuania, an act which was in pathetic 
contrast to his recognition of the Hohenzollerns to 




hereditary rights in East Prussia. Henceforth Po- 
land, known as Korona or the Crown, and Lithuania 
formed one inseparable body with one king "who is 
not born to office," but elected by the citizens of the 
two countries jointly, and with one Diet to which the 
representatives of all the lands of the Republic were 
elected on the same basis. The currency was made 
common for the two countries, and the laws of settle- 
ment and of land tenure identical. Volhynia, the 
province of Kieff, and Podlasie (the country watered 
by the Narew and the Bug) became integral parts of 


Poland, as did West Prussia. The City of Danzig in 
West Prussia received subsequently a special constitu- 
tion. Ruthenia, with the exception of the three 
provinces above mentioned, became an integral part 
of Lithuania. Livonia belonged to both Poland and 
Lithuania, and the Moldavian Hospodar remained a 
vassal of the Polish King. Lithuania was to have sepa- 
rate courts, a separate treasury and a separate army. 
The Diets were henceforth common and held at War- 
saw, whither the king's residence was moved after the 
next election. 

The union of Lublin was a work of compromise 
and far from perfection. It established, however, a 
common basis of law and government and served to 
solidify the two countries very substantially. 


Three years after the establishment of the union, 

Zygmunt II August died, and the distinguished 

royal family of the Jagiellons came to 

The Death of an enc j a f ter a re ig n o f almost tWO CCn- 

jagieiion, 1572 tures, 1386-1572. In the span of that 
reign Poland grew from a relatively 

unimportant principality into one of the greatest 

powers of Europe. 

Immediately after the death of the last Jagiellon 

arose the important question, for which no provision 
existed in the constitution, regarding 

The Interrex t ' , 

the status of the government during 
interregnum. All the state officers, administrative 
and judicial, acting in the name of the king, were de- 
prived of the legal basis of their activities. Someone 
had to take the king's place until the election. Two 
men laid claims to the office of the interrex: the 
Archbishop of Gniezno and the President of the Diet. 
The contest was, in a way, a clash of the Catholic 
Church with the Reformers, as Firley, the President 
of the Diet, was a follower of Calvin. The jealousy 
of some of the other magnates prevented Firley's 
election. Archbishop Uchanski was declared to be 
the representative of the nation during the inter- 
regnum. This election established a precedent, and 
henceforth the Primate was the interrex pending the 
election of a new king. 

It is to the credit of the patriotism and civic 
maturity of the nobles that the life of the country 

went on undisturbed during this period. 

The Cowl A . , , L T j 

Confederate As m tne interregnum following Lud- 
wig's death, 1382-1384, the local con- 
federacies of the nobles formed in various provinces 
carried on the administrative local work, set up 
temporary courts and executives, and admirably 
preserved order and peace. Like the interrex, the 



confederacies, known as those of the cowl from the 
cowl worn as a sign of mourning, became recognized 

constitutional institutions during interregnum. The 
device which was of value as a spontaneous measure 


proved to be a clumsy and unwieldy one when made 
a regular instrument of government. Another pre- 
cedent was established during the first interregnum, 
and that was the "convocation" session of the Diet, 
which always took place before the election of the 
king. The convocation Diet was held in Warsaw 
in January, 1573. At this Diet the methods to be fol- 
lowed at the elections were adopted. 

The non-Conformists tried to undo the law 
passed in Zygmunt I's reign, establishing the so- 
called "viritim" or direct elections, pro- 
posing an indirect method by a body of 

Elections r , . - / 

chosen electors four times larger than 
the number of representatives in the Diet. The Cath- 
olics, whose power lay with the rank and file of the 
nobility, objected to the indirect methods as an 
usurpation of the "golden liberties" of the citizenry, 
and defeated the amendment in favor of the primitive 
methods suitable for a small town moot. 

The place designated for the election was a field 
at the outskirts of the city of Warsaw. The choice of 
a city in the heart of Mazovia favored the Catholic 
Church, as, on account of the proximity of the city, the 
Mazurs could come in great numbers and sway the 

Seeing that they were in a minority, the non-Con- 
formists or Dissidents, formed a closer association 

known as the Warsaw confederacy, in 
The Warsaw which they pledged themselves to see to 
Confederacy it that law and order were preserved 
of Rdigio^T 6 and that complete freedom of con- 
Tolerance, science be guaranteed. This act of the 
1573 confederacy, demanding freedom of 

religious belief, was submitted to the 
Convocation Diet and overwhelmingly carried, only 
the bishops voting against it. The act of the Warsaw 



Confederacy became the legal basis of the position of 
the non-Conformists in the future and one of the chief 
organic statutes of the Republic. 

The election was held in April, 1573, and over 

forty thousand voters assembled. There were many 

candidates: Henri Valois, the brother 

The Election f th French King Charles IX; Arch- 

of Henri ^ TT 

Valois, 1573 duke brnest Hapsburg, the younger 

son of Emperor Maximilian II; Tsar 

Ivan the Terrible; King John of Sweden; Prince Ste- 

(J. Mateykol 
FIG. 91 HENRI VAL.OIS, 1573-1574 

fan Batory of Transylvania, and some Polish candi- 
dates. The French candidate carried the election, 
supported by the Church and by many among the 
non-Conformists, who were in his favor, provided he 
pledge the support of the articles of their confedera- 


tion guaranteeing freedom of faith. The pacta con- 
venta, or the covenant which the elected king had 
to sign, specified a great many conditions to be ful- 
filled, among them, the building of a navy on the Bal- 
tic. He had also to swear to respect the liberties and 
privileges of the nobles. 

The new king, reared in an entirely different 
political atmosphere, did not consider himself bound 
by the provisions of the covenant and 

" 8 ? almost immediately aroused serious 

in 1574 . . i i i i i 11 

opposition by his highhanded methods. 
He was in Poland only five months when the news of 
his brother's death reached him, and very soon after- 
ward the country was apprised that their monarch 
had fled to become King Henry III of France. 
His behavior was shocking and humiliating to the 
nation, whose cultural attainments at the time were 
at least equal, if not superior, to those of France. 
Morfill, in his book on Poland, gives a description of 
the Polish delegation sent to France to inform Henri 
Valois of his election, which throws an interesting 
light upon the educational accomplishments of the 
Poles at that period. He says: "On conversing with 
the Poles, the French were struck with their facility 
in speaking Latin, French, German and Italian. Some 
of them even spoke the French language with such 
facility that, according to a contemporary writer, 
they might have been taken for inhabitants of the 
banks of the Seine or the Loire, rather than men born 
in countries watered by the Vistula and Dnieper. The 
nobility of the Court of Charles IX were obliged to 
blush at their own ignorance, for there were only two, 
the Baron de Millan and the Marquis de Castlellau 
Mauvissiere, who could answer them in Latin, and 
they had been expressly sent to maintain the honor 
of their order. The other nobles, when the new- 


comers spoke to them in that language, could only 
reply by signs or stammering." * 

The experience with the universal direct elec- 
tions and with foreign kings should have been taken 
for a bad omen, and the pre-election in- 
Royal Elec- trigues for an indication of how de- 
tions Afforded structive the policy would eventually be 

for P For U efn y ' f r Poland b Und as she was On a11 

Monarchjf" sides by strong monarchies whose sov- 
to Meddle in ereigns sought the Polish crown for 
Polish internal selfish and dynastic advantages. TUe 
Affairs elections opened a way for foreign ene- 

mies to take active part in Polish poli- 
tics, and by intrigues and corruption to disorganize, 
demoralize and weaken the country. An enlightened 
body of patriots saw the dangers and tried to prevent 
them, but were defeated by the self-seeking magnates 
and the Church. A period of political decline was 
not slow to set in, despite the noble efforts of great 
statesmen and warriors who endeavored to steer the 
ship of state clear of the rocks of destruction for 
which she was headed, propelled by the exalted but 
impractical ideals of individual liberty on the part of 
the citizenry, and by the selfish designs of powerful 
and greedy neighbors aided in their destructive work 
by the ambitions and selfish particularism of certain 
Polish elements. 


* W. R. Morfill "Poland," N. Y., G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1908, p. 94. 



The Catholic Reaction 

After the ignominious flight of King tlenry new 
elections were ordered. In addition to the candidates 
of the preceding election a few more ap- 
The Reforms peared, but the issue simmered down to 
of Stefan a c h o j ce between the Austrian Emperor, 

15*6-1586 Maximilian II, and Stefan Batory, Duke 

of Transylvania, who was married to 
Anna Jagiellon, sister of Zygmunt II August. The 
Senate elected the former, the nobles the latter, and 
no compromise could be reached. Both sides gathered 
forces for a bloody decision of the question. Batory 
was first to arrive at Cracow, while the city was held 
by his supporters, and was promptly crowned in 1576. 
The party of the Emperor was loosing strength and 
soon capitulated. Batory was recognized throughout 
Poland and Lithuania with the exception of West 
Prussia. As a consequence a short war ensued, in 
the course of which Danzig suffered greatly for its 
obstinacy, and the rebellion came to a speedy end. 

While the unanimous election of Henry Valois 
had been a keen disappointment, the divided election 
of Batory was to be a great success. The new King 
was a man of rare attainments and unusual abilities. 
Accomplished in the arts of diplomacy and warfare, 
he combined in one person the statesman and the 
general, blending wisdom and tact with knowledge 
and determination. He never transgressed any of his 
constitutional privileges and scrupulously respected 



(J. Matey ko) 

FIG. 93 STEFAN BATORY (1574-1686) 


the rights of the nobles, but in return demanded a 
similarly unequivocal respect of the law on the part 
of others, and dealt very decisively and severely with 
those who exhibited anarchistic proclivities. Famous 
is the case of the brothers Zborowski, powerful and 
wealthy palatines, who combined ambition with rest- 
less spirit. Samuel Zborowski had been banished 
from the country by Henri Valois, but returned in 
Batory's time, and launched a furious campaign 
against the King and his able chancellor, John Za- 
moyski, in the course of which he even went so far as 
to invoke the aid of foreign monarchs. When over- 
powered by Batory he was promptly executed and his 
brother and co-worker exiled from the country. The 
palatines soon realized that it was not a figurehead 
who sat on the throne of Poland. George Oscik, the 
Lithuanian magnate who carried on treacherous ne- 
gotations with the Tsar of Muscovy, was, like 
Zborowski, dealt with summarily. 

It is significant that one of Batory's first reforms 
concerned the judiciary. The King's Court, to which 
final appeals were taken, in the course of time 
became a most ineffcient institution, clogged with ac- 
cumulated business and too remote from the people 
in a time when means of communication were very 
scanty and poor. Batory established three tribunals 
which were to take the place of the King's Court of 
Appeals in civil matters. The tribunal at Piotrkow 
had jurisdiction over Great Poland, that of Lublin 
over Little Poland, and a separate tribunal was estab- 
lished for Lithuania. The King's Court continued to 
hear appeals in criminal cases. The judges of the 
tribunals were elected by the nobility. The King's 
consent to elective judges was not obtained until the 
Diet refused to vote the necessary funds for the war 
with Muscovy. The emancipation of the nobles from 


royal jurisdiction abolished the last vestige of kingly 
power over them. Moreover, the King's Court had 
been the only institution in which the despised 
burghers were on a footing of equality with the nobles. 
In defense of the nobles with reference to their atti- 
tude toward other estates, it must be stated that they 


Great statesman and democrat, author of the famous work "De Senatu 

Romano" and founder of the Zamosd Academy 

exclusively bore many state and military burdens, and 
that they had not considered their estate as a close 
corporation. On the contrary, thanks to the influence 
of Chancellor John Zamoyski, one of the greatest an-d 
finest spirits of Poland, thousands from among the 
burghers and business people were ennobled. The 


demand for elective judges was, however, against the 
political ideals of the King who well realized that 
what the country most needed was not more liberties, 
but a strong centralized power to guide it, and that 
any dissipation of such a centralized power was de- 

Aiming to establish a strong monarchial govern- 
ment, Batory singled out the Catholic Church for his 
particular favors. The principles of the Church 
favored the monarchial idea. The Catholic Church 
taught that the source of royal power was divine and 
that absolute monarchy was the best form of govern- 
ment, sanctioned by the Scriptures. The Jesuits were 
particularly gifted exponents of this theory and for 
that reason were greatly encouraged by the King. 
Despite Batory's strong leaning toward the Catholic 
Church he had, however, never submitted to the insist- 
ent demands made upon him to abrogate the Articles 
of the Warsaw Confederation, which he had sworn to 
maintain. .Although he rejoiced to see the steady 
decline of the Reformation movement in Poland, he 
never broke his pledge of tolerance. 

Batory's illustrious reign is noted not only for 
his successful curbing of anarchy, but also for his 
wise foreign policy and his success in bringing about 
the organization of a strong standing army, the 
origin of which dated back to the time of Zygmunt II 
August, when the Diet had voted one-fourth of the 
income from the crown lands for defensive military 
purposes. A strong army was needed for the exe- 
cution of Batory's plans which aimed at the develop- 
ment of Ukraine and a free access to the Black Sea, 
made hitherto impossible by the constant raids of 
Turks and Tartars. It did not take him long to 
organize a large and efficient army. Peasants were 




encouraged to join the infantry, and in compensation 
for their services their families were granted exemp- 
tion from certain duties. Many of the peasants were 
raised to the rank of nobles in recognition of their 
valor. The Cossacks were drafted into the regular 
service and organized into regiments of light cavalry. 
While Batory was organizing the army, Ivan the Ter- 
rible invaded Livonia in 1577 and ruthlessly devas- 
tated the country. The Polish King was not quite 
ready to meet him, but very soon he rallied his forces 
and personally led them against the Muscovites. Not 
only were they driven out of Livonia, but were 
pursued eastward to Pskov. Ivan sued for peace 
but Batory, though hampered by a lack of financial 
support from the Diet, refused to negotiate. The 
Tsar then brought into play all his powers of 
Oriental treachery and diplomacy. He again assured 
the Pope that he contemplated joining the Roman 
Church and sending an expedition against Turkey. 
In return he asked support against the Polish King, 
whom he called the ally of the Infidel. The Pope 
dispatched Antonio Possevino, a famous Jesuit, who 
persuaded Batory that it was for the best interests 
of the Church to establish peace. The treaty which 
followed, 1582, deprived Ivan of all his previous pos- 
sesions in Livonia and of the Duchy of Polotsk. 
Batory's dream of conquering Moscow and adding 
this vast territory to the Polish union was not real- 
ized at the time, but he never abandoned it. 

To offset the influence of Great Britain, then 
supporting Muscovy, Batory conceived the plan of 
strengthening the league of the Baltic cities. Amidst 
preparations for a new campaign against Muscovy, 
which was to be followed by another against Turkey, 
this great monarch died, after a short illness, in 


Grodno, on December 12, 1586, being only fifty-three 
years old. 

The firm political structure he had reared by his 


constructive genius and the strong government he 
had established with the aid of Za- 
The Bigotry moyski were soon to collapse, during 
of Zygmunt ^ Q s t ormv an( j turbulent interregnum 
1587-1632 which followed his untimely death. 

The interregnum, 1586-1587, ended 
in a war. The chief candidates for the Polish throne 



were the Swedish Archduke Zygmunt Vasa, son of 
King John and Catherine Jagiellon, the second sister 
of Zygmunt II August, and Maximillian, brother of 

(J. Mateyko) 

FIG. 97 ZYGMUNT III (1587-1632) 

the Emperor Rudolph II. A strong party of nobles 
under the leadership of John Zamoyski favored the 
Swedish candidate. The other was commanded by 
Zborowski, who raged with hatred toward the great 


Chancellor of the late King. All the turbulent and 
boisterous elements held in leash by the strong hand 
of Batory gave vent to their reactionary impulses 
when kindled by partisan and political animosity. 
Riots broke out in many places. The discussions in 
the Convocation Diet were extremely animated and 
prolonged. The country was desirous of having 
the interregnum ended, but evidently no compromise 
could be reached. Finally, on the 19th of August, 
1587, the Swedish Archduke was declared King by 
the Zamoyski faction. Three days later the Zborows- 
kis announced the election of Maximillian. The 
choice of the Zamoyski faction prevailed, but the 
victory of the partisans of the Swedish Archduke 
proved to be a great disappointment at first and a 
veritable calamity in the end. The new King, though 
very young, was not that tabula rasa he was depicted 
by his tutor which would easily receive the impress 
the Poles wanted to make on it. On the contrary, 
he was possessed of a strong character and came 
to Poland with a ready political program which 
was entirely out of accord with the political ten- 
dencies of the party that had elected him. The new 
King was ultra-Catholic and regarded the propaga- 
tion of the Faith as his chief mission. In this he 
naturally sided with the Hapsburgs of Austria and 
Spain. The party that had elected him, though com- 
prised in a large majority of Catholics attached to the 
Church, was heir to the lofty principles of tolerance 
which characterized the Jagiellon polity, and for that 
reason chiefly was so vigorously opposed to the elec- 
tion of Maximillian, seeing in a union with the Haps- 
burgs a danger to the time-honored institutions of the 
Republic. Zygmunt very soon alienated his former 
supporters and began very ardently to foster Catholi- 
cism by all available means. He married one of the 


Austrian princesses without asking the consent of 
the Senate. He thus closely bound himself to the 
Hapsburgs and violated the constitution which he 
had sworn to respect. To make matters worse, it 
was soon discovered that he was planning to abdi- 
cate the throne in favor of Ernest Hapsburg in return 
for the support of his claims in Sweden by the Em- 
peror. The understanding also provided that Ernest 
was to release him from the pledge of ceding 
Esthonia to Poland, to which he had sworn in the 
pacta conventa. He was impeached, and though 
at the 'Inquisitorial" (as it was called) session of the 
Diet he denied the charges, his prestige became 
undermined, 1592. 

Meanwhile the Catholic reaction had been 
making great headway. The Jesuits began to exer- 
cise a powerful influence over the edu- 

cation and modes of thou g ht of the 
influence people. Their pupils were brought up 

in a hitherto unheard-of fanaticism and 
in an abject servility to the mighty. The very con- 
servative Polish historian, Professor Sokolowski so 
characterizes the results of the Jesuit endeavors: 

"Superficiality and pompousness had become the chief char- 
acteristics of literature as well as of education ; the authors and 
orators concealed their dearth of thought and lack of substance 
under a flood of classical quotations ; the manly style of the time 
of Zygmunt II August dissolved itself into macaronism, seasoned 
with seeming earnestness. The style once so deftly ridiculed by 
Kochanowski (Carmen Macaronicum) received the right of 
citizenship in literature, and -encyclopaedic knowledge drowned 
all originality of thought and soberness of judgment." 

The King encouraged far-reaching repressive 
measures and gave a personal example of intolerance 
by withholding all state offices from non-conformists 
or "dissidents," and by not heeding the complaints 



made against the "heretical tumults." The Protes- 
tants were held up to scorn, subjected to maltreat- 
ment as enemies of their own country, and were made 
the victims of the street riots and pillage. Religious 
fanaticism, hitherto alien to the Polish character, was 
diligently instilled by a foreign King seeking to 

(J. Mateyko) 
FIG. 98 PETER SKARGA, the great preacher of the time of Zygmunt III 

advance his own interests through an exaggerated 
devotion to the Church. The Jesuits became a veri- 
table power, and through their influence alone could 
one obtain offices and distinction. Great statesmen 
and patriots, like John Zamoyski and Peter Skarga, 




the King's chaplain, himself a Jesuit, and others, saw 
that the course pursued by the King was fatal to the 

The dynastic difficulties of the King in his native 
country to the north plunged Poland into a series of 
disastrous wars. John III Vasa died in 1592. At 


the news of his father's death Zygmunt went to 
Sweden. Many among the Poles hoped that he would 
never return. Unfortunately for Poland, Sweden 
fearing the fanatic, refused to recognize him, although 
he was crowned at Upsala. His uncle, the Duke of 
Sudermania, headed the opposition. When the latter 
ascended the throne as Charles IX, Zygmunt turned 


to Poland with a request for support against his 
uncle. The Polish Diet refused the support, where- 
upon Zygmunt recalled the "pacta conventa" and 
magnanimously offered Esthonia to Poland in order 
to force an inevitable war upon an unwilling country. 
The Polish victory under Chodkiewicz at Kirchholm, 
in 1605, would have led to a great offensive campaign 
against Sweden had the nation's attention not been 
turned to an internal rebellion and a war with Mus- 

The rebellion, known as that of Zebrzydowski, 

who was its leader, was an attempt to overthrow the 

King whose foreign policy was so inimi- 

' ebc " ion cal to the interests of the country, and 

Against the . . . , " 

King who so persistently opposed every 

measure of sound internal reform. 
When a proposal of changing the method of elections 
was made, whereby the principle of majority vote 
was to supersede the unanimity of decision, the King 
vetoed the measure. It was apparent to everybody 
that "absolutum dominium" was the aim of the King, 
who disregarded all constitutional restrictions. In 
1605 he again married a Hapsburg Princess and 
again without the consent of the Senate. The oc- 
casion produced the spark which caused the con- 
flagration. The opposition, now deprived of the wise 
and conservative leadership of Zamoyski who had 
died, formed a confederacy and raised a considerable 
rebel army. Unfortunately they failed in their des- 
perate attempt to get rid of the blighting influence of 
the royal enemy of Poland, and the victorious King 
could continue unhamperd his disastrous policy of 
intrigue, and selfishness. It was on account of his 
personal character that the Russian campaign, in- 
augurated most auspiciously, ended in a fiasco. 



The self-styled Tsar of Russia, Demetrius, who 
followed the murdered Boris Godunov to the throne 
of Moscow, was a man of western 
sympathies and a friend of Poland. 
His wife and court were Polish. In 
1606, while the Zebrzydowski rebellion was raging in 
Poland, the agents of Basil Shooyski murdered 

The War with 


FIG. 101 HETMAN STANISL.AV ZOLKIEWSKI, the conqueror of Moscow 

Demetrius and with him a large number of Poles 
residing in Moscow. This act led to war with Poland. 
The Polish hetman, or commander-in-chief, Stanislav 
Zolkiewski, reached Moscow, took Shooyski and his 
family as prisoners and entered into negotiations 
with the Council of Boyars. By a solemn treaty, 
the boyars recognized Wladyslav, the son of the 
Polish King, as their Tsar and subsequently the 


population of the capital took an oath of fealty. A 
splendid opportunity offered itself for Poland to civil- 
ize the vast domains of Muscovy. The fanatical 
and ambitious Zygmunt frustrated this great op- 
portunity by recalling Zolkiewski and the crown 
troops from Moscow and by insisting on his personal 
claims to the crown of the Tsars. The population 
of the Muscovite capital abhorred the thought of a 
Jesuitic sovereign. Aided by the Orthodox clergy 
and other conservative elements of Moscow who 
feared the influence of the democratic institutions of 
Poland the opposition rose, and an anti-Polish 
movement was successfully launched. Patriarch 
Hermogen absolved the people from the sworn oath. 
At the news Zygmunt, having captured Smolensk, 
hastened to Moscow, but came too late. The private 
Polish troops stationed there could not curb the 
animated bands directed by the butcher Minin and 
the Prince Pojarski. Michael Romanoff was elected 
Tsar, and the dream of union with Russia under 
Polish leadership, conceived by Witold and running 
like a red thread through the political thought of the 
Jagiellon dynasty, came to a seeming end, though 
Wladyslav did not abandon his claims to the throne 
of the Tsars. 

No sooner had the conflict with Muscovy ter- 
minated than the dark clouds of two new wars gath- 
ered on the horizon. The Cossacks, 
I ?!- Ec l" whom the Polish frontier palatines 

of the Thirty , . , 

Years' War endeavored to harness, were not only 
rebelling against all restriction but 
their constant raids on Turkey both in Europe and 
Asia Minor brought on retaliatory expeditions by 
the Tartars, instigated by the Sultan. Polish pala- 
tines themselves, who owned estates larger than 
many a sovereign principality in central Europe, 


were carrying on wars of their own with the Hos- 
podars of Moldavia and also with the Turks and 
Tartars, and many a time placed the Polish govern- 
ment in a most awkward position. Advantage was 
taken by Turkey of one those local encounters to de- 
clare war on Poland. The campaign was undertaken 
chiefly with a .view of striking at Austria which was 
then in the throes of the Thirty Years' War and 
in, which she was indirectly assisted by Poland. The 
Polish King endeavored, but did not succeed, to bring 
Poland to the side of the Hapsburgs. He, however, 
permitted recruiting volunteers for the army of Ferd- 
inand II, his brother-in-law. A great Turkish host 
invaded Poland in 1620 and defeated a valiant but 
small army under the leadership of the venerable 
Zolkiewski. The famous conqueror of Moscow fell 
in the battle of Cecora, not far from Jassy, and the 
Polish army was annihilated. This bloody and de- 
termined battle retarded the progress of the Turkish 
advance and by preventing the Ottoman armies from 
effecting a juncture with their allies, enabled the 
Emperor to win the famous battle of the White Hill. 
The Turks renewed their campaign on a larger scale 
in the following spring, but were halted by the des- 
perate defense of Chocim on the Dniester. In 1621 
peace was restored between Poland and the Porte. 

Meanwhile, the successor of Charles IX of 
Sweden, the gifted Gustavus Adolphus, desirous of 
finally disposing of his cousin's claims, sent an ex- 
pedition which, in 1617, occupied Livonia. A series of 
pour-parlers followed. The Poles were anxious for 
peace and refused any money to carry on further war, 
but the ambitious King would not consent to renounce 
his claims. The conflict continued intermittently. 
When the Swedish troops, however, overran West 
Prussia and threatened the city of Thorn, the Diet 


granted the necessary funds to start a vigorous 
defense. In 1629 Hetman Stanislav Koniecpolski 
defeated the Swedes, and by the intervention of En- 
gland and France, both vitally interested in the suc- 
cess of Gustavus Adolphus, a six years' truce was 
established, the terms of which were most unfavor- 
able for Poland. By this truce of Altmark Sweden 
was allowed to retain possession of her Livonian 
conquests, besides holding a large portion of the 
Baltic littoral, which gave her control of the principal 
trade routes of the Baltic and a considerable revenue 
derived from port tolls. The amout of these tolls in 
.1627 alone amounted to 500,000 rix-dollars. 

Not a single measure championed by the King 
brought any gains to Poland. It was also in the 
reign of Zygmunt III that the unfortunate error of 
Polish diplomacy with reference to East Prussia was 
consummated. The recognition, by the last Jagiellon, 
of the right of the Brandenburg Electors to succes- 
sion in East Prussia in the case of extinction of the 
Anspach line, was confirmed in the year 1618, when 
the Elector became the ruler of that part of Prussia. 

The ineptitude and intolerance of Polish diplo- 
macy of the Vasa period are also partly responsible 
for the failure to briner all the Ruthe- 

The Umate . . *? , ... 

Church mans into a union with the prevailing 

religion in Poland. From the very first 
years of the political consolidation of Poland with 
Lithuania and Ruthenia it was the greatest concern 
of the statesmen of the united countries to bring the 
Ruthenians closer to the Catholic Church; and it was 
with this view that Jagiello and Witold delegated 
Catholic and Ruthenian bishops first to the Council 
of Constance 1414-1418, where the matter was not 
settled, and later to the Councils of Basel and 
Florence, 1431-1449. As is well known, the union 


of the Eastern and Western churches was established 
in Florence in 1439, each church retaining its own 
rites and liturgy, but both recognizing the Roman 
Pope as the sole head of the Church. The union 
was not lasting anywhere except in Poland, where 
it remained in force practically throughout the XVth 
century. The Grand Duke of Moscow repudiated 
it from the very beginning, and in Greece it came 
to an end with the fall of Constantinople. It was 
a great fault on the part of Poland to allow the union 
to disintegrate and to permit the Ruthenians to go 
back again, jointly with the Muscovite Church, under 
the corruptive influence of Constantinople. This 
political blunder was in large measure due to the 
Reformation. With the advent of the Reformation 
the idea of the union became unpopular, the Protes- 
tants joining hands with the Ruthenians to under- 
mine the established Church. With the Catholic 
reaction setting in at the close of the XVIth century 
the idea of the union again became a matter of con- 
siderable concern. The conditions in the Orthodox 
Church at the time were most revolting, and strongly 
resembled those of the Roman Church in Luther's 
days. The metropolitans and bishops were leading 
dissolute lives, and the common clergy were ignorant 
and equally immoral. High ecclesiastical offices 
could be obtained for money or by favoritism. Under 
the influence of the expurgated Catholic Church the 
conditions in the Ruthenian clergy began to change 
for the better, and, goaded on by Polish statesmen, 
the Ruthenian bishops convoked a synod at the 
Lithuanian city of Brzesc (now known by the Rus- 
sian name of Brest-Litovsk) in 1595 to discuss means 
of reform and the possibility of renewing the union 
with the Roman Church. The union of the two 
churches received at the time paramount importance 


in view of the fact that Muscovy, in retaliation for the 
unscrupulous exploitation on the part of the Patriar- 
chate of Constantinople, established its own church 
with the Tsar at the head (1589), and the fear of the 
possible gravitation of the Ruthenians toward Mos- 
cow became very real and entirely justified. As early 
as 1567, even before the separate Muscovite Church 


was established, the metropolitan of Moscow, Nikon, 
called himself the Patriarch of Great and Little Rus- 
sia. The proceedings of the synod and the ultimate 
schism proved conclusively that in certain groups 
there were decided leanings toward the Muscovite 
Church, and that they were ready to exert every 
effort to prevent a union with the prevailing Church 


in Poland. A considerable element among the 
Ruthenian schismatics was also actuated by Protes- 
tant motives. As a result of the discordant interests 
only about two-thirds of the Ruthenians joined the 
union. The dioceses of Lemberg, Przemysl, Lutsk 
and Mohilev were left in the hands of the schismatics. 
All the others, not excluding that of Kieff, came 
into the Uniate Church. In a considerable measure 
the failure to rally greater support of the union was 
due to the shortsightedness and obstinacy of the Polish 
clergy in their refusal to admit the Ruthenian bishops 
to membership in the Polish Senate. The well- 
conceived but poorly executed Brzesc union resulted 
in unfortunate division and strife in Ukraine, that 
had many lamentable results and which contributed 
in a degree to the precipitation of the Cossack rebel- 
lions and the ultimate loss of the Cossacks to Poland. 
The regrettably long reign of Zygmunt III Vasa, 
1587-1632, characterized by intolerance, intrigue and 
incompetency, is the turning point in Polish history. 
The era of political decline begins with him, bright- 
ened by moments of unequalled heroism and supreme 
political wisdom. 

(J. Kossak pinx) 


The Polish Constitution 

The constitution of Poland was never written. 
It was a body of laws sanctioned by ancient custom 
and subsequent legislation. By the end of Zygmunt 
Vasa's reign it became a rigid state instrument, and 
underwent but few changes until the last quarter of 
the XYIIIth century. 

The Commonwealth of Poland consisted of the 
Kingdom of Poland, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania 
The Polish an< ^ ^ e domains f Prussia, Mazovia, 
Republic Zmudz (Samogitia), Kieff, Volhynia, 

Podolia, Podlasie and Livonia or 
Inflanty. The victories over Muscovy in the XVIIth 
century placed a number of other territories under 
Polish sovereignty. In addition, Poland exercised 
sovereign power over Courland, East Prussia, Mol- 
davia and Wallachia. Since the establishment of the 
union among the component states at Lublin in 1569 
Poland had been a Republic, at the head of which 
stood an elective King. 


The Piasts were hereditary rulers of Poland. By 
the will of the childless Kazimir the Great, the last 
The Kin Piast, the crown of Poland went to his 

nephew, Ludwig of Hungary. If Lud- 
wig had left male heirs, their right to the Polish 
throne would have been undeniable. There was no 
law or custom, however, which would recognize a 
woman to hereditary right of succession. To secure 
this right for his (laughters, Ludwig had to com- 
promise, and granted the famous. privilege of Kos- 
zyce in 1374. His daughter, or the grand niece of 
Kazimir the Great, was elected. If she had sons they 
would have inherited the right to the Polish throne. 
But Jadwiga died childless, and the status of her 
consort, Jagiello, was not clearly defined. In con- 
sequence, his sons, by a Ruthenian princess, were not 
recognized as royal heirs in Poland. With Jagiello's 
oldest son, therefore, begins the period of elective 
kings. It was only because the Poles desired to pre- 
serve the union with Lithuania, where the descend- 
ants of Jagiello had hereditary rights, and not be- 
cause of any legal obligations, that they had elected 
kings of his house until the extinction of the dynasty. 

The sons of the King had no more claims to the 
throne than anyone else. 

Every nobleman of Poland, Lithuania and the 

other parts of the Republic had a right to vote. The 

representatives of the more important 

The Elections , 

cities were members ot the electorate, 
as were also Poland's vassals, with the exception of 
the Duke of Prussia, to whom this privilege was 
denied. Until the end of the Jagiellon dynasty the 
ejections were indirect, through representatives in 
local assemblies and the Diet. After the reign of 
Zygmunt II August, "viritim" or direct elections in 
person prevailed. The viritim elections took place in 


a suburb of Warsaw, where the knighthood and 
dignitaries formed two separate camps. Here the 
assembled electorate listened to the exhortations of 
the representatives of the candidates and their sup- 
porters. On the day set for the election the Senators 


and Deputies met with the nobility of their respect- 
ive provinces and took a viva voce vote on the various 
candidates. Unanimous consent was necessary to 
make the election valid. The Primate announced the 
result of the election. 


The elected candidate, first by his representa- 
tives and then in person, swore to uphold the consti- 
tutional privileges enumerated in the pacta conventa, 
which the pre-election or "convocation diet" had 
drawn up, whereupon a duly executed diploma of 
election was handed to him. He did not become, 
however, vested with monarchial authority until 
after the coronation which took place at Cracow. 
The coronation ceremony was followed by a special 
"coronation diet," at which the King confirmed the 
laws of the Commonwealth. 

At first the King's power was considerable. He 

was the lawmaker, and although at a comparatively 

early period he regularly consulted his 

Council, he was not legally bound by 

and Duties of . , . ' . i j , 1 

the King lts decisions, tie could not, however, 

infringe upon the privileges and rights 
of the several estates. The law of 1505, known as 
"Nihil novi," limited his legislative power consider- 
ably and gave it to the Diet. 

The King was the supreme judge until the elect- 
ive tribunals were established in Batory's time, 
which, however, did not supersede him in civil mat- 
ters. He was commander-in-chief of the army. He 
could call out the national militia, but only with the 
consent of the Diet, of which he was an integral part. 

He convened the national and local diets at times 
instanced by law and at other times on extraordinary 
occasions. He specified the matters to be submitted 
for the consideration of the Diet. The resolutions and 
acts of the Diet, as well as court decrees, were issued 
in his name. He had power to appoint ambassadors 
to foreign countries, but could give them instructions 
in minor matters only. The ambassadors were re- 
sponsible to the Diet. Similarly, the King could 
confer with foreign representatives only in the pres- 


ence of the Council of the Senate. The King could 
not go abroad, marry or secure divorce, without the 
assent of the Senate. Although the 'King derived 
his power from the election, he was responsible to 
nobody. He was merely limited by the privileges 
which he granted, or which were granted by his pre- 
decessors and which he confirmed. After the extinc- 
tion of the Jagiellon dynasty the electorate claimed 
the right to renounce allegiance to the King in case 
of his disregard of the law or of the articles of the 
covenant (de non praestanda obedientia). 

The executive power of the State was vested in 
the King. He was, however, handicapped in the 
exercise of it by the life tenure of officials and by their 
independence. He had the sole right to appoint civil 
and military officers, but could not recall any officials 
unless guilt had been established before the Diet sit- 
ting as a court of justice. The right of appointing 
bishops was vested in the King, and he had the power 
to donate or mortgage crown lands. 

All offices were life tenures. The chief offices 
which, with the exception of the Hetmans and the 
Offi Under-Treasurer, entitled the incum- 

bents to senatorial dignities were: 

1. The Chancellor or Keeper of the Great Seal. 
Both ecclesiastical and temporal nobles could hold 
this office. The Chancellor was the representative of 
the King and the interpreter of his will and inten- 
tions. He read the speeches of the Crown, presented 
to the Diet the matters for consideration, negotiated 
with foreign ambassadors and acted as intermediary 
between the people and the king. All royal decrees, 
mandates and correspondence was prepared and 
signed by him. 

2. The Under-Chancellor attended to minor af- 


fairs and assumed the duties of the Chancellor in his 

3. The Grand Marshall had charge of the 
King's safety, and was at the head of the adminis- 
tration of the police and judicial departments of the 
capital and its vicinity. His jurisdiction was very 

4. Two Under-Marshalls, assisting the Grand 
Marshall, were also regular officials. 

5. The State Treasurer had charge over the 
royal exchequer. He was responsible for the col- 
lection of revenue and the expenditures approved by 
the Diet. His reports were regularly submitted to 
the Diet, and for every misuse of funds he was re- 
sponsible with his private fortune. He was also in 
charge of the mint and of the royal domains. 

6. An Under-Treasurer attended to the minor 
matters of the office. 

7. and 8. One Grand Hetman commanded the 
Crown army and another the Lithuanian army. They 
were charged with the duty of defending the country 
against invasion and of guarding the Republic 
against internal disturbances. 

9. The Field Hetman was a military official of 
a lower rank. His duty was to defend the frontiers 
of the country. He also substituted the Grand Het- 
man when necessary. 

All the above mentioned dignitaries were ex- 
officio ministers of state. 

There were many minor state or court offices, 
some of which during the course of time lost their 
significance and were retained merely for honorary 

Of the crown officers who discharged their 
duties outside of the capital, the following were the 
most important: 


The "Woyevoda" was a provincial Governor 
with a very limited duty and responsibility. At first 
he acted as chairman of the provincial diet, but later 
this custom came into disuse. The Woyevoda led 
the militia of his province in case of war, looked after 
the weights and measures in towns, prescribed the 
prices of products, and had jurisdiction over Jews. 
The office entitled the holder to a seat in the Senate. 

The ''Castellan's'' was one of the offices which, 
like that of the Woyevoda, had a historical tradition, 
but which in time proved to be a mere honorary title 
of the leader of the nobilitv of a district. In case of 


war he organized the citizens of the district and led 
them to the Woyevoda. The office gave the incum- 
bent senatorial rank. 

The actual executive work in the country was 
done by the Starostas. They enforced the decrees, 
and had charge over the law and order of their respect- 
ive districts. They were also judges of the nobility 
in criminal matters, and sometimes, but very seldom, 
in civil cases also. The civil jurisdiction was almost 
wholly in the hands of special judges, appointed by 
the King from the lists of candidates presented by 
the nobility of the districts. 

Some of the offices were considered incompatible, 

i. e., could not be held at the same time by one and 

the same person. No two provincial 

Incompatibiha rr , r , , * j i 

offices could be filled by one person; a 
crown dignitary could not hold a provincial office; 
the Hetman could not be a Marshall, neither could 
the Chancellor be Treasurer of the Crown. 

The King, the Senators and the representatives 
of the knighthood constituted the Polish Diet or 
Parliament. The King was an integ- 
ral part of the Diet, although his 
constant presence during the sessions was not re- 


quired. At the time of the death of Kazimir the 
Great, in 1370, there were as yet no general assem- 
blies of the nobles. Each province or district dis- 
cussed its local affairs in small conventions. Gradu- 
ally inter-provincial congresses began to be called to 
discuss affairs of a more general nature. At first 
these congresses were rare, but at the beginning of the 
XVth century they became more frequent. One 
reason for them was the development of the mutual- 
ity of interests with the greater consolidation of the 
country; another, the more frequent requests of the 
king for advice and approval of his activities. The 
more limited his power became the more frequent 
were the meetings of the representatives of the vari- 
ous sections of the country. Hussitism, contro- 
versies over church tithes, elections of the king, and 
other such matters called for frequent national assem- 
blies of the nobles of the country. As there was no 
regular Diet, they first formed confederacies. Some- 
times the representatives of the local assemblies met 
with the king's council. In this way, to the ancient 
advisory council of the king, consisting of his rela- 
tives, ministers, bishops, woyevodas and castellans 
were added the more democratic elements. The new- 
comers regarded their presence in the Council as of 
right and not of royal grace. When their numbers 
grew, and they became the spokesmen of a definite 
economic and social class, they were differentiated 
from the bishops and dignitaries and were requested 
to meet separately from the original council, which in 
contradistinction to the chamber of the deputies of 
the local assemblies of the nobles, was designated as 
the Senate. The past history of the Senate determined 
its composition. It consisted of the archbishops and 
bishops, ministers of state, castellans and woyevodas. 
The high state offices created after the Senate was 


definitely constituted (the middle of the XVth cen- 
tury) did not find representation in it. That is why 
the Under-Treasurer and the Hetmans had no seats in 
the Senate. The number of senators in the year 1569 
was 140; their number increased to 150 during the 
reign of Wladyslav IV and John Kazimir. After the 
loss of Livonia the number of senators decreased by 

The Deputies were elected by the land assem- 
blies which were the legislative organs of the local 
autonomous government, and were bound to observe 
the mandates given to them. Some measures, like 
those referring to taxation, had to receive the unani- 
mous consent of the Diet and then of the local as- 
semblies. This procedure was in conformity with 
the old custom whereby the King's Council had to 
get the consent of every local assembly for a measure 
infringing upon the privileges of the nobles. The 
theory of the procedure was that the privileges of the 
nobles formed not only the objective law of the coun- 
try, but the subjective right of every individual whom 
they concerned. For every contemplated change 
of the privileges the consent of all those whom the 
change concerned was therefore required. When the 
national assembly took the place of the local assem- 
blies the unanimous consent of the representatives 
and their constituencies was still required for the 
validity of any measure which concerned the nobility 
as a class, or as individuals. When the House of 
Representatives was definitely differentiated from 
the King's Council, in 1493, the representation of the 
nobilty was very slight. Usually a province or the 
administrative unit presided over by a woyevoda sent 
two representatives. By the middle of the XVIth 
century there were not more than two score of repre- 
sentatives in the House. During the reign of the 


first two Zygmunts their numbers increased. The 
local assemblies sent six delegates each. In 1569 
there were 95 representatives in the House. In the 
next century the number of deputies was increased 
to 172. 

There was no specified place or time for the ses- 
sions of the Diet. The king summoned it whenever 
occasion arose. Sometimes it met twice a year, at 
other times once in several years. In the XVth cen- 
tury the sessions lasted for a few days; in the XVIth 
century deliberations lasted several months. Later 
on the Diet met regularly every second year, and the 
time limit was six weeks. Extraordinary sessions 
could be called between the regular sessions and were 
to last not more than two weeks. At first the Diets 
met chiefly in Piotrkow, later in Warsaw. Although 
unanimous consent was required for the validity of 
the measures, yet it was not very difficult to obtain 
it, despite the specific instructions of local assemblies. 
The public spirit animating the Diet conquered all 
technical difficulties. Later on attempts, such as that 
by John Zamoyski, were made to introduce the prin- 
ciples of modern parliamentarism. They failed on 
account of the reaction which set in after the collapse 
of the Protestant Reformation movement. 

The "Liberum veto," whereby one deputy could 
dissolve a session of Parliament and render nuga- 
tory all its previous decisions, came into life in the 
middle of the XVIIth century, in the era of moral and 
political decline. 

The Confederacies were unions formed by the 

nobility, or magnates, the Diet or the King, with the 

aim of achieving certain things which 

Confederacies , 1-11 i 

could not be obtained by ordinary 
means. They supplemented, as it were, the im- 
perfect constitutional machinery. They first came 


into being during the interregnum following the 
death of Ludwig in 1382, and took the place of the 
regular government which, acting in the name of 
the King, was without legal sanction during the 
interregnum. After the death of Zygmunt II August 
in 1572, and later, attempts were made to provide 
for regular authority during an interregnum but 
were frustrated. Confederacies were sometimes 
formed during the life of the king when the govern- 
ment did not or could not fulfill its duties. 

The legal basis for the confederacies lay in the 
conception of the supreme sovereignty of the nobil- 
ity. That was why a general confederacy, i. e., com- 
prising the representation of the whole nobility, was 
considered superior to the king 1 . They sometimes 
attempted to subject the king to their jurisdiction. 
Naturally the power of the confederacy depended on 
its strength. A confederacy, which failed on account 
of lack of strength, was a rebellion. Sometimes the 
king formed counter confederacies. When the king 
joined a confederacy it received legal sanction from 
the outset. The closest analogy in modern times to 
a Polish confederacy was the Ulster movement 
against Irish Home Rule. In Poland Sir Edward 
Carson would have been recognized as the Marshall of 
the confederacy. With several counsellors added, he 
would have constituted the executive board of the 
confederacy. The representatives of the various dis- 
tricts in the confederacy formed a Council similar to 
the Diet. When the confederacy was general, i. e., 
embracing the whole country, the enactments of the 
Council superseded those of the regular Diet. The 
decisions of the confederacy were taken by a major- 
ity vote. In view of the fact that the Diets required 
unanimous vote, the confederacies were at times the 
only way out of serious difficulties. In the long run, 


however, they did more harm than good in undermin- 
ing the already weak foundation on which public law 
rested in Poland. 

Each estate or class of Polish population had a 

distinct legal position with its own courts vested with 

judicial authority. The district courts 

Administration J . , . . J , . , 

of justice with elective judges were the lower 

courts of the nobility. The court met 
three times a year in a place designated by law and 
had jurisdiction over civil matters. The chamber- 
lain's courts had cognizance over land boundary 
disputes. The starostas' courts had jurisdiction over 
criminal cases, and entertained civil suits in cases 
where one of the parties was a non-resident noble. 
For gathering evidence the courts had power to ap- 
point special commissions. Appeals from all the above 
courts in civil matters could be taken to the tribunals, 
of which there were three: one for Great Poland, 
one for Little Poland and the third for Lithuania. 
Appeals in criminal cases were taken to the King's 
court. No appeal from a decision of the Tribunal 
could be taken to the King's court. At times the Diet 
acted as a court, but only in cases referred to it by the 
tribunals. Cases of lese majeste and of high treason 
came into its competence. The trial could not last 
longer than the time specified for the session of the 
Diet, and a liberum veto could annul the court decrees. 

In matters pertaining to land ownership and the 
collection of tithes the clergy had to resort to ordinary 
courts. In criminal offences of the clergy, and in 
matters pertaining to canon law, the bishops wielded 
judicial authority. The bishop's court was the court 
of first instance, the primate's court the second, and 
the nuncio's court the third. 

The townspeople had their own courts based on 
German law, with elective judges and the mayor as 


presiding officer. Appeals from these courts went to 
the King's court. 

The peasants were dependent in their disputes 
upon the owner of the village. In those villages 
which were founded upon the German law, elective 
-courts remained, but the chief of the village became 
in time an appointee of the owner of the manor and a 
tool in his hands. 

The Jews had their own courts, but in cases 
against Gentiles jurisdiction was in the hands of the 
Governor's or Woyevoda's courts; appeals could be 
taken to the King's court. Sometimes the King's 
court acted as a court of first instance. Jews who 
settled in the villages came within the jurisdiction of 
the owner of the village without the right of appeal. 

The state revenue was derived from various 
duties and taxes, and from the leasing of the crown 
Finances domains. The land tax was a general 

tax, from which only the clergy, and 
later the nobility also, were exempt. The products 
of the salt and metal mines were taxed, as were also 
dwellings in the country and in the cities. Mint 
seigniorage, excise taxes, the various taxes levied in 
the cities on commerce, transportation, manufac- 
tures and crafts, and the Jewish capitation tax were 
the other kinds of state revenue. The tax rate was a 
variable quantity; in cases of need the Diet would 
double, treble and even quadruple the usual tax rate. 
Until the year 1717 the clergy were exempt from 
taxation. In extraordinary cases the Church would 
donate to the state treasury a "subsidium charita- 
tivum," the amount of which was fixed by the Church 
Council. After 1717 the Church paid a regular an- 
nual tax. 

The expenditures went for the maintenance of 
the King and his court, for state administration 


and foreign representation, and for the regular army. 
The collection of taxes and the disposition of the 
revenues were under the control of the Treasurer, 
responsible to the Diet. Some taxes went directly 
to certain officials on whose ability to collect them 
depended the size of their incomes; others were 
farmed out, and in s'ome instances the army officers 
collected the taxes designated for the maintenance 
of the army. 

In addition to state taxes there were provincial 
and town duties of all kinds levied by the proper 
authorities. The Church tithes were devoted ex- 
clusively to the maintenance of the clergy. 

"Great democracies are not belligerent." On 
account of the persistent refusals of the nobility to 
Nation i make suitable appropriations for na- 

Defence tional defence the standing army of 

Poland was very small. It was com- 
posed of natives and foreigners, who were paid a 
stipulated amount for their services. In return for 
the multifarious privileges the nobility was bound to 
serve in the national militia and to answer the call to 
arms whenever made by the king in conformity with 
a resolution of the Diet authorizing the levy. The 
nobles were obliged to appear fully equipped. A mili- 
tary census was taken every five years. In theXVIIth 
century about 300,000 men were registered in the 
national militia. The militia was composed entirely 
of heavy and light cavalry, hussars, uhlans and dra- 
goons. The regular army had all kinds of arms, 
ordnance, cavalry and infantry; the latter having 
been put on a regular and efficient basis by King 
Stefan Batory. 

In addition, private troops were maintained by 
the spiritual and temporal magnates. Most of the 
residences of the magnates were fortified castles. 



The number of these castles was very large. Many 
of them were very spacious and beautiful in design. 
Since 1572 the Cossacks have been utilized for light 
cavalry purposes and stationed at the frontiers of the 
country. The "registered" (as they were called) 

(Courtesy of Scribners' Sons) (Drawn by W. T. Benda) 


Cossacks received pay for their services and were 
exempt from any control by civil authorities. They 
were subject to the jurisdiction of their Chief, who, in 
turn, was under the Polish Field Hetman. During 
the reign of Zygmunt II August, Biala Cerkiev was 


the seat of the Cossack Chief, and the depository of 
their magazines and munitions. King Stefan Batory 


moved the capital of the registered Cossacks to Trach- 
tymirov, on the Dnieper, below the City of Kieff. 



The Nobles. The nobles were the ruling class 
with the exclusive right to enjoy full citizenship. 
Nobility was hereditary in the male 
line, and an escutcheon was an outward 
sign of it. The power to ennoble re- 
sided originally in the King, but after 
the end of the XVIth century the ap- 
proval of the Diet was required. As the class con- 
sciousness of the nobility grew, attempts were made 

Legal Status 
of the Various 
Classes of the 


to restrict admission to the caste. Naturalization of 
foreign nobles, after 1641, similarly became a matter 
over which the Diet had sole control. In the XVIIth 
century a new conception, that of a scartabellate 
developed, whereby the newly ennobled persons en- 
joyed but certain privileges. Only their progeny in 
the third generation came into possession of full rights' 
of citizenship. This was the only gradation in the 
ranks of the nobility who guarded jealously against 



the rise in station of anyone by reason of heredi- 
tary title. By the act of 1638 no noble could accept 
or use a title which had not been registered in the acts 
of the Union of Lublin in 1569. The Polish Kings 
were prohibited from giving titles to Poles but were 
free to bestow them upon foreigners. Orders were 
not allowed in Poland. In violation of the law, the 
first was established in 1705, during the period of 
political disintegration. 


The following were the special privileges and im- 
munities enjoyed by the nobility exclusively: The 
right to acquire and own land in the country as well 
as real estate in cities, with all the wealth below the 
surface; the property of the nobles was exempt from 
confiscation without due process of law; only to the 
nobility was the door of the more exalted temporal 
and spiritual offices open; they were exempt from 
taxation, making only such contributions as they 
voluntarily imposed upon themselves, with the 
single exception of compulsory military duty in case 
of war. A noble was answerable only to his own 



courts. For killing a person not of noble rank he 
was punishable by a fine only. He enjoyed the right 
of habeas corpus, had complete freedom of speech, 
was an elector of the King, and qualified to become 
a candidate for the royal office. Finally, he had a 
voice in the affairs of the country by electing dele- 
gates to the National Diet through the local assem- 


blies. There was only one restriction to which the 
nobles had to submit, and that was the prohibition 
of being a merchant or an artisan. By settling in a 
city and engaging in this kind of work a noble for- 
feited all his rights to nobility. 

The Clergy. Next to the nobility in order of en- 
joyment of special privileges and immunities were 
the Roman Catholic clergy. All the higher ecclesiasti- 
cal offices were given exclusively to persons from 



among the nobility, with the exception of the "doc- 
toral canons," to which only priests holding doctors' 
degrees in theology, law and medicine could be ap- 
pointed. Beginning with 1496 no cathedral chapter 
could have more than five plebean members, all of 
whom were required to have doctors' degrees. In the 
case of a dearth of properly qualified doctors of noble 
rank, priests from among other classes of society 


could be appointed. Catholic diocesan bishops were 
ex-officio members of the Senate. Many high state 
offices, including that of the Chancellor, were open to 
the clergy, and as a rule were occupied by them alter- 
natively, i. e., an office vacated by a temporal digni- 



tary would in turn be occupied by a spiritual person, 
and vice versa. 

The King appointed the bishops and canons, as 
well as the abbots and rectors. Kazimir the Great 
had attempted to influence the cathedral colleges in 
the election of bishops, Jagiello followed his example, 
and his second son, Kazimir Jagiellonczyk, obtained 
this right from the Pope, confirmed later by Sixtus V 
in 1589. The policy of Poland consistently endeav- 


ored to submit the Church to State control. Those 
among the clergy who, by importunity or procure- 
ment, obtained appointments in Rome, and in this 
wise infringed upon the royal prerogatives, were 
liable to the penalty of exile and confiscation of 
personal property. 

The nobility were tireless in opposing the tax 
exemptions of the clergy, the tithes and ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction. By a law of 1510 the Diet prohibited 



bequests of land to the Church in order to stop the 
tremendous growth of "the dead hand, "as the Church 



estates were called. In 1562 the church courts were 
deprived of the right to enforce their decrees by 


means of the executive power of the State, and in 1635 
appeals to Rome were made illegal. In the XVIIth 
century restrictions were placed upon the building of 
monasteries and convents, and further restrictions 
placed upon bequests. 

The Dissidents. The legal guarantees of equality 
of rights of dissidents with Catholics were contained 
in the provisions of the Warsaw Confederacy of 1573, 
and were sworn to by every new monarch. With the 
growth of the Catholic reaction they became more or 
less a dead letter, and dissidents were made the sub- 
jects of discrimination. No bishop of the Orthodox 
Church or even of the Uniate Church was recognized 
in the Senate, and State offices were very seldom filled 
by persons from among the non-Conformists. In 
1632 the Diet prohibited the erection of new dissident 
churches in the cities of the Crown, and in 1717 this 
prohibition was extended to the rest of the country. 

The Arians, or anti-trinitarians, were declared to 
be outside of the term ''dissidents," and were ban- 
ished from the country in 1658. The underlying 
motive for this radical method of dealing with the sect 
was political rather than religious. 

The Burghers. The XVIth and XVIIth centuries 
saw the decline of the once prosperous and powerful 
Polish cities. Geographical and economic conditions 
as well as pernicious legislation were the causes of it. 
Gdansk (Danzig) only, and a few other maritime 
cities, continued to prosper. The direct interchange 
of the products of the manor for the foreign manu- 
factures and luxuries, and the development of self- 
sufficing communities around the manor eliminated 
the need of cities, and their marts and fairs. The 
character of the city population changed. The old, 
prosperous and respectable families became ennobled 
and settled in the country; others emigrated. The 


lower elements came into power, and, not appreciat- 
ing the real causes of the decline of the cities, en- 
deavored to put the blame upon the Jews and other 
foreign elements. The weakness and disorganization 
of the cities became reflected in their relation to other 
elements of the population and to the Government. 
The cities lost their former right to home rule and 
representation, and were subjected to the authority 
of state officials and private magnates. The woye- 
vodas prescribed prices for city products, the rates of 
excise taxes, etc., and the Diet established rules as to 
profits and even as to private expenditures and the 
kind of dress to be worn (lex sumptuaria). The dis- 
integration of city life was accelerated by special 
rights claimed by the nobility owning real estate 
within the city limits and by the clergy, who did not 
want to submit to the city administration and estab- 
lished special jurisdiction of their own. In this they 
were encouraged by the Diet which passed laws 
making certain persons and houses exempt from 
municipal law, and dependent solely upon provincial 
authorities and their jurisdiction. 

The burgesses did not have access to any state 
offices nor to the higher spiritual positions. They 
were excluded from the national militia. Only the 
Prussian cities and the City of Cracow had a right 
to the acquisition and tenure of land outside the town 

Aside from the economic advantages the nobility 
planned to derive, by making themselves independent 
of the cities, the chief motive in destroying impor- 
tant and powerful cities was to remove every pos- 
sibility of furnishing the King with an ally strong 
enough to overturn the existing order of things and 
to introduce absolute government in Poland. The 
cities declined very rapidly, and even the so-called 



"storage laws" could not prevent this process. By 
these laws no merchant, foreign or domestic, could 
pass a "storage" city without offering his wares for 
sale on a specified day. 


The Peasants. In the XVIth century there was 
not so much as a trace left of the independence of the 
peasant and his right to self-government. The laws 
limiting his freedom became more rigid, and the 
punishment for flight from the jurisdiction of his mas- 
ter more severe. The owner of the manor had juris- 
diction over his peasants, and prescribed laws and 


regulations for them; he could transfer them from 
place to place; he could take away certain leased 
parcels of land and give them others instead; he 
prescribed the amount of free labor the peasant had 
to render. There existed no state regulations as to 
the number of free days the peasant was obliged to 
give to his landlord, as to the number of beasts of 
burden he had to bring with him to help in the work, 
and as to the other duties he had to perform. 


In time the manor became an entirely independ- 
ent economic unit. The peasant was obliged to buy 
all his necessities of life from the landlord and was 
compelled to sell all the products of his farm to the 
manor. The manor also established a monopoly of 
milling, bleaching and of spirits and beer production. 
The landlord compelled his peasants to purchase 
certain quantities of these drinks for various occa- 
sions, such as marriages and christenings. Similar 
conditions prevailed in church estates and crown 


lands, except that in crown lands the peasant had a 
right to appeal to the royal referee's court for redress. 
In spite of the loss of personal liberty, dating 
from 1496 in Poland and lasting longer than in the 
western countries of Europe, the Polish peasant was 
not a slave. He could not be sold, and he was not 
deprived of legal competence, although since 1573 he 


was the "peculium" of his overlord. He could hold 
property, both real and personal, and nobody could 
deprive him of it. He had hereditary rights to his 
land and could buy land from his landlord, to which 
his children had hereditary claims. His rights, 
however, were greatly restricted; he could not leave 
the landlord except with his consent, or, as in some 
places, by forfeiting a certain sum, but by law he 



remained a free man. His legal status resembled 
that of minors or of women in those countries where 
they are not permitted by law to enter into any 
transactions without the consent of father or hus- 
band. The fact that in the XVIth and XVIIth cen- 
turies many peasants from foreign countries settled 


in Poland indicates that the lot of the peasant in 
Poland was better than that of his confreres in some 
of the west European countries. 

The jews. The Jews in Poland had complete 
autonomy in their internal affairs. In each city in 
which they were allowed to live there was a special 




Jewish college called "Kahal," which governed the 
Jewish affairs of the community. In addition they 
had other colleges, such as that of neemunim to 
supervise or police the community; shamaim to col- 
lect taxes; gabbaim to attend to charities, and others. 
The members of the colleges were elected annually 
from among the taxpayers. Every year during the 
great fairs at Lublin and Jaroslav the representa- 
tives of the Jews from all the provinces of Poland 
assembled in synods to settle the internal affairs of 
the various communities and inter-communal mat- 
ters; also to make joint representations to the King 
and to apportion the taxes levied upon them as a 
body. In time the Jewish autonomy became weaker, 
and they came more under the supervision of the 
woyevoda and his subordinates, but they always 
retained their right to appeal to the King's court for 
redress. In 1699 the King issued a special codifica- 
tion of all the privileges concerning Jews and by this 
document their status was clearly defined. 

The Jews could not settle in the towns belonging 
to the Catholic Church, and in such cities, of the 
Crown #,s Warsaw, for example, whose ancient char- 
ters forbade their settlement. To insure themselves 
against competition, the burghers made the Jews 
sign covenants limiting the scope of their pursuits. 
In some cities the Jews were prohibited from leasing 
real estate or handling customs and other tax collec- 
tions. In those cities, however, where they had a 
right to settle, they could own real estate and houses. 
In the villages the Jews were subject to the jurisdic- 
tion- of the landlord. On the whole, their disabilities 
in Poland were comparatively few, although from the 
very beginning the Jewish settlers were looked upon 
with disfavor by the peasants, and were made the 
subject of numerous complaints and blind vengeance, 



particularly in times of economical crises or other ca- 
lamities, like the Black Death of 1360. The laws of 
the country were designed to protect them against 
outrages and cruelties on the part of the native popu- 
lation, and were effective until the time of the Catholic 
reaction, when all non-Conformists, either Christian 
or Jews, became ostracized and subject to the 
"tumults" of the ignorant and fanatical street rabble. 
As a matter of fact, the Jews suffered less than the 
Protestants, and had more protection than the Chris- 
tian non-Conformists. 


Upon joining the Catholic Church the Jews 
received nobilitation and came into possession of the 
golden liberties of the nobility, the highest privilege 
the Republic could offer. 

The liberality of the Polish law giving a wide 
autonomy to the Jewish population worked against 
the best interests of the Republic, as it was condu- 
cive to the perpetuation of a distinct race conscious- 
ness, and prevented the polonization and nationaliza- 
tion of an element of the population which had be- 



come attached to the land of their adoption, where 
they found homes, work and protection at a time 
when they were cruelly persecuted almost every- 
where else in Europe. Subsequent laws modelled 
after foreign patterns, which prohibited Jews from 
employing any help other than that of their corelig- 
ionists, from sending their children to Polish schools, 
from living outside of ghettos, and from wearing 
apparel like the rest of the population, helped to 
widen the gaps which the original grants of autono- 
mous rule had established. 



and Economic 


of the Country 

in the First 

Half of the 



_ AL: 

F.IG. 121 VIEW OF GDANSK,. From G. Braun's "Civitates orbis terrarum," 1491 

The Cossack Wars 

It was an almost foregone conclusion that Wlady- 
slav, the older son of Zygmunt III, would succeed 
his father to the throne. He was the 
antithesis of the older Vasa, and was as 
much loved by the people as his father 
had been hated. Though of a Swedish 
father and a German mother, he was a 
Pole in every respect other than race. 
He was sincere and openminded, cor- 
dial and easy going, democratic and 
sympathetic to arts and sciences, and 
tolerant in matters of religious belief. It was almost 
worth while to have endured Zygmunt for the com- 
pensation afforded by his son. His election was a 
matter of form. Unfortunately the era of anarchy 
had lasted too long to allow for a speedy rectification 
of conditions. Moreover, the nobles, despite their 
fondness for Wladyslav, had not failed further to 
restrict the King's powers. The Convocation Diet 
took from him the power to declare war except for de- 
fensive purposes, and ordered void all decisions which 
the King might make in conjunction with the Senate 
in the interim between the biennial sessions of the 
Diet, irrespective of how important and urgent the 
matters may have been if they were considered inimi- 
cal to the interests of the nobles. In the pacta con- 


yenta they enjoined the King from levying the chim- 
ney tax and the acreage tax, the only two kinds of 
taxes the nobles paid, and which amounted to a mere 
bagatelle. The King was deprived of the power to 
enlist foreign soldiers without the consent of the 

(Portrait by Rubens) 
FIG. 122 WLADYSLAV IV, 1632-1648 

Senate and of th House of Deputies. The consent 
of the two Houses was also made necessary for the 
King's marriage. "So was accomplished the building 
of the edifice of the nobles' liberties ; the royal power, 
completely fettered, became a plaything in the hands 


not of the nobles, but of the oligarchy of the magnates. 
The small land assemblies and the "kinglets" (as the 
magnates were called), leading the masses of land- 
owners on the leash of their own ambitions and in- 
terests, became the sureme majesty in the Republic."* 
The political tendency was toward decentraliza- 
tion, as at the local assemblies various convenient 
measures could be more easily passed than at the 
National Diet. The country became divided into a 
great many entirely independent administrative 
units. The provincial soldiery, paid by the local 
legislatures, took the place of the national army. 
Magnates, holding the local assemblies in the hollow 
of their hands, accumulated immense wealth by all 
sorts of injustices and extortions. Their holdings 
and power became disquietingly large. Some, like 
the Radziwills, owned 16 cities and 583 villages, and 
kept an armed retinue 6,000 strong. The Potockis 
owned 3,000,000 acres and 130,000 serfs. In national 
affairs they were able to exercise a powerful influence 
by direct representation in the Senate and by patron- 
age among the representatives of the nobility in the 
Diet. The spirit of overbearing wantonness among 
the magnates was particularly strong in Lithuania 
and Ukraine. The frontier lords, less disturbed by 
sovereign authority and less protected from foreign 
invasions, developed an attitude of haughty inde- 
pendence and became intractable. It was in those 
provinces particularly that the exploitation of the 
peasant was most pronounced, though the peasant of 
Ukraine was, thanks to the incomparable fertility 
of the soil, better off economically 'than his brethren 
in Poland and Lithuania. Yet, because of the lawless- 
ness of his overlords and their retainers, mostly im- 

* Sokolowski, loc. cit. Vol. Ill, p. 214. 


poverished Polish yeomen and squires, who differed 
from him in language and religion, his lot was unen- 
viable, and for this reason most of the Cossacks were 
recruited from among the Ruthenians, who fled to 
the Sich on the Dnieper to become free highwaymen. 
In Poland proper, as all over Europe at that time, the 
peasant was attached to the soil and severely ex- 

With the growth of the Polish exports of 
grains the stimulus of enlarging land holdings 
greatly increased. As the manors of the nobles grew 
the peasants' holdings shrank proportionately, and 
the amount of free labor exacted from them mounted 
indefinitely. In 1633 a law was enacted whereby 
every settler who lived on a nobleman's estate for a 
year became his subject. The peasant in some cases 
was obliged to begin labor at the age of eight, but 
never later than at fifteen. He sometimes had to work 
five or six days a week, giving the use of his horses 
or oxen in time of harvests. There was, however, no 
definite slave class in Poland, as was the case in Ger- 
many and Muscovy, and the fact that German peas- 
ants continued to settle in Poland even as late as the 
XVITIth century constitutes sufficient proof that the 
conditions of the peasants in Poland, bad as they 
may have been, still were better than in the adjoining 

The peasant had to buy his beasts of burden 
from the landlord. The crops could not be sold in 
any way except through him, and he could not buy 
anything except in the store of the manor. This 
strikingly resembles the "company stores" in some 
of the American factory towns. The landlord had, 
in addition, a monopoly of whiskey and beer sales, 
flour milling, linen bleaching, and so on. Certain in- 


dustrial privileges of the lord were farmed out to Jew- 
ish money lenders, who became the subjects of hatred 
of the exploited peasant. In addition to local duties, 
the peasant had to bear many state and church bur- 
dens in the form of taxes and tithes. The landowner 
was the supreme judge, often unjust and cruel. 

The lot of the town plebs was somewhat better, 
but town life had become demoralized since the old 
prosperity of the Polish towns vanished. Home rule 
had been superseded by crown or local land officials, 
who exacted from the population heavy contribu- 
tions, in both lawful and unlawful ways. The quality 
of city products deteriorated with the rigid enforce- 
ment of the regulation of profits modeled after west 
European legislation: the maximum profit of a Polish 
merchant was put at seven per cent. ; for a foreign 
merchant, five per cent. ; and for a Jew, three per cent. 
The Diet went so far as to prescribe the limit of ex- 
penditures and the type of dress of city people. 
Many skilled artisans and merchants left the cities; 
their places were taken by petty Jewish mongers and 
cobblers. The rich burghers sought nobilitation. and 
settled in the country. Incidentally it may be stated 
that nobilitation at the time became more difficult, 
the law of 1641 requiring unanimous consent of the 
Diet in each case of nobilitation. 

In proportion as the economic prosperity of the 
cities declined their political rights became curtailed. 
In the XVIIth century the city of Cracow was the 
only city that had representation in the Diet. In 
times of grave crises some of the other cities were 
asked to send representatives. Few and unheeded 
were the voices of those statesmen who pointed out 
that fine cities were an embellishment for every 
country, and a source of economic and national 




The new King and the foremost political think- 
ers of the time realized that reforms were urgently 
needed. Conditions, however, over 
The Entangle- w hich the Kinsr had no control, ore 

ments of , 

Foreign Policy vented even the first attempts at re- 
form. Prior to Wladyslav's election, 
Tsar Michael Romanoff broke the truce to which he 
had agreed in 1618. He anticipated a disorderly in- 
terregnum, and planned to profit by it and to regain 
some of the territories he had ceded to Poland. He 
miscalculated, however, the extent of Polish unpre- 
paredness, and paid for it by a loss of the provinces of 
Seversk, Czernihov, Smolensk and a surrender of all 
claims to Livonia, Esthonia and Courland. In return 
Wladyslav resigned his claims to the throne of Mus- 
covy. By Article IV of the treaty the King of Poland 
recognized the Grand Duke Michael Fedorovich as 
"Tsar of all the Muscovite Russias, without, however, 
giving him any right whatever over the Ruthenias 
which belong ab antique to Poland." The terms of 
the Polanov peace of 1634 marks the zenith of the 
achievements of the Polish sword in the east. 

Synchronously with the war against Muscovy, 
Poland carried on a war with Turkey. The Mus- 
covite defeats and the brilliant successes of the small 
Polish forces operating against the Turks under the 
command of Crown Hetman Stanislav Koniecpolski 
cut short the war in 1634. Poland promised to re- 
strain the Cossacks and Turkey agreed to curb the 
Tartars. The right of the Turkish Sultan to appoint 
the Moldavian hospodars was recognized, with the 
proviso, however, that the appointments be made 
from a list of candidates submitted by the Polish 

The successful completion of the two campaigns 
brought great glory to the martial King. The coun- 



try now expected a lasting peace, but a turn of cir- 
cumstances favored a retaliatory war on Sweden for 
the restoration of lost territories. In the year of Wla- 
dyslav's election, Gustavus Adolphus perished in the 
battle at Liitzen and his youthful daughter ascended 
the Swedish throne. This was during the Thirty 
Years' War, when the power of the Protestant forces 
was beginning, temporarily, to wane, and the time 

FIG. 124 STANISLAV KONIECPOLSKI, Grand Hetman of the Crown, 

distinguished for his military accomplishments and 

for his genius of organization 

seemed to be most propitious for a war on exhausted 
Sweden. To offset this possibility and to draw Po- 
land into the war on the side of Sweden, Richelieu 
strained every means which his ingenuity could 
devise. Among other compensations he offered in 
return for help against the Emperor was the long lost 


and wealthy province of Silesia. England and Hol- 
land added the weight of their influence to bring Po- 
land into line. The King, whose foreign policy was 
entirely different from that of his father, and who 
was, in fact, pronouncedly anti-Hapsburgian, was 
inclined to side with Richelieu, but the raison d'etat 
demanded immediate action against Sweden. The 
Diet, however, though not sparing compliments for 
the King's virtues and valor, preferred peace to any 
far-reaching political schemes, and lent but a deaf ear 
to the King's demands for war appropriations. With 


such an attitude on the part of the knighthood no 
far-reaching plans could be attempted. A temporary 
agreement was made with Sweden whereby peace 
was to be preserved for twenty-six years ; the Swedes 
were to return all the territories which they occupied 
in Prussia and the Polish vessels which they captured 
on the Baltic. All towns and castles, however, which 


they occupied in Livonia, were to remain in their 
hands, and the question of Wladyslav's hereditary 
rights to the Swedish crown was left in abeyance. 
This agreement was signed on September 12, 1635, 
at Sturmdorf, and hence it is known by that name. 
The unsatisfactory settlement of a situation which 
contained possibilities of epochal importance illus- 
trates the pettiness of the nobles of that reactionary 
period, who were concerned with nothing except 
good, easy living and the enjoyment of unlimited 
rights. They were constantly suspecting the King 
of Machiavelian designs to introduce despotism, and 
were unable to rise to an understanding of any in- 
volved problem of foreign policy. They were, 
moreover, deprived of a sense of collective national 
pride, as the following humiliating incident may well 
illustrate. The King, desirous of developing new 
sources of revenue, which were required for the most 
fundamental needs of the state, and which the ava- 
ricious gentry would not grant, proposed maritime 
import duties at the Polish ports of entry. Such 
duties were being levied in all the neighboring coun- 
tries and in the Polish ports during Swedish occupa- 
tion. After long debates the Diet finally approved 
the measure. The city of Danzig, however, fearing 
that such a measure might deflect trade from its 
doors, refused to allow the collection of the taxes at 
the port and threatened armed resistance. Wlady- 
slav replied by dispatching four warships to the 
recalcitrant city. The city invited Danish interven- 
tion in the matter, and the Danish Admiral, having 
captured the Polish war ships and torn down the 
royal insignia and flags, entered the city amidst de- 
monstrative ovations by the populace. Wladyslav 
had a right to expect that the Diet would be stirred 


with indignation over this act of rebellion and 
treason, and would authorize appropriate steps 
against the city. Something entirely different hap- 
pened. The suspicious nobles saw in the King's act 
an attempt to subjugate Danzig, to organize a power- 
ful navy on the Baltic and to establish with its aid 
absolutum dominium in Poland. The adjudication of 
the matter in the courts was a hollow mockery and 
an insult to the King and to the national honor of a 
great country. The incident also frustrated the 
King's efforts to build up a Polish fleet on the Baltic. 
In spite of the nobles' desire for peace at any 
price the country was plunged into a most bloody and 
devastating war with the Cossacks, 
C t- on ?i tip " s . on which, because it had the character of a 

the Ukrainian . , , 1 . . 1 . . 

Frontier social and religious revolution, was 

thoroughly destructive, and fought with 
terrific furor and rage. 

Ukraine, an enormous prairie watered by the 
Dnieper and its tributaries, was a country "flowing 
with milk and honey." With the union of Lithuania 
and Poland it came under Polish sovereignty, but its 
population, because of the inaggressiveness of the 
Polish character and the Uniate Church, became but 
very slightly Polonized. * The growth of the power 
of the palatines and the unscrupulousness of their 
agents created a grave social discontent among the 
Ukrainian peasants which was kept alive and nour- 
ished by the church agents of Muscovy. They were 

* Some historians, like Prof. Bobrzynski and others, consider the estab- 
lishment of the LTniate Church prejudicial to the interests of the Polish 
State. Because this Church became united with the prevailing Church, the 
Polish government did nothing to encourage the establishment of Roman 
Catholic churches in Ukraine and, as a consequence, thousands of the 
descendants of Polish settlers became Ruthenized. Rome hoping to conquer, 
eventually, Russia by means of the Uniate Church was similarly quiescent 
in its activities in that region. 




even successful in inspiring the hitherto indifferent 
Cossacks with religious fervor. The Patriarch of 
Jerusalem, Theophan, sent by the Russian Tsar on a 
journey through Ukraine, told the people about the 
holy fire that every year on the eve of the Resurrec- 
tion descends from heaven upon the tomb of the 
Saviour, which is in the possession of the true Chris- 
tians, i. e., those who belong to the Greek Church. 
He did not fail, also, to lay strictures upon the Roman 
Church, and to advise the Ukrainians to abstain from 
wars upon Muscovy, whose rulers and people follow 
the path of the true Church of Christ and are hated 
for it by the Poles. 

Frontier populations are usually hard to manage. 
It is particularly so when the frontiers are extensive 
and inadequately protected against the constant raids 
of such nomadic half savages as had been roving on 
the abutting seas and steppes. Small wonder that 
constant warfare was more or less of a normal condi- 
tion on the Ukrainian frontier. The southernmost 
plains of Ukraine adjoining the Black Sea, known as 
"Dzikie Pola" or Wild Steppes, became the habitat 
of the Cossacks and the Tartars, where they could 
organize their bands, and whence they could under- 
take their raiding expeditions into Poland and 
Turkey. By the treaty of 1634 Poland was bound to 
restrain the Cossacks from such raids on the domains 
of the Padishah. This implied supervision over them, 
which the Cossacks resented. When the Polish Diet 
voted to build a strong fortress On the first Dnieper 
Cataract, near the main seat of Cossackdom, open 
rebellions broke out among the Ukrainian peasants. 
The fortress, known by the name of Kudak, was built 
in 1635 by a French engineer, Beauplan, on the Dnie- 
per, where the Russian city of Ekaterinoslav is now 


situated. Immediately upon its completion and 
before a sufficient garrison was stationed in the fort 
the Cossacks stormed and demolished it. This and 
several other rebellions were put down by the Field 
Hetman Nicholas Potocki, with the aid of one of the 
Ukraine palatines, Jeremiah Wisniowiecki, an intense 
foe of the Cossacks, and a man of indomitable courage 
and of an adventurous character, a scion of one of the 
oldest princely families of Lithuania, and owner of 
extensive territories in Ukraine. In retaliation for 
the rebellion, the Diet of 1638 passed a law divesting 
the Cossacks of "all their old prerogatives and other 
decora," and decreeing that "those of the rabble 
whom the fortunes of war had spared, be turned into 
peasantry." Even the "registered" or salaried Cos- 
sacks who had hitherto been faithful were deprived 
of the privilege to elect their own chief, whose resi- 
dence city was taken and placed in charge of a Crown 
official. Rebellions followed, which were subdued, 
and the Kudak fortress rebuilt and strengthened. The 
Cossacks sent delegates to the King and the Senate 
asking for the restoration of some of their privileges 
and renouncing certain others, such as the right to 
elect their own Hetmans. The Senate and the Diet 
were shortsighted and refused to grant any conces- 
sions. The Ukrainian palatines were particularly 
active in preventing any concessions being granted to 
the Cossacks. It was in their interest to convert 
them into serf labor. A contemporary writer, the 
Bishop Piasecki of Przemysl, said that "this change 
in the life of the Cossacks was a private gain and a 
loss to the Republic." The oligarchy of magnates 
was, however, supreme. They terrorized the King 
and subordinated the public weal to their private 
interests. It may be of interest to record here the fact 


that it was during this period that the women of Po- 
land and Lithuania for the first time in their history 
collectively memorialized the Diet demanding better 
protection against exploitation, and the restriction 
of the rights of fathers and an enlargement of the 
rights of mothers. 


Wladyslav well realized the folly and perilous- 
ness of the course adopted with reference to the Cos- 
sacks. The policy of Zygmunt August and of Batory 
of utilizing the Cossacks for a war with Turkey, and 
befriending rather than alienating them, appealed to 


him much more. To achieve this it was necessary 
first to administer a severe blow to Turkey which 
had been fomenting disturbances.. Accordingly, he 
began, with the aid of Hetman Koniecpolski, to or- 
ganize an army, expending upon it the private for- 
tune of his second wife, Marie Louise Gonzague, the 
French Duchess of Mantois, and negotiated an al- 
liance with Venice and the Pope, and also with the 
Cossack leaders. Although the Porte was a source of 
constant danger and the Tartar raids almost inces- 
sant, yet because the campaign was planned by the 
King without the knowledge and consent of the mag- 
nates and their retainers, they voted against it in 
1646, preferring, as they thought, immediate peace to 
questionable political advantages in the future. 

Equally unsuccessful were the King's endeavors 
to bring about the organization of a special pa- 
triarchate for the Ruthenian schismatics 
Chmieinicki's m or d er to make them independent 
1648 of either Constantinople or Moscow. 

The Pope Urban VHIth objected to it, 
but the Polish bishops assembled in Warsaw in 1643, 
supported the King and invited all the schismatics to 
a friendly conference the next year in Thorn. This 
"colloquium charitativum," which made Wladyslav 
famous in Europe and inspired Martin Opitz to write 
a poem in honor of the King, did not bring about the 
desired results. The King, busy organizing a cam- 
paign against Turkey, which the new Pope, Innocent 
'X, was to finance to a considerable degree, left the 
matter in the hands of the Apostolic See, and failed 
thereby to bring about the organization of an inde- 
pendent Ruthenian Church. Owing to the above 
mentioned opposition of the Senators and Deputies 
the campaign against Turkey did not come to pass, 
but a terrific Cossack revolution broke out under the 


leadership of Bohdan Chmielnicki, a poor but ambi- 
tious Polish nobleman who in his action was, to a great 
extent, actuated by revenge for the outrage suffered 

FIG. 127 BOHDAN CHMIELNICKI, the leader of the Cossacks 

at the hands of a Crown dignitary, who abducted his 
wife and burned his manor. Social and religious 
causes were responsible for the uprising, which was 


not directed against the King, who was loved by the 
Cossacks, but against "the magnates, the Jews and the 
Jesuits." The Ukrainian peasants and the Cossacks 
forced into serf labor rose almost to a man. Upon 
receipt of the news of the rebellion the King dis- 
patched a commission to discuss and straighten out 
the differences with Chmielnicki. Before the com- 
mission arrived the Polish Field Hetman sent, con- 
trary to the orders of the King, a body of troops 
against Chmielnicki, who were defeated by him in 
two encounters. It was at that time that the brilliant 
and wise Wladyslav died on May 20, 1648, during the 
journey he had undertaken to pacify Ukraine by his 
personal influence and intervention. - The nobles un- 
justly suspected him of instigating the revolution in 
order to overpower them and to deprive them of their 

The Cossack revolution was the main issue at 
the pre-election Diet. There were two parties: one 
led by Chancellor George Ossolinski, 
was ^ or compromise with the Cossacks ; 
the other, headed by Jeremiah Wisnio- 
wiecki, was for a ruthless war of extermination of 
the "rabble." The peace party prevailed, and a 
commission was elected to carry on the negotia- 
tions, but failed, first because of the unfortunate 
choice of the commissioners, and second, because the 
revolution had received such a momentum that it was 
difficult to stem it. To make matters worse, th un- 
manageable Wisniowiecki, who had an insanely in- 
tense hatred of the Cossacks, organized a private and 
successful expedition against them. Soon the regular 
army and the militia had to be sent to support his in- 
dividual endeavors, but the army was defeated, and 
an immense host of infuriated Ukraine peasants 
began to move into Poland. Lemberg held out 



against a long siege, but finally surrendered. Chmiel- 
nicki then moved on to the fortress of Zamosc, near 
Lublin. The situation became very serious. In the 
meantime Wladyslav's brother, Jan II Kazimir,an ex- 
Cardinal and Jesuit, released from his Church vows by 


the Pope, was elected King. Chmielnicki favored Jan 
Kazimir, and upon his election resolved to withdraw 
into Ukraine. Through the good offices of Adam 
Kisiel,the Governor (Woyevoda) of Kieff,a Ruthenian 
and a schismatic, who, from the beginning had urged 
peaceful negotiations, the Cossacks obtained many 


concessions: the recognition of their independence 
of anyone except the King, the restoration of 
ancient privileges and the recognition of Chmielnicki 
as their hetman. Their demands for the abolition of 
the Church union and the banishment of the Jesuits 
could not be granted. Both sides remained dissatis- 
fied. The Ukrainian nobles and the magnates bit- 
terly resented the action of the Diet in granting any 

(J. Mateyko) 
FIG. 129 JAN II KAZIMIR (1648-1668) 

concessions, and continued their raids upon the 
despised rebels. Wisniowiecki openly defied the Diet 
and the treaty with the Cossacks, and gathered forces 
for further expeditions. Soon the Diet reversed 
itself and sent an army to support him. "Jarema" 
Wisniowiecki was elected Generalissimo of all the 
forces. Chmielnicki joined hands with the Tartars, 
who under the leadership of the Crimean Khan Islam 



Girey, came to drive the Polish troops out of Ukraine. 
Wisniowiecki brilliantly defended the fortress of Zba- 
raz on the river Gniezna, a tributary of the Sereth, in 
Podolia, but the army, under the leadership of the 
King, was surrounded and routed. The Cossacks 
agreed to stop the revolution on condition that the 
provinces of Kieff, Bratslav and Czernihov were made 
into an autonomous Cossack state; that all registered 
Cossacks be given equal rights and privileges with 
those of the Polish nobles; that all Jesuits and Jews 
be sent out of the Cossack state; that the Ruthenian 
metropolitan be given a seat in the Polish senate; and 
that all crown officials in the Cossack state be chosen 
from among the schismatics (opponents of the 
Church union). The consideration of the matter of 
the abolition of the Church union they consented to 
defer until the next session of the Diet. These 
demands, large as they were, however, did not satisfy 
the followers of Chmielnicki, and were deemed to be 
insufficient, particularly since the registered Cossacks 
were to be limited to but 40,000. The other tens of 
thousands of Cossacks and the hundreds of thousands 
of peasants who revolted against oppression and ex- 
ploitation could not be forced back into their old 
conditions of subjection. On the other hand, the loss 
of a very large portion of Ukraine was not cherished 
by the magnates, neither was the Polish clergy ready 
to admit the Ruthenian metropolitan into the Senate. 
In 1651 the third Cossack war began. It was carried 
on with great determination on both sides. Chmiel- 
nicki sought support everywhere. He declared him- 
self the champion of the Greek Church in a holy war 
against Rome, and brought over the Patriarch Eudox 
of Antiochia to help in fanning the flames of religious 
hatred. He carried on negotiations with the Tsar of 


Muscovy, the Hospodor of Wallachia and the Duke of 
Transylvania, and declared himself the vassal of the 
Sultan, who recognized him as Duke of Ukraine. The 
Polish King gathered a big army, won a brilliant 
three days' battle at Beresteczko on the Styr, in Vol- 
hynia, and was confident of final success when the 
news of a revolution of the peasantry in Poland 
reached him. The agents of Chmielnicki were dis- 
seminating the seeds of unrest throughout the length 
and breadth of the Republic. The ground was well 
prepared for a serious uprising. The peasants began 
to plunder and burn the manors, and murder their 
masters, whom they hated. The uprising was directed 
by one Kostka Napierski, said by some to be the 
illegitimate son of Wladyslav IV, and assumed dis- 
quieting proportions. When the news of it reached 
the nobles in camp, many of them, led by the traitors 
Christopher Opalinski and Jerome Radzieyowski, 
left the King, whom they bitterly disliked, and will- 
fully returned home. The rebellion was soon sup- 
pressed, but the victory over the Cossacks and 
Tartars could not be exploited in the manner its 
magnitude justified. By the terms of the new peace 
agreed upon at Biala Cerkiev, in 1651, the number of 
registered or state supported Cossacks was reduced 
to 20,000; the self-governed Cossack territory was 
limited to the Province of Kieff alone; the schismatics 
were to have equal rights with the Uniates; and the 
Jews were to be allowed to reside in Ukraine. 

The new treaty was resented by the nobles. The 
King, like his predecessor, was Accused of favoring 
the Cossacks and endeavoring to accomplish a coup 
d'etat with their help. The same men who aban- 
doned him at Beresteczko and who made it impossible 
for him to pursue the enemy were at the head of the 


malcontents. The terms of the treaty at Biala Cer- 
kiev were not ratified by the Diet of 1652, which 
disbanded without accomplishing anything, as a result 
of the insistence of one deputy that it was unconsti- 
tutional to prolong the Diet beyond the time specified 
by law. This deputy, Wladyslav Sicinski, prompted 
by the haughty potentate Janus Radziwill, covered 
himself with the fame of Herostratus in Poland. Some 
historians claim that he is unjustly regarded as the 
first man to have had invoked the liberum veto. In 
1637 George Lubomirski broke up the Diet by his per- 
sonal opposition. Prior to that Diets were dissolved by 
recalcitrant minorities. In 1607 the famous preacher 
Peter Skarga was instrumental in bringing about the 
disruption of the Diet because the dissidents were 
given equal rights with those of Roman Catholics. 
However, Sicinski's action is generally regarded as 
the beginning of the cursed "liberum veto," which 
proved to be a legal sanction of anarchy. The situa- 
tion became grave. Chmielnicki was still in command 
of an immense army and was preparing for another 
invasion. A fortunate circumstance only saved Po- 
land from a catastrophe at the time. Chmielnicki con- 
templated establishing an independent Cossack state, 
and for family reasons began a war with the Hospo- 
dar of Moldavia, which ended in a marriage of the 
Moldavian Princess with Chmielnicki's son. Fearing 
such a strengthening of Moldavia, the two neighbor- 
ing Princes of Transylvania and Wallachia joined 
Poland against the Cossacks. When the Turkish 
Sultan also turned against Chmielnicki truce was 
established in 1653. 

Finding that theTurkish Sultan could not be 
relied on to the extent he anticipated, Chmielnicki 
turned to the Muscovite Tsar, and offered to him his 


allegiance and that of Cossackdom. By the treaty 
of Pereyaslavl, in 1654, Ukraine became a part of the 
Muscovite empire under the name of Little Russia. 
The Cossacks received a great measure of freedom 
in internal affairs, and the right to elect their own 
hetmans and chiefs. The number of registered Cos- 
sacks was raised to 60,000, and the church metropolis 
of Kieff was left independent of the Patriarch of 
Moscow. Chmielnicki's act led to an inevitable war 
between Poland and Russia, lasting from 1654 to 
1656. The Tsar's armies entered Lithuania and 
Ukraine. The encounters were exceedingly bloody, 
and the vengeance wrought on the Cossacks and 
peasants was terrible. When the Tartars joined the 
Poles against the Russians and the Cossacks the 
country was turned into a veritable inferno. Ac- 
cording to. some historians over 100,000 people were 
slaughtered, 1,000 churches burned and 120 cities 
razed. "Fire and sword" sw r ept the beautiful Ukraine 
country and destroyed all the civilization which the 
hard work of the preceding centuries had built. The 
rivers of blood and destruction flowing in Ukraine 
turned into a Polish "Deluge" when the Swedish 
armies swooped down upon Poland from the north. 

FIG. 131 HARVEST (J. Kossak pinx.) 

The Passing of Poland's Position as a Great Power. 

The peace of Westphalia (1648) greatly enhanced 
the power of Sweden by giving to her control of a con- 
siderable stretch of Baltic seaboard, in- 
The Causes eluding the estuaries of the Oder, Elbe 
^ith l^den, an d Weser. Soon afterward Sweden, 
1655-1660 desirous to emulate the prosperous com- 

merce of Holland and England, pre- 
pared for the extension of her control of the sea, and 
plans were laid for a campaign against Poland 
weakened by the bloody Cossack rebellions and the 
war with Muscovy. The new Swedish King, Charles 
X Gustavus, in whose favor the extravagant and philo- 
sophically inclined Christine had abdicated, desired, 
moreover, to dispose finally of the claims of the Po- 
lish King to the Swedish throne and chose the time 
when Poland was least able to defend herself against 
foreign aggression. Knowing the martial qualities 
of the Poles he hesitated at the opening of the hos- 
tilities. The pendulum finally swung against Poland 
when an outlawed Polish magnate, Jerome Radziey- 
owski, went to the Swedish monarch with tales of 
the hatred borne by the people against King John 
Kazimir and of the great opposition party awaiting 


only an opportunity of uniting with Sweden, and 
urged that the time was most propitious for making 
a triumphal entry into Poland. 

Although the truce of Stumdorf was not to have 

expired until 1661 and regardless of international law 

and a specific agreement, the first Swed- 

T r h f, Tr J! a f. " ish host under Wittemberg appeared in 

of the Polish - . < T? 1 j -ICKK 

Nobility the northwestern part of .Poland in looo 
when the country was in the throes of 
the Cossack and Russian wars. The nobility of Great 
Poland assembled in camp at Uyscie, on the Netze, 
under the leadership of the traitor woyewodas Chris- 
topher Opalinski,of Posen,and Charles Grudzinski,of 
Kalisz. In spite of the superiority of numbers and 
a favorable position, the Polish army capitulated 
without firing a shot and swore allegiance to Charles, 
after having receiving sole'mn assurance that none of 
their privileges and religious beliefs would be vio- 
lated. Meanwhile, another army under the personal 
leadership of the Swedish King entered Great Poland, 
and a third army under General de la Gardie made its 
way into Lithuania through Livonia. After the Rus- 
sian troops occupied Wilno, the schismatic Lithu- 
anian hetman Janus Radziwill laid down his arms at 
Kiejdany, to the north of Kovno. The Swedish 
armies reached Warsaw without difficulty. Later 
Cracow, although bravely defended by Czarniecki, 
was also forced to surrender. At the same time the 
Russian troops and Chmielnicki's Cossacks took Lem- 
berg and camped outside the walls of Lublin. Ap- 
prised of the situation, the Elector of Brandenburg, 
brother-in-law of Radziwill, entered West Prussia "to 
protect it." Recalled from Ukraine, the regular army 
also surrendered upon finding the whole country bow- 
ing in recognition of Charles. John Kazimir, with his 
wife and small court fled to Glogow in Silesia, and 


Poland ceased to exist as an independent nation. The 
country was divided among Sweden, Russia and 
Brandenburg. Soon, however, seizing the oppor- 
tunity when Charles turned against the Elector of 
Brandenburg, the people rose in a body and with the 
aid of foreign alliances restored their national and 
state existence. 

When the nobles betrayed their King and sur- 
rendered to Charles X they entertained the hope that 

the military power of Sweden would 
of h thY P Peopfe assist them in defeating the Muscovites 

and Cossacks. Keen was their disap- 
pointment when they found that even their own 
estates and churches were not immune from plunder. 
The Swedish soldiery robbed the manors, desecrated 
the churches, violated the convents and outraged the 
population. The cruelty of the soldiery soon brought 
forth a strong reaction on the part of the Poles of all 
classes. The peasants first, armed with scythes, 
sickles and flails began a guerilla warfare. In Great 
Poland the local armed attempts merged into a strong 
movement under Christopher Zegocki, and was soon 
followed by similar organizations formed in Little 
Poland and Lithuania. In December, 1655, the pro- 
vincial armies became united by the act of confedera- 
tion. The foremost soldier of the time 'was Stefan 
Czarniecki, a man of austere principles of life, of un- 
impeachable honesty and deep patriotism. An im- 
placable foe of the magnates and of political anarchy, 
he was one of the rare types that combine an exalted 
conception of civic duty with clear vision and force 
of action. He was a man of genius and of excep- 
tional strength of character. When the King re- 
turned the confederacy was solemnly confirmed at 
Lancut (in present day Galicia) and Stefan Czar- 
niecki was proclaimed generalissimo of the confederate 


army. The picturesque and valiant defense of Czen- 
stochowa (the city famous for the miraculous image 


of the Madonna) by Kordecki, Prior to the Paulist 
Abbey, supplied an additional stimulus and gave as- 


surance to the masses that the "Queen of the Polish 
Crown" had not abandoned them. In the Cathedral 
of Lemberg the King swore to alleviate the hard lot 
of the peasantry who first rose in defence of their 

Seeingthe extent of the popular uprising, Charles 
turned for help to Poland's enemies. The Elector of 

Brjjjdenhurg in 1656 signed a treaty to 
The Swedish support Sweden in compensation for 
the ia poHsh nd which he was proclaimed independent 
League ruler of the East, or Ducal Prussia, and 

was promised a few districts in Great 
Poland. Little Poland, Mazovia and Lithuania were 
offered to Rakoczy, Duke of Transylvania, and Uk- 
raine to Chmielnicki. The rest of Poland, namely, 
West or Royal Prussia and Livonia, were to go to 
Sweden. The allied troops ravaged the country and 
defeated the Polish armies in several encounters. To 
balance the Swedish alliance, John Kazimir set out to 
form a counter league. Muscovy, dissatisfied with 
the disposition Charles had made of the coveted Lithu- 
ania and Livonia, was ready to conclude the war with 
Poland and to join against Sweden. The negotiations 
were prolonged, the Tsar demanding the cession of 
Lithuania which hehadoccupiedand a war indemnity. 
The reasons advanced by the Tsar's deputies for his 
claims are so characteristic and so purely Hegelian that 
they are worthy of quotation: "The war must have 
been right when God gave Lithuania into the Tsar's 
hands ; and what God gave, the Tsar must not return 
to anybody."* They did, however, consent to the return 
of Lithuania to Poland in twenty years; only White 
Russia and the territories on the left bank of the 
Dnieper were to. remain in the Tsar's possession. In 

* Smolensk!, "Dzieje Narodu Polskiego," Warsaw, 1898, Vol. II, p. 102. 


addition, they insisted on the recognition of theTsare- 
vich as successor to John Kazimir. The Polish dele- 
gation could not, of course, agree to this demand, so 
glaringly against the constitution. They promised, 
however, to bring the matter up at the next Diet with 
a view of proposing the Tsar as hereditary king of 
Poland. The treaty was signed at Niemieza near 
Wilno, in 1656, and soon the Muscovite troops took the 
field against Charles with the hope of making a per- 
manent conquest of Livonia. For Poland the relief 
afforded by the cessation of hostilities in the East was 
of great importance. At the same time Polish di- 
plomacy also scored a few additional successes. The 
struggle for supremacy between France and Aus- 
tria gave an opportunity of exploiting one side in 
favor of Poland. Each of the two countries had 
strong adherents in Poland and at the court. The 
King, like his father, Zygmunt III, had pro-Austrian 
attachments; the Queen, Marie Louise Gonzague, the 
widow of Wladyslav IV whom John Kazimir mar- 
ried, was a Frenchwoman with strong leanings to- 
ward her native country and with powerful friends 
in Poland. The pro-Austrian policy prevailed and not 
only did the intervention of Ferdinand III expedite 
the negotiations with Muscovy, but by the treaty of 
Vienna (1657) Austria promised, though she did not 
send, an army to defend Cracow. A few months later 
Denmark also covenanted to help Poland against 
Sweden as did the Tartars. The Elector of Branden- 
burg, seeing the magnitude of the Polish league, in 
spite of the treaty, promptly abandoned his Swedish 
ally and entered into an agreement with Poland at 
Wielawa (1657) by which he was released from rec- 
ognizing Polish suzerainty over East Prussia. In 
consideration of the two fiefs given to him, those of 


Bytow and Lauenberg, he agreed to send six thou- 
sand men against Sweden. 

So fortified, Poland threw herself with new 
vigor into the fight which was exceedingly sangui- 
nary because of the determination and 
The Defeat of strength of the invaders. Rakoczy's 
the'peace 1 !!! large Hungarian army was finally over- 
oiiva, i860 powered and the Swedes driven out of 
the country by the hero of the war, 
Stefan Czarniecki. He pursued them as far as Den- 
mark, and the feats of the Polish cavalry who twice 
swam the straits to the Island of Alsen, have gained 
for them lasting glory. A new outbreak of hos- 
tilities with Muscovy led to an early peace with 
Sweden, which was made under French mediation 
and signed at Oliva near Gdansk, on May 3, 1660, and 
by which Poland lost all Livonia to the north of the 
River Dvina and John Kazimir renounced his heredi- 
tary claims to the throne of Sweden. Thus came to 
an end the long feud, which had lasted almost sixty 

The war with a Protestant nation and its tocsin 
cry, "For our faith and our country," the excesses of 
the Swedish soldiery and their desecra- 
<1 ?p < i- r wth tion f Catholic churches, the success- 
Fanadosm 8 ful defence of Czenstochowa and the 
final defeat of the Swedes, attributed to 
divine interference, the assistance afforded the Swedes 
by the Protestant elements in Poland, the impending 
war with orthodox Russia, and the constant danger 
from Mohammedan Turkey, all contributed to the 
arousing of religious fervor and fanaticism in Poland, 
and to the identification, in the popular mind, of 
Catholicism with patriotism. The future history of 
Poland but tended to merge the two conceptions into 
one. The Arians or Anti-Trinitarians, who openly 


helped the Swedes, were the objects of particular 
animus and were singled out for banishment from 
the country (1658). The enforced emigration of 
hundreds of the most enlightened families was a 
great loss to Poland, comparable with the loss later 
sustained by France in her similar intolerance of the 
Huguenots. Among the Polish exiles were writers of 
first magnitude, such as Zbigniew Morsztyn, Erazm 
Otwinowski and Simon Budny, the last having distin- 
guished himself by his masterful and critical studies 
of biblical texts which outdistanced modern biblical 
scholars by two centuries. 

War with Muscovy, which hastened the conclu- 
sion of war with Sweden, was caused by the flat re- 
fusal of the spiritual and temporal lords 
The Causes of of Poland to consider the Tsar's ambi- 
M^vy With tions to the Polish throne and to ratify 
1658-1667 the new agreement into which the Re- 

public entered w r ith the Cossacks. The 
Cossacks, whom Chmielnicki had placed under the 
suzerainty of Muscovy, soon became dissatisfied with 
the Tsar. They realized that only in Poland could 
their ideals of freedom and liberty be respected, and 
that the autocratic. and despotic form of the Tsar's 
government was inherently inimical to them. When 
Chmielnicki died in 1657 John Wyhowski, the tem- 
porary hetman, proceeded immediately to arrange for 
a return of the Cossacks to Polish sovereignty. On 
September 16, 1658, an agreement was signed at 
Hadziacz, near Poltava, by the terms of which the 
Cossacks were admitted into the Polish state on the 
same basis as the Lithuanians had been by the terms 
of the Union of Lublin, as "the equal with the equal, 
and the free with the free." The Cossacks were given 
equal privileges with the nobility of Poland; had simi- 
lar rights over peasants; and were free to elect their 


own hetmans, marshals, chancellors and other dig- 
nitaries who were entitled to seats in the Polish Sen- 
ate, as were their metropolitan and the diocesan bish- 
ops. They were guaranteed freedom of faith and the 
Uniate Church was abolished in Ukraine. Polish 
political thought now soared high above the narrow- 
minded spirit of a short time before and laid an equi- 
table, just and solid foundation for a symbiosis of 
Ukraine with Poland and Lithuania. Perceiving this, 
the Tsar determined to prevent it by force of arms 
and sent an unexpected expedition into Poland. 
Though still at war with Sweden the Republic raised 
an army large enough to deal successfully with Mus- 
covy despite the fact that a section of the Cossacks 
under the younger Chmielnicki fought against her. 
The Polish arms triumphed in battle after battle and 
after the Peace of Oliva, when the Western armies 
were released, they forced the Muscovites to capitu- 
late at Cudnow in Volhynia (1661). Chmielnicki 
then declared for Poland. As had so often before 
happened in Polish history, so now again the brilliant 
military successes could not be properly exploited, 
this time on account of the revolt of the unpaid armies. 
The Crown troops as well as those of Lithuania 
formed confederacies and refused to continue the 
campaign until their wages had been paid. The 
nobility, too, seeing the enemies beaten off, resolved 
to discontinue hostilities and to turn their atten- 
tion to the sorely needed internal reforms. 

The betterment of the economic status of the 

peasantry and the King's vows to that effect made in 

the Cathedral of Lemberg during the 

The Rebellion Swedish invasion could well be and 

of Lubomirski, .. , , , . j r 

1666 were disregarded, but the need of regu- 

lating parliamentary procedure and of 
simplifying the method of royal elections was urgent 


and immediate. The intrigues of the Austrian Am- 
bassador Lisolfiprevented the consideration of parlia- 

FIG. 133 -GEORGE LUBOMTRSKI, "The Polish Cromwell" 

mentary reforms and made the matter of succession 
to the throne precedent over all else. An attempt 


was made at preventing the impending interregnum 
by electing an heir to the throne during the life of 
John Kazimir, but it resulted in nothing except a 
terrific political tempest which for a time made im- 
possible the consideration of any other question. The 
main influences at work in the matter of succession 
were those of France and Austria. The Queen, aided 
by Pac and John Sobieski, favored the Duke d'Eng- 
hien, the son of Conde the Great. The Austrian fac- 
tion was headed by George Lubomirski, marshal of 
the Crown, a man of great distinction and wealth 
and no less ambition. When the matter of election 
was brought up at the Diet of 1661 feeling rose so 
high that the King feared the disruption of the ses- 
sion and recalled the subject from consideration. 
After the close of the Diet both parties set to work to 
gain supporters. A confederacy was organized by 
George Lubomirski, called the Polish Cromwell, who, 
by his demogogue-like appeals to the ignorant squires, 
rallied great support for the cause of "free elections, 
threatened by the French party," thus dodging the 
real issue. Preparations were made for armed re- 
sistance to the election of the candidate of the party 
he opposed. The King brought suit against him for 
conspiracy, treason and the incitement of rebellion. 
The Court of the Diet, composd of the King's sup- 
porters, sustained the charges and sentenced him to 
infamy, loss of dignity and exile. In the eyes of the 
knighthood he was a martyr of the cause of liberty, 
to be supported to the utmost. Meanwhile Czar- 
niecki formed another confederacy and with the aid 
of Sobieski took up the defense of the country against 
Muscovy. The Cossacks, encouraged by the turmoil 
in Poland and prompted by a lust for plunder and 
spoils began to harass Poland and Czarniecki's at- 


tention had to be turned to them. In the midst of all 
this came the clash of Lubomirski's forces with those 
of the King. The rebels threatened Warsaw and a 
compromise was finally agreed upon. Lubomirski 
expressed his regrets and the King promised to aban- 
don his plan of bringing about an election of his 

The rebellion prevented the development of suf- 
ficient strength to support the loyal Cossacks. Dis- 
heartened, they turned, under Doros- 
f zenko, to Turkey at the time when 
Mahmed IVwas getting ready for a war 
with Christendom. In the face of a common danger 
and harassed by internal disorders, Muscovy and Po- 
land agreed to a thirteen years truce at Andrushov in 
1667, by which the Tsar renounced all claims to Lithu- 
ania and Livonia and Poland ceded to him Smolensk, 
Siewiersk, Czernihov and the part of Ukraine on the 
left bank of the Dnieper. The city of Kieff was left 
in Muscovite hands for two years. These cessions to 
Muscovy were considered but temporary in Poland, 
and no crown offices pertaining to them were abol- 

At the Diet which assembled in 1667 the King, 

led by his strong-willed wife, once more brought up 

the matter of succession and again pro- 

The Ascending pos ed the Duke d'Enghien. The Diet, 

Star of John i- i- r A i. J- J 

Sobieski which in view of the impending dangers 

carried through certain reforms and ap- 
propriated funds to pay the army, rejected the King's 
proposal although Lubomirski was no more alive. 
They again expressed their preference for "free elec- 
tions." Meanwhile the Turks, Tartars and Cossacks 
made their appearance on the frontiers. John Sobie- 
ski, then Field Hetman, met them and with small 


forces maintained almost wholly at his own expense, 
and though battling against great odds was able by 
superior strategy to stay the avalanche and compel 
their retreat. 

The splendor of the achievements of Sobieski en- 
tirely eclipsed the waning star of trie unfortunate 
John Kazimir whom the people held re- 
TheAbdication sponsible for the deluge of misfortunes 

of King John i 1 i j i_ < n ._ j 

Kazimir, 1668 which had befallen the country during 
his reign. Deprived of the sustaining 
power of his remarkable wife and abandoned by 
almost everybody, he lost heart and abdicated on 
September 16, 1668. In a pathetic speech he warned 
the country against the many existing evils, and 
ended : "Wearied with age and the hardships of war, 
exhausted by deliberations, oppressed by the worries 
of twenty years, I, your King and father, surrender 
that which the world values most highly the Crown 
of this country." He stayed in Poland for another 
year, then left for France where he died three years 
later in the modest Abbey of St. Germain near Paris. 
During the interregnum following John Kazi- 
mir's abdication the alignment of the political 
forces came into strong relief. The 
Co-niption magnates and political leaders were di- 
vided into two camps, the French and 
Austrian. French gold, lavishly spent by Louis XIV, 
not only in Poland but everywhere else, made corrup- 
tion an almost political institution in the whole of 
Europe. The vast sums spent by the late Queen in 
support of the Duke d'Enghien gained a large num- 
ber of influential supporters for the candidates of 
France. Even those among the magnates who favored 
the French party by conviction, were given boun- 
tiful subsidies. The Austrian party similarly sought 


influential support by bribing. Demoralization and 
corruption became the order of the day. The great 
body of electors saw what was going on and resented 
the foreign candidates and the corruptive influence 
which came with them into the country. At the elec- 
tion field where over 80,000 men assembled, the hos- 
tility of the great body of citizens toward the mag- 
nates became apparent and led almost to serious 
bloodshed, so intense was the opposition to the 
Frenchmen and to all the other foreigners. At a 
proper moment Bishop Olszowski proposed a native 
candidate, the son of the famous Cossack vanquisher, 
Wisniowiecki, who had become completely impover- 
ished by the loss of all the great frontier estates, 
forfeited by the loss of a part of Ukraine. "Long live 
King Michael Wisniowiecki !" was the spontaneous 
and unanimous reply (1669). 

The healthy instinctive impulses of the electorate 
unfortunately were ill-directed, as the new King was 
weak-hearted, weak-willed and weak- 
King Michael minded, and entirely under the domina- 
Wisniowiecki, ^ on ^ a small coterie. Educated at the 
1669-1673 Austrian court, he had strong pro-Aus- 

trian leanings and married Eleanor, the 
sister of Emperor Leopold I against the will of the 
Senate, composed largely of French sympathizers. 
Soon the French party, conniving with Louis XIV, 
began to lay plans for dethroning the legally chosen 
King and for elevating the young French duke, Saint- 
Paul de Longueville, an adventurer par excellence. 
A passionate strife ensued, characterized by rancor 
and vituperation. Diet after Diet was broken up, 
and not a few deputies lost their lives at the swords 
of angry partisans. Chaos became general and to 


make matters worse an immense Crescent host ap- 
peared in Poland. 

When news of the election of Wisniowiecki, son 
of the hated "Jarema," became known to the Cossacks 
it once again awakened their animos- 
The Turkish ity toward Poland. They broke the 
Treaty^!* Hadziacz agreement and went over to 

Buczacz, 1672 Turkey. The Cossack ally was wel- 
come at the time when the Porte, 
having reached the zenith of its power was planning 
conquests of Austria and Poland in order to reach the 
Baltic. The new Turkish danger stood in the way of 
the realization of the plans of Louis XIV and of the 
French party in Poland, which was spending all its 
time and energy to counteract the influences of the 
Austrian faction. In the capital not much thought 
was given to the organization of an adequate army 
to meet the Turks. Hetman Sobieski, with his 
small forces was accomplishing marvels of gallantry. 
He was, however, only retarding the Turkish ad- 
vance, not checking it. Soon the enemy overrode 
Ukraine and after a desperate defense by its small 
garrison Kamenietz Podolski, the strongest Polish 
frontier fortress and the key to the South, surrendered. 
In spite of the proximity of the enemy and the appear- 
ance of Sobieski in Warsaw and his insistence on ener- 
getic action, partisanship dominated patriotism. The 
Diet dissolved, nothing accomplished, and as a conse- 
quence Poland found herself suing for peace under 
the most humiliating terms. By the so-called Buc- 
zacz Treaty, the Republic ceded to Turkey the prov- 
inces of Podolia and Ukraine, paid a heavy war tax 
of 80,000 thalers and promised an annual tribute of 
22,500 thalers (1672). 


This unprecedented humiliation was exploited 
by the Austrian party, to crush the French party by 

attributing to them complete blame for 
Confederacy 1 tne disaster and even accusing them of 

courting it with the aid of French di- 
plomacy. They formed a confederacy, known as that 
of Golomb, indicted the leaders of the Senate and, 
as in the case of the Primate Prazmowski, deprived 
some of their offices and confiscated their estates. 
The confederacy had a distinct class character. It 
was the expression of resentment and distrust on 
the part of the rank and file squire against the 
corruption and dishonesty of the rich and power- 
ful lords. The Assembly of the Confederation pro- 
posed to do away with life tenure of State office and 
to discourage the use of the liberum veto. Three 
Diet members who used this malicious device were 
iridicted. There was a great deal of truth in the as- 
sertions and accusations of the Golomb Confederacy. 
The time, however, was not opportune for recrimina- 
tions and vengeance, the more so because the struggle 
threatened to develop into a civil war, for Sobieski 
returning from his expeditions surrounded by glory, 
organized a counter-confederacy in support of the 
Primate. Through the good offices of reasonable and 
clear-headed men, and also because of the death of 
the Primate, the clash was prevented and steps were 
taken to organize an adequate army and to repudiate 
the Buczacz treaty. Austria and Muscovy were asked 
to join the campaign but, as always, refused to help. 

A single-handed expedition was sent against the 
Turks under Sobieski and at Chocim, where fifty-two 
The Victory years before, in Zygmunt Vasa's reign, 
Over the Turks Chodkiewicz had checked the same en- 
at Chocim, 1673 emy p ol j s h arms scor ed a splendid vic- 
tory over the Porte. The Turkish army was almost 


entirely annihilated, and 120 mortars, 400 standards 
and the entire supply store fell into Polish hands. 
It was in keeping with Polish tradition that the fruits 
of this victory were not fully gathered. The mer- 
cenaries, not having been paid, struck, and the militia, 
apprised of the death of the King who expired on 
November 10, 1673, at the age of thirty-three years, 
were anxious to get back home for electioneering. 

The Convocation Diet assembled in Warsaw by 
the middle of January and the Austrian party, fearing 

the popularity of Sobieski, proposed the 
sfobfeskf" 1 HI elimination of all Polish candidates at 
1674-1696 the election. The measure did not go 

through .and in view of the war situa- 
tion money was voted for the maintenance of an army 
70,000 strong, and the date of election was set for 
April 20, 1674. Led by the powerful Pac family, 
Lithuania stood irrevocably for the Austrian ca'n- 
didate, the Duke of Lorraine, whom they had also 
chosen to be the husband of the widowed Polish 
queen, the sister of the Austrian Emperor. The 
Duke of Neuburg was the French candidate. When 
it appeared that he could not be elected, the French 
party proposed John Sobieski who by his heroic deeds 
had gained considerable popularity among the nobles, 
although his past record as an active supporter of 
Louis XIV's policies, a participant in an illegal plot 
to dethrone the late King, and as a member of the 
camarilla of the intriguante queen, Marie Louise 
Gonzague, and of late the organizer of a counter con- 
federacy in opposition to the Polish Cromwell, 
weighed strongly against him. In spite of the ob- 
jections of the Pacs and the Wisniowieckis he was 



elected. The election was questioned by the Lithua- 
nians who left the field,but two days later after recon- 

(J. Mateyko) 

FIG. 134 JAN IIl'sOBIESKI, 1674-169G 

sidering the matter, they voted to support the new 



Almost immediately after the election, the King 
left with the army to halt a new Turkish invasion, 
postponing the coronation until a later 
Zoravno* c i678 date. After two years of brilliant cam- 
paigning in the course of which the 
Turks were thrown across the Dniester and a great 
many towns (except that of Kamenetz Podolski) 
were retaken, Sobieski returned to Cracow for the 
coronation, and at the Diet immediately following 
the ceremony asked for adequate appropriations to 
continue the war. He was soon in the field again. 
After the famous siege of Zoravno, where a hundred 
thousand Turks in vain endeavored to surround the 
small forces of the Polish King, by the aid of French 
mediation, peace was established, the terms of which 
superseded the Buczacz treaty. Many other advan- 
tages were gained by Poland, among them the res- 
toration of two-thirds of Ukraine (1676). 

The Diet expected more of the martial genius 
of the King and the treaty was not ratified. An ad- 
ditional reason for this action on the 
Dissensions P art ^ tne Diet was the suspicion en- 
tertained as to the reasons that led 
France to bring about the peace. It was a matter of 
common knowledge that Louis XIV desired to draw 
Poland into a war with his enemies, Austria and 
Brandenburg, and for certain considerations Sobieski 
supported the Hungarian revolutionaries and allowed 
the use of Polish territory for the passage of Swedish 
troops marching against Brandenburg. He even con- 
templated a campaign against the Elector to regain 
East Prussia. Austria was alarmed by the cessation 
of Polish hostilities with Turkey, fearing that the 
latter might turn against her and strained every ef- 
fort to gain sufficient support in the Diet against the 
King's plans. She was ably seconded by Branden- 


burg and the Pope, Innocent XI, who desired to see 
Poland in a league against Turkey, and who issued in- 
structions to the Polish clergy advising them to work 
in that direction. Their endeavors were not in vain. 
The suspicious, ill-informed, ignorant and presump- 
tuous country squires assumed the same attitude to- 
ward the King as they had done in Wladyslav's days 
and thwarted the realization of large plans, based on 
the possibilities of a European conflict. They again 
prevented the country from gaining the last chance to 
become an important factor in European politics, to 
which she was entitled by her magnitude and posi- 
tion. Seeing the pettiness of the thoughtless mob, 
which held supreme power in the State, Sobieski 
conceived the idea of effecting a coup d'etat, which 
alone could have saved the country from decadence. 
He informed Louis XIV that he intended putting a 
stop to anarchy and introducing absolute govern- 
ment in Poland, and asked his support in the matter. 
To his disappointment, the egotistic French mon- 
arch replied that he saw no advantage to himself in 
the proposed scheme. Left unsupported, Sobieski 
submitted to the pacifist measures of the Diet, which 
reduced the army from thirty to twelve thousand 
men. His attentioa was soon again turned to Tur- 
key and Muscovy. 

In spite of the failure of the Polish Diet to ratify 
the treaty of Zoravno, Turkey did not resume hos- 
tilities, having meanwhile engaged 
The Alliance Muscovy in a war over the control of 

with Austria, T T1 . r^* j t , i 

March 1683 Ukraine. I he war was crowned by the 
treaty of Bakchiseray (Crimea) in 1681, 
according to which the part of Ukraine to the east of 
the Dnieper was to remain in the Tsar's hands, but the 
western part of Ukraine, which the Andrushov agree- 
ment of 1667 guaranteed to Poland, was to be divided 


between Turkey and Poland and a desert maintained 
between the Dnieper and the Boh to separate the 
possessions of the two nations. Poland could not 
consent to sharing Ukraine with Turkey, and the 
King, disappointed with the Diet and with Louis 
XIV, to whom also his beloved wife, Marie Casimir, 
took a sudden dislike because he refused to grant a 
ducal title to her father, Marquis d'Arquien, turned 
to Austria. The alliance with Austria was based on 
a community of interests and on account of this it 
gave assurances of sincerity of purpose and firmness. 
It was, moreover, a realization of the idea of the Sa- 
cred League against the Infidel. Early in 1683 Aus- 
tria and Poland finally concluded a treaty for defen- 
sive and offensive purposes, by which, among other 
things, the Emperor promised to raise an army of 
sixty thousand, to contribute 200,000 gold coins to the 
Polish war treasury and to interfere at Madrid for the 
repayment of the so-called "Neapolitan sums" which 
Queen Bona, the wife of Zygmunt I, loaned to Spain 
and which were never returned to Poland, in spite of 
many representations. The Polish King covenanted 
to raise an army of forty thousand and agreed not to 
conclude a separate peace with Turkey. In case of a 
siege of either Vienna or Cracow the allies agreed to 
send relief expeditions and the monarch present with 
the allied troops in the field should be in command of 
the united forces. 

Very soon after the alliance was established 
an immense host approached Vienna under the 
leadership of the gifted Grand Vizier 
Kara Mustafa. The Imperial army 
under the Duke of Lorraine could not 
stem the rapid Turkish advance. The Emperor, who 
fled the capital, had sent imploring messages, one after 
another, to Sobieski. On the 15th of July, 1683, the 



investment of Vienna was complete and a regular 
siege begun. Desirous of arriving in time, Sobieski 
made hasty preparations and not waiting for the 
Lithuanian armv and the Cossacks, left in forced 

(J. Kossak pinx.) 

marches toward Vienna. On September 7th he 
joined the Austrian forces and assumed supreme com- 
mand over the allied army which comprised Bavarian 
and Saxon troops also. On the 12th the famous 



battle took place, directed by the Polish King in per- 
son. The course of the battle is a matter of record. 
The right wing of the allied army, comprised of the 
Polish winged hussars and other types of Polish horse 
for which the country has been famous, saved the day. 


The backbone of the Turkish army was broken. The 
Vizier fled with the remnants of his host and the 
green standard of the Prophet and all supplies and 
munitions fell into the hands of the Christian sol- 


diers. Kara Mustafa was pursued into Hungary by 
Sobieski, who, because of the lack of support on the 
part of the Allies, suffered a reverse which was, how- 
ever, promptly compensated by another victory. The 
heroic achievements of Sobieski and his army brought 
to him and his country everlasting fame and praise 
for the saving of European civilization and Christian- 
ity from destruction by a powerful and ruthless 
enemy who was determined to conquer Europe. It 
brought, however, no political advantage to Poland. 
Leopold and his court very soon became cold to their 
saviors and forgot the services rendered. It seems 
almost incredible that the army which saved Austria 
from destruction should have been treated as they 
were only a few days after the battle of Vienna. 
Forage was refused to the horses, and other petty 
difficulties put in the way. After having pursued the 
Turks into Hungary and having cleared a consider- 
able part of the country of them, Sobieski returned to 

Austria did not keep the tacit agreement made 
with the Polish King of giving the Austrian Arch- 
duchess Marie Antoinette in marriage 
The Holy to his son James. She also prevented 

League hj s marriage to Princess Radziwill, 

Turkey daughter of Boguslav, who was heir to 

immense riches in Lithuania and who 
subsequently became the bride of Louis Hohenzollern, 
the Elector of Brandenburg. This marriage was 
the cause of a great political tempest as the Hohen- 
zollerns thus came into possession of very large es- 
tates and a number of cities in Lithuania. Anxious 
to insure regal station for his children and to crush 
the Porte forever Sobieski, in spite of his disquieting 
experiences with Austria, joined the Holy League 
against Turkey, the Emperor having given assur- 


ances that Moldavia and Wallachia would be given to 
James Sobieski, the King's son. The expedition into 
Wallachia was unsuccessful and to obtain the aid of 
Muscovy the Polish King made a sacrificing agree- 
ment with that country which had only a short time 
before proven treacherous and unreliable. By this 
new agreement of 1686 known by the name of the 
Polish commissioner, Grzymultowski, Poland, for the 
support against Turkey and for a compensation of a 
million and a half roubles, forever ceded Ukraine to 
the east of the Dnieper and the important City of 
Kieff on the western shore. The cession of the ter- 
ritories was an irreparable loss to Poland. She was 
deprived of her predominant position and influence 
in the East, and her command over the Cossacks, and 
was cut off from the Black Sea which became the 
foundation for the growth of the Muscovite Empire. 
The political ideas of Batory and Wladyslav IV were 
forever abandoned. Moreover, neither Muscovy nor 
Austria kept their promises. The Wallachian ex- 
peditions carried on single-handed were unsuccessful 
and finally abandoned in 1691. 

The constant internal dissensions caused and 
nourished by foreign intrigues were in no mean 

measure responsible for the King's fail- 
Political ures in his final campaigns and in his 
SobYe'sk^s ai diplomacy. They resulted in the loss 
Death, 1696 of territory and the decline of Poland's 

position as a great European power. 
French and Austrian money supported Polish anar- 
chy. Diets were constantly torn up, some even 
before the presiding officer could be elected. No law 
could be enacted. Corruption was rampant. Sev- 
eral attempts were made to depose the King. Re- 
ligious intolerance became intensified and the first 
and last auto da fe in Poland was executed in 1689, on 


one Casimir Lyszczynski for his atheistic procliv- 
ities. The country became a theatre of constant 
strife between the various magnate families. At 
times the clashes resulted in formal civil wars, as was 
the case in the feud between the Sapiehas and the 
Bishop of Wilno. With the death of Sobieski on June 
17, 1696, ended the glory of old Poland. He was the 
only man. says Prof. Sokolowski, who if he could not 
revive the country, could at least prevent Poland's 
speedy destruction. But "blindness and evil passion 
destroyed the last salvation plank and then begins the 
slow death of a powerful organism." 

From Georg Braun's "Civltates Orbis Terrarum," 1491. 

The Election 
of August of 
Saxony, 1697 

The Disintegration of Political Sovereignty. 

The election following Sobieski's death was the 
last that was free. Subsequent elections were held 
at the point of foreign bayonets. The 
debasement into which political moral- 
ity had fallen at that period everywhere 
in Europe received its echo in Poland. 
Sordid haggling and corruption took possession of 
Polish political life under mischievous foreign in- 
fluence. All past glory and lofty tradition were for- 
gotten, and the country was given over to the per- 
sonal rapacity of the magnates and the intrigues of 
foreign monarchs. James Sobieski was the candidate 
of the Austrian party, bitterly opposed by his mother, 
who favored the Elector of Bavaria, her son-in-law. 
The French candidate was the Duke Frangois Louis 
de Conti. The family jealousies of the Polish mag- 
nates prevented the election of Sobieski; Conti's good 
chances were spoiled by the sudden decision of the 
Court of Versailles not to spend any more funds for 
the election; and so Saxon gold, supported by Rus- 
sian influence, carried the day. The dissolute, intern- 


perate and sly Elector of Saxony, August the Strong, 
having become a Catholic, mounted the throne of 
Poland as King August II, in 1697, although the 
Primate declared the French candidate to have been 
legally chosen. August was a man possessed of a 
strong will and of great political ambitions. Poland 
was to serve his designs. Heir to despotic traditions, 
he planned to turn her into a hereditary domain of 
his house. 

(J. Mateyko) 
FIG. 139 AUGUST II (1697-1733) 

In the pacta conventa he promised to bring 

Ukraine and Podolia, with the fortress of Kamenetz, 

back to Poland. Soon after the elec- 

The Close of tion he determined upon and prose- 

with^Turkey, cuted a war with Turkey as the first 

1698 step in the seeming fulfillment of his 

promises. The conflict was not long 

drawn out, for the Porte, after a series of long and dis- 


astrous wars with Sobieski and Austria was exhausted. 
The allied forces of Poland and Saxony, under Field 
Hetman Felix Potocki, won a brilliant victory at Pod- 
hayce in 1698, which hastened the conclusion of the 
peace at Karlowice, b)^ the terms of which Austria 
received Transylvania and Hungary as far as the 
Save; Azov was ceded to Russia; and Ukraine and 
Podolia with Kamenetz came back to Poland. Po- 
land in return, abandoned all claims to Wallachia and 
Moldavia. This peace marks the end of hostilities 
between Poland and Turkey. The growth of Russia 
made them natural allies, in opposition to the dis- 
quieting growth of the colossus in the East. 

An alliance with Russia was, however, within the 
political machinations of the Saxon Elector. He 

schemed to take advantage of Charles 
The Beginning XII, the youthful King of Sweden, and 
Northern War, to wrest Swedish Livonia from him. 
1700-1721 Accordingly he entered into a secret 

treaty with Peter of Russia for a divi- 
sion of the Swedish Baltic littoral, a Swedish traitor 
by the name of Patkul being the chief agent in carry- 
ing out the negotiations. August was able to draw 
into the league the Danish King Frederick IV and later 
the Elector of Brandenburg, who, with the consent 
of the perfidious Polish king, crowned himself in 
Konigsberg as King in Prussia on January 18, 1701, 
although his sovereignty extended only over East 
Prussia. West or Royal Prussia was then still an 
integral part of Poland. When the Polish Diet voted 
its opposition to a war with Sweden, August decided 
to carry it on with his Saxon troops which very soon 
invaded Lithuania. Protests were made against the 
presence of Saxon soldiery in Poland, but in the 
private war that was being waged between the power- 
ful magnates, the Sapiehas and the Oginskis, the 


cunning King found a pretext for the unlawful sta- 
tioning of his troops in Lithuania. The Oginskis had 
formed a confederacy for the protection of the rights 
of the nobility against the iniquities of the Sapieha 
"kinglets." The Saxon troops, under Field Marshal 
Flemming, were dispatched to Lithuania ostensibly 
to protect the nobles against the oppression of the 
Sapiehas, whom the King hated because of their 
power, but in reality to be near the frontier ready for 
an attack on Sweden. Soon they fired the first shot 
which started the great Northern War, lasting from 
1700 to .1721. But to the allied powers, how disap- 
pointing were the opening chapters of that venture! 
In a few months Denmark was defeated and con- 
cluded a separate peace at Travendal (1700). Peter's 
army, five times as large as that of Charles, was routed 
at Narva on the Gulf of Finland and put to a most 
ignominious flight. The Saxons were defeated at 
Riga and compelled to retire, hotly pursued by the 
Swedes, who occupied Courland and entered Lithu- 
ania. The Diet w r hich assembled in Warsaw, to the 
unpleasant surprise of the King and his Russian ally, 
demanded the withdrawal of Saxon troops from Po- 
land and the cessation of hostilities with Sweden, and 
protested against the recognition of the Elector of 
Brandenburg as King in Prussia. Charles sent a re- 
quest to the Polish government for the dethrone- 
ment of August. No immediate reply, however, was 
given to the demand of Charles, except that he 
respect the neutrality of the country. When the 
latter insisted on the dethronement of August and 
occupied Warsaw, war became inevitable. In the 
confusion that followed the conquests of the Swedish 
army in Poland, no unity of action could be expected. 
Great Poland was against the King, while Little Po- 



land and Lithuania remained loyal to him. A con- 
federacy of loyalists was formed at Sandomir, and a 

(J. Mateyko) 


protest formulated against the breaking of the peace 
of Oliva by the Swedes. August called a Diet at 


Lublin, which demanded certain guarantees from the 
King and voted appropriations for a large army of 
defense. Still the treacherous King sued for peace, 
offering to Sweden the provinces of Courland and 

Charles, however, refused to consider peace 
and insisted that August be deposed. Pressed 
by him, Great Poland formed its own 
The Election confederacy at Warsaw against the 
i70** S an y $ic 1 ' King who was conniving with foreign 
Civil War enemies against the country. * A few 

months later the ruler was declared de- 
prived of his royal office (1704). Charles favored the 
election of James Sobieski, but when August's agents 
apprehended him and his brother, and Alexander, the 
youngest of King Sobieski's sons, refused to be a can- 
didate, the Swedish King proposed Stanislav Lesz- 
czynski, the woyevoda of Posen, who was elected by 
a small assembly of the nobility. The Sandomir Con- 
federacy, supported by the Tsar of Muscovy, refused 
to recognize the new King, and as a result a civil war 
ensued, fought in the interest of foreign monarchs 
and leading to the practical disappearance of Polish 
sovereignty w T hich became divided between Charles 
on one hand and Peter on the other, the latter having 
assumed the role of protector of the opponents of the 
Uniate Church. 

After a series of defeats at the hands of the 
Swedes, August fled to Dresden, but soon Saxony was 
overrun by the armies of Charles, and 
Abdication b August w r as forced to sign the peace 
AugiSt ii"i706 of Altranstaedt in 1706. He surren- 
dered his right to the Polish throne in 
favor of Leszczynski and released the two Sobieskis. 
Austria, Brandenburg, Holland and England recog- 


nized the new Polish King, but the Sandomir Confed- 
eracy was less tractable. Aided by Russian troops, 
they waged a bitter war against the Leszczynski fac- 
tion and the Swedish army. The country was laid 
waste and neither the Swedish nor the Muscovite 
armies showed consideration for the native popula- 
tion. Peter, ostensibly protecting the opponents of 
the Uniate Church, persecuted the adherents of that 
church in a most cruel manner, and unceremoniously 
interfered in the internal affairs of Lithuania and 
Little Poland, hoping to pave the way for his son as 
the next King of Poland. 

Having disposed of the Saxon Elector, Charles 
turned his attention to the last adversary and soon 
cleared Poland of all traces of Musco- 
The Russian vite occupation. He planned to push his 
SiTfiatfie of d campaign northward, and reached Smo- 
Poitava, 1709 lensk after a series of triumphant bat- 
tles; but, persuaded by Mazepa, the last 
elective hetman of the Cossacks, who promised the 
support of Ukraine and large supplies of food and am- 
munition, he turned southward to free the Cossacks 
from the domination of the Tsar. The Polish King 
was apprised of Mazepa's plans and favored the new 
opportunity of bringing the Cossacks back to Poland. 
The campaign rashly undertaken ended disastrously 
for Charles. A part of his army did not reach him in 
time; the winter in Ukraine was extremely severe; 
the ill-provided army suffered intensely, becoming 
considerably attenuated; and Mazepa failed to arouse 
Cossack support for the venture. Surrounded at Pol- 
tava by an immense Muscovite host and wounded, 
Charles barely escaped to Turkey under the care of 
Stanislav Poniatowski, and the remnant of his army 
capitulated (1709). 


The Swedish disaster tolled the death knell of 

Leszczynski's reign. Immediately after the battle 

of Poltava, the Tsar and August moved 

T^ , into Poland. Hetman Adam Sieniaw- 

Withdrawal of , . r . . , ,. 

Leszczynski, ski, one of the most rabid opponents ot 
1710 King Stanislav, joined hands with Peter. 

Only a part of the Polish army remained 
loyal to Leszczynski, who, seeing that the matter 
could not be settled amicably as the opposition did not 
wish to have his case adjudged by the Diet, and try- 
ing to avoid further bloodshed, withdrew into 
Sweden. Meanwhile August renewed his treaty 
with Peter and offered him the much coveted Livonia. 
He also withdrew his abdication, claiming that it was 
exacted under duress and quoting the Polish statute 
of 1669, which prohibited abdications. The Diet of 
1710 proceeded according to the dictation of the Tsar 
and reaffirmed the kingship of August. The Diet 
also granted freedom of faith to the communicants of 
the Greek Church. Peter demanded that he be made 
the guarantor of their rights, and in this wise received 
legal sanction for his meddling in the internal affairs 
of the country. 

Charles, however, did not resign his plans. With 

the aid of Stanislav Poniatowski, one of his warmest 

friends, he was able to prevail upon 

Russian inter- Turkey to start a new war on Muscovy. 

vention in , J , . . , . . ., , r 

Poland When the lurkish campaign failed m 

171.1, Leszczynski begged the Swedish 
King to give up the war. Moreover, internal dissen- 
sions in Sweden compelled him to postpone further 
action at that time, and Peter was left unhampered to 
do in Poland as he pleased. He drafted a hundred 
thousand Polish recruits into his army, exacted heavy 


contributions from the population, arrested and exe- 
cuted many of the Uniate clergy and planned for the 
eventual extension of his sovereignty over the whole 
of Poland. These designs led him to oppose the 
realization of August's plans for a partition of Poland. 
The latter hoped by this means to add a portion of the 
country to his Saxon patrimony. For help in carry- 
ing out his designs, August planned to cede West or 
Royal Prussia to Frederick. When halted by Peter 
he tried another expedient. 

Under the pretext-^ of fear of a Turkish invasion, 
August kept his Saxon troops in Poland in the hope 
that their insolent behavior might 
ms-rm War> cause a revolution, which he expected 
to quell and then to change the form 
of government to suit his plans. The Saxon provo- 
cation caused, indeed, an armed uprising under the 
leadership of Stanislav Ledochowski, during which 
the country was turned into a barren waste. Every- 
thing that had survived former wars was destroyed 
in this civil strife. Agriculture, commerce and in- 
dustry came to a standstill. Peaceful inhabitants 
turned into bands of brigands. Cities were depopu- 
lated. Cracow could count only ten thousand in- 
habitants. The unfortunate ancient city of Kalisz, 
which in the XVIIth century had been the centre of 
cloth manufacture with a large and prosperous popu- 
lation, was demolished during this war. Violence, 
rape, murder and plunder ruled supreme. August 
was unable to crush the revolution he had fomented 
and accepted Peter's offer of mediation. The 
eighteen thousand men Peter sent into Poland en- 
abled Prince Dolgorookey to bring about an agree- 
ment (1716). 

The treaty of Warsaw, as the agreement was 
called, abolished the existing confederacies and pro- 
hibited future formation of such organi- 
Dumt^Diet zations ; the Saxon troops were ordered 
1717 withdrawn from Poland within twenty- 

five days' time; the authority of the 
hetmans was reduced to military matters only; the 
administration of the army was entrusted to the sub- 
division of the Treasury Department; the regular 
army was reduced to twenty-four thousand men, 
eighteen thousand in the Crown and six thousand in 
Lithuania; the tenure of state offices was reduced to 
two years and the duties revised; and finally, the 
building of new dissident churches was prohibited. 
The Diet of 1717 approved without discussion all the 
measures and dissolved six hours after its opening. 
It is known in Polish history as the first "Dumb" 
Diet. The Tsar became the guarantor of the laws 
and did not withdraw his troops from Poland which 
he considered a conquered territory. Almost all 
of the measures approved by the "Dumb" Diet 
were harmful, particularly the diminution of the 
army to a number entirely inadequate for the de- 
fense of the country, surrounded as it was by military 
powers with large and modern armies. 

Soon the Tsar an$ the Prussian King made 
an agreement in Berlin (1719) to act jointly in 
Polish affairs and to prevent any re- 
irTtoferance forms which would tend to strengthen 
the Republic. August's plan to form an 
alliance with Austria and England against Russia 
and Prussia was frustrated by the shrewd political 
moves of the ambassadors of the two latter countries. 
The ignorant and fanatical nobility did not realize the 
gravity of the situation and by their religious intol- 
erance, inculcated and nourished by the Jesuits, 


afforded opportunities for foreign powers to interfere 
in Polish internal affairs. In 1718 the Diet excluded 
one of its deputies because he was a Protestant, and 
in 1733 the dissenters were deprived of civic and po- 
litical rights. The intolerance of that period, not as 
rabid, perhaps, as in other countries, was alacriously 
taken advantage of for Russian and Prussian in- 
terference which eventually led to the dismember- 
ment of the country. The first step in that direction 
was made by Peter at the close of the Northern War 
when Livonia became a part of the Russian Empire. 

Realizing that it would be impossible to make 
Poland a hereditary monarchy, August endeavored 
at least to prepare the ground for his 
Se C "Thiee f son's succession. The marriage of 
Black Eagles" Leszczynski's daughter to King Louis 
De d ath"f?3 S 3' S XV of France, in 1724, spoiled his de- 
signs, for it gave a powerful support to 
the exiled King. He then conceived the plan of with- 
drawing his son's candidacy to the Polish throne and 
of enlisting French influence against the Pragmatic 
Sanction of Charles VI of Austria in the hope that his 
son who was married to the daughter of Emperor 
Joseph I, might press his claims to Austrian succes- 
sion. The Court of Vienna, apprised of this move, 
approached the Russo-Prussian alliance and the union 
of the "three black eagles" came to pass in 1732, by 
which the three monarchs pledged to use their in- 
fluence against the election of either Leszczynski or 
the son of the Saxon Elector and to resist any attempt 
at reforms in Poland. This union led the perfidious 
August to suggest once more to Prussia and Austria 
that Poland be dismembered, one part to become a 
hereditary part of his Saxon patrimony. In the 
midst of negotiations he died on February 1, 1733, in 


Warsaw, whither he had gone to attend the session 

of the Diet. 

By the nature of things, the interregnum follow- 

ing the death of August could be nothing but tur- 
bulent. The majority of the electors 
had become convinced that only a native 
King should sit on the throne and fa- 
vored the banished Stanislav Leszczyn- 
ski, who was spending his life in retire- 

ment and study. The most powerful magnate fami- 

lies with Theodore Potocki, the Primate at the head, 

The Interreg- 
num, 1733-1735, 
and the Second 
Election of ' 


indorsed his candidacy and practically excluded 
everybody else. At the .>n field the great as- 

sembly of citizens, with a unanimity seldom known in 
Poland, elected Leszczynski on September 12, 1733, 
and the Primate officially announced His election, in 
spite of the threatening declaration made by Aus- 
tria and Russia that they would not consent to recog- 
nize him. Counting on personal gains Prince Wis- 
niowiecki, the Great Chancellor of Lithuania, and 
Theodore Lubomirski, the Woyevoda of Cracow, to- 
gether with the Bishops of Posen and Cracow, with- 


drew with a small band of six thousand of their re- 
tainers to the suburb of Warsaw on the right bank 
of the Vistula, and upon the arrival of Russian troops 
elected the son of the late King August. 

Although the union of the black eagles excluded 
also the Saxon candidate who was a son-in-law of the 

(J. Mateyko) 
FIG. 142 AUGUST III (1733-1763) 

Austrian Emperor, yet the enticing of- 

ferenc n and ter " ^ ers ^ e ma( ^ e to Russia and Austria won 
August in their consent. The inducement offered 
to Austria was his renunciation of all 
claims to Austrian succession and a promise to re- 
spect the Pragmatic Sanction; and to Russia, he 
promised Courland for Ernest Biron, the lover of 
Empress Anna. Under the protection of Russian 
and Saxon arms, August III was crowned in Cracow, 
on January 17, 1734. 


Leszczynski, the legally chosen King, withdrew 
with his supporters to Danzig, pursued by the Rus- 
sian army. The Russian Field Mar- 

Confederac W s k a ^ Miinnich threatened to destroy the 
1734 CC beleaguered city and to butcher all in- 

fants for the resistance offered by their 
fathers. The unfortunate Leszczynski fled to Kon- 
igsberg, but the war between the two factions lasted 
for two years. The magnate Adam Tarlo became 
the marshal of the general confederacy which was 
organized in 1734 at Dzikow in defense of King Stani- 
slav. The failure of SwederrpTtlrkey and France to 
send support against Russia and Saxony made 
August's position^ strong in spite of the fact that 
France declared. war against Austria, nominally for 
the Polish succession (1733-1738) but de facto in her 
own interests. In 1735 the Confederacy suffered a 
defeat and the King was forced to leave the country. 
He abdicated the throne and France made him the 
Duke of the newly acquired province of Lorraine 
which he ruled wisely and intelligently until his 
death in 1766. 

The Diet of 1736 was forced to recognize the new 
King and to consent to the cession of Courland to 

Russia after the death of the last Duke 

nSl^ne^and of the ^ ouse of Kettler. This was the 
His Times only Diet that had not been broken up 

during the twenty-eight years of Au- 
gust Ill's reign which is marked by a most crass and 
abject degradation of all life values moral, social, 
political and scientific. Servility took the place of 
patriotism; all respect for law and order disappeared 
and the wantonness of magnates held full sway. 
Even tribunals hitherto respected were put under 
the thumb of the local potentates. The magnates 
openly carried on negotiations with foreign sover- 


eigns and received subsidies for services rendered; 
the government ceased to be able to exercise any of 
its functions and to be a factor in European politics. 
Foreign governments interfered in Polish affairs 
and fostered anarchy to retain excuses for their in- 
terference. Neither Russia nor Prussia or Austria 
respected her sovereignty or her boundaries. They 
sent their armies through Poland whenever it suited 
their plans and at times even resorted to recruiting 
in Poland to replenish their forces. 

Exhausted by constant civil wars, the country 
was in a desperate condition of poverty. The lot of 
the Polish peasant grew worse and the amount of un- 
paid labor he was obliged to render to his overlord 
increased. Ignorance and fanaticism reigned su- 
preme. The number of convents, cloisters and mon- 
asteries multiplied immensely. The beautiful litera- 
ture of the Golden Age almost disappeared. Silly, 
mediaeval stories, astrology and the lives of the saints 
took its place. Separated from the West by the war- 
rent and devastated German states, Poland was de- 
prived of the refreshing scientific currents from 
France, Italy and England. * The former custom of 
sending Polish youth to Western universities was re- 
placed by pilgrimages to the Holy Sepulchre or to less 
remote places of religious worship. "In the contem- 
porary intellectual movement of the West," says 
Smolenski, "Poland took no part; she did not even 
adopt its most significant achievements. The great 
discoveries of Keppler, Galileo, Newton, Pascal and 
Torricelli in astronomy and physics were as foreign to 
her as were the philosophical ideas of Bacon, Des- 
cartes, Locke and Leibnitz. Ignorance closed the 
eyes of the people to a realization of the gravity of 
their situation. Men of wisdom and thought, who 
could look critically at public affairs, had to conceal 


their opinions lest they be indicted for heresy or as- 
sault upon the liberty of the nobles . . . Without 
being aware of the causes of the evil and the means 
for remedying them, the nation was rolling into the 
abyss of ruin." * But the inexhaustible spiritual re- 
sources of the Polish nation were not crushed by this 
trying period. Like Phoenix from the ashes they 
suddenly arose again to life and asserted themselves 
with vigor toward the close of the century, during the 
Four-Years' Diet, when Poland again took place be- 

no. 143 THE ZALUSKI PUBLIC LIBRARY AT WARSAW, Opened to the public 

in 1748 with 200,000 volumes donated by Bishop Joseph Zaluski. The 

whole collection was later removed from Warsaw to St. 

Petersburg by the order of Empress Catherine. 

side France as a center whence progress and regen- 
eration spread over Europe. 

The middle of the XVIIIth century saw the 

awakening of Polish thought. During his candidacy 

the philosophically inclined Stanislav 

Th f In d e p e i" Leszczynski published a pamphlet on 

cai Awakening" the need of political reforms, which did 

not go entirely unheeded. He enthused 

a number of younger men who went abroad to study. 

*Loc. cit. Vol. II, pp. 159-160. 



In subsequent years his court at Nancy was the seat 
of art and learning, whence modern thought and ideas 
radiated into Poland and found numerous adepts 
among the magnates, constantly vying with each other 
for power and influence. Among other influential 

FIG. 144 ELIZABETH DRU2BACKA (1695-1765) 
The First Polish Woman Writer. 

publicists of the time were the two brothers Zaluski, 
Andrew and Joseph, both bishops, who, in 1746, 
founded the first well equipped public library in War- 
saw. Stanislav Poniatowski and a few others also 
published pamphlets on the need of political reform. 
It is noteworthy that in this dark period of Polish 


intellectual life a strong stimulus to the literary 
awakening came from a woman. The writings of 
Elizabeth Druzbacka soared high above the sordid- 
ness of her contemporary environment and blazed a 
new trail for Polish literature. She, in a measure, 
cleared the Polish language of foreign influences and 
of hybrid expressions. 

FIG. 145 STANISLAV KONARSKI (1700-1733), Patriot, Educator and Jurist 

The greatest influence, however, was wielded by 
Stanislav Konarski a highly gifted and patriotic priest 
who, upon his return from abroad after 
years of study, established the famous 
"Collegium Nobilium," where modern 
subjects and modern methods of instruction were in- 


troduced. Scholasticism was banished and science, 
astronomy, mathematics, history and modern lan- 
guages took its place. In addition to imparting 
knowledge, Konarski strove to inculcate patriotism 
and sound civic ideas in the minds of his students. 
With him began the intellectual and political awak- 
ening of Poland which found expression in the Con- 
stitution of May 3, 179.1, and in the monumental scien- 
tific works of the close of the XVIIIth and of the 
XlXth centuries. He wrote a great deal on political 
and social problems and fearlessly exposed the dan- 
gers of the existing system and particularly the 
wretched "liberum veto," which, to the nobility, was 
the pearl of tneir liberties. Single-handed, he under- 
took the Herculean task of codifying all the laws of 
Poland, begining with those of Kazimir the Great 
and carrying them through to the end. His "Vol- 
umina legum," prefaced by a learned dissertation on 
the origin and sources of law, became subsequently 
recognized as the official handbook for the use of the 
courts, diets and other state offices. The college 
founded by Konarski and its success invited imita- 
tion, and a number of old schools were modernized or 
new ones established. The revival of thought became 
noticeable all over the country and it did not fail soon 
to transmute itself into action.' 

The two leading and most enlightened Polish 
families, those of Potocki and of Czartoryski, under- 
took to put into life the reforms advo- 
Par e ti?s ef rm cated b y the poetical thinkers of the 
time. Unfortunately, an element of 
family pride underlay the splendid motives of the two 
parties, and prevented concerted action. Each strove 
for individual distinction and adopted different ways 


of carrying out their programs. The strife of the 
two political factions formed by the two families con- 
stitutes the political history of the reign of the 
thoughtless and slothful August III. The Potockis, 
firm supporters of Leszczynski, formed a party known 
as the Patriotic or National Party; the Czartoryski 
party was generally known as the "Family." The 
National Party aimed at the transformation of the 
Republic into a strong state; the other of reforming 
the government by securing a firm "family" hold 
upon it. The first party sought alliances with France, 
Sweden and Turkey; the second relied on Russia for 
support in the accomplishment of their plans. August 
III was an ally of Russia to whom he was indebted 
for his election as King. Accordingly he offered no 
protest when Russian armies passed through Poland 
during the Russo-Turkish war (1737-1739), and, in 
compliance with his pre-election promise, gave 
Courland to Biron, protege of the Russian Empress, 
after the death of Duke Ferdinand Kettler (1737). 
The National Party protested and took steps to or- 
ganize an armed confederacy. Agreeing with the 
King's Russian policy, and having at their command 
the most important State offices, the "Family" Party 
was able to frustrate the plans of their opponents by 
dissolving the Diet. They were unsuccessful, however, 
in their attempts.'to induce the Republic to take part 
in the war of the Austrian succession, during which 
Frederick the Great wrested from Maria Theresa the 
ancient Polish province of Silesia. The Russians de- 
feated the Saxons, and with the aid of the "Family" 
the Polish King endeavored to equip a large army 
and to draw Poland into the war. By preventing any 
of the Diets to come to pass the opposition rendered 
action impossible. Internal disorder, characterizing 
the Saxon rule in Poland, reached its apogee at about 


this time. Charged with designs of turning the 
country into a monarchy, the "Family" Party began 
to lose its sway, particularly after its unsavory deal- 
ings in disposing of the estates of the heavily in- 
debted Prince Sanguszko at Ostrog became known 
and raised a tide of public indignation and contempt. 
Soon the "Family" was relegated to the role of the 
opposition. Realizing that their chances of regain- 
ing influence were slim, the Czartoryskis turned for 
support to neighboring nations, especially to 
Russia. The time was particularly propitious, as a 
member of the "Family," the elegant and young 
Stanislav August Poniatowski, as Ambassador to 
Russia, gained influence at St. Petersburg because of 
his love affairs with the wife of the heir to the throne. 
In 1762 the old Empress Elizabeth died, and Cath- 
erine II, having quickly disposed of her half-idiotic 
husband, Peter III, ascended the throne of Russia. 
The "Family" gathered forces for the purpose of 
overturning the government and introducing the 
planned reforms. The National party was ready to 
resist them by force of arms, and a civil war was im- 
pending when the news came of the sudden death of 
August III, on October 5, 1763. 

In spite of the fact that, owing to the exhaustion 
caused by the Seven Years' War, there was less dis- 
position on the part of the neighbors 
The of Poland to interfere in her internal 

E?e S ctSnf al affairs, this chance was not grasped by 
May 7, 1784 the political leaders of the time, more in- 
terested in a realization of their individ- 
ual ambitions than in the destiny of their country. The 
Patriotic party favored the son of the deceased King. 
He died, however, before the election, and the leader of 
the party, Hetman John Clement Branicki, became the 
candidate. The Czartoryskis had prepared them- 


selves thoroughly for the convocation diet and the 
election which they sought to postpone as long as pos- 
sible. Russia was to be their chief supporter and she 
began by paying eighty thousand roubles to the in- 
terrex, the Primate Wladyslav Lubienski, for defer- 
ring the election until May. The local assemblies 
became busy places of pre-election activity. Support 
was bought by intrigue, bribe and promise; the recal- 
citrant members were disposed of by thugs hired by 
the "Family" or by Russian soldiers brought over to 
intimidate the opposition. To the convocation diet 
the two parties came armed to the teeth. Branicki 
and Radziwill brought considerable forces of the 
Crown and Lithuanian troops; the "Family" invited 
Russia to garrison the city; and the royal palace 
and convention hall were guarded by the private 
militia of the Czartoryskis. The atmosphere was 
not particularly conducive to an amicable settle- 
ment. The opposition, immediately after the open- 
ing of the session, declared that in view of the pres- 
ence of the Russian troops in the capital no Diet 
would be held. Despite the pressure brought to bear 
upon the Chairman of the Diet by the "Family" he 
refused to continue the session until freedom from 
military intervention was restored. The opposition 
broke up the Diet and withdrew. The Czartoryskis 
did not relish the idea of going through another 
costly pre-election campaign, and resorted to the 
flagrantly illegal measure of continuing a dissolved 
Diet and of deciding the various issues by a majority 
vote. Their i^rogram of reforms was well considered 
and far-reaching, but could be adopted only in part as 
both Prussia and Russia declared that they would 
not tolerate the abolition of the "liberum veto" and 
some other reforms. The measures adopted related 
to the simplification of parliamentary procedure, the 


abolition of the oath binding deputies to follow the 
instructions of the local assemblies they represented, 
the creation of executive committees in matters re- 
lating to the State Treasury and the Army, 
changes in the judiciary, the protection of cities 
against the wilfulness of the nobility, and improve- 
ment of the methods of taxation, particularly of im- 
port duties, and the limitation of the power of the 
nobles in judicial rights over the peasants. They 
legalized proxy representations at elections, and ex- 
cluded foreigners from candidacy to the Polish 
throne. Henceforth, only a Polish noble, Roman 
Catholic in faith, could be elected. They also recog- 
nized the imperial title of the Russian monarchs, 
which former Diets had refused to do, as well as the 
royal title of the Elector of Brandenburg, and con- 
firmed the cession of Courland to Biron. The op- 
positon declared all the laws passed by the "Family" 
Diet not binding, and left the capital. They were 
punished by a loss of all offices held by them, and 
their supporters were pursued by the Russian troops 
sent against them. The "Family" did not hesitate to 
adopt most radical measures against their opponents, 
many of whom, like Branicki and Radziwill, went 
abroad. Their estates were sequestered. Thus far 
everything had gone well for the Czartoryskis, but 
their first disappointment came when the Russian 
Empress expressed a wish to see her former lover 
Poniatowski, rather than Prince August Czartoryski, 
on the Polish throne. The Czartoryskis had to re- 
spect her wish, but at the election at which Stanislav 
August Poniatowski, then thirty-two years old, was 
elected King of Poland, only five thousand electors 
were present. In the pacta conventa he swore to re- 
spect the laws of the nation, the privileges of the no- 
bility, the enactments of the convocation diet, and to 


establish a military school for the nobles. Contrary 
to the time-honored custom, his coronation took place 


in Warsaw and not in Cracow, on November 25, 1764, 
on the name's-day of the Russian Empress. 


The new King, son of the Castellan of Cracow 
and the Princess Constance Czartoryska, was a man 
of broad but superficial education, re- 
Stanisiav fined tastes, considerable ability, good 

Poniatowski, breeding, soft manners, but of weak 
1764-1795 character. He was well-intentioned, 

but had no strong moral principles, was 
vain, egotistic and effeminate. He took great pride 
in receiving the Order of the Prussian Black Eagle 
from "so great a man" as Frederick the Second, felt 
no impropriety in receiving a regular salary from 
Catherine, whom he extolled as "the great Empress" 
and whose love made him "the happiest of men." 
The perspicacious Empress well knew his sentimental 
and feeble character, and decided to make him a tool 
in carrying out political plans, laid jointly by her and 
her friend Frederick of Prussia. It was the King in 
Prussia who protested most vigorously against the 
Empress giving her consent to the abolition of the 
"liberum veto" when the new King asked for it be- 
fore the coronation Diet assembled. 

At this Diet the Czartoryskis clearly realized 
that the support Russia had given them was not 
meant to benefit Poland, but only to af- 
The .Reforms f orc j a n opportunity for interference in 
"Family" internal affairs. The Russian Ambas- 

sador proposed an alliance for offensive 
and defensive purposes, and informed the assembly 
that should such an alliance be made the Empress 
would consent to the increase of the Polish army 
from twenty-four thousand, set by the Dumb Diet of 
1717, to fifty thousand. He proposed a rectification 
of the Russo-Polish frontier which would have given 
a considerable stretch of territory to Russia, and the 
restoration of certain rights to the dissidents. The 
Prussian Ambassador took occasion at this time to 


inform the Diet that his sovereign regarded the con- 
templated tariff reform with disfavor. The Diet 
realized that the increase in the army was greatly 
needed, but that an alliance with Russia .for offensive 
purposes would be detrimental to Poland, making her 
a vassal of Russia and leading to unnecessary wars. 
Accordipgly, they informed the Empress that an al- 
liance for defensive purposes would be agreeable, but 
no common cause could be made with Russia for pur- 
poses of foreign aggression. They also informed 
Catherine that the privileges she requested for the 
"dissidents" could not be granted. The Prussian 
Ambassador was asked to state to his sovereign that 
the matter of taxation was an internal matter and his 
interference with reference to it was resented. 

As a result of these bold expressions by the Diet, 
the Czartoryskis lost standing in St. Petersburg, and 
the Russian Ambassador received in- 
Russian in- structions to work against them and to 

tngue against , ,. MM 

the "Family" revival the former anarchy by all avail- 
able means. It was not very difficult to 
foment trouble at, that time when the great body of 
people was hostile to the high-handed methods of the 
"Family" and to the person of the foppish King, 
elected by a handful of paid retainers under the pro- 
tection of the troops of his former paramour, who 
paid his debts, .financed his election campaign and 
carried him on her annual payroll. Despite the fact 
that the King, in the words of the Russian Ambas- 
sador, "considered the Russian interests as his own," 
he nevertheless tried to remedy some of the ills of his 
native country. At the Diet of 1766 he again intro- 
duced a measure aimed at the restriction of the li- 
berum veto, and the adoption of the principles of a 
majority vote. This gave an opportunity to Repnin, 
the Russian Ambassador, to start his campaign 


against the King and the "Family." He declared 
that the Empress would never consent to the majority 
vote because "such a basis for law enactment could 
not be reconciled with the freedom of the nation." 
The measure failed of passage and the seeds of dis- 
cord sown by Russian and Prussian agents soon bore 
fruit. With the aid of the unspeakable Gabriel 
Podoski, a priest soon afterwards made Primate as a 
prize for the services rendered to Russia, Repnin or- 
ganized a confederacy at Radom, ostensibly with the 
purpose of overthrowing the King and his party. 
Russia feared the "Family, ' not the King. They 
knew he was a man without character, with whom 
they could do as they pleased. It was easier, how- 
ever, to form the Confederacy under this slogan. The 
coarse and shallow Prin.ce Charles Radziwill, who 
had fled after Poniatowski's election and whose 
large estates had been sequestered by Russia, was 
asked to become the Marshal of the Confederacy. 
For the return of his estates he promised to do every- 
thing the Empress might demand of him. A Russian 
agent was assigned to guide this scion of a proud and 
ancient family in his abject servility to a foreign 

When the Confederacy was organized a large 
Russian army arrived at Radom, and then Repnin de- 
manded of the surprised and dumb- 
The Radom founded Confederates an expression of 

Confederacy, . T ^. ,-. . , 

1767 loyalty to King Jroniatowski, for the 

dissenters equal rights with Roman 
Catholics and required the recognition of the Russian 
Empress as the guarantor of the cardinal laws of the 
Republic. Russian bayonets exacted an acquiesence 
in all of the demands of Repnin. At the confedera- 
tion Diet, held with the King's approval in October, 
1767, Repnin presented his program, which in- 


eluded the abolition of all the disabilities of the dis- 
sidents, a new constitution and an alliance with Rus- 
sia. When a strong opposition arose, Repnin, to 
facilitate matters, demanded the appointment of a 
commission with power to act. This project was 
vigorously opposed by Kayetan Soltyk, the Bishop 
of Cracow, Joseph Zaluski, the Bishop of Kieff, the 
Field Hetman Watslav Rzewuski and his son Severin. 
All of them were arrested by Repnin's soldiers and 
taken to Kaluga in Russia. The outrage committed 
caused a storm of indignation. After it had quieted 
down and the assembly had satisfied itself by sending 
a deputation with a request for release of theJgfc* 
captive senators, business was resumed and Repnin 
was able to prevail upon the Diet to appoint a com- 
mission to work out jointly with him the new con- 

The new instrument assured to the dissidents 
religious and political rights equal to those enjoyed 
by the Roman Catholics. It may be of 
interest to note that the total number of 
1768 dissidents, that is, Protestants and ad- 

herents of the Uniate Church in whose 
behalf that magnanimous Russian sovereign pleaded 
so vigorously, was at the time, in Poland, somewhat 
over a million, or eight per cent, of the population of 
the Republic. With only one exception the proposed 
constitution abolished all the reforms of the Convoca- 
tion Diet of 1764,and retained the free elections, the 
unanimity of decision in almost all matters of impor- 
tance, the liberum veto and the prerogatives of the 
nobility. The hetmans were elevated to senatorial 
dignity and Russia became the guarantor of the Con- 
stitution. All these provisions were adopted by the 
Diet without any discussion, and with but one lotfd 
voice of protest, that of Joseph Wybicki. This was 



the only demonstration of hostility and resentment 
by the assembled poltroons, for whom personal 
safety was superior to honor and the fate of their 

FIG. 147 JOSEPH WYBICKI, Soldier and Patriot 

The true expression of the outraged feelings of 

those who saw the iniquitous designs of Russia and 

resolved to save the country from the 

The Bar slavery into which a part of the nobility 

Confederacy, - 7 . 11 . ir i_ r i 

1768-1772 was willing to engulf her tor personal 

profit or preferment, can be found in the 
Confederacy which was organized "pro religione et 
libertate" at the town of Bar, on the Dniester, in 
Podolia, chiefly by the middle class gentry under the 


leadership of Bishop Adam Krasinski, his brother 
Michael and the elderly, but still fiery and active, 
Joseph Pulaski and his three sons, one of whom, 
Kazimir, subsequently became the distinguished 
hero of the American War for Independence. The 
highly patriotic and exalted movement of protest and 
resentment was so elemental and spontaneous that it 

(J. Styka) 

FIG. 148 KAZIMIR PULASKI, Soldier and Patriot, 
Hero of the American Revolution, Died in the Battle of Savannah 

lacked sufficient organization and planning. The 
Confederates had such faith in their holy cause and 
were so certain of universal support that they neg- 
lected making the necessary preparations before 
hoisting the flag in defense of their country and its lib- 
erties and religion against foreign agression. When 


the news of the formation of the Confederacy reached 
the King and the Senate they decided to persuade the 
leaders to abandon the venture and at the same time 
to apprise the Russian Ambassador of it and request 
his support if need be. The impetuous and shrewd 
Repnin did not wait for the result of the conferences 
of the King's envoy with the Confederates, but gath- 
ered his army and requested the aid of the Polish 
crown troops in his campaign against the insurgents. 
Francis Xavier Brahicki led the Polish crown regi- 
ments which joined the Russians and took by assault 
the towns of Bar and Berdychov. The Confederates 
were forced to withdraw, and in their retreat were 
harassed by the Cossacks and Ukranian peasants 
who, incited by their priests and the agents of the 
Russian government, burned and sacked defenseless 
towns and manors and murdered the people sparing 
neither women nor children. The frontier free- 
booters and brigands, known as haydamaks, again 
laid waste the country which had been rebuilt and re- 
stored laboriously after the devastating Cossack wars. 
Wantonly and cruelly they pillaged and massacred. 
The carnage in the city of Human is one of the most 
revolting chapters in the history of that province, 
rife as it is, with bloodshed and destruction. 

In spite of lack of organization, internal dis- 
sensions, checks and defeats, the Confederacy gained 
increasing support all over the country, not only 
among the lower strata of society but among the 
magnates as well, who at first had carefully stayed 
away. A butcher, by the name of Morawski, the 
shoemaker Szczygiel, and a Cossack Sawa Calinski, 
distinguished themselves by their valor and devotion, 
as did the saintly monk, Father Mark Jandolowicz, 
who formed a special brotherhood of the Knights of 
the Holy Cross. The managing board of the Con- 


(Sculpture by Kazimlr Chodzifiski) 



federacy, or its general staff, was unable to unify the 
direct movement adequately. The brilliant achieve- 
ments of Kazimir Pulaski, Zaremba, Dierzanowski 
and of Dumouriez, sent by France, were in vain be- 
cause of the lack of coherence and unity in the direct- 
ing body, the majority of whom consisted, by this 
time, of magnates who desired to overthrow the 
King. This policy was unfortunate because when 
the wavering King and the "Fam'ily" were ready to 
join the Confederacy, the treacherous Primate Podo- 
ski, acting in behalf of the Russian Government, in- 
sisted upon the dethronement, and in this way all 
chance of a united action against Russia was frus- 
trated. The King was forced back upon Russia, where 
he again sought support, and France, which during the 
ministry of Choiseul had supported the Confederates 
with money and experienced officers, became some- 
what alienated when the Governing Board refused to 
join hands with the King. The other and most faith- 
ful foreign ally of the Confederacy was Turkey which 
declared war against Russia in 1768, giving as its cause 
the illegal activities of that government in Poland. 
Unfortunately for trie Confederacy, the Turkish army 
was no match for tfie Russian naval and land forces 
under Admiral Orloff and General Rumiantseff. The 
successes of Russia cooled the Austrian sympathies 
for the Confederates. In 1767 Maria Theresa was 
ready to send her troops to free Poland and the King 
from the outrages and insults of Repnin. She was 
prevented from doing so by Frederick of Prussia, who 
threatened war if she carried out her plans. Her 
heir, Joseph II, did not share her' views. Back in 
3769 he had conferred with Frederick with reference 
to Poland. The next year they again met at Neu- 
stadt in Moravia. As a result of this conference Aus- 
tria, under the pretext of the necessity of rectifica- 


tion of her frontiers, wrested away a considerable 
part of the Province of Cracow, and Prussian troops 
occupied West Prussia up to Great Poland in order 
"to establish quarantine against plague" which Fred- 
erick "feared" could be carried into his domains. At 
the end of the year Frederick sent his brother to St. 
Petersburg to negotiate the first partition of Poland. 




The Three Partitions 

At the conferences which Frederick the Great 

held with Marie Theresa's heir at Nissa in 1769 and at 

Neustadt in 1770, the Russian victories 

over the Turks and their possible conse- 

Partition, , . r . , . . . 

August 5, 1772 quences were discussed, rredenck 
feared Russian aggrandizement in the 
South. It was to his interest to preserve a strong 
Porte which could be advantageously utilized in the 
event of a Prussian war either with Russia or Austria. 
Despite the recent enmity between Prussia and 
Austria, by a deft presentation to the future Austrian 
sovereign of the dangers to which the Holy Roman 
Empire would be exposed by Russia's conquest of 
Moldavia and Wallachia, he easily won the acquies- 
cence of the young and vainglorious Joseph II in his 
selfish scheme of protecting Turkey in the possession 
of Moldavia and compensating Russia with territories 
in Poland. Such an arrangement was doubly advan- 
tageous, for it checked Russ;a in the south and by 
upsetting the existing balance of political influence it 
opened the way for Prussian and Austrian claims to 
similar shares of the Polish Republic, Frederick's 


plan was well thought out, and its accomplishment 
would have enabled him to secure the much coveted 
West or Royal Prussia without cost. He was deter- 
mined to carry the scheme through. His brother's 
mission at the Russian capital in 1770 had been to 
secure Catherine's consent to it, but the Russian Em- 
press and her advisors, Panin and Chernishev did not 
cherish the idea -of sharing Poland with other powers. 
To all intents and purposes Catherine was already 
mistress of the country. This condition served to 
intrench Maria Theresa in her adverse attitude to 
the scheme. The Austrian Empress had been op- 
posed to the dismemberment of Poland and for that 
reason supported the Bar Confederacy, giving shelter 
to the General Board of that organization. In 1771 
Maria Theresa approached Turkey and made an al- 
liance with the Ottomans for the recohquest of Mol- 
davia, with a further joint agreement to insist upon 
the territorial integrity of Poland. The plans alarmed 
Russia, and, fearing the strengthening of the alliance 
by the entry of Prussia, she submitted to the insist- 
ence of Frederick and agreed to cede Moldavia in 
return for a share in the partition of Poland. This 
caused Austria to retrace her steps. On February 
19, 1772, the agreement of partition was signed in 
Vienna. A previous agreement between Prussia and 
Russia had been made in St. Petersburg on February 
6, 1772. Early in August the Russian, Prussian and 
Austrian troop's simultaneously entered Poland and 
occupied the provinces agreed upon among them- 
selves. On August 5, 1772, the occupation manifesto 
was issued, much to the consternation of a country 
too exhausted by the heroic endeavors of the Bar 
Confederacy to offer further resistance. 


The regiments of the Bar Confederacy, whose 
executive board had been forced to leave Austria after 
that country joined the Prusso-Rus- 
e B ^" d sian conspiracy, did not lay down their 

Confederacy arms. Every fortress in their com- 
mand held out to the very last round of 
ammunition and the last ounce of food. Famous was 
the defence of Tyniec, which lasted until the end of 
March, 1773, and also that of Czenstochowa com- 
manded by Pulaski. Cracow fell on April 28th, cap- 
tured by the Russian general Suvorov who exiled the 
heroic garrison to Siberia. Neither France nor Eng- 
land, upon whom such great hopes had been based, 
helped in a sufficient measure or protested when the 
greatest crime in modern times was committed. So 
came to a tragic end the noble but ill-organized at- 
tempt of patriotic Poland to save itself from foreign 
aggression. It had cost about a hundred thousand 
men and once more laid the unfortunate country 
waste, but in the words of Professor Sokolowski, "it 
was the first demonstration of the reviving national 
conscience, the first armed protest before the eyes of 
Europe against outrage and unheard-of oppression."* 
The dismemberment treaty was ratified by its 
signatories on September 22, 1772. Frederick was 
elated with his success; Kaunitz was 
Pf oud . of wresting as large a share as he 
and Austria did, with the rich salt mines of Bochnia 
and Wieliczka; and Catherine "never 
signed a diplomatic document with greater satisfac- 
tion." By this "diplomatic document" Russia came 
into possession of that section of Livonia which had 
still remained in Polish hands, and of White Russia 
embracing the counties of Vitebsk, Polotsk and 
Mscislav; Prussia took Warmia and West Prussia 

* 1. c. vol. Ill, p. 418. 




as far as the Netze and embracing the county of 
Pomerania, without the city of Danzig, the counties 
of Malborg, Chelmno, without the City of Thorn, and 
some districts in Great Poland; and to Austria fell 
Zator and Oswiecim, part of Little Poland embracing 
parts of the counties of Cracow and Sandomir and a 
great portion of Ruthenia, in other words, the whole 
of Galicia, less the City of Cracow. By this partition 
Poland lost about thirty per cent, of her territory, 
amounting at that time to about 484,000 square 
miles, and about four million of her people. The 
largest share of the spoils, as far as population and 
revenue were concerned, went to Austria. 

After having occupied their respective terri- 
tories, in brazen arrogance, the three robber govern- 
ments demanded that the King and the 
The Diet Diet approve their action. The King 

of 1773 and , , rixr T- 

the Treaty appealed to the nations of Western JLu- 
of Cession rope for help and tarried with the convo- 

cation of the Diet. When, as usual, no 
help was forthcoming and the armies of the com- 
bined enemies occupied Warsaw to compel by force of 
arms the calling of the assembly, no alternative could 
be chosen save passive submission to their will. Those 
of the senators who advised against this desperate 
step were, after the well-known Russian fashion, ar- 
rested and exiled to Siberia by the representatives of 
the Tsarina. The local land assemblies refused to 
elect Deputies to the Diet, and after great difficulties 
less than half of the regular number of representa- 
tives came to attend the session, most of them men of 
degraded character, led by Adam Lodzia Poninski, 
the commander of the Malta Order, a cynic and notori- 
ous gambler, willing to undertake anything for 
money. In order to prevent the disruption of the 
Diet and the defeat of the purpose of the despoilers he 


undertook to turn the regular Diet into a Diet of 
a Confederacy, where majority rule prevailed. In 
spite of the dramatic efforts of Thaddeus Reytan, 
Samuel Korsak and others to prevent it, the deed 
was accomplished with the aid of Michael Radziwill 
and the dishonorable Bishops Mlodzieyowski, Mas- 
salski, and Ostrowski, who occupied high posi- 
tions of State and who were ready to sell their country 
and honor for Russian gold. The Diet elected a com- 
mittee of thirty to deal with the various matters pre- 
sented. On September 18, 1773, the Committee for- 
mally signed the treaty of cession, renouncing all 
claims of Poland to the territories taken from her. 
While the committee was still in session the news 
reached Poland that Pope Clement XIV had dis- 
solved the Order of the Jesuits. The 
The First j av mem b ers of the Committee argued 

of Education ^ or the retention of the Order in Poland, 
in Europe the ecclesiastical members for its dis- 

solution. The opinion of the ecclesias- 
tics prevailed, and with it came the question of the 
disposition of the properties of the Order and of the 
organization of popular education which had hitherto 
been, with such disastrous effect, in the hands of the 
Jesuits. It was voted that the government take over 
all the Jesuit schools and apply the income from the 
Jesuit estates to educational purposes. A special 
commission known as the Educational Commission 
was created to take charge of the schools of the 
country. In this manner education was secularized 
and the first State Board of Education in Europe was 
established. In spite of the fact that more than half 
of the Jesuit estates, worth over forty million Polish 
guldens, was stolen by the members of the Parlia- 
mentary Committee of Thirty, which with such light 
heart had subscribed to the act of foreign spoliation, 



enough was left to put the schools of the country on 
an adequate basis. The Commission had broad 
powers and set about its work in a most enthusiastic 
and competent manner. Among its moving spirits 
were some of the most enlightened men of the time, 
such as Hugo Kollontay, from whom Thomas Paine 

FIG. 152 HUGO KOLLONTAY (1750-1812) 
Statesman, Educator and Historian 

received many of his ideas on education; John 
Sniadecki, a mathematician of great renown; Stan- 
islav Staszyc, the foremost political thinker of the 
time, and many others. Some of the most prominent 
men of Europe were consulted on various matters, 
and many, like Dupont de Nemours and others, visited 


Poland as advisers and remained as university in- 
structors. The scope of the work of the Commission 
was immense. They organized and modernized the 
whole range of schools, beginning with the village 
parochial school and extending to the universities. A 
modern astronomical observatory was built at Cra- 

FIG. 153 JAN SNIADECKI (1756-1830) 

Rector of the University of Wilno, mathematician, author of a monumental work 

on "Physico-Mathematical Geography of the Earth" and precursor 

of Auguste Comte in philosophy. 

cow; a well equipped chemical laboratory was es- 
tablished; and a school of surgery was opened, where 
human cadavers were used for instruction. At the 
University of Wilno the astronomical department 
was enriched by new instruments of precision, and 
chairs were established for the teaching of natural 



history, chemistry and anatomy. Andrew Sniadecki, 
brother of John, author of a celebrated work on the 
"Theory of Organic Beings," taught chemistry and 
medicine, Jundzill botany and Joachim Lelewel 
history. Other sciences found equally remarkable 
exponents at the University of Wilno. 

A school of engineering, a conservatory of music 
and an institute for the deaf and dumb were founded. 
A special council, known as the Society for Element- 

FIG. 154- 


ary Education, whose task it was to prepare suitable 
text-books, was created. The Commission trained 
teachers and vigorously fought all the obstacles 
thrown in its way by old modish folk who resented the 
reforms and the secularization of instruction. The 
Jesuits and low, ignorant clergy obstructed the prog- 
ress of the work with the persistence of fanatics. 
Despite all the difficulties the Commission accom- 
plished a great work, raised the standard of the edu- 
cation of the people,-and gave stimulus to regenera- 


tion of science, literature and civic righteousness. 
The brilliant achievements of the movement may 
serve as one of the many extant proofs that the nation 
was sound and healthy and that its political depravity 
was limited to those elements of reaction whom 
France was able to drown in the mighty tide of the 
Revolution and whom the newly born American 
nation expelled from its midst. The large numbers 
of active workers throughout the land and the hearty 
support given by the nation to the labors of reform, 
crowned as they were with marked success, testify to 
the fact that below, what Mickiewicz later called, the 
"cold dirty lava" burned a fire of new life which even 
a century of calamities and disappointments could not 
extinguish. Hampered by foreign intervention Po- 
land could not, like France and the United States, rid 
itself of this hardened crust of "dirty lava." The 
political corruptionists and reactionaries were in a 
positon to carry on their wicked work. 

In addition to the act of bestowing princely 
titles upon their ringleaders, such as Poninski, Mas- 

salski, Xavier Branicki, and approving 
The Changes those given by the Emperor to the 
stitutio^and Lubomirskis, Sulkowskis and Jablonow- 
the Permanent skis, the above mentioned parliamentary 
Council committee t made certain changes in the 

constitution of the State. The various 
labors of that committee which lasted for two years, 
were finally submitted to the Confederation Diet on 
March 27, 1775. Attempts were again made to pro- 
test against the highhanded actions of the committee 
which signed the act of cession, but were of no avail. 
The consitutional changes made by the committee 
brought the country back to the political framework 
adopted at Repnin's command by the Second Dumb 
Diet in 1768, with but four modifications. The first 


concerned the limitation of the rights of dissidents, to 
which the Russian Ambassador made no vigorous 
objections. The matter had already been made use 
of to intrench Russian influence in Poland, and a new 
constitutional departure in that respect gave Russia 
but another opportunity to interfere on behalf of the 
oppressed dissenters should her interests demand it. 
The other new features in the constitution specified 
that only a Polish nobleman holding property within 
the boundaries of the Republic could become King, 
and that sons and grandsons of a King might mount 
the PolisKThrone only after two successive reigns had 
terminated since the death of the royal father or 
grandfather. The constitution also provided for a 
Permanent Council to take charge of the administra- 
tion of the country. The Council was to consist of 
thirty-six members, eighteen Senators and eighteen 
Deputies, elected by ballot every two years by the 
Diet. The King was president of the Council which 
was subdivided into five departments: foreign affairs, 
police, war, justice and treasury. Corresponding 
ministers headed the respective departments and had 
special counsellors assigned to them. The decisions 
of the departments were subject to the approval of the 
majority of the Council. By this arrangement the 
King was stripped of every semblance of power. 
Henceforth he could do nothing without the consent 
of the Council and appointments to the various State 
offices could be made by; him only from among the 
candidates presented by the Council. The power of 
the hetmans was similarly reduced. The army was 
increased to thirty thousand, new indirect taxes were 
introduced, and salaries were paid to the executive 
officers of the government. The Russian Empress 
became the guarantor of the Constitution. 


The new constitution, although it retained the 
vicious old principles of liberum veto, free royal elec- 
tions, and similar impractical measures, 
The contained, nevertheless,many useful pro- 

improvement v i s i ons . j t created a strong centralized 

in Economic . . j i 1 

and Social government with a considerable army at 

Conditions its disposal to enable it to carry out its 
provisions. In spite of the fact that the 
members of the Permanent Council were all subservi- 
ent' to Russia and ready to obey the Russian minister 
in every respect, and although they farmed out to them- 
selves various State and municipal monopolies bring- 
ing millions in income, and voted for themselves im- 
mense life pensions, yet they were successful in re- 
storing order in the country, in raising taxes, paying 
the civil and military officers and in stimulating indus- 
try, agriculture and commerce. After the first parti- 
tion, the Republic still occupied an area of 344,000 
square miles, and had a population of seven and a half 
millions. Previous anarchy and guerilla warfare had 
brought industry and farming almost to a standstill. 
Alongside of those who insanely squandered fortunes 
in the orgies of gambling, debauchery and gaiety, there 
were those who saw the paramount need of the eco- 
nomic upbuilding of the country. Encouraged by the 
government, many magnates and burghers invested 
their money in factories, and industrial and financial 
enterprises. Most active in this respect was Anthony 
Tyzenhaus, a wealthy Lithuanian potentate, who 
built cloth, linen and paper mills and who played an 
important part in the industrial reorganization then 
taking place. The King established a porcelain fac- 
tory near Warsaw and a steel plant in the iron region. 
In four years the export trade of the country rose 
from twenty-two to one hundred and ten million. 
New roads and waterways were built and the old ones 


improved. The nobility of the County of Brest-Litev- 
ski undertook, at its own expense, the draining of the 
Polesie swamps and built the highways of Pinsk- 
Slonim and Pinsk-Volhynia. Many a river was cleared 
and deepened and made fit for navigation. At the 
private expense of the Lithuanian Grand Hetman 
Prince Michael Kazimir Oginski, a canal, known until 
this day by his name, was dug, connecting the river 

Magnate and Patron of Industries 

Szczara, a tributary of the Niemen, with Jasiolda, a 
tributary of the Pripet, and thus was established a 
direct route between the Baltic and the Black Seas. 
A similar waterway, known as the Royal Canal, was 
built by uniting the river Pina, a tributary of the 
Pripet, with the river Muchawiec, flowing into the 
Bug. General prosperity increased.' Crops were 
good and in order to improve the farming methods 
and increase their productivity, many magnates 


undertook extensive reforms and liberated their peas- 
ants. Numerous writers, mostly of physiocratic 
convictions, pointed out the need of such reforms, but 
the great mass of the landed gentry was in determined 
opposition to them, and entertained their old attitude 
of contempt toward the peasants and burghers. In 
1776 the Lithuanian cities were deprived of autonomy 
and the project of Andrew Zamoyski, aiming at the 
removal of certain disabilities and the imposition of 
certain duties on the clergy, was publicly cut to pieces, 
to the great satisfaction of Stackelberg, the Russian 
Ambassador at Warsaw, who maintained that the 
measure advocated by Zamoyski was contrary to the 
liberties guaranteed by Russia. 

Simultaneously with the economic awakening of 

the country came the revival of science, literature and 

art, fostered by the magnates and par- 

J he . ticularly by the King. His palace was 

Renaissance , ., 1 i j t. 1 

in Art and equipped with physical and chemical 

Science laboratories, an astronomical observa- 

tory, a rare library of old and new 
works, a numismatic collection and a splendid art gal- 
lery. From abroad he brought a number of highly 
skilled craftsmen, artists and sculptors, among whom 
Bacciarelli and Lebrun should especially be men- 
tioned. The greatest minds and masters of the time 
met at his famous "Thursday dinners" where scien- 
tific, artistic and political subjects and ideas were pre- 
sented and discussed in their academic as well as 
practical aspects. The King was keenly interested 
in the application of scientific discoveries to practical 
ends. The application of electricity to human therapy, 
vaccination against smallpox, aerial navigation in 
balloons, the lightning rod and other discoveries 
of the time had in him an ardent admirer and cham- 








pion. It was due to his inspiration that Bishop Adam 
Naruszewicz undertook his celebrated critical "His- 
tory of the Polish Nation." The "prince of poets," 
Bishop Ignatius Krasicki, was another member of the 
King's circle, to which also belonged the poet Stani- 

l-'IG. 158 WOYCIECH BOGUSL.AWSKI, Founder of the first national 
theatre in Poland (1765) 

slav Trembecki. Among the other cultural achieve- 
ments of that time was the establishment of the first 
national theatre which saw such a brilliant develop- 
ment under the leadership of Woyciech Boguslawski, 
and the founding of the periodic literary magazines. 



Philosophy, economics, pedagogy and political 
science had illustrious representatives in Hugo Kol- 
lontay, Stanislav Staszyc, Onufry Kopczynski, George 
Piramowicz, the Sniadeckis, the brothers Stroynow- 
ski, Wielhorski, Poplawski, Jezierski, Joseph Wybicki 

PIG. 159 STANISLAV STASZYC (1755-1826) 
Educator, Philosopher, Statesman and Ardent Patriot 

and others. The political writers of the time were 
chiefly under the influence of the Physiocrats and the 
Encyclopaedists. They advocated the abolition of 
serfdom, and. proposed numerous land reforms and 
the recognition of the civic rights and economic needs 


of the townspeople. Some, like Butrymowicz, argued 
for the equalization and polonization of the Jews. 
The pamphlet literature of that period is one of the 
richest in Europe. Among the leaders of the "third 
estate" two rose to particular prominence, the presi- 
dent of the City of Warsaw, John Dekert, and a law- 
yer by the name of Barss. Aided by the champions 
of social reform and particularly by the great genius 
of Staszyc and Kollontay,they organized a movement 
for the recognition of civic rights of the cities, which 
found a sympathic echo in the middle class gentry. 

The landowners had borne the brunt of the pre- 
vious anarchy and misrule caused by the oligarchal 
magnates who based their power on the 

The Reform ui J A' 

Part masses of impecunious nobles depending 

upon them for a living. The respon- 
sible, self-respecting middle class gentry, who once 
before had shown their patriotism by organizing the 
Bar Confederacy, joined hands with the responsible 
real estate owners of the cities to establish a strong 
'government based on the land owning elments of the 
country, and on the complete or partial elimination 
of the "noble" proletariate. This was in accordance 
with the political ideals reaching Poland from the 
West. The reform or patriotic party, as it was called, 
counted among its adherents the most distinguished 
men of the time. Some of the magnates like the 
"Polish Aristides" Stanislav Malachowski and the 
two brothers, Ignatius and Stanislav Kostka Potocki, 
joined in the reform movement. The Czartoryskis 
favored the reform party as it was the only element 
in the country that openly championed freedom from 
Russian tutelage, whose dupes they had been and on 
account of which Polish state sovereignty had practi- 
callv ceased to exist. 


The party that was most bitterly opposed to the 
reformers was, in the first place, composed of the very 
h reactionary and inert elements among 

Opposition tne n t>ility who were almost unani- 
mously supported by the episcopate, and 
therefore by the" entire church hierarchy. The most 
dangerous elements ln~fhe~upp"bsition, however, were 
not those who deprecated the reforms because of 
ignorance or conviction, but the ambitious and unscru- 
pulous despoilers like Poninski, Xavier Branicki and 
others. Not only were they opposed to fundamental 
reforms, but seeing the moderately good work of the 
Permanent Council, attempted to influence the Rus- 
sian Empress to overturn it. Anarchy was a much 
more profitable field for the rapacity of the magnates 
of their kind than an orderly government. The lead- 
ership of that element fell to Branicki, whose real 
name was Branecki, but who usurped the name of the 
ancient family of the, Branickis after the last legal 
bearer of it, Hetman John Clement, died in 1771. 
Branecki was a man of the lowest instincts and of a 
most degraded character. He gained the first favors 
of Catherine by ruthlessly pursuing the Bar Confeder- 
ates with the aid of the Russian Cossacks. The next 
steps were very easy. He became the owner of enor- 
mous riches and rapidly mounted from one dignity to 
another, until he became the Grand Hetman of the 
Crown. He then desired to restore to the office the 
great prerogatives it had possessed in the past and 
declared war on the Permanent Council which re- 
stricted it. His chief political associates were Felix 
Potocki, the Polish Croesus, who owned over three 
million acres of land and tens of thousands of serfs, 
the despicable Bishop Kossak<5wski and his brother 
Simon and Severin Rzewuski, erstwhile prisoner in 
Kaluga, whither he had been exiled for making pro- 


tests against the iniquities of Russia at the Radom 
Diet of 1768. Like Michael Radziwill he found it 
much more convenient to dull his national sensibilities 
and, upon receiving high honors, went so far as to 
champion the retention of Russian influence in Po- 
land and the former pernicious political and economic 
liberties. The great mass of thoughtless, landless, 
homeless, penniless nobility was always at the com- 
mand of the magnates. Immense bands of these 
hungry, ignorant and lawless nobles, following 
blindly the command of their unscrupulous and ambi- 
tious masters were the greatest menace to the country 
and its free institutions, and the cause of its decline 
and eventual downfall. 

Placed between the two political extremes was 

the compromise party of the King and his brother 

Michael, the primate. They desired 

The Political t o strengthen the country and its gov- 

Conferences i j 

with Catherine eminent, but. discountenanced opposi- 
at Kaniow tion to Russian influence. They favored 

only such changes as could be made 
without arousing the opposition of the Russian sover- 
eign. It was a hopeless program in the face of 
Russia's watchfulness and her determination to pre- 
serve the golden liberties of the Polish nobility. Yet 
after the death of Frederick the Great in 1786, whose 
evil genius stood ever in the way of Poland's best 
efforts, the understanding reached in 1780 between 
Emperor Joseph II and Catherine in regard to Turkey 
was soon to be practically effected, and a change in 
the Russian policy was to be expected. In case_o_f 
war with Turkey the support of Poland was of great 
value to Russia as it afforded the easiest route for the 
passage of troops as well as for the making of con- 
venient junctures with the Austrian armies. Further- 


more, the rich south Polish granaries and cattle herds 
afforded abundant supplies for the provisioning of the 
Russian troops. In 1787 Catherine, on her way to 
Crimea, stopped at Kaniow to confer with King 
Poniatowski concerning a Russian-Polish alliance 
and some internal Polish matters. The leaders of the 
extreme pro-Russian party all flocked to Kaniow for 
secret political conferences with the Empress and her 
hero Potemkin, and pledged their support against 
Turkey for Russian assistance against the King and 
the lawful government she had guaranteed to sup- 
port. She did not accept their offer at the time but 
reserved it for future utilization. The leaders of the 
reform party, on the other hand, saw in the impend- 
ing difficulties of Russia a chance to get rid of her 
control and influence. Soon the country was called 
upon to decide which of the two ways should be fol- 
lowed: An alliance with Austria and Russia against 
Turkey and the further intrenchment of Russian in- 
fluence in Poland, or a union with Prussia for the 
restoration of Polish sovereignty. 

After the conference at Kaniow, the Russian 
Empress sent the Polish King a copy of the proposed 
The Project of Russo-Polish treaty. It guaranteed the 
a Russo-Poiish territorial integrity of the allied coun- 
tries and called for mutual help in the 
event of foreign invasion. It declared against all 
reforms in the Polish government, but contained con- 
sent to holding the next Diet as of a confederacy in 
order to prevent its dissolution and in order to carry 
through the alliance as well as to provide for an in- 
crease of the army. The need of the latter was well 
recognized by all parties, and made possible the 
unanimous consent, to a confederacy diet where 
decisions were reached by a majority vote. 


The Diet met on October 6, 1788, in Warsaw and 

formed the confederacy. The two marshals of the 

confederacy, Stanislav Malachowski for 

the Crown and Kasimir Nestor Sapieha 

Years Diet, , T . . t T-. 

1788-1792 * or Lithuania, belonged to the Patriotic 

party. Their election ensured consider- 
ation of the various reform measures and augured 
ill for the proposed alliance with Russia. In two 
weeks after the opening of the session the project to 
increase the army to one hundred thousand .passed 
and a special military commission was established to 
supersede the War Department of the Permanent 
Council. The Russian Ambassador protested against 
this change and threatened war. The King and the 
Primate argued against the change but the general 
sentiment was very strongly in favor of it. It was 
pointed out that a department which was not respon- 
sible to the Diet and which was composed of men 
appointed at the request of a foreign government and 
subservient to it should not be given command of a 
large army. ^This view prevailed and despite the 
Russian threats the measure was adopted. 

The severance of the Prusso-Russian entente, 
which since 1764 had hung over Poland as a swqrd of 
The Damocles, and the Russian entangle- 

Aiiiance with ment in a war with Turkey and Sweden, 
Prussia, 179C afforded the possiblity of free action. 
Prussia, then in alliance with Great Britain and Hol- 
land, strained every effort to embolden the Diet and 
to estrange Poland from Russia, hoping by an alliance 
with Poland and a war with Austria to gain for her- 
self the City of Thorn and the commercial port of 
Danzig, in return for the restoration of Galicia to the 
Republic. Albeit the request for the cession of these 
two cities was very firmly refused, the treaty with 
Prussia was made on March 27, 1790. It guaranteed 


'The Polish Aristides." Statesman and Patriot, President of the Four Years' Diet 


the integrity of the territorial possessions of the two 
countries and mutual help to the last in case of foreign 
invasion. Frederick Wilhelm II, the successor of 
Frederick the Great, was thus able to gain the con- 
fidence of Poland, much in need of. protection and 
support to bring about the reformation of the govern- 
ment by which only she could be saved from inevit- 
able destruction, and to which Russia was unquali- 
fiedly opposed. 

The alliance with Prussia and thus indirectly 
with England and Holland encouraged the Diet to 
break the treaty with Russia and to 
^s'hmenTof abolisn the constitution which she had 
the* Four * f orced upon the country in 1775. This 
Years' Diet marks the beginning of Poland's emanci- 
pation from the demoralizing influence 
of Russia. Patriotic enthusiasm reached a high pitch, 
and it was found possible to pass a- law subjecting 
the nobility to the payment of regular taxes which 
had hitherto been identified with slavery. Forty 
million guldens were needed annually to support 
the army alone on the footing voted by the Diet. 
Many new sources of revenue were devised, _but it 
proved difficult to raise that amount for the war com- 
mission. The army could not, therefore, be increased 
to the desired one hundred thousand. The total net 
revenue did not exceed forty millions. It was, how- 
ever, twice the amount which had been raised a few 
years before and was considered a great success and 
a testimonial to the executive ability of the govern- 
ment and the patriotic response of the country. It 
enabled the government to obtain considerable loans 
abroad. Ten millions was obtained in Holland alone. 
Because the Diet did not limit itself to the revisions 
of the Constitution, but discussed and considered 
many social and economic problems, its work became 



dilatory, particularly in view of the obstructionist 
tactics of the opposition. The civic rights of the 
cities were brought very strikingly to the attention of 
the Diet by the_bold act of the President of Warsaw 
who, in November, 1789, brought together at the 


capital the representatives of 141 Polish cities and 
jointly with them worked out a remarkable memorial 
which was submitted to the King and the Diet. By 
the enactment of April 18, 1791, the burghers received 


the privilege of neminem captivabimus or habeas 
corpus, the right to own land and to hold any ecclesi- 
astical, civil or military office. City home rule was 
restored and the representatives of the cities were 
admitted to the Diet to advise with reference to city 
matters. Many of the aristocrats asked to be entered 
among the citizens of the cities. In this wise a funda- 
mental change in the political and social structure of 
the country took place without the employment of 
force or violence of any, kind. This act of the Diet 
was but preliminary to the greater works of reform 
which it undertook. 

After prolonged debates a new constitution was 

formulated. The Reform Part)'- well realized that 

evolution does not proceed by leaps and 

refrained from adopting extreme meas- 

Constitution of ,. , 

May 3, 1791 ures advocated by the more radical wing 
of the party, which was under the spell 
of the principles of the French Revolution. To be 
doubly sure they submitted a draft of the constitution 
to the several land assemblies with a request that it be 
locally considered and that additional deputies be sent 
to the Diet to express the opinion of the country. 
Almost all of the local assemblies voted for the consti- 
tution, with the exception of the clause making the 
throne hereditary, and elected the supporters of the 
reform movement as their delegates. It was evident 
that sober thought had taken possession of the 
country when it realized that it had drifted too far in 
the wrong direction. At the time when the country 
had already suffered one dismemberment and was 
soon to be deprived of its birthright to a free life and 
to an unmolested development, it was perhaps riper 
than ever before for rational and orderly democratic 
self-government, as evidenced by the progress it made 
during the past two decades, the provisions of the 


new constitution and the universal support it had 
received. In spite of the practically universal ap- 
proval of the measures to be incorporated in the new 
constitution, the reformers hesitated to submit it to 
a vote lest the opposition, with the support of Russia, 
prevent its adoption. With the consent of the King, 
a coup d'etat was agreed upon. The final draft of 
the new instrument was prepared in a small circle and 
the fifth of May was selected as the date on which it 
was to be adopted. This date was fixed for the reason 
that many of the members of the opposition were 
still away on their Easter vacation. Only reform 
sympathizers were apprised of the session. When 
the secret became known, the session was called for 
May 3rd, to prevent the arrival of the turbulent and 
obstructionist opposition. Haste was indicated as 
international conditions changed and the outlook 
grew gloomier after Pitt's plans of a joint war with 
Prussia and Poland against Russia came to naught. 
Moreover, at the Convention of Reichenbach, 1790, 
Austria, pressed by Prussia, consented to forego the 
war with Turkey, on the basis of a status quo, and 
Russia, having defeated the Turks, was eager for 
peace. The Prusso-Austrian understanding nullified 
the Prussian hopes of getting Thorn and Danzig in 
return for the restoration of Galicia to Poland. The 
need of forming a strong government as soon as pos- 
sible became apparent and led to the coup d'etat. On 
the third of May the Diet met in joint session at the 
Royal Palace, amidst great demonstrations and jubila- 
tion of the populace. After the reports of some of 
the Polish ambassadors were read to acquaint the 
deputies with the sinister significance of certain de- 
velopments in foreign politics, the King submitted 
the draft of the proposed constitution. The reading 
of this short document proceeded amid the enthusi- 




M m 

H > 


M * 

H 5 

O o 

n fl 
A. g 

M g 

% s 

o o 


astic applause of the visitors and the hisses of the 
opposition. Although Branicki's underlings were 
present in full array and one of the deputies, by the 
name of Suchprzewski, made a theatrical display of 
emotion to manifest his resentment at the way "a 
revolution had been hatched that liberty may perish," 
yet the opposition were unable to frustrate the plans 
of the reformers. The Assembly adopted the con- 
stitute n and a'non the procession went to the Cathe- 
dral of St. John to witness the solemn oath the King 
took to respect and defend it. 

The new constitution did not deprive the nobility 

of their privileged position. * It similarly recognized 

Roman Catholicism as the prevailing re- 

TheProvi- Hgion but assured liberty and protection 

sions of the 11,1 j TII i r A -i 

New Constitu- to a " ther creeds. L he laws of April 
tion 38, 1791, concerning the cities, were all 

incorporated in the new constitution. 
Protection was given to the peasants in their relations 
with the landlords but serfdom and patrimonial juris- 
diction were retained. While the ancient social or- 
ganization was left practically unchanged, the form 
of government underwent considerable modification. 
"By the will of the people" it was made to consist of 
three distinct branches: the legislative, executive and 
judicial. The legislative authority was vested in the 
Diet, composed of the House of Deputies and the 
Senate. The deputies of the nobility were to be con- 
sidered representatives of the whole nation and not 
of the several electoral districts as hitherto. All laws 
originated in the House of Deputies, the Senate ap- 
proved them or suspended them until the next Diet. 
The Senate was composed of bishops, woyevodas, 
castellans and ministers. The Diet was to meet 
regularly every two years. It could, however, be 
called at any other time to consider special matters 


requiring immediate attention. Every twenty-five 
years an extraordinary session was to be called to 
consider amendments to the constitution. All deci- 
sions at the Diets were to be taken by a majority vote. 
Liberum veto was abolished, as were also the confed- 
eracies. The executive power was vested in the King 
and in the special council, known as the "Guardian of 
the Laws," composed of the Primate in his capacity 
of President of the Education Commission, and of five 
ministers, appointed by the King for a term of two 
years, and responsible before the Diet. The min- 
isters were of: Police, the Seal, War, Treasury and 
Foreign Affairs. The King had the power to appoint 
the executive officials. He also nominated the 
bishops and military officers. All the members of the 
executive branch of the government were to receive 
stipulated salaries. The King had the power to par- 
don criminal offenders. In the event of war, the King 
was to be commander-in-chief of the army. The 
throne in Poland was to be hereditary in the direct 
line of the King. In case of extinction of the royal 
family, a king was to be elected and then the throne 
made again hereditary in his line. Upon ascending 
the throne every king was required to take an 
oath on the constitution and on the pacta conventa. 
The judicial organization remained practically un- 
changed. The judges in the courts of the nobility 
were elective as before. There were separate courts 
for the cities and separate courts for the free peasants. 
Serfs were dependent on patrimonial jurisdiction. 
Appeals were to be taken to the tribunals. 

To be sure, the new constitution was not perfect 
when judged by our present-day democratic stan- 
dards. It was, however, a long stride in the right 
direction, undertaken amidst extremely difficult 


conditions. It corrected the vices of the former funda- 
mental laws and gave the country a solid foundation 
and a strong responsible government. In the words 
of Professor Lewicki, "it was the middle ground be- 
tween the ancient institutions and the extreme doc- 
trines of the French revolution." * The paragraph in 
the constitution providing for special sessions every 
twenty-five years to consider amendments is worthy 
of notice, as it is characteristic of Polish political 
thought, which never recognized fixity of form in 
social and political life. In its evolutionary concep- 
tion of law, expressed as far back as the XlVth cen- 
tury, in the Wislica statute, Poland had been a pre- 
cursor and leader. The French Revolution set out 
to create an "absolute" constitution which would 
guarantee "absolute rights of man"; the makers of 
the Polish constitution of 1791 held the view, now 
generally recognized, that a constitution should be an 
expression of the relation of all the living and active 
forces operating within a nation. In accordance with 
this principle they readily recognized the rights of 
the burgesses as soon as they perceived that the cities 
were really conscious of their interests and willing as 
well as able to fight for their recognition. As the 
peasants of the time lacked political vitality and made 
no demands for their rights, their social status was 
not changed. They received protection from all kinds 
of iniquities as minors would. It was, however, ex- 
pected that in another quarter or half century the 
peasants would develop their own economic con- 
sciousness and make political demands. To meet 
such and similar conditions the provision for periodic 
revisions of the constitution was devised. 

* Zarys History! Polskiej. Vth Edition, Warsaw, 1913, p. 363. 


The best test of the new constitution is to be 
found in its workings. Under it the country was 
transformed itself rapidly. Prosperity 
Foreign increased and law and order prevailed. 

the^Ne'w Revenue came in regularly. The people 

Constitution were satisfied and the army was in- 
creased to fifty-seven thousand men, 
with an equipment of twenty-six thousand horses and 
over three hundred mortars. Unfortunately, the 
Patriotic Party, more concerned about seeing the 
reforms carried out than in occupying high positions, 
allowed some of the most important state offices to 
fall into the hands of the obstructionists. Two of the 
five members of the new Executive Council or the 
"Guardian of the Laws" were from among the re- 
actionaries. Neither Branicki nor Rzewuski were 
deposed from hetmanic dignity and two other com- 
manding positions in the army were given to young 
and inexperienced men, to Prince Joseph Poniatowski, 
the nephew of the King and to Prince Louis of Wur- 
temberg, son-in-law of Adam Czartoryski and brother 
of the Austrian Empress and also brother of the wife 
of the heir to the Russian throne. The foreign prince 
turned traitor at a most critical moment, when Rus- 
sian armies appeared in Poland to undo all the good 
work and exertions of the Patriotic Party and to put 
an end to the independence of the country, because it 
was endeavoring to eradicate past cankerous growths 
and to heal^the wounds of the body'politic. Russia 
well realized that the reforms adopted would make 
of Poland a strong and influential state and she was 
determined to prevent such a development as soon 
as sufficient forces could be despatched to Poland at 
the close of the war with Turkey (1792). Catherine 
remembered the assurances of support given to her 
by the powerful Polish magnates who had met her 


at Kaniow in 1787 in the event of her undertaking to 
undo the "Jacobinic reforms" aimed at the suppres- 
sion of the former anarchy. She resolved now to 
make use of these gentlemanly pledges. In addition 
to such abject and crass creatures as Xavier Branicki, 
Bishop Joseph Kossakowski, his brother Simon and a 
few others, there were certain elements in Poland- 
which she could also utilize to carry out her iniqui- 
tous scheme. Many ambitious magnates, such as 
Felix Pdtocki and Severin Rzjrwuski, saw in the pro- 
visions of the new constitution a check to their in- 
ordinate lust of power and importance; to others, 
the idea of a hereditary throne was genuinely and 
honestly repugnant. The large host of irresponsible 
and indigent noblemen realized that under an orderly 
system of government their services to the magnates 
would depreciate in value and they would, in con- 
sequence, be deprived of an easy living. All these 
men could be marshaled to serve the cause of Russia. 
While the Four Years' Diet was still at work re- 
forming one thing after another, Branicki, Rzewuski, 
Felix Potocki and others held secret con- 
ferences with the Russian Empress and 
Targowica undertook to organize a confederacy 

with the object of overthrowing the 
government and abolishing the constitution. Pro- 
tected by a large Russian army under General 
Kachowsky, the infamous Polish traitors issued their 
manifesto in the Ukrainian town of Targowica. An- 
other Russian army under Krechetnikoff entered 
Lithuania, where Simon Kossakowski undertook to 
organize a similar confederacy. Here it was that the 
Prince of Wurtemberg, commanding the Lithuanian 
forces, betrayed by disorganizing the army and pre- 
venting it from offering determined resistance. 
Wilno, the capital of Lithuania, fell and it then be- 


came impossible for the dismembered army under 
new leadership to hold the Russian advance. Many 
cities and fortresses fell in quick succession, and the 
rapid progress of the Russians reacted on the cam- 
paign carried on in the other part of Poland by Prince 
Poniatowski. He was compelled to retire before the 
superior forces of the enemy and with every retreat 
a new part of the country became a hunting ground 
of the Targowica band. By intimidation^ind com- 
pulsion they forced the nobility to join the cWsed con- 
federacy, but the results of their nefarious work were 
slim. Unfortunately, howeve'r, the successes of the 
Russian armies had entirely upset the faint-hearted 
King. He lost faith in the ability of the Polish army 
to withstand the invasion, although it exhibited great 
gallantry, particularly under Kosciuszko, and was 
growing in resistance as it concentrated. When 
Prussia proved to be an entirely unfaithful ally, and 
when Catherine, in spite of the assurance given of her 
grandson's accession to trje throne of Poland, de- 
clined to make truce, the exasperated King, together 
with many of his ministers, apprehending Catherine's 
threats, joined the Confederacy. By his act he upset 
all chances of a successful defence. The Polish gen- 
erals and other officers resigned in a body and to- 
gether with many other patriots went abroad. The 
army, then in splendid fighting trim, became disor- 
ganized and fell a prey to the leaders of the Confeder- 
acy and of Russia. Large supplies of ammunition 
fell into the enemy's hands, as did the State Treasury. 
The national guard organized in the cities had to 
disband and all of the multifarious patriotic plans of 
defence collapsed. The Confederacy which, in spite 
of Russian assistance had been feeble and quarrel- 
some, suddenly came into power. When only a while 
ago they had found but twelve active supporters in 


the whole of Great Poland and five in Mazovia, they 
now were masters of the situation. The Russian 
army took Warsaw and the confederates met at 
Grodno to annul all the reforms of the Four Years' 
Diet. Hardly were there ever greater misdeeds com- 
mitted. The illustrious work of the patriots was 
undone with vengeance. Rapacity and corruption 
took its place. The fruits of the action of the Tar- 
gowica ^^aders ripened quickly. Since then, in 
Poland ^e name of Targowica has been a terrible 
designation for national treason. 

When the delegation of the ignominious Tar- 
gowica Confederacy reached St. Petersburg to thank 
the Empress for the noble help afforded, 
pourparlers were already going on con- 

Partation of f , , j- u 

Poland, 1793 cerniiig the further dismemberment 
of Poland. Prussia, suffering defeats 
from the republican Frenchmen, was bent upon re- 
covering in Poland the losses suffered in the West 
and threatened with cessation of hostilities against 
France unless her demands were heeded. Fearing 
lest the threat be actually carried out, Russia and 
Austria consented to the second partition on January 
23, 1793. Immediately following this treaty Prus- 
sian troops entered Poland and spread over Great 
Poland and other parts of the country. The City of 
Danzig resisted the invasion for over a month. A 
similarly obdurate resistance was offered by the City 
of Thorn until it finally fell under heavy bombardment. 
Proclamations of the Russian and Prussian govern- 
ments were published and the adoption by Poland of 
the principles of the French Revolution was given as 
the reason for the second partition, and to add to 
their mockery they designated the Third of May as 
the day on which the occupied country was to render 
"homagium." The honest but misguided members 


of the Governing Board of the Targowica Confed- 
eracy looked with consternation at what they had 
accomplished, and left the country. Others, like 
Felix Potocki, became Russian generals. Meanwhile 
the Russian Ambassador, Count Sievers, requested 
that the Diet assemble for the purpose of formally 
ceding to Russia and Prussia the territories occupied 
by the troops of the respective countries. 

To ensure themselves of a desirable election both 
the Russian and Prussian ambassadors used every 
means conceivable to bribe or intimidate 
Last Diet * ne ^ oca ^ diets into sending representa- 

tives agreeable to their designs. The 
Diet, consisting of but six senators and one hundred 
and twenty deputies met at Grodno and despite the 
vouched for character of the cleputies, refused to 
ratify the pillage. Only after the recalcitrant mem- 
bers were either arrested by the Russian soldiery 
guarding the city, or were stilled by threats of con- 
fiscation of their estates, and not until the King was 
deprived of the supply of food and the country men- 
aced with war should further resistance be offered, 
did the Diet consent on the 23rd of July, 1793, to cede 
to Russia the counties of Minsk, Kieff, Bratslav, 
Podolia and the eastern districts of tBlTcountTes of 
Wilno, Novogrodek, Podlasie and Volhynia, an im- 
mense territory with 3,800,000 inhabitants. In this 
way Russia took the remainder of White Riissia; the 
remainder of Ukraine and Podolia and the eastern 
sections of Polesie and Volhynia. As to the claims 
of Prussia, the Diet remained obstinate and refused 
to sanction them. The territories taken by the Prus- 
sians were the richest of the country's domains and 
were autochthonously Polish. No threats availed. 
Finally, on September 23, 1793, when no vote could be 
taken because the deputies refused to answer ques- 





tions, Sievers by force compelled the King and the 
Marshal to sign the treaty of cession, by which Prus- 
sia acquired the cities of Thorn and Danzig, the coun- 

Monument by Antonl Popiel at Washington, D. C. 

ties of Gnesen, Posen, Kalisz, Sieradz, the whole of 
Kujawy, the county of Wielun with the City of Czen- 
stochowa, the counties of Plock and Rawa and parts 


of Mazovia, Austria did not participate in the second 
dismemberment. Only 245,000 square kilometers with 
about three and a half million inhabitants, was left of 
Poland. With the main purpose of the Diet accom- 
plished, Sievers requested that a new constitution be 
adopted, which, in almost every way was similar to 
that of 1775. This labor of the last Polish Diet was 
superfluous, as the months of the independence of the 
country were limited and the "people's rebellion" of 
Thaddeus Kosciuszko broke out sooner than even its 
organizers expected. 

While the Grodno Diet was still in session, a 
group of patriots in Warsaw were laying plans for a 
revolution in which the whole nation 
was to take part. The brutality of the 
Kosciuszko Russian and Prussian soldiery and the 
1794 severe economic crisis which followed 

the Targowica venture, and the second 
dismemberment, brought about a state of mind in 
which one spark could cause a social conflagration. 
When Igelstrom, the new Russian Ambassador, re- 
quested that the Polish army, already weakened by 
the treacherous Polish hetmans, Kossakowski and 
Ozarowski, be reduced to half its size, Brigadier Gen- 
eral Madalinski refused to submit to the order and 
struck at Ostrolenka. This was the tocsin that tolled 
general alarm. From house tops the revolution was 
proclaimed. Kosciuszko, who had gained fame dur- 
ing the American War for Independence and who had 
recently distinguished himself under Joseph Ponia- 
towski, was acclaimed Dictator. On March 24, 1794, 
he issued his famous manifesto in Cracow. Without 
waiting, having only four thousand troops and two 
thousand peasants armed with scythes, he proceeded 
against the Russians and at Raclawice gained a bril- 
liant victory over a large body of them. The peas- 




ants exhibited wonders of chivalry and daring. 
Many a cannon was captured by them. In recogni- 
tion of their patriotism and valor Kosciuszko issued 
a manifesto from his camp abolishing serfdom and 
granting to the peasants the ownership of the land 

FIG. 165 COL. JAN KILINSKI, Patriot, Leader of the Warsaw populace 

tilled by them. The revolution gained impetus. War- 
saw rose, and the population under the leadership of 
John Kilinski, a shoemaker, aided by a small Polish 
garrison, freed the city from Russian domination, 
taking over all the military stores and depots. Wilno 
soon followed Warsaw's example. Enthusiasm waxed 


high. Even Jews, called upon by the distinguished 
Jewish Colonel Berek Joselowicz to rise, formed a 
regiment. The Russians were driven out everwhere 
and the traitors like Bishop Massalski, Bishop Kos- 
sakowski, hetman Ozarowski, hetman Kossakowski, 
Ankwicz and others were hanged. The effigies of 
those who succeeded in fleeing the country were 
strung up on lamp-posts. The King's brother, the 

The Jewish Commander of a Regiment under KoSciuszko 

Primate, escaped an ignominious death by commit- 
ting suicide. In spite of the auspicious beginning of 
the revolution, the energy of the governing body 
and the support and the boundless generosity of the 
people, it failed in view of the infinitely superior 
forces of Russia and Prussia, which were subsequently 
joined by Austria, the latter desiring to compensate 
its loss of Belgium at the expense of Poland. In- 
cidently it may be added that, as has been so well 


brought out by Chuquet and other historians, the 
Polish uprising under Kosciuszko saved France from 
destruction, just as a later uprising against Russia in 
1830 made possible the emancipation of Belgium from 
Dutch rule. 

When Cracow fell into the hands of the Prus- 
sians, the Polish forces retired to Warsaw. The de- 
fense of Warsaw was so determined that when Gen- 
eral John Henryk Dombrowski organized resistance 
in Great Poland and struck at the rear of the Prussian 
army, they hurriedly raised the siege of the capital 
and withdrew, suffering great losses. No sooner had 
they retired than a huge Russian host, having taken 
Wilno, marched upon Warsaw led by SWV^KQV. To 
prevent the juncture of this army with that of Fersen, 
Kosciuszko decided to strike at the latter. Adam 
Poninski failed to bring support at the proper 
moment. Kosciuszko suffered a defeat at Macie- 
yowice and, seriously wounded, was captured by the 
Russians on October 10, 1794. The news of his cap- 
ture threw the country into despair. Meanwhile, 
Suvorov approached Warsaw and began to bombard 
its suburb, Praga, situated on the right bank of the 
Vistula. On November 4th Praga was taken and its 
population was literally slaughtered by the blood- 
thirsty soldiery. About fifteen thousand persons 
were butchered and many more thousands maimed. 
Until this day Polish mothers frighten their children 
with the name of Suvorov. The next day the capital 
fell. Wholesale executions, arrests and exiles ^to. 
Siberia followed. The immense estates of the Crown 
ami Ihose of Trie participants in the revolution were 
confiscated and divided among Russian generals and 
the Polish traitors who had sold their country. 
Prussia and Austria proceeded in a similar manner, 





the latter forcing thousands of Polish refugees into 

the ranks of her depleted army. 

Soon after the capitulation of Warsaw and of the 

Polish army came the third partition of the country. 
On October 24, 1795, Poland ceased to 
exist as an independent state entity. 

Partition of ~, . , , v* 

Poland, 1795 * ne P art * tne country between the 
rivers Bug, Vistula and Pilica, together 
with the City of Cracow, went to Austria. The sec- 
tion to the west of the rivers Pilica, Vistula, Bug and 
Niemen, with the City^of Warsaw, went to Prussia 
and the remainder to Russia. On November 25, 1795, 
on the thirty-first anniversary of his election and 
on the namesday of the Russian Empress, the 
wretched and pitiful King Stanislas-August abdicated 

/ " ^lc 

the throne of Poland at Grodno. The Russian Gov- 
ernment paid his debts and obligations, and after 
Catherine's death he was invited by Czar Paul I to St. 
Petersburg, where he remained until his death in 
1798. And so came to an end the history of the 
Polish Republic, but not of the Polish Nation. 



Napoleon and the Duchy of Warsaw 

One of the most egregious errors of the Polish 
political philosophy of the XVIIIth century was the 
The Attitude prevailing belief that Poland was needed 
of England and to preserve the balance of power in Eu- 
France toward rope, and that she was exposed to no 
the Polish danger as long as she remained unag- 

gressive and as long as there existed 
competition and jealousy among the great powers, 
precluding the territorial aggrandizement of any one 
of them. How utterly fallacious such reasoning was 
the sad events of the last quarter of the XVIIIth 
century amply demonstrated. The internal problems 
of France and the exhausting wars she carried on, 
the preoccupation of Great Britain with the Ameri- 
can Revolution, and the jealousies and antagonisms 
between France and England afforded the oppor- 
tunity for Russia, Prussia and Austria to proceed 
unhampered with reference to Poland. With the ex- 
ception of Turkey, no European power did so much 
as protest when "the greatest crime of modern history 
was perpetrated." In reply to Poniatowski's appeal 
after the first dismemberment, King George III of 
England wrote: "Good Brother . . . justice ought 
to be the invariable guide of sovereigns ... I fear, 


however, misfortunes have reached the point where 
redress can be had from the hand of the Almighty 
alone, and I see no other intervention that can afford 
a remedy." * Beyond an expression of sympathy, 
England did nothing to prevent the utter destruction 
of Poland at the time when the country was going 
through a period of national regeneration and was 
making superhuman efforts to remedy the ancient ills, 
to create a strong government and to introduce social 
and economic reforms. "After all, no English in- 
terests were involved in the partition. It was not 
her business to intervene." ** The interests of Great 
Britain in the East at that time were purely commer- 
cial and the fate of Poland was a matter of indiffer- 
ence to her as long as she was assured by the treaty 
of May, 1774, with Frederick the Great, of all former 
commercial rights at Danzig and Western Prussia. 
"The time had not arrived when Great Britain felt 
that the Russian advance was either a menace to her 
Mediterranean interests or to her Indian empire."*** 
France also remained singularly unperturbed over 
Poland's tragedy. Louis XV did not even reply to 
Poniatowski's appeal of 1772. And Revolutionary 
France did not exhibit any particular enthusiasm for 
"a country of nobles." 

As a consequence, the Polish nation was left en- 
tirely unaided against the joint action of three power- 
ful militaristic States to whom "might 
^ e P s - t Par " was right" and whose governments im- 

tition Regime .. f> , f. . , , 

in Poland mediately after the partitions proceeded 

ruthlessly to suppress the national Po- 
lish sentiments and bound themselves by the treaty 

*David Jayne Hill, "A History of Diplomacy in the International 
Development of Europe," Vol. Ill, p. 675. 

**J. Ellis Barker, "Peace and the Polish Problem," The Nineteenth 
Century and After, January, 1915, p. 99. 

***D. J. Hill, loc. cit., p. 659. 


of January 26, 1797, to destroy everything "which 
might retain the memory of the Polish Kingdom." 
The leaders of the nation, not excluding Kosciuszko, 
were imprisoned and some of those who fell into Rus- 
sia's hands were exiled to Siberia and even to Kam- 
chatka. Prussia and Austria applied themselves to 
the task of denationalization very industriously. Po- 
lish law and institutions were supplanted by those 
of the Teutonic countries; schools were Germanized; 
heavy taxes were laid ; men were drafted into military 
service to supply the then much needed fodder for 
cannon; large crown, church and individual estates 
were confiscated; German colonization in the Polish 
provinces was strongly encouraged. The Prussian 
minute police regulations and her spy system which 
she introduced in Poland were as cruel and vexatious 
as they were petty and ludicrous : they went so far as 
to prescribe methods of cow milking. The principle 
of collective responsibility for political offenses of indi- 
viduals was applied and the imposition of a severe cen- 
sorship thwarted every expression of patriotism. In 
Russian Poland the lot of the nobility was not as 
severe as in the other two sections of the country. 
The inferior Russian civilization could not readily 
supersede the higher culture of Poland. A form of 
home rule was also retained. Moreover, the oppor- 
tunities afforded for a ready export of grain through 
the newly opened ports of the Black Sea brought ma- 
terial prosperity. This prosperity, however, was ac- 
quired at the terrible expense of the peasantry, whose 
conditions under the new regime became infinitely 
worse. The cities were likewise deprived of all the 
privileges and prerogatives granted to them by the 
Four Years' Diet. The habitations of the Jews were 
restricted to a certain area and the Uniate Church 


was singled out for repressions and persecutions by 
the Russian Government. 

Every successive dismemberment sent forth a 
new wave of Polish emigration. The exiles scattered 

in various parts of Europe and some 
Hie Hopes even embarked for the far-off shores of 

America. Endeavors were made to 

tne .Polish . . 

Patriots arouse the nations of Europe and their 

governments to a realization of the 
crime committed upon Poland, and to stimulate them 
to action in the cause of humanity and justice. Real- 
izing that no nation would sacrifice its blood to avenge 
the Polish tragedy, the emigrants conceived the idea 
of organizing Polish armed forces in Wallachia 
and elsewhere and of holding them ready to enter 
Poland when the proper moment came. The expecta- 
tions of an international conflict to which Poland 
could offer a key were based on sound premises. The 
antagonism between Austria and France was bitter 
and after Prussia sealed her compact with the French 
Republic at Basel on April 5, 1795, the old enmity of 
Austria toward Prussia was revived and the robber 
triumvirate was divided against itself. Austria en- 
deavored to induce Russia to a war against Prussia, 
"the traitor of the monarchial idea." Nothing but 
a war among the three black eagles, aided by 'Revolu- 
tionary France, as contemplated by the Paris Com- 
mittee of Public Safety, could offer the coveted chance 
of organizing a Polish army to regain national 
independence. The hopes of Poland hung upon a 
triumphant France and nobody realized this more 
clearly than did General Jan Henryk Dombrowski, 
who, after the defeat of Kosciuszko at Macieyowice, 
conceived the bold and pathetic idea of gathering the 
remaining forces and of marching to France, jointly 
with the King and the members of the Four Years' 



Diet, cutting through Germany by force, if necessary. 
He well knew that France was the only country in 
Europe at the time which could have a direct interest 


in the reconstruction of Poland. The obduracy of the 
King and the indecision on the part of General Wawr- 
zecki, the successor of Kosciuszko in command of the 
army, prevented the execution of this truly dramatic 


act. When it failed, Dombrowski, a knight "sans 
peur et sans reproche," whose military fame was well 
known abroad, went to Berlin in February, 1796, 
where he presented to the King of Prussia a plan of a 
joint campaign with France and Turkey against 
Austria and Russia and assured him of Poland's 
active assistance if Prussia would help to restore Po- 
land's independence. Should this be realized he was 
confident the Poles would welcome a Hohenzollern 
to the throne of their thus reconstructed country. 
After numerous conferences with the Berlin cabinet 
and the French representatives, he left for France to 
organize Polish legions from among those Poles who 
resided abroad or who were kept in French detention 
camps as Austrian soldiers. 

There is hardly a more touching chapter in the 

world's history than the story of the Polish Legions. 

When Dombrowski arrived at Paris he 

presented his idea in a memorial which 

Legions f , . . . -IT 

he had prepared jointly with Joseph 
Wybicki, the member of the Four Years' Diet and 
the lawyer Barss, who was the representative of Kos- 
ciuszko. It was favorably received by the Directory 
and by M. Petiet, the Minister of War. He then 
went to Milan to present himself to Bonaparte, the 
youthful hero, then Commander in Chief of the Army 
in Italy. Napoleon had already heard about con- 
ditions in Poland from his gallant adjunct, captain 
Joseph Sulkowski, who subsequently perished in 
Egypt. Referring to a letter received from Prince 
Michael Oginski, an ardent patriot whose immense 
estates in Lithuania were confiscated by Russia and 
who was then active in patriotic circles in Turkey, 
Napoleon said to Sulkowski: "What can I reply to 
him? What can I promise? Tell your countrymen 
that I love the Poles and esteem them highly; that the 


dismemberment of Poland was an act of injustice 
which cannot last; that after the war in Italy is over 
I shall personally lead Frenchmen against Russia to 
compel her to restore Poland's independence; but tell 
him also that the Poles should not rely on foreign 
help, that they should arm themselves, harass Russia 
and keep in contact with their country. The beauti- 
ful words designed for their infatuation lead nowhere. 
I know the diplomatic language and the indolence of 
Turkey. A nation crucified by her neighbors can be 
resurrected only by the call to arms." * In spite of 
his pronounced feelings toward Poland, he gave a 
cold reception to General Dombrowski when the lat- 
ter appeared at the French headquarters on Decem- 
ber 4, 1796. The probable reason for it was Napoleon's 
contempt for "the lawyers of the Directory," whose 
letters of introduction Dombrowski presented. This 
attitude toward the man who was carrying out his 
former advice with reference to Poland soon changed 
and developed into a warm admiration for the mili- 
tary genius of Dombrowski, and the gallantry of his 
legions whose status was determined by the conven- 
tion signed by the Administrative Board of Lom- 
bardy and the Polish General on January 9, 1797. In 
this way, two years after the last dismemberment of 
Poland, a Polish army was formed, in Polish uni- 
forms, under Polish command, decorated with French 
cockades and wearing on the epaulets the inscription: 
"Gli uomini liberi sono fratelli." (Free men are 
brethren.) The legionaries were considered citizens 
of Lombardy with a right to return to their mother- 
land whenever circumstances might demand it. On 
January 20, 1797, Dombrowski issued his appeal to 
the Poles, in which he said: "Poles, hope is rising. 

*Maryan Kukiel: "Dzieje or^za polskiego, 1795-1815." Posen: 
Z. Rzepecki et Co., 1912, p. 30. 


France is victorious. She fights for the cause of the 
nations. Let us help to weaken her enemies. . . Po- 
lish legions are being formed in Italy . . . The 
triumphs of the French Republic are our only hope. 
With her help and that of her allies we may yet see 
our homes which we left with emotion." * In re- 


sponse to this call thousands of Poles flocked to Dom- 
browski's banners. A good star seemed to have ap- 
peared on the dark horizon and enthusiasm was 
genuine. The rapturous song of the Polish Legions, 
known by its first words "Poland is not yet lost," or 
as "Dombrowski's march" was then born and has 
since become the national anthem. To its strains the 
valiant Legions flung themselves into the thick of 
every battle. 

*M. Kukiel: Loc. cit., p. 33. 


Napoleon's phenomenal successes over Austria 
at Arcole, Rivoli and Mantua seemed to make the 
realization of Polish hopes near at hand. Dombrow- 
ski had already secured Bonaparte's permission for 
a march through Transylvania to Galicia, when truce 
was declared at Leoben and preliminary steps taken 
for the Campo Formio peace. The treaty sealed on 
October 17, 1797, made, however, no mention of Po- 
land. It was the first severe shock and disappoint- 
ment experienced at Napoleon's hands. The only 
apparent result of all the bloody efforts of the past 
campaign was the intact existence of the Legions, 
the living and fighting representation of Poland. 
After the Campo Formio treaty they became attached 
to the Cisalpine Republic. In June, 1798, Kosciuszko 
returned from America to France where he was met 
by the government and the people of the country in 
a most tender and enthusiastic manner. His popu- 
larity and influence were expected to promote the 
cause of the Legions, whose chief adviser he became. 
He was yet bound by his pledge to the Russian Em- 
peror Paul I, who released him from imprisonment 
under promise of not taking part in active service 
against Russia. He acted, therefore, only as a patron 
and counsellor of the Polish army. His encourage- 
ment added fresh vigor to the soldier-patriots who 
patiently persisted in their devotion and self-imposed 
military service. New hopes arose when the second 
coalition w r as launched by the allied powers against 
France. The Legions w r ere burning with desire to 
push the campaign as far eastward as possible, to be 
nearer their goal. They distinguished themselves in 
Championnet's army, as only men fighting for a great 
ideal can. In the battle at Civita Castellana the 
Polish batallion under General Kniaziewicz annihil- 
ated the corps of Count de Saxe, which constituted 


the left wing of the Neapolitan army. When at Calvi, 
Kniaziewicz, by a flank attack, took six thousand 
prisoners, Championnet elevated him to the rank of 
Brigadier General. Gaeta was captured by Dom- 
browski and it was Kniaziewicz's garrison that occu- 
pied the Capitol after Rome fell. In recognition of 
his brilliant services Kniaziewicz was chosen to carry 
the captured banners to Paris. Rivers of beautiful 
oratory were poured on the Legions for their valor 
and French gratitude to the Poles vouched forever. 
Polish troops took part in the bitter north Italian 
campaign. In the battle of Legnano the Poles re- 
vealed wonders of bravery and determination. At 
Magnano the heroic General Rymkiewicz fell; Chlo- 
picki exhibited his dauntless courage and coolness in 
t-he action at Novi; and Michael Sokolnicki's grena- 
diers performed marvellous feats of prowess and valor 
on many occasions. On the banks of the Trebbia the 
Polish eagles fought with particular furor. They were 
facing the Tamerlane of the day, the Russian Field 
Marshal Suvorov, the heartless destroyer of Praga 
whom they had met in the Valley of the Vistula be- 
fore. In this battle General Dombrowski was severly 
wounded. The French army, however, was com- 
pelled to retire before the vastly superior forces of the 
Allies and when the fortress of Mantua surrendered, 
many of the Poles who were in the garrison of the 
city fell into Austria's hands. 

Strenuous campaigning, murderous battles, in- 
clement weather, disease, privations, lack of food and 
clothing decimated the ranks of the Polish warriors 
who braved everything and suffered without com- 
plaint or murmur of dissatisfaction, although some 
of the duties assigned to them were repugnant to 
their moral principles. They saw only their ideal, 
for the realization of which no price was too high. 


The reverses suffered by the French armies, however, 
made the achievement of it remote, but when Na- 
poleon returned from Egypt spirits rose again. With 
the opening of the new campaign, fresh Polish volun- 
teers filled the depleted ranks of the Legions. Soon 
Dombrowski and Kniaziewicz were in command of an 
army of over fifteen thousand experienced veterans, 
whose hearts were filled with patriotic ardor and 
whose souls glowed with enthusiasm. "God is with 
Napoleon and Napoleon is with us," was the prevail- 
ing sentiment, to use the words of the great poet 
Mickiewicz. At Marengo, St. Christoph and Hohen- 
linden, Polish banners were in the thick of the fight 
and the victory at the latter place was in no mean 
measure due to Kniaziewicz. France was again tri- 
umphant and as had happened four years before, so 
now when Dombrowski was preparing to lead his 
Legions through Bohemia and Moravia to join hands 
with the insurrection which was being organized in 
Poland, Bonaparte concluded the Luneville peace on 
February 9, 1801. And again no mention was made 
of Poland, whose fate was completely subordinated 
to the direct interests of France. The peace treaty, 
moreover, contained a clause to the effect that no 
activities on the part of the subjects of the signatory 
powers aimed at their respective governments shall 
be tolerated in any of the contracting countries. This 
meant the dissolution of the Legions. It is hard to 
describe the crushing effect the treaty produced on 
the minds of ffiBe Polish leaders. The organizers of 
the Legions were severely taken to task by Polish 
public opinion for the misdirection of their efforts and 
the profitless waste of life and energy. General 
Kniaziewicz resigned from service in spite of the in- 
sistent persuasions of M. Berthier, the French min- 
ister of War. Following his example, a great many 


officers laid down their swords and returned to 
Poland. In order to save the Legions, the undaunted 
Dombrowski presented several plans to Napoleon, 
one of them proposing the conquest of some of the 
Aegean islands and the establishment of a Polish 
colony there. All were in vain. A part of the Legion 
was incorporated into the Italian army and a part 
was sent, at the point of the bayonet, to San Do- 
mingo to subdue a revolt of the Haytians. Most of 
the men perished there either from bullets or from 
yellow fever. Only a few hundred came back from 
this expedition. They brought back bitter feelings. 
One of them, speaking of the reasons which prompted 
Napoleon to send j;he Poles to their perdition in the 
West Indies, says in his memoirs: "Napoleon had 
already been striving for the crown; seeing in us 
determined republicans he wanted to punish us and 
dug for us a grave at San Domingo." Whatever his 
motives were, he sadly duped those whom he once 
promised the redemption of their country from "the 
injustice which cannot last" and whom he warned 
against infatuation by diplomatic tricks. 

Although the Legions had sorely failed in ac- 
complishing what their leaders had in mind when 
they organized them, their efforts and sacrifices were 
not entirely in vain. They established a lofty tra- 
dition. They demonstrated to the world that Poland 
is ready to shed her blood profusely for the regaining 
of her independence; that her patriotism and gallan- 
try are second to none in the world and that there can 
be no peace in Europe until Poland is reconstructed. 
Furthermore, the common service of tens of thou- 
sands of Poles of all stations and conditions, including 
even Jews, under Republican banners, bound together 
by the slogan, "free men are brethren," had produced 
a deep impression on their modes of thinking and 


helped to lessen somewhat the social rift which 
had hitherto separated a nobleman from a peasant. 
Finally the admiration which Napoleon could not help 
developing for the character and bravery of the Poles 
was one more reason which prompted him to form 
later the Duchy of Warsaw. An Englishman (Fox 
Strangways) writing about Poland in 1831 had 
thus expressed the value of the services the Legions 
rendered to their country: "After spending their 
blood in Italy, Spain, San Domingo and in various 
campaigns where neither the cause of Poland nor the 
principles of liberty were advanced, they ultimately 
succeeded in extorting from him (Napoleon) the 
formation of his Polish conquests into the Duchy of 
Warsaw. Then it was that the survivors of those 
who had shed their blood in seemingly hopeless war- 
fare met the recompense they deserved. Since that 
time they ceased not to repeat to their countrymen 
that of their fellow soldiers who died in Egypt or the 
West Indies, not one died in vain. . . . Thus a 
wandering nation of fifteen thousand warriors re- 
stored Poland, if not to her rank, at least to her in- 
dependence." * 

The disappointment following the Luneville 

treaty turned popular sentiment in another direction, 

and circumstances were particularly 

The Pro-Rus- favorable to effect such a turn. The 

sian Turn in "Semiramis of the North" died in 1796, 

tics and ] ail( * her S0n Paul : br ke With a11 f her 

Cza'rtoryski's policies. He expressed his condemna- 
Pians tion of the manner in which she had 

treated Poland and released all the Po- 
lish prisoners, of whom Kosciuszko was one. Eng- 
land was much displeased with the new Tsar and 

*Thoughts on the Present Aspect of Foreign Affairs." By an 
Englishman, London, James Ridgway, 1831, p. 76-77. 


his attitude toward France. His reign was very short 
however. In 180.1 he was murdered and his son 
Alexander succeeded him to the throne of Russia. 
Educated by a Frenchman and possessing an impres- 
sionable mind, the Tsarevich developed strong lean- 
ings toward the principles of the French Revolution 
and a strong dislike of despotism and injustice. His 
idealism did not, however, prevent him from taking 
part in the plot against his father. 

In his boyhood Alexander had been thrown a 
great deal with the two young brothers Czartoryski, 
who were raised as hostages at the Russian court, 
An intimate friendship arose between the future Em- 
peror and the Polish Prince, Adam Czartoryski, a 
man of high ideals but mellow character! TEey had 
often discussed plans for the future happiness of man- 
kind and the restoration of Poland. With Alexander's 
advent to the throne, Czartoryski was made Minister 
of Foreign Affairs of Russia and the Curator of Edu- 
cation in the Wilno district which was one of the six 
educational districts into which the Empire was di- 
vided and which comprised the Polish and Lithuanian 
provinces. With such a change in the attitude of 
Russia toward Poland and with a Pole elevated to the 
highest position in the Empire in the ominous year of 
the Luneville peace, small wonder that the hopes of 
certain elements in Poland became associated with 
those of Russia. The bond of race added an element 
of sympathy to the union with that country and 
created the fiction of common interest against Teu- 
tonism which was pursuing a ruthless war of exterm- 
ination of Polish culture in the sections under Prus- 
sian and Austrian sovereignty. A strong pro-Russian 
party arose, particularly among the Lithuanians, led 
by Prince Lubecki, Prince Michael Oginski, the erst- 
while supporter of Dombrowski's Legions, whose 


estates were returned to him, and many others. Their 
program aimed at the unification of all Polish terri- 
tories into an autonomous unit under the sceptre of 
Russian tsars, as kings of Poland. Czartoryski 
planned to carry this through by offering Silesia and 
Bavaria or some provinces on the Danube to Austria 
in return for Galicia, and the Rheinish provinces to 
Prussia for the cession of her share of Poland. The 
coalition that was to help in the proposed reconstruc- 
tion of Europe and in checking French aggressiveness 
was to embrace Russia, Austria, England, Sweden 
and Prussia. The latter refused to join the coalition, 
preferring neutrality which she had maintained since 
1795. It was planned to coerce her by sending a 
Russian army, and Prince Joseph Poniatowski was 
counted on to organize a rebellion in that part of 
Poland which was under Prussian rule. The Tsar 
was expected to proclaim himself King of Poland and 
was enthusiastically received in Pulawy when he came 
to visit the Czartoryskis in the "Polish Athens." 
Prussian diplomacy and the persuasion of the Russian 
advisers of the Tsar frustrated the plan. Alexander 
did not issue the expected proclamation, but instead 
went to Berlin where he and the Prussian King swore 
fidelity to each other over the grave of Frederick the 
Great, whose saying that "Poland is the communion 
uniting the Catholic, Lutheran and Schismatic" was 
as true then as it was when enunciated. The Tsar 
then also turned over to his new ally the list of names 
of the Prussian Poles who were to lead the planned 
uprising. That confidential list was given to him; as 
future King of Poland, by Czartoryski. So came to a 
disappointing end the plans of Czartoryski, unrealiz- 
able at best in view of the fresh momentous victories 
of Napoleon over the Austrians and Russians at Ulni 




and Austerlitz, which even Prussia's participation 
would probably not have prevented. 

Outside of England, Napoleon considered the 
Hapsburgs his greatest enemy. He was, therefore, 
The Defeat anxious to nourish good relations with 
of Prussia and Prussia which could be used as a check 
Napoleon's against Austria. Likewise, Russia was 
Promises to a desirable ally. The reopening of the 
Polish question had, therefore, very 
small chances of coming to pass. When Prussia first 
betrayed Russia and then again France with the con- 
sequence that in a short while she found herself over- 
run by Napoleon's army and suffered a terrific defeat 
at Jena and then again at Auerstadt, the Polish ques- 
tion took on a brighter aspect. Half of Prussia's do- 
main consisted of recently acquired Polish territory. 
Campaigning in a country remote from his base, 
Napoleon was forced to seek support among the Poles. 
He approached Austria with a proposal to exchange 
Galicia for Silesia and asked Kosciuszko, whose name 
was surrounded by a halo of glory and patriotism, to 
organize an armed force in Poland. Kosciuszko did 
not trust the ambitious French despot and demanded 
assurances that the Polish state would be restored to 
its pre-partition boundaries and that the serfs would 
be freed. As no assurances were given, Kosciuszko 
refused to act. Napoleon then turned to Dombrow- 
ski. The indefatigable warrior immediately proceeded 
to organize a legion with the aid of Wybicki, Zayon- 
czek and others. In his appeal issued from Berlin in 
November, 1806, Dombrowski quoted the famous 
words of Napoleon: "If the Poles will prove that 
they are worthy of having independence, they shall 
have it." The appeal was received with indescribable 
enthusiasm. The belief of the people in Napoleon's 
star and the magnetic influence his name exercised, 


caused an immense outpouring of men into the ranks 
of the new Legions, to whom were added the Polish 
veterans of Italy. Money was raised locally for the 
equipment and provisioning of the Polish army. A 
large Polish deputation from Warsaw, headed by 
Count Dzialynski, came to visit Napoleon in Berlin. 
He received them on November 19th with great pomp 
and according to the newspaper accounts of the time, 
he said among other things: "France has never 
recognized the dismemberment of Poland ... If 
I shall see a Polish army of thirty to forty thousand 
men I shall proclaim in Warsaw your independence ; 
and when I shall proclaim it, it will be inflexible. It 
is in the interest of France and that of all Europe, 
that Poland should have her free existence. Let in- 
ternal strife cease. Your fate is in your own hands."* 
Could Poland do otherwise than she did in view of 
such a statement from the conqueror of Europe? Im- 
mediately rebellions sprung up in various parts of Po- 
land against Prussia. Meanwhile Murat, pursuing 
the Prussians and Russians entered Warsaw on No- 
vember 28, 1806, and was received amidst tears of 
emotion and cries of exultation of the populace, which 
greeted him and his troops as the redeemers of Po- 
land. Faithful to their pledges, the Poles raised an 
army even in excess of the demanded thirty thousand. 
The organization of it was entrusted to Prince Joseph 
Poniatowski who was made minister of war of the 
Polish territories cleared of the Prussians. The gov- 
ernment of the country was entrusted to a Committee 
of Seven and Stanislaw Malachowski, the venerable 
president of the Four Years' Diet was made chairman 
of it. Napoleon found the alliance with Poland very 
profitable. The country kept his army well provi- 

*Professor Sokolowski, 1. c. Vol. IV, p. 259. 



sioned and the Polish regiments proved of great 
service to him in direct action as well as in scout duty. 
His victories at Pultusk, Danzig, Friedland and else- 
where were in a large measure due to the support of 
the Polish troops and their knowledge of the terrain 
of operations. 

(Painting by Gius. Grassi, 1786) 

Seeing the change of attitude on the part of the 
Poles and realizing the importance of their friendship 

during the period of hostilities, Alex- 
The Treaty ander appealed to the aristocratic and 
of Tilsit, 1807 wealthy elements in Poland to whom the 

haughtiness of the French "parvenu" 
was very distasteful and smacked too much of the de- 
tested Revolution. He appealed to Czartoryski and to 
Kniaziewicz, asking them to organize counter Le- 
gions. Neither of the two consented to engage in this 


work of Cain. The pro-Russian party agitated in 
favor of Alexander and kept on pointing out the previ- 
ous treatment of the Poles by Napoleon and called on 
the people to side with the "Slavic Monarch" whom 
the Russian General Benningsen was about to pro- 
claim King of Poland. Prussia, seeing how promptlv 
Poland had raised a considerable army, also attempted 
to gain Polish friendship and promised the resti- 
tution of the country under a Hohenzollern. While 
this was going on, the disastrous defeat suffered by 
the Russians at Friedland opened the way for peace 
pour-parlers between Napoleon and Russia. In July, 
1807, the two monarchs met on the River Niemen at 
Tilsit to sign a peace treaty. Napoleon was anxious 
for peace with Russia as it would give him a free hand 
in devoting all his energies to the reconstruction of 
Europe and the war against Great Britain. Russia's 
endorsement of his nepotism in the disposition of the 
thrones of Westphalia, Holland and Naples, and her 
acquiescence in his "continental system" were great 
prizes, for which he was ready to sacrifice Poland. * 
At first he offered Prussian Poland to Russia. 
That section together with the other part already 
held by Russia was to constitute a politi- 
T r h * Duchy cal entity united with the Russian Em- 

oi AAr cirssw 

1807-1815 pi re m tne person of the Tsar, as King 

of Poland. Such a solution of the Polish 
problem would have been satisfactory to Napoleon, 
as it would have hampered Russia by putting upon 
her various complicated obligations and thwarted her 
policy of expansion. Moreover, such a union of Po- 
land with Russia was bound to cause dissensions 
between Russia and Prussia as well as with Austria. 
Russian diplomacy saw the difficulties which Napo- 
leon's plan would create and Alexander refused to 
accept the title of King of Poland. As a compromise 



measure, it was agreed to create an independent 
Polish state embracing a part of Prussian Poland. 
"At the request of the Russian Emperor," Napoleon 
consented to Prussia's keeping the Polish territories, 


which she occupied after the first dismemberment. 
Her shares in the second and third dismemberment 
she was to lose. Bialystock and Bielsk, or the north- 



ern part of Podlasie, being the section where the 
Uniate Church prevailed, was demanded by Russia. 
Danzig became a free city under the joint protectorate 
of the Kings of Prussia and Saxony. Thorn came 
back into the new state, which was to be known as the 
Duchy of Warsaw, and Frederick August, the Saxon 
King, whom the constitution of May &, 1791, had desig- 
nated as King Poniatowski's successor, was made 
the reigning Duke thereof. The newly created Duchy, 
as well as the city of Danzig, joined the continental 
system designed to boycott English commerce. Thus 
Poland became resurrected from the dead. Although 
the size of the reconstructed state was small, consist- 



ing of only 64,500 square miles, with a population of 
2,400,000, yet it had great political significance for the 
Poles, and by the guarantees it received for free navi- 
gation on the. Vistula to the Baltic, its economic self- 
sufficiency was assured. Its destinies, however, like 
those of many other states created by Napoleon, de- 
pended upon the fortunes of this military genius. 
The makeshift character of the Duchy of Warsaw 
was well recognized by the political leaders of Poland. 
Many were discontented with it, particularly in view 
of the heavy demands Napoleon made in compensa- 
tion for its creation and his arbitrary methods which 


precipitated grave social problems. Many of the f ormer 
crown lands were given to French generals, and the 
old Italian Legion, reorganized and increased to eight 
thousand men, was sent to Westphalia, later to go to 
Spain. In addition to the regular army of thirty 
thousand, fresh levies were ordered for the "chevaux 
legers" which, because of their handsome appearance 
and gallant conduct, the Emperor designated for his 
body guard regiment. They were put under command 
of Count Vincent Krasinski, the father of one of 
the greatest poets of Poland. With the opening of 
hostilities in Spain they, like the other Polish troops, 
were sent to that country. Here they took active part 
in the desperate fighting that characterized this cam- 
paign. They realized the injustice that was being 
done to the brave Spaniards, but they were soldiers 
and faithful to their duty. When the -siege of Sara- 
gossa decimated the regiments^ of Chlopicki and 
Konopka new detachments were sent to keep up the 
Polish quota. Forever famous in military annals will 
remain the Polish charge at Samo-Sierra, the gorge 
which guarded the road to Madrid. The Spanish 
batteries mowed down the French troops one after 
another as they came within range of their guns. The 
possession of the gorge was absolutely necessary. 
Napoleon ordered General Montbrun to send a Polish 
squadron of cavalry to take it. When the General 
reported that it was impossible, the Emperor impa- 
tiently replied: "Impossible? I do not know the word. 
Nothing is impossible for my Poles." * And with their 
usual daring the Polish light horse detachment under 
the youthful John Kozietulski, swept, like a tornado 
through the gorge. Few survived, but to the aston- 
ishment of the French troops and even of Napoleon 

*Kukiel, 1. c., p. 219. 


himself, Samo-Sierra was taken, and on November 30, 
1808, the road to Madrid lay open. Small, indeed, was 
to be the recompense Napoleon offered Poland for her 
inordinate sacrifices. Instead of reviving the generally 
respected constitution of May 3rd, and changing it to 
meet the new conditions, Napoleon devised for the 
Duchy of Warsaw an instrument of his own making. 


It gave large powers to the reigning Duke and limited 
those of the Diet. No legislative bills could be intro- 
duced except by the Government, and the Diet had no 
power of discussion: it could either enact or reject 
them. The code Napoleon, which superseded Polish 
civil laws, created innumerable difficulties and called 


for many adjustments. It is well known how attached 
Napoleon was to his code and how firmly he insisted 
that it be adopted without change, regardless of the 
confusion which might follow its introduction. In a 
letter to his brother Louis, King of Holland, he wrote 
on November 13, 3807, "If you allow to touch (re- 
toucher) the Code Napoleon it will no longer be the 
Code Napoleon. . . . You are young, indeed, if you 
think that a definite adoption of the code will intro- 
duce chaos or be a cause of dangerous confusion in the 
country."* While not guaranteeing freedom of speech 
or assembly, the new constitution was, however, much 
more democratic than that of May 3rd, in that it ex- 
tended suffrage to almost all classes, and made all 
citizens equal before the law. It also abolished serf- 
dom. But in failing to provide land for the freed 
peasants it created for the first time in Polish history 
the new social class of the proletariat. The exodus of 
the peasants from the country gave a stimulus to in- 
dustry in the cities. Both commerce and manufacture 
revived, despite the long period of exhaustion preced- 
ing it, and despite the heavy taxes laid upon it as well 
as upon agriculture to maintain the army and to meet 
the other numerous French requisitions. It is re- 
markable, though characteristic of Polish spirit, that 
in spite of the heavy drafts and unsettled conditions of 
the time, public education received painstaking care 
and sustained attention. The Department of Educa- 
tion, under the enlightened guidance of Staszyc and 
Stanislav Kostka Potocki, established numerous 
primary schools. While during the ten years of the 
Prussian regime only two hundred and fifty schools 
were opened, their number increased to one thousand 
and one hundred when the Poles took charge of edu- 

*M. Handelsman, "Napoleon a Polska," Warsaw, E. Wende et Co., 
1913, p. 11. 



cation, which then became entirely emancipated from 
the blighting effects of the former ecclesiastical con- 
trol. The episcopate vehemently protested against 
this change as well as against the Napoleonic code, 
which allowed civil marriages and divorce, and did not 
provide for penalties in cases of non-observance of 
religious rites. The protests were unheeded. The 
Polish nation had become thoroughly modernized in 
the opening decade of the XlXth century. 

(Drawing by Alexander Orlowskil 



The first session of the Diet of the Duchy of War- 
saw met on March 9, 1809, in the same building 
where the Four Years' Diet had sat, 

Pro\kms r under the same President, Stanislav 
Malachowski, and in the presence of the 
Duke whom, in 1791 they had chosen to succeed 
Poniatowski as King. The solemn and dignified 
proceedings of the Diet, the unanimity in its work and 
readiness to meet the extreme burdens imposed upon 
the country by Napoleon, indicated that a deep 
change had taken place in Polish life since the great 
catastrophe which had befallen the country. The 


fiscal and economic problems which became aggra- 
vated by the introduction of the new civil code, by the 
enormous war taxes and by the flood of worthless 
Prussian money thrown upon the country during the 
Prussian occupation were ably met by the wise Fi- 
nance Minister Lubienski. 

At the time when economic restoration of the 
Duchy was proceeding with success and social rela- 
tions were adjusting themselves to the 
The War with changed conditions, war was forced 
thTconquest upon the country by Austria's challenge 
of Gaiida, 1809 to Napoleon. One of the four Austrian 
armies, under Archduke Ferdinand, ap- 
peared on the frontier of the Duchy on April 14, 1809. 
Taken by surprise, the government ordered general 
mobilization. A part of the regular Polish army was 
in France at the time and another part was doing gar- 
rison duty in the Prussian fortresses, leaving only 
thirteen thousand ready for immediate action. Headed 
by the valiant Prince Joseph Poniatowski, they offered 
an obstinate resistance during the bloody battle of 
Raszyn, to the south of Warsaw. The Austrian 
army was three times as large as the army of the 
Duchy. It was necessary to abandon Warsaw and 
to withdraw to the right bank of the Vistula. The 
government moved to Thorn. All the Austrian ef- 
forts to cross the Vistula were, however, in vain. 
Even Warsaw's suburb, Praga, could not be taken. 
While the Austrian troops were exhausting them- 
selves in their unsuccessful attempts to get at the 
right bank of the Vistula, Poniatowski crossed the 
Austrian frontier to liberate Galicia. Soon he took 
Lublin, Sandomir, Przemysl and Lemberg. The 
population of Galicia rose against their oppressors 
and formed regiments to help Poniatowski. The 
Galician magnates, however, looked askance upon the 



Duchy of Warsaw because of its democratic reforms 
and the abolition of serfdom and regarded with dis- 
favor Poniatowski's activities. They were laying 
plans for a reconstruction of the country under a 
Hapsburg or under the scepter of the Tsar, and were 
accordingly carrying on negotiations with General 
Golitsin who arrived with a- Russian corps ostensibly 
to help Napoleon, but in reality to hamper the dis- 
quieting conquests of the Polish arms. He frustrated 


many of Poniatowski's plans and helped the Aus- 
trians when they returned from the Duchy to concen- 
trate in Galicia. The fear of Napoleon lest the ag- 
grandizement of Poland cause displeasure in St. 
Petersburg, resulted in the order that Polish con- 
quests be made in his name and not that of the Duchy, 
although all operations were carried on by Polish arms 
exclusively. This naturally caused discontent in 
Galicia and aroused suspicion. Because of the vari- 


ous hindrances put in his way, and particularly those 
of the "allied" Russian army, Poniatowski withdrew 
from Eastern Galicia westward and took Cracow. 
Before he entered the city the French General Mon- 
det turned the city over to the Russian commander 
and only Poniatowski's threat to open fire upon the 
Russians caused their abandonment of the city, which 
was then taken over by a Polish garrison. Mean- 
while Napoleon's victory at Wagram ended the war. 
The Poles who conquered Galicia and left thousands 
on the battlefields had a right to expect that she 
would be added to the Duchy. But the ever-vigilant 
Russian diplomacy made it impossible. Only west- 
ern Galicia as far as the River San, a district covering 
33,000 square miles with a million and a half inhab- 
itants, came back into the Polish State. Again all the 
former crown lands in that territory were to be given 
over to the French generals and once more had the 
Pole? the sad occasion to learn how parsimonious and 
reserved Napoleon was with reference to them. In 
the last campaign they had engaged over sixty thou- 
sand Austrians and had kept the Prussians from turn- 
ing against the French, yet even the fruits of con- 
quests in their own country, made wholly by their 
own sacrifices and endeavors, were denied them in a 
degree they were morally and legally entitled to ex- 
pect. Yet the fact that the Duchy was growing; that 
the City of Cracow with all its national sanctuaries 
and the university was again free; that a valiant and 
glorious army was in existence, gave faith and as- 
surance, in spite of the iniquities suffered, that the 
policy of an alliance with the Corsican was the best 
and would eventually bring the country to its cov- 
eted goal. 

All plans were soon to be shattered. Napoleon's 
too ambitious undertaking miscarried. One ot the 


Territories conquered \ 

by the armies ofthe Duchy 

inthe year 1809. 

56 1 


causes of the war of 1812 was the existence of the 

Duchy. For it. was against the tradi- 

J he tions of Russia harking back to Peter 

Franco-Prus- ,, ~ T -i T> "ui 

sian War tne ^ jreat j na Y> to Ivan the 1 errible, to 

look complacently at the existence of 
Poland outside of Russian domination. In spite of 
Napoleon's continuous assurances that "the danger- 
ous Polish dreams" as Alexander called them, would 
never be permitted realization, the Russian Tsar was 
forever restive. He demanded that the word "Poles" 


be not used in public documents, that Polish orders 
be abolished and that the Polish army be considered 
as a part of that of Saxony. The Russian fear of the 
restoration of Poland was one of the trumps in Napo- 
leon's hand which, together with a display of France's 
enormous resources in men, he intended to use to 
intimidate Russia and to browbeat her. This ex- 
plains his real unpreparedness for the Russian cam- 
paign and his ambiguous behavior with reference to 


the Poles. He continued to assure them of the sin- 
cerity of his purpose and requested a further increase 
in the army to 80,000 men and 23,000 horses, and the 
speedy completion of the fortress of Modlin (known 
now by the Russian name of Novo-Georgievsk) and 
some others, but made no direct political promises. 
When in June a special French ambassador arrived at 
Warsaw and the reigning Duke turned over the whole 
government to the Council of Ministers, it became 
evident that great events were near at hand. The 
Diet assembled to take steps preparatory to the im- 
pending war. Napoleon suggested that a general 
confederation be organized and that he be petitioned 
to restore Poland. He intimated that Austria would 
be willing to cede Galicia for the control of certain 
other territories. In fact, by the secret treaty which 
Napoleon made with the Austrian ruler on March 14, 
1812, the Illyrian provinces were to constitute the 
prize for the return of Galicia. As had always been 
the case in times of European conflagration, various 
bait was thrown out to catch Polish support, so in the 
war of 1812 Russia also made a polite bow before her 
"beloved" sister and the Tsar offered, through his old 
comrade Czartoryski a present to her, in the form of 
reconstruction of the ancient kingdom in its former 
boundaries, abutting on the Dnieper and Dvina and 
including Galicia. He was to give the resurrected 
country a liberal constitution and a king in his own 
person, but demanded that Poniatowski betray Napo- 
leon and bring the army over in support of Russia. 
Czartoryski refused to act. In Lithuania, however, 
the Tsar's proposals found many supporters led 
by Prince Michael Oginski and the able and brilliant 
Prince Drucki-Lubecki. They even contemplated the 
creation of an independent Duchy of Lithuania. 
Meanwhile, the "second Polish war," as Napoleon 


called it, broke out. When he appeared at Kovno the 
French Emperor wore the cap and uniform of a Polish 
officer. To arouse Lithuania-he sent to Wilno as a 
vanguard of his host, a Polish regiment commanded 
by Prince Dominik Radziwill, a scion of the great 
Lithuanian family. The dispersion, however, of the 
Polish regiments among the various French corps was 
strongly resented. For nowhere else had Napoleon 
a more loyal and devoted ally than the Poles who 
stood by him through thick and thin and did not 
abandon him until his very last hour. They formed 
a striking contrast to the Prussians under Yorck, who 
as soon as Napoleon's defeat became known joined 
the Russians, as did also the Austrians. At the open- 
ing of hostilities, the Warsaw Diet formed a confed- 
eration calling upon the people to defend their coun- 
try. The popular response to a firery speech made 
by Minister Matuszewicz in the course of which he 
exclaimed: "Poland will be resurrected. What do 
I say? Poland exists already !" was enormous. The 
crowds were wild with enthusiasm. All believed in 
Napoleon's genius. "God is with Napoleon and 
Napoleon is with us." And the splendid Polish le- 
gions, led by such brilliant generals as Dombrowski, 
Poniatowski, Sokolnicki and others, who had no peers 
in any contemporary army, once more carried the 
fame of Polish heroism along the same roads which 
two centuries before, in the times of Batory and 
Wladyslav IV saw the banners of the White Eagle 
in a triumphant onward march to Moscow. The 
memories of Zolkiewski and Gosiewski came back. 
But once more it was necessary to retire. Napoleon 
was defeated and his grand army dispersed. Enor- 
mous losses were suffered by the Poles. Over a thou- 
sand officers fell and only six thousand men returned. 



But they brought back all their artillery and the 

eternal glory of their sacrifices for the country and 

her honor. 

Under the guard of Polish uhlans, Napoleon fled 

Russia which had proved to be the grave of his 
ambitions. His defeat sounded also the 
death knell of the Duchy of Warsaw and 
filled with dismay the hearts of the 
Poles, who felt that they would again 

fall prey to the neighboring hawks. The Russian 

The End of 
the Duchy of 


Emperor continued to assure the Poles of his friend- 
ship and proclaimed his amnesty to Lithuania but at 
the same time covenanted with Prussia for another 
partition in Poland on February 10, 1813, at Kalisz. 

Before the Russian army reached the Duchy, the 
Polish government was discussing the possibilities of 
offering armed resistance to the invaders; many, like 
Prince Czartoryski advised an alliance with Russia. 
A great deal of valuable time was lost in discussion. 


Meanwhile, it was learned that Schwarzenberg, the 
commander of the Austrian army, which constituted 
the right wing of Napoleon's host had practically 
betrayed his former ally and in view of that, the de- 
fence of Warsaw became an impossibility. Prince 
Poniatowski gathered all his troops, ordnance and 
ammunition and moved to Cracow. The Austrian 
army in doubtful attitude was near by; a Russian 
corps under Sacken was stationed in the vicinity of 
Cracow; and the pro-Russian party in Poland was 
bombarding him with persuasions to submit to Rus- 
sia. He well realized the difficult situation in which 
he found himself and the responsibility that rested 
upon him, but he could not be convinced that an al- 
liance with Russia was for the best interests of the 
country and his exalted conception of duty revolted 
at any suggestion of a betrayal. Seeing that he would 
be unable to carry out his plan of a fight to the end, 
and abandoned by many of his friends, he determined 
to leave Poland and to join Napoleon's reorgan- 
ized Grand Army, "There can be no compromise 
with honor," he said, and undertook the march in 
spite of the difficulties which lay before him in cross- 
ing hostile Austrian domains. He left Poland, never 
to return. His withdrawal was quickly followed by 
untoward events. The whole Duchy, with the ex- 
ception of a few fortresses, was occupied by Russian 
soldiery and used as a base of operations against 
Napoleon. The Polish government, left the country. 
Its place was taken by a "Supreme Council" com- 
posed of supporters of Russia and presided over by 
Lanskoy, a Russian Senator. Among the members 
was also a representative of Prussia, by the name 
of Christopher Colomb, to look after the Prussian in- 
terests, as, under the above mentioned treaty of 
Kalisz, the Russian Emperor promised to return to 


Prussia the Polish provinces which Napoleon had 
taken from her. The allies suffered several defeats 
at the hands of Napoleon. He was approaching 

(Portrait by M. Bacciarelli) 

Breslau and laying plans for the reconquest of Poland 
when the wily Metternich induced him to agree to a 
truce and to meet at a convention in Prague. Valu- 


able time gained by the cessation of hostilities made 
possible the formation of a closer alliance with Eng- 
land and Austria as active participants. Emboldened 
by the alliances made, Austria presented at Prague a 
series of demands to which Napoleon obviously could 
not accede. The first demand concerned the divi- 
sion of the Duchy of Warsaw among her three neigh- 
bors. When Napoleon refused, Austria declared 
war. The subsequent events concerning Napoleon's 


fortunes need not be retold here, except to point out 
the loyalty of the Polish troops to Napoleon and their 
undaunted courage in the discharge of the difficult 
duties assigned to them. During the battle of Leip- 
zig Prince Poniatowski was made Marshal of France. 
Because of the treachery of the Saxons and Wurtem- 
bergians, Prince Joseph's Polish corps was put into 
a most precarious position from which, however, 
it emerged triumphantly. The rearguard action 


after the retreat from Leipzig was entrusted to Ponia- 
towski. Here the Prince was wounded. When the 
bridges over the River Elster were destroyed too 
early, he was threatened with capture. Though 
severely wounded and profusely bleeding, he jumped 
into the stream with his steed and endeavored to 
swim across the rapid stream. "II faut mourir en 
brave," he said. Here a shot pierced his left lung and 
with the words "Poland" and "honor" he fell from his 
horse and disappeared under the water.* 

The death of their beloved hero and the appoint- 
ment of the unpopular Prince Sulkowski in his place, 
together with reflection upon the futility of further 
sacrifices, caused the Polish legions to demand release 
from duty. Apprised of this, Napoleon addressed 
them in person, pointing out that such a step on their 
part would not help their country and would but serve 
to tarnish their past glorious record and their sol- 
dierly honor. By staying with him, he said, they could 
yet serve their country, because he would never for- 
get Poland. It is easy to surmise that they did not 
abandon him. Sulkowski resigned from command 
and his place was taken by the untiring Jan Henryk 
Dombrowski. In the campaign of 1814 Polish blood 
flowed profusely at the battlefields of Brienne, 
Rheims, Arcis sur Aube and Montereau. At Arcis 
sur Aube a battalion of Polish infantry commanded 
by Jan Skrzynecki saved Napoleon's life. Napo- 
leon's admiration for Polish chivalry was genuine 
and it is significant that the only squadron which ac- 
companied him to and remained with him in his exile 
on the Island of Elba was that of the Polish chevaux 
legers under Colonel Paul Jerzmanowski. By article 
29 of the Treaty of Paris, inserted at the personal re- 

* S. Askenazy: "Ksiazf Jozef," Posen: K. Rzepecki, 1913, p. 205. 


quest of Napoleon, the Polish troops were guaranteed 
a safe return to their homes and were allowed to carry 
with them their arms and military decorations. "In 
this way the small but armed companies were recog- 
nized as the representatives of the Polish state. The 
Congressional Kingdom had its birth here. . . . The 
vanquished received honors from their conquerors. 
Sad but proud was the return march to their native 


country. Through a long mourning road General 
Sokolnicki carried the body of the supreme com- 
mander, during life his rival, and two hundred Craco- 
vians formed the last escort of Prince Joseph." * 
Grateful memories still surround their heroism and 
constitute an inexhaustible well of inspiration for the 
present-day efforts of Poland. The returning legions 
were received with great honors at Warsaw. The 
body of the Prince, who was the incarnation of Po- 
land's conception of honor and devotion to duty and 

*M. Kukiel, 1. c., p. 470. 



country, was first interred at Warsaw but subse- 
quently laid to rest in Cracow in the old royal cathe- 
dral. The City of Cracow at the time was the only 
spot in the old vast domains of the Polish Republic 
that was free. The other sections had come under 
the sovereignty of Russia, Austria and Prussia, by the 
provisions of a new partition agreed upon at the Con- 
gress at Vienna. 




The Congress of Vienna and the Kingdom of Poland 

The grim injustice of Poland's dismemberment 
was universally recognized and expressions of sym- 
pathy were lavishly bestowed upon the 
unhappy nation. Fortunately, sentimen- 

Partition of .. . J / . , 

Poland tahty was soon to give place to practical 

considerations. The danger to the politi- 
cal equilibrium of Europe, which this act of injustice 
created, became clearly discernible after the smoke 
of the Napoleonic wars had cleared away and the 
representatives of the chief European countries came 
together to redraw the map of the continent. It was 
then discovered that Russia, whose civilizing mission 
lay in Asia, had already penetrated deep into Europe 
and was in possession of strong claims to the whole 
of Poland. And sly Prussia was ready to second 
Russia's demands if only by so doing she could grab 
Saxony. Neither France nor England cherished the 
idea of Russia's becoming an European power, and 
Austria resisted the enrichment of her neighbors by 
the large Polish acquisitions. The German states 
of Bavaria and Hanover, as well as Holland, opposed 
the plans of Russia and Prussia. Formidable quarrels 



arose over the claims of these two countries, and for 
a time it looked as if only by force of arms could the 
matter be brought to an issue. The reappearance of 
the Corsican in France called for united action and 
for a speedy close of the negotiations. The Polish 
question was settled in a manner that could bring 
nothing but bitter disappointment to the Poles. The 
Congress sanctioned the admittedly illegal dismem- 
berment of Poland, which has proved to be a curse 
and calamity to the country and a cause of periodi- 
cally recurring violent disturbances, as had been 
predicted by Lord Castlereagh, the British Plenipo- 
tentiary at the Congress. In a note to his govern- 
ment, referring to the vicious settlement of the Polish 
question, he wrote: "The undersigned adhering to 
all his former representations on this subject has only 
sincerely to hope that none of those evils may result 
from this measure to the tranquility of the north, and 
to the general equilibrium of Europe, which it has 
been his painful duty to anticipate." * 

The Congress, which assembled ostensibly to do 
justice to the nations of Europe, and to guarantee to 
them independence and liberty, did not take into con- 
sideration the desires and feelings of the subdued 
nations and of the Polish nation in particular. It 
sanctioned the fifth partition of Poland. On the 
memorable day of May 3, 1815, Russia signed the 
treaties with Austria and Prussia by which the lion's 
share of the Duchy of Warsaw went to her, and the 
western part of the last independent Polish state 
became annexed to Prussia under the name of the 
Grand Duchy of Posen. The districts of Tarnopol 
and Zbaraz, in Eastern Galicia, went back to Austria, 

*Barker, 1. c., p. 100. 


as well as a section in West Galicia comprising the 
rich Wieliczka salt mines. The City of Cracow, with 
its immediate vicinity, was made an independent 
republic under the guardianship of the three parti- 
tioning powers. In 1846 it was annexed by Austria. 
With this exception the boundaries of the three 
Polands remained fixed, as determined by the Con- 
gress of Vienna, until the outbreak of the present 
great war. Four-fifths of the Polish Republic of 
1772 came under Russian rule, and the remaining 
one-fifth was almost equally divided between Austria 
and Prussia. Henceforth the history of Poland is 
the history of the three sections, developing under 
entirely different conditions; the Russian part, how- 
ever, by reason of its size and the fact that the Rus- 
sian Tsar assumed the title of King of Poland, oc- 
cupies the centre of the stage. The severance of 
the political bonds of the Polish people was mitigated, 
in a measure, by the provisions of the treaties between 
Russia and the other two powers, which guaranteed 
to the inhabitants of the former Polish Republic coni- 
plete freedom in their social and economic inter- 
course within the boundaries. of the country as they 
were in 1772, before the first partition took place. 
There were to be no tariff walls between the three 
parts of Poland, and transportation and navigation 
on all the rivers and canals was to be unobstructed. 

Article I of the Treaty of Vienna guaranteed to 
the Poles as "the respective subjects of Russia, Austria 
and Prussia," representation in government and pre- 
servation of their national institutions "to be regulated 
in accordance with the political precepts which the 
several governments would consider useful and advis- 
able for them." This qualifying phrase was couched 
in language too flexible to supply lasting foundations 


for the future political structures which were to be 
reared in the three sections of Poland. Painfully did 
the Poles realize their precarious situation ! Before 
the Congress assembled the venerable and aged Kos- 
ciuszko was assured by such statesmen as Lord Grey, 
Talleyrand and Metternich that the safety of Europe 
depended upon the restoration of Poland. He stayed 
in Vienna during the sessions of the Congress, and 
left, brokenhearted, for Switzerland after the dis- 
astrous agreement concerning Poland was reached 
by the Powers. He banished himself voluntarily to 
the high mountains of Wilhelm Tell rather than to 
die a slave in his own country, which he loved so ten- 
derly and to which he was born a free citizen. Kos- 
ciuszko is the symbol of Poland's strivings for inde- 
pendence. The very mention of his name conjures 
up exalted feelings of patriotism in the Polish breast. 
Universal was the tribute paid to him upon his death 
on October 15, 1817. Instead of erecting a monu- 
ment in bronze to his memory, it was decided to build 
something more lasting: a mountain. Approaching 
Cracow, the city where the Dictator issued his 
famous proclamation in 1794, one can see from a dis- 
tance the Kosciuszko Hill, erected by the hands of the 
people and completed, afteryears of gratuitous labor, 
in 1823. It stands firm and forever over an urn con- 
taining some earth from the battlefield of Raclawice, 
where, with several thousand soldiers and two thou- 
sand peasants armed with scythes, he won the first 
victory over the Muscovite despoilers of his country. 

The funeral of Kosciuszko, as well as the patri- 
otic ceremony accompanying the obsequies of Prince 
Joseph Poniatowski, whose body was 
of Cracow brought from Warsaw to Cracow to be 

laid beside the Polish Kings and heroes, 
gave additional endearment to the picayune city-re- 


public which contained most of the treasures and 
memories of the past glories of the once mighty coun- 
try, and was now the only free community within the 
boundaries of old Poland. The Cracow republic com- 
prised an area of one hundred and three square miles, 
with a population of ninety-six thousand inhabitants, 
twenty-five thousand of whom lived within the city 
limits and the remainder in the villages surrounding 
it. According to the constitution provided by the 
Vienna Congress it was governed by a Senate com- 
posed of thirteen members, and an Assembly of repre- 
sentatives of the city and village population, of the 
university, the church and the judiciary. The As- 
sembly exercised legislative power, elected nine of the 
thirteen Senators, had control over the budget and 
over the executive branch of the government which 
was centered in the person of the President of the 
Senate. The Assembly met annually for several 
weeks. The Code Napoleon was the civil law of the 
republic. The judiciary was entirely independent of 
the legislative and executive branches of the govern- 
ment. A small army of five hundred militiamen 
was put under the command of the President of the 
Senate. In .1818 the original aristocratic character 
of the little state was considerably modified by the 
emancipation of the peasant serfs, the recognition of 
full freedom of speech and assembly, the prohibition 
of confiscation of estates and the guarantee of per- 
sonal immunity from arrest. Owing to the energy 
and ability of the first President, Count Stanislav 
Wodzicki, the little republic soon began to prosper 
economically and carried on a brisk trade with the 
other sections of Poland. On account of its political 
status, historical associations and ancient university, 
Cracow became the Mecca of the Poles. 


Soon after the treaty of the Vienna Congress was 
signed the Prussian troops occupied the section of the 
country that was apportioned to the 
Hohen'zollerns, and the Polish flag fly- 
Posei m ver the City Hall of Posen was 

substituted by that of the newly created 
Duchy. King Friedrick Wilhelm III in an address 
to the Poles assured them that they would not be 
called upon to renounce their nationality; that they 
would have a share in the constitutional rights he was 
about to bestow upon his Prussian subjects in con- 
formity with the promise made by him during the 
French invasion ; and that they would have a provin- 
cial constitution of their own, with complete freedom 
of worship and national education, and an unob- 
structed right to use their native tongue in private 
and official life. He appointed Prince Antoni Radzi- 
will, a Pole, related by marriage to the Hohenzollerns, 
the first Governor General of the Duchy, and other 
high offices were similarly filled by Poles. An attempt 
was made to create a special German-Polish military 
corps, but the Poles refused to serve in it. At first 
conditions were satisfactory, but in a short time re- 
action began to set in. First the districts lying on 
the right bank of the Vistula were severed from the 
Duchy, annexed to West Prussia and put under strict 
German rule. Then attempts at changing the laws 
were made in the districts where there was the 
slightest admixture of Germans. The Polish officials 
were removed and Prussians appointed. The use of 
the Polish language in the administration and the 
judiciary was limited, and the schools lost their 
purely Polish character by the appointment of Ger- 
man teachers. Radziwill became a mere figurehead. 
Prussian officials with instructions from Berlin be- 
came the real governors of the Duchy, and the old 


policy of playing off the peasants against the land-? 
owners was revived. In 1824 the Prussian govern- 1 
ment abolished serfdom and recognized the right of 
the Polish peasants to the land they tilled. It was a 
very inexpensive way of gaining the loyalty and grati- 
tude of the peasants and of arousing bitter class an- 
tagonism between the two strata of the Polish people. 
This mischevious principle of "divide et impera" was 
subsequently invoked by Austria and Russia in their 
dealings with Poland. In Silesia, where the land- 
owners were Germans and the peasantry indigenous 
Poles, the Prussian government was less liberal and 
the peasants did not get land with their freedom. 
Here the government favored the land aristocracy. 
The emancipation of the peasants was, however, a 
step in the right direction. It was a nearsighted 
policy on the part of the Polish landowners to wait 
until this reform had been brought about by a hostile 
government and exploited for the purpose of sowing 
the seeds of discord between the higher and lower 
classes, and thus preventing solid national harmony 
and unity in the Duchy of Posen. 

In Galicia conditions were still worse. By 
making the landowners responsible for the collection 
Q j. . of taxes from their peasants the govern- 

ment created bitter antagonism between 
the two elements. Moreover, the ultra-conservative 
Hapsburgian government, dominated by the arch-re- 
actionary of his time, Prince Metternich, did even 
less than Prussia to promote constitutional and liberal 
government in the Polish province of the Empire. 
The pledges made at the Congress sank into complete 
oblivion. At first a semblance of a representative 
government was introduced in the form of a very 
cumbersome and undemocratic machinery, but it was 
soon superseded by a rigid administrative bureau- 

The Constitu- 


cracy which, in order to weaken the Poles still further, 
endeavored to foster animosities between them and 
their Ruthenian cousins in the eastern section of the 

The most liberal rule was introduced in Russian 
Poland, that is in that section of ancient Poland 
which was established by the Congress 
of Vienna as a sovereign state (etat) 

tion of the i *_ , j i J.-A A* 

Kingdom of a which was united by a constitution 
Poland with the throne of Russia," and to which 

special articles of the treaty of Vienna 
were devoted. The basis of the union was the consti- 
tution. The above quotecl flexible clause, leaving the 
form of internal organization to the discretion of the 
monarch did not apply to this part of Poland. The 
boundaries of the newly created kingdom were care- 
fully defined by the Powers. The Tsar, however, ex- 
pressly reserved to himself the right of making such 
additions to Poland as he might think fit. "This 
reservation had in view the eventual annexation to 
the Kingdom of Poland of at least two parts of Lithu- 
ania." * The rights of the Russian Tsar with refer- 
ence to it were predicated on the existence of a written 
constitution. The new r Kingdom was a distinct state, 
united with Russia in the person of the monarch, but 
not incorporated into the Empire. Article 4 of the 
existing fundamental laws of Russia clearly recog- 
nized this relation w r ith reference to the Kingdom of 
Poland, as well as to the Great Duchy of Finland. 
The principles of the Constitution of the newly 
created state were agreed upon by the Tsar in Vienna 
and were incorporated in a document signed by him 
on May 25, 1815. Accordingly he appointed a com- 
mission, with Prince Czartoryski as chairman, to 

*Prof. S. Askenazy "Poland and the Polish Revolution" In: 
Cambridge Modern History, vol X, p. 446. 


as reconstructed .by the 
Congress of Vienna 



work out a draft of the constitution which, on No- 
vember 27, 1815, he solemnly sealed. It was pro- 
claimed on December 24th of the same- year, and the 
temporary government which had been set up in 1813 
under the direction of Lanskoy and Novosiltsoff was 


abolished. The two Russian plenipotentiaries re- 
mained, however, in Warsaw, as did the Tsar's 
brother, Grand Duke Constantine, whom the Tsar 
appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Polish army. 


Constantine was a born despot, a man of unbridled 
temper, a maniacal pedant who nourished an invet- 
erate contumely for constitutional government. 
Though he had a liking for the Poles, yet his uncouth 
manners and severe military dicipline, with heavy 
corporal punishment for the slightest infringments 
of it, made his presence in Warsaw a source of gen- 
eral discontent and irritation. The Polish officers 
of the higher and lower ranks, accustomed as they 
were to gentlemanly treatment and honorable deal- 
ings, felt outraged by the Muscovite behavior of the 
Grand Duke, and many of them committed suicide 
in despair. His cruelty knew no bounds. Revolt- 
ing accounts are given of the tortures inflicted on 
prisoners. The Grand Duke's wantonness had the 
effect of undoing all the liberties the constitution 
guaranteed. Numerous persons were thrown into 
prison at his whim. Students were put to labor in 
paving and repairing streets. He became a veritable 
terror of Warsaw. Czartoryski was hampered by 
him in his preliminary work of organization, and in- 
timated to the Tsar the desirability of his removal. 
But the clique at the St. Petersburg Court and the 
influential elements of Russia, who opposed tooth- 
and-nail all the plans of the Tsar with reference to 
Poland, which, in their judgment were dangerous to 
the Empire and deprived thousands of Russians of 
lucrative positions in the newly acquired country, 
prevailed and his recall was not effected. Similarly 
impossible was the removal of Lanskoy and Novosilt- 
soff, who enjoyed their extremely well paid situa- 
tions, and who, pretending to be devoted friends of 
Poland, were, in reality, her worst enemies. They 
kept the court camarilla at St. Petersburg advised of 
every movement in Polish life and directed all the 
efforts at destroying the liberal constitution of the 




Kingdom. It was at Novosiltsoff s insistence that 
the old Polish principle of "neminem captivabimus, 
nisi jure victum" was substituted by "neminem capti- 
vari permittemus, nisi jure victum," and thus the 
power of illegal imprisonment was made a preroga- 
tive of the Crown or its representatives. 

The principal provisions of the constitution 
signed by Emperor Alexander I guaranteed freedom 
of religious worship, equality of all citizens before the 
law, freedom of speech and inviolability of private 
property. The Polish language was to be used in all 
branches of the government as well as in the army. 
All offices were to be filled by Poles exclusively. The 
legislative power was to be vested in a Diet composed 
of a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies. The ex- 
ecutive power was entrusted to an Administrative 
Council composed of the Viceroy and five Ministers, 
all appointed by the Tsar of Russia in his capacity as 
King of Poland. He also appointed a Secretary of 
State, whose function it was to act as intermediary 
between the King and the country. The Ministers 
were responsible before the Diet, and countersigned 
all royal decrees as well as those of the Viceroy. 
During the absence of the King his power was vested 
in the State Council, composed of the Viceroy, the 
Ministers, special counsellors and referees. The 
State Council's chief duties were to prepare proposals 
for legislative enactments. For administrative pur- 
poses the country was divided into eight provinces, 
headed by woyevodas. The judiciary was made in- 
dependent of the executive branch of the government. 
The judges were appointed for life and could not be 
recalled. All citizens, without distinction of social 
status and religion had equal rights at the courts. 
The competence of the criminal courts did not include 
cases of high treason or offences of high state officials. 


Such cases were tried by the Diet sitting as a Court. 
The King- was Commander-in-Chief of the Polish 
army, whose size depended upon the budgetary ap- 
propriations of the Diet. The constitution provided 
that the Polish army could not be used outside of 
the boundaries of Europe. The command and uni- 
forms of the army were Polish. The coronation of 
the King was to take place at Warsaw. A Polish 
Viceroy was the representative of the King in civil 
matters, and the Polish language was recognized as 
the official language of the kingdom. The constitu- 
tion prohibited deportations to Siberia. 

Such were the main provisions of the constitu- 
tion which was worked out by the Czartoryski Com- 
mittee and sanctioned by Tsar Alexander I. It was 
very liberal when contrasted with the preceding con- 
stitutions and when considered in the light of the 
reactionary currents which prevailed in Europe since 
the unholy "Holy Alliance." Official as well as un- 
official Russia was much displeased with it, and 
brought strong pressure to bear upon the Emperor to 
dissuade him from adopting it, and particularly from 
extending it to Lithuania, Podolia and Ukraine. The 
famous Russian historian, Karamzin, wrote to the Tsar 
reminding him that he had no right to separate the 
Polish provinces that were added to Russia in Cather- 
ine's time. "Our sword conquered Poland and this is 
our law," he wrote. The Tsar, however, would not allow 
himself to be swayed from his sworn pledges. He 
came to Warsaw on November 12, 1818, and charmed 
everybody by his cordiality and apparent frankness. 
He said he knew of the outrages of his brother Con- 
stantine, but did not think it politic to recall him 
because he would then become an enemy of the Poles 
and would work against them. He advised the 
people to suffer him and to coax him as well as the 


other Russians into friendship, and then added: "I 
desire to unite you with Lithuania, Podolia and 
Ukraine, but this requires patience and confidence on 
your part and dexterity on mine. It is necessary to 
steal Poland from the Russians. ("II faut aux Russes 
escamoter la Pologne.") Such utterances on the part 
of the Russian monarch were received with delight 
and gave rise to great hopes for the future. His 


failure, however, to appoint Prince Czartoryski, the 
author of the Constitution, to the post of Viceroy, 
was a severe disappointment. Public opinion desig- 
nated him for this exalted office. Czartoryski's char- 
acter and intimate comradeship with the Emperor 
made him peculiarly fit for the position in the popular 
mind. General Zayonczek, upon whom this great 
honor was bestowed at the request of the Grand 


Duke Constantine, was a man whose servility to 
foreign interests was demonstrated during the Napo- 
leonic period. Elevated to high rank by Napoleon, 
he became entirely devoted to him, and did not hesi- 
tate to sacrifice Poland's interests to those of the 
French Emperor. He was a man of narrow mind 
and haughty demeanor, and his attitude to Prince 
Joseph Poniatowski, when the latter was War Min- 
ister of the Duchy of Warsaw, was so distasteful and 
so humiliating to national dignity that the news of 
his appointment as Viceroy was received in Poland 
with a feeling bordering on consternation. Unfor- 
tunately the fear of the people was wholly justified. 
He became a pliable tool in the hands of Constantine 
and the Russian agent Novosiltsoff, and never so 
much as attempted to protest against the violations 
of the constitution on the part of the Russians. The 
protests of the press and of some members of the Diet 
were of no avail. 

Echoes of the happenings in Spain, Naples and 
France between the years 1818 and 1820, reverber- 
ated in the Polish press and served as 
Reaction an excuse ^ or introducing a government 

censorship on periodic publications, ex- 
tended presently to all prints and books. At the 
opening of the second Diet in 1820, Alexander warned 
the country against adopting the dangerous West 
European liberalism. He also expressed great dis- 
satisfaction with the proceedings of the Diet, at 
which two government measures, one relating to the 
method of criminal procedure and the other to the 
method of fixing responsibility upon the ministers, 
were rejected. He realized that the Diet did not 
propose to be used as a rubber stamp for all official 
measures and resolved to curb it. In the words of 


"How nobly gave he back to Poles their Diet, 
Then told pugnacious Poland to be quiet." 

Thanks only to the great abilities of Prince Xavier 
Lubecki, the Minister of Finance, was it possible to 
avert difficulties over the budget which, in violation 
of the constitution, was not submitted to the Diet for 
approval. Moreover, the budget did not specify the 


items of appropriation, and in this way afforded 
means for an illegal diversion of moneys. By per- 
xsuasive presentations at St. Petersburg, Lubecki was 
able to save the treasury from being drained for un- 
authorized purposes. He was also able to raise suf- 
ficient taxes to preserve the organization of the 


Kingdom. The Emperor had already intimated that 
in view of the deficit "it would be necessary to change 
the form of organization of the Kingdom in such a 
way as to enable it to be self-supporting.''* It was 
due to the genius and energy of Lubecki that suf- 
ficient sums were raised and the need of changing the 
constitutional groundwork of the Kingdom was ob- 
viated. He also contributed greatly to the upbuilding 
of the country. Thanks to his initiative a Land 
Owners' Credit Association was organized in 1825, 
and four years later he founded the Bank of Poland 
at Warsaw. In spite of his great achievements the 
Finance Minister was hated in Poland because of his 
inconsiderateness, and because of his unbounded de- 
votion and loyalty to Russia. 

The growing disregard for the Constitution on 
the part of the Russian Emperor and his representa- 
tives affected public life generally. The press was 
trammeled by a severe censorship. Public education 
next came under the careful scrutiny of the Govern- 
ment, with a view of blotting out any liberal doctrines 
which might possibly find their way into the minds of 
the youth. To achieve this end the Government en- 
couraged the aggressiveness of the Church and wel- 
comed religious interference in educational matters. 
The great educator, Stanislav Kostka Potocki, who 
had done so much to raise educational standards and 
to fight obscurantism, was forced to resign his posi- 
tion as Minister of Education in spite of his brilliant 
achievements, chief among which was the founding 
of the University of Warsaw in 1838. He was a Free 
Mason and an enemy of religious hypocrisy which he 
so vividly depicted in his novel called "The Journey 
to Darktown." It was through his efforts that Pius 

*Smolenski, 1. c. Vol. IV,' p. 68. 


VII ordered the closing of about a score of cloisters in 
Poland. With the hydra of reaction raising its head 
high, a man of such convictions as Potocki, though 
entirely faithful to the Government and recognized 
as the greatest authority in educational matters, had 
to go, clearing the way for one Szaniawski, a man of 
considerable intellectual attainment but devoid of 
moral principle. He began his career as a revolu- 
tionary and ended it as a reactionary, of so obtuse a 
type as to fit him for the holding of a ministerial post 
in the Polish constitutional cabinet of Alexander I 
toward the end of that monarch's life, when he finally 
succumbed to the form of dementia known as re- 
ligious mysticism. The standard of the schools soon 
declined under the strict police regime of Szaniawski 
and his associates, who stifled every expression of 
independent thought or action. This coincided with 
the high tide of reaction which flooded the whole of 
Europe at the time, and caused the transformation of 
societies like those of the Free Masons and the Car- 
bonari into secret political organizations. Greece, 
Italy and Spain lived through revolutions, and politi- 
cal attentats were not infrequent in France and Ger- 
many. The members of the Holy Alliance met fre- 
quently, and after each successive conference the 
repressions in their respective countries became 
stricter and more unbearable. Emperor Alexander 
attended all these conferences, and grew more con- 
vinced of the dangers of liberalism and constitution- 
alism. The arbitrariness of Constantine, who had an 
inborn aversion to all popular rights, knew no bounds 
as the estrangement of his sovereign brother from his 
former beliefs grew wider. There was no such thing 
as personal safety in constitutional Poland. People 
were arrested and thrown into dungeons on the 
slightest provocation. The prisons were overcrowded 


and the suspects subjected to cruel inquisitions. The 
progressive sections of the Code Napoleon were 
eliminated, a new reactionary criminal code intro- 
duced and flogging made legal. The army was cleared 
of all the officers who had served in the Napo- 
leonic campaigns and who had a gentlemanly concep- 
tion of honor. Mechanical drill and lifeless routine 
took the place of old gallantry. The maniacal Con- 
stantine was so given over to the observance of rules 
that the best officers were compelled to resign for 
breaks of the most trivial character. The Diet 
objected to all these flagrant violations of the funda- 
mental laws of the land, and was finally muzzled by 
an imperial order prohibiting the publication of Diet 

In the year 1825 Alexander died and Russia 
expected the advent of Constantine to the throne 
of the Tsars. When the news of his 
resignation, on account of his marriage 
Societies to a Polish woman, Joan Grudzinska, 

became known, it created general unrest 
throughout the Empire, of which the Russian revolu- 
tionaries decided to take advantage in order to bring 
about a change in the form of government. The 
attempt was doomed to failure on account of the un- 
preparedness of the masses. Even the troops which 
supported the Dekabrists (the name by which the 
revolutionaries were known) and shouted: "Long 
live^Constantine and the Constitution," thought that 
the constitution was the Grand Duke's wife. Tragic 
was Poland's lot to be united with a nation of such 
political immaturity ! Alexander's successor, Nicholas 
I, was a true incarnation of Russia's spirit of that 
time. His arbitrary character and the deep con- 
tempt of the despot for every expression of indi- 
vidualism and freedom augured ill for Poland. Al- ' 

1 6 


(On the right hand side is a Russian Orthodox Church) 


though he swore to maintain the Polish Constitution, 
his determination to do away even with the semblance 
of constitutional government which remained to the 
ill-fated country in the valley of the Vistula was un- 
mistakably demonstrated by his acts. He failed to 
appoint a Viceroy after Zayonczek's death in 1826, 
and intensified the ruthless Russification policy inau- 
gurated by his predecessor in Lithuania. 

The conditions prevailing in Poland were as 

paradise in comparison with what was going on in 

Lithuania, a country of fine Polish cul- 

Persecutions . ' J , , 

in Lithuania ture, with numerous schools and a 
celebrated university at Wilno. The 
Congress of Vienna did not guarantee a constitution 
to Lithuania and Alexander, "the crafty Greek" as 
Napoleon called him, did not try "to steal her away 
from Russia," as he intimated he would do. That 
section of the Polish Republic was completely at the 
mercy of his minions. Some petty disturbances in a 
boys' high school in 1822 were taken as an excuse for 
wholesale arrests and inhuman persecution by the 
same Novosiltsoff, who at one time had affected great 
friendship for Poland. Many young men were 
exiled to Siberia; prominent university professors 
who betrayed patriotic tendencies were dismissed; 
the rights and privileges of the University of Wilno 
were curtailed; and finally, two years before his death, 
Alexander proclaimed his famous manifesto against 
all attempts at a reunion with "the injudicious Polish 
nation," and ordered that henceforth all instruction 
in Lithuania and other Polish provinces outside of 
the Congressional Kingdom should be carried -on in 
the. Russian language, and that all "excessive reason- 
ing should be condemned.* Small wonder that under 

* J. Grabiec, Dzieje Narodu Polskiego, p. 286. 



such conditions a large number of secret patriotic 
societies arose all over Poland and Lithuania with an 
avowed aim of liberating Poland from Russian mis- 
rule. Some of the societies had existed in Poland 
for a long time. There always had been a party op- 
posed to any compromise with Russia, skeptical of the 


possibility of a symbiosis with that nation. Other 
societies came into existence when Alexander's true 
designs became apparent. They had members all 
over the country, among university students as well 
as among older and more mature men. The Patriotic 
Society of Warsaw, founded by Major Valerian 
Lukasinski, exercised a considerable influence. At 
first it was a Free Mason lodge, but when these 


lodges came under the ban of the law it took on the 
aspect of a secret society, known at first as that of 
the National Carbonari and subsequently as the Na- 
tional Patriotic Society. It grew in membership as 
the Russian atrocities increased and established a 
number of provincial branches. When its existence 
became known to Constantine, Lukasinski and his as- 
sociates were arrested and put through a "third 
degree" trial, notorious for its cruelty, and which was 
repeated afterward in another connection. In Poland 
the name of Lukasinski became a common designa- 


tion for intense suffering and inhuman torture. * Con- 
trary to the constitutional law of the land the leaders 
of the Society were tried by a martial court, and 
though nothing except the practice of free masonry 
could be established against them, they were sen- 
tenced to many years of hard labor. The Lithuanian 
societies had at first a purely literary and scientific 
character. Such were the fraternities of university 
students known as the Philomaths, Philarets and 
others. Young men gathered there, read classic 
works and presented their own productions, and dis- 


cussed social and scientific problems. Novosiltsoff 
suspected revolutionary tendencies, and disapproved 
of the societies because they were centres whence Po- 
lish culture radiated and retarded the progress of Rus- 
sification. Among the members of these societies 
were men who subsequently became Poland's great- 
est poets, scientists, statesmen and patriots. The 
above mentioned manifesto of Alexander'! abolished 
all these societies. The most promising young men, 
such as Adam Mickiewicz and Thomas Zan, were 
either exiled to Siberia or interned in remote provinces 
of Russia. Like Joachim Lelewel, many of the uni- 
versity professors lost their positions. Prince Adam 
Czartoryski was relieved of his office of Curator of 
Education, and his place was taken by the rabidly 
anti-Polish Novosiltsoff. The University of Wilno 
declined rapidly and the Russification of the country 
was begun in an intensive manner. 

The "Dekabrist" revolution in Russia had its 

frightful echo in Poland. During the inquest of the 

St. Petersburg revolution the prose- 

The Trial of cutors came across some evidence involv- 

Jhe I po e iis S h f in the Polish National Patriotic Soc- 
NationaiPa- ^Y- The first two months of 1826 
triotic Society witnessed an orgy of arrests in Poland. 
Convents, palaces, town halls and jails 
were filled with prisoners, and Constantine and Novo- 
siltsoff raged in their fury. All remembered Lukas- 
inski's trial and trembled for the fate of the arrested. 
The preliminary inquiries lasted a whole year and 
the nation had become greatly depressed. Novosilt- 
soff endeavored to bring the trial before a court mar- 
tial, and thanks only to the great influence of Prince 
Lubecki at St. Petersburg, law prevailed and the ac- 
cused were granted a trial before the Senate sitting 
as a court of justice. The atmosphere of Warsaw 


was very heavy. There was hardly a family that did 
not have one or more of its members among the ac- 
cused. The trial was the object upon which the 
thought of the whole nation concentrated. All per- 
formances, gathering's, balls and games were sus- 
pended during its duration. It was universally 
realized that grave matters were at stake. On its 
outcome hinged the question of whether the Poles 
had a right to resent the violation on the part of 
Russia of the rights guaranteed to them by the Con- 
gress of Vienna. On June 10, 1828, the long awaited 
moment came. The Senators announced their deci- 
sion. With only the t\vo exceptions of Vincent 
Krasinski and Czarnecki, they declared unanimously 
that the accused were not guilty of high treason, 
but merely of belonging to secret societies, which 
were prohibited by law, and sentenced them accord- 
ingly. The decision was received with enthusiasm 
throughout Poland. It was felt that Poland's honor 
had been saved. In their arguments the Senators 
pointed out that the accused, acting in defence of 
their rights guaranteed to Poland by the Congress of 
Vienna and sworn to by the Tsars of Russia, exer- 
cised their constitutional prerogatives in endeavoring 
to preserve the integrity of their nation. The judg- 
ment of the Court was resented by the Tsar. By an 
imperial rescript publication of the opinion of the 
Senate was forbidden and all the accused men were 
exiled to Siberia. This opened the eyes of the most 
conservative among the Poles as to how Russia 
understood and respected constitutional rights. 

While the older and more conservative men were 
deeply mortified over the slate of affairs the younger 
spirits flared up in indignation. The fire of patriotic 
exaltation inflamed the minds of a group of sub-ser- 
geants, who were studying military arts in a school 


organized by Constantine at the summer palace of 
the late King Poniatowski. A young lieutenant by the 
name of Peter Wysocki, a hothead without experience 
or executive ability, conceived the idea of reviving the 
Patriotic Society founded by Lukasinski, and enlisted 
the co-operation of the sub-sergeants. The society 
was organized in December, 1828, and the young men 
swore to offer their lives in defence of the liberties of 
their country and to spread broadcast the gospel of 

About this time a war broke out between Russia 
and Turkey. Austria secretly backed Turkey, and 
as usual in such dangerous times the 
foreign governments became milder in 
SSH!?' their dealings with the Poles. The 
at Warsaw bureaucratic oppression in Galicia was 
made less severe and there was a let-up 
in the Russian persecutions in Lithuania. In May, 
1829, Tsar Nicholas I decided to come to Warsaw for 
his coronation as King of Poland. Wysocki and his 
associates planned to take advantage of the occasion 
and to start a revolution. Calmer judgment pre- 
vailed, however, and they agreed to postpone action 
until the meeting of the Diet, which, although the 
constitution provided biennial sessions, was only the 
fourth since the Congress of Vienna and was bound 
to break up in a deadlock with the Government. The 
Diet met in May, 1830, and proved indeed to be as 
recalcitrant and independent as its immediate pre- 
decessors. The Deputies refused to vote money for 
the erection of a statue to Alexander I as well as to 
give the Church jurisdiction in matrimonial matters 
and they did not mince words in criticising the 
Government. The Tsar, who attended the session 
was greatly displeased with their behavior and left 
the city fully determined to abolish the Constitution. 


He did not, however, prorogue the Diet and failed to 
give the awaited signal for an uprising. 

In July the news of the revolution in Paris 

reached Warsaw. The Bourbon King, placed on the 

throne of France at the intervention of 

The Outbreak , , 

of the Uprising foreign powers, was deposed, and a 
more liberal constitution adopted. 
Shortly afterwards some of the Italian states rose 
against Austria, and the Belgian people revolted 
against the Dutch rule. These revolutions had a 
stimulating effect on the minds of the redblooded 
Poles. The society of the sub-sergeants carried on 
feverish propaganda, but it had nobody big and 
popular enough to organize and direct a successful 
campaign against Russia. Perspicacious men such 
as Maurice Mochnacki urged the leader of the revo- 
lutionaries to make adequate preparations before 
starting the conflagration. He begged Wysocki to 
organize a strong revolutionary government that 
should take the reins of the movement into their 
hands lest it disintegrate. Wysocki refused to heed 
the advice. He was convinced that all that was 
needed was the starting of the revolution, and then 
the nation would unanimously support it and the 
regular government would take care of all the neces- 
saries. He, as well as others, thought that when the 
crisis came the greatest of the nation would immedi- 
ately cluster around the banner of the revolution and 
that General Joseph Chlopicki, the one-time hero of 
the Legions, by popular acclaim, would become the 
military dictator and would lead the nation to victory. 
In his enthusiasm the youthful patriot overestimated 
the moral strength and political wisdom of "the 
known and trusted in the nation," and, regardless of 
persuasions, went on true to his convictions. Novo- 
siltsofT saw what was going on and hurriedly left for 


St. Petersburg, as did also some Polish dignitaries 
who were hated by the people. Revolutionary pam- 
phlets were circulated among the people and oc- 
casionally some jester would post on the door of the 
Palace of Belvedere, the residence of Constantine, a 
notice: "House for rent." Constantine seemed to 
give little credence to the wild stories which were 
being circulated about an uprising but the secret 
police was diligently at work and could, at any 
moment, unearth the conspiracy. It was necessary 
to act promptly. To make things worse, Nicholas, 
who considered himself honor-bound to crush all 
revolutions no matter where they occurred, was 
getting ready to send an expedition against the rest- 
less spirits of France and Belgium, and ordered some 
Polish regiments for that duty. This -was like pour- 
ing oil on a smouldering fire. The 29th of November 
was set for the beginning of the uprising. At a given 
hour one detachment of conspirators was to enter the 
Belvedere Palace and to assassinate Constantine. An- 
other was charged with the duty of disarming the 
Lithuanian guard that was attached to the Grand 
Duke in his capacity as Military Commander of the 
Lithuanian and Ruthenian provinces. It was a body 
of men sixty-five hundred strong, well equipped and 
possessing considerable ordnance. In order to dis- 
arm this guard it was necessary to descend upon them 
unexpectedly, and to do the work quietly and 
promptly. Simultaneously, another detachment was 
to rouse the population of the city and to gather the 
Polish army stationed in the barracks. None of the 
plans were carried through successfully. Constan- 
tine crept under his wife's very voluminous skirts and 
could not be found. Instead, the conspirators killed 
his lieutenant and the vice-president of Warsaw, a 
contemptible Polish spy who happened to be at the 


palace. When somebody, mistaking the lieutenant 
for the Grand Duke, cried out that Constantine was 
dead the conspirators hastily departed. A few com- 
panies of the ducal guards were, in the meantime, ap- 
proaching the Belvedere in great haste. Their dis- 
arming was unsuccessful, as the signals failed to 
work, and not all of the Polish regiments joined the 
conspirators. The populace, however, took posses- 
sion of the arsenal, and carried away all the rifles and 
cartridges. Several Polish generals, who refused to 
join the revolutionaries, paid the penalty of death. 
Flaming beacons in the streets cast their lurid gleam 
afar on the eventful night of November 29, 1830, 
which marks the beginning of another Polish war 
against foreign oppression. 


The War With Russia and the Aftermath 

Adam Czartoryski said that the war with Rus- 
sia, precipitated by the conspiracy of the young 
patriots on November 29. 1830, came 

Causes of the , , , , , c 

Polish Failure Clther tO earl y r tO late - S me 

writers think that it should have been 
opened in 1828, when Russia was experiencing re- 
verses in Turkey, and was least able to spare any 
considerable forces for a war with Poland. Many 
military critics, among them the foremost Russian 
writer, General Puzyrewski, maintained that in spite 
of the inequality of resources of the two countries, 
Poland had all the chances of holding her own against 
Russia if the campaign had been managed skillfully. 
Russia sent over a hundred and eighty thousand well 
trained men against Poland's seventy thousand, 
twenty thousand of whom were fresh recruits who 
entered the service at the opening of hostilities. "In 
view of this, one would think that not only was the 
result of the struggle undoubted, but its course should 
have been something of a triumphant march for the 
infinitely stronger party. Instead, the war lasted 
eight months, with often doubtful success. At 
times the balance seemed to tip decidedly to the side 


of the weaker adversary who dealt not only hard 
blows, but even ventured daring offensives."* When 
this war ended in the defeat of Poland it was not the 
fault of the Polish soldier who does not know fear 
and who is ever ready to offer his life upon the altar 
of his country; it was not the fault of the country 
which made all sacrifices in the name of the cause 
for which the war had been declared and never tired 
of giving support in both life and money; it was 
rather the fault of the military leaders in whom the 
people had supreme confidence, and upon whom they 
bestowed dictatorial power. 

It had so long been preached in Poland that 
anarchy and a lack of concord were the causes of 

national downfall that when war came, 
Tactic^ afraid lest some discord ruin the new 

opportunities, the people demanded ab- 
solute power for their leaders and tolerated no 
criticism. The pendulum swung to the other ex- 
treme. Unfortunately the men chosen to lead be- 
cause of their past achievements were either senile or 
utterly incompetent to perform the great task im- 
posed upon them. And what was worse, they had no 
faith in the success of the undertaking. By procras- 
tination they ruined all chance of the victory which 
might have been theirs if the line of battle had been 
summarily established in Lithuania, and if the Rus- 
sian forces slowly arriving had been dealt with separ- 
ately and decisively. The first clashes of a Polish 
outpost with a Russian corps under Paskiewich 
show what feats of bravery the enthusiastic Poles 
could perform even when fighting against such tre- 
mendous odds as in the battle at Stoczek. Despite a 
superiority of two to one and of competent guidance 

*Puzyrewski: "Woyna polsko-rosyjska" quoted by W. Studnicki 
"Sprawa Polska" p. 235. 


the Russians suffered complete defeat. Because of 
their spirit and temperament the Poles are more 
adapted to offensive than to defensive warfare. The 
Polish Generalissimo Chlopicki knew this well, yet 

Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armies 

because of his opposition to the war, criminal under 
the circumstances, and his hope that by negotiations 
the conflict might be averted, he tarried, allowing the 
Russians to gain by the delay, to cross rivers unob- 



structed and to concentrate large forces at convenient 
points in Poland proper. Dilatory tactics character- 
ized the whole preliminary period of the war. Taken 
by surprise at the rapid succession of events during 
the night of November 29th, the Administrative 
Council assembled immediately to take the reins of 
government into their hands and to decide on a course 
of action. The unpopular ministers were removed 

Patriot, Writer, intimate friend and companion of Kogciuszko 

from the Council and men like Prince Czartoryski, 
the historian Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, Joachim 
Lelewel and General Chlopicki, took their places. Sub- 
mitting to strong pressure brought to bear upon him, 
Chlopicki, who condemned the conspirators and con- 
sidered the uprising an act of madness, consented to 
command the army temporarily, in the hope that it 


would be unnecessary to take the field. The per- 
spicacious and far-seeing Maurice Mochnacki did not 
trust the newly constituted ministry, fearing that 
it did not possess sufficient self-reliance and deter- 
mination for spirited action, and decided to over- 
throw it and substitute in its place the Patriotic Club, 
organized by him. On December 3rd a great public 
demonstration was held in Warsaw. Amid a storm 
of enthusiasm Mochnacki furiously denounced the 


dealings that were going on between the Government 
and Gonstantine who was camped outside the City 
in. a suburb, protected by his guard. ''Negotiations 
should be carried on not from Warsaw with Con- 
stantine, but from Wilno with Nicholas," Mochnacki 
shouted to the animated crowd. He advocated the 
transfer of the campaign to Lithuania and the selec- 
tion of as remote a field of operations as possible to 
spare the country the devastation incident to war, and 


to shield the native sources of food supply. The meet- 
ing adopted a number of demands to be communicated 
to the Administrative Council, among which the most 
urgent were the establishment of a revolutionary gov- 
ernment and the immediate attack upon the forces of 
Constantine. Intensely dramatic was the scene when 
the delegation appeared at the session of the Council 
and demanded action. The ill-boding murmur of the 
surging crowd outside the building gave grave weight 
to their demands. When Prince Czartoryski told the 
delegates that Constantine was ready to forgive the 
offenders and that the whole matter was being ami- 
cably settled, the passionate Mochnacki angrily in- 
terrupted: "These are jests, sir. We did not rise 
for the sake of receiving kindness from Constantine! 
Let the Government not play comedy now. It may 
end in tragedy for the revolution or for its foes !" The 
city was seething. The Government realized that it 
had to concede to the demands of the people, but 
fearing an immediate break with Russia, permitted 
Constantine to depart with his troops, dragging the 
unfortunate Lukasinski with him in chains. It was 
an unpardonable blunder to allow the Grand Duke to 
escape instead of holding him as a valuable hostage, 
to be released in exchange for some future political 
gain and it was nothing short of dastardly crime to 
allow the vindictive Russians to lead away with them 
the unselfish and heroic patriot Lukasinski. 

After Constantine's departure the Polish army, 
with all but two of its generals, Vincent Krasinski 
The Uprising and Kurnatowski, joined the people and 
Turns into a the uprising of the young conspirators 
Regular War turned into a regular war between Po- 
land and Russia. The remaining four ministers of the 
pre-revolutionary cabinet left the Administrative 
Counc . and their places were taken by Mochnacki 


and three of his associates from the Patriotic Club. 
The new body was known as the Provisional Govern- 
ment. To legalize its actions the new government 
ordered the convocation of the Diet and meanwhile 
proclaimed Chlopicki as Dictator. In his day Chlo- 
picki had been an able and glory bedecked soldier 
who, because of the chicanery of Constantine, retired 
from the army and lived in seclusion. When called 
upon to lead the nation against Russia he was nearing 
senility, and did not possess the executive ability and 
resourcefulness required by the exigencies of the 
moment. He overestimated the power of Russia and 
underestimated the strength and fervor of the Polish 
revolutionary army. By temperament and convic- 
tion he was inveterately opposed to a war with Rus- 
sia, in the success of which he did not believe, and if 
he insisted upon a dictatorship and accepted it, it was 
only because he intended to use his extraordinary 
powers to maintain internal peace and to save the 
Constitution. On assuming the great office he sent 
two delegates to Emperor Nicholas and awaiting a 
favorable reply, refused to mobilize the forces of the 
nation and to free Lithuania from the Russian gar- 
risons. The people chafed under his inactivity and 
their erstwhile enthusiasm turned to restlessness and 
despair, but their faith in the Dictator was still un- 

Meanwhile the deputies to the Diet began to 
arrive at the capital and at their first session declared 
themselves unequivocally for war with 
Russia. At the same time Chlopicki's 
delegates informed the Dictator that 
the Emperor did not care to enter into 
any negotiations, but demanded unconditional sur- 
render and complete submission to his good graces. 
Whereupon Chlopicki, having irretrievably wasted 


valuable time, resigned. On January 25, 1831, the 
Diet proclaimed the dethronization of Nicholas I and 
thus lawfully broke the personal union which existed 
between the Kingdom of Poland and Russia by the 
terms of the Vienna Congress treaty. The bond unit- 
ing the two nations was severed. The proclamation 
declared that "the Polish nation is an independent 
people and has a right to offer the Polish crown to him 

FIG. 196 JOACHIM L.ELEWET., Teacher, Patriot and Statesman 

whom it may consider worthy, from whom it might 
with certainty expect faith to his oath and whole- 
hearted respect to the sworn guarantees of civic free- 
dom." Five men were selected to constitute the gov- 
ernment. They were Prince Adam Czartoryski, 
Chairman, Vincent Niemoyowski, the famous deputy 
from Kalisz, who during the preceding decade had 


fearlessly exposed the Russian machinations to cramp 
constitutional life in Poland, Theophile Morawski, 
Stanislav Barzykowski, and the celebrated educator 
Professor Joachim Lelewel of the Wilno University. 
The new government set itself energetically to work 
at the great task imposed upon it, and soon a consider- 
able army was mustered and equipped for action. 

Chlopicki was persuaded to accept the active 

command of the army and Prince Michael Radziwill 

was made Dictator. It was too late to 


iv* . . move the theatre of hostilities to Lithu- 

Dictatorship oj 73 ,u J r T r> 

Skrzynecki ania. By the end of January Russian 
forces appeared in Poland commanded 
by Field Marshal Deebitch. After a series of minor 
battles in which Dwernicki and other generals distin- 
guished themselves, the Polish forces assembled on 
the right bank of the Vistula to defend the capital. On 
February 25th the famous battle of Grochov took place, 
noted for the dogged determination of the adversaries. 
Over seven thousand Poles fell on that field. The 
number of killed in the attacking army was consider- 
ably larger. The increasing assaults of the doubly 
strong Russian army were repeatedly repulsed and 
Deebitch was forced to retire to Siedlce. Warsaw 
was saved, and the Polish army remained triumphant 
and confident. Chlopicki, whose soldierly qualities 
reasserted themselves at the sound of battle, was 
wounded in action and his place taken by John 
Skrzynecki who, like his predecessor, had won dis- 
tinction under Napoleon for personal courage and 
had been general of the line in the Polish army. Dis- 
liked by Grand Duke Constantine, he had retired 
from service and had spent his advancing years in 
lazy speculations over transcendental questions. He 
shared with Chlopicki the conviction of the futility of 
a war with Russia, but with the opening of hostilities 




took command of a corps and fought creditably at 
Grochov. When the weak and indecisive Radziwill 
surrendered the dictatorship, Skrzynecki was chosen 
to succeed him. Unfortunately, he also lacked the 
qualities of firmness and high generalship essential 
to meeting a difficult situation. He endeavored to 
end the war by negotiations with the Russian Field 

Successor of Gen. Chlopicki in supreme command of the Polish Army 

Marshal, and, in his political artlessness, hoped for 
benign foreign intervention. Sympathetic echoes of the 
Polish aspirations reverberated throughout Europe, 
and the astounding heroism of the Polish army won 
popular admiration for the country and her endeavors 
to free herself from oppression. Under Lafayette's 
presidency, enthusiastic meetings had been held in 


Paris. Some money for the Polish cause was also 
collected in the United States and flags sent to the 
Polish heroes. The chancelleries of France and Eng- 
land, however, did not share in the feelings of their 
people. Louis Phillippe, elevated to royal dignity 
by a revolutionary tide, thought but of securing for 
himself recognition on the part of all European gov- 
ernments, and Lord Palmerston was in too friendly 


At present In the Polish Museum at Rappersvvil, St. Gallen, Switzerland 

relations with Russia at the time even to listen to 
Polish entreaties. Moreover, England regarded with 
alarm the reawakening of the French national spirit 
and had come to the conclusion that its policy 
ought to be not to weaken Russia, "as Europe might 
soon again require her services in the cause of order, 



and to prevent Poland, whom it regarded as a na- 
tional ally of France, from becoming a French pro- 
vince of the Vistula."* Austria and particularly 
Prussia adopted a most hostile attitude and hampered 
the cause of Poland by a benevolent neutrality toward 
Russia. They closed the Polish frontiers and prevented 


One of the ablest commanders of the campaign 

the transportation of munitions of war or supplies 
of any kind. Under such circumstances the war with 
Russia began to take on a somber and disquieting 
aspect. No amount of devotion and sacrifice could 

* Morfill, 1. c., p. 260. 


avert the impending catastrophe. The Poles fought 
desperately and attempts were made to rouse Volhy- 
nia, Podolia, Zmudz and Lithuania. With the ex- 
ception of the Lithuanian uprising which took on a 
serious aspect under ardent leadership, in which the 
youthful Countess Emily Plater and several other 
women distinguished themselves, the guerilla war- 
fare carried on in the frontier provinces was of 


One of the organizers of the uprising in Lithuania and an 

active participant in several battles 

minor importance, and served only to give the Rus- 
sians an opportunity of wreaking their vengeance on 
the peaceful population. Notorious was the slaughter 
of the inhabitants of the small town of Oszmiana in 
Lithuania. Meanwhile, new Russian forces under 
Grand Duke Michael arrived in Poland but met with 
many defeats. They were frequently out-manoeuvred 
by superior Polish strategy. Constant warfare, how- 
ever, and bloody battles such as that at Ostrolenka 
in which eight thousand Poles lost their lives, con- 


siderably depleted the Polish forces and cast de- 
spondency over the country. Regrettable mistakes on 
the part of the commanders, constant changes and 
numerous resignations and above all the indolence 
of the Generalissimo who had not ceased to count on 
foreign intervention, added to the feeling of despair. 
The more radical elements of the community severely 
criticized the government for its inactivity, its lack 
of energy and resourcefulness, and urged immediate 
land reforms and the recognition of the peasants' 
rights to the soil they tilled. By identification of 
their interests with the national liberty, the masses 
of the people could be gained for further efforts. 
Such a course of action was strongly indicated and 
there should have been no delay in adopting it. 
There was no time for academic discussion, yet the Diet 
fearing lest the reactionary governments of Europe 
might regard the war with Russia as social revolu- 
tion procrastinated and haggled over concessions. The 
original enthusiasm of the peasantry became damp- 
ened, and the incompetence and ineptitude of the gov- 
ernment more apparent. The thundering denuncia- 
tions of the democrats were unavailing. In the 
meantime, the Russian army, commanded after the 
death of Deebitch by General Paskievitch, was con- 
centrating and moving in a huge semi-circle toward 
Warsaw. Skrzynecki failed to prevent the juncture 
of the enemy's forces. Popular clamor demanded his 
deposition. The Diet acted accordingly and General 
Dembinski temporarily assumed command. The at- 
mosphere was highly charged. Severe rioting took 
place and the government became completely disor- 
ganized. Count John Krukowiecki was made the 
President of the Ruling Council. He took everything 
in hand with much energy and determination, but had 
no faith in the success of the campaign and accepted 


the highly responsible position to satisfy his personal 
ambition. He believed that when the heat of the 
aroused passions had subsided he could end the war 
on, what seemed to him, advantageous terms. 

After a desperate defence by General Sowinski, 

Warsaw's suburb of Wola fell into Paskievitch's 

hands on September 6th. The next day 

The Close ,-, , r r ,1 . i, A J 

of the War saw tne secon d ^ me * the capital s de- 
fensive works attacked by the Rus- 
sians. During the night of the 7th Krukowiecki capitu- 
lated, although the city still held out. He was im- 
mediately deposed by the Polish government and re- 
placed by Bonawentura Niemoyowski. The army and 
the government withdrew to the fortress of Modlin, 
on the Vistula, subsequently renamed Novo-Georg- 
ievsk by the Russians, and then to Plock, where the 
dramatic climax of the war was reached. New plans 
had been adopted when the staggering news was 
received that the Polish crack corps under Ramorino, 
unable to join the main army, had laid down its arms 
by crossing the Austrian frontier into Galicia. It 
became, evident that the war could be carried on no 
longer. On October 5, 1831, the Polish army of over 
20,000 men crossed the Prussian frontier, and amid 
scenes of heart-rending despair and grief laid down 
their arms at Brodnica in preference to submission to 
Russia. Only one man, a colonel by the name of 
Stryjenski, won the peculiar distinction of giving him- 
self up to the grace of Russia. All the others chose 
voluntary exile rather than life under Russian rule. 
Following the example of Dombrowski of a genera- 
tion before, General Bern endeavored to reorganize the 
Polish soldiers in Prussia and Galicia into Legions 
and lead them to France. The Prussian government 
frustrated his plans in spite of the sympathy shown 


by the people. The immigrants left Prussia in bands 
of from fifty to a hundred, and their journey through 
the various German lands was a "triumphal march." 
The population of the principalities through which 
they passed greeted them with enthusiasm. Ban- 
quets and festivities were given in their honor, cities 
were illumined, fiery speeches were made and great 
hospitality was shown. Poetry vied with prose in 
extolling Polish heroism and patriotism. Even some 
of the German sovereigns, such as the King of Saxony, 
the Princess of Weimar and the Duke of Gotha 
shared in the general outburst of sympathy. It 
was only upon the very insistent demands of Russia 
that the Polish committees all over Germany had 
been closed. Meanwhile, "the storm birds of the 
revolution flew across central Europe and brought 
with them the breath of freedom, awakening the feel- 
ings w r hich were slowly taking hold of the German 
people and kindling in them the striving for liberty 
which seventeen years later found expression in deeds 
which shook the foundations of absolutism and re- 
action." * 

In the meantime Russia proceeded "to restore 
order" in the conquered country, for the possession 
of which she never obtained legal title. Neither the 
Polish Government nor the powers which signed the 
treaty of Vienna gave sanction to the incorporation 
of Poland into the Russian Empire. It was done by 
force of arms and had no authority under the law of 
nations. Until the outbreak of the present war the 
country had been held by virtue of military occupancy 
alone. The importance of this fact cannot be under- 
estimated in considering Poland's future status. 

,* Sokolowski, 1. c. Vol. IV, p. 635. 


Tragic was Poland's lot when she fell prey to 
Russia and ceased to have an army of her own! All 

the leaders of the Patriotic Club and the 
P 1 members of the Diet were condemned to 

Consequences death ; all those who served in the Polish 
of the War army and returned to Poland, following 

the Imperial amnesty, were drafted into 
the Russian army for periods of fifteen to twenty-five 
years. In addition, twenty thousand men were re- 
cruited from Poland. By an ukase of 1831 forty-five 
thousand persons belonging to the gentry of Lithuania 
and Ruthenia were forcibly settled in Russia. Tens of 
thousands of fatherless Polish boys were taken from 
their mothers and sent off to Russia to be raised as 
Orthodox Russians in military camps or to become 
settlers in remote provinces. The estates and all other 
properties of those who took part in the war were 
confiscated. In this way 2,349 estates were taken 
from their owners in Poland and 2,890 in Lithuania 
and given as compensation to Russian generals and 
officials. The Universities of Warsaw and Wilno, 
the Lyceum of Kremienetz in Volhynia and various 
other schools, the Society of the Friends of Science and 
other scientific and civic organizations were ordered 
closed. The libraries and many scientific and art 
collections w r ere removed to Russia. The country 
was put under military law which lasted uninterrupt 1 
edly until 1856 and practically since 1861, as at no 
time has the Kingdom been entirely free from ex- 
traordinary administrative regulations. In order "to 
exterminate all traces of Polish influence" on Novem- 
ber 11, 1831, Nicholas ordered the abrogation of the 
existing judicial system in Lithuania and the adjoin- 
ing provinces. The indemnity imposed upon Poland 
amounted to twenty-two million roubles. The burden 
of maintaining a Russian army of one hundred thou- 


sand men was laid on the outraged, ruined and 
bleeding country where there was hardly a family 
which had not lost some member either by execution 
or through exile. General Paskievitch was made 
Duke of Warsaw and given dictatorial powers over 
the conquered territory. An elaborate system of 
espionage and flogging was instituted in the place of 
constitutional government. The possession of arms 
was punishable by death. To keep the population in 
dumb obedience, citadels were built in Warsaw and 
Wilno and the guns so mounted as to face the cities. 
The people were threatened with the utter destruction 
of their two principal cities in the event of an uprising. 
A so-called "organic statute" guaranteeing certain 
constitutional rights, designed to beguile public 
opinion abroad, was promulgated in 1832 but never 
put into operation. In spite of the fact that Pope 
Gregory XVI in his bull of June 9, 1832, addressed 
to the Polish clergy, condemned the war with Russia, 
the -Government in its vindictiveness did not spare 
the Catholic Church and adopted a number of re- 
strictive measures, particularly in Lithuania and 
Ruthenia. A large number of convents and churches 
were closed and the children of parents belonging 
to other churches were ordered to be baptized in 
the Orthodox Church. The hardest blow was dealt 
to the Uniate Church which, since the partition of 
Poland, had been singled out by Russia for particular 
repression, as it was the last existing vestige of 
ancient Polish influence and bound the people of 
the outlying provinces to Western civilization. The 
same dissenters, for the protection of whom Peter 
the Great and Catharine TI found it necessary to in- 
terfere in Polish internal politics, became the sub- 
jects of the most rigorous persecution. Only four 
davs after the fall of Warsaw two monasteries re- 


ceived notice that their estates were confiscated and 
that the Uniate monks would be replaced by Ortho- 
dox friars. Twenty more such institutions were 
closed before the end of the year 1831. "It was with 
exuberant joy that Emperor Nicholas received every 
news of the closing of another Uniate monastery: 
"Thanks be to God ; we have again destroyed an 
enemy stronghold." * With the aid of a renegade 
Uniate Bishop Siemaszko, the government resolved 
to extirpate the Uniate faith and did not stop at any- 
thing to achieve this aim. On February 24, 1839, the 
Uniate Bishop sealed a formal act of separation from 
the Church of Rome. Only the Chelm (Kholm) dio- 
cese which was within the limits of the Congressional 
Kingdom of Poland, because of the determined op- 
position of the local clergy and population, was ex- 
empted. Those who clung to their religion outside 
of this single diocese were regarded as dangerous 
political offenders and were dealt with accordingly. 
During the first week following the dissolution of 
the Uniate Church hundreds of priests and monks 
were exiled to Siberia; many were denied food and 
beaten to death. The women were even more re- 
solved to remain true to their faith than the men and 
refused apostasy. The sisters of a convent in Minsk 
were punished for their obstinate devotion by out- 
rageous cruelties, flogging and subjection to atrocious 
insult. One of them, Baptiste Downar, was burned 
to death in a bake oven by the Orthodox nuns. 
Nepomucena Grotkowska had her head split with an 
axe by a Russian Mother Superior. Some of the 
sisters who survived the two years of inhuman suf- 
ferings, were sent to an Orthodox convent in Miad- 

* Bishop Edward Likowski, Historya Kosciota Unickiego, Vol. II, 
p. 78. 


zioly, where the superior officer tortured them in an 
unspeakable manner. On cold days they were put in 
sacks and in the presence of the populace of the 
town, thrown into a lake and dragged by means of 
ropes from shore to shore. Many drowned. After 
six years of such persecution, five sisters managed to 
escape and went to Rome to lay their story before the 
Pope. Slowacki, one of Poland's greatest poets had 
depicted their lot in one of his most renowned poems, 
and more recently Stefan Zeromski described the suf- 
fering of the Uniates in some of his short stories. In 
spite of the persecution many Uniates remained true 
to their faith and though officially belonging to the 
Orthodox Church they took every occasion to mani- 
fest their true attachment. During the course of the 
present war, when Russian armies retired from these 
districts the people gave vent to their religious emo- 
tions, welcoming the Polish priests and the Polish 
legions who, knowing their feelings, opened for them 
their ancient churches. 

The intense sufferings of the Polish, Lithuanian 

and cognate peoples who had once formed the Polish 

Republic, could not remain without an 

The Reflection ec ho in Polish literature which, since 

in ^v! te M\ Ure i the days of Poland's partitions took a 

of the National / , . J i 

Tragedy powerful upward swing and reached its 

zenith during the period between 1830 
and 1850 in the unsurpassed patriotic writings of 
Mickiewicz, Slowacki and Krasinski. In "Iridion" 
the latter commands his Greek hero to go north and 
in the name of Christ to stop in "the land of graves 
and crosses." "Thou mayst know it by the silence of 
its warriors and the melancholy of its little children. 
Thou mayst know it by the huts of its poor, destroyed 
by fire and the palaces of its exiles, long since laid in 


The writings of the three poets have had such a 
tremendous influence upon the Polish mind as to 
warrant at least a brief analysis in con- 
nection with the political developments 
of the nation since 1830. Never since 
the days of ancient Greece has there been another 
example of a nation receiving an exclusively poetic 
education until the tragic fate of Poland after her un- 
successful war with Russia. Life became stifled; 
every expression of thought and action was rendered 
impossible by a stupid and rigid bureaucratic regime. 
And at that time among the tens of thousands of 
exiles on foreign soil sprang forth the providential 
and since the days of the Prophets, the unexampled, 
triple blossom of poetry drawing its vital sap from 
the bitter sufferings of the soul of the nation. In 
intensity of feeling, depth of thought, love of country 
and mastery and beauty of expression, the three poets 
have no peers in the literature of the world. Had 
they written in French, English or German instead of 
in Polish, their names would have been known to every 
schoolboy the world over as are the names of Dante, 
Shakespeare and Goethe. It is profitless, perhaps use- 
less to endeavor to say who of the three was the great- 
est, as it is useless to try to measure the elemental 
powers of nature. Each of them had the grandeur and 
force which nature bestows upon human genius, and 
each found a different mould for an adequate expres- 
sion of his soul. Because of the greater simplicity of his 
style and the directness of presentation, Mickiewicz 
reached more Polish hearts than the other two and 
came to be regarded as the greatest interpreter of the 
people's hopes and ideals. He is the Zeus of the 
Polish Olympus and the immortal incarnation of 
Polish national spirit. He wrote at a time when 
Romanticism prevailed in European literature. His 


FIG. 202 ADAM MICKIBWICZ (1799-1855) 


writings bear the impress of that literary epoch, but 
they deal with intense and palpable realities. His two 
monumental works, marking the zenith of his power, 
are "Dziady" (Ghosts) and "Pan Tadeusz." The 
latter is universally recognized as "the only successful 
epic which the XlXth century produced." George 
Brandes says that "Mickiewicz alone approached 
those great names in poetry which stand in history 
as above all healthy, far healthier than Byron, health- 


ier jryn...lhan Shakespeare: Homer and Goethe." 
The poetic serenity of the description of Lithuanian 
life at the opening of the last century is the more re- 
markable when considered in the light of the poet's 
volcanic nature and his intense suffering over the 
tragic fate of his native land to which he could never 
return. His passionate nature finds its truest ex- 
pression in "Dziady," which undoubtedly constitutes 
the acme of poetic inspiration. It deals with the 
transformation of the soul from individual to a higher 
national conception. The hero, Gustavus, who has 
suffered great misfortune, wakes up one morning in 
his prison cell and finds himself an entirely changed 
man. His heart, given over to individual pain and 
individual love, dies. The Gustavus, bewailing his 
lost personal happiness lives no more, and Konrad, 
his divine ego, takes his place. All the creative 
powers of his nation are concentrated in him. Here 
Mickiewicz bares his own soul. He is filled with 
enough moral strength to challenge even God. He 
feels for millions and is pleading before God for their 
happiness and spiritual perfection. It is the Prome- 
thean idea, no doubt, but greatly deepened in concep- 
tion and execution and applied to but one part of 
humanity, the Polish nation whose intensity of suffer- 
ing was the greatest in all mankind. 

* Poland, London 1903, p. 279. 


In 1835 Mickiewicz came under the influence 
of Towianski, a mystic, and ceased to write. Toward 
the end of his days he freed himself again of this 
peculiar thrall which Towianski was able to exert 
over him, as over the two other poets, and became 
again a man of reality. 

As a young man Mickiewicz took a leading part 
in the literary life of the University circles at Wilno, 
which were mentioned in the last chapter. When, 
the societies were closed in 1823 by the order of the 
Russian Government he was arrested and exiled to 
Russia. While in Crimea he wrote his exquisite 
sonnets. Subsequently he emigrated to France, 
where most of his life was spent, and died in Con- 
stantinople in 1855, while organizing a Polish legion 
against Russia during the Crimean war. His spirit 
was ever imbued with exalted patriotism and his 
genius was active in pointing toward means of freeing 
the country from foreign oppression. He was a 
champion of action and it is characteristic of the 
greatness of his soul that he was ever above the petty 
strifes that were tearing apart the Polish emigrants, 
and which absorbed their thoughts and energies. At 
the time of the greatest intensity of that strife he 
wrote the celebrated "Books of the Pilgrims" a work 
of love, wisdom and good will written in exquisite 
style. They have been called "Mickiewicz's Homilies" 
and have exercised a soothing and elevating influence. 
Despite the fact that Mickiewicz's themes and heroes 
are connected with Polish life, his writings still touch 
upon most of the problems and motives of the world 
at large, thus assuring to his works everlasting value 
and universal interest. The same in an equal meas- 
ure is true of the other two poets. They dealt with 
the most profound problems of existence, looking at 
them always through the prism of their ardent pa- 


triotism. Like Mickiewicz, Slowacki and Krasinski 
were compelled to live outside their own country. 

Slowacki's longing for his home in Volhynia and 
later in Lithuania, where he spent his childhood and 
T adolescence, and his love for his mother 

Slowacki are tru b r pathetic. A few stanzas of 

one of his poems "I am so sad, O God!" 
may give an idea of the fine sentiment which per- 
meated his whole existence: 

"To-day o'er the wide waste of ocean sweeping, 

Hundreds of miles away from shore or rock, 

I saw the cranes fly on, together keeping 

In one unbroken flock; 

Their feet with soil from Poland's hills were shod, 

And I was sad, O God! 

"Often by strangers' tombs I've lingered weary, 

Since, grown a stranger to my native ways, 

I walk a pilgrim through a desert dreary, 

Lit but by lightning's blaze. 

Knowing not where shall fall the burial clod 

Upon my bier, O God! 

"Sometime hereafter will my bones lie whitened 
Somewhere on strangers' soil, I know not where: 
I envy those whose dying hours are lightened, 
Fanned by their native air; 

But flowers of some strange land will spring and nod 
Above my grave, O God." 
(Translation by Paul Soboleski in Warner's "World Literature.") 

Poets are seldom born to be happy. It was not given 
Slowacki to see his native land again. On April 
3, 1849, at forty years of age, -he died of consumption 
in Paris, and flowers of a strange land blossomed on 
his grave. 

Albeit all three great Polish poets were under the 
Byronic spell, none other was to such a marked de- 
gree as Slowacki. And yet in spite of that his mes- 
sage is not that of doubts and questions, but of action 
and suffering. "Although his head was in the 
clouds, his feet were on the earth." Much as he 
loved Poland, he w r as keenly conscious of her faults. 



FIG. 203 JULIUSZ SLOWAOKI (1809-1849) 


Hence his bitterness on one hand and his idealism on 
the other. He would wish to liberate ''the angelic 
soul of Poland" from "the hideous rags,'' and "the 
burning shirt of Deianira's" in which it had been 
wrapped and would like to see her a great, naked, 
beautiful statue struck out "of one lump of rock." 
He would wish for his nation such spiritual power 
as would make it immortal. And this desire for 
internal perfection, seen also in Mickiewicz's "Books 
of the Pilgrims,'' runs through his works like a red 
thread. He would not for a moment think that there 
is an abyss which could not be bridged over between 
the ideal and the reality. He was convinced that the 
ideal exists in the national soul but had been encum- 
bered by extraneous foreign growths which should be 
removed. There is hardly anything more beautiful 
than Slowacki's conception of the genesis of the dis- 
crepancy of the two elements. The struggle of the 
two constitutes the pith of his drama "Lilla Weneda." 
The plot turns around a war between two primitive 
pagan peoples, the Weneds and Lechits. The first 
are the forebears of "the Polish ideal, the latter the 
forebears of the Polish nation. Derwid is the chief 
of the Weneds and his harp is the symbol of the ideal, 
a treasure of the tribe. With the fall of the Weneds, 
the harp comes into the possession of the Lechits, 
who had not come up to the appreciation of the treas- 
ure. Yet "the harp will conquer nations." Slowacki 
believes that his life mission is to champion the "harp" 
idea. After he succumbed to the influence of the 
Towianski philosophy, which was a modification of 
the Hegelian system, he began to identify the cause 
of Poland with that of Divinity and of Destination. 
Poland is to lead all other nations to their spiritual 
salvation. He believed in metampsychosis. By each 
successive change the spirit comes nearer to the ideal. 



Poland is the last link on the road toward the ideal. 
Her suffering has brought her soul nearer perfection 
than the soul of any other nation. She is the "King- 
Spirit." In 1848 in that year of "the spring of the 
nations" the hopes of Slowacki rose high, and though 
suffering from a fatal disease, he organized a Con- 

FIG. 204 ANDREW TOWIASSKI, Philosopher and Mystic 

federacy and planned to take part in an armed upris- 
ing against Russia. But on April 3, 1849 he died. 

Of the three poets Slowacki was the most re- 
volutionary, the most radical and the most demo- 
cratic. Tn this respect he formed and 
extreme contrast to his warm friend 
Zygmunt Krasinski who, by birth, tradi- 
tion and temperament was an aristocrat and had a 



FIG. 205 ZYGMUNT KRASI&SKI (1812-1859) 


horror of democracy and radicalism ; who saw in those 
tendencies of the Polish nation the explanation for its 
late misfortunes and the cause of its ultimate de- 
struction. The social unrest of Europe at the time 
raised in his mind most disquieting thoughts about 
Poland and he gave expression to them in his "Un- 
divine Comedy." The philosophy of action and ven- 
geance found in Mickiewicz's and Slowacki's work 
is foreign and repugnant to Krasinski. His "Un- 
divine Comedy'' was conceived to demonstrate their 
futility. It is Christian love and virtue that conquers 
in the end. In this respect he was a precursor of 
Tolstoy. It required a great deal of boldness to teach 
such a philosophy of inaction and resignation to the 
Poles, who were chafing under oppression and were 
gnawed by despair, and to combat the democratic 
currents which were permeating the hearts of the 
people who believed that by the adoption of these 
principles alone, could governmental tyranny be al- 
layed. The seeds of his unpopular philosophy did 
not, however, fall on utterly barren ground. There 
was too much despair in the national soul for the 
glory of quiet martyrdom not to find any sympathetic 

Brandes asserts that in few literatures has Ro- 
manticism attained to an expression of such beauty 
as in the Polish. The reason for it can be easily ex- 
plained. The essence of Romanticism is to be found 
in the dissatisfaction of the human spirit with exist- 
ing reality. In normal communities the dissatisfac- 
tion and the resultant sufferings and longings lie 
usually in individual planes. In the tragic conditions 
of Poland it was elevated to a social conception, hence 
the greater breadth and intensity of Polish Roman- 
ticism. By heroic efforts the nation endeavored to 
turn away the trend of hostile reality. The efforts 


FIG. 206 FREDERICK CHOPIN (1810-1849) 


resulted only in greater misfortunes. Despair and 
pessimism began to affect the national spirit. To 
combat this evil force of bitter reality it was necessary 
to create an equally strong spiritual force. Hence 
the conception of Poland as a Christ of the nations 
evolved with such strength and beauty by the three 
poets, and with particular emphasis by Krasinski. 
By their powerful flights of fancy, by the intensity of 
their feeling, by the grandeur of their genius and the 
beauty of their expression, the three poets have im- 
mortalized Poland, her literature, her sufferings and 
her ideals. They have left an indelible imprint upon 
the spiritual evolution of their nation. The same 
spirit and longings of the Polish soul have been incul- 
cated in the soul of every civilized human being the 
world over by the musical productions of another 
Polish genius, Frederick Chopin, who was born in 
Warsaw and who died in Paris in the same year as 
Slowacki. His sensitive soul was imbued with the 
same sufferings that permeated the hearts of the three 
great poets and the Polish people. 

The tens of thousands of Polish emigrants who 
fled from Russian vengeance arrived in France. 
While the population met them with 
Emi rants enthusiasm as champions of liberty, 

Louis Philippe and the then Premier, 
Casimir Perier, for the same reason received them 
with great reserve, and to keep them away from Paris 
designated the cities of Avignon and Chateaurouxfor 
their temporary settlements. Perier refused to grant 
an audience to Bonawentura Niemoyowski, the Presi- 
dent of the last 'Polish Government, for fear that such 
a hearing might be construed as an act of diplomatic 
demonstration. It was an attitude which the emi- 
grants had not anticipated but which remained un- 
altered after the monarchy was succeeded by the 



Second Republic. Even Lamartine, the poet and 
historian, then Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the 
Poles that "the dead cannot be resuscitated." But 
the Poles never can or will believe that their nation is 
dead. Each generation since the last dismember- 


ment has proved by the seas of blood shed for the 
cause of independence that the Polish nation is alive 
and virile, and that there can be no permanent peace in 
Central Europe until the Polish nation is again made 
free to organize its own State. The efforts of the 


emigrants of the period under consideration are but 
another chapter of the epopee of toil and privation, de- 
votion and martyrdom for a sacred cause. Immedi- 
ately upon their arrival in France the emigrants or- 
ganized themselves in political societies to further 
their aims. It should be remembered that the flower 
of Polish thought and achievement was represented 
among those who came to France. All the generals, 
officers, statesmen, scientists and writers assembled 
there, among them Prince Czartoryski, Joachim Lele- 
wel, Maurice" Mochnacki, General Bern, Mickiewicz, 
Slowacki, Krasinski and the galaxy of other poets 
and writers. Those who still believed that through 
diplomatic intervention a good deal could be accom- 
plished clustered around the illustrious Prince Adam 
Czartoryski, who had many influential connections 
in the chancelleries of Europe, and who maintained a 
large political bureau in his palace, "Hotel Lambert," 
in Paris, through which he kept in touch with most 
of the capitals of Europe. Others formed the Demo- 
cratic Society and associated their hopes with the 
democratic currents of the time. They criticized Czar- 
toryski's faction, holding justly that diplomacy with- 
out a strong army behind it is bound to be ineffect- 
ive. The failure of the 'Polish representatives in 
London may serve as an illustration of the truth 
of this assertion. Both Grey and Brougham, mem- 
bers of Palmerston's cabinet, were close personal 
friends of Czartoryski, and both were very friendly 
to the Poles. In the name of England, Grey had 
presented a sword of honor to Kosciuszko, assuring 
him of England's friendship for Poland. Brougham 
had written splendid dissertations concerning Po- 
land's political rights. And yet, as cabinet officers, 
they dared do nothing for the outraged and dispos- 
sessed nation. The Russian Ambassador, Count 


Lieven and his wife, the sister of General Beckendorff, 
who was the closest friend of Tsar Nicholas I and the 
organizer of the Russian secret service, were able to 
exercise such pressure upon Lord Brougham that he 
refused to grant a hearing to the venerable Polish his- 
torian Niemcewicz, Kosciuszko's friend and compan- 
ion. In 1831, after Grey entertained Czartoryski at 
a private dinner he received a most acrimonious and 
resentful letter from Lady Lieven. Similarly disap- 
pointing were the hopes of the Democratic Society, 
as the expected social revolutions were slow to come, 
and when they finally did come, brought naught to 

Tsar Nicholas I, in vindictiveness not a whit in- 
ferior to Ivan the Terrible, his celebrated predecessor 
The Further on tne Russian throne, resolved to 
Consequences blot out the Polish nation forever. His 
of the Polish inhuman tyranny, carried out with 
War with heartless rigor by Paskiewicz and his 

associates, has cast an indescribable 
horror over "constitutional" Poland. It should be 
borne in mind that the constitution has never been, 
and legally could not be rescinded. The slightest sus- 
picion was sufficient to subject the unfortunate vic- 
tims to cruel flogging, tortures, jailing and exile. 
Executions were a daily occurence; life was utterly 
stifled; schooling was practically discontinued; and 
shameless provocation was practiced incessantly. 
When the secret service agents "discovered" a plot 
which never existed among the boys of one of the 
upper grades in a Warsaw high school, the Tsar 
ordered that the three upper grades in the high 
schools all over Poland be closed. Those who knew 
the attitude of this despot toward education will not 
be surprised at this deed of his. The following quo- 
tation from Prof. Vladimir G. Simkhovitch of Colum- 


bia University, may give an idea of the mentality of 
the Tsar, which will help the reader to grasp what his 
rule in a conquered nation must have been: 

"Nicholas I was a narrow-minded man, but with strong con- 
victions, and with a temper that brooked no contradiction. He 
made it his paramount task to educate his people for an autocratic 
regime. He therefore resolved to do away with all elements and 
conditions leading to independent thought or to a desire for free- 
dom .... The students in the universities were ordered to 
wear a special military uniform, and regulations were issued pre- 
scribing how they should appear in public, how they should cut 
their hair. The university course also felt the heavy hand of 
Emperor Nicholas. Thus, for instance, all courses in European 
public law were abolished, because 'rebellions in foreign lands have 
disfigured this science and shattered its very foundations.' Com- 
parative constitutional law was discontinued because of 'the weak- 
ness of its principles_and its unsatisfactory results.' Courses in 
social statistics and logic were abolished. Philosophy and psy- 
chology could be taught only by Greek orthodox professors of 
theology, and then with the explicit order to teach according to the 
truth of revealed religion. The professors were instructed to 
submit to the government the lectures they intended to give, and 
also the lists of books recommended for collateral reading. The 
deans were to see to it that professors' lectures are identical with 
those that were approved, and they were to report the slightest 
deviations, 'even the most harmless ones.' The tuition fees of the 
students were furthermore greatly increased, so as to keep out 
poor people, 'whom education may make dissatisfied with their lot, 
or with that of their friends.' 

"Of the gymnasiums, the classical fell into disgrace. The 
classical writers talked too much about civic matters, and referred 
to republics. By the end of the reign of Nicholas I, only eight 
classical gymnasiums were left in existence. 

"Primary education under Nicholas existed only on paper. 
The Pedagogical Institute was closed, 'being unnecessary,' and 
unnecessary it really was in Nicholas's reign. Denominational 
parochial schools were tolerated, and in 1839 there were 2,000 such 
schools, with 19,000 pupils. But there is no way of telling whether 
they really existed. Many things existed in Russia on paper 
only.' " * 

* "History of the School in Russia," Educational Review, 1907, 
;. 506-7. 


Some of the emigrants nourished such an im- 
patient desire to do something for the country, as to 
undertake the rashest kinds of expedi- 
tions designed to stir up local rebellions 
and disturbances. Such was the at- 
tempt of Colonel Zaliwski, early in 1833. With a 
small band of ill-provisioned, penniless companions, 
with no passports, he reached Poland, having braved 
unlimited perils. Overawed by oppression, the popu- 
lation failed to respond to his urgings. Here and there 
he found a few followers, but pursued by Russian 
troops he sought refuge in Galicia, where he was ar- 
rested by the Austrian police. A similar attempt by 
Zawisza ended in the loss of life of many of the noble 
souls blinded by patriotism and goaded on by despair. 
Another result of the numerous unfortunate expedi- 
tions and small uprisings was a closer understanding 
between the three powers. In Munchengraetz, in 
Bohemia, the Tsar met Emperor Francis I and the 
Prussian King Frederick Wilhelm III in September, 
1833, to ratify the "Holy Alliance" and strengthened 
the ties that bound them together because of Poland. 
At this meeting also the lot of the free Cracow re- 
public was doomed. It was agreed to discontinue its 
existence and to incorporate it in Galicia at the first 
opportunity. Meanwhile the representatives of the 
three powers began to exert growing pressure and 
became the de facto government of the Republic. All 
these repressive measures, however, were unsuccessful 
in suppressing national unrest. As somebody well ex- 
pressed it, the war was going on, merely the form had 
changed. The repressions were met by constant up- 
risings, organized by local secret societies in conjunc- 
tion with or independently of the Polish political 
organizations abroad. After the flower of the nation's 
manhood had been mowed down, all the strong and en- 


terprising spirits who were left at home took part in 
the preparations for another open outbreak of hos- 
tilities. The secret police in all parts of Poland had 
their hands full trying to uncover the conspiracies. 
Political suits were incessant; hundreds of men were 
thrown into dungeons; many, like the noble Simon 
Konarski and Father Sciegenny, were executed; 
others were exiled for life to Siberia; and others 
were tortured inhumanly. In Galicia, Smolka and 
Dunayewski were sentenced to death in 1845, but 
their sentences were commuted to long imprisonment. 
The tide of the revolution in 1848 released them, and 
subsequently Smolka became the President of the 
Austrian Parliament and one of the greatest states- 
men of the century and Dunayewski was Bishop of 
Cracow and Cardinal. 

The manifold local uprisings occurring in all 
sections of Poland and the existence of secret organi- 
zations gave to the Polish "Democratic 
The End of Society" in France the erroneous im- 
pression that the time was ripe for 
thcfsiaughter starting a general revolution throughout 
of the Gaiic- Poland. The leading spirit in this en- 
ian Gentry tcrprisc was Ludwik Mieroslawski, who 
prepared a sweeping plan of campaign 
without giving much consideration to the feasibility 
of carrying it out even in part. The men of cooler 
judgment urged that he desist from undertaking rash 
steps, but without avail. He was, however, pre- 
vented from progressing very far with the prelimin- 
ary arrangements by the vigilance of the Prussian 
police. He and a few of his fellow workers were in- 
tercepted in Posen in February, 1846, and a number 
of his sympathizers in Lemberg were arrested on a 
charge of complicity in the conspiracy. This ill- 
timed launching of a movement would have been 


harmless had not the three partitioning powers made 
use of it to put an end to the free Republic of Cracow. 
Immediately following Mieroslawski's arrest in Posen, 
Austria, by consent of the Russian and Prussian .Gov- 
ernments, sent a large army to occupy Cracow. A 
series of encounters followed throughout Galicia, dur- 
ing which occurred one of the most brutal slaughters of 
the gentry by the peasant rabble that Poland had ever 
known. To eradicate the existing political ferment 
the Austrian Government decided to make use of the 
artifically fostered enmity which the peasants enter- 
tained against their landlords because the latter were, 
by law, compelled to collect taxes and select recruits 
for the Austrian army. Officials of the Austrian 
Government spread news among the peasants that 
the revolutionary movement of the gentry was aimed 
at the subjugation of the peasants into still greater 
economic dependence, and that the magnanimous 
Austrian Government was sending troops to defend 
them against the oppressors. The ignorant and ex- 
citable mobs broke loose under these instigations 
and the protection of the military and civil authori- 
ties, and the carnage and havoc wrought by them 
were atrocious. Particularly distinguished for cruelty 
was a highwayman by the name of Jacob Szela, who 
was subsequently awarded an estate in Bukovina by 
the Austrian Government. This dastardly crime of 
Austria was but the crowning of the policy of nourish- 
ing social discontent in Galicia. On several occa- 
sions the representatives of the gentry in Galicia had 
petitioned the government to set their serfs free, and 
in every instance the government had refused to grant 
permission. When, in 1848, at the first news of the 
conflagration that had set Europe on fire, the Galician 
landowners again resolved to abolish serfdom, the 


Austrian Government again interfered, but soon 
afterward, in the middle of April of the same year, it 
proclaimed the emancipation of the peasants as an act 
of grace of the Emperor. The parcels of land which 
the peasants had been renting were donated to them 
by the government. Reimbursements were promised 
to the owners. The sudden change in land ownership 
caused by the arbitrary act of a despotic government 
and the grave economic problems it created and left 
unsolved, precipitated a severe crisis in Galicia, which, 
closely following the illegal dissolution of the Cracow 
Republic whose semi-independent status was guaran- 
teed by the Treaty of Vienna, created a strong feeling 
of resentment. 

The progress of events of that celebrated year of 
1848 gave rise to new hopes. Italy, France, Germany 
and Austria had been shaken by revolu- 
184 g tions. Everywhere the people requested 

armed intervention on behalf of Poland 
in addition to their particular demands. The Poles 
did not remain passive onlookers in this mighty awak- 
ening of Europe to the stirring up of which they had 
contributed in no mean measure. The emigrants 
left France for Poland, and on their way through the 
German states and Bohemia were hailed enthusiasti- 
cally. In Berlin the population demanded the im- 
mediate release of Mieroslawski and his colleagues, 
which King Frederich Wilhelm IV not only granted 
without delay, but greeted the released prisoners 
standing with bared head. He also permitted the 
formation in the Duchy of Posen of a Polish army, 
which was to fight beside the united German nation 
against tyrannical Russia. The army soon numbered 
ten thousand men and Mieroslawski became its com- 
mander. The poet Mickiewicz went to present the 



Polish question to the newly elected Pope Pius IX 
and formed a Polish Legion in Italy. At the same 


time Galicia urged a war with Russia upon the Con- 
stitutional Austrian monarch. 


Soon, however, the revolutionary wave subsided 

and with its ebb came a dampening of enthusiasm for 

the cause of Poland. The reaction be- 

The Reaction , n *> A 

came apparent in Prussia first. Against 
the Poles, a German committee was formed in Posen, 
which demanded the division of the Duchy into two 
parts, one German and the other Polish. The con- 
sent of the King to the formation of a Polish army 
was rescinded, particularly in view of the threatening 
attitude assumed by the Russian ambassador and the 
massing of strong Russian forces at the frontier. The 
warning issued by Tsar Nicholas in his memorable 
manifesto in which he said: "Nations be submissive, 
for God is with us!" had, no doubt, its desired effect. 
As the Poles did not want to disband, severe en- 
counters followed between them and the Prussian 
troops. Finally submission became inevitable, and 
being unable to reach their own country, they scat- 
tered to help the revolutions in Italy, Baden and 

In Galicia, the Ruthenian clergy aroused a feeling 
of animosity among their peasants toward the Poles, 
and in this they were strongly encouraged by the Aus- 
trian Government which was under stipulated obliga- 
tions to the Tsar for the effective aid he had rendered 
by sending a great army to suppress the Hungarian 
revolutionaries so ably led by the Polish Generals 
Dembinski, Wysocki and Bern. The latter was mili- 
tary commander of the Viennese burghers early in 
1848, when they defended their city against the 
Austrian Imperial troops; later he joined the Hun- 
garians and won a famous victory in Transylvania, 
and after the collapse of the Hungarian revolution 
went to Turkey and embraced Islamism, as several 
other Poles had done, to be able to serve in the Sul- 
tan's army against Russia. The failure of the Hun- 



garian uprising was a great blow to the cause of 
Poland. Its success would probably have resulted 
in the emancipation of Galicia. As it was, the year 
1848 ended in a triumph of reaction and the retention 
of the painful status quo as far as Poland was con- 
cerned, with the single exception that the Poles re- 


ceived representation in the newly established con- 
stitutional regime in both Austria and Prussia, and 
through their representatives they could denounce 
openly all the iniquities to which they had been sub- 
jected and voice the sentiments of the nation for free- 
dom and independence. 


The disappointment with the results of the revo- 
lutionary era of 1848 was disheartening. In Con- 
gressional Poland dead silence and com- 
The illegal plete apathy followed, lasting until the 
Annexation cf opening of the Crimean War. Interest 
the Congres- ^ n ecO nomic and intellectual pursuits 

sional King- , ~ . j T 

dom to the ceased. During this quiet period Rus- 

Russian sia proceeded in her wanton ways. The 

Empire Russian language was introduced in all 

governmental offices, which had been 
systematically filled with Russian officials. The 
Russian system of weights and measures and of 
passports was transplanted; the post office and the 
control of highways was taken over by the Rus- 
sian Government, and the tariff frontier separating 
the Kingdom from the Empire was removed. During 
the decade from 1846 to 1855 the population of Poland 
decreased about one million, and when the Crimean 
war broke out new hopes seemed vain because the 
exhaustion of the country was too great to make 
possible any serious uprising against Russia in spite 
of the reverses she was experiencing at the hands of 
the Allies: Turkey, France and England. Ukraine 
alone rose, led by Polish conspirators, and in Turkey 
Polish Legions were formed with the help of France 
and England. In the spring of 1855 and again in 
September of the same year Napoleon III instructed 
his Ambassador at London to take up with the Eng- 
lish Government the settlement of the Polish ques- 
tion. The matter did not, however, come up for con- 
consideration at the Paris peace conference in 1856. 
And once more were the Poles made to realize the 
painful truth that their hopes in diplomacy were but 
an illusion, a pernicious fata morgana. 



The Uprising of 1863 and the Era of Positivism 

In 1855 Nicholas I died. He was succeeded by 
his son Alexander II, who had been heralded as a 
The man of liberal proclivities, of broad mind 

Shattering of and of warm sympathies for the Poles. 
Polish Hopes Upon his arrival at Warsaw in May, 
by Tsar 1856, he was received with great hopes 

and expectations. The impatiently 
awaited political credo of the new Tsar brought grave 
disappointment. He expressed himself in full sym- 
pathy with the policy of his father, proposed to con- 
tinue it and warned the Poles against any dreams. 
"Point de reveries, messieurs," he said, and left the 
indolent Prince Gorchakoff and the bitterly hated 
MukhanofF to continue the administration of the con- 
quered country in their habitual fashion. When the 
suggestion was made on the part of the Poles that a 
law school be opened at Warsaw, Gorchakoff opposed 
it, and in his report of August 25, 1857, he argued 
that "the founding of such a school at Warsaw would 
act as a new obstacle toward the fraternization of the 
Polish youth with the other parts of the Empire and 
toward the instilling in them of feelings of loyalty 
to the sovereign." The Tsar was of the same opinion. 


The actual results of this policy were, however, quite 
contrary to the anticipations of official Russia, as the 
Poles, studying in Russian universities, came into 
sympathetic contact with the young Russian revolu- 
tionaries, and when they returned home they hardly 
entertained any strong attachments for the govern- 

Viceroy Gorchakoff advised against the re-estab- 
lishment of representative government in Poland. 
"There will be time to do this," he said, "when the 
whole Empire is ready to benefit in an equal measure 
from liberal local government, after the institutions 
of credit, mortgages and other public improvements, 
as exist in Poland, will be known in the other parts 
of Russia." Owing, however, to the depression in 
the Russian governmental circles which followed the 
Crimean war, the rigor of administrative oppression 
was somewhat abated. The publication of some of 
Mickiewicz's works was allowed, permission was 
granted for the establishment of a College of Phy- 
sicians and Surgeons, and for the founding of an 
Agricultural Society. Youth flocked to the college, 
drawn there not altogether by the love of medical 
studies, but because it afforded an opportunity for 
university life and association. Likewise the Agri- 
cultural Society gathered around it men of all pur- 
suits. In addition to landowners and country squires, 
the Society had in its membership merchants and 
manufacturers, scientists and poets, all craving some 
sort of organized activity. Count Andrew Zamoyski, 
an able and influential man of fine character and 
constructive mind, became the heart and soul of the 
Society which exercised a strong influence upon pub- 
lic opinion, and which devoted as much consideration 
as the meddlesome Russian authorities allowed to 
the burning social and economic problems of the time, 


chief among which was the agrarian question. It 
also served as the only organized body of opinion 
to present the needs of the country to the govern- 
ment. Some of their memorials, however, though 
containing very moderate demands, were resented 
in St. Petersburg. Because of their conservativism, 
the members of the Society and their political sym- 
pathizers were known as the Whites, in contradis- 


tinction to the younger men, known as the Reds, 
who were chafing under the bureaucratic oppression, 
and who bound themselves in secret societies to 
give vent to their feelings and to prepare for another 
attempt to overthrow the detested Russian rule. 
The Reds scorned the compromises indulged in by the 
Whites and regarded all Russian concessions as 
harmful, because they served only to delude the nation 


and to retard an armed uprising. The Whites were 
opportunists and hoped by rational endeavor to 
strengthen the nation economically as well as in every 
other direction before any new war should be at- 
tempted. Widely separated as they were in their 
views and methods, the two parties still stood firmly 
united in their intense hatred of the government. In- 
finitesimal was the faction which advised loyalty to 
Russia in the hope of regaining the guaranteed 
autonomy and of establishing an economic union with 
the Russian Empire. Chief among those Polish sym- 
pathizers with Russia was Margrave Alexander Wiel- 
opolski, a man of education and strong will, but of an 
impulsive, arbitrary, pugnacious and obstinate char- 
acter. When, in 1861, the Russian Government real- 
ized that it must make certain concessions to the 
Poles, its attention was called to Wielopolski, whose 
pro-Russian political philosophy found an early ex- 
pression in a pamphlet written by him after the 
Galician slaughter in 1846, entitled "Lettre d'un 
gentilhomme polonais an prince de Metternich." In 
that pamphlet he pointed out the futility of expecting 
any effective help from the West European countries 
and advised a political and economic union with the 
Russian nation. This political philosophy, as well as 
the character and egotism of Wielopolski, made him 
a most unpopular man in Poland, and yet he was 
selected by the government to pacify the country and 
to effect a reconciliation with the Russian rule. The 
choice was unfortunate and the results disastrous. 

The echoes that reached Poland from the Apen- 

nine Peninsula, where the Italians under Garibaldi, 

with the help of Napoleon III, were re- 

Po itica em- g amm pr their independence, and the 

onstrations b .. ,.'.. 

hopes of an early revolution in Russia, 
stimulated the activities of the Reds in Poland. To 


stir up the patriotic emotions and yet to do it within 
the boundaries permitted by law, the Reds utilized 
every conceivable occasion. They organized mani- 
festations that aroused the masses and kept Europe 
apprised of renewed activity in the Polish volcano. 
Plolidays, religious processions, funerals and historic 
anniversaries were grasped as opportunities to sing 


patriotic songs, to pray for the redemption of the 
country, to display national emblems and to stir up 
feeling in one way or another. The first of these dem- 
onstrations was held in June of 1860. The occasion 
for it was the funeral of Madame Sowinska, the wife 
of the defender of a suburb. of Warsaw against Pas- 
kievitch in the war of 1832. Tens of thousands of per- 


sons took part in the funeral cortege. A few days 
later another immense gathering took place, and then 
again another. There was no end to demonstrations 
of the kind. The authorities were unable to stop 
this form of patriotic activity, particularly as the de- 
monstrations were so solemn and orderly as to afford 
the Russian government no opportunity for inter- 
ference. The government could not prevent the 
people from wearing nothing but mourning clothes 
and of refraining from gaiety of any kind. When 
the Russian, Austrian and Prussian monarchs came 
to meet at AVarsaw in October, 1860, the triumphal 
arches built in the streets for their reception were 
burned and Francis Joseph was met at the railroad 
station with cries of: "Long live Solferino and 
Magenta!" The monarchs met with a similar un- 
pleasantness when the air of the theatre was sur- 
charged with obnoxious gases during the gala per- 
formance given in their honor. 

In attempting to stimulate the Agricultural 
Society to a more radical policy with reference to 
agrarian reforms than the Society was willing to 
adopt, the Reds called a huge street demonstration 
on the day scheduled for the opening of the annual 
convention of the Society. Immense crowds gathered 
in the streets of Warsaw on February 25, 1861, 
and with torches, crosses and historic banners pro- 
ceeded toward the building where the convention 
was assembled. They were dispersed by the police 
and the soldiery. Two days later the demonstration 
was repeated on a still larger scale. A Russian 
general, unauthorized by his superiors, ordered a 
charge against the unarmed crowd. Five men were 
killed and a large number wounded. This slaughter 
of innocent men roused the country. Contributions 
poured in daily for the erection of a lasting monu- 



ment in memory of the victims and for the support 
of their families. GorchakofT realized that some con- 
cessions must be made by the government lest a fierce 
revolution break out immediately. He allowed the 
holding of demonstrative obsequies in honor of the 
dead, in which the whole city took part and turned 
over the policing and adminstration of the city to a 





citizens' committee which had done splendid work 
during the fort)'' days it had been in existence. Mean- 
while, the hated Mukhanoff was relieved from duty 
by the Viceroy, and on March 25th, a month after 
the last demonstration, the Tsar proclaimed an ukase 
by which he called into life a Council of State, com- 


posed of citizens, lay and ecclesiastical, upon whom 
devolved the duty "to discuss the needs of the coun- 
try, to receive petitions and to hear complaints." The 
ukase also created elective administrative councils in 
the provinces, counties and municipalities of the 
kingdom; it restored the Commission for Public Edu- 
cation and Religious Creeds; it allowed the reopening 
of the higher institutions of learning; and it provided 
for the reorganization of public instruction. Mar- 
grave Alexander Wielopolski was chosen to direct the 


work of the Commission or Ministry of Education and 
Creeds. He was also soon made head of the De- 
partment of Justice and became the most powerful 
man in Poland. He brought to his office great abili- 
ties and good intentions, but his temper and im- 
patience prevented him from achieving the things 
he most desired : general approval of his endeavors 
and the conciliation of the nation. Popular opinion 
remained inimical to him, and Andrew Zamoyski, the 
leader of the nobility, could not persuade himself to 


support the autocratic and violent Margrave, although 
he did not oppose him. To curb his opponents and 
the malcontents, Wielopolski did not hesitate to use 
the most drastic measures, and thereby antagonized 
the clergy and outraged the country. The closing 
of the Agricultural Society ordered by him, provoked 
a demonstrative outburst of indignation, and public 
feeling was only the more embittered by the hun- 
dreds of victims who fell in the bloody street riots 
which took place in Warsaw on April 8, 1861. 

Such was the inauspicious beginning of Wielo- 
polski's administration! It was necessary for him to 
resort to the use of military patrols to 
preserve order in the capital and to in- 
voke rigid censorship to forestall severe 
criticism. This condition of things did not, however, 
diminish his energy in carrying out his program of 
reforms. He began by discharging from government 
positions all Russians and supplanted them by Poles, 
reorganized the courts, and removed all the disabili- 
ties the Russian Government had imposed upon the 
Jews. They were given full rights of citizenship and 
representation in the Council of State, and in the 
administrative provincial and local councils. To 
stimulate the polonization of the Jewish element he 
encouraged their education in the Polish schools, and 
forbade the use of the Jewish jargon in legal and 
commercial transactions. Public education was one 
of his chief concerns. He labored to restore Polish 
schools to their former European standards, and in 
the curricula worked out he laid particular emphasis 
upon French attainments and culture. He built a 
large number of new primary and secondary schools, 
and in 1862, during his second term of office, the War- 
saw Universary was reopened under the name of the 
Superior School, with four departments, an elective 



rector and a large body of able professors and in- 
, structors. 

Liberal in educational and religious matters, he 
extremely conservative in his agrarian policy, 
e had no sympathy with the popular demand for 
radical solution of the land problem. Instead, he 
idvocated a modification of the existing conditions by 
'the substitution of rent payments for personal services, 


and was unalterably opposed to all state legislation 
aimed at any compulsion to sell land to peasants in 
accordance with a stipulated schedule of prices. It was 
rather unfortunate that he encountered such relent- 
less open and tacit opposition to everything he did or 
proposed. It served to enrage him the more and to 
resort to most brutal means to conquer the opposition 
which, in turn, grew more determined from day to 



day. His position became untenable, particularly 
after the death of Prince Gorchakoff, his staunch/ 
supporter. The Reds were ceaseless in denouncing the 
Margrave and in organizing demonstrations wher|- 
ever and wherever possible. The Whites, despite the 
closing of the Agricultural Society, continued to keep 
together in secret societies and to group around theu\ 
leader. Count Zamoyski. They looked with favor\ 
upon the reforms, but were prevented from lending \ 
active support by the repulsive character of Wielopol- \ 
ski, and because of his failure to apply the program 1 
to Lithuania and Ruthenia. 

Both Lithuania and Ruthenia became restless. I 
On August 21, 1861, Kovno celebrated the anniver- / 
sary of the Union of Lublin, which was/ 
T - he , Rl ^ ing . consummated in 1569, during the reierf 

Of the Revolu- , ~ TTA i i i r ' 

tionary Tide * Zygmunt i August, and which fofr 
centuries had united the Lithuanians 
and Ruthenians with the Poles as brethren and frefe 
men. A still greater demonstration was held afc 
Horodlo on October 10th of the same year, in which 
a countless multitude of Lithuanians, Poles and Ru-, 
thenians celebrated the memorable deed of 1413, 
which was conceived in love and dedicated to liberty. 
In the same historic town they once more swore to up- 
hold the union. To stem the revolutionary tide, the 
new Viceroy, Count Charles Lambert, goaded on by 
Wielopolski, determined to employ severe measures 
of repression. In spite of this, the funeral of the 
patriotic Archbishop of Warsaw, which took place 
on the day of the Horodlo anniversary, was seized as 
an excuse for a demonstrative gathering at the capital. 
The Reds issued a proclamation for a similar demon- 
stration to be held five days later on the anniversary 
of Kosciuszko's death, October 15th. The govern- 
ment was apprised of this and declared martial law 


throughout the kingdom. This step served but to 
provoke bloodshed and did not stop the demonstra- 
tion. On the morning of that day all the churches 
of the city were thronged to capacity, masses cele- 
brated and religious and patriotic songs chanted. 
The Governor General surrounded the churches with 
troops and ordered wholesale arrests of all communi- 
cants. In two churches the congregations resolved 
to remain throughout the day and night. The next 
morning the troops forcibly entered the churches and 
arrested over three thousand persons. In remon- 
strance against this outrage the administrator of the 
archdiocese ordered the closing of all churches for an 
indefinite period of time. In proof of their solidarity 
all the Protestant temples and Jewish synagogues 
similarly closed their doors. Following this incident 
Count Lambert left Poland and Wielopolski sub- 
mitted his resignation and went to St. Petersburg. 
In the conferences with the Tsar he attributed the 
causes of his failures to the insufficiency of the con- 
cessions granted, and urged among other reforms the 
separation of the administrative and military branches 
of the government, as was provided in the constitu- 
tion of 1815. The Tsar was not ready to follow his 
advice at the time. Meanwhile, the successors of 
Count Lambert ruled the country with an iron hand. 
Arrests were made without discrimination, and thou- 
sands of persons were deported to Russia and 
Siberia, chiefly from among the Whites. The Reds, 
through the secrecy of their proceedings and their 
splendid organizations which were spread all over the 
country, were more protected than the conservatives, 
who were usually taken unawares, often on the slight- 
est suspicion, in the majority of instances imaginary 
and groundless. As the repressions grew, resistance 
became more active and better organized. The emi- 


grants in France and Italy renewed their efforts in 
various directions. With the assistance of Garibaldi 
and under the direction of General Mieroslawski a 
military school was established at Genoa in September, 
1861, to train officers and subalterns. At the request 
of the Russian Government, however, the school was 
closed by order of the Italian authorities in June, 1862. 
These renewed revolutionary activities led the Tsar 



to consider more seriously the advice of Wielopolski. 
He entrusted to him first the selection of a new arch- 
bishop who would open the churches and prohibit 
future patriotic demonstrations in these edifices, and 
then, in spite of the vehement protests of the Russian 
reactionaries, consented to grant to Poland a much 
wider measure of home rule than heretofore, and to 
separate the military from the civil authorities. Fol- 
lowing the example of his grandfather, the Tsar sent 



his brother Constantine to Warsaw as Viceroy of 
Poland, and made Wielopolski the head of the civil 
government, June 8, 1862. The home rule granted 
was very considerable. It did not, however, restore 
the autonomy of 1815, and did not revive the national 
Polish army. 

FiG. 217 JOSEPH KORZENIOWSKI (1797-1863) 
Educator and Writer 

It was during this period of the shortlived Polish 
autonomy that Wielopolski carried out his educa- 
tional reforms. In addition to the re- 
PoHsh^^ opening of the University of Warsaw, 

Home-Rule mentioned above, he founded aPolytech- 
nical School and an Institute of Agricul- 
ture and Forestry at Pulawy, near Lublin. He re- 


organized the Warsaw School of Fine Arts and 
opened a High School for girls at the capital. In- 
struction in all the schools was exclusively in Po- 
lish and emphasis was laid on the teaching of Polish 
history and literature. The name of the Polish 
writer, Joseph Korzeniowski, should be mentioned in 
this connection, as he was Wielopolski's chief adviser 
in educational matters, and as his name has since 
become known to the Anglo-Saxon world by the 
literary genius of his nephew, Joseph Conrad. 

Had home rule been granted earlier, before the 
revolutionary propaganda took such a strong hold on 
the people, Polish political life might have taken a 
different course, for a while at least. As it was, the 
Reds, believing that the concessions made on the part 
of the government were calculated merely to pacify 
the strong revolutionary spirit which was animating 
the country, and that they would be rescinded or cur- 
tailed after this object had been attained and the 
revolutionary societies disbanded, resolved to continue 
on the warpath and to stop at nothing short of com- 
plete independence. Their determination, however, 
might have been paralyzed by the cooler councils of 
the conservatives had somebody other than the im- 
petuous and tactless Wielopolski headed the civil 

To forestall the possibility of a modus vivendi 
between the government and the people an irrespon- 
sible band among the Reds decided to employ terror- 
istic tactics. In June, 1862, a Russian military officer 
belonging to the revolutionary party shot and 
wounded the military governor in retaliation for the 
death sentence imposed upon his three colleagues in 
the army. Upon the arrival of Grand Duke Con- 


stantine an entirely unwarranted attempt was made 
upon his life by a Polish tailor, a member of the ter- 
roristic organization. Several weeks later two suc- 
cessive attempts were made on the life of the Mar- 
grave, but both failed. These mad acts met with the 
deserved condemnation of the country. It was shared 
by both the Whites and the Reds. The Central Com- 
mittee of the Revolutionary Party declared that it had 
nothing to do with them. But in spite of that the 
government proceeded to avenge the irresponsible 
acts of the terrorists. Even the most conservative 
among the Whites, who, like Count Andrew Zamoy- 
ski, condemned the terror in no mistaken terms, were 
exiled from the country. Wielopolski raged with fury. 
Many persons on mere suspicion were put into jail or 
sent to Siberia. To cap his policy of senseless ven- 
geance, the Margrave conceived a dangerous expedi- 
ent of "kidnapping the opposition." He determined 
to pick out a large number of men from the city work- 
ing classes and from the floating element in the 
country estates who constituted the bulk of the revolu- 
tionary contingent, and to enroll them forcibly in regi- 
ments stationed in remote regions of Russia. This 
lawless and arbitrary act roused the country and ex- 
pedited and armed uprising. The Central Committee 
of the Revolutionary Party made frantic efforts to 
postpone the outbreak until sufficient stores of am- 
munition arrived from abroad, but could not control 
the situation when the time arrived for carrying into 
effect Wielopolski's order. On January 22, 1863, the 
Central Committee, assuming the name of the Pro- 
visional National Government, proclaimed the revo- 


The night of January 22, 1863, was the beginning 
of a new uprising against Russian rule. It broke out 

at a moment when general quiet pre- 
P 1 * . vailed in Europe and in Russia, and 

of ises when the Revolutionary Party had not 

sufficient means to arm and equip the 
bands of young men who were hiding in forests to 
escape Wielopolski's order of conscription into the 
Russian army. Altogether about ten thousand men 
rallied around the revolutionary banner; they were 
recruited chiefly from the ranks of the city working 
classes and minor clerks, although there was also a 
considerable admixture of the younger sons of the 
poorer country squires and a number of priests of 
lower rank. To deal with these ill-armed bands the 
government had at its disposal a well trained army 
of ninety thousand men under General Ramsay in Po- 
land, sixty thousand troops in Lithuania and forty-five 
thousand in Volhynia. It looked as if the rebellion 
would be crushed in a short while. The die was cast, 
however, and the provisional government applied it- 
self to the great task with fervor. It issued a mani- 
festo in which it pronounced "all sons of Poland free 
and equal citizens without distinction of creed, con- 
dition and rank." It declared that "land cultivated 
by the peasants, whether on the basis of rent-pay or 
service, henceforth should become their uncondi- 
tional property, and compensation for it would be 
given to the landlords out of the general funds of the 
State." The revolutionary government did its very 
best to supply and provision the unarmed and scat- 
tered guerrillas who, during the month of February, 
met the Russians in eighty bloody encounters. Mean- 
while, it issued an appeal to the nations of western 
Europe, which was received everywhere with a genu- 
ine and heartfelt response, from Norway to Portugal. 


Pope Pius IX ordered a special prayer for the success 
of the Polish arms, and was very active in arousing 
sympathy for the suffering nation. The provisional 
government counted on a revolutionary outbreak in 
Russia, where the discontent with the autocratic re- 
gime seemed at the time to be widely prevalent. It also 
counted on the active support of Napoleon III, par- 
ticularly after Prussia, foreseeing an inevitable armed 
conflict with France, made friendly overtures to Rus- 
sia and offered her assistance in suppressing the Po- 
lish uprising. On the 14th day of February arrange- 
ments had already been completed, and the British 
Ambassador in Berlin was able to inform his govern- 
ment that a Prussian military envoy "has concluded a 
military convention with the Russian Government, 
according to which the two governments will recipro- 
cally afford facilities to each other for the suppres- 
sion of the insurrectionary movements which have 
lately taken place in Poland . . . The Prussian 
railways are also to be placed at the disposal of the 
Russian military authorities for the transportation 
of troops through Prussian territory from one part 
of the Kingdom of Poland to another . . . "* This 
step of Bismarck's led to protests on the part of sev- 
eral governments and roused the Polish nation. The 
result was the transformation of the insignificant 
uprising into another national war against Russia. 
Encouraged by the promises made by Napoleon III, 
the whole nation, acting upon the advice of Wlady- 
slav Czartoryski, the son of Prince Adam, took to 
arms. Indicating their solidarity with the nation, 
all the Poles holding office under the Russian Govern- 
ment, including the Archbishop of Warsaw, resigned 
their positions and submitted to the newly consti- 

*J. Ellis Barker, 1. c., p. 100. 


tuted Polish Government, which was composed x of five 
most prominent representatives of the Whites. This 
transformation of the insurrection into a war changed 
the whole aspect of the situation. An army of thirty 
thousand men was soon organized and new additions 
were made. The rich elements in the cities as well as 

(From the series of drawings on "War" by Arthur Grottger) 

in the country districts offered large sums of money. 
The nobility of Galicia and the Duchy of Posen sup- 
ported the war with money, supplies and men. Lithu- 
ania rose and soon the flame of war spread over 
Livonia, White Russia, Volhynia, Podolia and even 
in some places in LTkraine. The diplomatic inter- 
vention of the Powers in behalf of Poland, not sus- 


tained, except in the case of Sweden, by a real deter- 
mination on their part to do something effective for 
her, did more harm than good, as mere verbosity often 
does. Tt alienated Austria which hitherto had main- 
tained a friendly neutrality with reference to Poland 
and had not interferred with the Polish activities in 
Galicia. It prejudiced public opinion among the radical 

(From the Series "Lithuania" by Arthur Grottger) 

groups in Russia who, until that time, had been friendly 
because they regarded the uprising as of a social rather 
than a national character and it stirred the Russian 
Government to more energetic endeavors toward the 
speedy suppression of hostilities which were growing 
in strength and determination. By bringing about a 
transfer of the reins of government from the hands of 
the progressives into those of the conservatives, 


foreign intervention was indirectly responsible for the 
alienation of the former enthusiastic support which 
the peasants gave to the uprising. The conservative 
government did not make such sweeping promises of 
land distribution as were given in the declaration of 
the revolutionary provisional government. Prince 
Peter Kropotkin in his "Memoirs" gives interesting 
information as to the consternation the grim turn 

(From the series "Polonia" by Arthur Grottger) 

taken by the war was creating in the official circles of 
Russia, and how the failure of the Polish government 
to satisfy the peasants was craftily exploited in the 
interests of Russia. To quote Kropotkin: 

"Full advantage was taken of this mistake (on the part of 
the Polish government) when Nicholas Milutin was sent to 
Poland by Alexander II with the mission of liberating the 
peasants in the way he intended doing it in Russia, whether the 
landlords were ruined or not. 'Go to Poland ; apply there 
your red program against the Polish landlords/ said Alexander 


TI to him, and Milutin, together with Prince Cherkassky and 
many others, really did their best to take the land from the 
landlords and give good-sized allotments to the peasants . . . 
One can imagine the effect which such a policy had upon the 
peasants. A cousin of mine was in Poland or in Lithuania 
with his regiment of uhlans of the guard. The revolution was 
so serious that even the regiments of the guard had been sent 
from St. Petersburg against it, and it is now known that when 
Michael Muravioff was sent to Lithuania and went to take 
leave of the Empress Marie, she said to him : 'Save at least 
Lithuania for Russia!' Poland was regarded as lost. 

" 'The armed bands of the revolutionists held the country,' 
my cousin said to rne, 'and we were powerless to defeat them, 
or even to find them. Small bands over and over again at- 
tacked our smaller detachments, and as they fought admirably 
and knew the country and found support among the popula- 
tion, they often had the best of the skirmishes. We were 
thus compelled to march in large columns only. We would 
cross a region, marching through the woods, without finding 
any trace of the bands ; but when we marched back again we 
learned that the bands had reappeared in our rear ; that they 
had levied the patriotic tax in the country ; and if some peasant 
had rendered himself useful in any way to our troops, we found 
him hanged on a tree by the revolutionary bands. So it went 
on for months, with no chance for improvement, until Milutin 
and Cherkassky came and freed the peasants, giving them the 
land. Then all Avas over.' 

"I once met one of the Russian functionaries who went to 
Poland under Milutin and Cherkassky. 'We had full liberty,' 
he said, to turn over the land to the peasants. My usual plan 
was to go and convoke the peasants' assembly. 

" 'Tell me first,' I would say, 'what land do you hold at this 
moment?' They would point it out to me. 

" 'Is this all the land you ever held?' I would then ask. 

" 'Surely not,' they would reply with one voice. 'Years 
ago these meadows were ours ; this wood was once in our pos- 
session, these fields, too,' they would say. 

"I would let them go on talking and then would ask: 

" 'Now, which of you can certify under oath that this or 
that land has ever been held by you?' Of course, there would 
be nobody forthcoming it was all too long ago. At last 
some old man would be thrust out from the crowd, the rest 


' 'He knows all about it ; he can swear to it.' 
"The old man would begin a long story about what he 
knew in his youth, or had heard from his father, but I would 
cut the story short .... 

" 'State on oath what you know to have been held by the 
gmina (the village community) and the land is yours.' And 
as soon as he took the oath one could trust the oath implicitly 
I wrote out the papers and declared to the assembly : 

" 'Now, this land is yours. You stand no longer under 
any obligations whatever to your late masters ; you are simply 
their neighbors; all you will have to do is to pay the redemp- 
tion tax, so much every year, to the government. Your home- 
steads go with the land : you get them free.' " * 

How Muravioff, the Hangman, proceeded in 
Lithuania is too weird to describe. In addition to the 
thousands who fell in battles, one hun- 
^ re< ^ anc ^ twenty-eight men were exe- 

cuted by his order, and nine thousand 
four hundred and twenty-three men and women were 
exiled to Siberia. Whole villages and towns were 
burned to the last beam; all activities were suspended 
and the gentry was ruined by confiscation and exor- 
bitant taxes. Count Berg, the newly appointed Gover- 
nor-General of Poland, followed in MuraviofFs foot- 
steps, employing inhumanly harsh measures against 
the country. The Reds criticised the Conservative gov- 
ernment for its reactionary policy with reference to 
the peasants but, deluded in its hopes by Napoleon III, 
the Government counted on French support and per- 
sisted in its tactics. It was only after the highly 
respected and wise Romuald Traugiitt took matters 
in hand that the aspect of the situation became 
brighter. He reverted to the policy of the first pro- 
visional government and endeavored to bring the 
peasant masses into active participation by granting 
to them the land they worked and calling upon all 

* P. Kropotkin: "Memoirs of a Revolutionist." Boston: Houghton, 
Mifflin & Co., 1899, pp. 174-180. 


classes to rise. The response was generous but not 
universal. The wise policy was adopted too late. 
The Russian Government had already been working 
among the peasants in the manner above described 
and giving to them liberal parcels of land for the mere 
asking. They were completely satisfied, and though 
not interfering with the revolutionaries to any great 
extent, became lukewarm to- them. Fighting con- 
tinued intermittently for several months. Among the 
generals Count Joseph Hauke distinguished himself 
most as a commander of the revolutionary forces and 
took several cities from the vastly superior Russian 
army. When Traugutt and the four other members 
of the Polish Government were apprehended by Rus- 
sian troops and executed at the Warsaw citadel, the 
war in the course of which six hundred and fifty battles 
and skirmishes were fought and twenty-five thousand 
Poles killed, came to a speedy end in the latter half of 
1864, having lasted for eighteen months. It is of in- 
terest to note that it persisted in Zmudz and Podlasie, 
where the Uniate population, outraged and perse- 
cuted for their religious convictions, clung longest to 
the revolutionary banner. 

After the collapse of the uprising the Russian 
Government was at liberty to indulge in vengeance and 

the opportunity was not missed. Ac- 
C Ven f h cording to Russian official information, 

three hundred and ninety-six persons 
Government wef e executed and eighteen thousand six 

hundred and seventy-two were exiled 
to Siberia. Large numbers of men and women were 
sent to the interior of Russia and to Caucasus, Ural 
and other sections. Altogether about seventy thou- 
sand persons were imprisoned and subquently taken 
out of Poland and stationed in the remote regions of 
Russia. The government confiscated sixteen hun- 


dred and sixty estates in Poland and seventeen hun- 
dred and ninety-four in Lithuania. A ten per cent, 
income tax was imposed on all estates as a war in- 
demnity. Only in 1869 was this exorbitant and 
ruinous tax reduced to "five per cent, on all incomes. 
Resides the land granted to the peasants, the Russian 
Government gave them additional forest, pasture and 
other privileges (known under the name of "servi- 
tutes") which have proven to be a source of incessant 
irritation between the landowners and peasants, and 
of serious difficulty to rational economic development. 
The government took over all the church estates and 
funds, and abolished monasteries and convents. With 
the exception of religious instruction, all other studies 
in the schools were ordered to be in Russian. Russian 
also became the official language of the country, used 
exclusively in all offices of the general and local gov- 
ernment. All traces of the former Polish autonomy 
were removed and the kingdom was divided into ten 
provinces, each with an appointed Russian military 
governor and all under complete control of the Gov- 
ernor-General at Warsaw. All the. former govern- 
ment functionaries were deprived of their positions, 
and in Poland alone about fourteen thousand Poles 
were thrown out to care for themselves and their 
families as well as they could. 

In Lithuania the Russian officials set themselves 
to the task of obliterating Polish culture. As in Po- 
land, all libraries and museums were re- 
moved to Russia. Associations of every 

Lithuania 1-1 11 r^t e 

kind were closed. Ine continuation of 
a Polish newspaper that had been published in Wilno 
since 1750 was prohibited. The confiscated estates 
were awarded to Russian officials. Every oppor- 
tunity was used to dispossess Polish landowners from 
their homesteads. Over eight hundred families were 


forced to sell their estates and all of them went to 
Russians, as, by the ukase of the Tsar proclaimed in 
1865, only Russians had the right to buy land in Lithu- 
ania and Ruthenia. As long as Russian rule lasted the 
Poles could not acquire land in two sections of the for- 
mer Polish Republic. The impoverished Polish nobles 
who did not own any real estate were ordered to leave 
the country and were forcibly settled in Russia. Po- 
lish speech was prohibited in public places. Severe 
punishment was prescribed for teaching reading or 
writing outside of school buildings. Polish display 
signs over stores, Polish posters or advertisements of 
any kind came under the ban of the law. Even the 
cab drivers had not escaped the watchful eye of the 
Russian officials: they were ordered to dress, as 
well as to fix the harness of their horses, in the Rus- 
sian style. The names of the cities were Russified and 
Russian colonization was strongly encouraged. Par- 
ticularly severe limitations were imposed upon the 
Roman Catholic Church. During the seven years 
following the revolution only ten priests were or- 
dained in Lithuania. Meetings of priests were pro- 
hibited as were also public prayers, processions, 
renovation of church buildings or displays of crosses. 
A very strict police control was exercised over the 
priests. As in Poland, Roman Catholic religious 
orders were abolished. Thousands of Catholic com- 
municants were forced to join Greek Orthodox 
churches and many Roman churches were trans- 
formed into Orthodox places of worship. Efforts 
were made to supplement the prayers in Polish by 
special prayers in the Russian tongue. Religious in- 
struction in the Lithuanian schools was to be given 
in Russian. As a result of these Russian iniquities 
with reference to the Roman Catholic Church in Po- 
land and Lithuania. Pope Pius IX severed diplo- 



matic relations with Russia in 1865. The Poles were 
removed from all government positions, from service 
on railways, banks and similar public institutions. 
The publishing of books and periodicals in either the 
Polish or Lithuanian language was made illegal. Only 


in 1904 were the Lithuanians again granted the use of 
Latin characters. The laws of 1864 were later recon- 
firmed in 1894, and the rigor continued unabated. In 
recognition of the distinguished services rendered to 
the cause of Russia by Muravioff, the Russian Gov- 


ernment erected a monument to him at Wilndjn 1898, 
and in 1904 a monument was raised there in honor of 
Catherine the Great. Fearing lest the two bronze 
monuments be used for making howitzers by the Ger- 
mans, the Russian authorities, ordered their transfer 
to Moscow at the time of their recent hasty evacua- 
tion of the ancient Lithuanian capital in 1915, and it 


was with sincere joy that the population saw these 

emblems of oppression and outrage leave the country 

on their way east. 

Following the introduction of "reforms" a severe 

and stupid censorship was saddled upon Poland and 
Lithuania, which stifled every thought 
and which often distorted the meaning 

t/ensorsnip . . 

of the most innocent expressions by the 
censor's substitution of words that were more to his 


liking- and sounded less revolutionary. Madame 
Modjeska, in her "Memoirs," relates some of her ex- 
periences with the Warsaw censor and the difficulties 
she experienced in introducing plays she liked. 

"It was very easy to get approval of the modern French 
plays. Even when the plays were not highly moral, they 
were kindly dealt with, but our censor always objected to the 
poetic drama. He seemed to have a special pleasure in cutting 
my speeches in such a way that it was quite impossible to get 
any sense out of them. It was annoying and sometimes quite 
ridiculous, and our actors had a great deal of fun every time a 
play came from the censor's office. Every noble sentiment 
was forbidden. Even some of the words were found disloyal, 
among others, the word 'Slave.' In one of the melodramas it 
was cut out and replaced by the word 'negro/ and the sentence, 
which ran as follows : 'He was a slave to his passion,' was 
changed to 'He was a negro to his passion !' On another oc- 
casion a Catholic priest had to say, 'I love my country and my 
people, and I shall never leave them.' The words 'country and 
people' were replaced by 'wife and children !' In another play 
the words 'He walked" arm in arm with the emperor and 
whispered in his ear,' were changed to 'He walked three steps 
behind the emperor and whispered in his ear !' On still another 
occasion the censor refused to allow the playing of Slowacki's 
'Mazepa' because there was a Polish king in it. He said to me : 

" 'A Polish King? Who ever heard of such an absurd 
thing! Polish Kings never existed. There are only Russian 
emperors of Poles and of all the Russias; you understand, 
Madam?' When I tried to persuade him of his error, he cut 
me short with the words : 

" 'Do not think of it. It will never do, never!' " * 

The novel, the drama and the newspapers had to 
adapt themselves to these conditions of censorship 
and to establish certain conventions of style which 
would be understood by everybody. In this way a 
peculiar type of writing developed. The public could 
read between the lines and a great many things were 

* Memories and Impressions of Helena Modjeska. An Autobi- 
ography, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1910, pp. 185, 190. 




said and a great many books were published whose 
intent and ideas were not in conformity with the 
standards of the censor. 

Passive and powerless resignation took hold of 
the country in the face of the fresh calamities which 

befell it. Life became divested of all 
The Era of possibilities for normal development 
its?eflection d anc * a ^ ee P gl omse ttled upon the hearts 
in Literature an ^ minds of the people. The profuse 

bloodletting weakened the national 
body and sapped its vitality. Poland became pain- 
fully conscious of the fact that she was abandoned by 
everybody and that her ideals were farther from 
realization than ever before. She saw that under the 
new regime she would be unable to continue the tra- 
ditions of her cultural past and to take an active part 
in the progress of civilization. An European nation, 
par excellence, with an ancient, distinct and fine 
culture, was, by force of arms, stripped of its heritage 
and forced, bound hand and foot, into a narrow mould 
of foreign, semi-Oriental life that was suffocating and 
loathsome. The Russian bureaucrat, the chihovnik 
and the Cossack became the absolute masters of the 
life and death of the people. All the multifarious and 
onerous taxes collected in the country went to 
strengthen the resources of the Russian Empire, and 
only such crumbs were appropriated for improve- 
ments in Poland as the vindictive Russian Govern- 
ment would grant. The inhabitants and rightful 
owners of the country had no voice in the manage- 
ment of it, even in an advisory capacity. Their chil- 
dren had to attend Russian schools, a few of which 
had been established, and the youth went to a Russian 
university. Everything Polish was discriminated 
against and the feelings of the people outraged at 





every turn. The ignorance and superstition of the 
peasantry was fostered by the patronizing officialdom. 
The activities of the local self-government of the 
peasants were carefully supervised and guided by the 
Russian agents. The governors and the curators of 

(Portrait by Pilatti) 

education were ruthless in their oppression, and the 
only method of obtaining individual relief from their 
official iniquities was by bribery. Russian bureau- 
cratic corruption was by force of circumstances 
grafted upon Polish everyday life. 


The nation had to submit to this order of things. 
As no political life was possible, the leaders urged 
the adoption of a program fitted to the circumstances: 
work along general organic development, with parti- 
cular encouragement of modern commerce, industry 
and advanced agriculture. Darwinism and Spencer- 
ism, then corning to the front, furnished the philo- 


the pseiulonym of Alexander 

Glowacki (1847-1912) 

sophical basis for the new social and economic policy 
which in contradistinction to the idealistic tendencies 
of the former generations was styled as that of Posi- 

Literature which nowhere else perhaps, reflects 
the intellectual and spiritual life of the people so faith- 
fully as in Poland, echoed almost immediately the 
new tendencies. Joseph Ignace Kraszewski, the Po- 



lish Dickens, a man of a versatile mind and of a re- 
markable facility of writing, though belonging to the 
passing generation, well appreciated the spirit of the 
new age and contributed a number of novels exalting 
the ideal of work and accomplishment ("Resurrec- 
turi")and ridiculing the unproductive dreamer ("Blue 
Almonds") and the sluggish ways of the country 

FIG. 228 ELIZA ORZESZKOWA (1842-1910) 

squires ("Morituri"). When the Positivist pendulum 
swung somewhat too far and threatened to divert the 
mind of the people from the past national ideals, 
Kraszewski began his remarkable series of historical 
novels for which, as well as for his indefatigable ef- 
forts in promoting the education of the masses, his 



name will long be remembered in Polish history. It 
was the fund collected on the occasion of his 75th. 
birthday that made possible the establishment of the 
''School Mother," an organization to promote ele- 
mentary education among the people. It was launched 
in Galicia in 1882 and has been carrying on very 
useful and effective work ever since. 

The truest exponents of the positivist era in Po- 
lish literature are Boleslav Prus, Eliza Orzeszkowa 


Editor of "Prawda" (The Truth), a very influential progressive 

weekly magazine published in Warsaw 

and Alexander Swientochowski. In their short stories, 
novels, dramas and feuilletons they portrayed and 
analyzed the changing social and economic conditions 
and the problems which these changes created in the 
environment and in the individual and collective psy- 
chology. The relations of the peasant to the other 
classes of society, the emancipation of women and 
their new opportunities, the relation of the individual 
to society, the clashes between individual and social 



duties, the ignorance of the masses, the struggle of 
the peasant with the efforts of the Prussian coloniza- 
tion commission, the ferment in the life of the Jews 
under changing conditions, found a sympathetic and 
highly artistic description and analysis in the writings 
of that period. All three of the above mentioned 
writers were ceaseless in their propagation of humani- 

FIG. 230 HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ (1846-1916) 

tarian ideals and of strict performance of duty. They 
fought obfuscation and slothfulness and preached the 
gospel of work and accomplishment. Their influence 
was profound and lasting: Their writings, remark- 
able for style and beauty and scintillating with modern 
ideas, are lasting contributions to the thesaurus of the 
world's literature. Another writer of the same period 
who achieved great fame was Henryk Sienkiewicz. 



He also started out as a champion of Positivist ideals, 
but his great talent was more at ease in painting 
pictures of by-gone days and he struck a deep chord 
in the Polish soul by rekindling the pride of past 
glory. His incomparable descriptions of the pictur- 
esque life of Poland of the XVTIth century with its 

Composer of Polish National Music 

wars and glories, its free expansion and remarkable 
characters added greatly to the strengthening of 
patriotic and national feelings of a generation brought 
up under the indescribable oppression of Russia and 
Prussia. A similar "sursum corda" was afforded by 
the national music and national operas of Stanislav 
Moniuszko of which "Halka" is the most popular, and 


FIG. 232 JAN MATEYKO (1838-1893) 
Master of Polish Historical Painting 



by the historic paintings of the great masters Jan Ma- 
teyko and Arthur Grottger. 

Although the Positivist era deprecated poetry, 
the period abounded in a number of poets of great 
distinction, of which at "least two, Adam Asnyk and 
Maria Konopnicka, should be mentioned because of 
the influence they exercised on their generation. 

FIG. 233 STANISLAV WYSPIArtSKI (1869-1907) 
Poet and Painter, the greatest of modern Polish writers 

Asnyk, a peer in style and delicacy of feeling, became 
the poetic interpreter of the tendencies of his time and 
Konopnicka was the inspired champion of the down- 
trodden and of those who toil in the factories and 

The end of the XTXth century witnessed another 
mighty turn in the evolution of Polish letters and 



poetry. Jan Kasprowicz, Kazimir Tetmayer and Jan 
Staff, in verse; Sieroszewski, Zeromski, Reymont, 
Weyssenhof and Danilowski, in prose; Zulawski, 
Przybyszewski, and above all the giant Wyspianski, 
in drama, created a new epoch-making era in Polish 
literature. The creative genius of the nation, pre- 
vented from finding adequate expression for itself in 

(pseudonym: Mauryoy Zych) 

the multifarious endeavors which normal national life 
affords, concentrated, as it were, in the sphere of lit- 
erature and the other forms of art. There is hardly 
another people among whom art, science and litera- 
ture occupy such an exalted position as among the 
Poles and where so much talent is devoted to these 
pursuits of life. 


The "red program" of Milutin, referred to in the 
above quotation from Kropotkin, coupled with the 
ruinous Russian system of taxation and 
administration, had thrown out of the 
saddle a vast number of families belong- 
ing to the gentry class. Unable to meet 
the onerous requirements imposed upon 
them or to adapt themselves to changed 
conditions, they were driven to the wall. 
Thousands of families became ruined and flocked to 

Social and 
Following the 
Collapse of the 



Poet, Philosopher and Dramatist. Died on the field 

of honor during the Great War as an officer of 

the Polish Legions. 

the cities, swelling the ranks of "the intellectual prole- 
tariat" as they were called. It was a hard task for 
them to become accustomed to urban occupations. Ill 
prepared to compete with the city element they could 
not avail themselves of the opportunities for com- 
mercial and industrial pursuits offered at the time, 
because of their proud family traditions. The op- 
portunities were "considerable on account of the ex- 
tension of the domestic market resulting from the 
change in the status of the peasantry and from their 



acquisition of a purchasing power which they had 
not possessed in by-gone days. Gradually, however, 
adaptation to environment took place, technical ex- 
perts developed and the economic evolution of the 
country received a powerful boom. When, in the 
seventies, Russia, needing additional funds to finance 
the war with Turkey, considerably raised the cus- 
tom duties and built a high protective wall, Polish 
manufactures found themselves practically without 
foreign competition and with enormous markets in 


the east. Agents of the industrial countries arrived 
in considerable numbers and established large fac- 
tories, taking advantage of the great natural re- 
sources of the country, its abundance of coal, iron, 
zinc and lead and of the immense supply of relatively 
cheap labor. The small peasant landowners were un- 
able to eke out enough from their farms to meet the 
high Russian taxes, and tens of thousands of them 
flocked to the cities. In a decade or two the coun- 
try's economic basis of existence swung from agri- 
culture to industry. In 1909 over a million and a 


quarter tons of iron ore were extracted and about 
four and a half million tons were smelted. The a'n- 
nual production of calamine was 100,000 tons and that 
of coal was estimated as sufficiently large to supply 
all France.* Poland became one of the most highly 
developed industrial countries of Europe with a dens- 
ity of population surpassed by Belgium alone. War- 
saw, on account of its central geographic position, 
grew by leaps and bounds, and reached, including the 
population of its suburbs, the million mark. New 


cities sprang up and small towns, like Lodz, developed 
prodigiously. It was due to the enterprise of the 
foreign and native capitalists, to the skill of the Polish 
engineers and technicans, and to the intelligence and 
conscientiousness of the Polish workmen that indus- 
tries could not only maintain themselves profitably, 
but even increase in bulk and productivity in spite of 
the difficulties placed in their way by the regulations 

* S. Posner: ''Poland as an Independent Economic Unit" London: 
Geo. Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1916, pp. 11-12. 


of the Russian government. Fearing lest the Polish 
industries supplant the Russian manufactures, the 
government so regulated railway tariffs that it was 
much cheaper to ship the same kind of goods from 
points in Russia to destinations in Poland, than from 
the same places in Poland to points in Russia. Fac- 
tory regulations were made more cumbersome in Po- 
land than in Russia and taxation higher. The pur- 
poseful undevelopment of railway facilities in Po- 
land interfered with proper local distribution and 
tended, in addition -to other causes, to thwart the 


development of those industries of the preceding 
period which had been producing exclusively for the 
Polish market and to specialize in exports to the Em- 
pire. This led to centralization of capital in certain 
industries like the textile and steel and iron, and de- 
terred diversification of production. Some of the 
daily necessaries of life, like products of leather, horn, 
bone and wood, building materials, soap, candles, 
glass, porcelain, were imported in large quantities 
from Russia. It became more profitable to specialize 
in certain staple commodities for export and to dis- 



regard the home market. From a political standpoint 
this development had important consequences and 
created a peculiar situation. Foreign capital, attracted 
to the country by the latent possibilities and enormous 
financial gains, had turned Poland into an economic 
dependent of Russia and created a new political phi- 
losophy, of the "dollar diplomacy" type, based on 
loyalty "without reservations" because of the lucra- 
tive Far East markets of the Russian Empire. The 
rich manufacturers became the spiritual heirs of the 


old Polish "kinglets," the magnates, who, for personal 
gain, had sacrificed the vital interests of the nation. 
Tn spite of the industrial expansion of the country 
hundreds of thousands of manual workers were im- 
pelled to seek work abroad, especially in the United 
States and also in Germany whither they flocked in 
large numbers every spring for work in the fields. 
Many thousands among the young Polish engineers 
and chemists were induced to go to Russia and many 
of them, attracted by the very high compensation 
professional service commands because of its scarcity, 


settled there permantly. The large exodus of the 
most robust and enterprising elements among the 
working class was due to a number of causes, chief 
among which were the lure of the high American 
wages for unskilled labor, the oppression on the part 
of the government and the economic exploitation on 
the part of the industrial corporations. 

The fact that a large percentage of the business 
capital in Poland was foreign and the government in- 
tensely inimical to progress, was re- 
Socialism and sponsible for the disregard on the part 

the People's 5 , . , . . . r ii. 

Party of the industrial corporations for the 

broader social needs of the country 
and their unscrupulous exploitation of the working 
masses. Unable, on account of government pro- 
hibitions, to organize themselves into trade unions 
for bettering their condition, the workmen formed 
secret societies, chiefly of a socialistic character. A 
powerful, though officially non-existent, Socialist 
Party arose and found tens of thousands of sym- 
pathizers among the intellectual elements of the 
cities who were attracted to the organization not only 
because of their sympathy with the exploited work- 
man and their love for democracy, but also because 
of the fact that the more important wing of the Polish 
Socialist Party, known as the P. P. S., strange as it 
may seem for a Socialist body, inscribed in its plat- 
form the blunt demand for Poland's independence. 
The development of the philosophy of Polish Social- 
ism constitutes one of the most interesting chapters 
in the evolution of political thought. The foremost 
Socialist writers like Boleslav Limanowski, Ignace 
Daszynski, Kazimir Krauz and Titus Filipowicz em- 
phasized the importance of an independent state for 
the proper development of the masses of the Polish 
people, and pointed out the psychological and socio- 


logical weaknesses of internationalism. The famous 
speech of Bebel, delivered in October, 1891, at a Social- 
ist Congress, created a deep impression in Poland. In 
the course of that speech Bebel said: "If France and 
Russia should join in a war against Germany, then the 
Germans will fight for their existence and the war will 
become a struggle of extermination. The Socialists 
will then be compelled to help those classes whom they 
always fought, as the triumph of barbarism will mean 
a setback of many years to socialism. It is urgently 
necessary to push Russia to the East and to revive a 
new Poland, a democratic Poland." This speech by 
the high priest of socialism, seconded a year after- 
ward by Engels and Liebknecht, was a revelation to 
the narrow Polish sectarians and dreamers. It be- 
came clear that to advocate a national Polish state 
was not preaching treason against the principles of 
socialism. As a consequence, the break from interna- 
tionalism was precipitous and popular. Only a small 
minority refused to follow the general current and 
banded together under the name of the "Social 
Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania." 

The only other party which, like the socialists, 
stood on a basis of complete national independence 
was the People's Party which, as its name indicates, 
comprised mainly the lower elements of the urban 
and the rural populace. The banner of independent 
Poland was thus wrested from the hands of the 
nobility by the toiling masses of the cities and 
villages, who had just begun to come into their 
own. The two independence parties could not work 
openly in Russian Poland but they none the less 
reached a high degree of development in both Russian 
Poland and Galicia, and wielded considerable political 
influence. The beginnings of the People's Party are 


traceable to the organization by T. T. Jez (Col. Zyg- 
mtmt Milkowski) of the "Polish League" in Switzer- 
land in the eighties at the time when Russian govern- 
mental repression and the loyalism of the Polish 
upper and middle classes reached their high water 
marks. The occasion for the launching of the League 
at that moment was the impending war between 
Austria and Russia. Its aim was the creation of a 
war fund for the equipment of an army against Russia 

Pseudonym of Zygmunt Milkowski (1824-1915), Soldier, Publicist, Novelist 

and the stirring up of the public opinion of Europe 
which had entirely forgotten Poland. It was for the 
purpose of accumulating means for active steps 
against Russia that the National Treasury at Rap- 
perswil in St. Gallen, Switzerland, was created. As 
the war did not come to pass, the organization, having 
changed its name to "National League" limited its 
immediate' aims to the fostering of national and 
patriotic sentiments among the people and to the 


raising of their educational and economic standards. 
The leaders of the People's Party in Russian Poland 
were Joseph Potocki and the noted publicist, John 
Poplawski, who afterward, together with Roman 
Dmowski, distorted the movement, narrowed its 
scope and breadth, turned it into a jingo mould and 
made it subservient to Russian interests under the 
name of the National Democratic Party. That wing 
of the People's Party in Russian Poland, which refused 
to join the National Democrats clustered around the 
National Peasant Union and the National Work- 
ingmen's Alliance and remained true to the banner 
of independence. In recent years large numbers of 
former adherents realized that they have been mis- 
guided by the National Democratic leaders and 
went over to the independence organizations. This 
secession from the National Democratic Party has 
been known as the Fronde and has contributed toward 
the breaking of the backbone of Mr. Dmowski's 
strength and of his political machine. In Galicia a 
Peasant Party has been founded and led by Mr. and 
Mrs. Wyslouch. The Party has adhered steadfastly 
to the ideals of national independence and has exer- 
cised a most wholesome, constructive influence. In 
1895 the Party was able to elect to the Provincial 
Diet seven deputies, famous among whom became the 
peasant Jacob Boyko, an orator of great power and a 
man of vision and ability. 

The economic development of the Prussian part 
of Poland followed entirely different lines than that 
of Russian Poland but in their political 
attitude toward the Poles the Prussians 
were not a whit superior to the Mus- 
Regime covites. Extreme hatred of everything 

Polish is their historical tradition. The 
entire country which they claim is built on lands taken 


by force of arms from the Slavs, chiefly the Poles. 
Brandenburg, the nucleus of the State, was the first 
German outpost in Slavic territory. East Prussia, a 
Polish fief, went to them as a heritage of the bloody 
Order of the Cross; the purely Polish province of 
West Prussia and the Duchy of Posen, the cradle of 
the Polish nation, were their share of the partition 
pillage while Silesia, an originally Polish land, was 
wrested from Austria only half a century ago. In 
their haughty disdain and dislike of everything non- 
Prussian, they subjected the tenacious and irrepres- 
sible Poles to all kinds of indignities and iniquities 
conceivable. And yet, to quote the words of Mr. 
Asquith, uttered recently in reply to the parliamen- 
tary speech of Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, "the 
attempt to Germanize Poland has been at once the 
strenuous purpose and colossal failure of the Prussian 
domestic policy." To a great extent this failure was 
due to the untiring efforts of the Polish clergy to 
protect the Church from the onslaught of the "Kul- 
turkampf." The coincidence of the persecution of 
the national and the religious attachments of the 
Poles, both in Russia and Prussia, has tended to 
strengthen the historic tradition that originated with 
the Vasa period in the XVIIth century, that Polish 
nationality and Roman Catholicism are inseparable 
and has assured to the clergy an important position 
in Polish life. To this day one can find among the 
backward peasants in Russian and Prussian Poland 
many who, when asked about their nationality will 
reply that they are Catholics, and who will speak of 
a German as a Lutheran and of a Russian as an Ortho- 
dox. In the Duchy of Posen, since the dawn of the 
"organic" or "positivist" era the priests have been 
active in organizing co-operative societies, loan asso- 
ciations, trade circles and benefit funds among the 



city workingmen and peasants, and have stimulated 
self-help and developed political and social instincts. 
The great success obtained has been due in no mean 
degree to the administrative and financial genius of 
Father Wawrzyniak. In politics, however, they were 
extreme loyalists and at times subordinated the na- 


The highly gifted organizer of the Polish peasants in opposition to the 
Prussian Colonization Commission 

tional interests to those of the Church. Yet, during 
the "Kulturkampf" the loyal Archbishop of Gnesen, 
Cardinal Ledochowski, two other bishops and many 
priests were arrested and some exiled from the coun- 
try. The "Kulturkampf" of Bismarck was particu- 
larly bitter in the Polish provinces because here it 


was not only directed against the Catholic Church 
but also against the Polish race. All schools, relig- 
ious orders and civic agencies were closed and the 
jails rilled to overflowing with recalcitrant peasants 
and workmen. Under the pretext of freeing the 
Polish schools from the control of the clergy the 
Prussian government entrusted all the supervisory 
activities in the Polish schools to German inspectors. 
Soon the Polish language was barred from all gram- 
mar and high schools in the Duchy of Posen, West 
Prussia and Silesia, and the teachers were selected 
exclusively from among the Germans. When the 
German Imperial Union was established, the Polish 
provinces, in spite of the specific guarantees given to 
them in the Treaty of Vienna, were made a part of 
Prussia with no recognition of their national char- 
acter and all the protests of the Polish representatives 
proved of no avail. The world failed to take cogniz- 
ance of this breach of international law. When, in 
1873, Prussia introduced certain internal reforms 
granting more home rule to her cities, the Polish 
provinces were excluded from the provisions of the 
new law. In 3876 the Polish language was super- 
seded by the German in all official, civil, judicial and 
administrative transactions. The guaranteed and 
sworn Polish autonomy dwindled, and in order to 
obliterate all traces of the national character of the 
provinces, the Government proceeded to change the 
names of places, substituting German designations 
for the ancient Polish ones, and accordingly Leszno 
was named Lissa, Chelmno Kulm, Pila became 
known as Schneidemiihl, and so along the line 
with every town and hamlet. The Poles were de- 
prived of their constitutional right to assemble and 
hold peaceful meetings if Polish were spoken at such 
gatherings. To circumvent this restriction, business 


at Polish assemblies was transacted with the aid of 
blackboards and chalk. The law did not prohibit 
the employment of these accessories at Polish gather- 
ings. In 1885 an order was issued by Bismarck 
directing all Poles who were not Prussian subjects 
to leave the country immediately. Within a short 
time over forty thousand persons were compelled to 
leave their estates or to abandon posts at which they 
had been working for years and to seek new homes 
in other parts of Poland. In 1886 a Colonization 
Commission was established with the aim of buying 
out land from the Poles and settling it with German 
colonizers. One hundred million marks was voted 
for this purpose at the outset. A brutal anti-Polish 
orgy spread over all Prussia and Germany. Under 
the protectorate of Bismarck a special society was 
formed to agitate German public opinion against the 
Poles. The Government subsidized this society by 
large allowances and carried out its recommendations. 
This society, known as the H. K. T. from the initials 
of its three founders, Hausemann, Kennemann and 
Thiedemann, has carried out, with the personal en- 
couragement of Kaiser Wilhelm II, a most pernicious 
and vituperative propaganda by means of special pub- 
lications, pamphlets, meetings and dramas, and has 
been responsible, in a large measure, for fostering 
intense animosity between the two races. "Ausrot- 
ten!" (Exterminate!) became the slogan of the Ger- 
man nation with reference to the Poles, and for the 
realization of this inhuman aim no amount of money 
was too large. Over ten billion marks were spent for 
the purpose. Polish merchants, manufacturers and 
workmen were systematically and openly boycotted 
and German trade in Poland was heavily subsidized. 
The Polish village communities were deprived of their 
right of supervision over the village schools and, in 


Russian fashion, private instruction outside of the 
school buildings was made punishable by heavy penal- 
ties. Children became the peculiarly favored butt of 
the H. K. T. assaults. In schools they were flogged 
for speaking or praying in Polish. When, in 1901, 
the parents of the children of the little town of Wrzes- 
nia, rose against this barbarous practice on the part 
of the teachers, they suffered heavy penalties. The 
echo of this case reverberated loudly all over the world, 
and for the first time called the attention of the civil- 
ized nations to Prussian Kultur which, with refer- 
ence to the Poles, bore such a striking resemblance to 
the Tsar's conception of government. 

Following the Russian policy in Lithuania and 
Ruthenia, which forbade the acquisition of real estate 
by Poles, and realizing that all the efforts of the 
Colonization Commission were in vain in view of 
the unexampled attachment of the Polish peasant to 
his native land, the Prussian government determined 
in 1904 to arrest the. growth of Polish homesteads 
by making the building of houses on newly acquired 
properties dependent on special permission, which 
seldom, if ever, was given. This new limitation did 
not stop the efforts of the Poles to get hold of as much 
real property as possible. To overcome the restric- 
tion, the peasants have followed the example of one 
Drzymala and live in houses built on wheels, in this 
manner circumventing the spirit of the restriction, for 
the law does not as yet prohibit a Pole from living in 
a wagon. It is incredible that a civilized government 
should drive people to resort to such means of defence 
in the struggle for self-preservation. The Prussian in- 
humanity had at least one redeeming feature, for by its 
constant pressure it created a healthy reaction. Ger- 
man thoroughness and efficiency have called forth an 
equal measure of preparation and co-operation. Ger- 


man methods were imitated to defeat German aggres- 
sion. The Peasant Bank of Posen and its large 
number of local branches has successfully competed 
with the Colonization Bank. In thrift and product- 
iveness the Polish peasant became equal, if not supe- 
rior, to the German Michel. In endurance and educa- 
tion he is similarly his equal. He is as progressive 
and as prosperous as the German peasant and his 
standards of life and requirement have become in- 
finitely higher than those of his brother in Russian 
Poland, to whom the Russian Government has denied 
all the achievements of European civilization. The 
German system of compulsory education though 
resented by the Poles because of its policy of German- 
ization has served, however, to develop the mental 
faculties of the Polish peasantry. There is no illit- 
eracy in the German part of Poland. On the other 
hand, the German hammer stunned, as it were, the 
higher creative faculties of the Poles. Very few 
great artists and writers have appeared in Prussian 
Poland, though there have been several notable ex- 
ceptions. The cities in German Poland are well 
ordered and managed and the population prosperous. 
In spite of all the repressions, the number of daily 
Polish newspapers and the consumption of Polish 
literature in German Poland has increased. Even 
Silesia, which was separated from Poland in the 
XlVth century has recently seen an awakening and 
the people are becoming conscious of their true 
national affiliation. 

The Austrian defeats in the war with France 

in 1859 and subsequently in the war with Prussia in 

1866 wrought conspicuous changes in 

Gahcian ^ p O jj t j ca i structure of the Hapsburg 

Home-Kule . r . TTr1 \ . 

domains. When Austria was compelled 
to relinquish to the Hohenzollerns the leading part 



in German affairs, she turned her attention to the 
peoples inhabiting her own empire. A union was 
formed with Hungary and autonomy was granted to 
the various component nationalities of Transleithania 
and Cisleithania. Galicia received a considerable 
measure of home rule, a Provincial Diet at Lemberg 
and a recognition of her national and cultural needs. 
The Polish language became the official language of 
the Province and all instruction in schools, univer- 
sities, technical and other colleges was ordered to be 


carried on in the native tongue of the population. 
Count Agenor Goluchowski, the former Prime Min- 
ister of. the Empire, was appointed the first Polish 
Governor under the new order of things and numerous 
reforms were effected. The Government granted 
several special concessions in the interests of the 
large landowners and became otherwise liberal in its 
attitude to the Polish province. In recognition of 
the special privileges, as well as in token of gratitude 
for the introduction of home rule, the aristocracy and 
rich nobility of Galicia sent an address to the Em- 


peror replete with expressions of unbounded loyalty 
and thankfulness, ending with the now famous 
declaration: "By Thee, Sovereign Lord, we stand 
and to stand we wish." The extremists went so far 

FIG. 243 COUNT AGENOR GOI.UCHOWSKI, the first Polish Governor of Galicia 

in their loyalty to the throne as to oppose vigorously 
a plan of Francis Smolka to transform the Dual 
Empire into a. confederation of national states. This 
loyalty was awarded by a change in the ancient policy 



of the Government. The former practice of favoring 
the peasants as against the landlords which led to the 
bloody carnage of 1846 was now forever abandoned. 
The loyalist or conservative Polish party in 
Galicia, as well as in the other parts of Poland, gained 

FIG. 244 FRANCIS SMOLKA. celebrated Polish statesman 

additional strength after Napoleon's defeat in the war 
of 1871. France, the only ally Poland had on whom 
any hopes at all could be placed, after the humiliating 
experience at the hands of Prussian military suprem- 
acy, lost her former position and influence as a first 
class European power and could not be counted on 
any more. Loyalism and positivism seemed to be the 


only rational slogans for the Polish life under the 
circumstances and any hopes for a speedy regaining 
of an independent political existence could seemingly 

Eminent Patriot and the first Marshal of the Galician Diet 

be entertained but by dreamers. And yet new cur- 
rents were at work and when, during the Russo- 
Turkish war in 1877 the revolutionaries of 1863 
planned, with the tacit aid of England and of Turkey 
to raise again the banner of protest against Russian 



oppression, the landed gentry under the leadership 
of Prince Sapieha of Galicia supported the project. 
When, however, the impending entry of Austria into 
the war had been averted, "the Confederacy of the 
Polish Nation" was disbanded. The only way unsel- 
fish patriots actively demonstrated their feelings 
toward Russia was by organizing in Turkey a Polish 
legion which fought through the campaign under 
Jagmin, alongside of the Turkish army. 


The program of organic development could be 
applied in Galicia more successfully than in the other 
parts of Poland because of the large measure of politi- 
cal freedom enjoyed by that province of the ancient 
Republic. The provincial government devoted a 
great deal of thought, energy and money to the educa- 
tion of the people and numerous schools of all grades 
were established. In 1910 in Galicia there were over 


five thousand country schools alone. Likewise ef- 
forts were made to organize the creative powers of 
the people and to keep alive national traditions and 
patriotism. To counteract the injurious effects the 
artificial state frontiers had created by thwarting free 
intercourse between the three sections of Poland and 
by fostering provincial insularity, steps were taken 
to hold frequent national gatherings in Galicia. 

FIG. 247 THE OSSOLINSKI INSTITUTE AT LEMBERG, comprising a gallery of 

paintings and sculpture, a very large numismatic collection and a 

library of 142,000 volumes and 5,000 manuscripts 

Various anniversaries of events and activities were 
celebrated and national associations of all kinds were 
encouraged to meet at Cracow or Lemberg. Sum- 
mer university courses were opened in the famous 
mountain resort at Zakopane and at all these oc- 
casions thousands of men and women assembled from 
all the parts of Poland. To train the youth of the Prov- 
ince in bodily vigor and to prepare them for a possible 
call to arms against Russia, societies were formed, 



known as "Nests of Falcons," or "Sokols" in Polish, 
where military training was given under the guise of 
athletic exercises. The boy-scout movement of a later 
period was enthusiastically received in Galicia and 
encouraged with a similar purpose in mind. 

In spite of the inadequate means due to the 


lack of industrial development of Galicia, the insuf- 
ficiency of business and agricultural capital, the ex- 
tremely heavy taxation prevailing there as every- 
where else in Austria and the policy of the Viennese 
government to favor particularly the western prov- 
inces of the Empire, Polish self-help was able, with 
comparatively small equipment at its command, 



to work wonders in every line of human endeavor. 
The cities developed, manufactures increased and in 
many branches entered into successful competition 
with the industrially older sections of the Empire. 
The productivity of the farms grew as education be- 
came more broadly disseminated; modern argricul- 
tural methods have been adopted and co-operative 
rural credit has been organized. The oil industry, 


after going through several crises, reached a stage 
of rational development. Thanks to the ingenuity 
of the Polish chemists important by-products of 
kerosene oil began to be manufactured as far back as 
1853 and found immediate industrial application. The 
oil fields of Galicia extending over 19,760 acres have 
been systematically worked. Plans have also been 
made for the exploitation of recently discovered vast 



coal fields; the mineral wealth of the country is under 
proper control and the numerous natural spas are 
being built up. Only the salt and potash mines, be- 
cause they form a monopoly of the Viennese govern- 
ment have not had adequate attention. Local ad- 
ministration in Galicia has become efficient; cities 
have been well managed and improvements of all 


kinds introduced. The co-operative movement has 
reached a development that compares favorably with 
any other country in. Europe; the spirit of self-re- 
liance and mutual help has become thoroughly in- 
stilled into the minds of the people and labor has 
become well organized and politically rife. Through 
the university extension courses, popular education 



made great advances and thanks to the compulsory 
education law illiteracy has been almost entirely 
abolished. Scientific research and literary and artis- 
tic life have developed in Galicia more fully than in 
any other part of Poland. The Polish universities 
at Cracow and Lemberg, the Polytechnical School at 
Lemberg, which is one of the largest in Europe, the 
Agricultural Academy at Dublany, as well as the 
Cracow Academy of Sciences, have made substantial 


contributions to the sum total of human knowledge. 
The large public and semi-public libraries contain 
valuable collections and stimulate research. 

Polish literature has flourished particularly in 
Galicia. Half of the 800 periodicals appearing in Po- 
land are published in this fragment of the ancient 
Republic. Some of the greatest modern writers, 
poets and dramatists who, like Wyspianski, are com- 
parable with the masters of the Romantic period, could 


publish their works or have them performed only 
there. Many of the scientific and literary workers 
left Warsaw and settled in Cracow because only in 
Austrian Poland could they pursue their work in 
science and art without police interference. One can- 
not help contemplating how much more hopeless, 
sombre and gloomy would have been Poland's lot 


without this oasis of freedom that was. afforded in 

Desirous as she was to do all in her power to 
help the other parts of Poland, Galicia was physically 
unable to give shelter and work to all of the spirits 
that craved freedom and a safe place to work. Hence 
the exodus of hundreds of Polish artists and scien- 
tists in search of opportunity. Like Domeyko, the 



geologist, who after the war of 1831 went to Chile, 
made the first survey of that country and subsequently 
organized national education there, or like Strzele- 
cki who went to explore the mountains of South 
Australia, they scattered to almost all of the large 


centers of activity in the Old and New Worlds. There 
is hardly an important university or a great temple of 
art where Polish workers of first magnitude could not 
be found. Marie Sklodowska-Curie, Nencki, Kos- 
tanecki, Mikulicz, Marchlewski, Laskowski, Rudzki, v 
Narutowicz, Arctowski and Babinski are only a few 


among the scientists who have worked outside of 
their native country. Similarly a very large number 
of Polish artists and musicians have attained distinc- 
tion and fame in foreign lands. 

The whole administration of Galicia has been in 
Polish hands, thus affording to the natives numerous 
opportunities in official life. Many Poles have dis- 
tinguished themselves as administrators and legisla- 
tors and have been, like Goluchowski, Badeni or 
Madeyski, called upon to fill the most responsible 
positions in the Imperial Cabinet. Dunayevski re- 


organized the finances of the Austro-Hungarian Em- 
pire and many other Poles, like Bilinski and Korytow- 
ski, followed him as finance ministers. Similarly, the 
diplomatic and consular service, the army and the 
navy, were open to Poles and they availed themselves 
of the opportunities, for the holding of a high official 
position by a Pole in Austria was not made contin- 
gent upon the renunciation on his part of his national 
attachments as has been invariably the case in Russia 
and Prussia. The Polish representation in the Aus- 
trian Parliament has been considerable, as the popula- 


tion of Galicia constitutes twenty-eight per cent, of 
the total population of Austria, and the Polish Par- 
liamentary Club frequently held the balance of power 
between the various factions of the Austrian House 
of Representatives. On many occasions this position 
of the Club has been utilized to wrest from the Legis- 
lature or from the Government concessions in favor 
of Galicia and the development of her economic re- 
sources by better railroad and canal facilities. Until 
the outbreak of the present war the governors of 
Galicia had invariably been appointed from among 
the Poles. The powers of the Galician Diet, sitting 
at Lemberg, the capital of the Province, have not been 
as broad as the Galicians would have wished to have 
them, and neither the Governor nor the Marshal, or 
the Speaker, of the Diet have been directly responsible 
before that body or removable by it, yet it has been 
able to express the will of the people in all matters 
pertaining to the collective life of the Province. 

There has been, however, a considerable dis- 
turbing element in the peaceful evolution of Galicia 
and that is the Ruthenian question. 
The native population of the country 
districts of Eastern Galicia is preponder- 
ately Ruthenian. It consists almost entirely of farm- 
ers or farm laborers. Only nine per cent, of the 
population of Lemberg is Ruthenian and but a sprink- 
ling of Ruthenians follow intellectual or business pur- 
suits. That section of Ruthenia which constitutes 
the eastern part of Galicia came under Polish in- 
fluence in the opening centuries of the formation of 
the Polish State and the upper strata of the people, as 
well as the cities, have undergone complete poloniza- 
tion; the lower classes, however, preserved their 
language, although all of them speak Polish perfectly 
well. Like the majority of the Ukrainians, the East 


Galician Ruthenians joined the Church Union in the 
XVIth century. Not having been forced, like their 
brethren in Russia, to abandon their faith they re- 
mained Uniates or Greek Catholics. Their political 
and social conceptions are the same as those of the 
Polish peasantry and about twenty per cent, of the 
Ruthenian population intermarries with the Poles. 
Their folkways, however, and character are different 
from those of the Poles. They are perhaps more 
musically gifted and more easy going, but less ambi- 
tious, less self-reliant and less thrifty than the Poles. 
They lack historical tradition of a politically organ- 
ized national state of their own as well as the higher 
standards of culture and civilization to compete suc- 
cessfully with their Polish neighbors. Because of 
the existing social and property relations in Galicia, 
the mind of a Ruthenian peasant invariably associates 
the Pole with the master or landowner. This ac- 
counts for the basic, purely economic source of any 
ill feeling that may be found in the heart of a Ruthe- 
nian in relation to a Pole. This state of mind, en- 
gendered by the resentment usually felt by an 
economic inferior to his superior, has been taken ad- 
vantage of for political reasons, first by the Austrian 
government and then by the agents of Russia. When 
the Bismarckian crusade began and the Polish depu- 
ties denounced it in the Austrian parliament and de- 
manded remonstrance against the Prussian outrages, 
the German government, likewise took recourse to 
the Ruthenians and began to assist them in order to 
reduce Polish influence at Vienna. Several years 
ago, at the time of the renewal of the treaty between 
Austria and Germany the Galician Poles vigorously 
opposed the alliance and in the course of this cam- 
paign the insidious work of the Prussian government 
was exposed in the famous Krysiak case that stirred 


the whole of Poland. The documents purloined from 
the office of the Colonization Commission laid bare 
before the world the shameless German dealings with 
the Ruthenians calculated to injure the Poles of 

The truly national Ruthenian movement, making 
its demands for an independent sovereign state,began 
in the sixties of the past century. It became well de- 
fined only in the eighties. As yet it can hardly claim 
to have reached any other than the Austrian Ru- 
thenes, because Russia has stifled every expression 
of it in Ukraine. In Galicia the majority of the 
Ruthenians stand on the ground of loyalty to Austria 
and only a small faction hopes for the union of all 
Ukrainians in the Orthodox faith and under Russian 
protection. For obvious reasons the last named fac- 
tion has had the support of the Russian government 
although Russia has been extremely hostile to the 
dreams of Ukrainian independence and equally antago- 
nistic toward the plans for a formation of an autono- 
mous Ruthenian state in a possible federation of nation- 
alities making up the Hapsburg Empire. The National 
Democrats, the Chauvinist element of Poland, small 
but noisy, like jingoes everywhere, have similarly 
deprecated the nationalist Ruthenian movement and 
have given the false impression that Poland was oppos- 
ing the free play of Ruthenian national life. All sorts 
of preposterous charges have been made by Ruthenian 
political leaders against the Poles and yet upon a 
close analysis any unbiased scrutiny will reveal no 
real discrimination on the part of the Poles against 
the Ruthenians of Galicia. They have enjoyed the 
same suffrage rights and as much freedom in the 
political life of the country as the Poles; they have 
their own schools, supported out of the general tax 
proceeds, where the language of instruction is Ru- 


thenian. Moreover, all children in the Polish public 
schools of East Galicia are compelled to learn the 
Ruthenian tongue. The Ruthenian language has 
equal standing with the Polish in the Provincial Diet 
and the Marshal in his opening speech adresses the 
Chamber in both languages. The deputies are privi- 
leged to speak either Polish or Ruthenian. Similarly 
in all branches of provincial administration in East 
Galicia as well as in the courts, Ruthenian is on par 
with Polish. The Ruthenians have more parishes 
than the Poles and their parishes are better equipped, 
for it has always been the Polish policy to foster the 
Greek Catholic Church in order to make the induce- 
ments of the Russian Orthodox Church less attract- 
ive. No doubt there have been instances where politi- 
cal gerrymander was practiced in Eastern Galicia or 
election frauds perpetrated by unscrupulous party 
organizations. Likewise, public officials of lower 
rank have at times used their power against the Ru- 
thenians, but a dispassionate student will find that 
no bona fide charge can be brought against the large 
body of Polish citizenry in Galicia or against the 
government of the Province. Similar gerrymander 
or petty election frauds have been practiced elsewhere 
to defeat rival political parties and they were as fre- 
quent in West as in East Galicia. The politicians of 
the reactionary camp have been active in preventing 
the peasants and workingmen from asserting them- 
selves politically and to achieve their aims they em- 
ployed insidious methods against the Polish demo- 
cratic -elements as well as against the Ruthenians. 
These acts of political unfairness cannot be regarded 
as arising from racial animosity. Seldom, if ever, 
was there any discrimination against the Ruthenians 
on the score of racial or religious affiliations, but when 
the Ruthenes become so unreasonably aggressive as to 


demand from the Poles the giving up of some of the 
very few mainstays of culture they themselves possess 
instead of sharing them jointly, they meet with a 
justifiable rebuff. In recent years Lemberg wit- 
nessed a student disturbance over the demand for 
"utraquisation" or the making of the two languages 
official languages of instruction, thus doubling the 
number of chairs and introducing confusion at the 
University. The Ruthenians already had a few 
chairs where instruction was in Ruthenian. The 
Poles naturally refused this utterly unreasonable 
demand and suggested that the Ruthenians establish 
a separate university of their own. This can hardly 
be interpreted as an act of unfairness or hostility to 
the Ruthenian people and yet they seemed to regard 
it as such. The Poles well realize that the national 
Ruthenian movement has taken a firm root, they 
respect it as .long as its manifestations do not overstep 
the bounds of civilized political struggle and are ready 
to meet the reasonable demands of the Ruthenians. 
After the re-establishment of Poland's independence 
that will undoubtedly follow the present war, a satis- 
factory modus vivendi will be found for the two na- 
tionalities in Galicia, that will be based on justice and 
mutual good will. 

The Russo- 
Japanese War 
and the Politi- 
cal Awakening 
of Russia 


Constitutional Russia and the Poles 

The year 1905 is a milestone in the political his- 
tory of Poland, just as it constitutes the beginning of 
a new era in the political life of Russia. 
The repeated defeats of the Russian 
autocracy in the war with Japan paved 
the way for the new order of things. 
The new era was ushered in by a series 
of assassinations, in the course of which the Grand 
Duke Sergius and the omnipotent Plehve fell; after 
numerous revolutionary outbreaks in the various 
parts of the Russian Empire; and after a general 
strike of a magnitude never before known in the his- 
tory of the world. It was this strike, which had held 
a whole Empire in its deadly grip for weeks, that 
finally brought the proclamation of the constitution 
by Tsar Nicholas II on October 30, 1905. This 
historic imperial proclamation established a parlia- 
ment, known as the Duma, and guaranteed certain 
civic liberties to the peoples of the vast domains of 
the Empire. As is well known, many of these liber- 
ties granted under duress were revoked as soon as 
the bureaucracy was able to gather itself up and to 
muster its forces. The Duma was stripped of its 


original powers, suffrage limited and so manipulated 
as to assure a majority to those elements who re- 
garded the constitutional regime as prejudicial to the 
interests of Russia. 

The period immediately preceding the proclama- 
tion of the Constitution as well as the so-called con- 
stitutional era saw an awakening of political life and 
patriotism in Poland, and the mounting of hopes, so 
soon to be dispelled by painful disillusion. The politi- 
cal ferment which the Russian reverses in the Far 
East had caused in the whole Empire had its first ex- 
pression in a manifestation organized by the Polish 
Socialist Party at Warsaw on November 14, 1904. 
The manifestation inaugurated an endless series of 
uprisings which spread like wildfire through the wide 
^domains of the Tsar. In January, 1905, the demon- 
||strative. workmen's procession to the Imperial Palace 
in St. Petersburg, headed by the ill-famed priest 
Gapon, took place and the bloody reception it received 
but added oil to the conflagration. Strikes in cities 
and in country districts were ceaseless and violent. 
The Government was bombarded with memorials and 
demands from various national, political, civic, indus- 
trial, agrarian and scientific bodies. University stu- 
dents struck and a great many of the professors 
endorsed their action and demands. The University 
of St. Vladimir in Kieff was the first to strike. When 
the despatch to the effect that "Vladimir is sick" 
reached the student leaders at Warsaw a mass meet- 
ing was called at the University and amidst great en- 
thusiasm the resolution to boycott the University, its 
regime and policy was adopted. Demands were 
made for a Polish University with Polish professors 
and instruction in Polish. The Russian matriculates 
expressed their sympathy with the demands of the 
Polish students and joined in the strike. The students 


of the Warsaw Polytechnical School, the Veterinary 
College and of the Institute of Agronomy and Fores- 
try at Pulawy immediately followed suit and made 
similar demands. The boys and girls of all the 
primary and secondary schools joined in the boycott 
of the prevailing educational regime. The unflinch- 
ing perseverance of the youth and the support given 
to them by their parents were truly remarkable and 
touching. For the poorer boys who could not be sent 
abroad to be educated in Galicia or in the West of 
Europe, the strike, which lasted practically until the 
beginning of the present war, often meant the cur- 
tailment of careers. When the Government finally 
consented to legalize private Polish colleges many 
thousands of boys entered these institutions, although 
many parents could ill afford to pay the rather high* 
tuition fees which, of necessity, were charged by the 
schools, and in spite of the fact that these private 
schools gave none of the privileges to which the 
graduates of the government schools were entitled. 
The boys of the private schools had no privileges 
while serving in the army and their diplomas did not 
unlock for them the doors of the universities, except 
those of Galicia. Tt was only after a number of years 
that the Swiss and other European universities began 
to recognize the diplomas of the Polish schools, but 
the Russian authorities never consented to do so. The 
only other act of the Government prior to the procla- 
mation of the constitution which was of benefit to 
Poland was the Edict of Tolerance, promulgated by 
the Tsar on April 30, 1905. Within a short time after 
its issuance two hundred odd thousand Uniates of the 
border territories of Poland, who had been forced to 
accept the Greek Orthodox rites and to be Russians, 
joined the Church of Rome and became officially 
Poles once more. Several months previous to that 


the Government restored to the Lithuanians the right 
to use Latin characters, of which they had been de- 
prived for several decades. This was all the govern- 
ment did for the Poles although several imperial 
rescripts had been issued carrying promises of re- 
forms none of which has ever been inaugurated. The 
trifling concessions above mentioned could not satisfy 
the Polish demands and, as a result, the portentous 
rumble. of the political volcano continued, becoming 
constantly aggravated by powerful ejections of revo- 
lutionary lava directed by the Fighting Squad of the 
Polish Socialist Party. 

When the news of the proclamation of the Con- 
stitution reached Poland it was received with elation 
by the country. Even those who had 
T r e Se ^ ent . y been pessimistic about the Russian- au- 

of the Russian , . .c -n i j 

Ru i e tocracy ever doing anything tor Poland 

entertained the confident hope that 
matters would assume a different aspect when the will 
of the Russian people made itself known and felt. 
They soon painfully convinced themselves that the 
Government under the constitution was as irrespon- 
sible and its acts as wanton as before, that the con- 
stitution was a decoy and that the Russian people 
would have little opportunity to transmute its will 
into action, and even if it could have done this, the 
results would have been far from what the Poles had 
anticipated. In short, the constitutional era of Rus- 
sia had but tragic disillusionment and sordid reality 
for Poland. Three days after the proclamation of the 
constitution, Russian troops fired at the people in the 
streets of Warsaw when they gathered, in holiday 
raiment, with their womenfolk and children, with 
banners and crosses, to rejoice over the dawn of a new 
life. On the Theatre Square twenty-six innocent 
persons were killed and seventy wounded on the day 


of the celebration, and a few days later the whole of 
Russian Poland was under martial law. This was 
the first gift the Poles received from constitutional 
Russia. The official reason given for this extraordi- 
nary procedure was that "the Polish political leaders 
revealed the impudent desire to tear Poland from 
Russia/' Nine days later, on November 19, the reason 
was declared to lie in "the fact that the idea of Polish 
autonomy has taken hold of all the classes of the 
Polish population and of all political parties." On 
December 1, 1905, martial law was recalled by an 
ukase of the Tsar because "complete quiet already 
prevailed," and yet in spite of the ukase, the Governor- 
General restored martial law on December 21st on the 
ground that rumors were abroad about impending 
revolutionary outbreaks. All these rumors were pur- 
posely created to deprive Poland of the fruits of the 
constitutional regime. The established martial order 
which lasted for several years, gave to the governors 
full opportunity to deal with the population as they 
pleased and accordingly, during the month of Janu- 
ary, 1906, seventeen persons were executed without 
any trial in Warsaw and Lublin alone. The jails 
became overcrowded with persons who had nothing 
to do with politics but attempted to make use of some 
of the guaranteed constitutional liberties. By sheer 
administrative wilfulness the government officials 
ordered the arrest of peasants and landlords by the 
hundreds because they invoked their constitutional 
right and employed the Polish language at the legal 
communal meetings. Failure to pay taxes promptly 
on specified dates was made occasion for the imposi- 
tion of huge fines, and the payments were exacted by 
means of military dragoonades, accompanied by in- 
credible atrocities and outrages. This state of affairs 
lasted for almost three years, rendering the constitu- 

tional era in Poland the most cursed period of Russian 
slavery, just as it was the blackest and bloodiest 
chapter in the life of. the Jews in Russia. The pog- 
roms organized by the Government had never been 
so numerous and effective and cruel as they were in 
constitutional times and the Government attempted 
to introduce them into Poland. Thanks, however, to 
the intelligence and high moral sense of the native 
population, all attempts failed, although one was 
started by the Russian soldiery in Siedlce and the 
provocation agents were busy in rousing the street 
rabble of the town, but did not succeed. 

The concessions which the government made 
during the unsettled revolutionary days allowed the 

foundation of schools and the organiza- 
The Suppres- tion of educational and cultural societies. 
EducattoiS* An association known as the Polish 
Activities School Mother was formed which had 

an enrollment of hundreds of thousands. 
Numerous libraries were founded, courses for illiter- 
ates established throughout the country and agricul- 
tural clubs and trade unions organized. All these insti- 
tutions were gradually suppressed by the Government 
during the constitutional era. The trade unions were 
suspected of socialism; the Society for the Distribu- 
tion of Scholarships was charged with subsidizing 
Polish schools and w r as disbanded; and the gymnastic 
societies were closed as early as September 4, 1906. 
In 1909 the government closed the Catholic Union 
which maintained a number of day nurseries, libraries 
and schools, and carried on lecture work and other 
similar activities through its three hundred and sixty 

Following the course of events of the last one 
hundred years in Poland, the reader might have 
observed that it has been characteristic of the Polish 


people that whenever they had a chance to govern 
themselves without foreign intervention they have 
thrown most of their energies into the development 
of education. So it was during this transition period. 
The above mentioned organization, known as the 
"Polish School Mother" came into existence almost 
spontaneously and in a short time maintained an 
enormous number of primary schools and libraries 
throughout the country in spite of the difficulties put 
in its way by the government, which demanded the 
redtape legalization of every school and of every 
teacher connected with it. The work of the organiza- 
tion was purely educational, and yet it became the 
target of attacks on the part of the Russians. The 
officials of the County of Ghelm, in the Province of 
Lublin, were first to petition the government to close 
the Polish schools of that section as they "create a 
ferment and endanger the existence of State schools." 
The "Union of True Russians" of Warsaw seconded 
the petition and went so far as to request the closing 
of all of the schools of the "Polish Mother." Under 
the influence of these requests the Russian Govern- 
ment began to make the work of the schools more 
difficult. In one instance at a meeting of the dele- 
gates of the Society a prominent Pole from Posen 
spoke. For the offense of allowing a "foreigner" to 
speak at the meeting the government imposed upon 
the society a fine of three thousand roubles, and a 
month or so afterward, on December 14, 1907, the 
organization was dissolved upon order of the Rus- 
sian authorities. At the time of the closing of the 
schools there were sixty-three thousand children 
attending the grammar classes and twenty-four hun- 
dred in the kindergarten. In addition to the large 
amount of real estate owned by the Society and the 
school buildings, it had a fund of eight hundred and 

ten thousand roubles. To those who know what drafts 
have constantly been made on the Poles in addition to 
the heavy government taxes which they have had to 
pay, the financial showing of the institution and the 
success of its work must appear truly remarkable. The 
organization of any other association with a similar 
educational object was forbidden, because the gov- 
ernment entertained the "moral conviction" that any 
new society would be but a continuation of the old. 
All other educational institutions such as the People's 
University, the courses for illiterates, the Library 
Association and the Society for Polish Culture were 
likewise doomed and one after another had to suspend 
their useful work. The regulations concerning Polish 
colleges which were sanctioned by the Government 
in 1905 during the school strike, grew more restrict- 
ive. In 1908 the Government decided to reopen the 
University and the Polytechnical School, which had 
been boycotted by the Polish youth because of their 
Russian character. In order to stimulate enrollment 
the Government lowered the requirements for en- 
trance and a large number of Russian graduates of 
the inferior Greek Orthodox religious seminaries 
began to arrive to register at the Warsaw University. 
With a few exceptions, no Poles matriculated in either 
the University or the Polytechnical School. The 
filling up of the University with a low grade of Rus- 
sian students led to several hostile demonstrations on 
the part of the boys of the private Polish colleges, and 
the Government took this occasion as a pretext for 
closing sixteen of the colleges with an enrollment of 
six thousand students, and the threat was made that 
should such a hostile demonstration be repeated, all 
the other Polish schools would meet with a similar 


In spite of the fact that the first Duma was, 
in its majority, composed of representatives of the 

liberal and radical elements of the Rus- 
The _ Attitude s j an people, its declarations failed to 
Toward dre* mention Poland or to assert any clear- 
Poles cut intentions concerning it. The 

speech from the throne totally ignored 
Poland and was addressed exclusively to the Russian 
people. Similarly, the oath which the Polish deputies 
had to sign was to the effect that they would labor 
for the benefit of Russia alone. 

The attitude of the second Duma toward the 
Polish question was even less sympathetic than that 
of the first. It went out of existence without having 
formulated any definite policy with reference to Po- 
land, and the imperial manifesto dissolving the second 
Duma contained ill forebodings for the future. It 
clearly stated that the Russian Duma should, in its 
spirit, be wholly Russian and that "other nationalities 
composing the Empire should have in the Duma rep- 
resentation of their needs, but they should not and 
will not have a representation large enough to afford 
them the possibility of deciding questions purely Rus- 
sian." It must be added that the Polish representa- 
tives in the first two Dumas, without exception ex- 
hibited staunch loyalty to the Government and voted 
in favor of the Government budget for the army. 
After the dissolution of the first Duma they took no 
part in the famous protest of the deputies, which 
was formulated at their specially called meeting in 
Finland. And yet in accordance with the will of the 
sovereign the number of Polish deputies from Poland 
was cut down from thirty-six to twelve, while from 
the provinces of Wilno and Kovno a representation 
of at least three Russian deputies was made manda- 
tory. In Lithuania and Polish Ruthenia separate 


electoral colleges were established on the basis of na- 
tionality, thus assuring representation to the Russian 
minorities. In this way the total number of Polish 
deputies in the Third Duma numbered but eighteen, 
eleven of whom were from Poland proper and the 
remainder from the border territories. In order to 
forestall any criticism of this arbitrary act of the 
Government, the Governor-General of Poland issued 
a warning "that the publication of any articles or 
news inimical to the Government would be punishable 
by three months imprisonment or a fine of three 
thousand roubles." In protest against this depriva- 
tion of an adequate representation all the parties of 
Poland, except the National Democrats, boycotted 
the new elections. 

The Third Duma, composed of a majority of con- 
servatives and reactionaries, concerned itself with the 
Polish question in a most inimical fashion. Taking 
advantage of the fact that there lived in Chelm, or 
Kholm as the Russians call it, and its vicinity a con- 
siderable number of people of Greek Orthodox faith, 
most of them of Uniate antecedents, the Duma re- 
solved to protect them against Polish influence and ac- 
cordingly voted to cut off parts of the Provinces of 
Lublin and Siedlce and to form a separate Province of 
Chelm. In 1912 this new Province was created. The 
population -of the new province at the time of its estab- 
lishment, consisted of four hundred and sixty-seven 
thousand Roman Catholics and two hundred and 
seventy-eight thousand followers of the Greek Ortho- 
dox Church. In spite of the fact that the new prov- 
ince had a preponderance of the Polish element the 
law establishing it provided that no Poles or Cath- 
olics could buy land outside of city limits; that no 
Poles from other parts of Poland could settle in it; 
and that no Poles could hold any official position, no 


matter how trivial. The Code Napoleon was sup- 
planted by the Russian civil law which did not 
recognize civic equality. The system of communal 
self-government and other Polish institutions were 
abolished and supplanted by those of Russia. None 
of the other draconian Russian laws has so severely 
hurt the national consciousness of the Poles as this 
further diminution of Polish territory whose integrity 
was guaranteed by the treaty of the Congress of 
Vienna. It was a flagrant violation of an act guar- 
anteed by the Powers of Europe and yet not a single 
voice of protest was raised by any of the governments. 
. After many years of deliberation over the intro- 
duction of a system of municipal self-government in 
Poland, Premier Stolypin finally presented a draft of 
a proposal to the Third Duma. The bill was pure 
mockery. It gave extraordinary representation to the 
scattered Russians living in Poland and made the will 
of the government officials superior to the enactments 
of the city boards. It is not worth while to go into 
the details of that document. It is important, how- 
ever, to record the fact that when it came before the 
representatives of the Russian nation assembled in 
the Duma, it was considered too polonophile and was 
amended in such a way as to become a veritable cari- 
cature. They provided, for instance, that the gov- 
ernor of a province shall have a right to suspend the 
enactments of city councils not only on the ground 
of their illegality, but also when, in his opinion, "they 
shall be contrary to the interests of the State." No 
more latitude could be given to administrative law- 
lessness. They also struck out the provision which 
allowed a limited use of the Polish language in meet- 
ings and in official papers. The Polish language 
could be used in certain documents and only as a 
supplement to the Russian text. When this project 


came up for approval in the Council of the State it 
was further emasculated and the provision allowing 
the use of the Polish language was entirely eliminated. 

Another severe blow was dealt to Poland by the 
representatives of constitutional Russia in the enact- 
ment by which the Warsaw-Vienna Railroad was 
taken over by the Government. The Duma, which was 
usually very slow in the transaction of business, acted 
with remarkable celerity in buying out this important 
Polish highway of commerce. Soon after the taking 
over of the railroad on the 14th day of January, 1912, 
the government proceeded to discharge the Polish 
employees. Not only were the heads of the depart- 
ments and the engineers, firemen, conductors, switch- 
men and office clerks discharged, but even porters and 
sweepers were replaced by Russians. Over fourteen 
thousand families were thus deprived of a means of 
livelihood at a single stroke. It would be a long 
story to relate the many iniquities perpetrated 
upon the Poles by the representatives of the Rus- 
sian people, of whom so much was expected in the 
pre-constitutional days, as contrasted with the Rus- 
sian Government. In certain instances even the . 
progressive and radical members of the Duma 
joined hands with the representatives of the Black 
Hundred when Polish matters were concerned. The 
Poles had the painful opportunity to learn that the 
Russian Duma and the Russian Government were 
much alike in their attitude toward Poland. 

The Polish representation in the Russian Duma, 

with several exceptions, consisted exclusively of 

members of the National Democratic 

Polish Repre- p arty which, as has been stated in the 

sentation in / ' . ~. , , , 

the Duma previous chapter, was an offshoot of the 

Polish National League. Because of 

greater political experience gained through their con- 


nection with the National League from which they 
seceded and because the progressive elements in Po- 
land could not work openly in the face of government 
restrictions and finally boycotted the spurious parlia- 
mentary elections, the National Democrats were able 
to carry most of the districts and became the 
official representatives of Poland in the Duma. The 
character of their political doctrine foretold their 
activities, but their comport and ineptitude were both 
humiliating and disappointing. They lacked man- 
hood and daring to protest sincetly and effectively 
against the Russian iniquities, and courage and ability 
to carry through anything of benefit for their country. 
The considerable following which the National Demo- 
crats had in the first decade of the constitutional era 
is but an indication of the extent of disorganization 
in Polish life and of the degree of disorientation 
among the people who were deprived of all semblance 
of open political life for several generations. It is 
also a testimonial to the efficiency of the organization 
of the Party which was not at all sensitive as to 
the means it employed to achieve its ends. Even 
physical force and intimidation were resorted to 
not infrequently. The distasteful methods and be- 
havior of the National Democrats coupled with their 
complete failure to accomplish anything at St. Peters- 
burg were bound to call forth a strong wave of 
reaction against them in spite of the protection which 
was afforded to the Party by the Government as 
against their opponents and in spite of demagogue-like 
tactics skillfully adopted by the leaders. When, in 
1908, Mr. Dmowski and his associates took part in the 
Pan-Slav Congress at Prague contrary to the age-old 
traditions and wishes of the Polish nation, a great 
many of his former supporters left him, individually 
or collectively like the National Workmen's union. 



This schism in the ranks caused his personal downfall 
at the following elections and led to the gradual de- 
cline of the National Democratic Party which 
shriveled to naught during the present war. 

In summing up it may be said without exaggera- 
tion that no influence in the whole course of modern 
Polish history has been more harmful to Poland than 
that of the National Democrats. They have demoral- 
ized Polish political life, dragged politics into the 
mire of personal ambitions and petty racial animosi- 
ties. By siding with the Russian Government in its 
persecution of the national aspirations of the Ukrain- 
ians they have contributed much toward the deep- 
ening of ill-feeling between the Ruthenians and the 
Poles in Galicia, and by their exploitation of anti- 
Semitism for political purposes, they have branded 
the Polish people with the stigma of religious in- 
tolerance. The Polish nation, which was singularly 
free from this charge, has been presented to the world 
in recent years as a Jew-hater. It is important that 
the world should know what elements were respon- 
sible for the anti-Jewish orgy which had taken hold 
of certain classes of the Polish population in the years 
immediately preceding the present war. 

The Jews constitute one-seventh of the popula- 
tion of Poland. For various reasons, but primarily be- 
cause of the fact that for almost a century 

fL t "' 

Jewish Poland had no government of its_ojvn, 

Problem tne forge mass of the Jewish popula- ? -. 

tion has nol Been assimilated. The ' 
bulk of the Jewish people lives in cities. In some fa 
of the smaller towns the proportion of Jews is ? 
much larger than that of the Gentiles. Over thirty 
per cent, of the inhabitants of the City of Warsaw is 
Jewish. In the larger cities where they constitute a 
minority the Jews are usually clustered together and 


preserve the spirit of the old ghetto. The majority 
of them live in penury, squalor and ignorance. The 
occupations of a great many of the Polish Jews are 
chiefly of a commercial nature. They act as agents, 
merchants, salesmen, shop keepers, hawkers, money 
lenders. A considerable part, however, is engaged as 
artisans and in domestic industry. In their habits 
of life they cling to mediaeval modes and dress in long 
black robes. The stigma of a distinctive dress, which 
was thrust upon them centuries ago in many of the 
countries of Europe has been accepted as a mark of 
their racial attachment and those from among the 
Jews who divest themselves of it are considered by 
their co-religionists as renegades. Their standards 
of life are low and backwardness so strongly in- 
trenched that it will probably take many generations 
of most enlightened policy to force this citadel of 
mediaevalism. Through historic evolution^the Jews 
in Poland have become, in a degree, monopolists of 
commerce and banking. There are certain branches 
of business, like marketing of grain and lumber, for 
example, which they have almost entirely to them- 
selves and owing to race solidarity and efficient busi- 
ness organization they can beat off any undesirable 
newcomer. In relation to their Gentile neighbors, on 
the whole the Jews entertain no ill-feeling but do not 
identify themselves with the Polish nation, although 
there is a natural strong sentiment for Polish life and 
traditions. When the Jews leave their ghetto and 
become educated and associate with the Poles* this 
unconscious sentiment, which is latent in the Polish 
Jewry, sprouts into Polish patriotism, as has been 
demonstrated on many occasions in the course of 
history. During John Sobieski's time the famous 
defender of the fortress of Trembowla, Captain 
Chrzanowski was of Jewish antecedents. In 


Kosciuszko's time Berek Joselowicz organized a Jew- 
ish regiment. During the war of 1831 and the insur- 
rection of 1863 the Jews were active in the defense of 
their country. Mr. Wohl, the treasurer of the Revolu- 
tionary Government in 1863, was a Jew. During 
the patriotic procession which took place in Warsaw 
in 1862, when the cross fell from the hands of a priest 
who was killed by a Russian charge, a Jewish lad 
picked it up and, raising it high above his head, led 
the procession to the church. Jews, like the bankers 
Baron Kronenberg and Jean de Bloch of Warsaw, 
contributed materially toward the economic upbuild- 
ing of the country, and a number among the Polish 
historians, scientists and publicists, like the well 
known Julian Klaczko, Leopold Meyet, Prof. Joseph 
Nusbaum, Prof. Simon Askenazy, Samuel Dick- 
stein, Wilhelm Feldman, Alexander Kraushar, Prof. 
Beck, Prof. Sternbach and many others are of Jewish 
faith or blood. In the present war a number of Jewish 
men have enlisted in the Polish Legions and have 
fought valiantly. On the other hand, there have been 
numerous instances, where the Polish Jews have 
played an unenviable role in relation to their mother 

The attitude of the Poles to the Jews has seldom 
been marked by any deep-rooted hatred. The Jews 
have often been made the butt of humor, but have 
seldom been the scapegoat in a serious outbreak of 
animosity. Until the recent artificial arousing of anti- 
Semitism in Poland by the National Democrats, there 
was only one anti-Semitic periodical published in 
Warsaw and that was edited by a Jewish apostate. 
This weekly was patronized chiefly by backward vil- 
lage priests and has died a natural death for want of 
support. The Polish landlords and magnates, and 
even the kings, almost invariably employed Jewish 


financial advisers, and in this way the Jews be- 
came an important factor in the life of Poland. 
Serving the interests of their masters, they inevitably 
came into conflict with the masses of the people, 
whom they exploited on behalf of their employers as 
well as on their own, and in this way often earned the 
dislike of the peasants. The laws since the early days 
of Polish history, with the exception of the era of 
decadence, have been tolerant to the Jews, as has been 
pointed out in the various preceding chapters. Of 
all the literatures of the world, Polish literature has 
probably portrayed the Jew with the most sym- 
pathetic feeling. How do the Eli Makover and 
Meyer Ezofowicz of the Polish woman writer Eliza 
Orzeszkowa or the cymbalist Jankiel, of Mickie- 
wicz, compare with the Shylock of Shakespeare? 
And these are but two in a long array of Polish 
writers who have treated the Jew with utmost kind- 
ness and affection. The Russian government, with 
its policy of divide et impera, determined to break this 
harmony between the Poles and the Jews and to 
achieve that purpose has employed both the Russian 
Jews and the Polish National Democrats. By a 
policy of pogroms, persecutions and restrictions the 
government forced hundreds of thousands of Rus- 
sian and Lithuanian Jews, known as Litwaks, to 
migrate to Poland, where they were given special 
protection against the Poles. The Litwaks, because 
of a keener cunning and because of their intimate 
knowledge of Russian ways and Russian markets 
became dangerous competitors of the native Jews 
of Poland. In addition, because of their still lower 
standards of life they were better prepared to 
undermine the economic opportunities of the Polish 
Jews. Though persecuted in Russia and subjected 
to pogroms, the Russian Jews in Poland were un- 


conscious, and sometimes conscious, tools of Russi- 
fication as in addition to their jargon they spoke 
Russian and either could not, or would not, employ 
the use of the Polish language. This was naturally 
resented by the Poles who looked with apprehension 
upon the enormous influx of a nationally and eco- 
nomically undersirable element. A free nation can 
exercise its soveregin power with reference to foreign 
immigration; Poland, without a government of its 
own, could do nothing to prevent this unwelcome 
addition to its densely populated country. It should 
be remembered that Poland is the second country in 
Europe in point of density of population, Belgium 
being the first. Even without immigration Poland 
could hardly accommodate her native population and 
for years there has been a large exodus of peasants 
as well as of the Jewish city element. The infiltra- 
tion of the Russian Jews helped to sweep out of the 
country the native Jews, whose places were then 
taken by the former, a people foreign in race as well 
as in national sympathy. It became a problem of 
great concern to the Poles. The National Democrats 
decided to take advantage of the general uneasiness 
engendered by this policy of the Russian government 
and to exploit it in the interests of their party and 
indirectly in the interest of Russia. They succeeded 
thoroughly in their pernicious endeavor. At election 
periods appeals were made to the lowest instincts of 
the masses. The publication of a daily, replete with 
vituperation and insinuations, under the name of 
"A Gazette for Two Groschen" was begun in Warsaw 
with the strong financial backing of a number of 
well known anti-Semites. This publication did more 
than any other single influence in tearing open 
a large wound on the body politic of Poland. It alien- 
ated two sections of the nation from each other and 


widened the breach which separated them. It precipi- 
tated an internal economic war under the form of a 
boycott after the Jewish electors of Warsaw, who had 
the majority of votes, refused to support a Polish can- 
didate because he was not free from objections on 
the ground of race hatred. Though able to elect a 
Jew they threw their votes in favor of an obscure 
social democrat and made him the representative of 
Warsaw in the Fourth Duma, 1912. The election of 
a Socialist fanned the fury of the chauvinists in spite 
of the fact that it was in deference'to popular feeling 
that the Jews refrained from electing a Jew and com- 
promised on the Socialist of Roman Catholic faith. 
The boycott was carried out in a most rigorous man- 
ner and was extended not only to the merchants and 
artisans but also to the Jews of all other occupations. 
The "economic patriotism," as the boycott was 
styled, had its beginning in the adverse attitude of 
the Jews toward the co-operative consumers' asso- 
ciations. Until 1905 the Russian Government had 
forbidden the formation of such organizations. In 
that year, however, the associations were legalized 
and soon an immense chain of co-operative stores 
was opened all over the country. The growth and 
success of the enterprise were phenomenal. A central 
purchasing agency was created and a co-operative 
bank was established with a capita^ of many millions 
of roubles. Naturally, the small shopkeepers were 
hard hit and combated the movement vigorously. 
As the vast majority of the merchants were Jews, 
they attributed the foundation of the associations 
to anti-Semitism. The National Democrats had 
nothing whatever to do with this wholesome eco- 
nomic activity, but decided to turn the Jewish inter- 
pretation of it into political capital, and in the 
furtherance of their scheme brought about a gen- 


eral boycott of the Jews. Sober minded publicists 
repeatedly pointed out this erroneous basis of the 
philosophy of the "economic patriots" who spoke of 
the Jews as a separate nation. It is a wrong political 
doctrine which regards the Jews of any country as a 
distinct nationality, with interests of its own, foreign 
or antagonistic to the country in which they live, and 
any deductions based on such premises must needs 
lead to destructive conclusions. There is but little 
doubt that the anti-Semitic feeling aroused by the 
National Democratic Party and precipitated by the 
policy of the Russian Government will largely, if not 
entirely, disappear when the Polish people become 
free and unconstrained, and when the cultural and 
educational standards of "both the Polish and the 
Jewish masses have been raised to a higher level. An 
indication as to what the Polish policy in that respect 
will be is contained in an address made a while ago 
by Professor Wladyslav Leopold Jaworski, then 
President of the Supreme National Committee which 
was the most important and representative political 
organization that existed in Poland during the war 
before the organization of the Provisional Govern- 
ment. In the course of this address, in which he de- 
precated anti-Semitism, he said: 

"After Poland is freed from Russian rule and joins again 
the family of West European nations, it must follow the ex- 
ample of the civilized countries of the world in solving the 
Jewish question ; it must grant to them equal rights of citizen- 
ship and gain their sympathy and confidence. In return, it 
must be emphatically demanded of the Jews that they become 
devoted .citizens of their country ; that they work for its best 
interests and development. We must give the Jews full access 
to the sources of well-being and culture and then we will have 
the right to demand of them that they be good and loyal citi- 
zens of Poland, as they are good citizens of France, England, 
Italy or Germany." 


The misdirected efforts of certain Jews in fos- 
tering Jewish nationalistic feelings and in agitating 
for the creation of a sort of Jewish state in Poland 
must meet with the most severe condemnation on the 
part of the Poles, as they would on the part of any 
other nation. The Jewish nationalists have done as 
much to impede the proper solution of the Jewish 
problem in Poland as have the Polish National Demo- 
crats. The latter are politically bankrupt and will 
probably not rally if after the close of the war Poland 
should be an independent state. The Jewish na- 
tionalists wil-1 similarly have to abandon their propa- 
ganda if a proper understanding is to be reached. 
The spread of false information in Europe and Amer- 
ica about the alleged Polish atrocities committed 
upon the Jews in the opening months of the war has 
done great harm to Poland, and has helped only to 
embitter the Polish nation, in the hour when it is 
undergoing hard trials and is making a supreme 
effort to regain its independent national exist- 
ence. It has not served the cause of the Polish Jews. 
Many prominent men among the Jews, like Dr. 
Joseph Sare, the Vice-President of the City of Cra- 
cow, Mr. Bernard Lauer,* a manufacturer of War- 
saw, Mr. Herman Feldstein,** a banker of Lemberg, 
and others have raised their protest not only against 
the dissemination of fabricated slanderous tales but 
also against the presumption of certain misguided 
foreign Jews to speak in the name of the Polish 
Jewry and to advise with reference to Polish- 
Jewish affairs. They are fain to trust the matter 
of adjustment to the Polish people and express 

* Bernard Lauer, "Zum Polnisch-Judischen Problem, (vom Stand- 
punkt eines polnischen Juden)." Preussische Jahrbiicher, Band 162, 
Heft 2, Berlin, 1915. 

** Herman Feldstein, "Polen und Juden, Ein Appell." Wien, Verlag 
des Obersten Polnischen Nationalkomitees, May, 1915. 



the conviction that should Poland emerge from the 
present cataclysm a free and independent state, the 
Polish spirit may be relied upon to seek no vengeance 
for the harm done and that the difficult Jewish prob- 
lem will be settled in equity and justice. A pledge of 
loyalty to the recently organized State Council of 
Warsaw, tendered by the Polish Jewry and express- 
ing fine sentiments of patriotism and devotion, is 
another proof of the faith they entertain in the spirit 
of the Polish nation and its state policies. 

(Painting by J. StanislawskI) 

The Polish Question and the Great War 

"The Polish question," said Napoleon," is the key 

to the European vault," and on its proper solution 

the future peace of Central Europe will 

The Re-open- i arge ly depend.' The ideal solution lies 

ing of the Po- fi i , j 

lish Question m tne restoration to complete independ- 
ence of the ancient Polish Republic and 
in the establishment of a thoroughly democratic gov- 
ernment which would be a true representation of the 
needs of the various classes and elements of the peo- 
ple. As the war continues the possibility of such a so- 
lution grows greater and greater. While only three 
years ago, with the exception of Galicia, Poland did 
not possess as much as a limited city home-rule, she 
now enjoys a considerable measure of state freedom in 
the larger part of her domains and has her own gov- 
ernment, diet and army. While only three years ago 
the word "independence" could not be mentioned in 
Poland with impunity, to-day both the Central 
Powers and the Provisional Russian Government 
have declared themselves unequivocally in favor of 
independence. What has been the course of this 
rapid evolution wrought by the war? 


Although Poland had no part in precipitating the 
gigantic world conflict which opened on the first day 
of August, 1914, yet, by reason of her geographic posi- 
tion, she became one of the greatest theatres of the 
war where whole nations met in a terrible death 
grapple. The country was devastated and plunged 
into a sea of blood. Scores of cities and towns, thou- 


sands of villages were ruined. Peaceful men and 
women, happy homes, property and wealth were de- 
stroyed. Hunger and disease wrought fearful ravage. 
Starvation took its toll as tens of thousands 
fell by the wayside. Millions fled their burning 
homes and in hordes were driven eastward. The 
roads were strewn with the whitening bones of the 


fugitives. The younger children, their lives like the 
flickering flame of a candle, easily extinguished by the 
lightest wind, died by thousands daily, deprived of 
proper food and care. 

About two million Poles of military age were 
drafted into the three foreign armies and lined up 
on opposite sides of the battlefield brother against 
brother. Once more the luckless country was laid 
waste. This stupendous calamity was bound, how- 
ever, to raise the Polish question which seemed buried 
forever. The political thinkers and writers of the 
past century foresaw that only a cataclysm like the 
present one, in which the three powers that tore Po- 
land asunder were arrayed on opposite sides, could 
liberate the nation from its political bondage, and the 
great seer Mickiewicz prayed for this to come to pass. 
During the Balkan wars several years ago it looked 
as if the world were on the brink of the mighty con- 
flict. It was postponed for a short time, but its in- 
evitableness had been fully realized in Poland since 
the last imbroglio, and had been thoroughly discussed 
in the Polish press and in the political literature uf 
Galicia, the only part of Poland in which such a dis- 
cussion could openly be pursued. 

What should be the attitude of the Polish people 

if the anticipated war should occur, was the 

question which the Poles sought to 

The Polish answer for themseives. And immedi- 

MUita ^Pre- atdy ^ l the tragic difficulties f 

paredness * the Polish situation became apparent, 
complicated as they were by the differ- 
ences in the political status of the three sections and 
by the multiplicity of economic and social interests 
and aspirations among the various classes of the peo- 
ple. Those of the Prussian part of Poland, exasperated 
by the inhuman treatment to which they have been 


subjected, had but one desire : to be rid as soon as pos- 
sible and forever of the Prussian curse. In Russian 
Poland, likewise, it was the ardent desire of the people 
to free themselves from Russian shackles, and the 
vast majority hoped for a complete severance of all 
the bonds uniting Poland with Russia. 

There were some elements, however, who for 
reasons of immediate political expediency did not go 
so far in their open declarations. Some of the reac- 
tionary landowners and industrialists favored auto- 
cratic Russia, for only under such a government could 
they safely enjoy their advantages and withstand 
successfully the claims of democracy. Under the pro- 
tection of the Russian soldiery they could freely ex- 
ploit the masses and quash all disturbing strikes. 
Others saw in the union with Russia' the only pos- 
sibility for a great development of Polish industrial 
life and prosperity, since Russia afforded an immense 
market for the products of Poland. They argued 
that some day conditions in Russia would change, 
political life would become liberalized and Poland 
would be granted autonomy. 

These arguments of the so-called "Progressives" 
were not sufficently convincing to the great major- 
ity who did not propose to sell their birthright to 
a free and independent national life for a mess of pot- 
tage. Unhampered national existence, affording to 
the people an opportunity to work out their own sal- 
vation meant more to them than a greater number 
of smokestacks in the cities or the piling up of im- 
mense fortunes. They tolerated no compromise on 
this point and argued that the fears of economic 
ruin in case of a separation from Russia were un- 
founded. In 1912 the representatives of all the inde- 
pendence parties of the Kingdom of Poland and of 
Galicia met and formed a Temporary Committee of 


the Confederated Independence Parties, known by 
their Polish initials as K. S. S. N., charged with the 
definite task of mapping out a detailed plan of pro- 
cedure in case of a world war, and of making military 
preparations for such a contingency. 

It was the common agreement that in the event 
of war between Russia and Austria, Poland was to 
take an active part against Russia, even if hated 
Germany should join Austria. It was argued that 
it is impossible for Poland to remain inert or to 
endeavor to fight two of her adversaries at the same 
time. Because Russian oppression extended over 
eighty per cent, of the ancient Polish Republic, and 
because in case of a set-to between the Central Powers 
and Russia the latter would be hopelessly beaten, 
action against Russia was the only course indicated by 
the dictates of sound reasoning and by all the past 
experiences and traditions of the Polish nation. Rus- 
sia's defeat, it was argued, would not only make pos- 
sible the placing of the Polish Question on an interna- 
tional footing, but would also place the Russian autoc- 
racy and its henchmen in a precarious, if not unten- 
able, position and lead to internal reforms in Russia. 
Poland and humanity generally would then profit 

In reaching this decision as to the course to pur- 
sue in case of a clash between the rival powers, the 
Poles were not actuated by any motives of hate or 
love toward one or the other. Without exception 
the Poles entertain nothing but the most bitter feel- 
ing toward the Prussians because of the brutal and 
unjust treatment accorded by them to the Polish 
people throughout history and because of the repul- 
sive national characteristics of the Prussians, which 
have alienated them from the friendship of every 
other nation as well. It was, then, not sympathy with 


Prussia or even Austria that led to the adoption of 
the policy of a war with Russia, but a clearly visual- 
ized opportunity to deal successfully with one of the 
formidable despoilers of their national heritage and 
a chance, such as might never occur again, of redeem- 
ing the lost sovereignty over a major part of the 
ancient Polish domains. It was a policy dictated by 
the Polish raison d'etat and founded on an intimate 
knowledge of political and military conditions. That 
it was evidently based on sound premises, the events 
during the course of the war have demonstrated. 
Were it not for Poland's active and bold political 
moves and the heroic deeds of the Legions, the act 
of November 5, 1916, whereby the Central Powers 
recognized the independence of the Kingdom of Po- 
land, would not have been proclaimed ; and were it not 
for that Act and the rapid organization of the Polish 
State in the midst of the war, the Revolutionary Pro- 
visional Government of Russia would presumably 
hot have declared itself for complete Polish inde- 
pendence. The new Russia has not declared the inde- 
pendence of any of the other component nationalities 
of the Russian Empire. 

By siding with Austria, which did not hamper 
Polish national life, Poland gained a natural ally not 
only against Russia but against Germany as well. . 
As one publicist expressed it "the alliance was 
a sword against Russia and a shield against Ger- 
many." The alliance was also of undoubted practical 
value to both Austria and Hungary. A Polish state, 
composed of Galicia and the territories wrested from 
Russia during the war, and becoming a third member 
of a federation on an equal footing with Austria and 
Hungary, would be very desirable to them from every 
point of view. Tt would be gratifying to the reigning 


dynasty as long as that institution lasted, and it 
would add prestige and strength to the federated 
states by additional territory, men and wealth, and 
would rectify the difficult, from a military point of 
view, frontier conditions which existed between the 
Central Empires and Russia prior to the war. It 
would have been welcomed by the German Austrians 
as it would have relieved them of the large Polish 
representation from Galicia in the Viennese Parlia- 
ment and it would have been gladly received by the 
Hungarians, since the separation of Galicia would 
have reduced Austria's relative strength with regard 
to Hungary. Above all, it would have rendered futile 
all German endeavors to draw into the Reichsbund 
the autochthonously Germanic provinces of Austria 
and by affording in the Polish State a buttress for the 
Poles in Prussia it would inevitably have led to a fer- 
ment in Prussia and to a change in her relation to 
the Poles. The German government well understood 
the situation arid did its level best to block the efforts 
of the Polish statesmen. It regarded with disfavor 
the Austrian consent to the formation of Polish Le- 
gions and until the manifesto of November 5, 1916, 
prohibited recruiting into the Legions in that part of 
Poland which was under German occupancy. 

Knowing well that in the grim realities of life 
only the strong survive and that a nation which is un- 
prepared to meej serious contingencies receives little 
consideration no matter how rightful its course and 
lofty its principles, thoughtful Poles did their utmost 
to arouse the people that they might not be caught 
unawares, and to devise opportunities for making 
preparations. Here Galicia proved to be the 
Polish Piedmont. It was in Galicia that military 
preparedness began to be organized, at first secretly 
and then openly. Numerous books and pamphlets 


were published bearing on war questions and tech- 
nique. Schools were started for training Polish offi- 
cers to command the Polish army in "event of war 
with Russia, and the organizers were in close touch 
with the revolutionary societies of Russian Poland 
and Lithuania. 

Statesman and Scholar 

The bulk of the army was to be composed of Rus- 
sian Poles who, it was reckoned, would be available at 
the outbreak of a war on account of the 
The Supreme anticipated hasty withdrawal of the 

National Com- . r J 

mittee Russian armies from Poland for well 

known strategic reasons. This actually 

occurred. Because, however, of Germany's decision 


to throw the weight of her armies first to the west to 
crush, republican France, Russia was able to come 
back too early to make, possible a considerable con- 
scription of the Russian Poles into the Legions 
which came into official existence on August 16, 1914, 
when the Supreme National Committee, the civic 
counterpart of the Legions, was organized in Cracow 
with Professor Wladyslaw Leopold Jaworski as 
President and a membership of forty Galician depu- 
ties to the Parliament at Vienna and the Provincial 
Diet at Lemberg, representing all political parties. 

Polish detachments took to the field before the 
Legions were organized. Six days after the 
declaration of war Joseph Pilsudski, a Lithuanian 
Pole, following the command of the Revolutionary 
National Government which was set up in Warsaw 
on August 3rd, led his boys across the frontier and 
established headquarters at Kielce in Russian Po- 
land, where his small army was swelled to consider- 
able proportions in a few days. There he issued a 
manifesto which marks the beginning of the new era 
for Poland. It was this deed and his army's baptism 
of fire which forced the issue and caused the organiza- 
tion of the Supreme National Committee and the 
Legions, of which the Committee became the admin- 
istrative body. 

In their manifesto the Supreme National Com- 
mittee said: 

"In this hour of bloody transformation of Europe, we 
may regain a great deal. But we must also sacrifice much. 
For he will not win who but passively waits the end of the 

"In this hour the nation must prove that -it lives and 
wants to live ; that it desires and knows how to retain the 
place assigned to it by God and to defend it before the enemy. 

"In order to transform the national Polish forces into 
armed legions, the Polish Parliamentary Club and all political 


parties without exception have unanimously resolved to form 
one organization. 

"Under Polish command and in close connection with the 
chief direction of the Austro-Hungarian army, the Polish 
Legions will enter the struggle in order that they may also 
throw upon the scales of the greatest war a deed worthy of 
the Polish nation, as a condition and beginning of a brighter 

The representatives of the secret military organ- 
izations of Russian Poland, of the People's Party and 
of the Polish Socialist Party were present at the 

(Painting by Julian Falat) 

session and pledged their support and subordination 
to the newly formed Supreme National Committee. 
The Revolutionary National Government which was 
organized at Warsaw three days after the declaration 
of war and which issued a call to arms, similarly 
submitted to the newly established authority and dis- 

* Recueil de documents concernant la question polonaise, Aout, 
1915, Switzerland, 1915, pp. 46-47. 


Meanwhile, on August 14th, Grand Duke Nicho- 
las, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian armies, 
realizing the importance of political dis- 
orientation in Poland, issued his mani- 
Nichoias festo, beautiful in style and fetching by 

its sentiment, in which he promised the 
unification of Poland in territory, language and 

"Poles ! 

"The hour has struck when the dream of your fathers and 
forefathers may be realized. 

"A century and a half ago the living body of Poland was 
rent asunder, but her soul has not perished. She has lived in 
the hope that the time will come for the resurrection of the 
Polish nation and its fraternal conciliation with great Russia. 

"The Russian army brings you glad tidings of this union. 
May the frontiers which have divided the Polish people be 
broken down! May the Polish nation be united under the 
sceptre of the Russian Emperor! Under this sceptre Poland 
will be born anew, free in faith, in language and in self-gov- 

"One thing Russia expects of you : an equal consideration 
for the rights of those nations with which history has linked 

"With open heart, with hand fraternally outstretched, 
great Russia comes to you. She believes that the sword has 
not rusted which overthrew the foe at Grunwald. 

"From the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the Polar Sea 
.the Russian war-hosts are in motion. The morning star of a 
new life is rising for you. 

"May there shine resplendent in the dawn the sign of the 
Cross, the symbol of the Passion and Resurrection of nations." 

The appeal served its purpose. The masses 
in Russian Poland, deprived for decades of the 
possibilities of free and thorough discussion of 
their national problems and bullied by the National 
Democrats, were led astray and received the 
manifesto with almost puerile enthusiasm. It was 


not, however, love of Russia or faith in Russian 
promises, but hatred of Prussia which caused this out- 
hurst. And then, it was reasoned, by turning against 
Russia, the Poles would have been indirectly turning 
against France and England, countries for which they 
have always entertained but admiration and respect! 
It was confidently expected that France and England 
would soon issue guarantees of the Russian pledges. 
The shock over the fate of brave Belgium and the 
blunt official declaration of Germany that treaties 
are "scraps of paper" helped to swing the pendulum. 
Aside from emotional reasons, the friendly atti- 
tude of a great number of Poles toward Russia 
after the manifesto was caused also by the belief that 
the Allies would soon overpower the Teutonic Em- 
pires, and it would have been suicidal policy to league 
with the vanquished, particularly when only hostile 
feelings were entertained toward at least one of them. 
This reasoning seemed to be particularly well 
grounded after the Austrian defeats in the first 
months of the war, when they had to retire almost 
to the doors of Cracow. Hence the temporary mis- 
understanding between the Poles of the two sections 
of Poland. Many of the weaker characters among 
the Galician Poles began to question the wisdom of 
their original attachments. Several members of the 
Supreme National Committee, large landowners of 
East Galicia, whose estates began to fall into Russian 
hands, experienced under the circumstances a com- 
plete change of heart and caused the disbandment of 
the Eastern Polish Legion whose headquarters were 
originally at Lemberg. This, of course, led to their 
withdrawal from the Committee. The National 
Democrats of Galicia whose representatives at first 
joined the Committee, similarly turned tippet when 
the first untoward events came on and welcomed the 


advent of the Russian troops. They had subsequently 
to retire with the Russian armies in fear of trials for 
high treason. 

The Supreme National Committee bravely 
weathered many fierce political tempests and 
although severely criticized in some quarters it per- 
formed its principal duties with unflinching devotion 
and singleness of purpose. It rendered great service 


President of the Polish Parliamentary Club, ex-flnance minister of Austria- 
Hungary, statesman and scholar 

to the cause of Poland. In order to unify the efforts 
of the Committee with those of the Polish Parlia- 
mentary Club, former minister Bilinski, as President 
of the Parliamentary Club, became ex-officio Chair- 
man of the Committee and remained in that post until 
the dissolution of the Committee in 1917 when the 
entire direction of the Polish policy was taken over 
by the Provisional Council of State. 


In spite of hard adversities the Polish Legions 

have remained true to their ideals and have fought 

with proverbial gallantry. By their 

P? C i ro 1 wt , h deeds they have gained the complete 

of the Polish ,, , J . . 

Legions confidence ot the Austrian government 

which at first was somewhat dilatory 
and suspicious, placing many difficulties in the way 
of their provisioning and equipment. The enthusi- 
asm and readiness for infinite sacrifices on the part 
of Galicia for the support of the Polish army com- 
posed chiefly of Russian Poles, has been truly re- 
markable and fully convincing as to the earnestness 
of the country and the intensity of hopes placed in 
the Legions. Old men and young boys, peasants and 
university students, workmen and artists, flocked by 
tens of thousands to the banners to fight for the liber- 
ation of their country and to uphold the glorious 
martial traditions of the nation. Foremost writers, 
like Sieroszewski, Strug, Rydel, Danilowski and Zul- 
awski, painters like Aydukiewicz, a man of over sixty, 
actors, sculptors, university professors, priests, men 
in all walks of life and of all ages joined the Legions. 
Describing the devotion and enthusiasm of the 
people in fitting out the Legions, Count Louis Mor- 
stin says : 

"The offerings made were truly touching ; they demon- 
strated to what degree of patriotism a people for a century 
vainly aspiring to liberty, is able to rise. Domestic servants 
and laborers gave all their savings, boys in the primary schools 
and old people living in almshouses offered the few cents they 
managed to spare with great difficulty ; a blind man who 
earned his living by playing a violin in the streets came to do- 
nate his single treasure the instrument by which he earned 
his daily bread. Gold rings poured into the treasury in such 
numbers that one could soon find no married couple wearing 
this emblem of wedlock; it was considered a shame not to 
have offered them to the military treasury. The ladies of the 


famous novelist, as officer of the Polish Legions 


higher classes spent whole nights sewing underwear for the 
soldiers and worked like common factory girls. The peasants 
of the .vicinity of Cracow alone raised four hundred thousand 
crowns. The whole nation became an immense workshop, a 
source of inexhaustible generosity ; one thought and one desire 
animated all minds : the Polish army. 

"When one realizes the immense difficulties connected with 
the creation of an army, even among nations possessing un- 
limited resources, he can easily comprehend the enthusiasm 
and pride of a nation which could, amidst conditions so diffi- 
cult and within a span of time so short, equip and send to the 
firing line detachments of troops which were capable of with- 
standing all the rigors of modern warfare." * 

Among the most active workers on behalf of the 
Legions was the venerable Bishop Wladyslav Ban- 
durski of Lemberg, an ardent patriot, whose unbound- 
ed devotion, eloquence and enthusiasm have been a 
source of constant inspiration. Within a few months, 
despite the two million Poles drafted into the armies 
of Austria, Germany and Russia, a Polish army tens 
of thousands strong, equipped by the nation and com- 
manded in the Polish language by Polish officers, 
sprang into existence. 

In response to a threat issued by the Generalis- 
simo of the Russian army on August 30, 1914, that 
the Polish volunteers when captured would not be 
treated like ordinary war prisoners, and after several 
were hanged by the Russians, the Austro-Hungarian 
government on October 2, 1914, addressed a note to 
the neutral countries of the world in which it offi- 
cially recognized the Polish Legions as a regular army 
and as a combatant to whom the ordinary rules of 
warfare apply in accordance with established prac- 
tices and conventions. This note gave international 
status to the Legions. It must be stated in this con- 

* "La Legion Polonaise" Berne: Ferd. Wyss, 1916, pp. 15-16. 


nection that according to the understanding reached 
between the Supreme National Committee and the 
Austro-Htmgarian government the Polish Legions 

ardent patriot and spiritual leader of Poland 

could not be and never were employed against any of 
the belligerents except Russia. In this way the Poles 
strove to emphasize that they were not at war with 
any other country except that of the Tsar, just as the 


army of Prince Joseph Poniatowski, fighting beside 
the Grande Armee of Napoleon was formed against 
Russia and not against England, Russia's ally of a 
century ago. 

From the point of view of their organizers, the 
Polish Legions were a guarantee that the Polish 
Question would come up for solution 
The intema- a f- ^ e p e ace Congress which will follow 

tionai status th c i osmg o f t h e present hostilities, and 

of the Polish . 9., ; *T * A ^.1 

Question tnat !t wl " not ^e left to the internal 

settlement of any of the three parti- 
tioning states. This was the chief motive in creating 
the Polish army. By its existence the Poles wanted to 
emphasize that they are a distinct national entity 
with a will to live and to shape freely its own des- 
tinies. They well realized that the small national 
Polish army could not influence the destinies of the 
Great War one way or another, but they reckoned 
that the fact of its existence would neutralize the 
efforts of their enemies for an internal post-bellum 
settlement of the Polish Question. -From the very out- 
set official and non-official Russia has made it clear 
that it. proposes to deal with the problem as one of 
purely internal concern, a position precisely contrary 
to the uniform wishes of the Polish nation. Discussing 
editorially this desire of the Poles, the Russian jour- 
nal "Utro Rossey" said on January 1, 1915 : 

"It was the commander-in-chief of the Russian armies 
who issued the manifesto to the Poles. It was neither Gen- 
eral Joffre nor General French. Neither France nor England 
has a decisive voice in the purely Slavonic family question. 
The future councils of the victorious allies will affirm the act 
of unification of Poland. But no "congresses" have a right 
to concern themselves with the organization of Poland united 
under the sceptre of the Russian tsar." 


Similar in substance have been all the other Rus- 
sian utterances. In an interview at Rome Professor 
Milyukoff, the leader of the Constitutional Demo- 
crats, said: 

"To-day my party is drafting a plan for Poland similar to 
that adopted by Britain for Ireland before the war. The Poles 
will be forced to serve in the army and will send deputies to 
the Duma but they will be granted a large measure of local 
self-government." * 

The hopes of the Poles who counted on the active 
and forceful intervention of France and England 
have been shattered by the various discouraging pro- 
nouncements of eminent Frenchmen and English- 
men. The greatest blow, however, came on January 
12, 1917, when, in their joint reply to President Wil- 
son's note of December 18, 1916, referring to Poland 
the Allies said: "The intentions of His Majesty the 
Emperor of Russia regarding Poland have been clear- 
ly indicated in the proclamation which he has just 
addressed to his armies." 

That the Russian government did not seriously 
regard the manifesto of Grand Duke Nicholas be- 
came evident early in the war. For a 

^ on t * me t ^ ie man ^ esto received no im- 
perial sanction and no plans for the 
promised Polish autonomy had been 
thought of until several days after the capture of 
Warsaw by the Germans in August, 1915. Only 
then, when the Russian armies were in full and hasty 
retreat, in the course of which they turned the coun- 
try into a veritable desert and drove millions of people 
from their homes, a joint committee of Russians and 
Poles was appointed in Petrograd to devise a draft 

* Reported in the daily press of June 9, 1916, 


of a post-bellum organization of Poland. The Poles 
felt keenly the mockery of this procedure. The ter- 
rible devastation wrought by the Russians in their re- 
treat and the atrocities committed, which probably 
will some day be told to the world in full, as well as 
their revolting behavior in Galicia during the inva- 
sion, could hardly inspire the people with confidence 
in the Tsar's beneficent designs for the future of Po- 
land. Count Bobrinsky's administration of Galicia 
will long be remembered by the people as a haunting 

After the high sounding declarations of the mani- 
festo, the Poles had a right to expect consideration 
for their national feelings during the war at least. 
Instead, they were abused and outraged at every 
turn. Pillage, assault and rape by the soldiery went 
on unrestricted. Respectable citizens were often 
abused without cause, residences were searched and 
even apparel and furniture appropriated by the offi- 
cers. Many libraries and art collections were seized 
and moved to Russia. The schools and the University 
of Lemberg were closed and a campaign of Russifica- 
tion was inaugurated. Trainloads of Russian primers 
had been brought from Russia to educate the youth of 
Galicia, portraits of the Tsar were placed everywhere, 
and under the guidance of the metropolitan Eulogius 
religious proselytism was carried on intensely among 
the Ruthenians. When the Russians were forced 
to evacuate Galicia they took with them many promi- 
nent Poles as hostages, among others Dr. Tadeusz 
Rutowski, the highly respected mayor of the City of 
Lemberg, and Count Szeptycki, the Greek Catholic 
metropolitan. In Russia both of these gentlemen 
were imprisoned and subjected to ill-treatment. In 
January, 1917, arrangements were finally completed 
for the exchange of Dr. Rutowski for a prominent 


Russian prisoner of war, and he returned home where 
he was received with genuine enthusiasm. Count 
Szeptycki, however, was less lucky. Unless the new 
Russian government has released him, he is still in an 
Orthodox monastery at Suzdal where, contrary to 
all laws and conventions, he has been imprisoned de- 

Mayor of the City of Lemberg 

spite the fact that as a civil prisoner and a Greek 
Catholic he should not have been placed under the 
jurisdiction of the Synod of the Russian Orthodox 

The misrule of Galicia during the occupation 
served to cool .the original enthusiasm for Russia, 


which had been exhibited by certain elements in Po- 
land after the publication of the Grand Duke's mani- 
festo. When the Russian government, desirous of 
offsetting the international status of the Polish Le- 
gions, resolved to organize counter legions with the 
aid of a Polish Committee composed chiefly of Na- 
tional Democratic leaders, it found no response on the 
part of the country in spite of all the efforts of the 
Committee. To save appearances, a man of unenvi- 
able reputation was hired to undertake the task. He 
whipped a large number of thieves and other criminals, 
released for the purpose, into a regiment. It was how- 
ever, too disgraceful a venture and the regiment was 
soon disbanded. Then another man was engaged, 
also of a questionable character, and the formation of 
Polish counter legions was entrusted to him. He 
rallied several hundred men, many from the aris- 
tocracy, but the whole enterprise fell flat and came 
to a speedy end. 

Meanwhile, the Teutonic Eastern sweep was 
coming on and early in August, 1915, Warsaw fell. 
The proverbially gay capital had a 
The Fail of grave and stern look when it changed 
Warsaw and hands. Under the cover of calm, deep 
die Dubious concern was in everybody's soul. The 

Policy of the i j A / -j.1. n 

Central Em- people were glad to part with Russia, 
pires but it was not the Polish Legions who 

took possession of the City. Another 
ruthless and seemingly invincible foe became the 
master of the heart of Poland. While Warsaw was 
self-possessed and reserved, Galicia and other sec- 
tions of Poland were jubilant and great happenings 
were anticipated. On the 6th of August the "Polish 
Gazette" published in Dombrowa Gornicza, a town in 
the coal and iron district of Russian Poland, had the 
following leader: 


" 'Warsaw taken !' This news, as if an electric current, 
sent a thrill through us albeit for several days it was already 
known that the Muscovites would at last be compelled to leave 
the city. For the first time in eighty-five years has the North- 
ern raider withdrawn. For over three quarters of a century 
the Muscovite vampire has throttled Warsaw. Every house, 
every stone in the street reeks with blood and with the awful 
agony of the victims of the Tsar. Not by thousands, but by 
hundreds of thousands do we count Polish martyrs who 
perished in the streets, homes, dungeons, the citadel and on 
the gallows. The gendarme who arrests ; the Cossack who 
beats Polish women until they bleed; the secret police agent 
who surcharges the atmosphere with the miasms of fear, hid- 
ing and suspicion ; and the thieving official those are the 
necessary accessories to a picture of Warsaw as it has been. 
And in spite of all this, Warsaw never became demoralized. 
Each departing generation always handed down to its succes- 
sor the traditions of revolt, revolution and resistance. Oceans 
of blood did the Russian tribe draw from Warsaw, the heart 
of Poland. The number of victims never diminished. The 
prisons were always full, the secret police agents never too 
many. Now the Northern bandit has fled. It is hard for us 
to think of Warsaw without the cynical face and eyes of the 
spy, without the rouble-hungry hands of the bureaucrat-thief. 

"There are no Muscovites in Warsaw! This joyful fact 
brings to our minds, however, thoughts fraught with serious 
reflections. We all feel that a thing of immense historical 
importance has been accomplished. The whole world knows 
it. The eyes of the world are now fixed on our capital. We 
wait thence for light; we wait thence for brightness and sin- 
cerity; we wait the dispersion of doubts which must now be 
dispelled. At this historic moment we must observe solemn 
quietness and complete readiness. The destinies of our coun- 
try are now being determined. We are awaiting the tocsin of 
the capital, we are waiting at the same time for an unequivocal 
call from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and from the Ger- 
man Empire. At the moment when this takes place the whole 
nation will go with the Legions, helping them toward the final 
defeat of Russia." 

Bitter, however, was the disappointment of those 
who expected that Germany and Austria would soon 


make the anticipated proffer! In quick succession 
cities and fortresses fell, and by the end of the year 
the whole of Poland and large areas of Lithuania, 
Volhynia and Podolia came under the joint occu- 
pancy of the Teutonic allies, but no announcement 
concerning the status of Poland was forthcoming. 
For months not a word could be had from Vienna in 
response to the insistent inquiries and protests of the 
Supreme National Committee. Meanwhile, the 
whole civil administration of the conquered territory 
was taken over by the officials of the Central Powers, 
and seA'ere requisitions were made. 

The Germans were particularly inconsiderate in 
depriving the people of their foodstuffs down to the 
bare bone. The Prussian Colonization Commission 
which suspended its nefarious work during the war, 
was entrusted with the task of squeezing the maxi- 
mum amount of food, metals and coal out of Poland 
and of organizing the economic conditions of the oc- 
cupied territory. The result of their labors was disas- 
trous for the country. They impoverished the people 
to the point of starvation and forced thousands of 
workmen to go to Germany to work in the fields and 
factories. At the same time the Germans granted a 
number of concessions to the Poles, such as the right 
to establish Polish schools and other educational in- 
stitutions, to open the University and the Polytechnic 
Institute, to take over the administration of justice 
in the lower courts and to organize home rule for 
cities. They turned the administration of the War- 
saw postal service over to the city authorities and left 
a considerable amount of leeway to the Warsaw City 
Council in organizing the police and public health 
work as well as other administrative policies. 

They imposed, how r ever, a severe censorship over 
the press, directed by a well-known Prussian Pole- 


hater, George von Cleinow. No political gath- 
erings were allowed and many men were imprisoned 
or sent to Germany. All communication between the 
Poles under the two occupations was made impossible 
and the people were restricted in their travel from 
town to town. The inhabitants of one county were 
not allowed to visit people in another county without 
urgent business and special permission. In spite of 
the asseverations made by Chancellor Bethmann- 
Hollweg that "the Polish question must and will be 
solved by Germany and Austria-Hungary," negotia- 
tions were going on between the Central Powers and 
the Russian government. And Poland was to consti- 
tute one of the prizes to Russia for a separate peace. 

While these negotiations were being carried on, 
the Polish press was completely muzzled. Adverse 
criticism of the Tsar was not permitted and even the 
mere mention of the Legions was prohibited, much 
less advertisement for recruits. The German authori- 
ties stated that recruiting was forbidden because 
the men were needed for the economic reconstruc- 
tion of the country. These acts by. Germany led to 
the formation of a secret military organization, in 
close touch with the Legions and with the avowed 
aim of an uprising in the event of a separate peace be- 
tween the Central Empires and Russia. 

The conditions in the Austrian area of occupa- 
tion were considerably better. The administration 
of the territory was entrusted to Poles and the rights 
of the people were recognized and respected. The 
requisitions were not as heavy. In Galicia, however, 
after the retreat of the Russians many of the old 
home-rule liberties were temporarily suspended and 
an Austrian was appointed Governor General of the 
Province. Since 1866 this was the first appointment 
of anyone but a Pole to the position. 


It was a gloomy and disheartening year which 
followed the fall of Warsaw, and as is usual in such 
trying times, internal dissension arose. The Su- 
preme National Committee, however, was untiring in 
its persistence and endeavors. Through conferences 
with representatives of the Central Empires, by me- 
morials and the press, it did its utmost to bring about 
a settlement of the issue. It was pointed out to the 
Central Empires that they would have been acting 
fully within the bounds of international law if they 
allowed the Poles to set up a government of their own 
before the end of the war, because Russian rule in 
Poland since 183.1 has been based exclusively on the 
fact that the Russian armies occupied the country. 

Russian rule had no other foundation in law, as 
on February 25, 1831, the Polish Diet formally and 
lawfully declared the Russian Tsar deprived of the 
crown of Poland because of his manifold and flagrant 
A'iolations and abuses of the constitution which was 
guaranteed by the Treaty of Vienna of 1815 and 
sworn to by both Alexander I and Nicholas I. Tsar 
Nicholas fully recognized the legality of this action 
by the Diet, for in his negotiations with the Polish 
Government in 1831 on several occasions he demand- 
ed that the Diet^rescind its resolution and restore his 
royal title. His demands, however, were never com- 
plied with. When the Russian armies retired from 
Poland in 1915 the nation, it was argued, was again 
free to establish its government in accordance with 
the provisions of the constitution which had been sus- 
pended since 1831, provided Germany and Austria 
were willing to relinquish the rights which accrued to 
them from the fact that their armies were occupying 
the country. 


While efforts were being made to secure for Po- 
land the desired political status, the immediate eco- 
nomic, social and educational needs of 
Polish Self- t j ie coun t r y W ere not neglected. Citizens' 

Help During , . , 

the* War committees sprang up all over the land 

to organize self-help and relief measures, 
and with the scanty means at their disposal they ac- 
complished marvelous results. Although Poland has 
a population over three times as large as Belgium and 
has suffered infinitely greater losses than the little 
kingdom to the West, yet probably not a hundredth 
of the relief funds raised for the sufferers in the pres- 
ent war has been directed to Poland. The burden of 
relieving the victims of the war fell upon the country 
itself and the people bore it stoically and with self-ab- 
negation. Those who had, shared their possessions 
with their less fortunate brethren men and women 
gave their services cheerfully and without reservation. 
Poland will have to thank only the energy and spirit 
of her own people for what has been accomplished 
through excellent organization and for what has been 
saved in life and wealth. 

The women played an important part in this work 
of self-help. Organized into leagues, they cared for 
the needs of the men in the field as well as for their 
families at home. They maintained shelters, public 
kitchens, homes for orphans, milk stations, public 
laundries and employment agencies. They worked as 
nurses in the hospitals and cared for the indigent sick 
in their homes. They organized playgrounds and 
summer colonies for children, courses for illiterates, 
libraries and vacation schools for teachers. They 
helped in spreading the gospel of independence among 
the people by spoken word and written. They edited 
newspapers and published pamphlets and books. 
They assisted the quartermasters of the army and the 


civil commissioners of the National Supreme Com- 
mittee in studying the economic conditions of the 
country and applying assistance where it was most 
needed. They trained teachers for the Polish ele- 
mentary schools which were organized throughout 
the country as soon as the Russians retired. About 
twenty such pedagogical colleges were opened in 
1915, and the number of students who applied sur- 
passed all the expectations of the organizers. Where 
forty were expected, two hundred enrolled. The edu- 
cation of the youth was made a matter of particular 
concern. The University and Polytechnic School of 
Warsaw were re-opened in the autumn of 1915 with 
excellent faculties composed of prominent Polish 
scientists and scholars. Numerous colleges were es- 
tablished in the principal cities in addition to those 
which had existed before the war, and in order to pro- 
mote high standards of instruction and to discuss the 
numerous pedagogical and administrative school 
problems facing the educators, a national convention 
of teachers was held at Warsaw in January, 1917. 

As the nation by its political maturity and 

strength of organization and self-help exhibited its 

remarkable fortitude and virility, so the 

T J le u H J; r v S J n Legions bv their heroism and devotion 

of the Polish o. . . , , . , 

Legions to tne cause of independence revealed 

once more Poland's readiness and de- 
termination to reach her cherished goal. Though 
equipped and provided less adequately than the sol- 
diers of other armies, they were fighting under the 
banner of the White Eagle, in Polish uniforms and un- 
der Polish command, and they bore cheerfully all the 
hardships of the Eastern campaigns. Their deeds 
have brought back all the martial glory of old Poland 
-the conqueror of Moscow, the challenger of mighty 
Sweden and the savior of Vienna when the hosts of 


the Crescent threatened Christendom. Whether m 
the snow-capped peaks of the Carpathians or on the 
sun-scorched plains of Bessarabia, the Legions have 
fought with such bravery as only men dedicated to a 


great ideal can fight. Snubbed at first by the Ger- 
mans because of the improvised character of their 
army, they soon won respect and earned the admira- 
tion of the highest military commanders. Because 
of their bravery, the Poles were often ordered to the 
most dangerous positions and though exposed to 
murderous fire they never faltered. The evident re- 
solve on the part of the general staffs of the Teutonic 
armies never, to mention the accomplishments of the 
Legions in the daily war bulletins had at times to be 
abandoned in view of the stupendous feats performed, 


and on several occasions "Polish days" were pro- 
claimed by the Austrian supreme command. 

One such day was June 13, 1915. In the recently 
published diary of Berthold Merwin, an officer of the 
Polish Legions, one can read the description of a Po- 
lish cavalry charge which caused this special mention : 

"Not only we who lived through it but all Poland will 
remember this day of glory and sorrow. A century ago Samo- 
Sierra came to be written in letters of gold on the pages of 
the history of Polish arms, and now our children will learn the 
history of this day and our bards will sing of the charge upon 
the heights of Rokitna led by Captain Zbigniew Dunin- 

"At dawn our infantry carried an assault upon the heights. 
They reached the outskirts of the village and stopped. As 
long as the Russian infantry with a large number of machine 
guns and cannons, well hidden in their trenches, occupied the 
crest of the hill, all attacks were doomed to be drowned in 

"Then the cavalry was ordered to charge the hill. The 
squadron fell into line. The horses whinnied, on them our 
daring boys. . . and they rode through the fields, four platoons 
of them. Within three kilometers of the enemy they formed 
a line, and the trot gave way to a gallop, faster and faster, 
wilder and wilder... Like a hurricane they swept up the 
hill behind them a cloud, before them the glitter of drawn 
swords. The enemy line gained, the first empty trenches taken 
at a leap, and the'second line was reached. 

"Suddenly the thunder of the Muscovite guns shook the 
air the horrible noise of machine gun and the burst of 
shrapnel. But Wonsowicz with his uhlans never faltered. 
Here one has fallen, here a horse is running wild without a 
rider here another is rearing in fright and somebody has slid 
into a rampart and here are some trampled in the wild onrush 
of cavalry. And still like a scythe the machine guns mowed 
down the ranks and the shrapnel burst overhead. But now 
the second trench is taken and on they sweep. More riderless 
horses. The glittering, charging wave of glory is over the 
works and then gone. The volleys quiet down, the rattling 
of the machine guns stops, and the grey clouds of shrapnel 
smoke drift lightly in the air. A terrible moment of dead 


silence, our hearts beating as if trying to tear through our 
breasts something grips us by the throat, strangling and 
choking. I looked at my fellow officers through a mist and 
did not recognize their eyes. 

"Is it an apparition or a reality. . . ? 

"Down the village road ride they who went through this 
Gehenna, bringing with them their dead and wounded. 

"And the road lay open for the infantry ! 

Two days later at the funeral exercises of those 
who perished in the charge of Rokitna a surviving 
member of the squadron, swathed in bandages, made 
the following speech: 

"Here are our comrades. . . Sent to death, they rode with 
a full. realization of their fate, yet none of them turned back 
his horse. They renewed the traditions of the Polish uhlan 
of a century ago. They met with a heroic death. Seeing this, 
let all, all our enemies know and remember what the Pole is 
able to do. Let us hope that this blood is not shed in vain, that 
it will turn the scale, already overbalanced with so many vic- 
tims, and that thanks to them our national ideals will be real- 

Reading of the infinite number of such and simi- 
lar sacrifices made in the name of Poland's liberty 
and independence, it is impossible to conceive that 
such a nation can be longer hampered in the realiza- 
tion of its most sacred ideals. 

The inspiration of the idea of a Polish military 
force and the most active and indefatigable worker 
in this direction was Joseph Pilsudski, 
Joseph Pilsud- the present Secretary of War in the 
ski and the Provisional Polish government. He 
e fi rs *- incarnated his idea in the Fighting 
Squad of the Polish Socialist Party 
which was very active in the fight on Russian autoc- 
racy during the revolution of 1905-1907. 


Joseph Pilsudski was born in Lithuania in 1867 
and is a scion of an ancient princely family, distin- 

organizer of the Polish Legions 

guished for its patriotism. For its active participation 
in uprisings the family was deprived of many of its 
estates. When Joseph was a small boy his father was 


impoverished by the fire which destroyed his home 
and the adjoining properties. His mother gave him 
his early education at home, instilling in him exalted 
feelings of patriotism. Later, when he entered a Rus- 
sian school, his sensitive nature revolted against the 
abuse and insult heaped upon Poland, her history and 
her people. In 1885 he entered the University of 
Kharkov and joined the student revolutionary soci- 
ety. Two years later he was arrested and exiled to 
Siberia. In a dying condition from consumption, he 
was released in 1892. 

During the years spent in exile he acquired a 
great deal of knowledge and worked out the daring 
plan for redeeming his nation from bondage. He 
preached his gospel in season and out of season and 
enthused a great many men and women in all walks 
of life. Believing that only by an armed uprising could 
Poland throw off her shackles, he devoted many years 
of study to military art, of which he became a master. 
In Russian Poland and Galicia he organized secret 
military schools where officers for the future Polish 
army received instruction. 

Pilsudski is a born leader of men, admired by all 
who come in contact with him. He is worshipped by 
his soldiers who will do anything at his command. 
Everywhere he'is esteemed for his high principles, ex- 
alted conception of duty, generous heart, bravery and 
modesty. During the course of the present war he 
won great distinction as a general and strategist, and 
acquired wide popularity among the people as the 
country's redeemer. His name has already become 
almost mythical in Poland. When he came to War- 
saw in the fall of 1916, great throngs were awaiting 
him at the railroad station. He was deluged with 
flowers. The horses of his carriage were unhitched 


and he was drawn through the streets by the popu- 
lace. "Elected by nobody, appointed by no one," says 
one writer, "he came as the lightning out of the dark- 
ness of the night and the nation acclaimed him as 
their Chief." Only a few years ago denounced by 
some as a dangerous agitator and impractical idealist, 
Pilsudski is to-day the generally recognized leader of 

It was his popularity and the masterful stroke of 
resigning his position as Brigadier-General of the 
Legions in the autumn of 1916, which, probably more 
than anything else, was responsible for the recogni- 
tion of Poland's independence on the part of the Cen- 
tral Powers. Seeing that all the negotiations of the 
Supreme National Committee and other political or- 
ganizations were powerless to secure this recognition, 
he determined to force the issue. Many months prior 
to this step he discouraged recruiting for the Legions 
and a secret organization was formed at his behest. 
Tt enlisted tens of thousands of well trained military 
men, to be used in an uprising against Germany 
should she bargain with Russia for a separate peace. 

As a counterpart of Pilsudski's resignation from 
active service in the army came the resignation of the 
powerful Socialist deputy, Tgnace Daszynski, from the 
Polish Parliamentary Club at Vienna. It was a dra- 
matic way of serving notice on the governments of the 
Central Powers that the Polish people had ceased to 
believe in the sincerity of the indefinite promises made 
on various occasions and that they did not propose to 
be duped any longer and to be used as a stake in a 
possible separate peace-bargaining with Russia. It 
served its purpose. The two governments became 
more willing to negotiate. "These negotiations lasted 
a month and involved journeys of the Polish depu- 


tation both to Berlin and to Vienna. There was 
no question of German "Kultur" deluding or deceiv- 
ing the Polish envoys. They were too wide awake for 
that. They understood too well just what they wanted. 
In the speech made by Dr. Brudzinski, the very 
able Rector of the Warsaw University, in the name of 
the deputation, he laid down the following condi- 

the highly gifted leader of the Polish Socialists 

tions : first, a Regent must be nominated; second, the 
frontier between the two zones of military occupa- 
tion must be abolished; third, a Polish State Council 
must be formed at once to elaborate a constitution 
and to regulate the administration of the State; and 
fourth, a military department must be brought into 
being to organize a Polish army. As to the exact 
frontiers of the new State, the deputation were willing 


to leave the delineation open until the end of the war. 
But on every other side they stood inflexibly firm."* 

As a result of the negotiations came the mani- 
festo of November 5th, read in the name of the two 
emperors by the military represent- 
The Prociama- atives at Warsaw and Lublin. The 
. t10 " of T p ,- manifesto declared that : 

land s Inde- 
pendence, "Inspired by firm confidence in a final 
November 5, victory of their arms and prompted by a desire 
1916 to lead 'the Polish territorities, wrested by their 
armies under heavy sacrifices from Russian 
domination, toward a happy future, His Majesty the German 
Emperor and His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Austria 
and Apostolic King of Hungary have resolved to form of 
these territories an independent State with a hereditary 
monarchy and a constitutional government. The exact fron- 
tiers of the Kingdom of Poland will be outlined later. The new 
Kingdom will receive the guarantees needed for the free 
development of its own forces by a union with the two allied 
Powers. The glorious traditions of the Polish armies of the 
past and the memory of the brave Polish comrades in arms in 
the great war of our days shall continue to live in your own 
national army. The organization, instruction and command 
of this army will be arranged by common agreement. 

"The allied monarchs express the confident hope that Po- 
lish wishes for the evolution of a Polish State and for the na- 
tional development of a Polish kingdom will now be fulfilled, 
taking due consideration of the general political conditions 
prevailing in Europe, and of the welfare and the safety of 
their own countries and nations. 

"The great realm which the western neighbors of the 
Kingdom of Poland will have on their eastern frontier will be 
a free and happy State, enjoying its own national life, and they 
will welcome with joy the birth and prosperous development 
of this State." 

The proclamation was received with great en- 
thusiasm in Poland but it failed to include certain of 

*J. H. Harley "The Polish Review," Geo. Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 
London, Vol. 1, No. 1., January, 1917, p. 12. 



the points insisted upon by the Poles. This probably 
explains the reserve of Poland's official reply to it. 
When Governor General von Beseler completed the 
reading of the manifesto to the large assembly which 
met in the old Royal Palace at Warsaw, Dr. Joseph 
Brudzinski, then President, of the City Council of 
Warsaw and Rector of the University, said on behalf 
of Poland : 


"We receive this great act of the two monarchs, which 
recognizes our imprescriptible rights to an independent state 
existence, with the faith that it will soon be realized in a 
friendly and purposeful spirit. As one of the fundamental 
guarantees we consider the appointment of a Regent who shall 
be the symbol of the Polish state, and the organization of a 
Council of State which shall act as a provisional government 
until the Polish King shall become the head of a finally or- 
ganized Polish State with well defined boundaries. We be- 
lieve that the community of interests of the Central Powers 
with those of the Polish State will create harmonious neigh- 


borly relations and will ensure favorable conditions for all the 
nations concerned. Will Your Excellency convey to the two 
magnanimous monarchs expressions of our faith in the most 
successful realization of their will and of our gratitude that is 
due to them. Long live free independent Poland !" * 

Strikingly apparent in this dignified speech by 
Dr. Brudzinski is the lack of an overabundance of ex- 
pressions of gratefulness and the insistence upon a 
speedy and effective realization of the grant. The 
officially admitted German "scrap of paper" view of 
treaties is too well known in Poland for anyone to be 
carried away with promises until they receive actual 

The first few weeks following the proclamation 
justified the existing apprehensions. There was con- 
siderable open opposition to it in many 

'^^T 1 ^ 011 " quarters in Germany. Nothing was done 
al Polish Gov- \_ r T? j 

ernment about the appointment of a Regent and 

no immediate plans were laid for the 
formation of a State Council and the drafting of a con- 
stitution. Subsequently, when a plan was presented on 
the part of the German government for the organ- 
ization of the State Council and for raising an army, 
man}'- of its features were promptly disapproved by 
the Poles. 

At one time there was a rumor current about the 
Hapsburg Archduke, Karl Stefan being proposed for 
the regency. The Archduke had long been regarded 
in certain Polish circles as the candidate for the royal 
office in Poland should the independence of the coun- 
try be re-established. He was reported as possessing 
strong Polish attachments. Two of his daughters 
were married to Poles and the Archduke himself had 
acquired an estate in Galicia, entertained friendly 

* "Glos Warszawy" ("Warsaw's Voice," a daily), November 5, 


relations with his Polish neighbors and spoke the 
Polish language. The mention of Karl Stefan's name 
came to have peculiar significance in connection with 
the announcement made by the Austrian Emperor 
simultaneously with the proclamation of Poland's 
independence, that it was his wish to grant complete 
autonomy to Galicia "at the moment when the new 
Polish state came into existence." This was inter- 
preted as a preliminary step toward the cession of 
Galicia to the new State. The governments of the 
Central Empires well realize that the existence of an 
independent Poland without Galicia and also without 
an outlet to the sea, which can be afforded only by the' 
cession of the Prussian holdings of Polish territory, 
would be an anomaly, and that disregard of this in- 
tense and natural aspiration of the Poles for complete 
consolidation would only defer the equitable and ra- 
tional settlement of the Polish Question. 

The rumor proved to be a rumor only. Evidently 
no agreement could be reached between Berlin and 
Vienna and, as a result, no Regent was appointed. 
The proposal that the Council of State be presided 
over during the course of the war by the German 
Governor General was evidently made to test out the 
temper of the country, for it was withdrawn in the 
face of the unanimous opposition which arose. An- 
other serious clash came over the question of the or- 
ganization of the army. The Central Powers pro- 
posed that recruiting stations be set up immediately 
all over Poland to raise an army. Pilsudski and the 
majority of the political leaders of the country ob- 
jected to such a procedure, pointing out that Poland 
alone and only through a properly and legally chosen 
Diet can decide this question. 

The Polish demands in this as well as in other 
matters were finally granted by the Central Powers. 


A Polish Provisional Regent, known as the Marshal 
of the Crown, was appointed in the person of Waclav 
Niemoyowski, a grandson of Bonawentura Niemoy- 
owski, the last president of the Polish government of 
1831. This choice was made to emphasize the il- 
legality of the annexation of the Congressional King- 
dom by Russia in 1831 and to recognize the status of 
Poland as it existed from 1815 to 1831 by virtue of 
the Treaty of Vienna. Pending the convocation of 
the Diet, a Council of State was organized, composed 
of twenty-five representatives from all parts of the 
country. Fifteen representatives were chosen from 
the part of Poland occupied by Germany and ten from 
the part occupied by Austria. All political parties, 
religious creeds and social classes are represented. 
The State Council is presided over by the Marshal of 
the Crown, and constitutes the provisional govern- 
ment of the country. Germany and Austria each 
have ex-officio representatives in the Council. 

On January 15, 1917, the Council met for the first 
time and adopted rules and by-laws. It ap- 
pointed a number of committees and created eight 
executive departments. The heads were selected 
from the membership of the Council. The following 
are the departments: War, Treasury, Political Af- 
fairs, Interior, Social Economy, Labor, Justice, and 
Public Education and Creeds. Pilsudski became the 
head of the War Department, Michael Lempicki, the 
gifted ex-deputy to the Russian Duma, was put in 
charge of the Department of the Interior, Count 
Rostworowski heads the Department of Political 
Affairs and a Socialist veteran, Mr. Kunowski, became 
the chief of the Department of Labor. Other depart- 
ments have equally able and experienced administra- 
tors. Each department has an advisory committee 


composed in part of members of the State Council 
and in part of outside experts. The advisory body on 
religious matters consists of two Roman Catholics, 
two Protestants and one Jew. 

The Council issued an appeal to the nation, in 
which it promised to arrange for a convocation of a 
legislative assembly in the near future, to prepare a 
draft of a constitution "based on the principle of civic 
equality of all citizens and adapted to modern needs," 
to establish a strong government and to organize the 
finances of the State. The Council considers it its 
duty to stimulate the economic upbuilding of the 
country and .to reconstruct the ruined towns and 
villages. In the opinion of the Council "the existence 
of an army is the first condition of independence," 
and it hopes to create a large, well-trained and rigidly 
disciplined military force. 

Pending the convocation of the Diet, however, 
it will not introduce universal service but will rely 
on voluntary enlistment. By a decree of November 
26, 1916, the Central Powers placed credits at 
the service of the State Council and gave full author- 
ity to the Council to raise funds by either taxation 
or loans.* 

The Polish Legions, which were released by the 
Austrian Emperor from their former oath of alle- 
giance, swore fealty to the Provisional Polish Govern- 
ment and became the nucleus of the Polish army. 
They have been stationed in the various cities to re- 
place the troops of the Central Empires, which had 
hitherto garrisoned the country. Similarly, all politi- 
cal, civic.and religious bodies in Poland pledged them- 
selves to support the Provisional Government. Over- 
coming one by one the numerous difficulties put in 

* "Le Moniteur Polonais," Lausanne, February 15, 1917, p. 50. 


the way by the Central Empires and by the exigencies 
of the war, through a determined and united effort 
Poland is emerging from this chaos and holocaust an 
apparently independent political State. Its perma- 
nence depends, however, on the defeat of German 
autocracy and imperialism. 

For the last hundred and fifty years it has been 

Poland's ill luck to have her brightest opportunities 

ruined by an adverse turn of events. 

T r h !u Sc i U r u Almost invariably the causes were a 

of the Polish * . , - , 

Question lack * rea ^ interest on the part of the 

western nations or their preoccupation 
with internal problems or wars, and the unshaken 
solidarity of the autocracies of Russia and Prussia. 
Fortunately, the present conditions are entirely 
different. The great war that is being waged now, in- 
volving almost the whole world, has the redemption 
of oppressed nationalities for one of its aims. The 
fullest, noblest and most sincere expression of this 
ideal was voiced before the forum of the world by the 
President of the United States in his historic address 
to the Senate on January 22, 1917, which happened 
to be delivered on the day of the anniversary of the 
last Polish uprising and in the centennial year of Kos- 
ciuszko's death. While expounding the high humani- 
tarian ideals of the Republic, the President said 
he takes it for granted "that statesmen every- 
where are agreed that there should be a united, 
independent and autonomous Poland." The moral 
effect of this pronouncement by the Chief of 
this great nation cannot be overestimated. Presi- 
dent Wilson has rendered to Poland such service 
that his name will ever be gratefully remem- 
bered in the annals of Polish history. The Poles, 
proverbially loyal and appreciative, will never forget 
that in the hour of their supreme trial they had the 


powerful moral support of the head of this glorious 
Republic. The provisional State Council of Poland 
as well as other bodies sent to President Wilson ex- 
pressions of their deepest gratitude and respect for 
"this wise and noble understanding of the rights of 
the Polish people." The students' fraternities and 
other associations organized joyful demonstrations 
before the American consulate at Warsaw. The par- 
ticipation of the United States in the war, which as- 
sures the triumph of justice and democracy over law- 
lessness and autocracy and which gives to this coun- 
try a voice in the councils of the nations at the close 
of hostilities, assures to Poland a powerful, righteous 
and high-minded ally. 

There is now one more propitious circumstance 
tending toward a satisfactory solution of the Polish 
Question, which never existed before. The blood- 
thirsty, rapacious and imperialistic Russian autocracy 
is no more, and the Russian nation through its 
honorable provisional government has declared 
itself in favor of Poland's independence. In an offi- 
cial proclamation, the provisional government an- 
nounced that it wishes Poland to decide for herself 
the form of government she desires and takes it for 
granted that the decision will be for "a new independ- 
ent Poland formed of all the three now separate 
parts."* The fact that the foundation of an inde- 
pendent Polish State has already been laid, coupled 
with the weight of the pronouncement of the Presi- 
dent of the United States, has no doubt greatly im- 
pressed the Russian statesmen and prompted this 
auspicious declaration of New Russia, for it was 
only several months ago that Mr. Milyukov, the 
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Provisional 
Russian Government, said: "It can be definitely 

* Reported in the daily press of March 30th, 1917. 

President of the United States 


stated that Russia cannot tolerate the idea of an in- 
dependent Poland, even as a buffer state between 
Russia and Germany." * 

Following the recent official Russian declaration 
in favor of Polish independence, the Polish deputies in 
the Duma resigned, recognizing that they ceased to 
represent districts forming a part of the Russian 

The Polish Question has never before been so 
near its full and satisfactory solution. The Poles never 
doubted that it must be solved satisfactorily, even in 
the darkest moments of their history. They knew 
that "Poland, with a land heritage of three-fourths 
of a million square kilometers, with a historic past 
one thousand years old, with a rich civilization, with 
a beautiful language and literature, with an annual 
economic production amounting to several billions, 
with a robust and virile population of twenty-five 
million Poles, of whom almost two millions have been 
called to arms in this war is not a fragment, that it 
is a great nation, one of the few great nations of 
Europe and of the world."** They knew that their 
right to their heritage is imprescriptible and that they 
are entitled to a sincere consideration of their case on 
the part of the great democracies of the world. 

They knew that a nation which in its ethno- 
graphic boundaries alone is the seventh nation of 
Europe cannot be wiped out forever. Only Russia, 
Germany, France, Austria, England and Italy have 
populations in excess of ethnographic Poland. The 
Poles were convinced that only an independent Po- 
land was a Condition for the permanent peace of 
Europe and ior the restoration of a proper balance of 

*"The Independent," New York, September 25, 1916. 
** "Uwagi," I, Geneva, 1916, p. 11. 


power, upset by the partitions, of which Talleyrand 
said, "le partage de la Pologne etait pire qu'un crime, 
c'etait une betise." They were convinced that only 
an independent Polish state could check the unhealthy 
imperialistic rivalries of Pan-Slavism which spelled 
Russian domination, and of Pan-Germanism which 
was equivalent to the Prussian mailed fist. 

Likewise, they knew that an independent Polish 
state will be the only satisfactory solution of the 
existing military frontier anomalies of the three parti- 
tioning states. Before the war, Poland formed a prom- 
ontory thrust, as it were, into Germany and Austria- 
Hungary, and only the middle course of the Vistula 
was in Russian hands. In case of war no offensive 
could be started by Russia under the circumstances, 
as both her flanks immediately became exposed. This 
danger had long been recognized by the Russian mili- 
tary authorities. Only the interposition of an inde- 
pendent Polish state between Russia and the other 
two countries can allay all unhealthy rivalry and 
bring permanent peace to all the countries con- 
cerned. Free and republican Russia working out 
her own great future behind the most advantageous 
strategic line liberates Lithuania, White Russia and 
other sections of Ruthenia. These countries, all 
or some of them, may at their own free will again 
enter into a political confederacy with Poland, for the 
common cultural and economic advantages of the 
peoples concerned. 

Despite all the persecutions of the Russian 
government, the Polish language and Polish civiliza- 
tion are still predominant in Lithuania and in White 
Russia and a strong bond of kinship persists. Kos- 
ciuszko and Mickiewicz were Lithuanian Poles. So is 
Joseph Pilsudski. Thousands of the most patriotic 
and active Poles were born and raised in the border 



lands of the old Republic. A large number of 
the Polish legionaries hail from there. Because 
of greater oppression the Poles from the out- 
lying territories are possessed, perhaps, of greater 
moral force, grit and determination than the 
Poles of ethnographic Poland. Indeed, no finer 
flower can bloom out of the carnage of the present 
war than a reconstructed and united, free and inde- 
pendent Poland, once more confederated with Lithu- 
ania and Ruthenia "as the equal with the equal and 
the free with the free." 

" Gli uomini liberi sono fratelli." 


Key to the Pronunciation of Polish Names. 

A is always pronounced as a in father. 

C is always pronounced as ts. hence Slowacki is Slo-vat-ski, 
Potocki is Po-tot-ski, Waclaw is Vat-slav. 

E is always pronounced as e in bet or met. 

G is always pronounced as g in go, hence Gerson is Guerson. 

H is never silent. 

I is always pronounced as ee in bee, hence Izbica is Eez-bee-tsa. 

J is always pronounced as y in yes, hence Jagiello is Ya-guel-lo, 
Jadwiga is Yad-vee-ga, Jaworski is Ya-vor-ski. 

O is always pronounced as o in order or orchard. 

U is always pronounced as oo in root, hence Ujejski is Oo-yeay- 
ski, Uchanski is Oo-han-ski. 

W is always pronounced as v, hence Warna is Varna, Wilno is 

Y is always pronounced as i as in din. 

Certain combinations of consonants have definite sound 
values, like the combination of sh and ch in English. 

Cz in Polish is equivalent to the English ch in church, much, suchj- 
etc., hence Gzeslaw is Che-slav, Mickiewicz is Meets-kie- 

Ch is practically h, hence Chelm is pronounced like Helm, Chod- 
kiewicz is Hod-kie-veech. 

Sz is equivalent to the English sh in mush or rush, hence Szawle 
reads as Shav-le, Warszawa (Warsaw) is pronounced 

Rz is equivalent to z in azure, hence Przemysl is Pzhe-misl. 

An apostrophe over a consonant softens the sound, hence 
n is pronounced as n in canon, s is pronounced almost like sh, 
and c is almost equivalent to ch. An apostrophe over an 6 turns 
the pronunciation of the letter into double o in English. 

In Polish words the accent always falls on the penult, i. e., on 
the syllable preceding the last, hence Lokie'-tek, Kosciusz'-ko, 



Abbeys in Poland 12-14 

Abraham of Zbonz, Leader or a 
Confederacy In the Reign of 

Wladyslav III 92 

Agricultural Academy at Dublany 537 

Agricultural Society 472-473, 476 

Closing of, 1861 479 

Albrecht, Hohenzollern Anspach, 
Grand Master of the Order of 

the Cross 131-133 

Alexander, King of Poland, 1501- 

1506 106, 123-127 

Alexander I, Tsar of Russia, 369- 
370, 374-375, 386-387, 389, 398, 
403, 405-406, 408-411, 413-415, 

417, 420, 471, 482-484 

Altranstaedt, Peace at, 1706 281 

Andrushov, Agreement with Mus- 
covy, at 1667 260-269 

Altmark, Truce of, 1629 188 

Amurad, Turkish Sultan 93 

.Anna Aldona, wife of Kazimir 

the Great 68 

Arctowski, Henryk, Scientist 539 

Arians, Polish Religious Sect 255 

Banishment of, 1658 256 

Askenazy, Simon, quoted. 393, 403, 561 

Asnyk, Adam, poet 511 

AsQuith, British Prime Minister, 

quoted 522 

August II (1697-1733), King of 

Poland 276-281, 28328? 

August III (1733-1763), King of 

Poland 288-296 

Austrian Occupation of Poland, 

1915-1916 592, 607 

Austrian Succession, War of.. 295-296 
Aydukiewicz, painter 581 

Babinski, Scientist 539 

Bacciarelli, painter 323 

Eadeni, minister . . . 540 

Bakchiseray (Crimea), Treaty of, 

1681 269 

llandurski, Wladyslav, Bishop of 

Lemberg 583-584 

Bank of Poland 413-471 

Bar, Fortress of 133 

Bar Confederacy, 1768-1772, 304- 

308. 311 
I'arker, J, Ellis, quoted.. 357, 397, 488 

Barss, Polish lawyer 328, 361 

Farzykowski, Stanislav 434 

Basel, Council of, 1431-1449 96 

Batory, Stefan, King of Poland, 

1574-1586 167, 170-177 

Bebel, August, German Socialist, 

quoted 519 

Beck, J. Prof., University of Lem- 
berg 561 

Bern, Joseph, General, 441, 460, 468-469 

Benedict XII, Pope 53 

Benningsen, Russian General 375 

Beresteczko on the Styr, 

Battle at, 1651 246 

Berg, Count, Russian Governor- 
General of Poland 493 

Berlin, Agreement at, 1719. .. .285-286 
Berthier, French Minister of War 366 
Beseler, Von, German Governor- 
General of Poland 604 

Bessarabia, Recognition of Polish 

Sovereignty, 1396 71 

Bethmann-Hollweg, German Chan- 
cellor, quoted 522 

Biala Cerkiev, Peace of, 1651 246 

Bielski, Martin, Historian 150 

Bilinski, Leon, Polish Statesman 

and Scholar 540, 580 

Bismarck, Prince, Prussian States- 
man 488, 523, 523 

Bloch, Jan, banker 561 

Bobrinsky, Count, Russian Gov- 
ernor of Galicia 587 

Bobrzynski, Prof., quoted 234 

"Bogarodzica," early War Song. 82 

Boguslawski, Woyciech, Founder 
of the first theatre in Poland, 
1765 326 

Bohemia, Conquest by Boleslav 

the Brave 16 

Revolution of 1415 90 

Bohemian Brotherhood (Re- 
ligious) 139-140 

Boleslav the Bold or Generous, 

1058-1079 24-25 

Boleslav the Brave, 982-1025 A. D. 


Boleslav of Mazovia 94 

Boleslav the Wrymouthed ((1102- 

1138) 27, 30, 32, 42-44 

Bona Sforza, Queen of Poland, 

Wife of Zygmunt I.. 129, 153, 270 

Boniface VIII, Pope 49 

Boyko, Jacob, Peasant Leader of 

Galicia 521 

Brandenburg, 43, 44, 49, 160, 188, 

263-254, 268 
Elector of, crowned king in 

Prussia, 1701 278-279 

Brandes, George, quoted 449, 456 

Branicki, Francis Xavier, 306, 319, 

329, 342-343 



Branickl, John Clement, Hetman 296 

Breslau (Wroclaw), Commercial 

City 36, 61 

Brougham, Lord, English States- 
man 460-461 

Brudzinski, Dr. Joseph, Rector of 

Warsaw University. . 602, 604, 605 

Buczacz, Treaty of, 1672 26S 

Budny, Simon, Author of Biblical 

Studies 256 

Butrymowicz, Political Writer. . . 328 

Calinski, Sawa, Cossack, Bar 

Confederate 306 

Calvinism in Poland 139 

Campo Formio Treaty, 1797.... 364 

Castellans 15 

Castlereagh, Lord, quoted 397 

Catherine Hapsburg, third Wife of 

Zygmunt II August 151, 158 

Catherine II, Empress of Russia, 
296, 298-302, 311-314, 320, 329- 

331, 342-344, 355, 368, 499 
Catholic Union, Closing by Rus- 
sian Government, 1909 551 

Cecora, Battle of, 1620 187 

Championnet, French General in 

Napoleonic Wars 364-365 

Charles VI, King of Austria 286 

Charles X Gustavus, King of 

Sweden 249-255 

Charles XII, King of Sweden. 278-283 

Chelm 59 

Made Separate Province, 1912 

by the Russian Government.. 555 
Chlopicki, Joseph, General, Com- 
mander-in-Chief of Polish 
Armies, 3o5, 378, 423, 428, 429, 

Chmielnickl, Bohdan, Leader of 

Cossacks 239-248, 256-257 

Chocim, Battle at, 1673 264 

Chodklewicz, Jan Karol, Hetman 184 
Chopin, Frederick, Polish Com- 
poser 457-458 

Christianity, Conversion of People 

to, (963) 12 

Chrzanowski, Defender of Trem- 

bowla 560 

Chuquet, French Historian 353 

Church, Struggle with State 
During Reign of Zygmunt the 

Old 137-138 

During Reign of Zygmunt II 

August 151-152 

During Reign of Stefan Batory 174 
During Reign of Zygmunt III. 179 

Ciolek (Vitellio). Polish Scientist, 

XlVth Century 63 

Cities in Poland, Development 107-122 

Decline of 157. 214-216 

Reforms Brought About by the 

Four Years' Diet 335-336 

Cleinow, von, Georg, Prussian 

Censor of Poland 592 

Clement XIV, Pope 315 

Clergy, 89-91, 137-152, 189, 210-213,522 
College of Physicians and Sur- 
geons 472 

Collegium Nobilium 293-294 

Colloquia, Councils of the Prince 

35, 100 
Commendoni, John Francis, Papal 

Nuncio 151 

Confederated Independence Par- 
ties of Poland 571-572 

Conrad, Prince of Mazovia 45 

Conrad, Joseph, Novelist 485 

Constance, Council of, 1415. .. .90-104 
Constantine, Grand Duke, Brother 
of Tsar Alexander I, 405-406, 
409, 411, 414-415, 420, 422, 

424-425, 430-431, 434 
Constantine, Grand Duke, Brother 

of Tsar Alexander II 484-486 

Constitution (Polish), 192-223, 294, 
319, 321, 336-342, 403-405, 408- 


Conti, Francois Louis de, Candi- 
date to the Polish Throne, 

1697 276 

Convocation Diet of 1573 166 

Under Wladyslav IV 224 

Of 1764 265 

Copernicus (Nicholas) 77, 147-148 

Cossacks 135, 206- 

207, 236-248, 256-260, 263, 282 
Courland, Swedish Occupation, 

279, 281, 288-289 

Occupation by Muscovy, 1737... 295 
Cowl Confederacy, 1382-1384 .. .164-165 

Abolition of Serfdom, 1848, 


Academy of Sciences at, 1364, 62, 537 
Annexation of, in 999 A.D. ... 16 

Annexation by Austria 355 

Capture by Prussia, 1784 353 

Capture by Russia 312 

Capture by Sweden ."50 

City Council of, 1536 142 

City Court Established at, 1356 60 
Conquest by Prince Ponialowski 384 
End of the Republic, 1848 . .463-466 
German Population in Rebellion 

Against Polish Prince 50 

Kosciuszko Hill 399-400 

Kosciuszko's Manifesto, 1794... 349 



Prerogatives of the Grand Duke 31 

A Principality of Poland 30 

Representation in Diet 228 

Republic, 1815 398 

Slaughter of the Galician 

Gentry, 1846 465 

Supreme National Committee, 

1914 576 

Treaty of, 1525 133 

University 71-79, 142-145, 573 

Crownlands, Restitution of, 1562, 

Cudnow (Volhynia), Vctory over 

Muscovites, 1661 257 

Czarniecki, Stefan, Hetman, 250- 

252, 255, 257 

Czar^oryski, Adam, Prince. ... 369, 
371, 374, 387; 389, 403, 406-410 
420, 426, 429, 431, 433, 460-461 

Czartoryski, August, Prince 298 

Czartoryski, Wladyslav, Prince, 

son of Adam 488 

Czartoryski Family, 294-302, 308, 328 

Czenstochowa 252 

Battle of, 1773 312 

Czernihov 260 

Czystochlebski, Simon Marcius, 

Pedagogue 150 

Danllowski, Gustav, Novelist . . . 581 
Daszynski, Ignace, Socialist Lead- 
er 601-602 

Deebitch, Russian Field Marshal, 

434, 436, 440 

Dekabrist Revolution in Russia.. 420 
Dekert, John, President of War- 
saw 328, 335 

Dembinski, General, in War 

against Russia, 1831 440, 468 

Demetrius (the False) Tsar of 

Muscovy 185 

Democratic Society (Polish), 

formed in France 460-461, 464 

Devastation of Poland 586 

Dickstein, Samuel, Mathematician 561 
Dissidents in Poland, 152, 166, 

301-303, 320 
Dlugosz, Jan, Polish Historian, 7, 

104, 150 

DmowskI, Roman, Leader of the 
National Democratic Party 

521, 558 

Dombrowski, Jan Henryk, Organ- 
izer of the Polish Legions of 
the Napoleonic Era, 353, 359- 

368,, 372, 388, 393 

Domeyko, Polish Geologist 538-539 

Doroszenko, Leader of Cossacks. . 260 
Drucki-Lubecki, Prince 387 

Druzbacka, Elizabeth, Writer 293 

Duma (Russian) 554-559, 612 

Dumb Diet, First, 1717 285, 300 

Second, 1768 303-304, 319 

Dumouriez, French General 308 

Dunayewski, Bishop of Cracow 

and Cardinal 464 

Dunayewski, Austrian Minister of 

Finance 540 

Dwernlcki, Joseph, General in 

War with Russia, 1831 434 

DzialyJiski, Count 373 

Dzierzanowski, Bar Confederate. . 308 

Dziewanna, Goddess of Spring- 10 

Dzikow, Confederacy of, 1734.... 39 

Education In Poland 551-552, 595 

Educational Commission 315-319 

Eleanor, Queen of Poland, Wife 

of Michael Wisniowiecki 262 

Emigration (Polish), 359, 441, 

458-461, 463, 483 
Engels, German Socialist Writer. . 519 

Enghien (d 1 ), Duke, French Can- 
didate to the Throne of Po- 
land 259-261 

Esthonia 158, 180, 184 

Etreicher, T., Prof., quoted 146 

Feldman, Wilhelm, Polish Publi- 
cist 561 

Feldstein, Herman, quoted 566 

Ferdinand, Austrian Archduke... 382 

Fersen, Russian General 353 

Filipowicz, Titus, Socialist Writer 518 
Flemming, Saxon Field Marshal 27* 
Four Years' Diet, 1788-1792, 332- 

342, 345 
Francis I, Emperor of Austria, 463 

Frederick IV, Danish King 27" 

Frederick August, of Saxony, 

Duke of Warsaw 377-395 

Freemasonry in Poland, 414, 418, 420 

Friederich Barbarossa 31 

Friederich II, German Emperor. . 46 
Friederich II, the Great, King of 

Prussia 300, 308-312, 330 

Friederich Wilhelm II of Prussia.. 334 
Friederich Wilhelm III, King of 

Prussia 401, 463 

Friederich Wilhelm rv v King of 

Prussia 466 




Abolition of serfdom. 1848. .465-466 

Austrian Rule in 402-403 

Conquest of, by the Armies of 
the Duchy of Warsaw, 1809 


Home Rule of, 1866, 528, 540-541 . 
Literature, Art and Sciences . . . 537 

Organic Development 532-537 

Representation in Austrian Par- 
liament, 1848 469 

Russian Administration during 

the War 687 

Ruthenian Problem in 541-545 

Slaughter of Galician Gentry by 

the peasants, 1846 465 

Gallus, Chronicle of the XII Cen- 
tury 57 

Gapon, Russian Priest 547 

Garibaldi 474, 483 

Gdansk (Danzig) 233, 345, 377 

Gedymin, Ruler of Lithuania, 1315- 

1341 68 

George of Sanok, Polish Human- 
ist 103 

German Settlements in Poland. . 35-39 
German Occupation of Poland, 

1915 591-592,607 

Gibbons, H. A., quoted VI 

Glinski, Michael, Prince 129 

"Globus Jagellonicus" 144-145 

Glogow (Glogau), Defense of, 1109 43 

'Glos Warszawy" quoted 605 

Gnesen (Gniezno) 6, 21 

Golitisin, Russian General 383 

Golomb Confederacy, 1672 264 

Goluchowskl, Agenor, Count,.. 528, 540 

Goplo, Lake of 6-7 

Gorchakoff, Prince, Russian Vice- 
roy of Poland 471-472, 477. 481 

GoSlickl, Bishop of Posen 103 

Grabiec, J., quoted 417 

Gregory VII Hildebrand, Pope 25 

Gregory IX, Pope 46 

Grey, Lord, Statesman. ... 399, 460-461 
Great Poland, (Major Polonia), a 

Principality, 30, 99 

Confederacy 281 

Gregory XVI, Pope 444 

Grochov, Battle of, 1831 434, 436 

Grodno, Treaty of, 1432 86 

Diet of 1793 346, 349 

Grody 9, 37 

Grottger, Arthur, Painter 511 

Grudzinska, Joan 415 

Grudzinski, Charles 250 

Grunwald, Battle of, 1410 82-83 

Grzymultowskl, Agreement, 1686. 274 
Gustavus Adolphus, King of 

Sweden 187-188 

H. K. T 625 

Hadziacz, Agreement at, 1658 256 

Handelsman, M., quoted 380 

Hapsburg, Ernest, Candidate to 
the Throne of Poland, 1573, 

167, 180 
Hapsburgs, Relations with Zyg- 

munt III 179-180 

Harley, J. H., quoted VI, S01-603 

Hauke, Joseph, Commander of the 
Polish Revolutionary Forces, 

1863 494 

Henry II of Bavaria, German Em- 
peror 19 

Henry III, German Emperor 22 

Henry V, German Emperor 43 

Henry Probus, Duke of Cracow, 

1289-1290 40 

Hill, David Jayne, quoted 356-357 

Hohenzollern, Louis, Elector of 

Brandenburg 273 

Holland, Alliance with Prussia 

and Great Britain 332 

Loans made to Poland 334 

Holy League against Turkey 273 

Honorius III, Pope 45 

Horodlo, Treaty of, 1413 83 

Hosius, Bishop of Warmia 151 

Humanism in Poland, XV Century 


Hungary, War with, 1132-1135... 44 
Union with Hungary for the 
Liberation of the Balkan 

Slavs, 1443 92-93 

Part of, taken by Austria 278 

Hunyadi, John, Hungarian Pa- 
triot 92-93, 101 

Hussitism in Poland 91-92 

Igelstrom, Russian Ambassador,. 349 

Incompatibilia, Law, 1504 127 

Independence, Poland's, Proclama- 
tion of, November 5, 1916, Ne- 
gotiations 601-602 

Act of the Central Empires 603 

Official Reply of Poland 604-605 

Innocent X, Pope 239 

Innocent XI, Pope 269 

Ivan the Terrible, Tsar of Mus- 
covy 151, 157-160, 167, 176 

Jadwiga, 1384-1399 66-68 

Jadzwings, Early Settlements.... 1 
Conquest by Casimir the Just.. 45 
Jagmin, Organizer of a Polish 

Legion in Turkey 532 

Jagiello, Wladyslav, 1386-1434 .. .68-92 
Jan of Stobnica, Prof, of the 

Jagiellon University 146 



Jan I Olbracht, King of Poland 

(1492-1501) 106-123 

Jan II Kasimir, 1648-1688, King of 

Poland 242-261 

Jandolwicz, Father Mark 306 

Janicki, Klemens, Poet-Laureate. 146 
Janko of Charkov, Polish His- 
torian of the XIV Century.. 57 
Jaworski, Prof. Wladyslav Leo- 
pold 565, 576 

redlnia Act, 1430 89 

Jerzmanowskl, Paul, Colonel 393 

Jesuits in Poland 174 

Dissolution of the Order. 315 


Autonomy in Internal Affairs.. 221 

Courts 204 

Early Immigration to Poland.. 40 
Forming of Jewish Regiment in 

the Polish Revolution of 1794 352 
Given full Rights of Citizenship 
by Polish Council of State, 

1861 479 

Jews in Poland After the Revo- 
lution of 1905 559-567 

Limitation of Rights by Wislica 

Statutes 99 

Polish Boycott of 1912 564-565 

Protection by Kazimir the Great 59 
Protection by Statute of Kalisz 40 

Restriction upon 221 

Jez, Thomas Theodore, Pseud, of 

Zygmunt Milkowski 620 

John XV, Pope 24-25 

John, King of Sweden 167 

Joselowicz, Berek, Colonel, Com- 
mander Under Kosciuszko 352, 561 
Joseph II, Emperor of Austria, 

308, 310, 330 
Jundzill, Prof., of the University 

of Wilno 318 

K. S. S. N 571-572 

Kachowsky, Russian General.... 343 

Kalisz 40, 61 

Kamienietz Podolski, Polish For- 
tress 263, 278 

Kaniow, Conference at, 1787.... 331 
Karamzin, Russian Historian, 

quoted 409 

Kara Mustafa, Grand Vizier 270, 273 
Karl Stefan, Austrian Archduke 


Karlowice, Peace at, 1698 278 

Kasprowicz, Jan, Poet 512 

Kaunitz, Austrian Statesman . . . 312 
Kazimir the Great, Polish King, 

1333-1370 53-63 

Kazimir Jagiellonczyk, King of 

Poland, 1447-1492 94-101 

Kazimir the Just (1177-1194), 31- 

34, 45 

Kazimir the Restorer,1040-1058. . . 23 
Kettler, Ferdinand, Duke of Cour- 

land 289-295 

Kettler, Gothard Von 158-159 

Kieff 19, 163, 260, 274 

Kilinski, Jan, Leader of Warsaw 

Populace in Kosciuszko's Time 351 

Klaczko, Julian, Writer 561 

Klonowicz, Sebastian, Writer 146 

Kniaziewicz, Brigadier General 

364-366, 374 
Knights of the Cross, 45, 49-50, 53, 

Knights of the Sword, 45, 85, 89, 


Kochanowski, Jan, Poet 149 

Konarski, Stanislav, Jurist. . .293-294 
Koniecpolski, Stanislav, Hetman 

188, 230 

Konopka, General 37? 

Kollontay, Hugo 316, 327-328 

Konarski, Simon, Revolutionist.. 464 

Konopnicka, Marya, Poetess 511 

Kordecki 262 

Korsak, Samuel, Patriot 315 

Korwin, Matthew, of Hungary. . . . 101 
Korzeniowski, Joseph, Writer. .484-485 

Korybut, Zygmunt 91 

Korytowski, Minister of Finance.. 640 
Kosciuszko, Tadeusz, 344, 349, 351, 

353, 364, 368, 372, 399, 460-461, 613 

Kossakowski, Joseph, Bishop, 329, 

343, 352 

Kossakcwski, Simon 343, 349,352 

Kostanecki, Chemist 539 

Koszyce, Covenant of, 1374 66, 87 

Privilege of 193 

Kozietulski, Jan Leon Hipolit, 378-379 
Krasicki, Ignatius, Bishop, Poet.. 326 

Krasinski, Adam, Bishop 305 

Krasinski, Michael 305 

Krasinski, Vincent, Count, General 

378, 421, 431 
Krasinski, Zygmunt, Poet, 446- 

447, 454-458, 460 
Kraszewski, Joseph Ignace, 

Writer 505-507 

Kraushar, Alexander, Historian . . 661 
Krauz, Kasimir, Socialist Writer 518 
Krechetnikoff, Russian General.. 343 

Kremienetz, Lyceum 443 

Kromer, Martin, Historian 160 



Kronenberg, Baron, Polish Banker 561 
Kropotkln, Peter, Prince, quoted 

491-493, 513 

Krukowiecki, Jan, Count 440-441 

Kruszwica, Town of 6 

Krysiak Case 542-543 

Kujawy 49, 55 

Kukiel, M., quoted, 362-363, 378, 394 
Kunowski, W., Member of the 

Provisional State Council.... 607 
Kurnatowski, General 431 

Lada, Goddess of Order and 

Beauty 10 

Lafayette, Marquis 436 

Lamartine, French Poet 459 

Lambert, Charles, Count, Viceroy 

of Poland 481 

Land Owners' Credit Association, 

1825 413 

Lanskoy, Russian Senator. ... 390, 405 
Laski, Jan, Archbishop of Gnesen 136 
Laski, Jan, the Younger, Religious 

Reformer 140 

Laskowski, Scientist 539 

Lauer, Bernard, quoted 566 

Lebrun, French Artist 323 

Ledochowski, Stanislav, General.. 284 

Ledochowski, Cardinal 523 

Legions, Polish, 361-368, 372-379, 

388-395, 467, 470, 532, 573-576, 

579, 581-585, 595-598, 608 

Legnano, Battle of 365 

Lelewel, Joachim, Historian, 318, 

429, 434, 460 

Lemberg (Lwfiw) 38 

University of 537 

Polytechnical School at 537 

Lempicki, Michael, Member of the 

Provisional State Council.... 607 

Lenczyca, Council of, 1180 31 

Leoben, Truce at, 1797 364 

Leszek the Dark, Duke of Cracow, 

1278-1288 40 

Leszczynski, Stanislav, King of 

Poland (1704-1710), 281-283 

287, 289. 291-292 

Letts, Early Settlements 1 

Lewicki, Prof. A., quoted 341 

Liberum Veto, 397, 300-301, 303, 340 
Liebknecht, German Socialist 

Writer 519 

Lieven, Count, Russian Ambassa- 
dor to England 460-461 

Likowski, Bishop, quoted 4:45 

Limanowski, Boleslav, Socialist 

Writer 518 

Lisoli, Austrian Ambassador .... 258 
Literature (Polish), 146-150, 446- 

458, 505-512, 562 

Lithuania, 1, 46, 68-71, 77-80, 160- 
163, 253, 260, 278-279, 439, 481- 
482, 489-493, 4-94-500, 613-614 

Litwaks 562-563 

Litwinski, L., quoted 73 

Livonia (Inflanty), 159, 187, 260, 

281, 286, 489 

Lizard Union 98 

L6dz 515 

Longueville, Saint Paul, Pretender 

to the Throne of Poland. ... 262 
Lorraine, Duke of, Austrian Can- 
didate to the Throne of Po- 
land 265-270 

Louis XIV, King of France, 261- 

263, 265, 268-270 

Louis XV, King of France 286 

Louis Phillippe, King of France 

437, 460 

Louis of Wurtemberg 342-343 

Lubecki, Xavier, Prince, Finance 
Minister of the Congressional 

Kingdom 369, 412, 420 

Lubienski, Wladyslav, Primate, 

297, 382 

Lublin, Union of, 1569 161-163, 256 

Diet at 281, 481 

Lubomirski, George, Marshal of 

the Crown 25 J-260 

Lubomirski, Theodore, Woyevoda 

of Cracow 287 

Ludwig, Emperor of Germany. .. .53 
Ludwig, King of Poland, 1370- 

1382, King of Hungary 64-66 

Lukasinski, Valerian, Major, 
Founder of the Patriotic Soci- 
ety of Warsaw 418-422, 431 

Lun6ville, Peace at, 1801, 366, 368-369 
Lutics, Slavic Tribe on the Baltic, 
Conquest of, by Boleslav the 

Wrymouthed 43 

Lutsk, Battle of, 1431 85 

Lyszczynski, Kasimir 275 

Macieyowice, Battle at, 1794... 353 
Madalinski, Brigadier General, 

under Kosciuszko 349 

Madeyski, Minister 540 

Mahmed IV, of Turkey 260 

Malachowski, Stanislav, States- 
man 328, 332-333, 373, 381 

Malborg, Capital of the Knights 

of the .Cross 50 

Mantua, Surrender of 365 

Marchlewskl, Chemist 539 



Marie Antoinette, Austrian Arch- 
duchess 273 

Marie Louise de Gonzague, Second 

Wife of Wladyslav IV 239, 265 

Maria Theresa, Austrian Empress 

308, 311 

Marzanna, Goddess of Death 10 

Massalski, Bishop 315, 319, 352 

Mateyko, Jan, Painter 511 

Matthew of Miechow, Medical Sci- 
entist 77 

Matuszewicz, Polish Minister.... 388 
Maximillian, Brother of Emperor 

Rudolph II 178 

Mazepa, Hetman of the Cossacks, 282 
Mazovia, a Principality of Po- 
land 30, 45, 46, 53, 131, 253 

Mazurs, Early Settlements 6 

Mecklenburg, Conquest of, by 

Boleslav the Wrymouthed. ... 43 

Merwin, Berthold, quoted 597 

Metternich, Prince, Austrian 

Statesman 391, 399, 402 

Michael, Grand Duke of Russia.. 439 

Meyet, Leopold, Writer 561 

Mickiewicz, Adam, Polish Poet, 
319. 366, 446-451, 460, 466-467, 

562, 570, 613 

Mielnik Privilege, 1501 126 

Mieroslawski, Ludwik 464-467, 483 

Mieszko I, Prince, 960-982 A. D. 


Mikulicz-Radeckl 539 

Military Organization of Poland, 

Secret 592, 600 

Milkowski, Z. See: Jez, T. T. 
Milyukov, Paul, Attitude Toward 

Polish Question 586, 610 

Mlodzieyowski, Bishop 315 

Mochnacki, Maurice, Patriot, 423, 

430-431, 460 
Modjeska, Helena, Actress, quoted 500 

Modlin 441 

Modrzewski, Andrzej Frycz, Po- 
litical Writer 146 

Moldavia, Recognition of Polish 

Sovereignty. .71, 102, 274, 278, 310 

Mondet, French General 384 

"Moniteur Polonais," quoted 608 

Moniuszko, Stanislav, Composer.. 509 

Montbrun, French General 378 

Montelupi, Sebastian 116 

Morawskl, Bar Confederate, 306 

Morawski, Theophile 434 

Morstin, Count Louis, quoted.... 581 
Morflll, W. R., quoted, 168-169, 437-438 

Morsztyn, Zbigniew, Writer 256 

Muenchengraetz, meeting of Em- 
perors at 463 

Miinnich, Russian Field Marshal.. 289 
Mukhanoff, Russian Administrator 

of Poland 471, 477 

Murat, French Field Marshal 373 

Muravioff, Russian (Governor) of 

Poland . .493, 498-499 

Muscovy, Wars with Poland: 

1522 133 

1606 185-186 

1654-1656 248 

1658-1667 256-257 

13 Year Truce with Poland, 1667 260 
War, 1711 283 

Naplerski, Kostka, Leader of 

Peasants' Uprising 246 

Napoleon Bonaparte, 361-362, 364, 

366-368, 372-380, 382-394, 585 

Napoleon, Code of 379-382 

Napoleon III 470, 474, 488 

Naruszewicz, Adam, Bishop, His- 
torian 326 

National Democratic Party, 521, 

557-559, 561-566, 578, 579, 589 

National Workmen's Union 558 

Neapolitan Sums 270 

Neminem Captivabimus, Nisi Jure 

Victum (Law of 1430), 89, 336, 408 

Nencki, Marcell, Scientist 539 

Neuburg, Duke of 265 

Neustadt Conference, 1770 310 

Nicholas I, Tsar of Russia, 415, 

421-424, 432-433, 461-463, 471, 593 
Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia.... 546 
Nicholas, Russian Grand Duke 
and Generalissimo of the 

Army Manifesto 578, 586 

Nicholas VI, Pope 96 

Niemcewicz, Julian Ursyn, His- 
torian 429, 461 

Niemoyowski, Bonawentura, 441, 


Niemoyowski, Vincent 433 

Niemoyowski, Waclaw, Provisional 
Marshal of the Crown, Grand- 
son of Bonawentura Niemo- 
yowski 607 

Niemieza, Treaty of, 1656 254 

Nieszawa, Statutes of, 1454 99 

Nihil Novi (Law of 1505) 127, 195 

Nissa Conference, 1769 310 

Nobility of Poland, 86-87, 129, 208- 

210, 250, 279, 289 

Northern War, 1700-1721 279-283 

Novosiltsoff, Russian Plenipoten- 
tiary, 405, 408, 411, 417, 420, 423 
Nusbaum, Prof. Joseph 561 



Obertin, Victory at, 1531 ........ 133 

Oginski, Michael Kasimir, Prince 

Lithuanian Grand Hetman, 

322, 361, 369, 387 
Oginski, Confederacy Against Sa- 

Piehas ................... 278-279 

OleSnicki, Zbigniew, Bishop of 

Cracow ........... 90-92, 96-97, 99 

Oliva, Peace of, 1660 ---- 255, 257, 280 

Olszowski, Bishop .............. 262 

Opalinski, Christopher .......... 250 

Order of the Cross, 45-46, 50, 59, 

78-86, 98-101, 127 
Order of the Sword . . , ....... 45 

Orloff, Russian Admiral .......... 308 

Orzechowski, Stanislaw, Writer.. 146 
Orzeszkowa, Eliza, Novelist, 507- 

508, 562 
Oscik, George .................. 172 

Ossolinski, George, Chancellor... 241 
Ostrolenka, Battle at, 1794.... 349, 439 

Ostrorog, Jan, Senator ...... 103, 137 

Ostrowski, Bishop .............. 315 

Otto I of Saxony ............... 12 

Otto III, German Emperor ...... 16 

Otwinowski, Erazm, Writer ...... 256 

P- P. S ...................... 518 

Pac Family ................ 259,265 

Palmerston, Lord ---- . ....... 437, 460 

Pan-Germanism ................. 613 

Pan-Slavism ............... 558, 613 

Panin, Russian Statesman ....... 311 

Paris Peace Conference, 1856.... 470 

Parliamentarism in Poland, of Be- 

ginnings .............. 9 f 31, 35 

Paskiewich, Russian General, 427, 

440-441, 444, 461 
Patkul ......................... 278 

Patriotic Club .............. 430, 432 

Paul of Brudzev, Rector of Cra- 

cow University ............. 104 

Paul I, Tsar of Russia, 355, 364, 

Peasant Party in Galicla ...... 621 

Peasants in Poland, 99, 106-108, 
175-176, 216-219, 246, 349-351, 

402, 465-466, 491-494 
People's Party ........... 517-521, 577 

Pereyaslavl, Treaty of, 1654 ...... 248 

PSrier, Casimir ................. 458 

Perun, God of Storms ............ 10 

Peter of Kolomea ............... 139 

Peter, Tsar of Russia, 278-279, 281-290 
Pgtiet, French Minister of War.. 361 
Petryllo, Moldavian Hospodar ____ 133 

Philaret Fraternity 419 

Philomath Fraternity 419 

Piast Dynasty... 7, 31, 64, 193 

Pilsudski, Joseph, 576, 598-601, 

606, 607, 613 

Pius VII, Pope 413 

Pius IX, Pope 467, 488, 497-498 

Plater, Emily, Countess 439 

Plehve, Russian Premier 546 

Plock 38 

Podhayce, Battle at, 1698 278 

Podiebrad, George 101 

Podlasie 163, 494 

Podolia .....55, 263, 378, 489 

Podoski, Gabriel, Primate 302, 308 

Polanie, Early Settlements 5,7 

Polanov, Peace of 1634 230 

"Polish Gazette," daily, quoted... 590 
"Polish League" in Switzerland,. 520 
Polish Parliamentary Club at Vi- 
enna 541, 580 

Polish Question 

International Status of 585 

Attitude of Russia 585, 586 

Attitude of Allies 586 

Polish School Mother 551-552 

Polish Socialist Party, 547, 549, 

577, 598 

Poltava, Battle of, 1709 282 

Polytechnic Institute of Warsaw 

591, 595 

Pomerania (Pomorze) 7, 27 

Conquest by Boleslav the Wry- 
mouthed, 1109 42 

Conquest by Knights of the 

Cross 49-50 

Poniatowski, Joseph, Prince, 342, 
344, 370, 373, 382, 384, 387-388, 

390-395, 585 
Poniatowski, Michael, Primate 

King's Brother 330, 352 

Poniatowski, Stanislav August 

(1764-1795), 282, 292, 296, 298-355 
Ponifiski, Adam Lodzia, 314,319, 

329, 353 

Poplawski, Jan, Publicist 521 

Possevino, Antonio 176 

Posner, S., quoted 515 

Potemkin, Russian Statesman.... 331 
Potocki, Felix, Hetman, 278, 329, 343 

Potocki, Ignacy 328 

Potocki, Joseph 521 

Potocki, Nicholas, Field Hetman.. 237 
Potocki, Stanislav Kostka, Minis- 
ter of Education, 328, 380, 413-414 



Poznan (Posen). 6, 12, 397, 401- 

402, 466, 468, 469, 521-527 

Praga, Slaughter of, 1794 353 

Prague, Convention at 39 

Prazmowski, Primate 264 

Provisional Polish Government of 

1916-1917 605-609 

Prus, Boleslav, Pseud, of Alexan- 
der Glowacki, Writer 507-508 

Prussia, 1, 45, 98, 131-132, 160, 163, 
278-279, 286, 290-291, 295, 300, 
308-309, 313-314, 332-334,346, 
349, 352-355, 358, 372, 375, 392, 

397, 401-402, 591 

Przemysl 59 

Przemyslav, 1295-1296 47-48 

Przybyszewski, Stanislav, Writer 512 

Przyluski, James, Jurist 150 

Ptolemy, Cracow Edition of, 1512 145 
Pulaski, Joseph, Leader of the 

Bar Confederacy 305 

Pulaski, Kasimir 305, 308 

Pulawy 370, 484, 548 

Puzyrewski, Russian General, 

quoted 426 

Reymont, Wladyslav, Writer 512 

Reytan, Thaddeus, Patriot 315 

Richelieu, Cardinal 231-232 

Rokitna, Charge of, by Polish 

Uhlans 597 

Romanoff, Michael, Tsar of Mus- 
covy 186 

Rostworowski, Count W., Member 
of the Provisional State Coun- 
cil 607 

Roumania 71 

Rudzki 639 

Rugen, Island of, 10, 11, 27, 43, 44 
Rumiantseff, Russian General .... 308 

Russian Revolution 610 

Rutowski, Tadeusz, Mayor of 

Lemberg 587, 588 

Ruthenia, 55, 59, 160-163, 188-189, 

190-191, 481, 541-545, 613-614 
Rydel, Lucyan, Poet and Dramat- 
ist 581 

Rymkiewicz, General 365 

Rzewuski, Severin, 303, 329, 342-343 

Rzewuski, Simon 329 

Rzewuski, Waclaw, Field Hetman 303 

Raclawice, Battle at, 1794 349 

Radegast (Ancient Deity), Pro- 
tector of Merchants and Guests 10 
Radom Confederacy, 1767. .. .302-303 

Radzieyowski, Jerome 249 

Radziwill, Antoni, Prince, First 
Governor General of the 

Duchy of Posen 401 

Radziwill, Barbara, Queen of Po- 
land, Wife of Zygmunt II Au- 
gust 153 

Radziwill, Charles, Prince 298, 302 

Radziwill, Janus 247, 250 

Radziwill, Michael, Prince, 330, 

434, 436 
Rakoczy, Hungarian Commander. 255 

Ramsay, Russian General 487 

Rapperswil, St. Gallen, Switzer- 
land, Polish Museum 520 

Raszyn, Battle of, 1809 382 

Red Russia 65 

Reds (Political Party in Poland) 

473-477, 481, 485-486, 493 
Reformation (Protestant) ....137-152 
Reichenbach, Convention of, 1790 337 
Repnin, Russian Ambassador to 
Revolutionary National Govern- 
ment of 1915 577 

Rey. Nicholas, Satirist 146-147 

Poland 301, 303, 306 

St. Otto, the Mission of, to Pom- 

erania 43-44 

St. Peter's Pence, Annual Tax 25 
Samogitia, see Zmudz 

Samo-Sierra, 1808 378-379 

Sandomir 30, 151, 280-282 

Sapieha, Kasimir Nestor 332 

Sapieha, Leon, First Marshal of 

the Galician Diet 532 

Sarbiewski, Matthew, Poet-Laurete 102 

Saragossa, Siege of 378 

Sare, Dr. Joseph, Vice-President 

of the City of Cracow 566 

"School Mother" 

Organized in Galicia, 1882 507 

In Kingdom of Poland, 1905 552 

Schwarzenberg, Commander of the 

Austrian Army 390 

Sciegenmy, Father 464 

Seklucyan, Jan, Representative of 

Luther in Poland 139 

Senate, Formation of 100, 199 

Seniorate (Polish Laws of Inheri- 
tance) 26 

Sergius, Russian Grand Duke.... 546 
Shooyski, Basil, Russian Tsar.. 185 

Sicirtski, Wladyslaw 247 

Siegmund, King of Bohemia. .. .90-91 

Siemaszko, Uniate Bishop 445 

Sieniawski, Adam, Hetman 283 

Sienkiewicz, Henryk 508-509 



Sieroszewskl, Waclav, Novelist, 

512, 581, 582 

Sievers, Count, Bussian Ambassa- 
dor 346-349 

Siewlersk 260 

Silesia, Principality of Poland, 30, 

53, 101, 295, 527 
Simkhovitch, Prof. Vladimir G., 

quoted 461-462 

Skarga, Peter 181-183 

Sklodowska Curie, Marie, Chemist 539 
Skrzynecki, Jan, General, 393, 434, 

436, 440 

Slaves in Poland 9, 57 

Slavs 1, 5, 10-11 

Slowackl, Juljusz, Poet, 446-447, 

451-454, 460 

Smolensk 133, 260, 280 

Smolensk!, W., quoted 253, 290- 

291, 413 

Smolka, Francis 484, 529 

Sniadecki, Andrew, Scientist .... 318 
Sniadecki, Jan, Mathematician... 316 
Sobienki, Alexander, Son of the 

King 281 

Sobleski, James, Son of the King 

273-274, 276, 281 
Sobieski, Jan, King of Poland 

(1674-1696), 259-261, 263-275 

Socialism in Poland 518-521 

Society of the Friends of Science 443 
Society of Elementary Education 318 
"Sodalitas Literaria Vistulana" at 

Cracow, 1489 102 

Sokolnicki, Michael 365, 388, 394 

Sokolowski, Prof. August, quoted, 

180, 226, 275, 312, 373, 442 
"Sokols" (Nests of Falcons) .... 534 
Soltyk, Kayetan, Bishop of Cra- 
cow 303 

Soltys 39 58 

Sowinska, Funeral of Mme 475 

Sowinski, General 441 

Spytek of Melsztyn, Leader of 
Confederacy in the Reign of 

Wladyslav III 92 

Stackelberg, Russian Ambassador 

at Warsaw 323 

Staff, Leopold, Poet 512 

Starosta 8 

Staszyc, Stanislav, Statesman, 316, 

327-328, 380 

State Council, Provisional, of Po- 
land 605-610 

Statute of Tolerance, 1562 151 

Sternbach, Prof 561 

Stettin, City of 43 

Stoczek, Battle at, 1831 427 

Stolypin, Russian Premier 556 

Strangways, Fox, quoted 368 

Strug, Andrew, Novelist 581 

Strug, Joseph, Physician 150 

Sturmdorf, Agreement at, 1635.. 233 

Strzelecki, Polish Explorer 539 

Stwosz, Vit, Sculptor 112-113 

Sudermania, Duke of 183 

Sulkowski, Joseph 361, 393 

Supreme National Committee, 580, 

591, 593 
fcuvorov, Russian Field Marshal, 

312, 353, 365 
Sweden, 187-188, 231-233, 249-255, 

Swiatowit (Indra) the Slavic 

Zeus 10-11 

Swidrygiello, Grand Duke of 

Lithuania, 1430-1432 85 

Swientochowski, Alexander, Pub- 
licist 507-508 

Szaniawski, Minister of Education 414 

Szczygiel, Bar Confederate 306 

Szegedin, Peace at, 1444 93 

Szela, Jacob 465 

Szeptycki, Count, Greek Catholic 

Metropolitan of Galicia. . . 587, 588 
Pzymonowicz, S. Poet 146 

Talko-Hryncewicz, Prof, quoted.. 4 
Talleyrand, French Statesman, 399, 613 

Targowica Confederacy 343-346 

Tarlo, Adam 289 

Tarnowski, Jan, Grand Hetman of 

of the Crown 133 

Tarnowski, St., quoted 76 

Tartars, 35-36, 127, 133-135, 248, 


Tetmayer, Kazimir, Poet 512 

Thirty Years' War 186 

Thorn (Torun) 100, 345, 377 

"Three Black Eagles," Union of, 

1732 286 

Tilsit, Treaty of, 1807 375 

Towianski, Andrew, Philosopher 

450, 453 

Traugutt, Romuald 493-494 

Travendal, Peace at, 1700 279 

Trembecki, Stanislav, Poet 326 

Tromba, Nicholas, Archbishop of 

Gnesen 90 

Turkey, 101, 186-187, 230, 239, 260, 

263-265, 268-274, 277-278, 283 

308, 310-311, 330-332, 470 

Tyniec, Battle of, 1773 312 

Tyzenhaus, Anthony, Patron of 

Industries 321 



t'chanski, Archbishop, First In- 

terrex 164 

Ufero-Flnnish Peoples, Early Set- 
tlements 1-2 

Ukraine, 133-135, 234-236, 248, 
257, 260, 263, 268-269. 274, 278, 

282, 470 

Ulrich von Jungingen, Master of 

the Order of the Cross 80 

Uniate Church, 257, 281-282, 444- 

446, 548 

Valois, Henry, King of Poland 167-169 

Varna, Battle of, 1444 94 

Vienna, Battle of, 1683 270-273 

Agreement at, 1772 311 

Congress of, 1815, 395, 417, 420, 

593, 607 

Volhynia 55, 71, 163, 489 

Voyciech of Brudzev, Astronomer 


Waclaw, King of Bohemia and 

of Poland 48 

Wallace, Sir Donald Mackenzie, 

quoted 159 

Wallachia 71, 127, 274, 278, 310 

War Relief 694 


163, 166, 174, 214, 279, 284-285, 
292, 299, 314, 345, 351, 353, 
355, 368, 375-395, 381, 382-384, 
388-390, 418-422, 443, 479, 485, 
503, 514-517, 547, 553, 567, 586, 

589, 591 

Warsaw University, 413, 480, 547, 

553, 591. 595 
V/awrzecki, Dictator, Successor of 

Kosciuszko 360 

Wawrzyniak, Father 523 

Welles, God of Cattle 10 

West Russia 163, 313-314 

Westphalia, Peace of, 1648 249 

White Hill, Battle of, 1620 187 

White Russia 489, 613 

Whites (Political Party in Po- 
land) 473-474, 481-482, 486 

Wiec (Popular Assembly) 9 

Wielawa, Agreement at, 1657.... 254 
Wielopolski, Alexander, Margrave, 

474-475, 478-487 

Wieluri, Edict of, 1424 91 

Wilhelm II German Emperor. . . . 525 

Wilno 344, 351, 353, 498-499 

Wilno UniversHy, 317-318, 416-417, 

420, 443 

Wilson, Woodrow 609-610 

WiSlica Statute, 1347, 57, 58, 63, 99 

Wisniowiecki, Jeremiah. . 237, 241-243 

Wifiniowiecki, Michael Korybut, 
King of Poland (1669-1673) 


Witold, Duke of Lithuania, 79-82, 

84-85, 91 

Wladyslav Herman (1070-1102) 25-26 

Wladyslav Jagiello, King of Po- 
land 68-91 

Wladyslav III, King of Poland, 

1434-1444 89-91 

Wladyslav Lokietek, Prince of 

Great Poland, 1306-1333. . .49-53 

Wladyslav, King of Hungary and 

Bohemia 122 

Wladyslav IV, King of Poland, 

1632-1648 224, 230-234, 236-248 

Wodzicki, Stanislav, Count, Presi- 
dent of the Cracow Republic 400 

Wohl, Treasurer of the Revolu- 
tionary Government, 1863 .... 561 

W'ola (Suburb of Warsaw) 441 

Wolin, Establishment of Bishopric 

at, in Pomerania, 1130 44 

Women of Poland, Work of, Dur- 
ing War 594 

Woyt 38 

Wybicki, Joseph, patriot, 303, 361, 372 

Wyhowski, John, Leader of the 

Cossacks 256 

Wyslouch, Leader, Peasant Party 

of Galicia 521 

Wysocki, Peter 422-423, 468 

Wyspianski, Stanislav, Poet and 

Painter 511-512, 537 

Zakopane (Mountain Resort) 533 

Zaliwski, Colonel 463 

Zaluski, Andrew, Bishop and Pub- 
licist 292 

Zaluski, Joseph, Bishop and Pub- 
licist 292, 303 

Zaluski Public Library 291-292 

Zamoyski, Andrew, Count, Leader 
of Nobility, 323, 472-473, 478- 

479, 481 

Zamoyski, Jan, Chancellor 173, 178 

Zan, Thomas, Leader of the Wilno 

University Students 419-420 

Zaremba, Bar Confederate 308 

Zawisza, Patriot 463 

Zayonczek, Joseph, Viceroy of Po- 
land 372, 410-411, 417 

Zborowski, Peter 131 

Zborowski, Samuel 172 

Zebrzydowski, Leader of Rebel- 
lion 184 

Zegocki, Christopher 251 



Zeromski, Stefan, Novelist. .446, 512 

Zimorowicz, Poet 146 

Zmudz (Samogitia) ...1, 80, 192, .494 
Z61kiewski, Stanislav, Hetman, 185-187 

Zoravno, Peace of, 1676 268 

Zulawski, Jerzy, Dramatist, 512 


Zygmunt I (1506-1548), the Old, 

King of Poland 127-152 

Zygmunt II August (1548-1572), 

King of Poland .151-164 

Zygmunt III, 1687-1632, King of 

Poland 177-191 

Zygmunt, Grand Duke of Lithu- 
ania 86 

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