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ti of Toronto 

Henry Tresawna Gerrans 
Fellow of Worcester College, 
Oxford 1882-1921 









BY W. A. DAY. 







materials for the following narrative were collected 
JL by me during tliree visits to Russia and Poland in the 
years 1863, 1864, and 1865. My sources of information were 

From Lord Napier, then the English Ambassador at St. 
Petersburg, from Mr. Lumley, the Secretary, and from Mr. 
Michell, the first Attache of the Embassy, I received from time 
to time very valuable information. They necessarily heard 
statements from persons who represented all the parties in- 
terested in the Polish question, as well as the views put for- 
ward by the representatives of other European powers in 
St. Petersburg, and I am greatly indebted to them for the 
assistance they afforded to me. Mr. Michell especially, from 
his long residence in Eussia and his intimate knowledge of 
the institutions and state of public feeling in the empire, gave 
me an amount of assistance that I could not have procured 
elsewhere. At Warsaw the Consul-General, Colonel Stanton, 
and the Vice-Consul, Mr. White, were equally ready to aid 
me ; and Mr. White's long connection with Poland, and his 
unequalled experience of the men and parties with whom in 
the course of my narrative I have to deal, gave the greatest 
weight to his views and criticisms. 

In the official, commercial, and general society of St. 
Petersburg, especially among the English, and German resi- 
dents, there were great differences of opinion upon political 


questions, and I had the advantage of hearing the views of 
all parties and the statements of facts with which they were 

It is difficult for me to set out with precision* my sources of 
information among the Poles. Reasons obviously exist why 
in this case names should not be given, but I trust the perusal 
of my work will show that I was well informed as to their 
views, and have done full justice to them. I may, however, 
mention that I received much information from Count Joseph 
Zamoyski, and that it was valuable alike from its unques- 
tionable authenticity, and from the moderation of his own 

Among the Eussian officers from whom I received infor- 
mation, I may mention Count Berg, Viceroy of Poland; 
General Mouravieff, Governor- General of the North-western 
provinces ; Count Osten Sacken, head of the diplomatic 
Chancery at Warsaw ; Prince Tcherkaski and M. Milutine, two 
of the three members of the Commission for settling the 
peasant land question in the kingdom of Poland, the former of 
whom is now Director of Posts and the latter is Secretary of 
State for Poland; Prince Emile Wittgenstein, commandant 
of one of the Russian corps operating in the kingdom; Prince 
Pierre Ouroussoff, Chamberlain of the Emperor, and a member 
of the court-martial at Wilna; General Lebedeff, who had 
charge of the political prisoners at Wilna ; Colonel Annenkoff, 
son of the governor of the South-western provinces ; M. West- 
man, head of the private chancery of Prince Gortschakoff; 
M. Zablotski, Secretary of State ; M. Pierre Semenoff, who 
represented Russia some four years since at the Statistical 
Congress; Colonel, now General Romanoffski, at that time 
editor of the Invalide Eusse ; Captain Koutzinski, commandant 
of the Chateau of the Viceroy in Warsaw; and M. Rumine, 
one of the judges recently appointed to preside over the 


peasants' courts. These gentlemen advocate many different 
forms of opinion in Russia, varying from the strict conservative 
principles of the Emperor Nicholas to the somewhat indefinite 
creed of modern liberalism; on the whole,, I am persuaded 
that they fairly represent the opinion of the educated classes 
in Russia of the present day.* 

I have striven in the following pages to represent fairly 
and impartially the conduct and the aims of all parties. It is, 
perhaps, impossible to regard the actions which pass before 
our eyes, and the men whom we have seen and with whom we 
have had personal intercourse, entirely from a historical point 
of view; and I cannot hope that my narrative will be free 
from error. All that I can urge is that to the best of my 
ability I have studied the question, have endeavoured to 
regard it dispassionately, and have recorded my exact im- 
pressions of the men and the events I have endeavoured to 

20th October, 1866. 

* I give these names without hesitation, as in every instance where 
information was given me it was fully understood that I intended subse- 
quently to avail myself of it for the purposes of the narrative I was 




Policy of the Emperor Nicholas. Suppression of Polish Universities. 
Education of Polish Youth. Its Revolutionary tendency. 
Disaffection among them in after-life. Effect of this System. 
Polish Catechism. Death of Nicholas. Russian Liberals. 
Views of the Emperor Alexander. Emancipation. Sympathy 
with the Poles Page 

Close of Crimean War. State Of Poland. Visit of the Emperor to 
Warsaw. Reforms introduced. Formation of the Agricultural 
Society. Improved Condition of the Country. Disaffected Parties. 
Religion and Races in Western Provinces. " The Emigration." 
The Democratic Party. The Roman Catholic Church. Patriotism 
of Polish Women . ...; 18 


Relations of Landlord and Peasant in the Kingdom of Poland. 
Ancient Freedom of Peasants. Their Reduction to Servitude. 
Tyranny of their Masters. Servitude in Lithuania. Personal 
Enfranchisement in the Kingdom, and its Evil Effects. Legisla- 
tion of Polish Diet. Subsequent Reforms by Russian Govern- 
ment. Inventories. Views of Poles on Land Question. 
Legislation of Austria and Prussia upon it. Necessity for effecting 
a Settlement favourable to the Peasants .... 33 


Commencement of " Unarmed Agitation " in Warsaw. Meeting in the 
Old Square. " The Warsaw Massacre." Address to the Emperor. 
Indecision of Prince Gortschakolf. The Delegation. The 
Funeral. Conduct of the Delegation and its Dissolution 50 



Embarrassment of Government. Suppression of the Agricultural 
Society. Liberal Institutions granted. Polish Demonstrations. 
Suppression of Disturbances. State of Warsaw. Death of Prince 
Gortschakoff Page 64 


Count Lambert. Declaration of State of Siege. Demonstration of 15th 
October. The Blockade of the Churches. Mourning. Attempted 
Murder of General Luders. Appointment of Grand Duke Con- 
stantme as Viceroy. The Marquis Wielopolski ; his Character 
and Policy. Attempts to assassinate the Grand Duke and the 
Marquis. Distinction between the Kingdom of Poland and the 
Western Provinces. Address of Polish Proprietors. Count 
Andrew Zamoyski ; his Exile 78 


Revolutionary Press. Plan of an Insurrection. Increase of Agitation 
in Western Provinces. Demonstration at Wilna. Repressive 
Action of Government. Celebrations at Kovno, and throughout 
Lithuania. General Disaffection. Wavering Policy of General 
Nazimoff. Its Effects 94 


Conflicting Views of the various parties among the Poles. The Con- 
scription. Outbreak of Insurrection. Massacres. Despatches 
from the Consul-General at Warsaw. Proclamation of the Central 
Committee. Conduct of the Proprietors. Revolutionary " Order 
of the Day." Attempt to poison the Marquis Wielopolski 109 


Excesses of the Insurgents. Their Position, and Character of their 
Bands. Battle of Wengrow. Progress of Revolt, Concentration 
of Russian Troops 126 



Policy of Prussia. Her Government of Posen. Convention with 
Russia for Rendition of Criminals. Debate in Prussian Chambers. 
English Despatches. Policy of Austria. Loyalty of Peasants 
and Clergy in Galicia. Anti-Russian Feeling of Austrian, French, 
and English Press Page 134 


The Emperor Napoleon. His presumed Designs on Prussia. Exaspera- 
tion of the French People. Temporizing Policy of the Emperor. 
Sympathy in England with the Insurgents. Debate in the Lords. 
Despatch of Lord Russell. Reply of Prince Gortschakoff 144 


Langiewicz's Campaign ; his Defeat. Resumption of Power by the 

National Government 155 


The National Government. The Peasants and the Government. 
Public Feeling in Russia. Addresses to the Emperor. The 
Amnesty. Its Reception by Insurgents. English Cabinet 168 


Moral Force. Fabricated Intelligence. Mouravieff. Mourning Pro- 
clamation. Debate in the House of Lords. Property-tax. 
Sequestrations 190 


Seriakoffski, his Capture and Execution. Attempted Murder of the 
Marshal of Nobility at Wilna. Death of Nullo. Rising in 
Kieff. Wysocki's Invasion. Letter of a Patriot Pole 206 


The Six Points. Public Opinion in Russia. Diplomatic Cor- 
respondence. Analysis of the Six Points. Proclamation of the 
National Government. Cessation of Foreign Interference 229 



Dispute between the White and Red Parties. Public. Opinion in 
Russia. Resignation of Wielopolski. Embarrassing Position of 
the Grand Duke. Excesses of the National Government. Robbery 
of the Treasury. Compulsory Loan. Death of Lelewel. Hope- 
less Character of the Revolt. Resignation of the Grand Duke. 
Appointment and Character of Count Berg. His Policy. 
Attempt upon his Life. The Sacking of the Zamoyski Houses. 
Suppression of Mourning. Close of th e Insurrection Page 241 


Resume of the Narrative .. 263 






INDEX 327 




Policy of the Emperor Nicholas. Suppression of Polish Universities. Educa- 
tion of Polish Youth. Its Eevolutionary tendency. Disaffection among 
them in after-life. Effect of this system. Polish Catechism. Death 
of Nicholas. Eussian Liberals. Views of the Emperor Alexander. 
Emancipation. Sympathy with the Poles. 

IN the following pages I shall endeavour faithfully to trace 
the rise and progress of the rebellion in Poland ; to point 
out what were the causes which nominally provoked it, as well 
as the more remote and powerful agencies from which it really 
sprung. It will be my province to show how the ancient 
animosities of religion and race prevailed over the humanizing 
influence of common interests, hopes, and aspirations, and 
how noble plans for the advancement of civilization and free- 
dom withered beneath the hand of the conspirator and the 
angry breath of war. 

In the course of my narrative I shall glance at the long train 
of injuries which were heaped upon a subject race, and show 
how consistent and how vain were the efforts of power to 
trample out the memory of past history, and eradicate the 
hopes of future national independence. 

An aristocracy proud of its hereditary fame, and writhing 
beneath the wounds which a remorseless conqueror inflicted, 
will be seen in sullen dignity to reject the hand of reconcilia- 
tion and friendship which the son of their oppressor extended 
to them ; they will be seen disdainfully to ignore the liberal 
institutions he conferred, and which would have opened the 
way to self-government and constitutional freedom ; and, 


abandoning the high position which a landed aristocracy 
should never abdicate, do nothing to prevent the rising 
liberties of their country from being risked on the desperate 
hazard of intestine war. 

Again, now lowering in the distance, and now frowning in 
the foreground, will be seen the shadowy outline of a revolu- 
tionary Vehme. Without property, without honour, without 
aught to recommend them, save the headlong valour which 
but half redeems them from the condemnation they deserve, 
the leaders of the socialist propaganda will force themselves 
into the strife. Before their bolder and more resolute counsels, 
the feebler will of the aristocracy will bend ; terrorism will 
be the means resorted to for carrying on the struggle, and 
murder be avowed as a legitimate instrument of war. 

In Western Europe we shall see two mighty nations greatly 
moved by Poland's efforts to be free. Goaded into excite- 
ment by exaggerated rumours of cruelty on the one side and 
prowess on the other; deceived by documents audaciously 
forged and possessing about them all outward signs of authen- 
ticity ; misled by circumstantial falsehoods gravely propa- 
gated by men who should have known the truth, and the worst 
and vilest of them endorsed by a powerful nobleman in the 
House of Lords ; we shall find there have been moments when 
war and peace hung on the chance decision of an hour, the 
intrigues of a cabinet, or the response of an ally. 

Sometimes, also, the indecision and the folly of the Russian 
authorities will be strikingly apparent, and the signs of their 
weakness will be traced in the spread of anarchy, the terror 
of the loyal, and the augmented power of the party of revolt ; 
sometimes, also, we shall have to condemn their acts of arbitrary 
power, their injustice and disregard to the rights of property, 
when that property was the possession of their foe. 

Through the varied intrigues of courts and councils, through 
the secret consultations of rebel leaders, and the daring ex- 
ploits of the men who obeyed them, it is impossible in all 
cases to pilot the way to truth. The events I chronicle are 
scarcely those of yesterday, the flush of triumph yet lingers 
on the brow of the conqueror, the tear yet glitters in the 
mourner's eye, and only a few months since the strife yet 


lingered on amid woods and morasses, and ever and anon 
was embittered by some dark assassination or some high- 
handed act of power. The materials for history are here, but 
the men who collect and offer them for acceptance can scarcely 
be impartial; and if the author is sometimes misled by the 
spell of their patriotism or the contagion of their zeal, such 
errors may well be forgiven him if he endeavours impartially 
to perform his allotted task. 

After the suppression of the Polish revolt of 1830, the 
Emperor Nicholas appeared resolved to obliterate the very 
memory of Poland. Himself a man of stern and unbending 
determination, he over-estimated his power, and strove to 
accomplish that which was unattainable. The master of a 
million of soldiers, he could wage war at his pleasure, and make 
peace at his will ; but the power that he wielded, though it 
sufficed to embroil the world, was impotent to crush out one 
national tradition or to obliterate one historical memory. 
This truth he from time to time recognized, as he admitted at 
moments the impotence of his policy ; but his proud nature 
forbade any public acknowledgment of his errors, and he per- 
severed in a fatal consistency of action, though he knew it 
would bring him nothing but disappointment. This, indeed, 
was one of the errors of a mind which had within it many of 
the attributes of greatness ; within the limited range of his 
prejudiced vision, he was wise and just, and almost magnani- 
mous ; but he possessed not that magnanimity which impels a 
great man to admit that he has erred, and in the face of the 
world to alter his avowed policy. 

When the revolt was crushed out, and its leaders punished, 
it would have been the part of a wise and far-seeing prince to 
have bound up its bleeding wounds, and whispered hope to 
a discomfited and prostrate race. He would have found in 
their gratitude a securer tie than their fears ever afforded him, 
and would have converted men who detested him into loyal 
and loving subjects. 

But from his point of view rebellion was a crime so loath- 
some and horrible that nothing could justify and nothing 
extenuate it ; in this instance, too, the crime was yet blacker 

B 2 


than in ordinary cases, for it was combined with a hatred to 
that great and sacred empire of which he was the divinely- 
appointed ruler. 

Instead, therefore, of attempting to conciliate the Poles, 
instead of seeking to attach them to his country and his crown 
by the creation of liberal institutions in which they might fill 
places of trust and dignity, he resorted to an unwise and 
arbitrary series of measures, by which he tried to merge Poland 
and the Poles in Russia, and tried in vain. 

War saw and Wilna were the seats of two universities, where 
men of the Polish race had long been educated ; they pos- 
sessed libraries and collections, the relics of old times, the 
memorials of an age when Copernicus taught and Sobieski 
ruled. These institutions were regarded by the stern Emperor 
as memorials of that past which it was his mission to crush 
out; if he suppressed them, he thought he should destroy 
two of the rallying-points of disaffection and revolt ; so his 
mandate went forth, and the universities were closed. 

The libraries and collections they had contained were 
transferred to St. Petersburg and Kieff, and Poland and the 
Western Provinces were deprived of their accustomed means 
of education. 

No longer possessing them in their own neighbourhood, the 
nobles of the kingdom and the Western Provinces were com- 
pelled to send their sons to the distant universities of Kieff, 
Moscow, and St. Petersburg. 

Some of the poor students, who were unable to afford the 
cost of an education, were supported at these universities by 
the Government, on condition, after leaving it, that they should 
pass several years in the public service. 

Thus, far away from their own land, the Emperor anticipated 
that they would forget the misfortunes of their country, that 
they would cease to look back on its past history with vain 
repining, and that they would devote all their energies to the 
service of the Empire. 

The result did not answer his expectations ; in many 
instances it prevented the poorer proprietors from affording a 
liberal education to their sons, and frequently the wealthier 
classes refused to part with their children, as they objected to 


the long and remote separation rendered necessary by their 
distance from the Russian universities. The corruption which 
was so rife in the public service rendered the wealthier proprie- 
tors unwilling that their sons should enter its ranks, and they 
therefore sent them very frequently to some German university 
to receive their education, and left them to gather it as best 
they could in the course of foreign travel. 

A large portion of the Polish youth was thus brought up in 
idleness, among scenes where every tradition was associated 
with the history of their race, and where the only recognized 
standard deemed worthy of emulation were the patriots who 
had tried to free their country from the foreign yoke. 

Education was thus in a measure checked by this act of 
power ; but, nevertheless, large numbers of Polish students 
went to the principal Russian universities, where, instead of 
losing their nationality, it became more than ever confirmed. 

Sometimes in periods of political excitement they banded 
themselves together as a distinct and separate body, neither 
sharing in the sports nor sympathizing in the pursuits of the 
other students. Thus, in the university of St. Petersburg 
they formed one-third of the whole students, and in that of 
Kieff they were comparatively even more numerous ; in the 
former they partially, and in the latter they altogether, re- 
fused to associate themselves with the Russians. Oftener, how- 
ever, they took the lead in daring political speculations, sup- 
ported the most advanced liberal theories, and endeavoured 
there, as it will be afterwards seen they did subsequently upon 
a wider arena, to prejudice their Russian fellow-students against 
all the forms of a despotic government. 

His university course ended, the Pole generally entered the 
public service, where his talents and industry were certain of 
meeting recognition and reward ; for in every Pole who entered 
his service the Emperor saw a deserter from the camp of the 
enemy, one who had abandoned the idle hope of reviving an 
extinct nationality, and had identified himself with the greatness 
and the fortunes of Russia. Yet the allegiance of such a man 
too often sat lightly upon him, and we shall see that the result 
of the system of the Emperor Nicholas was but a Pyrrhic 


The injuries to which youth is subjected by oppression root 
deeply in the mind, and it is little to be wondered at if these 
Polish students, the sons for the most part of the insurgents 
of 1830, were dissatisfied with the Government they obeyed, 
and the country which had trampled on their native land. 

As they grew in years, such feelings strengthened, and how- 
ever much the history of their country was unfavourably 
coloured by Eussian scribes, they pictured her in the warm 
tints of a glowing patriotism ; they thought of her as the 
Poland which had saved Vienna and menaced Moscow, and 
they imaged her as the land of chivalry, of freedom, and of 
song ; they regarded the stormy gatherings of feudal chieftains 
as the legitimate expression of the national will ; and in the 
repeated partitions of Poland they allowed for none of those 
circumstances which almost rendered them inevitable, and saw 
in them nothing save their guilt. 

It is natural that minds thus impressed with a sense of wrong 
should regard with deep detestation the forms of government 
by which they were surrounded ; and that they should behold 
in them the machinery by which arbitrary power kept down 
the expression of opinion and the progress of free thought. 

The Polish student, dissatisfied with what was, solaced him- 
self with chimerical visions of a future which will never be. 
Crude and impracticable theories of socialist scribblers, wild 
notions of ultra-theoretic liberalism, dreams of impossible 
changes, and of a perfection in institutions of which no insti- 
tutions are capable, filled his mind and animated his exertions. 
Had the free interchange of thought been allowed in Eussia, 
and these opinions been fairly tested in the broad sunshine of 
public discussion, a general diffusion of liberal ideas might 
have resulted from it, but it certainly would have stopped the 
rank and poisonous vegetation which was silently germinating 
in that intellectual dungeon. 

Impressed with the wildest and most extravagant ideas, the 
Pole, when he entered the public service, used his influence to 
procure converts to them. He associated with men of liberal 
opinions among the Eussians, and endeavoured to win them 
over to his own anarchical theories. 

While holding office under the Government, too often he was 


encouraging others to attempt its overthrow; too often he 
betrayed the secrets his official position alone enabled him to 
acquire, and thought all deception honourable and just which 
served, however remotely,, the interests of his country. 

Employed in the interior of Russia, he was frequently re- 
markable for his grasping and avaricious tendencies, and was 
not too scrupulous as to the means he employed to gratify 
them. He desired to amass a fortune, that he might spend it 
thereafter in the service of Poland ; and if, in collecting it, he 
gave dissatisfaction to the people, that dissatisfaction would 
only recoil on the institutions he longed to destroy. 

For the furtherance of the same political ends he endeavoured 
unduly to advance his countrymen in public life. In every 
province where a Pole was in high employment, it was certain 
that the lesser appointments would be thronged with his com- 
patriots, and thus throughout the Empire all branches of the 
administration were crowded with men who were the secret 
enemies of Russia. 

Of course, in the public service there were many men who 
would not stoop to such courses; men of high honour and 
independent will, who would not sully their reputation by any 
such combination of perfidy and self-interest. 

The policy of the Emperor Nicholas on the subject of educa- 
tion was consistent with the measures he adopted in other 
branches of the administration. 

The study of the ancient history of Poland was forbidden, 
or permitted only in the feeble and garbled treatises of Russian 
scribes ; as though every battle-field had not its memory," as 
though every tomb in the churches, every banner that moul- 
dered on their sacred walls, did not teach some passage of her 
history to Poland's persecuted sons. The works of foreign 
authors were rigorously forbidden, and secret commissions 
punished their study with imprisonment and exile ; the visits 
of foreigners were as much as possible discouraged, and they 
were subjected to numberless vexatious restrictions, having 
their speedy departure for their object; while the trade and 
manufactures of the country languished under the blighting 
influence of prohibitive tariffs, and the multitude of unwise 
regulations official pedantry imposed. 


The custom-house frontier between Russia and Poland was 
abolished, and the prohibitive system of the Empire was in- 
troduced in all its severity ; a commission of the secret police 
settling in Warsaw filled the prisons with the most enlightened 
citizens, while the Polish youth were drafted into the military 
service in such numbers that for a whole generation the 
population of the country decreased, and the last vestige 
of independence the national army was merged in the 
imperial forces. 

Such was the system on which the Emperor Nicholas 
governed Poland, and he never swerved from it. The revolu- 
tion of 1830 was terribly avenged in a civil administration de- 
nationalized, a blighted commerce, an army that had ceased to 
exist, and a land lying prostrate at the feet of implacable 
power. A generation was born and grew up under this relent- 
less sway, and one of the last acts of his reign was to destroy 
a whole quarter of Warsaw, that he might add a glacis and 
an outwork to the citadel with which he overawed the town. 

Yet the measures he took to blot out the nationality he 
detested were singularly unfortunate ; the annihilation of the 
frontier on which he relied as a means of introducing the 
Russian, element into Poland served, on the contrary, to 
bring together the scattered members of the Polish race. 
Warsaw once more became the capital to which the wealthy 
nobles of the Western Provinces, as well as of the kingdom, 
resorted ; and in spite of their long alienation from each other, 
it was soon apparent that their feelings and interests were the 
same. Indeed the very fact of nobles of the provinces dwell- 
ing for the most part among Russians made them more decided 
in their Polish sympathies and policy than even their kindred 
in the Congress kingdom. 

The Polish proprietors perseveringly endeavoured to implant 
a national feeling antagonistic to Russia, in the minds of the 
common people. In the Western Provinces the Polish race, as 
will hereafter be seen, numbered only some ten per cent, of 
the entire population. The remainder were of Russian, Lettic, 
or Jewish origin. Amongst them the Poles incessantly toiled. 
They often professed not to understand Russian, and peasants 
who used that language were handed over to the agent, while 


those who spoke Polish were thrown into direct communication 
with their proprietors. Self-interest thus prompted them to 
understand and speak the language of their masters. The 
language once learned, it was easy to persuade them that they 
were Poles, to teach them vague lessons of their country's 
former history, to shake their political allegiance, and to under- 
mine their religious faith. 

Among the Letfcic race, the Roman Catholic clergy were 
equally active. The community of faith was a link between 
them and their pastors which was wanting in the relations of 
the latter with the Eussian serf, and the clergy ably propa- 
gated political views which might tend thereafter to win back 
the Western Provinces to the profession of the true faith. The 
result was that when the Emperor Nicholas died, the Western 
Provinces were far more Polish than they had been previously 
to the revolt of 1830. 

The principles which I have attributed to many of the Poles 
find expression in a curious document which was circulated 
extensively among them, a translation of which I subjoin. It is 
known as the Polish catechism ; its authenticity has indeed 
been questioned by those who were interested in repudiating 
it, but there is not the least reason for attaching any credit to 
the denial. It reads thus : 

" In the great hour of the re-establishment of our beloved 
country, everyone having a right to call himself a son of 
Poland must sacrifice on the altar of liberty, and must not 
suffer the spark that animated Poland in all her misery to be 
extinguished. This spark will soon become a fire spreading 
over the whole world, and the Polish nation, like another phoe- 
nix, will arise from her ashes and appear as the protector of 
oppressed nations and champion of the mission of civilized 
Europe. Let us remember, brethren, that Phoenicia and Venice 
ruled the world not with arms but with intellect, riches, and 
knowledge. Let us imitate their example, and act in accord- 
ance with the following measures proposed by a man com- 
pletely devoted to his country. 

" Poland is a land fitted for commerce and civilization ; there 
was a time when she ruled with her glorious and unconquer- 
able arms ; but the views of Providence are unfathomable, and 


she is now called to rule by the power of her intellect, com- 
merce, and civilization. Look at England, a truly commercial 
nation, but the most powerful in the world. She rules it on 
the sea, Poland on the land. The colonies are the prop of 
England's wealth, but they are at a distance. Poland has 
likewise an India, Lithuania and the Ukraine. These colonies 
form one with Poland, and if this agitation is ably conducted, 
they can never be separated from her. 

f ' I offer to our brethren in blood and in religion, the follow- 
ing counsels to enable us to act with union, that we may reach 
the goal. 

"1. In the annexed provinces the landowners must endeavour 
not to part with their property ; if they are obliged to do so, 
let a Pole be the buyer, in order to prevent the Russian element 
from spreading. The suffering brethren landowners must be 
helped, the Russian landowners must be subjected to all kinds 
of annoyances ; nothing must be sold to them or bought from 
them; lawsuits must be instituted against them; they are 
sure to lose, as the judicial offices in the country are occupied 
by Poles likewise. Thus they will be forced to sell their un- 
righteously acquired property and to return to their Muscovy. 
The land sold by Russians must be bought, even if it were 
necessary to form a company for the purpose. Thus in time 
all the power and profit will be in our own hands. Let us help 
our country and be useful to her. 

1 ' Let greedy Russia think the Ukraine and Lithuania her 
property ; but she won't understand who will have the material 
profits of those provinces. 

" Besides this, these measures will hinder the union of these 
provinces with hated Russia, and if we profit by the stupidity 
and want of enlightenment of the local popes (priests), and 
work upon their avarice with money, we can lull these men, 
whose antagonistic creed renders them our most inveterate 

" If we act well, we may make the people adjure their false 
faith, or at least inspire them with less confidence in their 
popes ; and this will be sufficient to arm the people against 

"2. As the Russians are in general uneducated, lazy, and 


self-confident,, the Poles must try to be particularly well 
educated, to be able to get the best and most useful places, 
and thus to be the moral arbiters of that dull nation. 

" 3. Persons specially educated must try to serve in Eussia 
without paying attention to the idle talk of those who know 
nothing of political secrets, who say that it is dishonourable 
for a Pole to serve Russia ; for, being in the Russian service 
for his country's sake, every Pole makes a great sacrifice for 

" 4. Only profitable places must be accepted ; as soon as a 
fortune is made, leave Russia, and return to your country ; thus 
the money got in Russia will belong to our brethren ; thus not 
only your sacrifice is repaid, but you impoverish the enemy ; 
all means thereto are not only allowed, but necessary ; the claws 
of the foe are thereby cut. Strive by all means to make a 
fortune at the expense of the Russian treasury ; it is no sin 
and no crime, because, robbing Russia, you disable the enemy 
and enrich your country. The Holy Church will pardon you, 
as thereby you do good to your brethren. Jesus Christ him- 
self, who has ordered us not to kill each other, has, neverthe- 
less, permitted arms to be raised against the foes of Israel ; 
this expedient, moreover, is not murderous, and depriving the 
robber of wealth, you will give it to your poorest brethren. 
When your country will be free, it will be strong. 

" 5. Strive to obtain an important post, and when you have 
the power, protect your brethren and give them good places 
too. All means are legitimate for this purpose, even if they 
appear base to others ; remember that all this is done for your 
country's sake, and thus your baseness will be looked upon as 
a great sacrifice by your countrymen. As to what others say, 
pay no attention to it, and continue your work. The Russian 
particularly likes flattery, and, blinded by it, will rather give 
a place to you than to his own countryman (though worthier of 
of it than you), whose rude nature does not enable him to 
assume polite manners ; and thus flattery being the surest 
arm against the enemy, must be used in all cases where it can 
be of use. When we shall thus occupy all the important posts 
in Russia, she will herself become our tributary. 

" 6. Do not serve long in the Russian army, because when 


you obtain a high rank you necessarily become the instrument 
of the nation hateful to you, and must carry out its plans. In 
general, remain in service as long as you have means to enrich 
yourself; as soon as you have made your fortune, leave the 
service and settle amongst your own countrymen, or else your 
treasures might again pass to the foe. 

" 7. As to the civil service, remain in it as long as you can, 
and mount on the highest steps ; do not accept the post of the 
highest statesmen, but try to be their help, to be near them, in 
fact. In the first case the Government will have no confidence 
in you, and will not make you acquainted with its plans. In the 
second, if you know how to manage your superior, and to gain 
his confidence, all the secrets of the Government will become 
known to you, and through you to your countrymen. If the 
Government is betrayed, your superior will have to answer 
for it, while you will remain in the shade and reserve yourself 
for the further service of your country. 

11 8. Be in every case your superior's right hand, and to gain 
his confidence, neglect nothing ; even abuse your countrymen 
in his presence, and condemn their actions : there is nothing 
easier than thus to persuade a Russian of your attachment to 
Russia and the Government. Having thus stolen into your 
superior's confidence, you may secretly protect your countrymen. 

" 9. If you remark a member of the Russian society hostile 
to your countrymen, strive to gain his friendship, and make 
your countrymen acquainted with him ; thus, if you cannot 
destroy the foe, at least, knowing his plans, you will be able 
to avert the evil by fighting him with equal arms. When 
Russia is filled up with our agents, and covered with a net- 
work of our brethren united in action, it will be ours, and 
with time, acting systematically and assailing the weaker 
points of Russian society, we shall make it acquiesce with us 
in the necessity of Poland's separation. 

'' This can be done without any armed power or loss of 
blood ; and we shall thereby be stronger and more powerful 
in the future. 

" 10. Remember that Russia is your greatest foe, and that a 
member of the Greek religion is a heretic, and thus freely 
affirm that you are brothers, that you have nothing against 


the Russians, only against the Government; but in secret 
try to revenge yourself on every Russian ; he can never be 
your friend, as he hates the Catholic religion and Poland, and 
will always be ready to help his Government in its hostile 
measures against them. 

"11. Always tell the Russians that Germans are the greatest 
enemies of Russia and Poland ; that they destroy the union 
between the two nations, as their policy requires it. 

" Russians hate the Germans, and will always credit your 
words ; this is the best argument you can use, and thus lull 
the foe to sleep by appearances of friendship. When any of 
your plans are discovered, make the blame fall on the Germans ; 
you will thus avert the blow from yourself and incite one 
enemy to destroy the other, while you escape suspicion. When 
you speak with a Russian, try to make him lose his patience ; 
his stupid and frank nature makes him disclose everything in 
a quarrel ; this only is necessary to you, knowing the plan of 
the foe, you can act against him . 

" 12. In the society of Russians, try to be silent, and do not 
disclose your views, as it is not profitable. Attack the Russian 
in your own society ; first attack the hateful Government that 
he serves like a slave, then reproach it with domination over 
other nations ; reproach him with want of heart and sensibility 
for his oppressed brother Poles. Try to wound his self-love, 
and then, at the end of the conversation, you will make of him a 
devoted servant in all your enterprises. The Russian with his 
rude and frank nature is always full of self-esteem, and the 
title of f barbarian ' enrages him. To be freed from this odious 
epithet, he is ready to plunge a knife in the breast of his own 
countrymen. When necessary, wound his self-love, and profit 
by it. 

" 13. If your foe is strong and cunning and understand you, 
try to destroy him, and use the surest arm thereto, an influen- 
tial German. The German hating the Russian element, will 
help you in this ; your foe will perish, thinking he owes his fall 
to German influence. Thereby you will still more prove that 
the real enemy of the Russian is the German, and you, exciting 
no suspicion, will make a friend out of an enemy, who will 
help you in your plans. Amen." 


The death of the Emperor Nicholas and the termination of 
the Crimean war, gave a great impulse to the Liberal party. 
The tyranny which for thirty years had weighed down their 
energies was at length removed. That imperious and com- 
manding figure, which had filled so important a part on the 
stage of their history, was gone ; his resolute will no longer 
directed the destinies of Eussia ; his settled policy, which for 
so prolonged a period had been unquestioned, was now open 
to discussion and hostile comment, and the nation, aroused 
from its long trance, demanded upon what principles its 
future government was to be based. 

There were men in Russia of eager and daring minds, who 
had travelled in foreign lands and attentively studied the 
institutions they found existing there. Keenly alive to the 
defects of their own system, they anxiously anticipated the 
period when their native land also should enjoy constitutional 
freedom. In the disastrous peace of 1856 they read the 
downfall of despotic power. What, they asked, had their 
patriarchal government secured them ? 

It had built up, at a vast expense of treasure and of suffering, 
a huge army ; to feed that army Russia had been yearly drained 
of multitudes of men, whose labour was required in her un- 
tilled fields or her failing manufactories ; it had been the idol 
and the boast of the late Emperor, and had given him for a 
long period great influence in Europe ; the hour of trial came, 
the idol was shattered, and the priest lay dead before the 
violated shrine ; the sole result of years of repression and 
military rule was to show that the army which could govern 
reluctant citizens broke down when it was arrayed against a 
foreign foe. 

Corruption also was eating away the vital powers of the State. 
Employes, who had no private means, and whose insignificant 
salaries were unequal to afford them a competence, were the 
masters of stately mansions, splendid equipages, and pompous 
retinues of slaves ; justice was for sale ; public honours were 
showered on worthless men ; officials fattened and the people 

Such were some of the charges brought against the Govern- 
ment by the able and earnest men who desired an immediate 


change, and they made these and many similar allegations the 
basis of their attacks on the existing order of things. Must 
there not, they . asked, be something rotten in the system 
which had so hopelessly broken down in the first moment of 
severe trial ? and was it not certain that nothing but disaster 
could thereafter be anticipated from a bureaucracy so consti- 
tuted that its employes could only live by robbing their 
country ? 

Perhaps, in their pursuit of theoretic improvement, these 
men under-estimated the difficulties of their intended task j 
no jurist, for example, who knows the operation of our system 
of trial by jury, will feel very sanguine as to its working well 
in Russia, nor will any statesman feel confident that the par- 
liament they are anxious to constitute would use with wisdom 
and moderation the powers they should thus obtain. 

Public opinion is not moved in Russia as easily as in Eng- 
land ; but at this juncture there was a strong and increasing 
tendency towards constitutional government, and it would 
have been scarcely possible to have adhered to the system of 
the Emperor Nicholas. 

Nor was such an adherence intended. We are told that in 
the sad and darkened chamber where the late monarch died, a 
solemn scene had taken place ; that, calling his successor to his 
side, the dying man had besought him, for the sake of the Russia 
that son had always loved, for the sake of the diadem so soon 
to descend upon his brow, for the sake of the people so soon 
to be committed to his charge, to govern Russia as lie had 
never done ; the approach of death was manifesting to him 
truths to which during life he had been blind, and he urged 
upon him the emancipation of the serfs, and expressed his 
sorrow at not having himself accomplished that salutary work. 

These warnings were scarcely needed ; the Emperor Alex- 
ander had studied the history of his country ; as a philan- 
thropist he desired, as a statesman he saw the necessity of eman- 
cipation; he saw also that wide- spread reforms were needed, 
and he resolutely devoted himself to their accomplishment. 

The state of public affairs was such as demanded the exer- 
cise of most unwavering courage and constancy directed by 
consummate prudence. On one side were the great nobles, 


men whose estates yielded enormous revenues, which they 
spent about the court at St. Petersburg ; their social import- 
ance had hitherto been accompanied by vast political influence, 
and they formed, as it were, a Pretorian guard about their 
sovereign, from whose influence he could with difficulty escape. 
On the other side were the people, numerous, uneducated^ 
without organization or leaders, but possessing in themselves 
an immense power, capable of crushing whatever opposed it, 
if it were once given a direction and a policy. 

These uneducated masses were conscious they had been 
wronged ; they knew enough of their past history, they felt 
enough their present degradation, to convince them that they 
were entitled to freedom, and to induce them to regard their 
masters as aggressive and unjust oppressors. The Emperor 
observed the threatened storm, he saw the only hope of salva- 
tion for the State consisted in avoiding the wild excesses of 
democracy on the one hand, and the confirmed supremacy of 
an exclusive oligarchy on the other. He knew that the coun- 
sels of wisdom and moderation on which he was prepared to 
act would be supported by a great mass of enlightened public 
opinion, and he was resolved that no considerations of per- 
sonal danger, and no desire for personal repose, should deter 
him from performing the great task which, to be done with 
security to Russia, must be done at once. 

But the Emperor was too observant, and knew too well the 
character of the people over which he ruled to imagine that 
emancipation could stand alone ; he knew it would alter the 
relation in which every class of society stood to himself and to 
every other class ; and he felt that, to consolidate the freedom 
he was about to grant, it was necessary he should confer 
institutions which should be at once its embodiment and 

While such were the views he entertained with regard to 
Russia and the provinces of ancient Poland incorporated with 
her, his views with regard to the Congress kingdom of Poland 
were not less liberal and enlightened. I shall have hereafter 
to show, that although personal servitude did not nominally 
exist there, the peasants of the kingdom were as degraded as 
the serfs of the empire, and that their condition as greatly 


required the interposition of an enlightened and progressive 

In addition, however, to any claims which the peasants of 
Poland had on the consideration of the Government, the 
condition of the country and its inhabitants excited deep 
commiseration in Russia. Despite the antagonism which had 
for centuries divided these two great members of the Scla- 
vonic family, despite the long account of mutual injuries and 
the bitter recollections of ancient feuds, it was impossible for 
Russia to view Poland, in this the hour of her downfall and 
humiliation, without entertaining for her a generous sympathy, 
and without desiring to raise her from her low estate. More- 
over, the Liberals of Russia deprecated the policy which the 
Emperor Nicholas had pursued; How could they strive for 
freedom in Russia, and yet countenance the policy which had 
enslaved Poland ? How, when they desired the spread of 
public education and enlightenment, could they approve the 
act which had closed the universities of Warsaw and of Wilna, 
ransacked their treasures, travestied the history, and would 
fain have blotted out the very memory of Poland? How 
could they, who were anxious to struggle for self-government 
in Russia, countenance the harsh and grinding system which 
denied all power to the Pole ? 

There was in Russia a feeling that the inhabitants of the 
kingdom had been harshly and cruelly treated, and the kindly 
sentiments the monarch entertained towards Poland found a 
cordial echo in the feelings of the Liberal party in Russia. 



Close of Crimean War. State of Poland. Visit of the Emperor to Warsaw. 
Reforms introduced. Formation of the Agricultural Society. Improved 
condition of the Country. Disaffected Parties. Religion and Races in 
Western Provinces. "The Emigration." The Democratic Party. The 
Roman Catholic Church. Patriotism of Polish Women. 

THE Crimean war was closed by the peace of Paris, signed 
31st March, 1856. During that arduous struggle Poland had 
given no sign of life ; and not the faintest whisper arose from 
her cities, or her silent plains, which told the world she was 
resolved to re-assert her ancient freedom. Perhaps in secret 
she cherished dreams of winning back again her fallen inde- 
pendence ; but if she did, those visions found no expression, 
and there was nothing to indicate to the world that her 
ancient spirit yet survived. A few regiments of militia, a 
few reserved battalions of inferior soldiery had kept in check 
the land which, twenty-five years before, had haughtily 
challenged Russian supremacy on the battle-field of Grockovo. 
It seemed as though a quarter of a century of servitude had 
trampled out all hope and expectation for the future, and as 
though Russia had at length succeeded in incorporating 
Poland virtually, as well as in name, in her vast empire. 
Neither had Poland shown any indication of political life when 
in 1848 almost every European nation was in arms; then 
when the wildest visions of political enthusiasts found a 
momentary realization, when dormant nationalities were 
everywhere rousing themselves, the champions of freedom 
listened for the battle-cry of Poland; but Poland gave no 
sign. At her very gates the war was raging, and she made 
no effort when the struggling liberties of Hungary were being 
trampled out to save a people whose cause, she might well 
have thought, was intimately connected with her own. The 
Polish soldier was seen marching in the Russian army when 


Kossuth fled and Georgey capitulated ; and, while he appa- 
rently thought nothing of the liberties of his own land, he 
became an obedient instrument to trample out those of another. 

In the Crimea the valour of the Polish soldiers had been 
very remarkable, and no whisper of disaffection had escaped 
them, nor was there any reason to believe that they hoped for 
a revival of national independence. 

Such was the state of Poland, and such the apparent 
disposition of her inhabitants, when, shortly after th e peace of 
Paris, the new Emperor visited Warsaw. 

He came there anxiously desiring to benefit his Polish 
subjects ; he trusted in their loyalty, he was grateful to them 
for their valour, and he thought he could attach them i o his 
crown and his dynasty by the silken cord of kindness and. 

His first act demonstrated in how different a spirit he 
proposed to govern to that which his father had evinced. 

Since the rebellion of 1830, the Poles, a deeply bigoted 
race, had remarked that their monarch had never graced the 
Catholic cathedral with his presence. The short and sullen 
visits he had paid to Warsaw had been marked by no act of 
condescension, cheered by no evidence of abating wrath ; he 
came to require an account of his stewardship from his 
viceroy, Paskievitch, but he made no effort to win the love of 
a people he governed with the sword. One of the first acts, 
however, of the new sovereign was to attend a solemn Te 
Deum, which was chanted in the Catholic cathedral in honour 
of his visit ; and at this service all the civil functionaries 
of the kingdom were present. 

Immediately after this ceremonial he received the marshals 
of the Polish nobility, assured them of his beneficent inten- 
tions, and expressed a hope that they would assist in giving 
them effect. He lauded the valour the Polish soldiers had 
displayed before the walls of Sebastopol, and, coupling 
together the names of the kingdom of Poland and the grand 
duchy of Finland, he stated that both were as dear to him 
as any of the provinces of Old Kussia, and both should as 
greatly experience his protecting care; but at the same time, 
he added, " for the good of Poland and for the good of the 

c 2 


Poles themselves, it is necessary that your country should 
remain ever united to that of the great family of the Emperor 
of Russia." 

In this address the Emperor made use. of an expression 
which offended the jealous pride of the Polish magnates. 
Desirous of really benefiting the country, he feared the im- 
practical character of the Poles would induce them to depre- 
ciate real improvements in their wild pursuit of impossible 
theories. Once, or more than once, therefore, he used the 
expression in addressing them, " Let us have no reveries, 
gentlemen " (" Messieurs, pas de reveries ") ; and this phrase 
was chronicled against him as a grave offence. Notwith- 
standing these murmurs, however, the relations established 
between the sovereign and his subjects on the occasion of his 
first visit were cordial. An amnesty was granted, by which, 
with_ja L few inconsiderable^ exce2^o^s JL __ML_eir i1 g T '^"^' were 
allowed to return to Poland; were restored to their civil 
rights, and were secured_a^mst^all legal prosecutions^ or 
inquiries. Shortly afterwards a similar amnesty was granted 
to the emigrant Poles of the Western Provinces. 

The recruitment, which had pressed so heavily on the people 
of the Congress kingdom, was suspended. Some remissions 
of taxation were effected, and many pardons were granted to 
offenders who had been condemned for political crimes. 

Steps were also taken to secure the filling up of various 
episcopal sees belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. These 
sees had been for some time vacant, and the affairs of the 
various dioceses had been intrusted to mere administrators. 
To effect this end a Papal bull was required, and the necessary 
application was made for procuring it. Some alterations were 
also made in the laws regulating marriage, by which all ques- 
tions connected with it were committed to the jurisdiction of 
the Church. 

r At the same time preliminary measures were taken for the 

\ re-establishment of the university at Warsaw, and a Faculty 

of Medicine was at once constituted there. 

Many other minor reforms and improvements were intro- 
duced; but the step which was destined to be eventually 
attended with the most marked results was the permission 




which the Government accorded to certain proprietors to form 
an agricultural society for the kingdom of Poland. This 
society, as originally contemplated, would have consisted 
three or four hundred members, and have been exclusively 
confined to the landed proprietors of the Congress kingdom. 
Soon, however, its numbers enlarged, and it became a centre 
round which the Poles of Galicia, Posen, and the Western 
Provinces rallied. Its numbers, at the time of its dissolution, 
had swelled to about 4,000 members. It had committees 
sitting in permanence throughout the whole year, and had be- 
come more like a parliament than a mere agricultural society. 

In the same year a commission was appointed by the Go- 
vernment for inquiring into the best mode of dealing with the 
land question, so far as the peasants were affected by it ; the 
object being to secure to them the land they fairly claimed, 
while the proprietors were protected from undue sacrifice. 

In the month of July two decrees were issued, which further 
evidenced the desire of the Emperor to study the legitimate 
wishes of the Poles. By the first of these the general military 
governors in the different governments of the kingdom, with 
the exception of Warsaw, were replaced by simple command- 
ants de place; and by the second, the administration of posts 
and custom-houses in the kingdom was detached from the 
central administration at St. Petersburg. _ 

The altered policy of the Government soon produced bene- 
ficial results ; the iron rule beneath which the country so long 
had crouched was relaxed ; trade was opened up in various 
directions; oppressive tariff regulations were abolished; the 
old passport system, under which the country was one vast 
prison, was done away ; and the same immunities were ex- 
tended to the kingdom as the most loyal provinces in the 
empire possessed. 

The laws relating to the press were no longer strictly 
observed; state prosecutions were abandoned; political pri- 
soners were released; the fortresses were empty, and the 
exiles were returning to their former homes. 

The ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church 
was restored ; and in the commission sitting at St. Petersburg 
for the reform of the tariff Poland had her representatives. 


It was then that sanguine men believed that a great future 
was in store for their country; in her geographical position 
they saw the surest guarantee for her commercial importance; 
lines of railway from St. Petersburg, Berlin, and Yie nna were 
all converging to her ancient capital. A large carrying trade 
sprang up between Hamburg and Warsaw, and the latter city 
was full of foreign goods. Poland was evidently becoming 
the highway to Europe, and had only to be patient to acquire 
more than she had ever lost. 

The changes that were occurring about them stimulated 
many of the proprietors to exertion and enterprise ; they could 
not see movement on all sides, and themselves be still ; so they 
joined in various commercial undertakings, and assumed their 

Wherever a Polish proprietor, either in the kingdom or the 
Western Provinces, was possessed of capital, new sugar-fac- 
tories or distilleries sprung up on a great scale ; agricultural 
machines were largely imported and extensively used; the 
mineral productions of the country were attracting attention ; 
magnificent hotels were being constructed; municipal im- 
provements were everywhere being effected, and in Warsaw 
gas was introduced. Simultaneously with these evidences of 
returning prosperity, the price of land increased, building 
speculations were undertaken, and Polish companies were 
formed for the construction of two new lines of railway. Thus 
the liberal policy of the Government gave hope and prosperity 
to Poland. War, conscription, pestilence, and want had 
thinned the mourning land ; but now peace was restored, the 
conscription was abandoned, and employment was driving 
away pestilence and want. 

Yet there was a party in Poland who regarded all these signs 
of advancement with suspicion ; they cared not for peaceful 
triumphs, the spread of commerce, or the introduction of 
liberal institutions ; they knew their country had been 
wronged, and they burned to avenge her injuries. National 
independence had been their object thirty years before it was 
their lode-star still. They thought of that scroll whereon the 
Constitution the first Alexander gave was blazoned, and re- 
membered with bitterness that it was paraded as a trophy 


before every stranger who spent an hour among the collec- 
tions and curiosities of Moscow. They thought of the monu- 
ments of Russian victories, victories won over those they 
designated as their subjects, which were to be seen on every 
side. They recalled the iron rule of Nicholas, and asked if a 
few fair words from his successor availed to sweep its memory 
away. They thought of the patriots who had suffered death, 
or who in Siberia had found a living tomb, and, folding around 
them a mantle of implacable resentment, they rejected the 
well-meant overtures of the Government. 

And here the very clemency of the Emperor swelled the 
tide of disaffection. He had generously recalled all those who 
for political offences had been banished in his father's time ; 
and they came back, the men who had fought, intrigued, and 
suffered in the cause of Poland, their hearts full of bitterness, 
to fight, intrigue, and suffer once again. They came back as 
exiles always do, untaught by adversity, unlearned in the 
signs of the times ; they came back, ignorant of the power of 
Russia and of the feelings, hopes, and prejudices which had 
grown up amongst their own people ; they came back, having 
learnt nothing and forgotten nothing, to parade the history 
of their woes, and to preach rebellion as a sacred duty. 

It is necessary to understand the constitution of society in 
Poland, and the different parties into which the Poles were 
divided, in order to comprehend how far the agitation which I 
shall have to record, and the subsequent revolt, were really 
entitled to be regarded as a national movement. 

In the Congress kingdom, out of a population of nearly 
5,000,000 souls, about 263,000 are called noble. They repre- 
sent those who in old time, by virtue of property, descent, or 
the favour of the reigning king, were ennobled ; and the posi- 
tion thus conferred on them is somewhat analogous to that of 
freemen in our ancient boroughs. Some of these nobles are 
men of large estate and great influence ; such, for example, as 
Count Andrew Zamoyski and the Marquis Wielopolski. By 
far the greater number of them, however, are men of neither 
property nor position, and their only inheritance is the title of 
noble, and the trifling immunities it confers. Nobles of this 
class are generally known as Schliacta; and the driver of 


a hired carriage and the waiter at an hotel not unfrequently 
belong to it. 

The shopkeepers, artisans, and mechanics of the larger 
towns hold much the same relative position to" the proprietors 
as they do in England j like them they are to a considerable 
degree dependent upon their customers and employers, and 
the views held by the latter are likely to some extent to 
influence them. 

The peasants are divided into two classes, those -whojiold 
land, and those who, having none, are mere farm labourers or 
servants. The former have no ^ympathyijw-hatever with the 
political views of the proprietors. I shall hereafter show how 
it happens that the utmost distrust and hostility exists between 
them, and how utterly the " national" aspirations of the nobles 
are repudiated by the occupying peasants. 

The peasants who hold no land (proletarians) are in a pecu- 
liarly unfortunate position. A large proportion of the rent 
due to the proprietors has hitherto been paid in labour, and 
this labour has been valued at a very low rate. The pro- 
prietor, therefore, having already the command of a considerable 
number of hands, requires but little additional assistance, and 
either refuses to hire more labour or, if he does hire, procures 
it on very inadequate terms. There is not, as in England, a 
regular demand for labour, and a regular rate of wage j and 
the landless peasant knows, if he quits his present employer, 
that he may starve before he finds another. It is very common 
to find two families of this class living in one hut containing 
two rooms; for this hut, together with the keep of a cow and a 
pig, they work four days a week, and are paid only 5d. a day 
for their labour. Men of this stamp are much in the power 
of their employers, and during the revolt it frequently hap- 
pened that work was given to them on condition that they, 
or some member of their family, would join a band of the 

Such being the division of ranks in the Congress kingdom, 
it remains to point out the social difference which exists between 
those in the Western Provinces. It will hereafter be seen that 
the serf in the latter is better off than the peasant in the 
former district ; that the freedom conferred on the inhabitant 


of the grand duchy of Warsaw, in 1807, by depriving him 
of his title to his land, and placing him completely at the 
mercy of the proprietor, reduced him to a state of misery 
and dependence, to which the serf of the Western Provinces 
has never been brought down. In the Western Provinces 
the proletarian class does not exist, and therefore the nobles, 
when the rebellion broke out, had no retainers whose active 
assistance they could command. 

In the Western Provinces there is a difference of race 
between the nobles and the majority of the peasants. Instead 
of being for the most part Poles, the numbers of that race 
average only 10*4 per cent, of the entire population, while 
the Russian or Ruthenian races amount to nearly six times 
that number. The following is an analysis of the popu- 
lation : 

Eussians and Little Eussians ., 5,952,513 

Letts and Lithuanians 1,614,660 

Poles 1,046,947 

Jews 1,139,633 

Other nations 114,618 


A yet more important distinction than that of race is to be 
found in the difference of religion. The number of inhabitants 
professing the Greek faith is 6,707,570, while the number 
belonging to the Roman Catholic and Armenian churches is 
only 2,597,627. The Catholic peasant has generally been 
led by his interests to side with the Government in the 
insurrection, and has done his utmost to put it down ; but 
occasionally the promptings of the Catholic pfiesthood have 
induced him to render aid to the insurgents, and to discard 
mere considerations of selfish policy at the call, as he has been 
taught to believe, of his country and his Church. The Greek 
peasant has been exposed to no such advocacy; the clergy 
of his Church have been faithful to the Government and 
preached the duty of loyally obeying it; his own interests 

* See Appendix A. The discrepancies in some of the statistics in Herr 
von Buschen's work are explained at length in the preface to it. 


have pointed in the same direction ; and thus, in all cases, the 
peasants belonging to this creed have been opposed to the 

Although the Poles are thus outnumbered in the Western 
Provinces, they represent their intelligence, wealth, and educa- 
tion, and they therefore claim to be considered as the nation. 
Stupid, uneducated, and incapable of thought, the masses, 
the Poles contend, are unworthy of consideration. The only 
men whose wishes and interests should be consulted are those 
who have for centuries absorbed all political power and all 
civil rights. 

It is hard to recognize the truth of this doctrine, and it is 
strange to hear it enunciated by those who claim the support 
of liberal politicians, and the active assistance of revolutionary 
propagandists. The present degradation of these suftering 
masses is owing in no slight degree to the long-continued 
tyranny of their Polish masters, and now those very masters 
would take advantage of their own wrong, and claim to be 
the representative men of the people who so long have groaned 
beneath their oppression. 

If an additional reason were required to show that the 
nobles and proprietors should not be recognized as the 
nation, it would be found in the influence the settlement of 
the land question and the spread of education is sure to 
exercise in future. Some millions of men are about to be 
endowed with land, are about to receive education from the 
State, and to be freed from a thraldom which has prevented 
their physical and moral progress. Very likely it may be gene- 
rations before they will produce individuals capable of taking 
a prominent part in the government of their country; but 
we may be sure that that time will come, that great organic 
changes are now in progress, and that the non-Polish races 
will hereafter be as overwhelming in property and influence 
as they at present are in numbers. 

There are several distinct sections among the Poles who 

The Emigration," consisting of political refugees and their 
families, are principally situated at Paris, and may be divided 
two classes. 



The aristocratic party, \yTiiV.T^j^Trmw1odgft8 Prince. Czar- 
toriski a&theiE-leader, seek to re- establish^ kirigdom of Poland, 
to J^ejn^dJbjL-mJi^^ In such a kingdom 

the great territorial families would, doubtless, exercise im- 
mense power, and if the old were to be any guide to the 
framers of a new constitution for Poland, their efforts would 
result in the establishment of oligarchical rather than popular 
forms. The success of this party would assuredly afford no 
security for constitutional freedom ; never yet have the Polish 
magnates evidenced a real desire to promote the welfare of the 
people; for the liberal constitution of 1791 was an attempt to 
meet the exigencies of a moment full of difficulty, and cannot 
justly be deemed a proof of sympathy with the masses ; 
and at all other periods there has been wanting the slightest 
tendency to liberality or constitutional freedom. When we 
think of the Polish history of that day, we recall Lamartine's 
words : " Dumouriez found the Polish aristocrats corrupted 
by luxury, enervated by pleasures, employing in intrigues and 
fervent language the warmth of their patriotism. Sapieha, 
the principal leader, was massacred by his nobles. Pulaski 
and Micksenski were delivered up wounded to the Russians. 
Zaremba betrayed his country. He (Dumouriez ) broke his 
sword, despairing for ever of this aristocracy without a 
people; calling it, as he quitted it, the Asiatic nation of 

Has the character of the Polish noble greatly changed since 
then ? Are the men who have squandered life and its oppor- 
tunities in the dissipations of foreign capitals likely there to 
learn great lessons of wisdom and of patriotism ? Is not exile 
always an excuse for neglected duties, and abilities allowed 
to run to waste? But, supposing among the habitues of 
Paris and of London there are some men of higher purpose 
and of sterner mould; supposing there are some whose only 
aim is the renovation of their country, and the vindication of 
her injured fame; even then the question will arise, to be 
answered with doubt and hesitation, Is it possible for those 
who long have been exiled from their native land, those 
whose intercourse is necessarily, to a great extent, with the 
intriguing agents of a vanquished party, to form so calm a 


judgment of all that occurs during their absence as to qualify 
them for power on their return ? 

All history seems to deny it. Exiles who return are biassed 
by former recollections and old party ties,- for them their 
country has stood still since their departure, and they expect 
to find it unaltered when they are restored to it. If, therefore, 
the insurrection had terminated in the triumph of this section 
of the " Emigration,'' the liberal party would have gained 
nothing by their change of masters. 

Hye to this factj there has long been in existence a domo- 

itic party among the Emigration, who up to the outbreak 
ie insurrection were violently opposed to the aristocrats. 
This democratic party recognized Louis Mieroslawski as Jis 
head, and professed the ordinary dogmas of the Mazzini 
school. The supporters of this party in Pnla/nri WP^R prinm- 
pally^Tin^mgnj and those who, having ^ pjijifir_ jggT^J nor 
employment, had no dread of revolution. 

TEere was in Poland a third party, consisting in the main 
of those who had property to lose, and experience which 
taught them to put little faith in revolution. These men 
desired to develop the resources of their country, to educate 
her people, to promote the construction of roads, canals, and 
railways, to encourage her manufactures, and to improve her 
agriculture. They believed by such means Poland would grow 
so greatly in power, that arrangements with Russia might 
be won from her in a few years which would be far more bene- 
ficial in their character than any concessions she could hope 
to wring by force. 

With the exception of the immediate followers of Mieroslawski, 
one ancient institution was the centre round which these dif- 
ferent parties rallied, and it was her interest to unite them all 
in opposition to the power of Russia. The Roman Catholic 
Church has great sway over the Poles, and we cannot wonder 
at her power. Brave, eloquent, impassioned, they have pro- 
duced poets and soldiers, but not, with rare exceptions, 
philosophers and statesmen. Patriotism is with them a senti- 
ment rather than a principle ; a sentiment illustrated by song 
and hallowed by their Church. Their national anthem is no 
half-boastful chant, which almost as a right demands the 


assistance of the Most High ;* it reads like the wail of a sup- 
plicating people,, who follow their clergy to the altar of mercy 
and of help. 

And that Church had made great sacrifices for Poland : 
many were her ruined altars, and far-stretching her forfeited 
estates ; she knew the perils of conspiracy, and the penalties 
of detected guilt, yet there she stood unhesitating in the van 
of the national movement, prepared again to struggle, and if 
need be to suffer in her children's cause. 

* Mr. Edwards, in his work " The Polish Captivity," thus translates it: 


" Lord, who for so many centuries didst surround Poland with the 
magnificence of power and glory ; who didst cover her with the shield of 
Thy protection when our armies overcame the enemy ; at Thy altar we raise 
our prayer : deign to restore us, Lord, our free country ! 


" Lord, who hast been touched by the woes of our injured land, and 
hast guided the martyrs of our sacred cause ; who hast granted to us, among 
many other nations, the standard of courage, of unblemished honour ; at Thy 
altar we raise our prayer : deign to restore us, Lord, our free country ! 


" Thou whose eternally just hand crushes the empty pride of the powerful 
of the earth ; in spite of the enemy vilely murdering and oppressing, breathe 
hope into every Polish breast ! At Thy altar we raise our prayer : deign to 
restore us, Lord, our free country ! 


" May the Cross which has been insulted in the hands of Thy ministers 
give us constant strength under our sufferings ! May it inspire us in the 
day of battle with faith that above us soars the Spirit of the Redeemer ! At 
Thy altar we raise our prayer : deign to restore us, Lord, our free country ! 


" In the name of His commandments, we all unite as brothers. Hasten, 
Lord, the moment of resurrection ! Bless with liberty those who now mourn 
in slavery ! At Thy altar we raise our prayer : deign to restore us, Lord, 
our free country ! 


" Give back to our Poland her ancient splendour ! Look upon our fields 
soaked with blood ! When shall peace and happiness blossom among us ? 
God of wrath, cease to punish us ! At Thy altar we raise our prayer : deign 
to restore us, Lord, our free country ! " 


The enemies of the Catholic Church contend that she is 
animated not by the love of liberty but by the desire for sway. 
They point to Galicia, and remind us that she has never in the 
cause of freedom protested against Austrian rule; yet the 
yoke of Austria has pressed as heavily on the Polish neck as 
ever did that of Russia. When Galician peasants were mur- 
dering their masters, the Catholic Church shuddered not at 
the political St. Bartholomew, the pulpits resounded to no 
eloquent denunciations, and the Vatican was also dumb ; how 
does it happen, they inquire, that under one dominion this 
Church is the champion of liberty, while under the other she 
is the willing slave of power ? The reason, they reply, is very 
apparent. Austria is the faithful disciple of the Papacy; 
Russia obeys a rival and schismatic church. The one endows 
her Catholic clergy with broad lands and ample immunities ; 
the other visits them with the penalties of treason when they 
struggle against her rule. Rome is ever the same ; her own 
aggrandisement, her own spiritual power, are the only objects 
of her care; she was never yet the disinterested friend of 
freedom, though often for a period she has advocated its 
cause; often she has given utterance to liberal sentiments 
and clothed them in glowing language ; often has she whis- 
pered courage into the fainting heart, and nerved the patriot 
arm. It is easy to reverse the medal, to record a thousand 
scenes where she has leagued herself with the tyrant and the 
persecutor ; where she has shown that she loves not freedom, 
and cares nothing for progress or enlightenment; but it is 
idle to search for examples when so striking an instance is 
before us. 

In those portions of ancient Poland which are now governed 
by Russia, Rome cordially allied herself with the national 
cause. She did so, because in an independent Poland she 
knew her creed would be established ; she anticipated that 
the success of a Catholic aristocracy would enable her to 
convert the Greek population ; and she foresaw an illimitable 
vista of struggles and of triumphs which would carry her 
influence and her spiritual ascendancy to the frontiers of Old 

When the Papacy, they contended, is once committed 


to a policy, she lias no difficulty in finding enthusiastic 
and able men to carry it into effect. Her priests, deprived 
by the law of celibacy of the opportunity of indulging 
those domestic tastes which make men amiable and un- 
aspiring, are ever ready to obey her call; and thus in 
every parish of Poland she had an agent ; in every monas- 
tery she had a brotherhood, whose only aims were the 
aggrandisement of their Church and the freedom of their 
country. These men were not hampered by the ties of wife 
and child ; if they read a rebel proclamation, or administered 
an unlawful oath, they incurred some personal danger, but 
involved not the helpless in their doom ; if they were sent 
into exile, far from their old associates, their lot might 
certainly be hard, but it would be cheered by the reflection 
that they suffered for the performance of their duty ; while 
if a sadder fate awaited them, they would die with the 
ennobling conviction that they had fought the good fight, and 
perished in the cause of their country and their God. When 
it is remembered that these men were Poles, that they had 
suffered much under the rigorous administration which for 
thirty years had manacled their country, that from earliest 
boyhood they had regarded the Kussian supremacy as a hateful 
and foreign yoke, it will be evident that they would strain 
every effort to assist the insurgent cause. Their love for their 
country, their desire for distinction, their reverence for their 
Church, combined to impel them in the same direction, 
hostility to Eussia, and resistance to her policy. 

In the women of Poland the clergy had most efficient j 
auxiliaries. Beautiful, enthusiastic, full of life and energy, 1 
they threw their enormous influence into the scale of revolu-J 
tion. To them the strife seemed a holy and a national one. 
They thought it might be attended with difficulty, with 
danger, and with loss ; they did not conceive the possibility 
of eventual failure. Thus as day by day they met together, 
their conversation and their thoughts were wholly fixed on the 
coming struggle ; everything else was forgotten, every other 
duty was laid aside to prepare for it ; even amusements were 
neglected in the fierce excitement of the period. The theatres 
were empty ; there was no sound of music or of dance ; and 


the only song which was heard on all sides was that suppliant 
hymn which prays for freedom, to be extorted by the sword. 
And then, as they sat and talked of the liberty they hoped to 
win, their busy fingers plied the needle and.blazoned banners 
for the 'future war. From one of them the features of the 
Virgin meekly smile ; a second bears the Polish cross upon 'a 
ground of white, while on the reverse side is to be seen a 
sable crown of thorns ; some, again, are rich with emblematic 
symbols, and all the pageant pride of Northern heraldry. 
Those banners have never glanced in the van of a successful 
war ; they have floated in the woods and plains of Poland ; 
they have been followed by the wild bands of guerilla leaders ; 
they have been captured in ignoble skirmishes, and are now 
exhibited among other trophies in the armoury of Tsarskoe, 
trophies that painfully remind the visitor of the vain struggles 
of a noble race, and make him wonder at the misplaced pride 
which leads a gallant nation thus to exult over their vanquished 



Eelations of Landlord and Peasant in the Kingdom of Poland. Ancient 
Freedom of Peasants Their reduction to Servitude. Tyranny of their 
Masters. Servitude in Lithuania. Personal Enfranchisement in the 
Kingdom, and its Evil Effects. Legislation of Polish Diet. Subsequent 
Reforms by Russian Government. Inventories. Views of Poles on 
Land Question. Legislation of Austria and Prussia upon it. Necessity 
for effecting a Settlement favourable to the Peasants. 

THE condition of the peasants in Poland and the Western 
provinces deserves more than a passing notice. The success 
or failure of the insurrectionary movement depended on the 
course they took. Armed battalions, no matter with what 
sagacity they may be governed, cannot hold in slavery a 
numerous and hostile race. Poland, with its twenty-two 
million of inhabitants, would never have been subjected save 
for her internal feuds, and she could never be held in bondage 
if her unanimous people determined to be free. 

There are, however, deep-seated causes for the alienation of 
her classes, and the bitterness of her internal feuds. A wide 
gulf spread itself between the noble and the peasant, which a 
few words of interested kindness are insufficient to span. The 
bitter wrongs of five centuries, their grinding oppression, 
their cruel tyranny, have left behind them traditions which 
forbid reconciliation or confidence. 

A review of the history of the mutual rights and duties of 
noble and serf will show how little gratitude or deference the 
former was entitled to receive ; and will explain how vain was 
the reliance he placed in the disposition of the liberated serf 
to follow his guidance. 

The peasants in ancient Poland enjoyed considerable liber- 
ties till the year 1374, and their condition appears to have 
been as favourable as that of the same class in the nations of 


Western Europe. The two succeeding centuries are held to 
be the proudest and most triumphant that Poland ever enjoyed. 
Let us see amid the glitter of this prosperity if the condition of 
the peasant improved. 

In 1374, King Louis d'Anjou conferred on the nobility 
charters and privileges by which the peasants were reduced 
to servitude. From that date to the end of the reign of 
Sigismund Augustus (1572) a gradual system of spoliation 
went on, by which the serfs were deprived of every political 
and civil right. 

All the land, as well as the serfs who lived upon it, became 
the absolute property of the lord of the soil ; he had the power 
of life and death over his slave, and uncontrolled jurisdiction 
over the whole extent of his estates. If a nobleman murdered 
a serf, the only penalty was a trifling fine, which he paid to 
the master of his victim, a fine not for the crime he had 
committed, but for the pecuniary loss his fellow noble had 

The accounts of this state of wretched debasement are not 
derived from Eussian scribes ; we learn them from no tra- 
vestied history composed by the minions of a Frederick or a 
Catherine ; they are to be found in the records of impartial 
historians, and sadden the pages of patriot authors. 

Lelewel, the well-known Polish historian, whose sympathies 
were all in favour of the country where he was born, and 
for which he so greatly suffered, has left passages on record 
which surpass, in gloomy interest, the darkest records of 

" You talk of liberty," says Andre Fritz Madrzewski, in his 
work on the reforms needed for redressing the wrongs of the 
republic, " when you have nothing but barbarous slavery 
which leaves the life of a man at the mercy of his master. 
The nobility regard the cultivator and the plebeian as dogs ; 
that is the expression used by these abominable men, who, 
if they kill a peasant, whom they call the rubbish of the earth 
(chlop), say they have killed a dog." * 
King Stanislaus Leszinski in exile said, speaking of the 

* History of Poland, by J. Lelewel, vol. ii. pp. 159, 160 (Paris. 1844). 


peasants, " Men so necessary ought certainly to be considered, 
but we hardly distinguish them from the cattle we keep to 
cultivate our ground. We often spare their strength less 
than that of the cattle, and often, by a scandalous traffic, we 
sell them to masters as cruel, who force them by excessive 
labour to pay the price of their new servitude. I cannot think 
without horror of the law which imposes a penalty of fifteen 
livres only on any noble who kills a peasant. We regard 
these men as creatures of a different kind, and we almost 
refuse to allow them to breathe the same air with ourselves."* 

At the commencement of the seventeenth century, in the 
reign of Sigismund III., the condition of the peasants was thus 
described by the priest Skarga : 

" And the sweat, and the blood of our peasants, which flow 
incessantly, and moisten and redden the whole earth, what a 
terrible future they are preparing for this kingdom ! I know 
of no country in Christendom where the peasants are so 
treated. And you cry out against absolute power, which no 
one wishes or is able to impose upon you. Hypocrites and 
declaimers ! ' You have destroyed my vine,' saith the 
Lord ; ' Why crush ye thus my people, crushing it as the mill- 
stone crusheth the corn ? ' By what right do you obstinately 
refuse to change this infamous law ? These peasants are your 
neighbours. They are Poles like you. They speak the same 
language, and are children of the same country. Formerly 
the Christians gave liberty to their slaves when they baptized 
them, and became their brothers in Jesus Christ; but you, 
you dare to keep Christians, who are your fellow-countrymen, 
in bondage. I know that you do not all act in this manner ; 
but those who commit such crimes, how do they not blush 
in the face of Christendom, which beholds them, and of which 
they call themselves members." f 

The oppression increased till the end of the reign of the last 
king. " One has no more regard for this vile, wretched, de- 
testable, cursed race. It is not enough to qualify it, ' chlop,' its 
impure blood having drawn down on itself the curse of its 
origin as soon as it left Noah's ark ; it is the impious race of 

* Lelewel, vol. ii. p. 294. f Edwards's Polish Captivity. 

D 2 


The peasants were tlms insulted by injurious epithets ; 
the injurious language was only a preliminary to every species 
of injustice.* 

When the duchy of Lithuania was first united to Poland, 
under the Lithuanian prince Jagellon, its peasants were entirely 
free. This freedom was an insuperable bar to the Polonization 
of Lithuania, and the Grovernment did all in its power to 
destroy it. With this view, titles and coats of arms, charters 
and privileges, were conferred on the Lithuanian nobility, 
which placed it on an equality with that of Poland. Consequent 
on these innovations, dissension ensued between the different 
classes in Lithuania ; the democratic equality of former times 
gave place to the aristocratic spirit of Polish civilization; and 
when, in 1569, Lithuania was finally united to Poland, the 
peasant population of the duchy had lost almost all its 

Two centuries afterwards, when Eussia finally annexed 
Lithuania, serfdom had become so thoroughly established 
there, that not only had the nobles a right to possess slaves, 
but towns and simple citizens had the same privilege. This 
has never been the case in Eussia. 

After the various partitions of Poland, Eussia confirmed the 
rights of the nobles over their serfs in the Western provinces ; 
Austria and Prussia also made but little change in the relations 
between the serfs and their masters ; and although Austria 
had nominally abolished serfdom, the peace of Tilsit and the 
constitution of the duchy of Warsaw found the proprietors 
and peasants in much the same condition as they had been 
left in by Stanislaus Augustus. 

The fourth article of the statute constituting the duchy of 
Warsaw, dated 22nd July, 1807, was couched in the following 
terms : 

" Slavery is abolished. All citizens are equal before the 
law; security of the person is placed under the care of the 

These brave words brought with them no relief. The per- 
sonal freedom conferred upon the peasant vested the land he 

* Lelewel, vol. ii. p. 289. 


had occupied exclusively in the proprietor ; the latter allowed 
the peasant to continue to hold it, but subjected him to rents, 
task-work, and other obligations without number and of all 

In December of the same year another law was enacted, 
giving the peasants the right of removal, which, as serfs, they 
did not possess ; but this law was in its operation entirely 
illusive ; for in addition to the love of the Sclavonic peasant for 
the hut in which he was born, and the fields which the labour 
of his ancestor reclaimed, he was firmly persuaded that no 
other proprietor would let land to him if he once quitted that 
of his old master. 

The laws of 1807 in effect proved injurious to the peasants. 

So long as the peasants were slaves, their masters allowed 
them to remain in undisturbed possession of the quantity of 
land required for their subsistence ; but after they were freed, 
the proprietors endeavoured, under various pretexts, to resume 
the land they held, and to add it to their own estates. Some- 
times, also, they let it to German colonists, richer, more in- 
dustrious, and more skilful than the Polish peasants, and who 
could establish no possessory or customary interest in the 
property which might hereafter interfere with the absolute 
rights of the owners of the soil. 

Thus, one by one the peasant holders were rooted out, and 
the number of landless men (proletaries) increased, until it 
amounted, in 1856, to the enormous proportion of 1,165,857, 
out of an agricultural population of 2,782,133. Thus, nearly 
one-half of the peasants had lost their land, and were reduced 
to the condition of farm labourers. 

The fifth article of the law of 21st December, 1807, obliged 
the peasants to surrender the houses they had themselves 
built, the cattle they had reared, the crops they had sown, 
the very agricultural implements they used ; for, although by 
that law the liberty of the peasants was decreed, it yet enacted 
that every one who quitted his field and his master was to 
abandon to the latter all the objects named, objects which 
had been the painful reward of the industry of many genera- 

The Congress of 1815 secured a constitutional government 


for Poland,, and as our Foreign Minister wished to see it 
revived, it will, perhaps, be instructive to place on record the 
tendencies of its former legislation. 

The laws which it enacted, and which finally regulated the 
organization of the rural parishes (gmina), and the rights and 
duties of the mayors (gmniani wott), seem more fitted for the 
times of Skarga than the period when, in the nineteenth cen- 
tury, constitutional government reigned at Warsaw. 

Any property composed of ten peasants' huts could, under 
a law of 3rd of February, 1816, be formed into a distinct rural 
parish, or several properties could be united into one parish. 
The formation of these parishes was in no way dependent 
upon the authorities, or made subordinate to the administra- 
tive wants of the district, but was entirely subject to the un- 
controlled will of the proprietors. 

By a law of 30th May, 1818, every owner of a village is 
ipso facto mayor of the parish, by virtue of his property, and 
unites in himself the rights of the proprietor and the adminis- 
trative and legal power. He apportions and collects the taxes, 
sues those who do not pay them, superintends the police, 
arrests suspected persons, publishes the orders of the superior 
administration, maintains the roads, bridges, and ferries through 
obligatory labour, draws up the lists for the conscription, 
judges offences in the first instance, gives, and refuses pass- 
ports, has general superintendence of the conduct of the 
peasants, and, in short, has all the administrative power of the 
district vested in him. He has the right to condemn the in- 
habitants of his parish to seven days' imprisonment, 10 roubles 
fine, or 20 strokes of the rod. 

Sometimes the mayor is himself a party interested in the 
causes he tries, and then he makes every endeavour to 
disguise the truth, and by describing himself in different ways, 
to prevent the superior authorities from detecting it. 

The mayor has the right to delegate his functions to a 
substitute of his own choosing. Out of 3,069 parishes in 
Poland, it appears that at least 1,634 are administered by 
such substitutes. The greater part of these men are chosen 
from the lowest class of intendant, men whom Lelewel 
describes as being in the eighteenth century ' ' an impious race, 


base flatterers of their masters, stealing to enrich themselves, 
tyrants of the peasants, whom they despised and hated, with- 
out pity and without remorse, who firmly grasped the whip in 
inflicting punishment according to their pleasure." * The 
salary of these men rarely exceeds 300 or 400 francs a year, 
and often is not half as much. 

The perpetual grievances to which the peasants are sub- 
jected by this union in the same person of the various 
characters of proprietor, plaintiff, judge, and jury, may readily 
be imagined ; and the temptation to the proprietors to abuse 
their power is strengthened by the knowledge that the law 
imposes no serious responsibility upon them, and that their 
misdeeds will be shielded by the guilty connivance of an 
administration solely guided by the Polish nobility. 

As an example of the tyrannical conduct of the proprietors, 
the instance may be cited of the persecutions suffered by the 
peasants on the estate of Garnek, belonging to M. Grodzicki, 
and situated in the district of Piotrkow. 

M. Grodzicki used the right which the law conferred upon 
him, as mayor of his parish, to tyrannize for many years over 
the peasants living on his domains ; his wife was especially 
remarkable for her cruelty to the women who took care of the 
cattle* For the least motive, the peasants were imprisoned or 
cruelly flogged (the mayors only having by law the right of 
giving twenty blows at a time, elude this provision by admi- 
nistering the punishment several times a day) ; the least 
complaint they uttered he called rebellion, and summoned the 
bailiffs to quell the revolt. The peasants, crushed under the 
weight of excessive labour, passed the whole day working in 
the proprietor's ground, having no time to attend to their 
children, who were literally dying of hunger in the abandoned 
huts. In 1859 the misery of the peasants reached its height; 
reduced to the last extremity, they demanded that their 
labour should be replaced by an annual money payment, 
of which the amount should be fixed by the Government. 

This request was represented by M. Grodzicki as open 
revolt against his authority as proprietor. Inquiry was made 

* Lelewel, vol. ii. pp. 288, 289. 


into the affair, and it was shown that the peasants, reduced 
to despair, had, after many years of suffering, refused to 
labour, but that this refusal could scarcely be regarded as 
one in reality, as they only demanded that the labour illegally 
exacted by the proprietor should be commuted for a money 
payment, the amount of which should be fixed by the authori- 
ties, so as to avoid making it the subject of daily contention 
and constant injustice. The inquiry proved that M. Grodzicki 
had, since 1840, deprived the peasants of their best land; that 
he had forced them to work for him for a longer time than he 
could legally demand, and paid them at a very low price; 
that he, his wife, and his intendant, treated them very badly, 
and inflicted corporal punishment on them in a most illegal 
manner ; and that he had already driven out and defrauded of 
their land eleven families, some of whom had taken refuge in 
Prussia, whence they sent representations of their case to 
St. Petersburg and to the Prussian authorities. In the mean 
time the ground taken from these unfortunate peasants was 
distributed among German colonists. 

After the insurrection of 1830 the Russian Government 
made several attempts to ameliorate the condition of the 
peasants, and relieve them from the arbitrary oppression of 
the proprietors ; but the civil administration of the kingdom, 
combined with the Polish nobility, paralyzed its efforts, and 
laws instituted for the relief of the peasants were often 
ingeniously perverted to their injury. 

Occupied almost exclusively in the maintenance of material 
order, the Russian Government too often abandoned the 
administration of civil affairs to the Polish nobility ; thus it 
came to pass that their feeble efforts on behalf of the peasant 
were always checked, and that to the close of the administra- 
tion of the Marquis Wielopolski scarce anything was effected 
on their behalf. 

The population of the Congress kingdom is 4,800,466; of 
these about 77,000 are nobles; 6,400 are ecclesiastics; and 
about 180,000 are Schliacta (poor noblemen). This minority 
of 263,000 centre in themselves all civil and administrative 
power, and it has ever governed the nation most arbitrarily 
under shadow of the Russian law. The Emperor Nicholas 

LAW OP 1846. 

could not control this confederacy ; he had wronged Poland, 
he had deprived her of her ancient immunities and of some of 
her treaty rights ; she had rebelled against him and suffered 
the bitter penalty which tracks abortive treason; and now 
she was at rest, and that was all he asked. The bent of his 
haughty disposition would dispose him rather to side with the 
noble than the peasant ; a constant interference with consti- 
tuted authorities would serve to render them despised; and 
the Emperor having won, as he fancied, a lasting victory, was 
unwilling to encourage a policy so subversive. Although, 
therefore, the intentions of the Eussian Government were 
fair and just, so far as the peasant question was concerned, 
they were frustrated by the powerful opposition which the 
Polish nobles made. An example of the mode in which the 
efforts of the Government were thwarted is to be found in the 
results attained by the law of 26th May (7th June), 1846. 

By this law the possession of the land held by the peasants 
was secured to them so long as they paid the rents and 
fulfilled the duties imposed by their contracts with the 
proprietors, and these contracts were signed in presence of 
and approved by a public officer appointed for that purpose. 
In order to elude this law, the proprietors, with the assistance 
of the Polish authorities, persuaded the Government that its 
promulgation during the season when work in the fields was 
practicable would lead to considerable excitement among the 
labouring classes, suspend the operations of industry, and 
occasion great material loss; they therefore suggested that 
the publication of the law should be postponed till the 
following September, and this proposal was acted upon. 

The proprietors profited by the delay. In many places the 
peasants were expelled from the soil they had occupied for 
generations; their lands were converted into farms, and 
whole villages were removed, and their inhabitants received 
in return new and uncultivated land. This system extended 
over the entire kingdom; almost everywhere the rent and 
other services were increased, and thousands of the peasantry 
were reduced to misery and pauperism. 

Nevertheless the law of 1846 was received with gratitude 
by the peasants, and, despite the partial success of the nobles, 


was a decisive step towards the settlement of the land ques- 
tion. Having at length some inducement for industry, the 
peasant laboured hard to improve his condition. 

Since 1846 the position of the peasants has sensibly im- 
proved ; the contracts between them and the proprietors have 
curbed the avarice of the latter ; pecuniary payments have, in 
many places, superseded obligatory labour, and Government 
has endeavoured to make this change universal. Notwithstand- 
ing, however, all the efforts of the peasants and the Govern- 
ment, out of 198,000 peasants' huts, situated on private 
estates, there were, in 1861, 131,753 families (about 700,000 
souls) subjected to obligatory labour ; giving the proprietors 
annually 18,998,806 days' labour gratuitously (or nearly three 
days' labour a week per family), besides extraordinary and 
supplementary labour, and payments and oblations consisting 
of provisions, capons, eggs, butter, grain, flax, &c. &c. 

In the crown domains, in the property belonging to public 
establishments, in the majorats conferred on Russian func- 
tionaries ; in short, in all the properties where the efforts of 
Government were not thwarted by the selfishness of the 
Polish proprietors, the condition of the peasant is compara- 
tively satisfactory ; for the Russian Government, in proclaim- 
ing the absolute necessity of these reforms, gave, on its own 
account and exacted from the Russian proprietors, an example 
of prudent disinterestedness. 

Thus, on the land belonging to the Crown, the peasants 
occupy 1,265,088 morgs (1,750,067 acres) and pay 620,700 
roubles rent (99,312), or 49^ copeks per morg (Is. l|d. 
per acre). 

In the properties attached to public establishments the 
peasants possess 51,758 morgs (71,604 acres) and pay a 
rent of 26,476 roubles (4,236), or 51 copeks per morg 
(Is. 2d. per acre). 

Lastly, in the majorats belonging to Russian proprietors, the 
peasants pay still less; for 447,634 morgs (619,274 acres) 
they pay an annual rent of 166,901 roubles (26,704), or 3 7i 
copeks per morg (lOJd. per acre). 

The peasants dwelling on the land of the Polish nobility 
were very differently circumstanced. It might have been anti- 


cipated that from men of the same race, from their natural and 
hereditary leaders, they would have met with liberal treatment 
and wise encouragement. Such, however, was not the case. 
When the Government by the law of ^ May, 1861, gave the 
peasants the right to substitute a money rent for their labour, 
the labour was valued at a sum which the proprietors com- 
plained of as too low. When, however, the matter was inves- 
tigated, it was found that the money value of their labour 
amounted to 2,961,368 roubles (473,819) for 1,848,936 
morgs (2,557,892 acres), or about 1 rouble 60 copeks per 
morg (3s. 8d. per acre). 

Even this sum, enormous as it is, considering the state of 
agriculture in Poland, and out of all proportion to the rents 
imposed by the Government and the Eussian proprietors, is 
not the whole of the charge which the peasants have to de- 
fray. There are many other extraordinary and supplementary 
charges which they have to meet : these bring up the total 
rent to about 4s. 6d. per acre. 

In the North and South-western provinces the condition of 
the serfs was unaffected by the changes which took place in the 
Congress kingdom. Servitude was preserved intact by the 
Russian Government, and neither personal freedom nor the 
liberty of removal was introduced there. The proprietor, 
therefore, having nothing to gain by depriving the peasant 
of his land, allowed him to continue in undisturbed possession 
of it from 1772 to the time of his enfranchisement, and during 
this long period he gradually acquired a larger and larger 
interest in it. 

The first step taken by the Russian Government for the pro- 
tection of the peasants was the introduction in 1849 of the so- 
called " Inventories." These " Inventories " were returns made 
by the proprietors to the Government, setting forth the quantity 
of land held by the serfs, the rent they had to pay for it, and 
the labour and other services they had to perform. Since these 
inventories were made, the landowner has had no power to de- 
prive the serf of his land so long as he observes the conditions 
of his holding, nor has he had the power to increase his 
liabilities, or in any way alter his tenure. 

In the South-western provinces the returns made by the 


proprietors were, to some extent, checked and reduced by the 
authorities ; but in the North-western provinces this was not 
the case, and they were adopted without modification as 

The land mentioned in the inventories was by the law of 
1st March (19th February), 1861 (the law by which the serfs 
were enfranchised), vested absolutely in the serfs, subject only 
to the customary rent and services. A slight deduction was 
however made from these liabilities in the North-western 
provinces, in consequence of the exorbitant character of the 
claims of the proprietors. 

In the South-western provinces the peasants were allowed 
to commute the labour due from them for a money payment, 
of which the amount was fixed by law ; but in the North- 
western provinces commissions were constituted to ascertain 
the value of the labour ; and until their awards were made, the 
labour continued to be performed. 

When, therefore, the rebellion broke out, there existed two 
different systems in the North and South-western provinces : 
in the latter the condition of the peasants was ameliorated ; 
they were freed from the personal labour which had been a 
great subject of complaint and a most efficient weapon of in- 
justice, and the money payments they had to make in commu- 
tation of it were much easier to meet than their former obliga- 
tions. The peasants, therefore, of these provinces were hostile 
to a revolt commenced by the men who had oppressed them, 
and which was aimed at a government that had so recently 
improved their condition. In the North-western provinces, 
however, the peasants were more dependent on the will of the 
proprietors ; they were safe from personal ill-treatment, and 
their land was secured to them ; but the rents and onerous 
services to which they were liable rendered them more submis- 
sive to their late masters. 

While such was the condition of the peasants, and such the 
policy of the Eussian administration, there were many con- 
flicting opinions among the Poles upon the land question. 

The aristocratic proprietors wished to retain in themselves 
the absolute ownership of the soil ; they were, they professed, 
willing that the peasants should continue to hold as tenants the 


land they had long been occupying ; but they claimed rent 
from, and desired to stand in the same relation to them as the 
English landowner does to his tenant. This, however, would 
have deprived the peasants of all certainty of tenure j they 
would have been absolutely at the mercy of the proprietors, 
and have had no check on their avarice and rapacity. 

On the other hand, the more liberal party contended that 
the soil belonged to the peasant ; that it had been given to his 
ancestors long since ; and that the time had arrived when any 
condition with which that gift had been clogged should be re- 
mitted. They did not propose that the landowner should lose 
his rent, or the services to which he was entitled, without com- 
pensation, but such compensation they considered should be 
paid by the Government, and not by the peasants ; others, again, 
contended that the land should be vested in the peasants, sub- 
ject to their performance of the customary services, or to their 
redeeming them by a money payment. 

The relations between landlord and tenant in England are 
utterly dissimilar to those existing in Poland or the Western 
provinces. The only analogy which will apply is one of a far 
older date, and we must seek it by looking back into history, 
and tracing there the gradual enlargement of villain tenures 
into absolute ownership. Those who are conversant with the 
early history of our real property law will recall the steps by 
which, from the great feudatory to the humblest serf, the ances- 
tors in title of the present proprietors of the soil converted 
their conditional or precarious tenures into absolute estates. 
Originally holding them so long only as they could perform 
certain feudal services, or so long as it was the will of their 
lord that they should retain them, we see in our early history 
how soon the rights of the owners of limited interests and of 
mere occupiers became enlarged. The hereditary principle 
crept in, and then the only advantage the feudal superior 
derived from the death of his retainer was the payment of a 
stipulated fine, and perhaps the wardship of an heir. Gradually 
the rights of the lord were reduced to a money payment, and 
the interest of the vassal became absolute in the soil of which 
he formerly was the precarious tenant. 

The feudal system was unknown in Poland, and so far no 


parallel exists ; but tlie gradual recognition of the rights of the 
holder of the soil was somewhat similar, and generation by 
generation, and year by year, those rights acquired a stronger 
hold and more general acquiescence. All parties acknowledged 
them in some sense, and admitted, at least in the Western pro- 
vinces, that so long as the tenant paid his rent and performed 
his services, the landlord had no right to eject him. But the 
personal freedom granted in 1807 injured the position of the 
peasants in the Congress kingdom ; it altered their relation to 
the lord, perilled their possession of the soil, and gave the 
Polish proprietary a colourable title to treat them as mere 
tenants at will. 

The conduct pursued by the Austrian and Prussian govern- 
ments towards the serfs of Galicia and Posen confirmed the 
view taken by the peasants of their claims. In both provin- 
ces the rights of the lords had been gradually diminished by 
custom and legislation, and when in 1848 the land was abso- 
lutely assigned to the Galician peasants, the claims of the pro- 
prietors upon them were in many cases reduced to two, or even 
to one day's work in the week. The value of the labour to 
which the lords were thus entitled was estimated, government 
bills were given them, supposed to represent it, and a tax was 
laid on the province to pay the interest on the bills. The 
Austrian Government therefore fully recognized the rights for 
which the peasants in the Congress kingdom as well as in the 
"Western provinces contended. 

The Prussian Government adopted a different course ; they 
enfranchised the serfs, giving them their land subject to pay- 
ments to the proprietor of one-third of the estimated money 
value of the labour (corvee) which they hitherto had performed. 
This arrangement was altered after the insurrection of 1848 ; 
the Government then gave state bills bearing interest, and 
equal in value to the capital sum the rents were worth, to the 
proprietors, in liquidation of the rents the peasants had to pay, 
and the peasants were subjected to a tax of sufficient magni- 
tude to extinguish principal and interest in 1871, at which 
time, accordingly, they will be completely free from all claims 
in respect of their land. 

The Eussian Government had always considered that the 


serf and the peasant had qualified interests in the soil ; they 
had in many instances refused both in Russia and the Western 
provinces to allow the proprietors to enfranchise their serfs 
unless they gave them land for their support, and they had 
always peremptorily rejected any general scheme of emanci- 
pation by which the lands held by the peasants would become 
the absolute property of the lord. 

The Polish nobility had on several occasions manifested a 
readiness to emancipate the peasant and retain his land for 
themselves ; such an arrangement would doubtless have been 
very profitable to them, but, under the circumstances, would 
have been unjust. In 1857 this suggestion was made by the 
nobles of the provinces of Wilna Kovno and Grodno ; but it 
was opposed altogether to the principles of the Russian Go- 
vernment, and was without result. Indeed the proposition 
argued as little political wisdom as it did generosity, for it was 
certain of rejection, and was sure to irritate the people, on 
whose aid in a future insurrection that very nobility would 
have mainly to rely. 

The political economists of Russia have contended that the 
theory of their Government is wrong ; that the right to occupy 
the land ceases when the peasant fails to perform his task- 
work, and that it is a mistake to create a number of pauperized 
proprietors, instead of a prosperous class of tenant farmers. 

The abstractions of political economy must yield sometimes 
to other and more powerful considerations; questions of justice 
must sometimes be answered before the dogmas of economists 
are obeyed ; and it is on the ground of justice as well as of 
the highest expediency that the claims of the peasants rest. 

They have no charters to boast, no elaborate deeds to ex- 
hibit from which their title may be deduced ; but they till the 
same fields, occupy the same dwellings, and regard as their 
own the same little properties which their ancestors held for 
centuries. Generation by generation their immunities have 
increased and their liabilities dwindled away, until at length 
Government and the popular voice alike regard them as the 
limited owners of the soil. Precedents from our own history 
confirm that view, and the statesman who disregarded it would 
be the most dangerous revolutionist of his age and country. 


Moreover, in the long account between proprietor and serf, the 
balance surely does not incline in favour of the former; the 
slavery of centuries, the cruel and debasing injuries with which 
it was accompanied ; the scourge, the dishonour, and the name- 
less wrongs under which the Polish serfs ineffectually writhed, 
have left behind them a bitter remembrance, which, if they 
were prudent, the proprietors would strive to obliterate. 

Allowing the land to be absorbed by the landlords is not a 
step which would lead to the formation of a class of prosperous 
tenant farmers ; no such class can be created without capital, 
and that capital must be either imported or saved ; it is ad- 
mitted that its introduction from abroad is not looked for, and 
therefore it is by saving that it must be created. It will 
not be contended that the freeholder is likely to be less in- 
dustrious than the tenant who is at the mercy of his landlord ; 
that property paralyzes his efforts, and renders him sluggish 
and inert. On the contrary, it seems probable that freedom 
and the possession of his land will stimulate his exertions 
and arouse his ambitions. The system the Polish nobles pro- 
posed to introduce in the Western provinces is the same that 
has been so unsuccessfully tried for more than half a century 
in the Congress kingdom. Far from producing wealth or 
stimulating improvement, the peasant is as miserable now as 
he was when the Code Napoleon was introduced. Nowhere in 
Russia is his condition more pitiable, and nowhere is he more 
completely at the mercy of the great proprietors. This 
plan, therefore, has been already tried, and has failed in pro- 
ducing those benefits which are alleged to be its certain 

There is yet another reason for ceding their land to the 
peasants. In a vast and thinly-peopled country, the effect of 
mere personal emancipation would be to set loose all those 
whose condition as serfs had hitherto kept them on one spot, 
unless attached to their former home either by compulsion or 
some peculiar advantage it afforded them. Why should the 
peasant remain there? Why should he stop in the North, 
where for six or eight months in every year the frozen ground 
forbids his industry, while he could find constant employment 
in the sunny plains of the South, or occupy himself amid the 


corn-fields and vineyards of the Crimea? Mere personal 
emancipation would have given the signal for a vast migration, 
which would have rendered valueless immense tracts of country 
and displaced important industries.* 

* The difference in climate between various parts of Eussia is strikingly 
evidenced in St. Petersburg. On 15th December, 1863, 1 saw Crimean grapes 
of excellent quality hawked about the streets at 3d. a pound, while the ground 
was covered with snow, and the thermometer stood at 17 Fahrenheit. 



Commencement of "Unarmed Agitation" in Warsaw. Meeting in the Old 
Square. " The Warsaw Massacre." Address to the Emperor. Inde- 
cision of Prince Gortschakoff. The Delegation. The Funeral. Conduct 
of the Delegation and its Dissolution. 

IT will be seen from the statements contained in the previous 
chapters, that the years which immediately followed the 
accession of the Emperor Alexander were marked by great 
prosperity. There was every prospect that as commerce 
developed and wealth increased, Poland would gradually rise in 
importance, and win self-government and constitutional freedom 
from her conqueror. The inclination of her new sovereign 
gave probability to the most sanguine anticipations, and to 
the casual observer the future promised to atone for the misery 
of the past. 

Unfortunately for Poland, the restless conspirators of the 
Emigration, the returned exiles, and the malcontents at home, 
were not content with the spectacle of present prosperity and 
the prospect of constitutional freedom. The only liberty in 
which they trusted was that which is won by the dagger or 
the sword, and they determined to pave the way to it by an 
organized and most extensive agitation. For this end, national 
celebrations of all kinds were resorted to, and every means 
was adopted of stirring up popular feeling against the Russian 

In June, 1860, the funeral took place of the widow of a 
General Sobinski, who had been killed in 1831, while defending 
the fortress of Wola against the Russians. The funeral passed 
over quietly, but at its conclusion the students and rabble, who 
had attended it in considerable numbers, proceeded to the 


burial-ground of the Greeks, which is near that of the Roman 
Catholic church where the ceremony had taken place, spat on 
the Eussian tombs, and tore up the shrubs and flowers which 
were planted round them. 

This circumstance was at the time regarded as an isolated 
outrage, and not as part of a premeditated plan, and was 
therefore left unnoticed by the authorities. 

Early in October, however, a marked change took place in 
the demeanour of the people. A meeting at Warsaw between 
the Emperors of Austria and Eussia and the King of Prussia 
had been arranged, and the walls were covered with placards 
calling on the inhabitants to receive appropriately the three 
ravens who had torn in pieces the body of Poland ; the theatres 
were less frequented, and on one occasion when the Emperor 
was to attend, asafoetida was sprinkled through the house 
before the performance began ; illuminations which took place 
at the summer palace were only attended by the dregs of the 
people, and caricatures and squibs of all kinds were circulated 
against the Emperor of Austria. 

An uneasy feeling was gradually setting in against the 
ostentation and luxury of the rich ; against costly amusements, 
and lavish expenditure on ladies' dresses. This feeling was art- 
fully encouraged, and as an example of the extent to which it 
was carried, on the occasion of the foundation-stone being laid 
of a new bridge over the Vistula, boys threw vitriol on ladies' 
dresses and cut them with knives. 

In November these excesses became more systematic; in 
houses where balls or evening parties were given, windows 
were broken; and Eussian and foreign signs were forcibly 
torn down from the shops and houses which displayed them. 

The town-post was completely taken up by the delivery of 
libels, anonymous and threatening letters forbidding amuse- 
ments, and letters insulting the Eussians and their friends. 

Thus passed the months of December, January, and the 
early part of February, and these disturbances were occa- 
sionally varied by demonstrations, or funeral services com- 
memorative of the rebellion of 1830, and the Poles who had 
fallen in it. 

In January, a rumour circulated through the town, that on 

E 2 


25th February, the anniversary of the battle of Grockovo,* a 
funeral service would be solemnized on the field of battle for 
the Poles who were slain there, and that all the population of 
Warsaw would be summoned to attend this* celebration ; the 
Kussians, also, it was alleged, would join in it, and for that 
purpose troops and Greek clergy would be sent to the field, 
and would take part in a funeral service in memory of the 
Kussians who fell there. 

Little by little, this rumour died away, and public attention 
was entirely fixed on the coming meeting of the Agricultural 
Society, which took place on 23rd February. Simultaneously 
with the opening of its session, placards were scattered in the 
churches, and subsequently in the streets, in which the people 
were invited to meet in the Square of the Old Town, instead 
of on the field of Grockovo. The plan originally determined on 
was changed on account of the temporary removal of the 
bridge over the Vistula, and because a demonstration held in 
the town might be made more effective, and might point more 
directly to the objects the malcontents had in view, than one 
held some miles away. 

The crowd was to follow the procession past the palace of 
the Lieutenant of the kingdom, to the house called the 
Namiestnikowski, where the Agricultural Society assembled. 
There they were to demand the attendance of the members 
present, in order that they might be requested by the crowd 
to present an address to the Emperor requiring a constitution. 

At half-past five in the afternoon of the appointed day, the 
people commenced assembling in great numbers, and refused 
to disperse, though summoned to do so by the police. At 
seven o'clock many students of the Academy came out of the 
Pauline church, close to the Old Town, and with them were 
youths from various schools, and workmen. 

The Square in the Old Town is a relic of ancient Warsaw ; it 
is small and surrounded by lofty houses, apparently erected in 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ; and occasionally these 
houses are overtopped by others at their rear, which are more 

* One of the battles in the insurrection of 1830-31, where the Poles 
defeated the Kussians. 


lofty still ; so, in addition to the house immediately facing the 
bystander, he sees, by looking upwards, the quaint gables and 
little windows of another dwelling, whose inmates may observe 
unnoticed the busy crowds below. 

On that winter night the Square was the scene of a 
picturesque gathering. It was filled by an excited throng of 
men, whose minds were possessed with dim and shadowy 
aspirations after changes they were never to achieve. Some 
of the crowd bore banners which were blazoned with patriotic 
emblems the white eagle of Poland, the portraits of her 
martyrs, the symbols of her faith, the names of her battle- 
fields, and the pious ejaculations which she addressed to her 
tutelary saints. Others carried torches, and the light they gave 
glanced fitfully on the banners above and the agitated crowd 
below; it flashed on the thousand windows filled with 
sympathizing spectators, and threw a,n angry glare over the 
police, who stood aloof in grim and silent expectation. 

The crowd resolved to carry out their programme, and to 
proceed from the Square to the house of the Agricultural 
Society, and obtain from that powerful body the assurance of 
its sympathy and aid; but the authorities determined that the 
demonstration should terminate. An additional squadron of 
gendarmes arrived, the people were commanded to disperse, 
and, after a show of opposition and some angry demonstrations, 
they sullenly departed to their homes. The only resistance 
which was made proceeded from the students of the Agricul- 
tural School; eight of them were arrested, and upon them 
were found proclamations of Louis Mieroslawski, revolutionary 
addresses, and portraits of the patriot leaders of former insur- 

On the following day the town was quiet, but the streets 
were more than usually crowded, an air of gloom and expec- 
tation prevailed, and as a symbol of mourning it was remarked 
that the men had the lower part of their hats brushed the 
wrong way. To this date no lives had been lost, and it is 
therefore evident that mourning formed part of the revolu- 
tionary programme. 

On the 27th of February occurred the first of those events 
which were subsequently styled by the revolutionary press 


" the Warsaw massacres." In the morning of that day many 
members of the Agricultural Society, students of the Agri- 
cultural School, workmen, and mechanics, assembled at the 
Carmelite Church. A solemn service was celebrated there in 
honour of the Poles who fell in the insurrection of 1830, and 
religion was again invoked to aid the struggles of a revolu- 
tionary cause. 

This demonstration was intended as a protest against 
assurances which Count Andrew Zainoyski was reported to have 
given to the Lieutenant, to the effect that the Agricultural 
Society had nothing to do with the meeting of two days 
before. It was thought that these assurances would prejudice 
the society in the estimation of the party of action, and that 
some overt act, some solemn covenant, should be entered into 
binding the people to the society, and the society to the 
people's cause. It was therefore resolved that a procession 
should be formed, which should pass through the Sigismund 
Place, and proceed thence to the house of the Agricultural 

The Sigismund Place is a square in the centre of the town, 
and contains the column and statue which commemorate 
Sigismund and give his name to the spot. On one side of 
the square is the castle, the palace of the former kings of 
Poland, and now the residence of the Eussian viceroy ; 
separated from it only by a road stand the Church and 
Monastery of the Bernardines, a large heavy-looking mass of 
building, without architectural beauty or any external evidence 
of antiquity. 

In execution of their design, the leaders of the people 
formed a procession, and, preceded by a large portrait of 
Kalinski,* marched at the head of the crowd into the Sigis- 
mund Place. The assemblage was then summoned to disperse, 
and as the order was not obeyed, a detachment of Cossacks 
was sent to meet it, and form a chain in front of the palace, so 
as to prevent all access to it. 

The crowd paused in uncertainty. In their front were the 
Cossacks, on their flank stood the church, and if they per- 

* A shoemaker and patriot leader in 1794. 


severed in their intention, they would have have to force their 
way past the Cossacks and across the square to reach the house 
of the Agricultural Society. A hearse was at the door of the 
church, and at this critical moment a priest left the building 
accompanied by the coffin and the mourners. A minute later 
stones were thrown at the troops by some unknown persons, 
who are believed to have been on the tower of the church, 
and one of them felled a Cossack to the ground. His 
comrades, believing that the stones were thrown by the 
funeral cortege, endeavoured to disperse it with their whips ; 
but the crowd stepped forward and resisted them with stones 
and sticks. By this time a rumour had circulated through the 
people that the Cossacks had broken the cross and beaten the 
priest, and, infuriated at this report, they resisted the 
Cossacks, who were powerless to disperse them. 

General Zablotsky, at the head of a company of infantry 
(200 men), marched against the crowd, who received them 
with threats and pelted them. The soldiers loaded their 
rifles and prepared to fire, but the people did not believe they 
would do so. An absurd idea appears to have prevailed 
among the lower orders in Warsaw, that the Emperor of the 
French had forbidden the Russians to fire upon them, and 
that the latter dared not disobey him. While, therefore, the 
soldiers loaded their rifles, the people cursed and spat at 
them. The troops were ordered to fire : they obeyed, and at 
the first volley five men were killed, and the insurrectionary 
movement received its baptism of blood. 

The multitude withdrew, and the evidence of bystanders 
greatly varies as to their demeanour. It is stated, on the one 
hand, that they were terrified and subdued by the rigour 
which had repressed them ; and on the other it is alleged that 
they departed in wrath, but not in fear, resolved to wreak 
ample vengeance in the future for the wrongs they then 
endured. It, however, is admitted on all sides that they 
carried their dead away with them, and that in their retreat 
they were unmolested by the soldiery or police. Strange, 
indeed, was the termination of the solemnity of that day. 
The agitators had failed to carry out their programme. They 
had not forced their way to the halls of the Agricultural 


Society, and they had had no noisy scene of patriotic fraterni- 
zation with its members ; yet they had succeeded in creating 
an irreparable breach with the Government whose overthrow 
they were plotting to achieve, and they foresaw that the 
events of the day would enable them to hold up their Eussian 
masters to the opprobrium of Western Europe. 

The five corpses were placed on hastily-constructed litters, 
and were carried openly through the town. The students 
who accompanied them compelled all who met them, whether 
civilians or military men, to stand uncovered as they passed ; 
and thus, followed by a great crowd, and with the appearance 
rather of a pageant than a flight, the bodies of four of the 
slain were carried to the Hotel de PEurope; the fifth was 
taken to the house of Count Andrew Zamoyski, and laid in 
state in one of his reception-rooms. 

The inside of the gate of the Zamoyski Palace, and the rooms 
there and at the hotel where the other bodies lay, were 
draped with black. The approach to these rooms was jea- 
lously guarded by students; and even military men and officials 
who entered the palace and hotel on public business were only 
permitted to pass the door after they had satisfactorily an- 
swered any questions those guardians of the dead put to them. 

A photographer took portraits of the slain, which were sold 
and distributed in immense numbers. They were represented 
with their wounds exposed, and with crowns of palm inter- 
mingled with thorns upon their heads. 

The following day (the 28th of February) a great crowd 
collected before the hotel, and the rooms on the ground floor 
were thronged with people. Some one proposed to send an 
address to the Emperor, and it was written on the spot, and 
numerous copies were instantly distributed. It is evident 
that this address had been prepared beforehand. By its terms 
the Schliacta appeared willing to abandon their traditional 
claims, and to recognize the rights of other classes ; the dis- 
turbances at Warsaw were explained to be the result of deep- 
seated and universal discontent ; and the principles of Polish 
nationality were strongly insisted on. All who could write 
were invited to sign this address, and it was subscribed by a 
large portion of the population of the town. 


The agitators determined to use their opportunity to the 
utmost. A solemn funeral was resolved on, and many and 
anxious were the consultations as to its details. All classes 
in Warsaw were to be represented there ; deputations from 
other parts of the kingdom and from the Western provinces 
were invited to be present, and great efforts were made to 
secure the attendance of the peasants. 

Minor distinctions of party, creed, and even race, were for 
the moment forgotten, or only remembered to give occasion 
for bridging over by some scheme of fantastic liberality the 
gulf which had hitherto divided them. Thus it was discovered 
that a reconciliation must be effected with the Jews ; and as a 
first step towards it, the very name of their race was changed, 
and in substitution for their ancient designation, they were 
styled ' ' Poles of the Mosaic persuasion " I A committee was \ - 
constituted, under the name of " The Committee for the Erec- 
tion of a Monument in memory of the slain of the 27th of 
February, as well as for collecting money for their families/' 
The formation of this committee and its object were publicly 
announced in the papers of the following day, and a subscrip- 
tion was immediately commenced in a room at the hotel. The 
wealthy crowded there with costly gifts ; the poor, out of their 
poverty, cast in their mites ; and the women of Poland, ever 
foremost in patriotic sacrifice, poured their jewels, their orna- 
ments, and whatever else of value they possessed, into the 
common fund. 

While the leaders of the people were thus prompt and united 
in their action, the course adopted by Prince Gortschakoff 
was weak and indecisive. He was a soldier, and not a 
statesman. Calm and self-possessed at the head of an army, 
unmoved amid the perils of the great game of war, he was 
unequal to the guidance of a state in troubled times, and 
could not distinguish between the occasion where lenity is 
admissible and the license which demands restraint. To a 
man of this stamp the position of Lieutenant of Poland must 
ever be embarrassing; he has that half- confidence reposed 
in him which is fatal of success, and, at the mercy of tele- 
grams and orders dictated by the impressions of the moment, 


he must ever prove unequal to imagine and carry into effect 
a bold and successful policy. 

The crisis was one which would have tried the strength of 
a stronger hand and the nerve of a more equable spirit, and 
the Lieutenant of the kingdom broke down under it. Contrary 
to the anxiously expressed commands of the Imperial Govern- 
ment, blood had been shed in Warsaw, and yet, though blood 
had been shed, order had not been maintained. The enemy 
had been repulsed, but he had carried his dead away with 
him, and his retreat was a funereal triumph, and not an 
ignominious flight. 

Perplexed, astonished, irresolute, uncertain of the approval 
of his sovereign of any course he might adopt, Prince 
G ortschakoff took refuge in the last resource of the irresolute, 
and determined to temporize. He permitted, therefore, the 
formation of the committee, though its purpose was certainly 
illegal, and was prepared to allow any license to the leaders 
of the people which was compatible with the preservation of 
order and the outward maintenance of his authority. 

Keenly appreciating the character of the Lieutenant and 
the concessions to be won from it, the popular leaders grew 
yet bolder. They represented to him that the indignation 
excited by the massacres of the 27th was so great and over- 
powering that no ordinary measures would suffice to curb it ; 
that the Eussian Government, their soldiery and police, were 
for the moment regarded with abhorrence, and that there 
was danger of the population of the city breaking out into a 
riot, which might give the signal for insurrection throughout 
Poland. They proposed, therefore, that the government of 
the city should for some days be committed to an independent 
body, the members of which they should themselves nominate, 
subject to the approval and sanction of the Lieutenant. This 
body, which was to be styled a Delegation, was to consist of 
twenty-four members, and would make itself responsible for 
the good order and quiet of the city ; it would appeal to the 
people through arguments which the Russians would not 
employ; it would rule them by the aid of national sym- 
pathies, by the strong influence which confidence in them 
would naturally evoke, and by instilling into them the convic- 


tion that, if they now showed their capacity for self-govern- 
ment, their conduct would be the most powerful argument 
which could subsequently be employed when they sought a 
constitution and administrative autonomy from a just and 
enlightened sovereign. 

This strange demand was granted. The Delegation was 
constituted, and contained representatives of every class, 
nobles, clergy, officers, Jewish Rabbis, merchants, shop- 
keepers, and peasants. It met daily at the Town-hall, and 
the control of the city passed into its hands. At their first 
meeting the members resolved to request the Lieutenant 
to concede six points to them : they were, 

1st. That they might organize a public funeral, and bury 
the dead with all honours. 

2nd. That the Delegation might be continued in office, and 
be recognized by the Government until after the funeral was 

3rd. That troops might not show themselves during the 

4th. That General Marquis Paulucci might be named head 
of the police. 

, 5th. That the Delegation might proceed to St. Petersburg 
and present an address to the Emperor. 

6th. That all those who had been arrested on 27th February 
might be liberated. 

These requests were preferred to the Lieutenant by a com- 
mittee of the Delegation, accompanied by Count Andrew 
Zamoyski, and all, with the exception of the fifth, were 

The Delegation used to the utmost the concessions it had 
wrung from the Government. Students in the academies and 
higher schools were sent as couriers through the country; 
they bore tidings of the events which had occurred at 
Warsaw, and aroused in all classes of the community the 
deepest sympathy in the sufferings and aims of the revolu- 
tionary cause. Everywhere religious celebrations and solemn 
rites were resolved on, and it was determined that on the day 
of the funeral one universal wail of lamentation should swell 
through the mourning land. 


On 1st March the corpses were taken to the church of 
Holy Cross. The streets through which the procession 
passed were strewn with sand ; the windows and balconies of 
the houses were hung with black cloth edged with white 
borders and embroidered with crowns of thorn and other 
emblems of martyrdom and glory ; white ribbons and other 
signs of mourning were worn by the people, and the cere- 
monies of the day were conducted in an orderly and peaceful 
manner, under the immediate control of officers appointed by 
the Delegation. 

On the following day the shops, magazines, and public 
offices were closed ; signs of general mourning were everywhere 
displayed, and the funeral bell filled the air with its fitful and 
melancholy throb. 

The procession from the church of Holy Cross to the ceme- 
tery was one of unprecedented solemnity. At its head rode 
the Marquis Paulucci in the full dress of a general in the 
Kussian service ; then followed the monastic orders (and they 
were numerous and wealthy in those days) in their various 
habits, with slow and stately tread : they had among them 
men who had suffered much for their country's cause ; and 
some who subsequently rendered up their lives in her defence. 
Then came the secular clergy ; less able and more scrupulous 
than those of the regular orders, they were yet men who 
firmly and consistently loved their country, and strove to 
work her good. The various guilds succeeded, each with the 
banner of its craft. Then came the pupils at the academy 
and schools, too many of whom were at a later date to reap 
the bitter fruits of the sedition that day sown. To these 
again succeeded the clergy of the various Protestant creeds, 
and after them the rabbis and inferior priesthood of the 

The coffins of the dead were made of black wood; on the 
lid of each was a white cross, and above the cross a crown 
of thorns was laid. The bearers were men selected from all 
ranks, for it was the desire of the Delegation to evidence to 
the Government that all classes sympathized in the demon- 
stration of that day. Following the coffins, the inhabitants of 
the town and neighbourhood came in long array, and conspi- 


cuous among them was Count Andrew Zamoyski, who was 
walking arm in arm with a peasant. As the procession 
passed the guardhouses, the sentinels presented arms, paying 
homage to those whom they had deprived of life only six 
days before. The cemetery was reached, the corpses were 
lowered side by side into their narrow graves, and as earth 
was given again to earth, the multitude of mourners rushed 
forward to obtain one last look at the coffins of their martyred 
countrymen; they flung flowers and crowns of thorn into 
their graves, and with wild passion wept, or vowed deep and 
speedy vengeance against their murderers. The earth closed 
over the coffins of the dead, and then, one after another, 
the priests of the Catholic Church preached funeral sermons 
above their graves. They were not the dull and common- 
place discourses which we so habitually hear ; but they were 
powerful and eloquent appeals to the patriotism of an awaking 
race ; they dwelt upon the past, in order that its renowned 
memories might animate the men of to-day ; they commented 
on the present, as the age of trial and of strife ; and they 
foretold a future which should revive the glories of ancient 
Poland, and reward for all their trials her steadfast but per- 
secuted sons. 

Photographs of the dead were circulated through the crowd ; 
fragments of the crowns of thorn and pieces of linen dipped 
in their blood were distributed with lavish hand; and men 
were invited to swear vengeance against Eussia on the graves 
so newly filled. 

After the funeral ceremonies had ended, handbills were 
given to the people urging them to wear mourning as a sign 
of national grief. 

On the 5th March the Lieutenant acknowledged, in the 
Government paper, the laudable efforts of the Delegation to 
preserve order; and, after expressing his approval of their 
conduct, he temporarily continued them in their office. They 
therefore met at the Town-hall, under the presidency of the 
Marquis Paulucci, and commenced their proceedings on the 
following day. The result of their first meeting was that they 
requested the Lieutenant to allow counsel to prisoners charged 
with political offences, to which he replied that the request 


should be considered ; but that it could not be granted at the 
moment, as it changed the existing order of things. They also 
asked that the names of parties arrested and the charges made 
against them should be published, and that their trial should 
take place with as little delay as possible ; ad these requests 
were granted. They next desired to form an unarmed body 
of police for securing the public safety, and asked that the 
existing police should report to them every important occur- 
rence. Powers were granted them to appoint constables for 
the preservation of public order, and subsequently two of their 
number were appointed to attend the political inquiries. 

On the 8th March the Delegation issued a proclamation 
calling on the inhabitants to continue to preserve good order, 
and assist them in the execution of their arduous duties; 
three days later, becoming more exacting as the weakness of 
the Lieutenant grew more and more apparent, they demanded 
that prisoners who were charged with promulgating inflamma- 
tory proclamations, with scattering asafoetida, placarding 
walls with revolutionary addresses, sending anonymous and 
threatening letters, and assaulting the police, should at once 
be liberated : these trifling offences they deemed had been 
adequately punished by the few days' imprisonment which 
the accused had suffered while awaiting trial. 

On the 13th March the Lieutenant announced to the Dele- 
gation that the Emperor had granted the liberal institutions 
which will hereafter be mentioned ; and on the 23rd he sum- 
moned them to the castle, thanked them for the services they 
had rendered, and informed them, as an elective municipal 
council was about to be constituted, that it was needless for 
them to continue their labours. 

The Delegation, however, having once tasted power, were 
unwilling thus to relinquish it, and even after their official 
dissolution they continued to hold their meetings. Large 
numbers of people crowded them, and frequently as many as 
2,000 auditors were present, and the speeches made were of a 
violent and revolutionary character. 

While the Delegation continued in power, the town was in a 
very excited state ; the police nominated by them were 
utterly inefficient ; lists were spread among the people of so- 


called Eussian spies; and Russian officials were constantly 
assaulted and insulted by the mob. 

The religious ceremonies continued, and many revolutionary 
sermons were preached ; none of them, however, attracted so 
much notice as one by the Rabbi Cramstuck, who discovered 
certain texts in the Bible that were solely applicable to Poland, 
and proved from them that the Jews were bound to second 
the efforts of the patriots ! At this time a strong disposition 
to combine in political exertions was evidenced by these in- 
congruous allies, and the Jews presented the Roman Catholics 
with a richly-ornamented cross, while the latter, not to be 
outdone, gave the Jews in return a silver candlestick with 
seven branches. 



Embarrassment of Government. Suppression of the Agricultural Society. 
Liberal Institutions granted. Polish Demonstrations. Suppression of 
Disturbances. State of Warsaw. Death of Prince GortschakoflF. 

THE Government was greatly embarrassed by the state of 
public feeling and the conduct of the agitators in Poland. 
The disorders which had terminated so fatally in Warsaw were 
a decided triumph to the revolutionary propaganda. At the 
cost of a few lives, they had held up the Russian tyranny to 
the opprobrium of Europe ; they had spread reports in the 
capitals of the West, of sanguinary excesses and wholesale 
arrests ; they had vaunted the noble behaviour of a suffering 
race ; they had enlisted the sympathies of the world in the 
success of their cause ; and all this time, under an exterior 
thus quiet and resigned, the Government knew that the work 
of sedition was being carried on, and that an excuse and an 
opportunity were alone wanting for a revolt to be commenced. 

It was difficult to know by what line of action to resist the 
invisible foe. A religious celebration might be discouraged, 
a political demonstration might be arrested, but steps such as 
these in no way really checked the activity of the agitation ; 
besides which, such occasional blows were necessarily aimed at 
men who were mere tools, and left untouched the ambitious 
leaders by whom they were secretly prompted. 

The only institution about which the revolutionary parties 
obviously gathered was the Agricultural Society. The meet- 
ings of this body had long ceased to be confined to the sub- 
jects which nominally occupied its attention ; every question 
affecting, however remotely, the welfare of the people was 
discussed there; and it was obvious that the party of action 
hoped to use it as a centre and rallying-point of disaffection. 
A society such as was contemplated by the Government when 


the authority to form it was first accorded, would have been 
very useful in improving the agriculture of Poland ; there 
was great need of such improvement, and among its members 
were several enlightened men, from whose efforts and example 
the happiest results were anticipated. It was, however, 
quickly seen that political change rather than agricultural im- 
provement was the object of many of its most influential 
members. The alteration in its constitution, by the admission 
of members from Galicia, Posen, and the Western provinces, 
has already been named, and it was sufficient to excite the 
suspicion and provoke the interference of the Administration. 
By this time, however, the Society had gone much further : 
its meetings were constantly invaded by factious men not 
enrolled among its members, who made revolutionary speeches, 
and advocated measures utterly irrelevant to the questions 
properly under discussion. In short, the mob of Warsaw 
broke in upon its deliberations whenever they pleased, 
and the halls of the Society were rapidly degenerating into a 
Jacobin club. 

"Rumours had for some time been circulated that the Go- 
vernment intended to suppress the Society, and having but 
little time to live, it resolved to mark its last hours by unusual 
exertions. A committee of its members had for some time 
existed, whose province it was to inquire into and report upon 
the condition of the peasants, and suggest a scheme for the 
settlement of the land question. The tendencies of the Society 
upon this head had not hitherto been liberal, but the events of 
the moment hastened their action and altered their views. 
The peasants could only be influenced through the land ques- 
tion, and if the proprietors required their aid in any future 
contingency, they well knew it must be won by large conces- 
sions now. Besides this, the Society perhaps remembered 
that very little real sacrifice was involved in any plan it might 
suggest ; for the Government had settled principles on which 
it was certain to act, whatever might be the views or wishes 
of the committee. 

Thus resolved on immediate action, there was another 
motive for making it as decided as practicable. In a short 
time the Government project would be announced, and a plan 


put forward by it would certainly carry more weight than one 
promoted by the Society. To counterbalance this disadvantage, 
therefore, it was essential that the Society should greatly 
outbid the Government. 

An attempt on the part of any institution to dictate a policy 
to the Government of its country, is in all states and under 
all circumstances to be deprecated. More than once in the 
last half-century we have seen, even in England, the dangers 
that too powerful combinations may create ; sometimes they 
have been successful, sometimes they have forcibly been 
checked; but experience teaches us that these attempts at 
creating an imperium in imperio are always dangerous even to 
the best and most stable Government. If such a combination 
be dangerous among a free people where the citizen obeys the 
law because he feels that it secures him liberty, how much 
more perilous is it where the Government is despotic and 
unpopular ! The Agricultural Society attempted to arrogate 
to itself legislative functions : it was the centre round which 
all the intrigue and all the disloyalty of Poland revolved ; its 
propositions in respect of the peasants were an obvious bid for 
popular support; it counted among its members the most 
influential of the nobles and great proprietors, and it had 
assumed proportions which made its existence inconsistent 
with the safety of the State. 

The Government had always foreseen that its measures of 
enfranchisement in the empire must be followed by an 
amelioration of the condition of the peasant in the kingdom. 
Accordingly, inquiries had long been on foot, having for their 
object such an arrangement between the two parties as should 
be beneficial to both, and free the peasant from all except 
the monetary claims of the proprietor. 

While measures of this character were in course of elabora- 
tion, the revolutionary party felt the necessity of action. Any 
such arrangement as was contemplated by the authorities, 
would deprive the party of action of its last hold upon the 
peasants, and its policy, as some alteration was inevitable, 
was to originate it instead of waiting for the Government to 
do so ; a scheme of settling the land question was therefore 
proposed and adopted immediately before the Society was 


dissolved, which was supposed to be more favourable to the 
peasants than any project which would meet with the sanction 
of the Government. 

For some time previously the Poles had taken every possible 
opportunity of marking their disaffection. Anniversaries 
commemorative of events and men most distasteful to the 
existing authorities, and most obviously pointing to their 
desire for complete independence, were kept with the greatest 
ostentation. The patriotic hymn, to which reference has been 
already made, was constantly sung in their churches. Poles 
would not mix with Russians in society, or treat them with 
ordinary courtesy in the streets. If a Russian and a Pole 
chanced to meet in the same coffee-house, and the former 
used a glass, it was no unusual occurrence when he placed it 
on the table, for the Pole to take it up and dash it to pieces on 
the floor, and then pay for the damage he had committed, 
observing that another Russian should have no chance of again 
polluting the vessel he had broken ; if Russian ladies travelled 
in company with Poles, they avoided the use of their own 
language, knowing that its employment would expose them 
to gross insults ; in public places the Russian officers had long 
been instructed to show the utmost forbearance to the Poles, 
as it was the earnest wish of the Government to avoid all 
collision with them. The fact was, however, everywhere 
apparent, that the educated population throughout the 
kingdom, and the town population of all grades, were banded 
together in opposition to the Government, and would not be 
satisfied with anything short of absolute independence, or 
a trial of strength which would probably terminate in 
absolute subjection. 

Whatever may be the views of an individual as to the 
justice or expediency of the continuance of an established 
system, it is certain that so long as it exists, those who are 
interested in its continuance are entitled to resist illegal 
attempts at its overthrow. The English rule in Ireland very 
likely was extremely bad in the last century, and during nearly 
one half of the present ; and very probably the great majority 
of the Irish sincerely wished its overthrow when O'Connell 
summoned meetings at Clontarf and Tara. Very likely that 

F 2 


spirit-stirring ballad in which it is predicted that " Ireland 
shall be free/' and many another revolutionary chant which 
has in later times found a responsive echo in the hearts of 
millions, may have been as entirely national as the sad 
and supplicating hymn of the people of "Poland. And 
I believe they were. But does any one blame the British 
Government for putting down the rebellion of 1798 with the 
strong hand of power ? and does any one question its justice 
at a later date, when, under the guidance of Sir Robert Peel, 
it suppressed the ee monster meetings " ? No ! every one 
will admit that power cannot confer with agitation ; that the 
latter must be quelled before the former can conciliate. 

The Government resolved to dissolve the Agricultural 
Society, but they determined to precede that act by the 
publication of their intention to grant more liberal institu- 
tions to Poland than she then possessed. 

Accordingly, by an oukase of 26th March, the Emperor 
directed projects of laws to be submitted for ameliorating the 
institutions of the country. These projects were subsequently 
matured, and assumed the following form : 

1. The re-establishment of a council of state in Poland. 

2. The re-establishment of a commission for the regulation 
of religious matters and public education. 

3. The separation of the different branches of Polish' from 
those of the Russian administration. 

4. The separation of the civil from the military administra- 
tion of Poland, and the appointment in the civil administration 
of persons of Polish birth. 

5. The decentralization of the administration and the forma- 
tion of local self-government by the institution of local councils 
chosen by election. 

6. The elaboration of a liberal system of public instruction. 
The foundation of a university in Warsaw, and the adoption 
of the Polish language in all the schools in the kingdom. 

The Council of State existed in Poland from 1832 to 1841, 
when it was abolished by the Emperor Nicholas. When re- 
established by the oukase just cited, it became a superior 
legislative body, holding the same position in Poland that 
the Council of the Empire holds in Russia. Its duties are to 


examine and modify all projects of law sent to it by special 
commissions nominated for that purpose, and having approved 
them, to submit them to the Emperor. It has also to examine 
the budget of the kingdom, the accounts of its officers, to 
investigate complaints of abuses,, and perform many other 
important functions. 

At the outbreak of the rebellion in 1863, all the Council 
were Poles except the Grand Duke Constantine, its ex-offido 

2. The Commission of religious matters and public instruc- 
tion existed in the kingdom till 1 839, when it was abolished 
by the Emperor Nicholas, and the administration of the 
schools were confided to the Russian Ministry of Public 
Instruction. The Emperor in re-establishing the commission 
intended to secure the independence of public instruction in 

3. The Post-office and administration of Public Works and 
Highways were in the reign of Nicholas placed under the same 
authorities in Russia and Poland. They were now separated, 
so as to give complete independence to the latter. 

4. The civil was entirely separated from the military 
administration of the kingdom. The office of General 
Governor of Warsaw was consequently abolished, and a chief 
of the civil administration substituted. The Marquis Wielo- 
polski was the first person appointed to this dignity, and all 
the civil offices in the kingdom, with very few exceptions, 
were filled with Poles, so that at the end of 1862 there were 
only six or eight functionaries of Russian birth holding offices 
of any importance in the kingdom. 

5. For the purpose of decentralizing the administration, and 
of gradually introducing self-government, provincial councils 
were instituted, the members of which were elected by the 
nation. The right to elect and be elected was given to 
persons of all religions and conditions, of a certain age, who 
could read and write the Polish language and possessed 
property in the kingdom. 

To these councils were committed the development of 
agriculture, trade, and public communications ; the care of 
hospitals, prisons, and the poor ; the administration of the 


local affairs of the towns ; the raising and expenditure of 
local taxation ; and the superintendence of public esta- 

The establishment of local provincial councils, freely elected 
by the people, was intended as the first step to a general 
representation in Poland, and, so soon as the nation had in 
any degree accustomed itself to representative institutions, 
would have been followed by the convocation of the Chamber 
of Deputies. 

6. At the accession of the present Emperor to the throne, 
education in Poland was at a very low ebb. The suppression 
'of the University at Warsaw has already been stated, and 
there was no establishment in the kingdom where a superior 
education could be procured. In all the kingdom there were 
only eight gymnasiums or institutes for nobles, where a second- 
class education was given ; and by law the professors in these 
institutions were obliged to teach the sciences in the Russian 
language, though practically this enactment was not always 
observed, for it was difficult to find professors who could speak 
Russ, and still more difficult to find scholars to comprehend 

The elementary public instruction was in a better condi- 
tion. The number of elementary schools was 1,000 in 1861, 
and there were 20 district and "real" schools. 

In a former chapter the effect of this want of a superior 
education in the higher classes of the Poles has been pointed 
out, and the extent to which it drove them for education to 
the universities of Moscow, Petersburg, and Kieff. 

In 1857, the Government took the first step towards the 
establishment of a university in Warsaw, by endowing a 
faculty or academy of medicine there. A further step was 
taken in 1861, when the Emperor directed the Commission of 
Public Instruction to elaborate a project of law in order 
thoroughly to reform the organization of public instruction 
in the kingdom : the aim of this scheme was to enable men 
of every religion and condition to study special sciences there, 
and allow the common people to acquire all elementary 
knowledge necessary for them. 

The law consequently elaborated was sanctioned by the 


Emperor, and put in force from 20th March, 1862, and 
consisted chiefly in the following particulars. 

Catholic priests and proprietors of towns and villages were 
allowed to found, at their own expense or at that of the 
place where they were established, elementary schools for 
teaching the Catholic religion, reading and writing in the 
Polish language, and arithmetic ; and they could appoint as 
masters of such schools all individuals having the qualifica- 
tions required by law for enabling them to take such office. 
In addition to these, one or more elementary schools were to 
be founded in each commune, at the expense of Government ; 
these schools were to be placed under the surveillance of the 
Catholic priests and certain inhabitants of the commune, 
elected by the Commune itself, and to be subject to their 
inspection and local administration. 

The district schools were to be divided into ' ' general " 
schools, for general instruction ; ' c training," for preparing 
masters for elementary schools ; and special or " real " 
schools, for teaching agriculture, trade, and other special 

In addition to the seven existing gymnasiums, six more 
were directed to be added, and instead of the Institute of 
Nobles, a lyceum was founded, as an establishment where a 
supplementary or superior class to those existing in gymna- 
siums might be taught. The scholars might belong to any 
religious denomination, and the cost of instruction was only 
sixteen roubles (about 2. 10s.) a year. 

A Polytechnic institute was founded in Pulova, and the plan 
of the University of Warsaw was sketched out. It was to be 
composed of four faculties : medicine ; philosophy, or physics, 
and mathematics ; jurisprudence j and history and philology. 
To the University two seminaries were to be attached for 
preparing masters for gymnasiums and district schools. The 
Polytechnic institute was to be composed of five sections 
mechanics, civil engineering, mining, agriculture, and forestry. 
Students of all religious persuasions were admitted to the 
University, and the cost of instruction was only twenty roubles 
a year. 

The national language, history, and literature were to be 


taught in all the schools; the Polish language was alone 
employed in giving instruction; and the Russian language 
was only taught in the superior and secondary schools. 

Such were the institutions founded in consequence of the 
decree of 14th March, 1861 ; institutions whidh were intended 
to pave the way to others of a yet more liberal tendency, and 
to the eventual introduction of a system of constitutional 
government in Poland. They seemed well adapted for that 
purpose ; for local self-government is the best prelude to 
national representation, and extended education is the surest 
preparation for the responsibilities of power. 

Having thus evidenced the principles upon which it intended 
that Poland should in future be ruled, the Government of the 
Emperor proceeded to vindicate its contemned authority. 
The Agricultural Society was dissolved, and the house where 
its meetings had been held was closed. 

For some time past in fact, ever since the events of 27th 
February public feeling had been greatly excited in Warsaw ; 
disturbances were constantly created, which ceased before the 
police could reach the spot whence they proceeded; great 
masses of the people assembled at the graves of the so-called 
' ' martyrs," and there, as well as before the image of the Virgin 
in public places, chanted the national hymn. 

When the suppression of the Agricultural Society was 
effected, the feelings of the masses of Warsaw found more 
decided utterance; the Society was to them the only embodi- 
ment and representation of the aspirations and will of the 
people, and they resented its dissolution as another national 
wrong. A multitude of all classes thronged to the house 
which was now closed, they crowned its doors and windows 
with flowers, they chanted seditious hymns, and then pro- 
ceeded to the Sigismund Place, and drew up before the 
residence of Prince Gortschakoff. The Prince, accompanied 
by his aides-de-camp, endeavoured to persuade the people to 
depart, but they refused to obey him, and remained there 
undisturbed until night. The crowd was so great that the 
Prince was unwilling to employ force, which, had it been 
resorted to, would have entailed the sacrifice of many lives. 
On the following day the demonstration was repeated; 


dense masses assembled in the same place, and when legally 
summoned to disperse, refused to do so, and their conduct 
became turbulent. The Government had, on the previous 
night, decided that it would be necessary if the crowd 
re-assembled, to disperse it forcibly, should all milder expe- 
dients fail; and, pursuant to this determination, after the 
legal summons had been often repeated, the cavalry charged 
and scattered the people ; but it was to little purpose^ for the 
masses quickly re-formed themselves. 

It is very difficult to ascertain with precision the events 
which subsequently took place. The accounts published in 
the journals representing the " Emigration " are utterly 
untrustworthy. To lead to these disorders, and subsequently 
make political capital out of them ; to exaggerate and spread 
abroad the falsest and most damaging reports of Russian 
excesses, was the policy inculcated by their leaders, and 
insisted on in their state papers. It is impossible, therefore, 
to recognize such accounts as possessing in themselves the 
smallest historical value. More moderate* enemies of the 
Government affirm that the crowd was " so excited, though 
perfectly peaceable, that threats alone, or the employment of 
force against a few, would never have broken it up." 

* Mr. Edwards gives, as the result of inquiries made by him in Warsaw, 
shortly after these occurrences, the following statement : 

" To begin with, however, it is quite untrue that the troops rushed into the 
town from the citadel and the various camps, and, taking up their positions, 
began the attack without warning, and without the people being repeatedly 
summoned to retire. 

" In spite of a few assertions to the contrary, I am convinced, from 
abundant and most reliable testimony, that the crowd in the Sigsmund Place, 
in front of the Castle, was so numerous and compact, and the persons com- 
posing it, though perfectly peaceable, so excited, that threats alone, or the 
employment of force against a few, could never have broken it up. It might 
have been prevented from forming, or have been left unmolested until night, 
and the proper precautions taken against its re-assembling the next day, 
which was not, like the day of the * massacre,' a holiday. . . . It is said 
that the Poles laughed at the soldiers, and threw cigars at them with a 
generosity which the Russian generals apparently thought could not fail to 
shake discipline. These contempt-breeding familiarities were checked by 
the wanton slaughter of some forty men." 

Speaking of the time during which the firing continued, Mr. "Edwards 


The Government accounts are more consistent and probable, 
and from inquiries it has been in my power to make, I am 
satisfied they are believed in official circles in Kussia to be 
true. I have also inquired from those who were present on 
the occasion, and found them substantially confirmed. They 
state that, on the crowd re-forming, stones were flung at the 

The soldiers were then ordered to fire, and some few 
discharges dispersed the crowd. The number of the killed 
was ten. 

The wounded were carried to the hospitals, or to their own 
homes, and there appears no reason to suppose that any 
unnecessary rigour was employed after the demonstration was 

The revolutionary press took advantage of these events. 
Hundreds of persons, it alleged, had lost their lives, and to 
conceal the greatness of the slaughter, the troops had thrown 

states : u The discharges of musketry were not kept up with anything like 
continuity. The first rank fired. The second rank advanced, and collected 
the killed and wounded. Then there was a pause until after a certain interval, 
the crowd not dispersing, the order to fire again was given. Persons who 
witnessed this bloody scene declare that, instead of producing terror and 
dismay, the volleys of the Eussians at first only excited the indignation of the 
Poles, and roused in them a species of enthusiasm, which may be called the 
enthusiasm of martyrdom. 

" Many went down on their knees, but not to their enemies. In some 
parts of the crowd the more timid were entreated in the name of their country 
to remain firm, and these appeals were not without effect. Afterwards, when 
numbers had been shot down, and brute force was beginning to triumph, the 
most determined and desperate among the crowd still cried out that there 
must be no retreating, and some were seen to join hands, so as to prevent 
those before them from falling back." The Polish Captivity, by Sutherland 
Edwards, vol. i. p. 61. 

This account comes from an enthusiastic supporter of the cause of the 
insurgents, and is the result no doubt of careful inquiry ; but that inquiry 
was evidently, from the whole tenor of the work, made from men excited by 
party passion, and maddened by the scenes through which they had lately 
passed. The author does not appear to note the inconsistency which exists 
between the highly-wrought feelings which forbade the mob to separate unless 
dispersed by force, and the sentiment which led them "to laugh at the 
soldiers, and generously throw them cigars :" yet the two moods are hardly 


their bodies into the Vistula ; the town of Warsaw had been 
given up to pillage, and the soldiers had only been recalled 
from this shameless occupation at five o'clock in the evening 
by the peal of the trumpet and the beat of the drum. The 
workmen in the town had to draw lots to see who among them 
should suffer death; a war contribution was levied on the 
inhabitants for the support of the troops ; and a Major Penker 
(who committed suicide the day before these events happened) 
killed himself to avoid participating in the cruelties consequent 
upon them. 

These are only some of the reports which were circulated 
constantly and with zeal ; they were extensively copied by the 
press of Western Europe, and tended to excite hostility to 
.Russia, and admiration of the party by whom she was defied. 

During the ensuing six or sQven months, Warsaw continued 
in a very agitated state. The Russian authorities were 
nervously anxious to avoid further bloodshed ; they resolved 
to submit to almost every indignity rather than have recourse 
to it ; and orders were secretly issued to the officers in the 
town, directing them in silence to submit to insults which 
they would at another time have repressed with promptitude 
and severity. Encouraged by the sufferance it met with, the 
frivolous element in the Polish character displayed itself in all 
its vanity ; civilians were seen strutting through the streets 
arrayed in what they called the national garb, and thus 
equipped they would stroll along with their arms akimbo, 
treat every Russian they met with marked incivility, and be 
followed by admiring crowds of boys and lads, who enthu- 
siastically cheered them. This national dress consisted of a 
white shirt, blue trousers, top boots reaching to the knee, 
a belt from which copper rings were suspended, which jingled 
when they were moved, and a red cap with a fur brim ; on 
the shirt was a long red collar, hanging down over the 
shoulders, and embroidered with gold. The town looked 
extremely gay when half-filled by these dramatic costumes, 
and the gentlemen who indulged in them wore them with a 
proud consciousness that they were thus performing a great 
act of patriotic duty. There were constant gatherings in the 
streets and disturbances were hourly expected. 


The Eussian soldiers and officers were beyond measure 
exasperated at the insults to which they were compelled to 
submit : it was no uncommon thing to see them followed by 
a crowd of men and boys whistling and hooting at them ; and 
their orders compelled them to bear these irfsults in silence. 
There were at this time in Warsaw bands of the lower orders, 
who made it their business to hire themselves out to whoever 
desired to annoy an enemy. A regular tariff of prices was 
established, and one charge was made for a mere charivari, 
another for a charivari which was accompanied by breaking 
windows. The pretence of patriotism was still kept up, and 
photographs of the head of the charivari band were exten- 
sively sold. 

It was during this period that Prince Grortschakoff died. 
He was an able officer and a.n estimable man, but it was 
the misfortune of his life to be appointed to the vice-royalty 
of Poland under circumstances which afforded him no scope 
for the display of his military abilities, and required the 
exercise of administrative talents which he did not possess. 
An anecdote is related of him which strikingly illustrates the 
perplexity of his mind after the events of February and April. 
Talking to a gentleman who was supposed to be a leader of 
the disaffected party, he walked up and down the room in an 
excited manner, and told him he was much harassed by the 
policy of his coadjutors. "Why don't you rebel?" he asked; 
' ' I should know how to treat you then, but this system of 
unarmed agitation is killing me ; why don't you take up arms 
and fight for the realization of your views ? " " We have no 
arms, Excellency," was the reply. "Is that the only difficulty ?" 
answered the Prince ; ( ' if so, I will gladly supply them ; and 
shall be rejoiced to settle this question by such an appeal, 
instead of having to deal with this miserable system of un- 
armed agitation." 

This anecdote well portrays the character of the Lieutenant. 
He was a soldier, and against a foreign foe would have 
acquitted himself manfully and with zeal ; but he understood 
little of the art of administration, and nothing of the means 
by which civil intrigues are to be met. Vacillating between 
extreme harshness and unwise concession, there was nothing 


certain in his policy or consistent in his conduct ; and the 
conspirators who plotted the overthrow of Russian supremacy 
took courage when they found the Lieutenant struck not at 
them, or only struck with a wild and wavering aim. A settled 
policy is absolutely necessary to curb revolutionary passions in 
anxious and troubled times, and the conduct of Prince Grort- 
schakoff proved that he had no policy whatever. To fire on 
the mob on 27th February, and subsequently to follow up 
that measure by acts of stern repression, would have possibly 
been severe, but at least it would have been intelligible ; 
but to fire on the mob, and, two days afterwards, to consign 
the peace of Warsaw to its care, was to act in a manner 
altogether irreconcileable with reason and common sense. 
Inconsistencies so startling gave hope and encouragement to 
the revolutionary movement, for they led to the impression 
that Russia regarded her position with impatience and dislike 
and that if the agitation were continued she might be content 
to emancipate herself from the embarrassment it caused, 
by rendering back at least the Congress kingdom to the 
control of the Polish race. 



Count Lambert. Declaration of State of Siege. Demonstration of 15th Octo- 
ber. The Blockade of the Churches. Mourning. Attempted Murder of 
General Luders. Appointment of Grand Duke Constantine as Viceroy. 
The Marquis of Wielopolski ; his character and policy. Attempts to 
assassinate the Grand Duke and the Marquis. Distinction between the 
Kingdom of Poland and the Western Provinces. Address of Polish 
Proprietors. Count Andrew Zamoyski ; his exile. 

COUNT LAMBEKT, the successor of Prince Gortschakoff, per- 
mitted the system of his predecessor to continue for some 
time, until at length the anarchy in which the city was plunged 
became utterly inconsistent with the supremacy of the law. 
Not only were the outrages to which allusion has been already 
made of constant occurrence, but revolutionary proclamations 
and appeals to the people were daily circulated, and on the 
occasion of the funeral of the Archbishop of Warsaw, religious 
emblems expressive of the union of Poland and Lithuania, 
accompanied the funeral cortege. The churches were, trans- 
formed, by the complicity of some members of the Catholic 
clergy, into theatres for the display of manifestations of 
hostility to the Government, and in many places the Te 
Deums celebrated on certain days by command of the Emperor 
were stifled by the chant of the national hymn. That hymn, 
too, was chanted in church and cathedral on every occasion 
where it was possible to introduce it. It was heard at day- 
time in the crowded street, and its swell faintly reverbe- 
rated at night in every quarter of the silent city. Money also 
was being collected for purposes said to be patriotic, though 
the objects were unavowed ; and the Russians saw that a mine 
was preparing beneath their feet to be exploded on the first 
occasion when the revolutionary leaders had courage or 
opportunity to fire it. 

The Government considered that it was necessary to resort 


to determined measures, and in order to stop a political mani- 
festation intended for the 15th of October, Count Lambert, by 
a proclamation issued the day previously, declared the kingdom 
of Poland to be in a state of siege. In this proclamation, after 
noticing the acts which in his opinion made the step a neces- 
sary one, he continued, " I invite the peaceable inhabitants 
of the kingdom not to be influenced by the promptings or 
threats of the agitators, which from to-day have lost their 
value, and to afford their co-operation to the Government, so 
as to preserve the public well-being. I exhort fathers of 
families to watch over their households, and particularly 
their children under age, who may accidentally incur the 
penalties of a state of siege, which extend to every person, 
without regard to age or sex, when it represses by force 
tumults in the public streets." 

The celebration intended for the following day was that of 
the anniversary of the death of Kosciusko, and for some time 
past placards had been hawked about, inviting the inhabitants 
to consecrate it by assisting at the funeral services to be per- 
formed in all the churches ; these placards also urged that all 
shops and magazines should be closed. 

A special notice to the inhabitants of the town was issued 
simultaneously with the proclamation of the state of siege, by 
which it was pointed out that at such periods it was forbidden 
to chant revolutionary hymns, to celebrate fetes not recog- 
nized by the law, or to close shops and magazines. A fine of 
100 roubles, it was stated, would be imposed upon any one 
who broke the last-mentioned rule. 

These proclamations brought the Government face to face 
with the revolutionary party. On the one side concession had 
been carried to its utmost limit ; on the other, the recollec- 
tion of many acts of successful insubordination gave encourage- 
ment to schemes of yet more determined resistance. The 
party of action resolved to persevere. To draw back now, to 
abandon their celebration at the mandate of the Eussian 
Governor, would have been to surrender the hard- won fruits 
of a prolonged and anxious struggle ; it would have obliterated 
the memory of the Delegation, it would have thrown dishonour 
on the martyred dead above all, it would have flung Poland 


again at the feet of her conqueror, and permitted him to 
despise the people he never yet had spurned. Such were the 
motives which urged on the disaffected party to a fatal trial of 
strength with the Government. The answer given to the 
proclamation and notice of the state of siege, was the issue 
of fresh placards, urging the people to disregard them, and to 
persevere in the celebration of the anniversary. 

On the morning of the 15th the shops and magazines 
throughout the city were wholly or partially closed, and im- 
mense multitudes of every age and rank and of both sexes 
thronged to the churches to take part in the religious services. 
The cathedral and the church attached to the Bernardine mo- 
nastery were especially thronged, and when the services com- 
menced, it was estimated that the two congregations numbered 
about four thousand. 

To prevent any unseemly disturbances, it had been deter- 
mined by the authorities that the military should in no case 
enter the churches, but that after they were filled, the troops 
should surround them, and that when the congregations left, 
all the men who formed part of them should be arrested, 
while the women and children should be permitted to leave 

By half-past ten o'clock it was ascertained that the revo- 
lutionary hymn was being chanted in all the churches, and 
the military were ordered to surround them. The congrega- 
tions, however, were informed of their approach, and when 
the troops reached them, all the churches were empty except 
that of the Bernardines and the cathedral. 

The congregations in these churches soon learned that they 
were surrounded, but they continued their services, chanted 
their national hymn, and did not allow the approach of the 
troops to disturb their devotions. 

Such of the women and children as wished to leave were 
allowed to do so, but very few availed themselves of the 
permission; the great mass resolved to share the fate of their 
kindred, and remained. Then the inner doors were closed, 
all communication with the troops was cut off, and nothing 
was to be heard save the voice of exhortation and of prayer. 

Meanwhile the city was occupied by troops. Cavalry and 


infantry patrolled the streets ; groups were not allowed to 
congregate together, and the excitement of the populace 
was curbed by the stern hand of military law. 

Thus passed the day. The night was approaching, yet 
from within the churches arose no sound of vacillation or of 
fear. Unawed by the presence of the enemy, untired by the 
long continuance of a military blockade, the worshippers still 
bent before the altar of their God and implored His assistance 
to save their country from the chain. The weary soldiers, 
worn out with fatigue and unsustained by the religious excite- 
ment of the fevered crowds over which they watched, were 
relieved ; their places were taken by fresh troops ; the wor- 
shippers saw that the Government was determined to maintain 
its position, and yet they showed no symptoms of surrender, 
and refused to quit the beleaguered churches. 

The Government was greatly embarrassed. Judging from 
the constancy they had hitherto displayed, there seemed little 
chance of the people leaving the churches, and the dangers 
that would probably arise from allowing them to remain were 
very considerable. For twelve long hours authority had been 
set at nought, and this in face of warnings and proclamations 
of the severest kind, and at a period when a state of siege 
justified the utmost rigour. The country was trembling 011 
the verge of rebellion, and this was the moment the populace 
of Warsaw selected to measure itself against the Lieutenant 
of the kingdom. Then, too, among the thousands pent up 
within the churches were probably many who could ill endure 
protracted confinement and a prolonged fast ; if there were 
any sufferers from these physical causes, the revolutionary 
press would inscribe their names in the list of political mar- 
tyrs, and the Russians keenly remembered the scenes of 27th 
February, and deprecated their recurrence. 

There was another danger in delay. Intelligence of a posi- 
tive kind had been received that the disaffected were prepar- 
ing a great demonstration for the following day, one feature of 
which was to be a procession of clergy and people towards 
the beleaguered churches. To avoid the consequences which 
it was feared this gathering might give rise to, and to ter- 
minate a contest of which they were very weary, the authorities 



directed the churches to be entered and the people forcibly 

About midnight an officer entered the Bernardine church, 
from the monastery, and endeavoured to prevail upon the 
crowd to retire, and declared, should hisr solicitations be 
ineffectual, the troops would enter the church and arrest every 
man they found there. His efforts were fruitless ; some per- 
severed on principle, and others because they feared mal- 
treatment from the soldiers if they left. None listened to his 
entreaties, and some threatened to defend themselves if the 
soldiers were sent to arrest them. 

The officer retired for the moment, and then returned at the 
head of thirty soldiers, who entered the church without shakos 
or arms, and making the sign of the cross. The men grouped 
inside the church near the door for the moment endeavoured to 
defend themselves and to assault the soldiers with benches, 
chairs, and any other object which they could convert into a 
weapon of offence ; but the slight struggle which ensued was 
unimportant : the soldiers had no weapons to employ, and 
a few bruises were all the injury that either side sustained. 
All the men in the church were arrested in groups of 100 
each, and were escorted, first to the fortress, and subsequently 
to the Alexander citadel. 

Towards three o'clock in the morning all efforts to induce 
the congregation to leave proving unavailing, twenty soldiers 
entered the cathedral with bare heads but carrying their 
muskets. It was expressly forbidden that, under any circum- 
stances, they should fire ; and only in case of extremity were 
they to employ the butt end. They compelled the men to 
leave one by one, and as they left they were arrested. The 
total number of arrests in the two churches was 1,678. 

Some of the women and children left during the night, and 
at their own request were conducted to their homes by the 
police ; the remainder were allowed to remain in the church 
till morning. 

In the cathedral a priest was observed who, cross in hand, 
violently incited the people to resist; he, too, was captured 
and as he left the cathedral he assumed the air of a martyr, 


fervently clasping the cross and evidently anticipating that 
his sufferings would excite the greatest sympathy. 

Count Lambert was on the spot, and his carriage was in 
attendance j he was much distressed at the whole proceeding, 
and the capture of this ecclesiastical martyr embarrassed him 
more than any other incident that had occurred. By his 
directions the astonished priest was courteously escorted to 
the carriage of his Excellency, and the people who a moment 
before had regarded him as their champion changed their 
minds when they saw him comfortably seated in the carriage 
of the governor, and supposed he had betrayed them. After 
a few hours' detention, the priest was released and allowed to 
return to his duties. 

Eeports were quickly circulated through Europe alleging 
that the Russians had committed the greatest atrocities on 
this occasion ; they were charged with cruelty, unnecessary 
violence, and wicked profanation; excesses of every descrip- 
tion were alleged against them, and, all the antecedents of the 
revolutionary party being ignored, the occurrence was repre- 
sented as a wanton inroad of barbarians on a peaceful congre- 
gation engaged in the performance of religious duties. Yet 
no one who has ever travelled in Russia can have failed to 
remark the reverence shown by all classes to churches and 
shrines, whether of their own or of another faith. At Wilna, 
from the prince to the common soldier, I have seen them walk 
bareheaded under the image of the Virgin of Ostrobrama, 
although that is a Catholic and not a Greek shrine, and in 
other places their devotional feelings are evidenced with equal 

Now, as the Government felt that all occurrences such as 
those of the 13th of October were calculated to damage their 
influence both in Poland and Europe, it is most improbable 
that they would have neglected to preserve the churches from 
profanation, and the orders which they allege were given and 
obeyed are exactly such as we should anticipate to have been 
issued under the circumstances. 

The information upon which my narrative of these events 
is founded is partly documentary ; but I have also had direct 

G 2 


personal communication with a gentleman who took a promi- 
nent part in them, and upon whose memory, accuracy, and 
good faith I can implicitly rely. 

The establishment of a state of siege changed the whole 
aspect of affairs in Warsaw ; all outward manifestations of dis- 
affection ceased ; the revolutionary hymn was no longer per- 
mitted to be sung, political celebrations were suppressed, and 
to all outward appearance the supremacy of the Government 
was restored. Yet the state of affairs was really unchanged ; 
public feeling had been too successfully roused to be now 
lulled by superficial defeats, and the machinery of secret 
agitation continued to work unchecked. 

There is little to chronicle in the few months that succeeded 
the declaration of the state of siege. The Catholic clergy, 
however, manifested their hostility to the Government by 
closing all the churches in Warsaw under the pretext that 
they desired to save them from profanation ; the administrator 
of the see was summoned before one of the Commissions 
of Inquiry to answer for this offence, and, finding that he had 
committed a fault which during the existence of a state of 
siege had rendered him liable to capital punishment, he 
alleged that he desired to avoid the singing of the revolu- 
tionary hymn in the temple of God. The great doors of the 
churches remained closed, but the smaller doors were kept open, 
and the religious services were resumed, so that no great 
practical inconvenience arose from the course adopted by the 
clergy ; they, however, discontinued ringing the bells of the 
churches, and took advantage of every safe opportunity that 
offered to show their enmity to the Government. 

From the time that the state of siege was proclaimed 
mourning was universally worn ; no lady could appear in the 
street in a coloured dress without being grossly insulted in 
case she had no protector with her; Eussian ladies were 
subjected to so many indignities that they generally adopted 
mourning, that their nationality might not be remarked. To 
such an extent were these outrages carried, that a French lady 
residing in Warsaw, who had weak eyes and wore a green 
shade to protect them from the sun, had the shade violently 


torn from her because its colour was inconsistent with 

In June, 1862, an audacious attempt was made to assassinate 
General Luders, who succeeded Count Lambert in the govern- 
ment of Poland. He was an old man, and for the benefit of his 
health was in the habit of going early every morning to drink 
mineral waters in a small park in the centre of the town, 
known as the Saxon Garden; while walking there he was 
fired at by a man who was fourteen yards behind him ; the 
ball entered the back of his neck, broke the jawbone and 
passed out through the cheek ; the General fell, and was car- 
ried severely wounded to the palace. 

. About this time it was resolved that the government of 
Poland should be committed to the Grand Duke Constantino, 
a prince who possessed considerable popularity in Russia, and 
in whom the Emperor reposed unlimited confidence. With 
more than average abilities, possessing a refined and culti- 
vated mind, and a disposition which inclined to conciliation 
and not to severity, the Grand Duke seemed a well-chosen 
instrument for carrying out an enlightened and liberal policy. 
His want of knowledge of the peculiarities of the Polish cha- 
racter, and the many intricate questions in which the interests 
and prejudices of the inhabitants of the kingdom were in- 
volved, was guarded against by the appointment as his chief 
minister of the Marquis Wielopolski. I shall have hereafter 
to allude to the policy and views of the Marquis. It is for 
the present sufficient to remark that with great ability, 
great knowledge of his country and the wishes of his country- 
men, and being, as far as it is w possible to judge, animated by 
sincere patriotism, he was nevertheless probably the most 
unpopular man in Poland. He had the reputation of having 
acquired his property by lawsuits successfully conducted against 
numerous opponents ; and rumour alleged that he was a harsh, 
unscrupulous adversary. 

A man of cold and haughty manners, silent and self-reliant, 
few sympathized with him, and in none did he confide. In 
youth he had identified himself with the unfortunate struggle 

of 1830, and saw his hopes blighted when that revolt was 


crushed. He turned to Austria, and dreamed that through 
her agency the national spirit might revive, and through her 
aid independence might at length be won; she answered 
him by the annexation of Cracow and the extermination of 
hundreds of the Galician nobles. Exasperated by her perfidy, 
his letter to Prince Metternich was the gage of a battle in 
which he strove to involve her a battle with Polish nationality 
assisted by the Russian arms. In that remarkable letter he 
declared that he would no longer struggle for an independent 
Poland; combination with Russia would in time give her 
strength, happiness, and freedom, and the union of the great 
Slavonic races under one dominion was the object for which 
he would thereafter strive. 

In that Slavonic doctrine there is much to attract the suf- 
frages of theoretic politicians, and from books rather than 
from men had Wielopolski learned his state-craft. Able he 
was, brave and resolute as well, and his courage did not falter 
when opposition surrounded him on every side ; still he ad- 
hered to his policy, still he had confidence in his plans, and 
was willing to commit his own personal safety and the security 
of the State to their ultimate success. 

But the Marquis had no followers. He was not the idol of 
the people ; he was not the champion of a class ; and, amid 
Poles who hated and Russians who distrusted him, he stood 
alone. Confident in his own genius, a sincere believer in the 
ultimate success of his efforts, he asked no counsel and courted 
no assistance. " I am certain," he said to one who knew him 
well, " that my policy must finally succeed, and all I ask is to 
carry it through without interruption." He allowed not, how- 
ever, for the abiding power of national hatred ; he thought 
material and political interests would bind up the wounds and 
silence the complaints which were the growth of ninety years, 
and expected the Polish nobility to lay aside their hereditary 
enmities the moment autonomy was granted and a paper con- 
stitution announced. A practical statesman would have seen 
that something more was required, and that confidence would 
not exist till it was seen that the new constitution would be 
observed. It will be seen hereafter that, unfortunately for 
his own fame, an act dictated by this statesman shook the 


faith even of the most loyal, and confirmed the gloomiest 
suspicions of the disaffected and wavering. 

Arrogant and unbending, there was about him a contemp- 
tuous disdain of others which told them he prided himself 
on his intellectual superiority, and that he was resolved 
to do his will notwithstanding all the opposition they might 
make to it. 

He seemed alike unfitted to win the favour of the court or 
the people. When he entered the vice-regal apartments, men 
stood aside and shrunk from meeting him, for he had no 
following and was too proud to acknowlege any equal. When 
he went abroad, he was not safe from the hatred of the people, 
and a guard of eight gendarmes was constantly in attend- 
ance on him to save him and his equipage from insult and 

He viewed popular applause with fierce disdain, and an 
anecdote is told of him, which, whether true or false, has at 
least the advantage of showing the received estimate of his 
character. " The government of your Excelleny," said some 
one, wishing to flatter him, "is certainly more popular than 
it was." " Ah ! indeed ! " was the reply. " Fm sorry to 
hear it ; I wonder what mistake I have committed/' 

The public feeling towards him was well expressed by a 
caricature representing him in his carriage surrounded by his 
guards, while the inscription beneath was simply, " Trust me 
as I trust you." 

Without a party or a confidant, there was only one man in 
Poland who willingly accepted him as a guide, but that one 
man was the Grand Duke Constantine, and his trust in Wielo- 
polski never faltered. 

The Grand Duke arrived at Warsaw on the night of the 
2nd of July, and on the night of the 4th an attack was made 
upon his life. A man, named Louis Jaroszynsky, had deter- 
mined to assassinate him on his arrival ; he accordingly went 
to the railway station to meet his victim, but did not upon 
that occasion execute his intention ; he subsequently attri- 
buted his inaction to the fact that the Grand Duchess accom- 
panied her husband, and he was unwilling to shock her with 
the sight of the assassination of her husband. It seems, 


however, more probable that it was due to the difficulties the 
occasion presented. 

On the night of the 4th the Grand Duke went to the theatre, 
and as he left it he was surrounded by the officers of his 
staff, who accompanied hirn to his carriage ; he stepped in, fol- 
lowed by his aide-de-camp. At this moment a man standing 
near clasped his hands as though he wished to present a 
petition to him ; the Grand Duke bent forward to listen, the 
man produced a revolver and fired ; the ball struck him on 
the left shoulder, and the pistol was so close that his whiskers 
were singed; the assassin was arrested. The wound of the 
Grand Duke was examined and pronounced not to be dan- 
gerous, and he returned to the Summer Palace, where he was 
then residing. The ball with which the pistol was loaded could 
not be discovered at the time, but on undressing it was found 
in his clothes, with part of the gold wire of his epaulet attached 
to it. He evidently owed his life to the altered direction 
given to the ball by the epaulet, and to the fact that the pistol 
was insufficiently loaded. 

The Grand Duke expressed his conviction to the municipal 
council that this was an isolated circumstance and was not the 
result of any conspiracy ; but this opinion appears to have been 
erroneous, as two daggers were subsequently found at the 
door of the theatre. 

It is believed that the culprit had poisoned himself pre- 
viously to the commission of this crime, for when arrested he 
was violently sick, and it was found necessary to give him 
milk in large quantities to counteract the effects of the 
poison; one of his first acts was to throw himself on his 
knees and return thanks to God for his success ; for he had seen 
the Grand Duke fall, and thought he had killed him. 

On the 7th of August an attempt was made to assassinate 
the Marquis Wielopolski. On leaving the Treasury on that day 
he was twice fired at ineffectually by a man named Ludovic 
Ryll; and on the 15th of August a second attempt was made 
upon his life by a man named Ejontza, who attempted to 
stab him as he was passing in his carriage along one of the 
boulevards of the town. 

These attempts were attributed by the Marquis to a desire, 


on the part of the ultra-revolutionary party, to prevent the 
grant of the free institutions the Government was determined 
to confer. In making this statement, he announced that the 
Government would not be deterred from adopting such 
measures as it believed to be useful and necessary to the 

Accordingly, the works of reform went on; the various 
liberal institutions granted by the Emperor were gradually 
elaborated, and every evidence was given which should have 
served to convince the Polish nation that the Government 
was acting in sincerity and good faith. 

Nevertheless, instead of accepting the privileges granted 
to them, and consolidating the advantages thus obtained before 
they sought to acquire more, a large party among the nobles 
and proprietors determined, by assuming a defiant attitude, to 
win further concessions from the Government. 

It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader that there 
is a great historical and political difference between the 
kingdom of Poland, often called the Congress Kingdom, 
and the so-called Western Provinces of Russia. The 
kingdom of Poland is substantially identical with the grand 
duchy of Warsaw of former times ; wrested from his enemies 
by Alexander I., he was found in possession of it when 
the Congress of Vienna re-settled the limits of the empires 
and kingdoms of Europe; he claimed it as his own by 
right of conquest, and intimated with tolerable clearness that 
nothing would induce him to surrender his prey. At the 
close of a war which had already lasted a quarter of a century, 
the diplomatists of Europe declined to risk its renewal, in 
order that the grand duchy of Warsaw might become an 
independent state ; therefore the duchy was, by the treaty of 
Vienna, confirmed to the Emperor Alexander, under the title 
of the kingdoni of Poland. He on his part undertook, in 
effect, to give it such liberal institutions as he in his discretion 
thought fit. The result was the granting of that constitution 
of which diplomatists have written so much and apparently 
known so little ; and this constitution was cancelled by the 
Emperor Nicholas, who declared that the Poles had forfeited 
it by the revolt of 1830. 


The Western provinces of Russia, however, including the 
whole of ancient Lithuania, as well as the provinces of 
Volhynia, Podolia, and the Ukraine, had been won from 
Poland in the successive partitions which took place during 
the last century. These provinces had been .thoroughly in- 
corporated in the political system of the empire, and were 
regarded by every Russian as forming integral parts of it. As 
we have already seen, however, the proprietors and educated 
classes in these provinces were Poles by sympathy and 
descent, and regarded them as by right belonging to the 
kingdom of Poland. 

Early in September, a proprietor who was anxious that the 
nobility should take an active part in the revolutionary move- 
ment requested a large number of them to meet together in 
Warsaw. They met, and he produced the draft of an address 
which he proposed should be presented to the Grand Duke, 
containing a statement of grievances and a demand for their 
removal. The tone of this address was unwise, and it was not 
drawn up with ability. Those who signed it, although not 
refusing the reforms conceded by the Emperor, expressed 
their conviction that no measures whatever would succeed in 
pacifying the country or reconciling it to the Crown until the 
Government was a Polish one, and until " all those provinces 
which form our nation are united in one by means of organic 
and free institutions ; " in short, they required the union of 
the Western provinces of Russia to the kingdom of Poland.* 
This address was debated long and angrily in a conference 
which lasted several days. According to the Russian law, 
such an address was illegal, and many of the proprietors also 
deemed it to be unwise. A considerable proportion of them, 
therefore, refused to sanction it, and left the assembly; the 
remainder signed it. 

A deputation of twenty- six of those who were parties to it 
waited on Count Andrew Zamoyski, and requested him to 
present the memorial to the Grand Duke. He read it, pro- 
nounced it an "imbecile" document, threw it into the fire, 
and refused to have anything to do with it. 

* A Russian hearing the address read, piously made the sign of the cross, 
and said, " Thank God, they leave us at least Moscow." 


A few days later the deputation again waited on him with 
an unsigned copy of the address, and begged, if he did not 
himself coincide in its views, or think it wise so to express 
them, he would at least mention the subject to the Grand 
Duke, and tell him what was the purport of the document. 
This he consented to do, on the distinct understanding that 
he was to choose his own time and mode of doing so, post- 
poning the communication to any period, however distant, 
when in his opinion it would be wise to make it. 

Rumours of this petition spread through Warsaw; the 
official paper of the 15th stated that the Government would 
never permit a private assembly to arrogate to itself the 
power of an organized body, or allow any subject of the 
Emperor or king to step forward, either as the leader of such 
a body, or as its organ ; it concluded by saying that the step 
taken was contrary to the established order of things, and 
Count Andrew Zamoyski would have to answer for it to his 

The authorities had misconstrued the fact ; they regarded 
Count Zamoyski as the instigator of the address, and resolved 
to put a stop to a manifestation which they considered 
dangerous to the public peace. The Grand Duke sent for and 
questioned him on the subject, and he replied that there was 
now no address in existence ; but he produced the copy, and 
stated the circumstances as they occurred, The Grand Duke 
replied, he must refer the matter to the Emperor, whom he 
desired Count Zamoyski to see. He added that the Count 
was not to consider himself under arrest, but that he wished 
him immediately to repair to St. Petersburg and explain his 
conduct to his sovereign. In the existing state of the 
country, the Grand Duke declined to assume any responsi- 
bility in the matter. 

A few days later, an interview between the Count and the 
Emperor took place ; the former explained at length his view 
of the requirements of his country, and its present condition, 
as well as his own conduct. He was listened to with attention 
and consideration ; but the audience was closed by the Emperor 
intimating to Count Zamoyski that in the present disturbed 
state of public affairs he thought it desirable that the Count 


should travel abroad for a short period, until the popular agita- 
tion had calmed down, and his presence could be permitted 
without danger of treasonable manifestations being provoked. 

This act has in Poland been widely attributed to the influ- 
ence of the Marquis Wielopolski, and the same spirit seems to 
have animated it that subsequently .prompted the conscription. 
At this time Count Andrew Zamoyski was the avowed head of 
the resident proprietors of Poland. He and other members of 
his family enjoyed great estates and the inheritance of an illus- 
trious name. He was one of those who believed the regene- 
ration of his country would be better effected by industrial 
than political means. In all questions, therefore, by which 
industry could be developed or agriculture improved he took 
a leading part ; and while, on the one hand, he organized and 
was principal proprietor of the steamboats which plied upon 
the Vistula, on the other he had introduced great improve- 
ments on his own estates, and endeavoured to assimilate the 
condition of his peasants to that of the class of small tenant 
farmers in our own country. His tendencies were indeed so 
greatly in favour of our civil and political institutions that he 
was at one time known as " the English Count." With the 
exception of his connection with the Agricultural Society, he 
does not appear to have taken part in any of the more violent 
proceedings of the disaffected parties, and in his great estates 
and easy temperament the Government had efficient guarantee 
for his not allowing himself to be involved in treasonable prac- 
tices. He was by force of circumstances placed in antagonism to 
the Marquis Wielopolski, and if he had been ambitious of political 
distinction, there was a great field open for him. The mob who 
hurrahed for " Zamoyski, the first nobleman of Poland/' only 
echoed the popular sentiment, and he could easily have given 
direction to any national movement. His disposition, how- 
ever, was not adventurous, his views were conservative, and 
if, instead of intriguing for his exile, the Marquis Wielopolski 
had endeavoured to enlist his active aid in the service of the 
crown, he might have gained an adherent whose active assist- 
ance could perhaps have prevented the subsequent outbreak 
of the insurrection. 

His compulsory withdrawal gave an apparent advantage to 


the Marquis Wielopolski ; there was now no rival to contend 
with him for power, or to thwart the development of his plans. 
The nameless masses had no leader ; the unruly nobles had 
lost their chief, and, high in the confidence of his sovereign, 
with a distinct policy and unbending will, the future of Poland 
was apparently in his grasp. 

These advantages were dearly won. The dismissal of Count 
Zamoyski brought the Marquis face to face with the revolu- 
tion. Its unbridled passions, its tireless exertions, its un- 
scrupulous mendacity, and its assassin zeal were no longer 
under any control. The nobles, who could have checked its 
excesses had they been united, were now without a head ; 
counsels of timidity and rashness alternately swayed them ; the 
conservative influences of property and rank were paralyzed ; 
and though the Marquis ruled, it was over a disaffected land, 
which he governed by the power of the Kussian sword. 



Revolutionary Press. Plan of an Insurrection. Increase of Agitation in 
Western Provinces. Demonstration at Wilna. Repressive Action of 
Government. Celebrations at Kovno, and throughout Lithuania. 
General Disaffection. Wavering Policy of General Nazimoff. Its 

THE revolutionary press was gradually increasing in violence, 
and in the autumn of this year it began to draw comparisons 
between the relative strength of Russia and Poland ; every- 
thing pointed to the determination of the party of action 
quickly to risk the struggle upon which it had so rashly 
resolved. One of the articles which appeared about this time 
will serve to show the nature of the views it held out to its 
dupes. It affirmed that Poland could bring 500,000 men into 
the field ; she contained, it alleged, 22,000,000 inhabitants, of 
whom 4,500,000 were men between the ages of eighteen and 
forty-five ; half of these might be roused to revolt, by which 
means upwards of 2,000,000 recruits would be obtained. Select- 
ing from them those only who were familiar with the use of arms, 
100,000 would be ready to take the field, and of these 50,000 
would form the active army, while the others would constitute 
an army of reserve. With such materials any enemy might 
be baffled; but the means by which this force was to be kept 
in the field and how it was to be fed and clothed were subjects 
upon which no suggestion was offered. It being, however, 
evident that these troops must be armed, the author was upon 
this point more explicit, for he stated that they must provide 
themselves with axes, lances, scythes, and oaken sticks, and 
endeavour to seize the weapons which their enemies possessed. 
The number of Russians, Austrians, and Prussians (for 
the 22,000,000 inhabitants included Gralicia and Posen) which 
might be brought into the field against the insurgents was 
stated at 360,000 men only. 


Kules of action were laid down for the insurgents, which 
appear to have been subsequently acted upon. Thus it is 
recommended that some time before the breaking out of the 
rebellion the country should be agitated by false news, that 
proclamations should be circulated, that disorders should be 
created in the towns, and religious celebrations organized in 
the villages. As soon as the revolt began, the civil and 
military functionaries were to be seized, and the lodgings of 
officers and the barracks of soldiers attacked when part of 
them were absent or asleep. This attempt we shall find was 
made on the night of the 22nd January, 1863. 

In the villages the revolt was to be organized by the land- 
owners, who were to send unarmed men into the towns to win 
partisans there. In the towns a local militia was to be em- 
bodied and drilled. 

To obtain arms, the insurgents were to place themselves in 
ambuscade and assail soldiers passing alone or in very small 
detachments. If the attack failed, recourse must be had to 
flight, arms must be thrown away, and any one who happened 
to be captured must deny having fired, and ascribe his flight 
to his terror at hearing the shot. The authorities would thus 
be compelled to release him or punish by death an unarmed 
man, who would be pronounced innocent by the public voice, 
and such a judicial murder would serve the cause of the insur- 

The events at Warsaw were ably taken advantage of by the 
leaders of the insurrection. On the Continent and in England 
the press teemed with accusations against Eussia, and every 
endeavour was made so to excite public opinion against her 
as to insure the intervention of the great powers of Europe. 

In the Western provinces,* where, as already stated, the 
educated classes are all Poles by birth or sympathy, the revo- 
lutionary propaganda met with rapid success. It was im- 
possible that a contest so strikingly commenced, and which 
was so deeply interesting to every individual of their race, 
should be viewed by them with indifference. 

* This and the following pages are partly a translation of a secret state 
paper of the Russian Government, the accuracy of which is undoubted. 


A feverish excitement pervaded the public mind, and this 
excitement was specially remarkable in the Polish youth. A 
sullen haughtiness was observable in their bearing towards 
the Eussians ; there was a strained attention to events passing 
in Poland, an anxious watching for tidings from thence, and 
an ill- concealed triumph at the success which had attended 
the opposition in the first conflict with the Government. 

The leaders of the movement availed themselves of the 
excited state of public feeling, and redoubled their endeavours 
to inflame the popular passion ; they deluged the country with 
the revolutionary proclamations of Mieroslawski a-nd Czarto- 
ryski ; they exhorted the inhabitants to oppose the authorities, 
to sympathize with the movement, and to emulate the scenes 
of Warsaw; they required them to devote a certain portion of 
their income to the liberation of their fatherland from the 
yoke of the stranger, and they insisted on the necessity of a 
good understanding with the peasants and the lower orders, 
that all classes might harmoniously work together in oppo- 
sition to the Government. 

The results of this agitation were quickly visible. Funds 
were transmitted through secret channels to the foreign leaders 
of the movement, mourning and emblems of national grief 
came gradually into use ; revolutionary verses, speeches, and 
proclamations of every kind soon made their appearance, evi- 
dently the work of moveable as well as secret presses. 

Political demonstrations multiplied. They were expressed 
by funeral services for the victims who fell at Warsaw ; by 
chanting patriotic hymns in churches ; by the celebration of 
anniversaries commemorative of the principal events and of 
the leaders of former revolutions in Poland; by noisy and 
numerous processions; by disrespect to the authorities and 
disobedience to their orders ; and by insults to the military. 

These manifestations were accompanied by the continuous 
raising of funds for treasonable purposes, by the increased acti- 
vity of the secret press, and by the systematic efforts of the 
educated classes to draw the people closer to them, with the 
evident object of destroying the loyalty of the latter by 
placing a hostile interpretation on those legislative acts of 
the Government in which their interests were involved. 


These efforts to secure an unaccustomed popularity in some 
localities induced members of the higher classes of society to 
mix in crowds of the lower orders ; ladies were seen to dance 
with drunken or only half-sober peasants,* and gentlemen 
with peasant women. In such cases mourning was replaced 
by the most vivid colours. On separating, the common people 
were presented with revolutionary verses, songs, and hymns, 
and with emblems of grief, to be thereafter constantly 
worn. There were instances, also, of tumultuous and nu- 
merous gatherings, prepared with such ostentatious manifes- 
tations of violent intent as to force the conclusion on the 
Government, that the ill-affected desired to drive them into 
shedding blood, and thus arouse the people. 

One of the demonstrations about this time was produced by 
the stay of Count Andrew Zamoyski in the neighbourhood of 
Grodno. The crowd, assembled on his departure, took off 
their hats, threw bouquets of flowers, and shouted " Hurrah 
for Zamoyski, the first nobleman of Poland." 

Demonstrations continued to be made during May, June, 
and July in the governments of Wilna, Kovno, Grodno, and 

These demonstrations consisted generally in funeral services, 
mourning, and national dresses. On the 8th (20th) of May, 
however, the festival of St. Stanislaus, the patron saint of one 

* Among the efforts made by the nobility to win the sympathy of their 
inferiors, the following incident has been recorded. Count Zichchavitch, a 
young man of large property near Wilna, desired to enact there the part so 
successfully played in Warsaw by Count Andrew Zamoyski, and he left his 
pedestal to make visits to shoemakers and tailors, and invited them to his 
splendid dwelling. 

The young count paid a visit to a tailor, took him into his carriage, and 
drove him to his mansion, in order to introduce him to the Countess. 

When they entered the splendid hall, filled with servants in livery, 
the latter rushed to their master to assist in taking off his overcoat ; but he 
waved them away, and pointed to his honoured guest. The servants stopped 
in amazement and vacantly stared at the tailor, and the Count was compelled 
to repeat his order. 

The servants would stand it no longer : " How," said one of them, 
" are we to help a fellow who is just such a servant as ourselves ? But 
last week he sat a whole hour in this passage, waiting the orders oi your 



of the Catholic churches in Wilna, the church was crowded. 
The bishop was performing the service when he was suddenly 
interrupted by singing among the congregation. The national 
hymn was sung by five youths, while a friend accompanied them 
upon the organ : the hymn was repeated several times. On 
the congregation leaving the church, the five singers were 
arrested. Immediately after the arrest, some twenty women 
besieged the palace, saw the General- Governor, and demanded 
the release of the prisoners. 

The five young men who had been arrested were students 
from Warsaw, sent from thence to instruct the people of Wilna 
in the national hymn. Previously to the manifestation in the 
church, several meetings took place in private houses, where 
the intended proceeding was discussed. The majority were 
entirely opposed to the scheme, for they anticipated but too 
accurately its fatal issue ; old men implored their juniors not 
to embark in it; but violent counsels were advocated by women 
and priests, and the young men were misled by them. 

On the day following the arrest, crowds of people assembled 
in the Ostro Brama street ; they consisted principally of women, 
schoolboys, and young men. The crowd knelt down and sung 
a hymn ; then all the women, clad in deep mourning, marched 
through the steep and narrow street to the palace of the 
Governor ; the men walked at their side, but did not other- 
wise mingle in the manifestation. This black mass surrounded 
the palace, and about a hundred entered it. The doors leading 
to the great hall were then closed ; the ladies who were ad- 
mitted were mostly of the better class, such as tenants of 
houses, governesses, and wives of proprietors. For some time 
they sat in the hall, and then several were called into the 
Governor's room, and explanations were given. After the 
conference was ended, they were let out by a side- staircase. 

Meanwhile the crowd without became tumultuous, and a 
detachment of soldiers arrived, together with the fire-engines ; 
their intervention, however, was not required, and after two 
hours' disturbance the crowd dispersed. 

To arrest the progress of these manifestations the Govern- 
ment resorted to energetic measures ; but they were taken 
without any system, only against single individuals and in 


single instances, and therefore they failed in their aim of secur- 
ing the permanent tranquillity of the district. Marshals of the 
nobility who had joined in funeral services for the souls of the 
slain in Warsaw, were reprimanded by the Emperor ; some of 
the nobles who had taken an active part in those celebrations 
were temporarily banished, and a priest who had preached a 
revolutionary sermon was exiled to Omsk. 

These severe measures, coupled with the unceasing prosecu- 
tion of those who had joined in the demonstrations, for the 
moment paralyzed the agitation. Occasionally, indeed, indivi- 
duals were found to commit offences against the Government ; 
but their action was desultory and unsystematic, and resulted 
from no common principle or connection. 

By the month of August the Southern provinces seemed 
pacified, and the occasional Polish demonstrations which took 
place there were of little moment. The Governor- General of 
Kieff so little anticipated immediate troubles (though he was 
alive to the danger of their recurrence at a future period, from 
the preponderance of the influence of the Polish nobility in 
the governments under his charge), that in a report dated so 
far back as the 4th (16th) of June, 1861, he represented to 
the Government the necessity for insuring the permanent paci- 
fication of the country by developing the* Russian element, and 
sketched out a series of measures involving many considera- 
tions, a protracted execution, and a remote result. The Gover- 
nor-General of Wilna (Nazimoff) was so thoroughly deceived 
as to the true character of the situation, that he suggested 
nothing but a few administrative changes for tranquillizing the 
provinces committed to his care. 

The secret police were not so readily deceived, and projects 
for the establishment of special courts for the trial of political 
offenders were drawn up and submitted to the Governors of 
the provinces. 

While these reports were yet under consideration, events 
occurred which proved how great a mistake it was to fancy 
the lull in the political agitation betokened that the storm had 
passed away. 

On the 31st July, 1569, Lithuania had been united to Poland, 
and on the anniversary of that day in the year 1861, the leaders 

H 2 


of the revolutionary party resolved solemnly to commemorate 
it. In the town of Rossiny, about forty miles from Kovno, a 
crowd of young men and women took down some banners from 
the walls of one of the churches, formed themselves into 
a procession, and, singing patriotic and revolutionary songs, 
proceeded to a cross near the town on the road to Kovno, per- 
formed their devotions there, and then returned. 

At Kovno a demonstration of a more important character 
took place. This town lies on the Lithuanian bank of the 
Niemen, which here divides that province from the kingdom 
of Poland. Although the Polish element in the government 
of Kovno is not numerous, forming, indeed, not three per 
cent, of the entire population, it will be seen by the tables 
in the Appendix that there is in this province a vast pre- 
ponderance of Eoman Catholics; the Letts, who make up 
the bulk of the people, being here almost universally of that 
persuasion, and therefore much under the influence of their 
educated co-religionists, and particularly of the Roman 
Catholic clergy. 

Kovno was certainly an appropriate spot for the intended 
celebration. The Russians had often admitted their claim to 
the kingdom of Poland to be one of conquest or of treaty; 
they had ever allowed that the Poles were an alien and a hostile 
race ; of late they had spoken in a hesitating manner of the 
justice, or even expediency, of holding the kingdom in their 
grasp, and it seemed to require but little persuasion to induce 
them to relax it. 

But Lithuania they asserted was their own. Carrying back 
their researches through long ages of contested history, they 
alleged that the records of the past were the best title-deeds 
to this recent acquisition ; they claimed Lithuania as formerly 
Russian, and as wrung from them when that country was 
ruled over by a turbulent nobility. 

The Poles, on the other hand, contended that Lithuania was 
theirs; that the Russian theory of their original title was in- 
consistent with fact, and would be immaterial even if true, 
and that while the Lettic preponderated over the Russ and 
the Polish element, so far as numbers were concerned, the 
sympathy which existed between the Roman Catholic races 


established the equitable title of the Poles beyond all question 
or dispute. 

This place then was a spot well chosen by the Poles for 
proving that the sympathies of Lithuania were with them 
rather than with their opponents, and they arranged that a 
procession similar to that at Kossiny should take place on the 
same day, and that it should consist both of the inhabitants of 
Kovno in Lithuania, and of those of the village of Alecot, in 
the government of Augustino, on the Polish side of the 

The authorities, desirous of avoiding a contest which might 
probably involve loss of life, withdrew the floating bridge 
which connects Kovno and Alecot, and placed a guard, con- 
sisting of a platoon of Cossacks and a garrison battalion, along 
the river. 

Nothing daunted by these preparations, a great multitude 
of both sexes, to the number of about 5,000, collected on the 
morning of the 3 1st July at the Augustinian Church in Kovno. 

Forming themselves into a long procession, they marched 
towards the Memen. They were unarmed, but their banners 
were blazoned with many a device, and appealed to many a 
sympathy. High above the enthusiastic throng was carried 
the sacred cross ; around it were clustered standards, images, 
and every other emblem which could recall the ancient history 
and triumphs of Poland ; while at their head were the pastors 
of the flock, the zealous and unshrinking priests of the Eoman 
Catholic Church. 

Simultaneously another procession sallied forth from the 
village of Alecot, and also marched to the banks of the 
Niemen ; so now the self- constituted representatives of Poland 
and Lithuania stood fronting each other, divided only by that 
broad and rapid stream. 

Then both assemblies assisted at the celebration of the mass, 
and received the blessing of their Church. 

The religious ceremony ended, and the crowd on the Kovno 
side of the river advanced towards the bridge. The scanty 
guard of Cossacks, unable to contend with the multitude with- 
out using their arms, and having no instructions which war- 
ranted recourse to so decisive a step, fell back, and the people 


by their own united efforts began to put up the bridge. Vainly 
the authorities warned them to desist; they persevered; 
they declared that at all hazards they would cross the river ; 
they completed their task and accomplished tjieir intention ; 
then, uniting with the assemblage they found on the other 
side, they proceeded with solemn chants and patriotic hymns 
to the village of Alecot, and there celebrated the anniversary 
of the union they desired to restore. 

In other parts of the North-western provinces similar 
commemorations took place, and in many of the churches 
revolutionary hymns were sung; while, to give additional 
meaning to them, the ladies who assisted at them, for the 
time abandoned their mourning, and appeared in brilliant 
colours, as though in this manner to mark their sense that 
their dormant nationality was awaking; and the men arrayed 
themselves in the historical costume of their race. 

A few days later a religious ceremony was performed with 
great solemnity at a church in the district of Lepel. After 
service, some of the land-owners, dressed in white robes, carried 
banners round the church, and then the whole congregation 
fell upon their knees and chanted the revolutionary hymn. 

About the same time a report spread through the town of 
Wilna that a procession was to reach it from the kingdom of 
Poland, which the inhabitants of the town were to join. Day 
after day, therefore, a crowd of persons assembled, waiting 
anxiously the arrival of the expected pilgrims, and repeatedly 
sung revolutionary hymns over the grave of the patriot 

On the evening of the 7th August a crowd of about 5,000 
persons proceeded from the town towards one of the suburbs; 
they were stopped at the barrier by a company of infantry and 
two hundred Cossacks. A part of the crowd halted, while the 
remainder attacked the foot-soldiers with the evident intention 
of disarming them and passing the barrier. 

The women carried paving-stones in their pockets and in 
the skirts of their dresses, which they gave to the men, who 
showered them upon the soldiers ; the men also broke down 
a fence and converted the stakes into pikes with which to 
carry on the struggle. The Cossacks then dispersed the crowd 


by force, and the people having fled from them, repaired to 
the sacred gate where the image of the Holy Virgin of 
Ostrobrama stands ; sung before it their supplicatory hymn, 
repeated it before a crucifix, and then separating, went home. 

In this affray several persons were wounded, but none were 
killed. Nevertheless, in Warsaw, Cracow, Lemberg, and 
Paris, funeral services were celebrated in honour of the Wilna 
martyrs, as it was said that numerous persons had been killed 
and their corpses thrown into the river in order to conceal 
the fact. 

It was singular, in the presence of these demonstrations, to 
find governors of provinces and men high in authority deceive 
themselves as to the character of the movement by which 
they were opposed. To any bystander of ordinary observa- 
tion it would have been evident that the processions, the 
commemorations, and the prayers which on all sides were 
witnessed, were the evidences of wide- spread disaffection to 
the Eussian rule. A statesman trained in the history of 
constitutional kingdoms would have recognized that there 
was something deeper agitating the minds of the people than 
temporary discontent, petulant vanity, or trifling ills. A great 
man, cognizant of the history of Poland for the last hundred 
years, would have divined that the proudest memories of a 
high-spirited race had been desecrated, their most cherished 
institutions trampled in the dust, and their hopes for the future 
cruelly marred by a long period of grinding oppression. 

There comes, to nations and to men alike, a time when every 
hope in the justice or the mercy of those placed in autho- 
rity above them perishes ; when, sick and worn out with a 
prolonged series of injuries, hope fades utterly away in the 
dulled and broken heart, and, weary with prayers that are not 
answered, and representations that meet with no redress, the 
spirit, thrown back upon itself, will darkly ponder, and resolve 
to win by force the justice that monarchs and governments 

Thus it had been with the Polish race : there may have been 
much of intrigue and much of the machinery of modern 
agitation in the scenes I have chronicled; but below that 
degrading surface there lay a profound national sentiment ; the 


thoughts may have been stirred into action by agitation, but 
they had existed for many years, and when the stern hand of 
Nicholas, who alone had curbed them, was removed, it was 
natural that those stifled feelings should find vent. 

Nor let us too severely blame them for the moment they 
selected. True, they saw in the Emperor Alexander a prince 
whose policy was diametrically opposed to that of his pre- 
decessor ; they witnessed his emancipation of the serfs and his 
advances in the path of constitutional freedom ; but in none 
of those things, desirable though they were, did the Pole see 
any approach to the realization of his favourite dreams. On 
the other hand, he saw Russia in the throes of a social revolu- 
tion; he heard wild theories of all kinds discussed, and he 
thought the great empire was doomed to fall a sacrifice to her 
own internal feuds. He believed, therefore, it was better to 
strike for independence than to speculate on the effect of 
liberal institutions or the result of a social revolution. 

The very spread of the liberal movement made it his interest 
to act with promptitude ; the only hold he had on the waver- 
ing allegiance of the serfs was the institution of servitude 
which that movement threatened to destroy j and if it were 
once destroyed, he well knew his power would be gone ; for 
they differed from him in language, in race, and above all, for 
the most part, in religion. 

The effect of enfranchisement would necessarily be to 
destroy all connection in the nature of master and servant 
between the two classes, and to turn the thoughts and the 
hopes of the peasants exclusively to the Russian Government 
instead of their existing lords. 

The Pole knew too well that no love existed between him- 
self and the serf over whom he tyrannized, to be deceived 
into putting the smallest trust in him when once his shackles 
were unbound, and he was driven, therefore, into immediate 
action, while a chance yet remained that he could array a 
numerous and ignorant population in hostility to the Govern- 

Nevertheless these manifestations of disaffection so widely 
spread through the Western provinces, do not seem to have 
roused the governors to whom they were committed to a sense 


of the peril surrounding them, and at a council held about 
this time, General Nazimoff appears to have confined] himself 
to pointing out some minor grievances of the Roman Catholic 
Church, and suggesting their removal. 

The Imperial Government, however, were more alive to the 
perils which they ran, and, after a full discussion, the fol- 
lowing, among others of less importance, were the resolutions 
agreed to. 

That the number of troops in the North-western provinces 
should be increased ; that the dangerous [classes should be 
disarmed, and the possession of arms (after a certain time had 
been given for their rendition) should be treated as an offence ; 
and that political demonstrations and gatherings should be for- 
bidden. That the clergy favouring demonstrations in churches, 
and the leaders of such demonstrations, should be arrested. 
That special commissions for the trial of political offences 
should be constituted and temporary police courts opened. 
That untrustworthy officials should be removed and tried. 
That, where requisite, districts should be proclaimed in a 
state of siege, and be placed under the command of military 

These various measures were promptly carried into effect, 
and certain regulations were published for lightening the 
burdens of the peasants, in order probably to bind up their 
interests more closely with those of the Government. But 
these measures had scarcely any other than an existence upon 
paper, for the police and the administration in the Western 
provinces were in the hands of the Polish nobility and petty 
employes, who were also Poles, and who in most cases were 
not only indifferent to the interests of the Government, but 
who even in secret favoured the agitation. 

Events now rapidly developed themselves. On the 9th 
August, General Nazimoff telegraphed to the Emperor in the 
Crimea that the Western provinces were tranquil. On the 
24th a state of siege was already proclaimed by him in Wilna, 
Grodno, and four other towns, and in the whole province of 
Kovno, with the exception of one district. 

In the province of Kieff, the town of Jitomir was declared in 
a state of siege at the end of September, and about the same 


time the population of the South-western provinces was 

The adoption of these measures was due to the continuance 
of the political demonstrations. On the night of the 20th 
September, in the cathedral square of the town of Jitomir, a 
black cross was erected, with the inscription, " To the memory 
of the Poles murdered in 186 1." The cross was removed by 
the police, but a turbulent crowd led by ladies demanded its 
restoration, and a company of infantry and gendarmes was 
called out, which dispersed the people. 

Although the declaration of a state of siege for a short time 
checked the outward signs of disaffection, the condition of 
affairs was in truth but little altered; mourning was every- 
where seen; the national costume was everywhere worn, and 
on all sides the youth of Polish origin took part in political 
demonstrations, and closely leagued themselves with the 
leaders of the revolt. 

The measures of repression adopted by the Government be- 
came more numerous and severe. The Agricultural Society at 
Kieff was dissolved ; the Governor- General of that province 
was authorized to dismiss functionaries in all branches of the 
public service ; to constitute commissions for trying prisoners 
by martial law ; and to expel from the university such Polish 
students as identified themselves with political demonstrations. 
In the North-western provinces General Nazimoff was autho- 
rized to remove even the marshals of the nobility in districts 
declared in a state of siege. A military governor was appointed 
in Minsk, owing to the increase of disorders in that province ; 
the nobility elections in various provinces were from time to time 
postponed ; a special house-tax was laid on the Koman Catholic 
proprietors of Wilna; penalties were imposed on persons guilty 
of political disturbances ; and a considerable number were 
deported to places of residence within the empire, more or less 

But there was, for the reasons already stated, a want of 
system in the acts of the legislative Government, and a 
variance in the mode of executing the law in different districts, 
which to a great extent deprived measures, rigorous only in 
sound, of their intended efficacy. The judgments of the 


courts-martial were often not carried into execution ; the dis- 
affected, whether priests or proprietors, were banished for a 
prolonged period to a distant province, and a few weeks or 
months afterwards, the banishment was ended, at the will of 
the Governor of the province where the offence was committed. 
When the Minister of the Interior proposed to General Nazi- 
moff the banishment of certain priests who had taken part in 
funeral services for assassins executed in Warsaw, the worthy 
man replied that banishment was attended with considerable 
expense for post-horses, and that it would be far cheaper to 
select a few monasteries, where such men could be sent under 
surveillance ! The instructions of the Minister to the police 
courts were not acted upon ; he desired that prosecutions 
should be instituted, not for the singing of revolutionary 
hymns, but for compelling others to do so, or insulting them 
if they refused ; and that where irregularities were committed in 
the procedures in those courts, the superior tribunals should be 
appealed to. Instead of obeying these orders, prosecutions 
were constantly set on foot for singing hymns in churches, 
and, no matter how inefficiently the police courts acted, 
appeals were but rarely made. Under these circumstances, 
there ceased to be any cordiality between the Minister at St. 
Petersburg and the provincial governors ; the administration 
of the law was confused, and its penalties unequally dealt ; 
while the unknown disturbers of the tranquillity of the country 
encouraged their partisans to persevere, not only in their secret 
organization, but occasionally in open demonstrations. 

I have said that the proclamation of a state of siege was fol- 
lowed temporarily by a diminution of the outward signs of dis- 
affection; this, however, was not the sole cause of this change. 
Winter was at hand, and the season for out-door processions and 
public meetings was passing away ; in some minds there was 
growing up a weariness of demonstrations which led to no result 
save occasional punishment ; and the leaders of the popular 
faction discouraged the longer maintenance of this agitation. 

The revolutionary proclamations now advised the discon- 
tinuance of further demonstrations ; enough had been done by 
the people of Lithuania and the South-western provinces to 
prove to Europe their fixed determination to throw off the 
Russian yoke, and to bo united as of old to Poland, when the 


day of her resurrection should dawn. Now it only remained 
for them to watch their opportunity ; Italy or Hungary would 
ere long be in arms, or Kussia herself be torn in pieces by her 
own revolutionary parties. Meanwhile there was work to do. 
The rural population were to be won over to the national 
cause ; the love for Poland, her traditions, her history and her 
monuments, should, by education, be instilled into the lower 
orders, and the popular mind should be elevated, with a view to 
prepare for the struggle and the sacrifices of the future. 

The priests at the confessional instructed the people to 
commit perjury at the police courts, and actively instigated 
them to counteract the views of the Government. 

The proprietors secretly consulted together as to the possi- 
bility, by territorial sacrifices, of winning over the people to 
their cause, and extensively instituted schools for their educa- 
tion, in which the Polish language was alone to be used. 

Revolutionary sheets and proclamations in all shapes and in 
every local dialect were circulated by unknown hands. They 
were scattered upon the roads ; they were left at houses ; they 
were sent through the post ; but not one of the distributors 
was ever discovered. There was a close and evident concert 
between the North and South-western provinces ; whatever 
was done in the one was forthwith known in the other. From 
the shores of the Baltic to the banks of the Dniester there was 
manifested the same general impatience of the Russian yoke; 
tho same memories were invoked, the same anniversaries were 
commemorated, and the same signs of mourning were every- 
where to be seen. 

Whenever there was an opportunity of making known their 
wishes to their sovereign, the proprietors took advantage of 
it. The nobility of White Russia showed a wish to be united 
with Lithuania, on condition that the Lithuanian statute 
should be restored and the Polish language officially recog- 
nized ; the Polish language also was proposed to be used in a 
Land-bank intended to be established for the North-western 
provinces ; and at the provincial assembly of the nobles of 
Podolia an address to the Emperor was agreed on, asking the 
separation of all the western Ukraine from the administrative 
unity of the Empire, and its union with Poland. 



Conflicting Views of the various parties among the Poles. The Conscription. 

Outbreak of Insurrection. Massacres. Despatches from the Consul- 

General at Warsaw. Proclamation of the Central Committee. Conduct 

of the Proprietors. Revolutionary " Order of the Day." Attempt to 

poison the Marquis Wielopolski. 

AT the beginning of the year 1863 there was a great differ- 
ence in the views of the two branches of the revolutionary 
party in Poland. The " unarmed agitation " had lasted for 
more than two years, attracting, doubtless, considerable 
attention in Europe, but practically producing no definite 
result. This agitation had succeeded in reviving a very 
strong national feeling ; it had excited the minds of the youth 
of the country, by recalling the remembrance of past history 
and sacrifices ; it had influenced the population of the towns 
by spreading among them vague hopes of great advantages to 
be derived by throwing off the Russian yoke ; it had enlisted 
on its side the petty nobles who thronged the towns and 
villages, and who were also scattered in no inconsiderable 
numbers throughout the country. 

The materials for a future insurrection were thus prepared, 
and the question arose, What use was to be made of them ? 
Now that the weapon was ready for the conflict, was it to 
be employed, or was it to be hung upon the wall for an 
indefinite period, till time and rust had worn away its edge 
and deprived it of its power? 

It was an anxious question, and one which was differently 
answered by those who had something, and by those who had 
nothing, to lose. 

The great nobles trembled for their estates ; they called to 
mind the bitter recollections of 1830, the spoliations that had 
resulted from that unhappy struggle, and feared a repetition 
of those scenes of confiscation and bloodshed. It was well for 
"the party of action" to endeavour to goad the people into a 


revolt, but what had the party of action to lose ? Those men 
had no great estates on which the vultures might fatten when 
the strife was done ; they had no proud ancestral names which 
disaster would for ever obliterate j they had no stake and no 
influence in the country, and would never be missed if they 
fell in the strife they were so anxious to precipitate. But it 
was fit that the nobles of Poland should be prudent, and not 
insanely throw away their chances of independence at the 
bidding of political adventurers ; it was their province to 
watch and wait, and to take advantage of the first event 
which offered a reasonable prospect of success. 

The history of Europe for the last fifteen years was full of 
hope for them ; in that short period how much had been done 
to shake despotic power, and to secure freedom for those who 
had patience to wait a favourable moment, as well as valour to 
take advantage of it ! There were complications of all kinds 
on the Continent; many wars seemed impending, and the 
moment one was commenced, Poland might have her oppor- 
tunity. It would be madness now, while Europe was tranquil, 
to defy the power of Russia, and to rush into a struggle with 
her without preparation and without an ally. 

The Republican party denounced this reasoning as mistaken 
and cowardly. What is it that you fear ? they asked : the 
army of Russia is weakened by six years' neglect; it is 
demoralized by recent changes, the abolition of corporal 
punishment, its loss of respect for its officers, and many other 
causes ; the Russian Government dare not trust it, it knows 
how deep-seated is the disaffection which pervades it, and it 
knows, among the officers it is compelled to employ, that 
opinions the most liberal and the most hostile to itself are 
widely prevalent. Again, they urged, look at the political 
condition of Russia, and it is evident she is herself in the 
agonies of dissolution; the addresses of her nobility, the 
clamours of her liberal press, the disaffection which is every- 
where apparent, clearly demonstrate it; far from wishing to 
3urb our liberties, she is intent upon extending her own, and 
? will hold out a helping hand to us, because in our freedom 
J will see some guarantee for her own enfranchisement. If 
additional evidences were required of the condition of Russia, 


the outbreak among the students at the various universities,, 
the incendiary fires with which St. Petersburg had been 
lighted up, some laxity of discipline which had been 
punished at the military schools,, and finally the alleged 
existence of a "Revolutionary Committee of Russia," were 
cited as the near and sufficient evidence of the correctness of 
these extreme views. 

While these different opinions were in agitation, and while 
it was yet uncertain whether violent or moderate councils 
would prevail, the act of the Government turned the scale, and 
precipitated the long-pending insurrection. 

Since the conclusion of the peace, there had been a sus- 
pension of the conscription both in Russia and Poland, and the 
army had been weakened to an extent which was deemed 
imprudent. It was determined to have recourse to a levy, and 
the number of men to be raised in Poland was about 8,000. 

From the year 1815, the mode in which conscriptions were 
carried out in Poland * had been exceptional and arbitrary. 
Instead of being chosen by lot, the recruits had been selected 
by the police, who in their selection had been influenced 
almost entirely by political considerations. Year after year 
the most high-spirited, or, as the authorities deemed them, 
the most insubordinate of the youth of Poland, had been 
draughted into the Russian army; and thus the conscription 
was converted into a political engine for weeding the country 
of its dangerous classes. 

The conscription having been suspended for five years, 
during which period a strong national feeling had evidenced 
itself, it was naturally to be expected that an unusual number 
of the youth of the country would be found on the black list of 
the police; and the conscription would thus offer to the 
authorities a welcome opportunity of ridding themselves of 
their enemies. 

But in the year 1859 a law had been passed abolishing the 
old system, and introducing a new one, under which future 

* The system in Russia has hitherto been for the landowner to nominate 
the conscripts. The most idle and worthless among the serfs have, therefore, 
habitually been selected ; but, consequent upon emancipation, the ordinary 
system of ballot has been introduced. 


levies were to be made. By this law conscripts were in 
future to be chosen in the ordinary way by lot. 

Unfortunately for his own fame, and most disastrously for 
his country, the Marquis Wielopolski resolved that the old 
system should be adopted, and the law of 1855 be ignored. 
He saw at a glance the power it would place in his hands ; he 
failed to see the loss of popularity, confidence, and respect a 
course so illegal must infallibly entail. He knew there were 
extensive preparations for an insurrection, and he knew that a 
large number of young men, not of the lowest class, were 
mixed up in it ; he knew also that they were not quite ready 
for a rising, and that the act he meditated would either break 
the power of the party of action, by subtracting its most 
active adherents from its ranks, or precipitate a struggle, 
which he foresaw must come, sooner or later, but for which 
that party was at present unprepared. 

There was nothing in the details of this proceeding to lessen 
the gross injustice of its conception. The Marquis resolved 
that, with the exception of 2,000, all the conscripts should be 
levied from the town populations, because it was among the 
town -population that the most active of the revolutionary 
party were to be found. The workmen and the lower orders 
were not to be affected by it; they possessed no political 
power or significance, and it was well that they should entertain 
a friendly feeling towards the Government; but the higher class 
of mechanics and artisans, the shopkeepers, the Schlachta, 
and lesser nobility, were marked out as fit objects for selection, 
and wherever an individual of these classes was regarded as 
disaffected, his name was certain to appear on the list of the 

This plan of the Marquis Wielopolski was received with 
great disfavour; it was felt that the law of 1859 should be 
adhered to; that the act he proposed to perpetrate possessed no 
political advantages which could atone for its cruelty and 
injustice, and that it would entail on the heads of the Adminis- 
tration an amount of odium which would increase tenfold the 
power of the revolutionary party. The Marquis, however, 
persevered; he considered, as the head of the civil adminis- 
tration of the kingdom, as a Pole thoroughly conversant with 


the condition of his country and the character of his country- 
men, that he was the proper person to judge of the expediency 
of the step to be now adopted. He pressed its acceptance 
upon the Grand Duke and the Emperor, and. finding them 
unwilling to adopt it, he offered to resign his offices. Under 
pressure of the determined course adopted by the Marquis, 
the Government gave way, and resolved that the conscription 
should be conducted on the old principle. 

The necessary lists were prepared by the police ; but they 
were purposely kept secret, in order to prevent the escape 
of those who were named in them, and it was resolved that 
the conscripts should be seized at the dead of night, without 
warning given. The number to be obtained in Warsaw 
was 2,000; the population of the city was from 150,000 
to 180,000. 

Meanwhile the Central Committee, an anonymous body who 
assumed to govern the revolutionary parties, adopted a defiant 
attitude. It declared that it had at its disposal the means of 
resisting the Government, and that insurmountable difficulties 
would in due time be opposed to this measure being carried into 
effect. It also issued a circular, which was sent to the various 
local authorities throughout the kingdom, threatening with 
vengeance and summary punishment any person in the em- 
ployment of Government, or any magistrate, who should assist 
in carrying out the recruitment. 

At this time the system of terror, which at a later date 
was carried to perfection, had already been inaugurated. A 
man named Abicht, who was travelling with an English 
passport, having been denounced to the police by the Jewish 
waiter at an inn where he was staying, was arrested. The 
Jew applied on three successive days at the Treasury for a 
reward of 200 roubles, which he had been promised, and on 
the third day, on leaving the office of the Paymaster- General, he 
was stabbed by an emissary of the revolutionary committee. 

On the night of the 14th of January the conscription in 
Warsaw was effected. The conscripts were seized by the 
authorities without any resistance or disturbance, and to all 
appearance the Government had effected their purpose and 
paralyzed the party of revolt. 


This momentary triumph, however, lasted a very short time, 
and on the 19th Colonel Stanton, the English Consul- General 
in Warsaw, while writing to Lord Kussell and announcing 
the entire success of the conscription, states: " Unfortunately 
a number of working men and others belonging-to the secret 
societies, have been induced to assemble not far from this 
town, in obedience to the orders given them by the chiefs of the 
movement. Their numbers are, however, not supposed to 
amount to more than 500 or 600, the greater portion of whom 
are unarmed. . . . The weakness of the ultra party, and 
the impossibility of their resisting the Government, will, at 
least, be clearly demonstrated by this foolish attempt, and I 
believe, my lord, it is not too much to anticipate that the 
Polish movement will now shortly be brought to an end, and 
the country resume, if not a peaceful attitude, at least one of 
comparative quiet and freedom from revolutionary attempts." 

Three days from the date of this letter the insurrection in 
Poland had commenced. 

The Russian authorities had made no preparations to guard 
against a possible outbreak. When the conscription was 
decided on, the Grand Duke had been advised by several 
military officers of high standing to concentrate the troops, 
which were quartered in small detachments through the 
kingdom, as is usually done when danger is anticipated. The 
advice, however, was rejected, for the Marquis Wielopolski 
positively affirmed that no danger existed, and that no revolt 
would take place. 

The insurgents alluded to in Colonel Stanton's letter were 
more numerous than he imagined. They consisted of two 
bands, one on either side of the Vistula, and were composed 
not only of the classes named by him, but of some of the 
townspeople who were named in the conscription, and who, 
having been warned in time, escaped it. They thought no 
fate could be worse than to swell the ranks of the Russian 
army, and preferred struggling for freedom on the plains of 
Poland to suffering years of unrequited toil in the Caucasus or 
Siberia. Bodies of troops were sent against these parties with 
the intention of surrounding and capturing them before they 
could unite; but the effort failed. The bands united, and 


retired in safety to the shelter of the vast forests that extend 
in this neighbourhood for a distance of more than sixty miles. 

Simultaneously with the appearance of these rebel bands, 
two others appeared in the neighbourhood of Serotsk and 
Pultusk, against which troops were also sent. 

These disorders were not regarded as the prelude to a 
serious insurrection. The Government continued to deceive 
themselves as to the state of popular feeling. They forgot, 
although the assembling of bands might not have been planned 
by the party of action, that it was most improbable they would 
fail to take advantage of them now that they were collected* 
and that in the then exasperated state of feeling in Poland it 
was only natural that men committed to an act of rebellion 
should quickly find leaders and organization. The violent and 
unconstitutional character of the conscription gave that 
stimulus to the national feeling which the Red Republicans 
had striven in vain to create. It enabled them to overpower 
the more moderate party, and it set fire to all the elements 
of mischief and revolution which had for so long a period 
been carefully collecting. Nothing was more easy than to 
persuade the town populations that there was now no security 
for them under the Russian sway ; that one arbitrary measure 
would assuredly be followed by another, until the whole of the 
Polish youth had been kidnapped and carried away. 

Moreover, this act of the Government was an excuse in the 
eyes of Europe for whatever the revolutionists might do. 
Insurrection, which was criminal without a cause, became 
right and just and holy when it vindicated personal freedom 
as well as national independence. The organs of the Emigra- 
tion filled the world with exaggerated statements of an act 
which in itself was sufficiently reprehensible ; imaginary scenes 
were portrayed of Polish sufferings and Muscovite barbarities; 
horrible details were invented by unscrupulous and rhetorical 
scribes ; and a deed of arbitrary injustice, which had been 
carried qut with perfect order* and tranquillity, was represented 

* See letter of Colonel Stanton (already quoted) of 19th January, 1863. 
No. 4 of Correspondence respecting the Insurrection in Poland, 1863, 
presented to both Houses of Parliament. 



in colours worthy only of the persecutions of Alva, or the 
wildest excesses of a sanguinary war. 

The ultra party took advantage of this great opportunity ; 
they saw in it an invaluable apology for rushing to arms ; they 
believed the more moderate leaders of the Emigration and the 
great resident proprietors must in time unite with them ; from 
the one quarter they looked for the ultimate intervention of 
foreign powers ; the other they reckoned upon for more 
immediate and substantial aid. The Emigration could hardly 
refuse to countenance them, for if they did, it would be an 
acknowledgment that they were unable to control the people 
they had long professed to govern, and then the influence they 
possessed in the great capitals of Western Europe would die 
out, and they would be powerless for evil or for good. The 
great proprietors could not for long refuse to unite with 
them, for they would certainly be objects of suspicion to 
the Russians ; they would assuredly be subjected to the most 
close and jealous espionage, and be consigned to a state 
prison, and have their property sequestrated, the first moment 
the authorities chose to question their loyalty. Was it not, 
therefore, to be assumed that they would throw off the mask, 
and give in their avowed adhesion to a cause which was 
really theirs ? 

The first act of the revolutionary party was to organize an 
attack on the various Russian detachments scattered through 
the kingdom. These detachments were generally weak in 
number, and unprepared for any outbreak; and although 
their destruction might not, in a military point of view, be 
very important, the insurgents calculated on the moral effect 
it would produce among a peasantry who were almost certain 
to side with whichever party they thought the stronger. It 
probable also that the arms, accoutrements, military 
stores, and treasure in the possession of the troops were 
a great temptation to the badly-armed, ill-provided, and 
impoverished levies which formed the army of the National 

The intended outbreak was entirely unlooked-for by the 
Russians : they believed the scattered bands which were being 
followed by the regular troops were the only enemies they had 


to fear ; and, wrapped in a false and perilous security, they 
took no precautions against surprise. 

At midnight on the 22nd of January, attacks were simul- 
taneously made in all the provinces of the kingdom upon the 
Russian troops, with the intention of overcoming them by 
force of arms where they resisted, and of murdering them in 
cold blood where they could be surprised. It is alleged that, 
wherever they had the opportunity, the insurgents assailed 
the soldiers in their beds, and massacred them. In general, 
however, though unprepared for these assaults, the soldiers 
successfully repulsed them. In the town of Plock, a band of 
1,500 insurgents attacked the forces that were stationed there ; 
but after an action which lasted some hours, they failed to 
make any impression, and retreated, leaving some forty 
prisoners in the hands of their enemies. The attacks made 
in other places were, for the most part, less important, and in 
almost every instance they were repulsed with loss. The 
village of Stock, near Siedlee, however, was the theatre of 
one of those occurrences which envenomed this struggle from 
its very commencement, and led to its subsequent prosecution 
in a spirit of bitterness which was certain to lead to the com- 
mission of acts of cruelty and excess. A detachment of 
soldiers quartered in the village, being assailed by greatly 
superior numbers, took refuge in a house, in which they barri- 
caded themselves; the insurgents were unable to overcome 
their resistance by force of arms, so they set fire to the house, 
and the soldiers were consumed in the flames. 

Two companies of soldiers, stationed at Leckoff, were also 
treacherously murdered. An attack was made on a park of 
flying artillery at Kohen, and, although it was unsuccessful, 
the insurgents carried off fifty muskets and the military chest ; 
while at Radsin, Loerbartoff, and Biala, unsuccessful attempts 
were made by them to seize cannon and ammunition. 

In the province of Radom, the insurgents attacked the 
troops stationed at Szydlowick and Bodzetyn ; in the former 
of these places, Major Rodiger, having a few minutes' notice 
of the intended assault, withdrew his men from the town, to 
which he did not return until the following day. At Bodzetyn, 
however, the insurgents surprised the sleeping soldiers, killed 


an officer and several men, and set fire to the barrack in which 
the Russians were defending themselves. Escaping from the 
naming building, the troops cut their way through the in- 
surgents, and retreated from the town, which, however, they 
reoccupied on the following day. 

While these attacks were being made, the insurgents also 
tore up the rails in several places on the different Polish lines, 
cut the telegraph wires in all directions, and did everything in 
their power to impede the movements of the troops, and pre- 
vent the Government from taking such measures as might 
lead to the suppression of the revolt. 

When, a day or two afterwards, the Russian troops arrived, 
for the purpose of reopening the railway and telegraphic 
communications, there was every sign that the railway officials 
were implicated in the movement. At the station, where rail- 
way carriages and plant were kept in large quantities, they had 
all been carefully destroyed, and everywhere mischief had 
been systematically done in the most complete and business- 
like manner : at intervals, rails had been removed, and every 
precaution had been taken to render the march of the troops 
slow and difficult. At length the road was repaired, and a 
train sent from Wilna to convey the troops. As a measure of 
precaution, the engine was from time to time sent on in 
advance of the train, to test the safety of the line before the 
carriages were trusted to it. The train had left a station some 
miles behind it, the next station was many miles away, and 
the line, after running perfectly straight for a considerable 
distance, made a curve which hid it from sight. At this point 
the engine was again sent on, and as it proceeded slowly, the 
soldiers followed it with their eyes, and wondered how soon it 
would return. It reached the curve, and in another moment 
would be out of sight; when the engineer sprang up, and 
waving them in mockery a last farewell, departed, and they 
never saw him or his engine more ! 

The results of the operations of the night did not fulfil the 
hopes of the insurgents, or justify the exceptional measures 
to which they had had recourse. Many soldiers were killed, 
but not such a number as to tell in the smallest degree on the 
issue of the struggle which had commenced ; on the other 


hand, the insurgents had been repulsed on almost every side, 
and had commenced their movement by a systemized attempt 
at assassination, which had not even the miserable excuse of 
success to gild the blackness of its cowardice and guilt. 

About 300 prisoners were captured by the authorities, and 
among them were many Roman Catholic priests, who had 
been taken with the insurgents, whom they were encouraging 
and leading on ; it was also remarked that in many places the 
church bells had been rung to summon the rebels to arms ; 
" thus proving, were such proof required, the complicity of 
the priests with the movement."* 

On the morning of the 22nd of January, the Central 
National Committee issued a proclamation addressed to the 
Polish nation : 

" The Central National Committee," it said, u the only legal government 
of your country, bids you all appear on the last battle-field the field of glory 
and victory, where it pledges itself to give you success before God and 
heaven ; for the committee knows that as you have heretofore been penitents 
or avengers, so you are ready to become to-morrow heroes and giants of 
strength. It knows you ready to achieve your liberty and independence by 
deeds of courage, and to make such sacrifices as no people have yet inscribed 
on the annals of their history. It knows well that you are ready to give all 
your blood, your lives, and your freedom, without regret, hesitation, or 
weakness, as an offering to your rising country. 

" In return, the Central Committee promise to wield the sceptre of autho- 
rity with an unflinching hand, so that your strength shall not be wasted. 
Your sacrifices shall not be in vain. It will know how to overcome all diffi- 
culties, to break through all impediments ; it will pursue and punish every 
disinclination, nay, even every case of want of sufficient zeal in our holy 
cause, with the utmost severity required from a tribunal which metes out 
justice in the name of an offended country. 

" This being the first day of open resistance, the commencement of the 
sacred combat, the Committee proclaims all the sons of Poland free and equal, 
without distinction of creed and condition. It proclaims, further, that the 
land heretofore held by the agricultural population in fee, for corve'e, labour, 
or for rent, becomes henceforth their freehold property, without any restric- 
tion whatsoever. The proprietors will receive compensation from the public 
treasury. All cottagers and labourers who shall serve, and the families of 
those who may die in the service of their country, will receive allotments 
from the national property in land regained from the enemy." 

Colonel Stanton to Earl Russell, 25th January, 1863. 


From the tenour of this proclamation it is clear that the? 
Central Committee was then the exponent of the views of the 
" Red " party, which possessed neither means nor organiza- 
tion, and had little more influence than that which the con- 
scription had for the moment given it. Veiling its weakness, 
it uses a tone of confident authority intended to impress its 
countrymen, and still more the Western nations, with a con- 
viction of its supreme power. Its promise of protection to 
the patriot is introduced to heighten, by contrast, the terrors 
of its threats, and to drive into its ranks a reluctant proprie- 
tary who saw no choice between a reign of terror and dumb 
submission to its will. The last paragraph is a direct bid for 
the support of the peasantry, on whom it professes to confer 
property without payment or qualification ; it demonstrates 
that the constitution of the committee must at this time have 
been thoroughly democratic, for the landed proprietors and 
the moderate party would never have given their consent to 
so rash a step. 

Startled by this sudden outbreak, the proprietors crowded 
into Warsaw, and held many anxious consultations. Their 
position, indeed, was most embarrassing ; they were distrusted 
by the Government, which for many years they had thwarted 
and opposed, and which knew that their hostility had given 
its original impetus to the revolutionary movement; no 
sympathy, therefore, could now exist between them ; and 
even if the Government were disposed to exert itself to the 
utmost, it was doubtful how far it had the power to protect 
their persons and estates. They were proclaimed traitors by 
the Central Committee because they did not join in the national 
movement ; and if they returned to their estates, their personal 
safety was in peril, for the peasants had long regarded them 
as their enemies, and the emissaries of the National Govern- 
ment might prompt them to outrage and murder. Their 
position, then, was anxious and critical : they were numerous, 
had large estates and many retainers. They had everything 
to lose by a Red republican revolution, and much to gain 
by constitutional reforms. But their vast estates gave them 
little influence, and their conduct deprived them of all personal 
popularity. Distrusted by the Government, hated by the 


peasants, regarded with jealousy by the Schlachta, and 
menaced by the Central Committee, they were surrounded by 
dangers they had neither the courage to face nor the ability 
to avoid. 

The infatuated conduct they had pursued for two years 
reacted upon them. They had lent themselves to the schemes 
of the Eed party, they had joined them in stirring up the 
national feeling till the people were goaded into revolt, and 
now, brought face to face with an armed insurrection, they 
feared to encourage, and were unwilling to oppose it. 

They should have known that it was madness to goad men 
into action, and then to pause, to hesitate, to draw back, and 
to pronounce that they had no policy to pursue ; such conduct 
was sure to throw the revolution into the hands of the violent 
men whose hatred to the Government was scarcely greater 
than their jealousy of themselves. 

Two courses of action were now open to them ; they led 
in very different directions, but either might have been 
taken with considerable prospect of success ; they required, 
however, unanimity and courage, and neither was forth- 

They might have placed themselves at the head of the 
insurrection. By doing so they would have incurred great 
risks, and failure would have been attended with wide-spread 
ruin ; but they would have given enormous strength to the 
revolutionary cause by committing it to the guidance of men of 
station and ability, by restraining its sanguinary spirit, and 
by placing before the world a moderate manifesto of its aims. 
Had they thus joined the movement, the revolution would have 
been regarded by foreign courts as a thoroughly national cause, 
and the chances of European intervention would have been 
multiplied tenfold. A movement guided by those whose names 
were recognized as the traditionary leaders of their country, 
and whose adhesion to it was a guarantee for its policy and 
conduct, would have utterly differed from the Red Republican 
rising, which was inspired and directed by a nameless band 
of secret assassins. But why should the great powers of 
Europe interfere and incur the hazard and the sacrifices of a 
general war, when the men most deeply interested in the cause 


for which it would be undertaken shrunk from risking life or 
property in its prosecution. 

On the other hand, the proprietors might have given their 
frank adhesion to the policy of the Government ; they might 
have recognized its genuine anxiety to increase the liberties 
and develop the resources of Poland ; and they might have 
pronounced, as the fact was, that they regarded the Eed party 
with detestation and terror. Even a successful revolution, far 
from improving their position, would only have subjugated 
them to that dangerous faction ; and the few who entertained 
hopes of the success of the revolt, believed it would be fol- 
lowed by a reign of terror and anarchy before any settled 
form of government could e rest ored. 

Such an adhesion would have been consistent with their 
interests and their honour. Their leading men, and those 
best informed among them, were convinced the revolt would 
not eventually succeed, for they were satisfied that Europe 
would not intervene. The struggle, therefore, could only lead 
to ruin; and although they were not loyal to the Russian 
Government, the most patriotic among them would have de- 
served well of their country and their class if they had opposed 
the insurrection to the utmost. 

There were, however, among them men of different disposi- 
tions and hostile views. The hatred of Russia which some of 
them felt would have hurried them into the ranks of the 
insurgents ; the Conservative party, on the other hand, would 
have given in their adhesion to the Government. A large 
and important section wavered in their views, and favoured 
an expectant and ambiguous policy, which would have kept 
up friendly relations with both parties, and pledged them to 

Never was there greater want of a leader than at this 
moment, but none was forthcoming ; for Count Andrew Za- 
moyski, who had alone been recognized as head of the mode- 
rate party, and who would almost certainly have done his 
utmost to preserve the peace of his country, was in exile, his 
rival was in power, and there was no one to take the place of 
the absent leader. 

There was, also, a patriotic party among the Poles, who 


insisted it was not to misgovernment that their struggles for 
freedom were due ; they contended that an intense yearning 
for national unity and independence animated them, and that 
if the Russians had ruled them ever so wisely the same con- 
test for freedom would eventually have ensued. 

It was useful to point to cruelty and oppression, for by 
citing examples of these they secured the sympathies, and 
possibly tjhe assistance of the nations of the West ; but the 
great wrong done them was the partition of their country, 
and this was the grievance they were determined to redress. 

Neither had the conscription ought to dd with their revo- 
lutionary purposes ; it had precipitated the outbreak, for it 
enabled violent men to summon the country to arms; but 
that outbreak was premature and unfortunate, it was opposed 
to the wishes of the White party, and was directly in con- 
tradiction to the settled policy of preceding years. The 
revolutionary committees had for a long time agitated the 
country, and summoned it to prepare for a great and 
approaching contest; they had circulated their ideas among 
all classes, they had won converts on every side, and had 
laid the deep foundations of opinions which must eventually 
upheave the. supremacy of Russia. 

But the struggle would not be one for the restoration of 
a kingdom defined by arbitrary caprice ; it would be waged 
for the independence of Poland, as Poland was constituted 
of old, of every province, town, or village in which Polish 
nationality was the prevailing element, no matter whether 
now oppressed by Russian, by Austrian, or by Prussian 

The insurrection was commenced in the Congress kingdom, 
because in that portion of ancient Poland the national element 
had the freest range. In Posen every official, from the 
governor of a province to the meanest clerk, was German 
by nation and anti-Polish by sympathy ; German was the 
only language employed in public offices and courts of law, 
and, with an inconsiderable exception, in schools and colleges. 
In Galicia somewhat more liberty was apparently given to 
the Poles, because the peasants were so bitterly hostile to 
the proprietors, that such liberty could not be abused; the 


Galician soldiers who guarded the Austro-Russian frontier 
were zealous anti-revolutionists, for they regarded the insur- 
gents as the confederates of their late masters, and the 
natural enemies of the peasantry both in Poland and Galicia. 

In the Congress kingdom, however, the Poles had many 
advantages. Severe as was the Emperor Nicholas, and 
anxious as he was to blot out their nationality, he yet always 
discriminated between the Kingdom and the Western pro- 
vinces. The stipulations of the treaty of Vienna had not 
been utterly useless, and, though he oppressed the Poles of 
the Kingdom, their language remained to them, their nobles 
filled public offices throughout the Russian empire, and in 
many particulars their nationality was respected. The people, 
also, were of the race, and shared the religion of the land- 
owners, and it was believed they would rally to the banner of 
their country when the hour of trial came. 

The reforms introduced by the Emperor Alexander had a 
very different effect from that which the friends of the Poles 
in Western Europe attributed to them ; instead of conciliating 
the disaffected proprietors, and inducing them to abandon 
their revolutionary designs, they simply made them more 
determined to rebel. It had this effect because they thought 
the substitution of Polish for Russian officials had enormously 
increased their power over the people, and facilitated all the 
operations by which an insurrection can be carried on ; and 
because, in the intended settlement of the land question by 
the Government, they foresaw that their influence would be 
lessened, and, if the revolutionary movement were long post- 
poned, would be utterly destroyed. 

The singular want of political foresight which was the dis- 
tinguishing characteristic of the Polish proprietors, was no- 
where more apparent than in this great error. They should 
have accepted frankly the reforms introduced; they should 
themselves have worked the institutions accorded them ; they 
should at an early period have solicited their extension ; and, 
by the lead they took in the conduct of public affairs, have 
taught the people to recognize in them their natural leaders. 
In this position, and with the entire body of officials at their 
call, the kingdom of Poland would rapidly have become the 


centre of a new and more formidable organization ; an organ- 
ization which would have attracted Posen and Galicia to her, 
and would probably, in the end, have extorted from Germany 
and Eussia the unity at which it aimed. 

An " order of the day " of the revolutionary " chief of the 
town of Warsaw " was issued on the 4th February, which was 
couched in the following terms : " As numbers of landed 
proprietors, instead of serving their country in their residences, 
are wasting their time and their money in Warsaw, they are 
hereby desired to return forthwith to their homes, unless 
exempted from their obligation by the chief of the town, and 
to fulfil their duty to their country, more especially those who 
are young. All functionaries of the organization are to carry 
out this order." After several meetings, the proprietors, 
unable to come to any conclusion, separated, and it was 
understood that each of them was to act as he thought right ; 
many of them returned to their estates, and while they care- 
fully avoided any open act of rebellion, they subscribed largely 
to the support of the insurrection, and afforded the insurgents 
all the shelter and aid they could possibly extend to them. 

Immediately after the conscription had been carried into 
effect, the Central Committee had published a proclamation in 
which it had said, " a system of recruiting like this has never 
yet been seen. It is worthy of its author, of that great and 
vile criminal, that traitor to his country, Wielopolski. . . . 
' The Wielopolskis/ the father, and his son Sigismund, and 
all the criminal band who have taken part in the recruitment 
at Warsaw, together with all those who have up to the present 
time assisted, or who are about to assist, these wicked attempts 
at usurpation, shall be outlawed, and it is permitted to every 
one to judge, and to execute them without incurring any sort 
of responsibility, either before God or before his country." 
Within three weeks of the publication of this manifesto, an 
attempt was made to give effect to the sentence it pronounced ; 
poison was mixed with the provisions that were sent to the 
house of the marquis, and he, his family, and servants, all 
partook of it ; but the attempt failed, and though it caused 
much suffering, no deaths resulted from it. 



Excesses of the Insurgents. Their Position, and Character of their Bands. 
Battle of Wengrow. Progress of Revolt. Concentration of Russian 

EVERY effort was made by the revolutionary party to continue 
the struggle. Various bands scattered through the kingdom, 
harassed the Russians by the guerilla warfare they carried on ; 
the vast forests, and the difficult nature of a great portion of the 
country they occupied, made it extremely difficult for regular 
troops to act efficiently against them ; and although, when an 
engagement took place, it almost invariably terminated in 
favour of the Russians, the dispersed insurgents quickly re- 
assembled and resumed the offensive. These bands constantly 
pressed villagers into their service, notwithstanding their 
unwillingness to take part in the struggle. In many cases 
they had recourse to violence and even murder to procure re- 
cruits, and one instance* may be cited as an example of the 
terrorism to which they had recourse. 

A band of horsemen, under the guidance of a priest, rode 
towards a village intending to stir up the peasants to revolt. 
Stopping at the first cottage, and finding the owner of it 
absent, the priest inquired of his wife where he was to be 
found. She refused to inform him, and he, in a transport of 
rage, murdered her by stabbing her with a knife, and then 
set fire to the dwelling. The peasants thronging to the place, 
manifested the greatest horror at this unprovoked assassination, 
and the band, seeing how strong was the popular feeling against 
them, departed without carrying their intended conscription 
into effect. Determined to revenge this crime, the villagers 
sent the following day to the insurgents, to assure them they 
were ready to join them, if the priest would explain to them 
what they were to do, and where they were to march. Accord- 

* See Lord Napier's letter to Earl Russell, 8th February, 1863. 


ingly, the priest came ; but lie had hardly begun to speak, 
when they attacked and killed him on the spot. 

It was by deeds such as these that the insurgents gradually 
changed the passive dislike with which the peasants regarded 
them into open enmity, until at length they actively exerted 
themselves to assist the Government and repress the revolt. 

Instances of barbarous cruelties committed by the insurgents 
upon their prisoners, excited the strongest feelings of horror 
in the Russian forces. On the night of the 22nd January, 
fifteen soldiers were hung by the insurgents, after having 
been first horribly mutilated by them ; and it is impossible to 
wonder, though one deeply may regret, that for some time 
afterwards the comrades of the murdered men refused to grant 
quarter to the insurgents, saying, " Remember the 22nd 
January," as they cut them down. 

Another well- authenticated instance of the excesses which 
inaugurated the revolt, is the case of a soldier who was tied 
to a tree, his feet and hands were then cut off, and while he 
was screaming in agony, a cigar was put into his mouth, and 
he was asked whether he wished to have it lighted. 

The events which marked the outbreak of the revolt roused 
the Government from its delusions and its apathy. It was 
no longer possible to mistake the nature of the rising. It 
was civil war, not a riot. It was the deliberate act of an 
organized party, who had long been meditating armed resist- 
ance, a party which must be met and crushed now and for 
ever. Even the Marquis Wielopolski was compelled to acknow- 
ledge that stern measures were inevitable ; after some hesita- 
tion he admitted that acts of vigour were required, and gave a 
reluctant consent to the counsels of men of more practical 
ability than himself. His enemies exulted over him. The 
minister who, a few months since, had thought to govern 
Poland by trusting her people, had now twice acknowledged 
the worthlessness of his theories. He had vaunted the effect 
of the constitutional reforms he was pledged to introduce, and 
then (like the drunkard indulging in a last carouse the night 
before he intends to take the pledge) he had relied on an 
infamous conscription ; and now, only ten days later, he threw 
conciliation to the wind, and trusted for the triumph of his 


policy to the weight of the Russian sword. How could 
monarch or people confide in a statesman whose theories were 
so utterly thrown aside in the first hour of trial ? 

The kingdom of Poland was declared in a state of siege, 
and was divided into seven sections, each of- which was placed 
under the charge of a military officer. These sections were 
A.ugustovo, Plock, Kalisk (including the Warsaw and Brom- 
berg railway), Warsaw (including part of the Warsaw railway 
lines to Petersburg and Vienna), Radom, and Lublin. 

In the Augustovo district the greater part of the insurgents 
appeared on the north, bordering on the province of Kovno, 
thus threatening to carry the insurrection into Lithuania; a 
portion, however, acted in the south-east, in a district which 
was well fitted for partisan warfare, and were not dispersed 
until they had injured several portions of the railway between 
Kovno and Konigsberg ; they reunited a few days after their 
defeat, and passed into the province of Grodno, where they 
were again dispersed by troops sent against them from Wilna, 

The insurrection spread rapidly in the district of Plock, 
which is chiefly inhabited by small proprietors and Schlachta, 
and several actions took place there which terminated in the 
defeat of the insurgents. 

In the section of Warsaw, and the adjoining province of 
Grodno, the only acts of the insurgents deserving notice were 
the temporary destruction in several places of the railway, and 
the interruption of communication by telegraph. 

It would be endless to particularize all the petty struggles- 
which at this time occurred. Unimportant in themselves, and 
resultless in their consequences (for the defeated bands re- 
assembled, by appointment, in a few days' time), it would only 
be to present to the reader the confused details of paltry 
skirmishes in an unknown land skirmishes presenting no- 
features of interest; not illustrated by any known act of 
heroism or magnanimity; and which, at most, never rose in con- 
sequence beyond the most ordinary incidents of a guerilla war. 

In the encounters between the Russian troops and the insur- 
gents the losses were very unequally divided, and many hostile 
:>mments were made upon the " lying "bulletins," which 
stated some considerable number of the enemy were slain, 


while the troops lost "their invariable one Cossack." Without 
attempting to solve the question of whether or no the losses 
of the Russians were unduly lessened, I shall point out the 
explanations given me by those who contended that the 
bulletins were true, and then leave my readers to draw their 
own conclusion. 

The insurgents were raw and undisciplined levies, no more 
conversant with war than are English yeomen and shopkeepers ; 
and they had to contend against well-organized troops. Few of 
the insurgents had muskets; most of them were only armed with 
pikes, scythes, and sticks; the Russians were perfectly armed, 
and carried rifles. 

An idea of the nature of the bands may be formed by a 
description of one which was defeated at Semititski, on the 
8th February. It was said to have numbered 5,000 men. 
Every 1,000 men had a company of rifles, 200 in number, and 
that company was divided into four platoons. The riflemen 
were armed with double-barrelled guns and muskets, while 
the other 800 men of each 1000 formed four companies, and 
were armed with lances and scythes. The riflemen wore black 
(chamarkas) coats ; while the other insurgents wore coats of 
similar shape, made out of rough grey cloth. So much organ- 
ization was, however, seldom met with ; in general the bands 
had practically none, and were miserably armed and clothed. 

The bands were generally formed from priests, landowners, 
lesser nobles, petty officials, and such peasants as had no 
land, bnt were engaged as workmen by the landowners. The 
peasants who had land uniformly refused to join. Very 
often both the peasant workmen and mechanics from towns 
were induced through misrepresentation to join the insurgents. 
Thus they were told that the Government had determined to 
seize as recruits all men between the ages of sixteen and thirty, 
and were urged to fly into the forest and join the bands, to 
avoid this compulsory enlistment. When they did so, perfect 
strangers to them became their leaders, and explained to 
them that they now formed part of the national army, and 
promised them arms, food, clothes, and pay. These promises 
were, however, seldom fulfilled, and the ordinary food given 
to the insurgents was a piece of bread and a glass of spirits. 


Many of them, finding how miserable was their condition, 
wished to leave the band and return home ; but their leaders 
threatened them with death if they did so, and fear kept them 
to their colours. Many of the leaders, desirous of augmenting 
the numbers of their men, and wishing the rebellion to appear 
thoroughly national, endeavoured to secure the assistance of 
the peasants by acts of violence and cruelty. Their attempts 
were, however, vain; but fear sometimes prompted them to 
help the insurgents by giving them money and food. 

The actions fought by the contending parties were of the 
character which generally distinguishes a partisan war. For 
the most part they avoided an encounter with considerable 
bodies of troops, while they plundered the posts, custom-houses, 
treasuries, and frequently the villages where no soldiers were 
stationed ; they had neither the organization nor the arms to 
resist a regular force, and when they were forced to fight, they 
generally resisted only for a short time and then dispersed, 
seeking shelter in some adjoining forest, having arranged that 
on an appointed day and at a fixed place they should meet 
again. The only chance the Eussians had of destroying a 
band completely was when they could cut off their retreat to 
the woods and compel them to fight. 

The preceding remarks must not be considered to have an 
invariable application. Among the ranks of the rebels were to be 
found men of honour who would not stoop to deceive or misuse 
peasants ; of true courage, who failed to recognize as patriot- 
ism the plunder of a strong-box or the robbery of a mail ; and 
who tried with vain and hapless chivalry to wring from the 
armed hand of Russia the freedom which was the prize for 
which they strove. 

The bands which operated in Lithuania generally came 
there from the Kingdom, and, except in the province of Kovno, 
where many of the crown peasants joined them, did not meet 
with much support from the lower orders. 

The Roman Catholic clergy exerted all their influence in 
the cause of the insurgents, and, openly preached rebellion 
to the lower orders. Encouraged by the comparative impunity 
with which they carried on their operations, the insurgents 
abandoned the system which alone had secured it to them, and 


in three different quarters formed themselves into considerable 
corps d'armes. 

The principal of these bands was concentrated near the 
town of Wachock, in the government of Radom, and consisted 
of from 3,000 to 4,000 men. They were commanded by Lan- 
giewicz, formerly a professor in a Polish military school in 
Italy, which had been recently closed by the Italian Govern- 
ment, who had now come to Poland with many of his pupils 
to assist in the insurrection. This band destroyed the bridge 
over the Pilica at Bialobrzegi in order to intercept the com- 
munications with Warsaw, and made every preparation to 
resist the enemy. The country held by Langiewicz was well 
adapted for the warfare he carried on, for it is one of the 
few mountainous districts which vary the otherwise mono- 
tonous plain of Poland ; it is studded with vast forests and 
morasses, giving those who are acquainted with the neigh- 
bourhood great advantages over strangers, and affording the 
former ample shelter and opportunity for re-forming themselves 
in case of defeat. There are also in this neighbourhood many 
government forges for manufacturing iron, of which large 
deposits are found here, and the insurgents took possession of 
them, and fabricated scythes, knives, and other rude weapons, 
with which they armed themselves. The neighbourhood of 
the Galician frontier was another advantage this situation 
possessed, for it enabled supplies to be securely received from 
the Austrian territory; it facilitated the junction of exiles 
who desired to aid them^ and it permitted the insurgents to 
establish constant communications with Galicia, and thus with 
the nations of Western Europe. The vicinity of the Austrian 
frontier also secured a safe refuge from the enemy in case of 

In the first week in February, four of the eight towns in 
the government of Eadom were in the hands of the insurgents, 
who established a species of provisional government there, 
appointed the old chiefs of districts to act in the same capacity 
for them, issued passports to traders who desired to pass their 
lines, and ordered a conscription amongst all classes, peasants 
included, of all males from eighteen to thirty-five years of age. 

The second band had its head-quarters at Wengrow, in the 


district of Lublin, near the Lithuanian frontier ; it was esti- 
mated to consist of 3,000 men, among whom were many 
fugitives from Warsaw and a number of small freeholders. 

A division of the Smolensk regiment was sent against them 
from Siedlee ; its head, a Russian colonel, reconnoitred the 
ground, and halted about ten miles from Wengrow. When his 
report reached Warsaw, it was resolved to attack the insur- 
gents at daybreak on the 4th February : the colonel, at the 
head of his regiment, with the aid of the artillery from Siedlee, 
was to attack it from the south, while Major- General Krudner, 
leading troops sent from Warsaw, was to attack it from the 
north. When, however, the troops under General Krudner 
approached the town, they found it already in the hands of the 
Smolensk regiment, who on the previous day had taken it, 
inflicting heavy loss on its defenders. This engagement was 
rendered remarkable by a charge which insurgents, who were 
armed only with scythes and pikes, made upon the artillery of 
the Russians. The attempt was unsuccessful; but it was a 
very gallant one. The residue of the shattered band retreated 
across the Bug. 

The third band, about 2,000 in number, established itself 
in some forests near the town of Lovicz, in the neighbourhood 
of the railway from Warsaw to Vienna, and confined itself 
to intercepting the railway communication between the two 
places, and cutting the telegraph wires. 

At the first outbreak of the revolt, the Russians appear to 
have been uncertain how to act ; they had a large army in the 
kingdom, estimated at 100,000, and certainly in truth not less 
than 80,000 men, in addition to at least 50,000 more who were 
stationed in Lithuania and the Western provinces. The insur- 
gents never amounted to 20,000 at any one time in arms, and 
they were undisciplined, badly armed, and unused to war; it 
seemed, therefore, that there should have been little difficulty 
in putting down the revolt. But although the Russians were 
numerous, their strength was wasted by being scattered over a 
large extent of country, where they garrisoned all the towns, 
and even every important village. Unless they withdrew from 
these places, they had not the power to bring any considerable 
force into the field, and if they withdrew from them, it was to 


allow the rebels to take possession of them, and apparently to 
gain great successes over the authorities. The choice was one 
of considerable difficulty; but it was eventually resolved to 
abandon the outposts which hitherto had been occupied by 
small bodies of troops, who were peculiarly liable to be 
attacked and cut off in detail ; to concentrate the troops in the 
larger towns, and to form moveable columns which should 
pursue and attack the rebels wherever they drew to a head. 
This determination was not, howeve^ arrived at before the 
Government had sustained considerable losses ; for in many 
towns the insurgents had seized the public funds, together 
with arms and ammunition captured from the garrisons who 
held them ; and such losses were not only intrinsically serious, 
they were far more important as giving confidence to the 
enemy, and as tending to persuade the peasants that the 
authorities were the weaker party, and were unable to protect 

On' 3rd February, a considerable force, consisting of foot 
soldiers, dragoons, and Cossacks, with two cannon, marched 
against Langiewicz. When they were about a mile and a half 
from the town of Winchock they were attacked by some 
insurgents, who were armed with scythes and pikes. The 
Cossacks, at the head of the force, fell back right and left to 
allow the artillery and the tirailleurs to open fire upon the 
enemy. At the first sound of the cannon the inhabitants of 
the town quitted it, and took refuge in the adjoining forest. 
The troops marched on the place, while the tirailleurs flanked 
them upon both sides. The insurgents, after a short conflict in 
the streets, fell back in confusion, and the troops occupied the 
town. The official journals at the time represented this action 
as a most calamitous defeat for the insurgents, and alleged 
that their forces were totally dispersed ; but subsequent events 
did not confirm these statements j and while it is clear the rebels 
suffered a severe check, and were driven out of Winchock, it 
will be seen hereafter that they were not dispersed, but that 
they continued the struggle in which they had adventured 
themselves for some months longer. 



Policy of Prussia. Her Government of Posen. Convention with Russia for 
Rendition of Criminals. Debate in Prussian Chambers. English 
Despatches. Policy of Austria. Loyalty of Peasants and Clergy in 
Galicia. Anti-Russian Feeling of Austrian, French, and English Press. 

PEUSSIA and Austria had viewed the outbreak of the insur- 
rection with great and reasonable anxiety. Accomplices in 
the original partition, ratifying and confirming the policy which 
dictated that act by their share in the treaty of Vienna and 
the territorial arrangements it effected, there was every pro- 
bability, if the Kingdom were revolutionized, that the Poles of 
Galicia and Posen would fly to arms. Yet there was much in 
the position of the two great German powers which was likely 
to induce them to adopt a very dissimilar line of action now. 

When Posen was first ceded to Prussia, the province lay 
waste and desolate. Its miserable inhabitants were reduced 
by prolonged wars and scarcely less disastrous peace to almost 
a condition of barbarism. Cities once populous and thriving 
were deserted ; houses were tenantless, churches in ruins. 
Through the country the wretched peasants, wasted with 
famine, brutalized by war, without education, freedom, or 
enlightenment, were the helpless slaves of merciless masters. 
Those very masters were little their superiors save in the 
power they possessed to domineer over and oppress them, and 
they had neither knowledge nor refinement through which there 
was any hope that the country might be raised from her 
degraded state. 

It was not, therefore, simply as a conqueror that Prussia 
came. Posen was necessary for her security ; but it must be 
Posen humanized and strengthened her people must be 
educated ; her cities refilled ; her blighted industry revivified ; 
her altars rebuilt; and her prosperity restored. Frederick 
was not unequal to the exigency. Oppressed as Prussia 
was with costly military establishments, exhausted as she had 


been by sanguinary and long-continued war, still that great 
sovereign was to Posen a liberal and enlightened benefactor. 
Roads were constructed through forest and morass ; in villages 
the most remote schools were introduced, and churches rebuilt 
and endowed; a postal service was organized, agriculture 
nourished, and an industrious population gathered in her towns. 
Posen, as Posen now is, has been the creation of Prussia, and she 
may well be proud of the triumph her civilizing arm has won. 

The conduct pursued towards the conquered province by 
Prussia has for many years past excited the bitter indignation 
of the Poles. Anxious to ensure the continuance of the pros- 
perity he had founded, it was the policy of the descendants of 
the Great Frederick to encourage the " noiseless Gerinaniza- 
tion " of Posen. In all directions a spendthrift proprietary 
wasted their fortunes in luxury and extravagance ; reduced to 
poverty, they had forced their estates into the market, and the 
Germans were encouraged by their Government to purchase 
them. An orderly and industrious proprietary succeeded to a 
bankrupt and dissolute nobility ; land long laid waste was 
cultivated with anxious care; comfortable houses, well- 
arranged farms, and a contented peasantry, changed the face 
of the country : though the Polish was still an important 
element in society, it had no longer a preponderating 
influence; and every year witnessed the developing pro- 
sperity and the increasing Germanization of Posen. The 
process which had been so thoroughly effected in Silesia as to 
leave no trace of its original Polish origin, was working here, 
and there was every reason to suppose that another half- 
century would obliterate all that was Polish in the province 
of Posen. 

It was therefore natural that the Prussian Government 
should view with great alarm any insurrection in the kingdom 
of Poland which might by possibility extend to its own terri- 
tories. War in the kingdom of Poland, so often devastated, 
so depopulated, and where civilization and improvement had 
made such scanty progress, might be of little import; but 
war in Posen, war which should destroy her peaceful villages, 
which should ruin her rising commerce and her thriving agri- 
culture, would undo the painful work of fifty years, and 


obliterate that noble triumph which the slow and stolid industry 
of Germany had won over the light and reckless Poles. 

In the year 1857 a convention had been entered into 
between Russia and Prussia, having for its object the ren- 
dition of political and criminal refugees. It related, first, to 
all individuals who deserted from the active service of the 
respective armies, and to individuals who had only obtained 
leave of absence, and who in fact belonged to the reserve ; 
second, to all individuals who were prospectively liable to 
military service in the state which they had left ; and, third, 
to criminals who had fled from the state in which they had 
committed crime in order to escape from the pursuit of justice. 
In this convention a clause was inserted, couched in the fol- 
lowing terms : " Neither deserters, nor individuals subject to 
military service, nor criminals, can, on the part of the State 
which claims them, be pursued in the territory of the other 
State, either by any act of violence or arbitrary authority, or 
clandestinely. It is, in consequence, forbidden that any 
detachment, military or civil, or any secret emissary, should 
pass the frontier of the two states with this object." 

Early in February, confused rumours spread abroad of a 
treaty alleged to have been entered into between Eussia and 
Prussia for affording each other mutual aid in the suppression 
of disturbances. The most exaggerated reports were circu- 
lated as to the stipulations of this treaty ; and Sir Andrew 
Buchanan, the English minister at Berlin, writing to the 
Foreign Secretary on 14th February, stated, as the result of 
his inquiries, that he believed ' ' it has been agreed that the 
commanders-in-chief of the two Governments will keep each 
other informed of the movements of the troops under their 
orders ; that if the troops of the one Government should 
retire before the insurgents into the territories of the other, 
they will be allowed to retain their arms, and to recross the 
frontier as soon as they may be in a position to do so, and 
that the troops of either Government will be at liberty to 
pursue insurgents into the territory of the other." 

These reports were strengthened by the terms of a procla- 
mation addressed to the inhabitants of Posen by the president 
of the province, and the general in command there. It stated 


that "the armed insurrection which has broken out in the 
kingdom of Poland against the lawful authority of the Go- 
verninent, has changed our immediate neighbourhood into the 
theatre of bloody events ; but whilst the cruelties perpetrated 
by the insurgents inspire the greatest horror, they at the 
same time afford the certainty that this criminal undertaking 
will bring about the destruction of those whose fanaticism has 
made them partakers in it. . . We fear that attempts will be 
made to seduce individual inhabitants of the province to a 
participation in the insurrectionary movement of the neigh- 
bouring country; a participation which, if even only an 
indirect one, but substantiated by any public manifestation, or 
by any act of support or assistance, of whatever kind, would 
have to be regarded (considering the notorious tendencies of 
the insurrection) as an undertaking against the laws of this 
country, and might therefore involve the heavy penalties of 

Under the influence of the prevailing rumours, a stormy 
debate took place on 1 8th February in the Prussian Chamber. 
The minister, M. von Bismarck, was asked whether any con- 
vention had been concluded between the two Governments for 
the suppression of the insurrection in Poland ; and if so, what 
were its contents. He answered, that the Government did 
not intend to reply to the question. M. Waldeck denounced 
the convention, which he assumed to have been entered into, 
" as something so monstrous that it was difficult to find the 
proper category among public acts wherein to range it. It 
was nothing more or less than the sending over of gendarmes 
and armed police to a country whose existence had hitherto 
depended on police and gendarmes. And this was a part to 
be undertaken by a state that pretended to be at the head of 
German civilization. The man whose face did not flush with 
shame at such a thought was not worthy to be a Prussian or 
a German." The speaker protested that it was an absurdity 
to suppose that fugitives could endanger the security of 
Prussia, and declared that the true protection of the latter lay 
in the contrast the administration of her Polish possessions 
offered to the system of Russian rule. The only parallel he 
declared for this ignominous convention, was to be found in 



the sale of his troops during the last century, by the elector 
of Hesse, to the British Government for subjugating the 
revolted American States. " But/' he continued, " the day 
for a policy of this kind is past, and kings can no longer 
treat the lives of their subjects as private property to be 
employed no matter on what frivolous or Quixotic adventures. 
An intervention on our part let us not disguise the fact from 
ourselves would be denounced by the whole civilized world. 
Austria condemns it, England openly condemns it, France 
rejoices at the opportunity offered her of making herself 
popular at our expense. Even in Russia the principles upon 
which such an intervention would be based have of late come 
discredit, and the Emperor Alexander has himself endea- 
voured to adopt a more liberal policy. . ." 

Lord Russell, on the same day that this debate took place, 
wrote to Sir A. Buchanan, instructing him to procure a copy 
of the convention; and on 21st February he saw the French 
ambassador, and learned from him, that although his Govern- 
ment was not in possession of the text of the convention, they 
knew enough of its purport to form an opinion unfavourable 

its prudence and opportuneness ; and that they considered 
Prussia had, by its conduct, revived the Polish question. 
.^- The reticence of M. von Bismarck had produced its natural 
result ; the people of Prussia believed their Government had 
entered into some humiliating capitulation for hunting down 
the insurgents. France, only too happy to seize the opportu- 
nity she would gladly have created, was preparing by energetic 
protests to pave the way to future action ; while the minister 
of England, unwilling to be left behind in the race of diplo- 
matic liberality, thought it necessary that he too should write 
something, that he too should interfere. 

On the 2nd March, the very day upon which Lord Russell 
wrote the despatch from which extracts will be presently 
made, a letter from Sir A. Buchanan reached him. In that 
letter he stated that M. von Bismarck had read to him the text 
of the convention ; that it was of an informal character, was not 
divided into articles, and was to the following effect : " That 
disturbances having broken out in the kingdom of Poland 
which might endanger property and tranquillity in the frontier 


provinces of Prussia, it was agreed between the two Govern- 
ments that the troops of either should be authorized, on the 
requisition of the military authorities of the other, to cross 
the frontier, and, in case of necessity, should be permitted to 
pursue insurgents into the territory of the other : and it was 
further stipulated that either of the contracting parties should 
be at liberty to terminate this agreement." Sir A. Buchanan 
added that ' ' not only was the convention incomplete from no 
ratifications having been exchanged, but, as its existence also 
depended on the will of the contracting parties, it could not 
be considered a binding agreement." 

On the same day a despatch from Lord Napier reached the 
Foreign Office, in which he stated that he had seen Prince 
Gortschakoff, who had explained that the agreement was 
simply one for the maintenance of security on the borders of 
the two countries. 

' ' The insurgents were in the habit of falling on the custom- 
house stations and other localities where public funds were 
deposited. It was necessary that the agents of Government 
should be enabled to withdraw with their funds from threat- 
ened posts to places of safety, if necessary, even on foreign 
territory. Such a liberty was assured for them ; and if they 
were pursued by the rebels, the latter, in their turn, would be 
followed by the Russian troops over the frontier until they fell 
in with an armed force of Prussians." 

It would perhaps be difficult to collect from these commu- 
nications anything to justify the statements in Lord RusselPs 
next despatch to Sir A. Buchanan ; but on the very day he 
received them, he wrote as follows : 

" The convention which has been concluded between Russia 
and Prussia relating to the affairs of Poland has caused con- 
siderable uneasiness in this country. 

" The powers of Europe were disposed to be neutral in the 
contest between the Russian Government and the Polish in- 

" Prussia has departed from this course. 

' ' My inquiries, as well as a despatch from Lord Napier, have 
led me to believe that the convention contains 

" I. An agreement that Russian troops, upon crossing the 


frontier of Prussia, shall not be disarmed, as would be required 
according to international usage, but shall be allowed to retain 
their arms, and to remain and to act as an armed body in 
Prussian territory. 

" IL A permission for Russian troops to pursue and capture 
Polish insurgents on Prussian territory." 

Sir A. Buchanan was directed to inform the Prussian Govern- " 
ment, that it was clear that they thus made themselves a party 
to the ' ' war raging in Poland " that there was no necessity 
for their so doing ; that it was an act of intervention unjustified 
by necessity; that it would alienate the affections of the 
Polish subjects of Prussia, and " give support and counte- 
nance to the arbitrary conscription of Warsaw." 

In obedience to his instructions, Sir A. Buchanan saw M. von 
Bismarck on the 5th March ; read him the despatch ; was in- 
formed that no such clause as that first cited by Lord Russell 
existed in the convention; that the stipulation permitting, 
under certain circumstances, the entry of Russian troops on 
Prussian territory would have been restricted and defined by 
instructions issued to the frontier authorities, but that it had 
now been decided that in no case would such entry be neces- 
sary ; that in no instance had Russian troops been allowed to 
cross the frontier and attack the insurgents ; and that, in fact, 
the convention was a dead letter, as the instructions necessary 
for carrying it into effect had never been drawn up. 

It was no longer possible for the Foreign Secretary to per- 
severe in his demands or his comments, so on the llth March 
he withdrew his request for a copy of the convention, and 
concluded with the remark, ( ' the crossing the frontier with 
money from unprotected and insulated custom-houses, with- 
out any formal convention, must be considered as too unim- 
portant to deserve serious notice." 

While such was the policy of Prussia, which had something 
to lose by the spread of the insurrection, Austria, from the 
difference in the condition of her Polish possessions, was able 
to regard the future with equanimity and adopt with compo- 
sure a role of unaccustomed liberality. 

Galicia had never been Germanized, the Polish element pre- 
ponderated there, and among men of education and property 


the Austrian Government was as much detested as was the 
Russian rule by the same classes in the Kingdom. But the 
peasants were devoted to their Emperor ; they considered the 
freedom which they had obtained in 1848 as the guerdon for 
their loyalty in 1846, when they murdered a thousand of the 
Galician rebel proprietors; and they were prepared to give 
further proofs of their fidelity, in the hope that they thus 
might obtain fresh concessions and extended rights. The 
Roman Catholic priesthood also were the loyal upholders of 
Austrian supremacy ; they preached submission to constituted 
authority, and exerted themselves to the utmost to prevent 
any revolutionary outbreak. 

Austria had thus good reason for believing that there 
would be no successful insurrection in Galicia. It was, indeed, 
at least open to question whether she would not be strength- 
ened rather than weakened by the reconstitution of the Poland 
of 1772, provided such a reconstitution made the kingdom 
absolutely independent of Russia. The intervention between 
her own and the Russian frontier of a strong military power, 
seeking nothing from her, regarding her as an ally, professing 
the same religion, and to a great extent having interests in 
common with her, would go far to counterbalance the loss 
of a province which gave her no real strength, and where she 
knew that her rule was utterly distasteful to all the educated 
classeA,of the population. 

Swayed by these considerations, and by the exigencies of 
ler own internal policy, which rendered it all-important to 
ler to earn a character for liberality, the conduct of Austria 
vas marked by impartiality and justice. All attempts to 
enrol men in Galicia were discouraged, and as far as pos- 
sible repressed, and the meeting of the provincial Diet at 
Lemberg was adjourned to prevent revolutionary speeches 
being pronounced there, and also to prevent the younger 
members of it from compromising themselves and their friends ; 
but the Austrian minister, Count Rechberg, discouraged any 
idea of a military convention between the two Governments, 
and resolved to be guided in his treatment of political fugi- 
tives by the ordinary usages of civilized nations. 

The German Liberal press adopted a line of decided sym- 


pathy with the Poles. " If we would express the feelings 
which prevail in Austria/' said the Botscli after, " with refe- 
reSce to the Poles, we should be guilty of an untruth were we to 
maintain that we do not wish them success. We speak of the 
feeling expressed in private and social life. It would be 
unnatural were it otherwise. . . . Austria has a right 
to protest before Poland and the world against the share 
ascribed to her in the iniquitous deed of partition. She has 
done whatever she could, and she will continue to strive 
against adding bad to evil. She will endeavour, by means 
of a liberal and humane government, to ameliorate the con- 
dition of the Austrian Poles, to save them from entering upon 
rash and foolish enterprises, and from a darker fate ; the rest 
she will leave to Providence ; and though reproach may be 
cast upon her for so doing, we are sure that a vast majority of 
the Austrian people will applaud her policy. No Austrian 
can for a moment entertain the thought of another holy 
alliance with Prussia and Russia, with Bismarck and Gort- 

The anti-Russian feeling in England and France was care- 
fully stimulated by the agents of the revolution. Extra- 
ordinary statements were circulated and believed, of unheard- 
of cruelties practised by the troops not only against the insur- 
gents, but against peaceful and unarmed inhabitants. Equally 
*"fmprobab!e accounts were propagated of Polish heroism, 
magnanimity, and success. It was no uncommon thing to 
read of bands armed with scythes and pikes, putting to flight 
regular troops many times more numerous than themselves, 
and the only circumstance which appeared in the minds of 
thoughtful men to shake confidence in these strange recitals, 
was the fact that the insurrection seemed ever advancing, but 
yet never to make any way ; and a hundred well-contested 
fields and brilliant victories failed to give them (after the 
defeat of Langiewicz) the command of a single province, 
fortress, or even town. 

Examples without number of the gross exaggerations of the 
press might easily be adduced, but it will be sufficient to 
instance the reports which the Viennese correspondent of the 
Times, on 3rd February, judged sufficiently trustworthy to 


embody in his letter of that date. He stated that in Galicia 
it was said that more than 200,000 men had risen against the 
Russian Government, but that it was known in Vienna, that 
not even a fourth of that number was actually under arms > 
that about 10,000 conscripts had been taken to the fortresses 
of Warsaw, Modlin, and Lublin ; and, quoted from the Vienna 
Presse,. that M. von Valbezen, the French consul in "Warsaw, 
had said a few words to the Archduke Constantino in favour of 
the conscripts confined in the citadel ; and the consequence of 
his interference was, that seventy prisoners were shot. 

When it is remembered that certainly at no one time were 
more than 20,000 insurgents ever in arms ; that the conscrip- 
tion was only carried out in Warsaw, and the number of 
conscripts did not exceed 2,000, of whom many had escaped, 
and that prisoners in Russia are only put to death after legal 
trial, and after sentence has been pronounced against them, 
the absurdity of the statements thus submitted to English 
readers will be sufficiently apparent. _ 

It was, perhaps, an error in the Russian Government not 
to take care that these reports should be promptly and fully 
contradicted; but they regarded them as canards, weighing 
nothing with well-informed or educated persons, and therefore 
as too contemptible to be worthy of denial. If public opinion 
were only influenced by the intelligent and instructed, such a 
course might have been wise and prudent ; but as it, unfor- 
tunately, is more frequently swayed by ignorant clamour and 
blundering good intentions, they allowed themselves to be 
greatly prejudiced by their haughty silence. 



The Emperor Napoleon. His presumed Designs on Prussia. Exasperation 
of the French People. Temporizing Policy of the Emperor. Sympathy 
in England with the Insurgents. Debate in the Lords. Despatch of 
Lord Russell Reply of Prince Gortschakoff. 

THE policy of the Emperor Napoleon was constantly the theme 
of anxious inquiry and hypothesis. Men asked themselves 
what that mysterious silence, which nothing broke, portended, 
and over what thoughts that impassive countenance kept guard. 
Did the master of the army of France intend to launch its 
magnificent legions against the myriads of the Czar, to resume 
the strife which in 1856 he had so hastily abandoned, and to 
avenge the misfortunes, if he did not repeat the catastrophe, 
of 1812 ? Would he, the conqueror of Magenta and the vic- 
torious diplomatist of Solferino, now strive to arouse a second 
nation from its death-like sleep ? And if he did, for what 
hidden purpose would that war be waged ? 

Men did not trust the Emperor Napoleon ; they admitted 
^Jlis^ability, wondered at his^xeticence, dreaded his power; 
they did not credit his professions, or believe in the integrity 
of his views ; and now they anxiously inquired with what 
object he would draw the sword, and, looking round them, 
surveyed the Continent of Europe, and endeavoured to dis- 
cover how France would indemnify herself for the cost and 
hazard of war. 

At first the Emperor had avoided all interference in the 

Polish question ; his ambassadors had expressed no sympathy 
with the struggling nation ; the official journals had been 
silent, and the warlike tendencies of the French press had 
been restrained. Then came the alleged convention with 
Prussia, and immediately his policy was changed. He saw, 
men said, the germ of a great opportunity, and he would not 
let it pass. It was not Russia he desired to encounter, it was 


not Poland he panted to free ; it was Prussia he longed to 
humiliate, it was the Rhenish provinces he desired to win. 

There was colour for the inference, for to Prussia the 
Emperor attributed the revival of the Polish question, and ""*") 
from the hour he had done so he followed it up with perse- / 
verance and determination. When the provisions of that / 
memorable convention had been explained, the English / 
minister had deemed them so trivial as to be unworthy of / 
further inquiry or comment. How then did it happen, when / 
the stimulus was withdrawn, that the vane of French diplo- I 
macy pointed to war, and her press exhausted its bitter and I 
unsparing energy in denunciations of Prussia as well as her / 
northern ally ? How did it come to pass that in official pam- / 
phlets she was significantly menaced in the name of peace,/ 
and threatened with conquest in the cause of European order ?*1 
These things are never done by accident in France ; whence,\ 
then, did their inspiration originate ? 

Meanwhile the passions of the French people were fully 
roused ; an European war was certain to give them new tri- 
umphs to celebrate, and a war for Poland appealed to some 
of their proudest recollections and most generous impulses. 
They remembered how nobly the Poles. had fought in the 
battles of the great Napoleon, and they felt his betrayal of 
their cause as the one dark blot on the scutcheon of his fame; 
it was, they thought, a holy undertaking to redeem from 
bondage that chivalrous and patriot race ; and they desired 
to lay the lance in rest against what they conceived to be th 
darkest and most barbarous tyranny that modern history h 
seen. Being disposed for decisive action, their feelings were 

* In one of those historical references in which French pamphleteers 
delight, and from which they have the faculty of proving whatever suits their 
momentary purpose, Prussia is warned to be submissive ; and then, as an 
intimation of what she might expect in case she proved contumacious, the 
author alludes, in the following terms, to the history of another age : 
" Posterity will one day ask why, during the last six years of his reign, 
Napoleon showed himself without mercy to Prussia. It is because Prussia 
is the power that injured him most, by compelling him to fight her, and 
destroy her when he wished to extend, fortify, and increase her." "UEmpereur, 
la Pologne, et I' Europe" 





maddened by the tidings which daily reached them. Unheard- 
of atrocities, from which neither sex nor age, nor rank nor 
sacred duties availed to shield their victims, were chronicled 
with monotonous regularity; telegrams summarized them, 
correspondents dilated on their details, leading articles were 
passionately eloquent upon the same themes, and the people 
implicitly believed everything that was thus conveyed to_ them. 
Amid all this excitement, diplomacy moved on with clock- 
work regularity, ever approaching nearer and nearer to the 
momentous hour when mere words would be of no more avail, 
and still the Emperor sat impassively gazing on the scene, 
and still he made no sign. 

Sometimes in history, and frequently in every- day life, a 
silent man acquires a character he little merits for ability and 
knowledge. Perhaps, when years have rolled by, when the 
present generation has passed away, when the little incidents 
that look so great to us are all reduced to their true dimen- 
sions, the future historian may question the depth of that 
wisdom which it now so greatly embarrasses us to plumb. Is 
it not possible that the Emperor indicated no policy simply 
because he did not know what policy to pursue ? Is it not 
possible that he was embarrassed by the efforts of former 
years, and by his own conduct, which had been often vigorous, 
often fortunate, but never straightforward ? 

His position was certainly difficult. The occupation of Koine 
I embarrassed him, while it insulted Italy and contradicted every 
aspiration and utterance of his life. His army in Mexico, 
instead of finding their march to the city of Montezuma a 
mere triumphal pageant, was thinned by an ignoble foe and 
decimated by a fatal climate ; and this war, regarded by the 
French people with unmixed aversion, was costly, inglorious, 
and apparently interminable. His finances, known to be con- 
fused, were suspected of being seriously disordered, and those 
who were most conversant with them seemed to view them 
with the gravest alarm. Meanwhile the people, first tortured 
into silence by massacre and exile, then bribed into acquiescence 
by trophied monuments and two successful wars, were at length 
aroused; at length they bethought themselves that they were 
worthy of being more than a nameless mob, whose only destiny 



was to applaud their Emperor, or swell an unanimous vote 
whenever he appealed to a plebiscite to confirm his sovereign 

Thus encircled by difficulties, it needed a strong will to 
shape a policy and adhere to it without deviation or sub- 
terfuge. A war for the liberation of Poland would reburnish 
the tarnished popularity of the Empire, and if England and 
Austria were allied with France, it would be morally certain 
of success. The financial difficulties of the moment might be 
tided over, for in the lavish expenditure of modern war an 
existing deficit may be included in the loans it is necessary to 
contract ; while the clang of the trumpet, the glitter and the 
triumphs of war, would divert the thoughts of the people from 
the dangerous path of liberty and self-government. 

So far the course was smooth and very apparent. Strong 
remonstrances might be indulged in, if Austria and England 
concurred in them ; a war might securely be waged if those 
two powers would lend their active assistance; and in the 
mean time the press might continue to excite the people; 
French officers might be encouraged or permitted to join the 
patriot levies, and contributions might be collected in their- 
aid. If Russia yielded to diplomatic representations, France! 
would claim the glory of reconstituting the liberties of Poland ;1 
if war were the result, she might arrogate to herself 
prouder boast of reconquering her independence. 

The danger was that France, by the vehemence of her 
representations and the passion of her people, might be 
hurried into the conflict, while the prudence of Austria and 
the pacific tendencies of England might sever her connection 
with the only nations whose joint action would ensure her 
triumph in such a war. 

To"""protect himself against this eventuality, the Emperor 
tried, a few weeks later than the time which my narrative has 
now reached, to lure Austria and England into arrangements 
for joint action in case the six points, to be hereafter noticed, 
were not conceded ; but those cabinets had then gone further 
than prudence would have counselled, and the Emperor tried 
in vain. 

Other projects suggested themselves, and presented sub- 

L 2 

ACVJ-4 \A. j I 

f the! 
* *r " i 


stantial advantages as an offset to the perils which environed 
them. The kingdom of Italy was yet imperfect, and its 
warlike monarch, a satellite revolving round the Napoleonic 
sun, was ready to assist a benefactor who yet had princely 
rewards to bestow. An Italian army might doubtless be 
marshalled in a new combination against Russia, under a king 
whose astutest and most successful action had been a similar 
alliance during the Crimean war. In the North, the hope of 
recovering her lost possessions might hurry Sweden into the 
field; in the East, the hardy tribes of the Caucasus, with 
French assistance, would give occupation to a large army ; 
while Turkey might be incited to commence a holy war, and 
along her far-extended frontier find employment for the 
Russian sword. 

France, we are told, alone among nations, goes to war for 

f an idea, yet she would scarcely find in that of Polish indepen- 

l dence compensation for the costly uncertainty of the strife. 

\ Whence, then, was profit to be extorted, and from whom were 

\ territories to be wrung? The Rhenish provinces was the 

1 answer; and Prussia, the inextricable ally of her mightier 

neighbour, was to be the prey. The war-cry of " the Rhine " 

would rouse the enthusiasm of France ; it would strengthen 

that dynasty which is ever telling the world how much it 

requires ' f consolidation ;" it would silence all opposition, and 

1 be a great and glorious realization of another Napoleonic idea. 

\ Such, it would appear, was the position in which the French 

^-Emperor was placed, and such were the different courses open 

to him to pursue. Doubtless each had its advantages, and 

against each there was much to be alleged ; one fact alone 

was evident, that something quickly must be done. The 

choice was full of difficulty. He could not withdraw from 

Mexico, and admit his enterprise had failed ; on the contrary, 

he must support it with fresh troops, and continue the 

contest till success had crowned his intervention. He could 

not anticipate from day to day the extent of this drain on his 

resources, nor, in face of its possible requirements, could he 

prudently involve himself in European war. Meanwhile, his 

people were hourly becoming more impatient of inaction, were 

asking what the policy of the Government was to be, and 


were contrasting diplomacy at St. Petersburg with extirpa- 
tion in Poland. 

Unprepared to reply to these demands, anxiously weighing 
and balancing the merits of every scheme, it is little to be 
wondered at that the Emperor was silent ; it is not surprising 
that he let events drift whither they would go, hoping ere 
long to discover the direction of the current, and resolved to 
guide the vessel of the State accordingly. His silence, while 
it did not complicate affairs, gave him one enormous advan- 
tage, for it enabled him, whenever he decided on a policy, to 
announce it like a thunder-peal. He knew the French passion 
for stage effect, he knew how certainly a coup de theatre 
secures their admiration, so he folded around his irresolution 
a sibylline garb, and when he spoke, he gave his hesitatin 
ition the likeness of an oracular decree. 

In England, also, a strong feeling in favour of the insur- 
gents was manifested ; day after day the press teemed with 
repetitions of the false reports with which foreign journals 
were filled, and incessant appeals were made, in powerfully 
written articles, to the former condition and 'future hopes of 
Poland, the hapless victim of a sullen and remorseless tyranny. 

On 20th February, Lord Ellenborough, in the House of 
Lords, took occasion to make remarks of a very seve 
character both on the conscription, to which he attribu 
the revolt, and on some of the other acts of the Russia 

In reply, Lord Russell stated, that to those who knew what 
was the progress of events in Poland, the insurrection was 
not unexpected. He alluded to the demonstrations which 
had taken place in Warsaw, and stated, though apparently 
peaceful, their necessary result was concession on the part of 
the Government, or violence on the part of those who shared 
in them ; and after a review of recent events in Poland, and 
an allusion to the conscription, he stated, " the feeling pro- 
duced by such a measure may be imagined. The persons 
who were engaged in secret societies, who meant to rise in 
insurrection at some time, though probably they would never 
have carried out that intention, were driven to despair, and 
thought, if they must serve as soldiers, they would rather shed 


the last drop of their blood upon their native land of Poland, 
than waste their lives in distant lands in the service/of Russia." 
Urged on by the feeling thus excited in England, and by 
the fact that France announced her intention pf remonstrating 
with Russia, Lord Russell, on 2nd March, addressed the fol- 
lowing despatch to Lord Napier : 

" Her Majesty's Government view with the greatest concern the state of 
things now existing in the kingdom of Poland. They see there, on the one 
side, a large mass of the population in open insurrection against the Govern- 
ment ; and, on the other, a vast military force, employed in putting that in- 
surrection down. The natural and probable result of such a contest must 
be expected to be the success of the military forces. But that success, if it 
is to be achieved by a series of bloody conflicts, must be attended by a 
lamentable effusion of blood, by a deplorable sacrifice of life, by wide-spread 
desolation, and by impoverishment and ruin which it would take a long 
course of years to repair. 

" Moreover, the acts of violence and destruction on both sides, which are 
sure to accompany such a struggle, must engender mutual hatreds and 
resentments, which will embitter, for generations to come, the relations 
between the Eussian Government and the Polish race. 

" Yet, however much Her Majesty's Government might lament the existence 
-^ of such a miserable state of things in a foreign country, they would not, 
perhaps, deem it expedient to give formal expression to their sentiments, 
were it not that there are peculiarities in the present state of things in Poland 
which take them out of the usual and ordinary condition of such affairs. 

" The kingdom of Poland was constituted, and placed in connection with 
the Russian empire by the treaty of 1815, to which Great Britain was a 
contracting party. The present disastrous state of tilings is to be traced to 
the fact that Poland is not in the condition in which the stipulations of 
that treaty require that it should be placed. 

" Neither is Poland in the condition in which it was placed by the Emperor 
Alexander I., by whom that treaty was made. 

" During his reign a national Diet sat at Warsaw, and the Poles of the 
kingdom of Poland enjoyed privileges fitted to secure their political 

" Since 1832, however, a state of uneasiness and discontent has been 
succeeded from time to time by violent commotion and a useless effusion of 

" Her Majesty's Government are aware that the immediate cause of the 
present insurrection was the conscription lately enforced upon the Polish 
population ; but that measure itself is understood to have been levelled at 
the deeply rooted discontent prevailing among the Poles, in consequence of 
the political condition of the kingdom of Poland. 

" The proprietors of land and the middle classes in the towns bore that con- 



dition with impatience ; and if the peasantry were not equally disaffected, 
they gave little support or strength to the Russian Government. 

" Great Britain, therefore, as a party to the treaty of 1815, and as a power 
deeply interested in the tranquillity of Europe, deems itself entitled to 
express its opinion on the events now taking place, and is anxious to do so 
in the most friendly spirit towards Russia, and with a sincere desire to pro- 
mote the interest of all the parties concerned. 

" Why should not his Imperial Majesty, whose benevolence is generally and 
cheerfully acknowledged, put an end at once to this bloody conflict by pro- 
claiming mercifully an immediate and unconditional amnesty to his revolted 
Polish subjects, and at the same time announce his intention to replace with- 
out delay his kingdom of Poland in possession of the civil and religious 
privileges which were granted to it by the Emperor Alexander I., in execu- 
tion of the stipulations of the treaty of 1815 ? 

" If this were done, a national Diet and a national administration would 
in all probability content the Poles, and satisfy European opinion." 

When Lord Napier read this despatch to Prince GortschakofF, 
the latter replied, that the insurrection was the result of a 
deep-laid conspiracy, widely organized in foreign capitals ; that 
its explosion had only been hastened by the conscription. It 
was, he said, a democratic and anti-social movement, conceived 
in the pernicious notions of which Mazzini was the author and 
the symbol, and in these designs the Poles had been enlisted 
by nattering their natural illusions, which pointed, not to the 
objects indicated in Lord Russell's despatch, but to the 
severance of Poland from the Russian crown, to national in- 
dependence, to the restoration of the limits of 1772. The 
insurrection only included the mechanics of the towns, the 
indigent nobles, and the clergy. The landed proprietors and 
great nobility had collected for security under the guns of 
the citadel of Warsaw ; the peasantry were decidedly on the 
side of the Government, moved by a sense of the benefits 
which it had conferred upon their order, and disgusted by the 
exactions imposed on them by the roving band of marauding 
insurgents. Some, indeed, of the upper classss might join in 
the patriotic delusions of a restoration of ancient Poland, but 
their eyes were only sealed to the absurdity of such expecta- 
tions, owing to the countenance extended to them by foreign 

Referring to the suggestion that the constitution of 1815 
should be restored, Prince Gortschakoff said : " The constitu- 


tion of 1861 embodied a complete autonomy. National insti- 
tutions were granted by it, with a modified representation 
adapted to the form of political existence in force under the 
Imperial Government. Poland was now ruled by institutions 
purely Polish. There was a directing Minister /a Pole, enter- 
taining national sentiments of the most decided character ; a 
Council of Administration, composed of Poles ; a Council of 
State, containing Poles taken from the several ecclesiastical 
and civil orders of the community, and embodying some 
representative elements, in which general laws for the welfare 
of the kingdom were elaborated; there were provincial, 
district, and municipal councils in descending order, all 
purely elective, charged with the local and material interests of 
the country. This national representation was not cast in the 
same mould as that which was designed by the Emperor 
Alexander I., or that which existed in England, but it formed, 
nevertheless, a system of national and representative institu- 
tions adapted to the condition of Poland and its relations with 
C /Russia. The kingdom of Poland enjoyed an absolute adminis- 
XI trative independence. Even the department for Polish affairs 
^ in the Russian capital had been abolished, and the only insti- 
tution common to the two countries was the army. The new 
, .institutions granted to Poland opened a wide field for activity 
vand material prosperity to the country. With regard to the 
amnesty, he stated that, while a prompt and unconditional 
pardon could not be conceded to those who were actually in 
arms against the authority of their sovereign, it had always 
been the intention of the Emperor to grant a large measure 
of amnesty to his revolted subjects after the cessation of 
resistance, excluding only the principal authors of a move- 
ment which had caused so many calamities in the kingdom. 

The ill success of English diplomacy has ever been pro- 
verbial, but on the questions to which the Polish revolt gave 
rise it was even more unfortunate than is its wont. Our 
statesmen, with few exceptions, have never been conversant 
with foreign politics, and almost every continental crisis has 
found them acting hastily, or unprepared to act at all ; still we 
have a policy upon some great questions, and upon them, if 
our rulers do not act wisely, they at least act in accordance 


with precedent and the traditions of the past. Of Poland, how- 
ever, they appeared to be completely ignorant ; the discussions 
in the Houses of Parliament were scarce worthy of a debating 
club, while Lord Russell's despatches were hardly equal to 
school-boy themes. When the English ministry interfere 
between a powerful sovereign and his revolted subjects, it was 
at least to be expected that their spokesman and representa- 
tive would understand the question upon which he wrote ; that 
he would not betray, whenever he put pen to paper, an ex- 
traordinary ignorance of history, of the events passing before 
him, and even of the despatches he received from his own 
ambassadors. Something more was surely to be expected 
than the recapitulation of newspaper reports, the adoption 
of captious common-places, and the indulgence in boastful 
utterances, to be repudiated in the hour of peril. 

Yet the perusal of Lord Russell's despatches must convince 
every impartial reader that their general character has not 
been mis-stated, and it must ever be matter of regret that 
where the honour and dignity of England were involved, they 
were intrusted to such rash and inadequate guardianship. In 
truth, however, Lord Russell was placed by the exigencies of 
our system of government in a position where his previous 
political experiences availed him nothing, and for which his 
habits of thought and action rendered him singularly unfit. 

The great and solitary achievement of Lord Russell's life, 
the conduct of the Reform Bill, gave him a hold on liberal 
opinions in England, which even his subsequent career has 
failed entirely to loosen. Many excuses have been made 
for a time-serving, captious, and undignified policy, because 
the great revolution in our representative system, which was 
planned and carried out by abler men, was erroneously ascribed 
to his mediocre intellect and faltering tongue. 

The knowledge of partisan tactics, learned in the House of 
Commons, was'little qualified to aid Lord Russell in the con- 
duct of foreign affairs ; he had now to deal with a statesman of 
European reputation, whose great abilities had been con- 
spicuously shown throughout an illustrious career. Trained 
from his youth in diplomacy and statesmanship, Prince 
Gortschakoff was fully competent to master the difficulties 


before him ; his despatches are models of logical argument, 
and they breathe throughout a fixed determination to uphold 
the honour and integrity of the Eussian empire. Always 
courteous in the tone adopted towards England, it will be 
found that he relied in the early part of his negotiations on 
common interests, treaty rights, and ancient friendship ; to an 
ally he was willing to concede much, and his despatches were 
most temperate and conciliatory. As the negotiations, how- 
ever, continued, and Lord Russell became more menacing in 
his tone and more exacting in his requisitions ; as he lent the 
great name of his country to the cause of anarchy and 
European disorder, the replies of Eussia made it clear that to 
threats she would never yield. Far from showing the cunning 
and chicanery which we too generally attribute to our Northern 
ally, there never was a series of state papers in which a national 
policy was more frankly avowed. Eussia believed herself to 
be in the right, she knew that she was powerful, and while 
she desired peace, she did not shrink from war. 

The great diplomatic triumph which the Prince achieved 
was, however, his celebrated despatches to the ambassador at 
the French court ; despatches in which, with pitiless severity, 
he anatomized the diplomatic history of the past, ably 
vindicated the policy of Eussia, and exposed the falsehood 
of the allegations upon which the French Government was 
preparing to draw the sword. 

The effect of these despatches on the Eussian people will 
not lightly be forgotten by any one who witnessed it ; they 
regarded the prince as the noble and eloquent champion of 
his country, and responded with an unanimous voice to his 



Langiewicz's Campaign ; his Defeat. Kesumption of Power by the 
National Government. 

IT is very difficult to follow with certainty the military events 
which succeeded the battle of Wenchock. It is clear,, however, 
that the main hope of the insurgents consisted in the army under 
General Langiewicz. This force amounted to three or four 
thousand men ; but they were undisciplined, imperfectly armed, 
and unaccustomed to war -, and it was necessary for their leader 
as- much as possible to avoid a general engagement. He 
harassed the enemy by a partisan system of warfare, keeping 
them ever in doubt where he would strike the next blow, and 
embarrassing them by the rapidity of his movements, and not 
unfrequently by their audacity. Thus gradually habituated 
to face regular troops, his followers learned steadiness and 
endurance, and, before long, bodies of men armed with 
scythes opposed themselves without shrinking to the Russian 

The system adopted by the Government gave the insurgents 
the advantage of being the apparent masters of the larger part 
of the country, for, in consequence of the Russian forces having 
been withdrawn from many of the smaller posts, they were able 
to boast that they had chased their foreign enemy into his 
fortifications, and that beyond them he did not hold one inch 
of Polish ground save that whereon his armies trod. 

Gradually the new system adopted by the Russians enabled 
them to collect larger bodies to take the field against the 
rebels ; but even then this change in their tactics produced at 
first no answering result. Heavy masses of troops might, in- 
deed, slowly march through the disturbed districts; but the tread 
of their ponderous columns was heard afar, and they marched 
through a country dreary and desolate, but in which there was 


no sign of an armed and living foe. If, however, a small 
detachment ventured to separate from the main body, it was 
assailed and cut off by overpowering numbers ; and then the 
revolutionary press rung with their triumph, and Europe was 
required to recognize an independent Poland* because a few 
soldiers, and perhaps a sous-officier, had been vanquished in the 
forests or morasses of a country that was strange to them. 

However much the revolutionary press might deceive others, 
it could not hide from the leader of the insurgents the despe- 
rate nature of the contest in which he was involved. A Central 
Committee sat at Warsaw, and nominally governed the whole 
movement. Its secret members were fluent writers, and inun- 
dated the country with flowery proclamations and sanguinary 
decrees ; but they gave no sign of capacity for the work they 
had undertaken, if their actions were scanned by those who 
knew what were their sources of information and power : the 
tricks of the juggler astonish the ignorant boor, but the accom- 
plice who has arranged the cards, or prepared the machinery, 
detects the faults and the blunders that the spectator never 

The movement, if it was indeed to become a national one, 
required a single mind to direct it. Through the whol e country 
there were multitudes of independent detachments fighting 
without plan or purpose, and finally falling victims to their 
ignorance of the necessities of their position. It was neces- 
sary they should be controlled, that their rash valour should 
be utilized, that their selfish wishes should be checked, that 
their sanguinary excesses should be restrained ; and all these 
ends could only be effected by placing the entire control of the 
movement in the hands of one competent chief. There was, 
perhaps, another motive for the work to be now undertaken ; 
it was necessary to win the confidence of the great nobles ; it 
was necessary to give them some pledge that a socialist pro- 
paganda would not direct the revolution, and no such pledge 
could be given while the Secret Committee reigned. The first 
act of that committee, an act by which the insurgents were 
now irrevocably bound, had startled and offended them ; for 
they saw in the alienation of the peasants' land the carrying 
out of a policy to which they had ever been opposed, and they 


anticipated with gloomy forebodings the future acts of a party 
which had thus inauspiciously begun to govern. 

Moved by these considerations, Langiewicz took a step 
which for the moment effectually superseded the power of 
the Central Committee. After some consultation with the 
officers about him, he published the following proclamation : 

" FELLOW CITIZENS, The most devoted children of Poland have commenced, 
in the name of God, the combat provoked by the violence and oppression 
exercised by the Muscovite domination. They have commenced it against 
the eternal enemy of liberty and civilization, against the Muscovite intruder, 
the oppressor of our nation ; they have commenced it for the liberty and inde- 
pendence of our country. In the unfavourable circumstances in which the 
enemy has provoked the explosion of the insurrection by the excess of oppres- 
sion, the contest, begun with empty hands against the armed multitudes of 
Russia, has continued not only for nearly two months in a great portion of 
our country, but increases and spreads further and further, thanks to the 
activity and devotion of the whole people, who are resolved to become free or 
to perish. Polish blood flows in torrents upon many fields of battle ; it flows 
in the streets of our towns and villages, which the Asiatic enemy is utterly 
destroying, massacring inoffensive inhabitants, and abandoning to pillage the 
remains of their possessions. In view of this life-and-death struggle, in view 
of the murders, pillage, and flames with which our enemy marks his route, 
Poland sees with grief, by the side of the grandest devotion and enthusiasm 
of her children, the want of a military and avowed leadership capable of pre- 
venting the scattering of the forces which have been called forth, and of 
arousing those who still slumber. It follows, from the general situation of 
affairs, as well as from the nature of the struggle which is proceeding, that 
outside the camp of the insurgents there is not to be found throughout the 
whole territory of the country a spot where a central power publicly avowed 
could establish itself ; and this is the reason why the Secret Provisional 
Government, which emanated from the former Secret Central Committee, has 
not been able to present itself in open day before the nation and the whole 
world. Although there are in the country men who are far above myself in 
capacity and merit, although I appreciate the extent and gravity of the 
duties which in a position so difficult weigh on the supreme national power, 
I assume, nevertheless, with the consent of the supreme National Govern- 
ment, the supreme Dictatorship, prepared to deposit it when we shall have 
shaken off the Muscovite yoke, in the hands of the representatives of the 
people. I assume it in consideration of the urgency of the circumstances 
which imperatively demand a prompt remedy, in consideration of the neces- 
sity of increasing the forces of the nation by the concentration of the civil 
and military powers in one hand, directed by one sole will, in this murderous 
contest against hostile troops. In reserving to myself the immediate direc- 
tion of military operations, or in claiming the power of transferring, if neces- 


sary, the military command in chief to other chiefs in provinces which will 
be named, I deem it useful at present to confide all the civil administration 
of the insurrection, as well as that of the freed territory, to a private civil 
government which will act under my inspiration and control. The powers 
and organization of this government will be indicated in a special publication. 
In taking the dictatorship I commence nothing new, but simply finish the 
work of the National Government. I confirm, then, and proclaim again in 
all their entirety, the fundamental principles expressed in the manifesto of 
the Provisional Government, dated January 22nd, in the name of which the 
flag of the national contest for liberty and independence was raised, especially 
the liberty and political equality of all the sons of Poland, without distinc- 
tion of belief, of condition, or of birth ; also the giving, under conditions, of 
the landed property, subjected until now to rents or charges, to the rural 
population, with indemnity to the proprietors, who will be saved from harm 
out of the funds of the State. 

" And now, peoples of Eoyal Poland, of Lithuania, and of Ruthenia you 
who form one nation in the name of God I call you once more to uni- 
versal and immediate insurrection against Muscovite oppression and bar- 
barity. The concord of all the children of Poland, without distinction of 
class or belief, the community and universality of efforts and sacrifices, and 
the unity of the object, will raise the scattered forces to a power which will 
be fatal to the enemy ; they will procure independence for our country, liberty 
and happiness for our descendants, and will assure immortal glory to those 
who may meet the death of heroes in this sacred struggle. To arms, 
brothers ! to arms ! for the independence of the country. 

" General MARYAN LANGIEWICZ, Dictator. 
" Head-quarters, Goscza, March 10." 

Intelligence of this decided step struck the Central Com- 
mittee with astonishment ; but it was better to submit to the 
usurpation than to disavow it ; for the latter course would have 
disclosed to the world those dissensions which it was fatal at 
such a moment to avow. The Committee, therefore, wrote a 
secret letter to the Dictator, which curiously illustrates their 
embarrassments and internal feuds : 

" GENERAL, The news of your proclamation as Dictator, notwithstanding it 
could not be considered by us otherwise than as a coup d'etat, was at first 
welcomed by us with joy. All, without distinction of opinion, were ready to 
accept the revolutionary illegality, and to pardon a deed which might be 
regarded as the act of a man who felt the strong necessity of saving the 
country from falling. We also took into account the circumstances which 
would not permit of the formation of a political combination, however patent. 
It was almost without deliberation that it was decided to print and publish 
your manifesto ; every means had been resorted to in order to gain for you in 


public opinion as general an adhesion as possible, and the Government, con- 
vinced that the direction of the movement had passed into strong hands, 
hailed with joy the approach of the moment when it could withdraw from 
power. In effect your voluntary declaration that you looked upon yourself as 
the heir of the revolutionary and national policy of the committee, was for it 
a guarantee that you would not overturn the bases laid by the committee, and 
was the strongest proof that you would not allow yourself to be guided by 
the Eeaction, at all times the most sanguinary enemy of the rising and the 
men who have sprung from it. 

" Nevertheless, at the moment when we printed your proclamation we 
learnt with unspeakable grief the circumstances which preceded your assump- 
tion of the dictature. Never did we suppose that the soldier of St. Croix 
and of Staszow, who needed no other consecration than the benediction of 
the revolution, sought support from political intriguers who deserved nothing 
but contempt. From esteem for yourself, and for the honour of the revolution, 
we were willing to admit that your good faith had been surprised in the most 
shameful manner, and we could explain at a future time with what object this 
was done. It was only from that conviction that we did not suspend the 
publication of your manifesto ; we did not wish to depart from the course we 
had adopted before the reception of that news, and we did not refuse you our 
concurrence, of which you have had occasion more than once to appreciate 
the value and importance. We have nothing to say against the principle 
of the dictature, we have no feeling against you personally, as you have 
up to this time acted so as to merit our esteem and gratitude ; we 
have, therefore, no objection to make against the exercise of the dictature 
by you, provided that you will exercise it vigorously and for the good of the 
country ; but we declare frankly, once for all, that from regard for the good 
of the country and the rising, from esteem for ourselves and for you, we 
will never support, we cannot and do not wish to support, your present 

" We ask you, General, to reflect coolly for a mome.nt, and you will com- 
prehend that our speaking in other language to you would be at the present 
tune, on our part, an unpardonable crime. 

" When on the memorable night of the 22nd of January, at a signal given 
by us, you placed yourself at its head in one of the palatinates, the men whose 
agents now crawl at your feet, in order to destroy you more easily and to 
cover the revolution with opprobrium those men pronounced against the 
revolution, and with an impudence of which the Reaction alone is capable, 
proposed to bestow revenues upon you on condition that you would desert 
the ranks of the army, and that you would betray the country. Without 
doubt, the revolutionary party, represented by the Provisional National 
Government, was not then able to bring any military succour to aid you ; but 
do not forget that, thanks to its previous activity and its labours alone, you 
found an inexhaustible material of devotion and patriotism, from which by 
your superior talent, which we have constantly appreciated, you profited for the 
formation of your valiant legion. Do not forget that, General, and do not 


conclude from the weakness of its military preparations, any weakness in the 
revolutionary party, which, reduced to rely on its own strength alone, and in 
spite of the obstacles thrown in its way by the Reaction, has brought about 
events that have increased your power. 

" We have mentioned above the manner in which you treated with the 
department of landed proprietors. Nevertheless, when baving profited by 
the moral dispositions of the country, you had, with indefatigable activity, 
organized a considerable armed force, then that department commenced 
carrying on around you a series of intrigues unworthy of a generalissimo 
intrigues that we must absolutely lay bare before your eyes. 

" Count , who giving himself out as the representative of the' 

National Government, placed in the hands of skilful intriguers the corner- 
stone of the machinations carried on around you in order to insure your 
destruction, never was sent by this Government nor was provided with any 
plenary powers. In order that you may learn what this Count is, we 
refer you to General Wysocki, and from him you will learn the history of 
certain receipts fabricated by Mr. - , for problematical sums. As to the 

political convictions of Mr. , who can have nothing in common with 

those of a revolutionary organizer like you, General, we refer you to the Czas 

of the past year. Mr. is an adventurer \vhorn a gentleman would be 

ashamed to speak to. The name of the honest Bentkowski has probably been 
mixed up with this intrigue in the same manner as yours has been, that is to 
say, by taking advantage of his good faith. These people, who represented 
nobody, who had nothing in their possession, could not offer anything to you, 
and from them you could not accept anything. According to our conviction, 
the dictature was conferred by Malogoszcz and Skala. You had no need of 
these men, nothing attaches you to them. Separate yourself from them, 
therefore, for that separation alone can save you, and with you save also the 

" Reflect, General, on the end to which they tend. The list of ministers 
and of divers other functionaries presented for your sanction, contains only 
the names of General Wysocki and some other worthy persons, who, it can- 
not be denied, will not on any account seat themselves on the same bench 
with intriguers, whose only aim in slipping into your camp was to ruin the 
revolution. The dictature has a right to make use of the services of men of 
all parties and all convictions ; but it has not a right to sacrifice the principles 
from which it originated. We acknowledge accomplished facts, but no civil 
government can establish itself, nor shall it be established, without our con- 
sent ; for all the portions of the country occupied by the enemy are in our 
hands, and can be governed by our permission alone. Do not forget that, in 
assuming the dictature you have taken upon yourself, before history, the 
country, and us, all the responsibility of the manner in which you exercise it, 
and that all complications resulting from your resolutions will fall on yourself 

" You have still our adhesion and our concurrence, as the hero of our revolu- 
tion, the conqueror of Staszow and of Malogoszcz ; they belong to you alone, 


for you have repulsed Mieroslawski. For us you are the representative of 
the new idea, for them only an instrument. Choose. We have still a firm 
conviction that a momentary mistake, which the greatest men have not 
escaped from, will be forgiven, and that in your political career you will show 
yourself, General, before the country and before us as pure as you were at 
Piaskowi Skala. If, against our expectation for the misfortune of the 
country and of the rising our hopes fail, do not forget that as surely as we 
now offer to you our support, we will commence proceedings against you. If 
the revolution should be defeated once more, it will be your fault, General. 
As to us, in the interest of the future of the country, we will preserve our 
principles unshaken and intact. 

" And now we cry with all our might * Hurrah for the dictature, and down 
with reaction.' 

" Waiting for your reply, we are with profound esteem, &c., 

" Warsaw, March 16, 1863." (L.S.) 

The time had, however, passed for these controversies ; ere 
this letter could reach him, the Dictator was engaged in the 
struggle which was to prove fatal to his hopes and to those of 
his country. 

The concentration of the Russian forces had enabled them 
to bring into the field a force of upwards of 12,000 men to 
act against Langiewicz in the province of Radom. Slowly, but 
very surely, they marched against him, leaving nothing to 
accident, but closing every avenue of escape as they advanced. 

A strife so unequal could not long continue. Langiewicz did 
everything that an able and gallant officer could do to save 
a falling cause. At one time, swooping down upon some 
isolated detachment as it painfully threaded its way through 
the forests and morasses of Radom, he would defeat it. At 
another time he would rally his disorganized masses after they 
had been vanquished by the enemy, inspire them with fresh 
courage, and teach them how, for the sake of their country, 
to fight and suffer again. But the Russians gathered round 
him in all the strength of overpowering numbers, discipline, 
and arms. There was no prospect of success for his irregular 
levies, when they had to contend under such conditions with 
veteran and well-commanded troops. His men, armed with 
scythes and pikes, might win an occasional triumph over the 
irregular horsemen of the Don, but they had no chance against 



the men who at Sebastopol had made four nations feel their 
patient and abiding courage. And thus the storm increased, 
and the waters gathered round him, and little by little he 
found himself hemmed in, till in the increasing gloom all 
prospect of their subsidence vanished, and no tirk of security 
was nigh. 

Yet to the last he bravely bore up against the difficulties 
which were overpowering him. On three sides the dense 
masses of the Russian army encircled him. Opposed to his 
scythes and pikes were a powerful artillery, and regiments 
armed with rifles ; while hanging on his flanks, skirmishing in 
his front, and spreading over the country on all sides, were 
clouds of Cossack horsemen. Nearer and nearer they came, 
and there seemed no way of avoiding the unequal contest 
they strove to drive him to accept, unless he retreated across 
the frontier and submitted to be disarmed by the Austrians. 
He evaded his enemies ; their troops were within three miles of 
his little army, when by a sudden march he turned their flank, 
and freed himself from the toils once more. The respite 
was of short duration. From every direction troops were 
collecting to oppose him. Two days later, on the 18th 
March, he was attacked by a small Russian corps, which he 
defeated. On the following day he fought his last battle 
and gained his last victory. He was stationed at a little 
village named Busk, some twelve miles from the Austrian 
frontier, when he received intelligence that a strong detach- 
ment under Prince Schahoffskoy was menacing him from the 
south. Other troops threatened his right wing on the east, 
and to the north, at a distance of some twenty-five miles, the 
formidable ramparts of Keilee, and the troops who manned 
them, precluded all hope of escaping on that side. He 
retreated to a wood near the village of Grockowiska, and 
was attacked by the Russians there. In consequence of the 
nature of the ground, the Polish cavalry were unable to act, 
and the whole burden of the day fell upon the Zouaves and 
scythemen. The Russians charged them with the bayonet ; 
but the charge was gallantly withstood, and repelled with heavy 
loss. Finding they met with a resistance so obstinate and 
effectual, the Russians retreated, leaving the field of battle in 


possession of their adversaries, and took up their position at 
Pynczow, some five miles to the north. 

Surrounded by his enemies, who, although for the moment 
repulsed, were daily gathering strength; c.onscious'that another 
battle, should it even be a victory, would only weaken his 
weary and diminishing army ; perceiving that his position was 
fast becoming untenable, owing to the increasing power with 
which he was at length brought face to face ; finding it im- 
possible once more to break through the opposing force, and 
take up some fresh position ; Langiewicz saw that the time was 
rapidly coming when he would be able neither to fight nor 
fly, and when, if he took no step to avoid a catastrophe so 
disastrous, he would be obliged to lay down his arms and 
surrender at discretion. That night he assembled the officers 
of his staff in a council of war, and consulted them on the 
critical condition they were placed in. It was determined, in 
presence of the overpowering forces which had taken the field 
against them, that it was hopeless to keep together a consider- 
able army ; that all that was possible was to resort once more 
to a guerilla war ; and it was resolved that the force should be 
subdivided into bands, each of which was to act independently 
of the others, and to retreat from before their enemies in a 
different direction. 

It was rumoured, and the report was confirmed by Langie- 
wicz's proclamation, that dissensions in his own camp hastened 
the inevitable conclusion; that men were jealous of the 
Dictator ; that they had their own objects to serve, and their 
own proteges to favour ; and that they willingly saw the down- 
fall of one whom they regarded as the representative of a party 
more moderate than their own. 

After leaving his camp, Langiewicz drew up a proclamation, 
which was the next day circulated among his troops. In this 
document he stated it was necessary that he should now 
organize bands and detachments who were fighting in other 
parts of the kingdom, and that to do so he should leave them 
for a short interval. After recalling the struggles and victories 
of his troops, he continued : 

u The Russian agents, hiding themselves in your ranks, make it necessary 

M 2 


for me to depart secretly, and without bidding you farewell. The same 
reason, also, prevents my informing "you of my ultimate destination. 

" Gathering round me some superior officers to be appointed to the com- 
mand of forces worse officered than yourselves, I require no more than an 
escort of thirty lancers to accompany us a short distance on our way. 
Before leaving, the force under my immediate command* has been divided 
into several corps, each under a separate general, and with special orders as 
to the march and work that lie before them. 

" Companions in arms ! in the face of God and the presence of my army, 
I took the oath to fight to the last. This oath I have kept and shall keep in 
future. You, too, have sworn to serve the country and obey my commands. 
The oath of the soldier is equally inviolable with that of the general. In the 
name, then, of God and country, continue the struggle, and fight the Mus- 
covite, while fighting remains the only means of restoring the liberty and 
independence of the country. 

" But a few hours after my departure calumny denounced me as a traitor, an 
embezzler, and a thief. The same infamous slanderers instigated desertion in 
the camp, and, while intending to destroy me, they only benefitted Muscovy 
and prepared an easy triumph for the foe. The adherents of the ambitious 
criminal I have to thank for all this are not aware, or, if they are aware, 
utterly ignore that my only object is to establish the liberty and independence 
of the country." 

When the news reached the camp that the Dictator had 
left them, grief and terror took possession of the multitude. 
He was gone the one master-mind which had given them 
victory, and found shelter for them in defeat ; he was gone, 
and within sight were the threatening armies of their enemy, 
ready to renew a conflict which could only end in the discom- 
fiture of the leaderless and broken Poles. To no purpose did 
the officers explain how the war was now to be conducted; to 
no purpose was the Dictator's proclamation distributed among 
them, for the only idea it conveyed to them was that their 
leader had deserted them. In their despair they listened to 
no counsel and obeyed no commands, but hastily retreating 
from the ground they occupied, they broke their ranks and 
fled for safety to the Austrian frontier. Some, however, were 
less dispirited, and instead of losing all faith in their country 
and their cause, united themselves to other detachments in the 
kingdom, and strove to carry on a guerilla war. 

Leaving the camp with a few of his officers, Langiewicz 
attempted to reash Podolia, to take the command of a band of 


insurgents in that province ; before, however, he had gone far, 
he met with a Russian corps whose numbers rendered it 
impossible for him to pass or successfully attack them. He 
avoided the danger by crossing the Vistula and entering 
Galicia, where he trusted that a French passport in which 
he was described as a M. Waligorski would protect him. Re- 
presenting himself by his assumed name, he requested the 
Austrian commander to permit him to continue his journey 
unmolested. On being told that this request could not be 
granted without express permission from the higher autho- 
rities, he finally declared himself, and placed himself under 
the protection of the Austrian Government. And now, 
crowding over the frontier, poured the shattered fragments 
of the late insurgent army. Broken, dispirited, famished, 
shivering, and weary, the inhabitants of Cracow and Tarnow 
could scarce persuade themselves that this was the celebrated 
army whose deeds had been so widely told. Were these 
wounded boys who were carried to the military hospital the 
Zouaves and the scythemen of whom they had heard so much ? 
And were these fugitives, who had not among them a weapon 
or an uniform, the men who a week ago were thought com- 
petent to annihilate the power of Russia and re- erect in 
Warsaw a national throne ? 

Yet so it was. The dictatorship of ten days was ended, 
and all chance of success in the struggle for national freedom 
seemed to have died with it. Doubtless brave and enthusiastic 
men might still be found to peril life and liberty in the cause 
of Poland; doubtless there yet remained able and daring 
plotters who would carry on their mysterious schemes for 
the revivication of their country ; but there was nowhere to 
be found in the ranks of the insurgent party those combined 
qualities which the Dictator alone possessed, a true patriotism 
unstained by selfish hopes and criminal ambitions ; a dauntless 
courage which never swelled into boastfulness or sunk into 
ferocity ; self-possession when perils of all kinds thickened 
round him ; and a mastery and power over the minds of others, 
which converted a disorganized rabble into a phalanx of steady 

He fought "no more for Poland; he was the guiding star 


of the movement, and when his light was lost in the gloom of 
an Austrian dungeon, the insurrection dwindled into the ordi- 
nary insignificance of a guerilla and partisan war. 

No sooner had Langiewicz failed in his enterprise than he 
was treated with the justice the world ever* metes out to 
the unfortunate. Denounced, as we learn from his own pro- 
clamation, even while at the head of his army, what had a 
friendless prisoner to expect at the hand of his cowardly 
detractors ? He was represented as having deserted his troops, 
as having sold them to the Eussians, and as having only 
thought of his personal ease and security. To such an 
extent were the passions of some of the fugitives excited 
against him, that the Austrians were compelled to provide 
him with an unusual guard, not for the purpose of prevent- 
ing his escape, but to secure him from the violence of the 

There was not only a character to be blackened, there was 
an inheritance to be won. A little while, and some daring 
hand might be stretched out to grasp the Dictatorship and 
assume the direction of the confused masses who were still 
in arms. Disorganized and broken, there might yet be found 
some one who coveted the dangerous pre-eminence and shrunk 
not from the risk that it entailed. 

The Central Committee had yielded to the decided action 
of Langiewicz, but they were by no means disposed to pass 
by so fair an opportunity of recovering their lost dominion. 
A dictatorship they professed was a mistake, large armies were 
a mistake also, and in future the liberation of Poland was to 
be effected by guerilla bands. Probably they thought the 
isolated efforts of insignificant men would be more easily con- 
trolled by them than the movements of a captain whose ability 
was acknowledged, and who had under his command an 
effective corps. Their ideas seldom seem to have soared be- 
yond the murder of an employe or the plunder of a strong- 
box, and it was natural they should seek to be secure from the 
irksome dominion of ascendant genius. 

They published a proclamation, therefore, in which they 
styled themselves the Provisional National Government, and 
m the folio wing terms resumed the authority they had so lately 
surrendered : 


" FELLOW COUNTRYMEN, The Dictatorship of General Langiewicz having 
ceased on the 19th March, the chief authority of the country returns into 
the hands of the Provisional National Government at Warsaw, who have 
never left off their governmental duties, and are the only and sole legally 
constituted authority of the country. Fellow countrymen ! the return of 
power into the hands of men who have called forth the rising, and persever- 
ingly directed it, ought to be a guarantee to you that the movement will 
continue, and that it will not end without victory. Yes, we will fight without 
weariness, without being disheartened by ill-success or deterred by any ob- 
stacles. We will not concentrate the whole cause in one person, whose fall 
may occasion the destruction of the rising ; and, strong in our possession of 
the confidence of the nation, we will boldly stand forth against all factions 
which might attempt to create, without our consent, any new power or au- 
thority. Fellow countrymen ! we grasp again with faith and confidence the 
helm of the National Government, and, practical in devising remedies in 
cases of emergency, we are confident in being able to avert the danger which 
threatens us in consequence of the fall of the Dictatorship. 

" Faithful to the cause the standard of which, upheld by us, sets aside 
every misunderstanding of party, we invoke the whole nation to obedience. 

" To arms ! In the face of the foe, in the face of our falling brethren, the 
place of every Pole is in the ranks. 

"By authority of the Central Committee of the Provisional National 

" The Commissioner Extraordinary, 




The National Government. The Peasants and the Government. Public 
Feeling in Russia. Addresses to the Emperor. The Amnesty. Its 
Eeception by Insurgents. English Cabinet. 

PUBLIC attention had long been drawn to the self-styled 
National Government. It was alleged that two antagonistic 
powers ruled in Poland. 

The first, legitimate only in name, was presided over by a 
prince of the imperial house, assisted by a long train of expe- 
rienced councillors ; was supported by a huge army ; obeyed 
by a vigilant police ; in its hands were all the honours by 
which ambitious spirits may be won, and all the emoluments by 
which mean men may be bought ; everything was at its dis- 
posal, and it scrupled not to use its advantages to enforce its 
evil ends. Nor was its power bounded by its traffic in venality ; 
it armed with unsparing severity and injustice the hand of the 
executioner against all it suspected of being its foes ; it filled 
the dungeons of Warsaw and every other Russian citadel with 
men whose only crime was their nationality and the independ- 
ence of their spirit ; it sent those against whom it harboured 
the most paltry suspicions to waste their lives in ignoble warfare 
on the frontiers of Asia, or find a living tomb in some Oura- 
lian mine. And yet, despite all this power, all this illimitable 
capacity to cajole, to bribe, and to punish, the Government 
could scarcely hold its own within its armed fortresses and 
military camps. 

Beyond those narrow boundaries it was alleged that every 
one bowed in reverent submission to the orders of the 
National Government ; that mysterious tribunal whose faintest 
wish was a command, but whose constituent parts were utterly 

In the citadel of Warsaw the Russians ruled, in the streets 
of the same city the National Government were supreme. 


The one power issued decrees for the levying of taxes ; the 
taxes were paid, but they were paid to the collectors of the other. 
This secret administration was carried on with infinite daring 
and success. Admirably informed by its unknown agents, it 
was aware of every resolution taken in the vice-regal council- 
chamber ere the ink had dried by which that resolution was 
recorded, and consequently was often able to parry or antici- 
pate an intended blow. Equally well informed of the move- 
ments of the Eussian troops, the transport of provisions, and 
the convoy of arms, it had often the opportunity of intercept- 
ing a detachment or harassing a march, and thus obtained 
the successes which filled Western Europe with rumours of its 
achievements, and persuaded the world that the insurrection 
was maintained by powerful armies, who waged against the 
troops of Russia a not unequal war. 

The explanation of the apparent mystery, so far as there 
was any truth in these exaggerated views, was, however, very 
simple. Almost without exception, the Polish officials were 
favourably disposed to the revolt ; and it has already been 
seen that throughout the kingdom the civil officials were all 
Poles. They not only did nothing to check the schemes of 
the National Government, they did everything in their power 
to advance and further them. The information, of which they 
became officially the masters, they placed at its disposal ; the 
operations they were directed to carry out, they endeavoured 
to thwart and render useless ; and, in short, all their efforts and 
all their opportunities were employed in undermining the Go- 
vernment whose rank they held and on whose salaries they lived. 

The police, which, under ordinary circumstances, would have 
been certain to discover some traces of the conspiracy, were 
also Poles ; many incidents, from time to time, demonstrated 
that they actively sympathized with the insurgents ; there was 
reason to think, in many cases, that they directly obeyed the 
orders of the National Government ; it was certain that in no 
case did they discover its emissaries or denounce its schemes. 

The army was faithful : but what could the army do ? they 
were in a hostile country, surrounded by spies, and many of 
their secret enemies were so placed as to be able to give 
them orders, instead of openly fighting against them in the 


rebel ranks. All the army could do was to act upon its 
instructions, and put down insurrection whenever the rebels 
drew to a head. 

The peasants were helpless, passive, and expectant ; their 
sympathies were mostly with the Government, for in the 
Government they recognized the only power which as yet had 
moderated the intolerable oppression of their lords ; and they 
believed it would confer on them the land for which they 
now were compelled to work, and which in justice and equity, 
they conceived, long since should have been their own. But 
the peasants had no power to counteract the secret organiza- 
tion of their masters, and if they had had such power, they 
would have feared to exercise it. 

Another cause of the success of the National Government 
was to be found in the scrupulous respect the Russian authori- 
ties paid to the Catholic Church. Although there was every 
reason to suppose that the priests of that Church were inti- 
mately connected with the leaders of the insurrection, although 
it was known that they encouraged their congregations to 
give it every aid in their power, and although for a long time 
past the pulpit had been little less than a revolutionary 
rostrum ; yet the advisers of the Grand Duke, either from 
policy or weakness, instituted no inquiries into the relations 
existing between this clergy and the insurgents. The clergy, 
thus feeling themselves secure, took an active part in the 
insurrectionary orga-nization ; secret printing-presses were con- 
cealed in the monasteries, and the proclamations of the 
National Government were printed by them ; arms and uni- 
forms were sent thither as to a place of assured safety ; and 
it was in the same precincts, at a later date, that the daggers 
and poisoned stilettos, with which the hired bravos employed 
by the National Government were to be armed, were found 

The machinery, therefore, by which the National Govern- 
ment was carried on was very simple; it depended on the 
corrupt support of Polish officers, the treachery of the Polish 
police, the weakness of the Government, and the secure 
alliance of the Roman Catholic priesthood. 

The proclamations of the National Government, its pass- 


ports, and its orders, were issued anonymously, but were 
stamped with an official seal, and bore about them all outward 
signs of proceeding from some constituted authority. It 
appointed governors of towns, and all other officers, in rivalry 
of the Russian Government ; it had command over many of 
the railway employes, its letters and missives were delivered 
with more than the regularity of the post; and it had a se- 
cret press which chronicled its acts, misled public opinion, 
and circulated fabricated news. 

The National Government strove to prevent the proprietors 
from leaving their estates ; and, as already mentioned, at the 
very beginning of the revolutionary struggle issued an order 
desiring the nobles in Warsaw to return to them, for its 
power was great over the nobles dwelling in isolated chateaux, 
or small towns adjoining their properties ; and it could compel 
such men to pay any exaction they imposed, and obey any 
orders they issued. 

In May, however, the National Government went further, 
for it endeavoured to prevent proprietors from leaving their 
estates without first procuring its passports ; and issued 
another decree ordering all proprietors residing in foreign 
countries to return to Poland. 

The most efficient weapon it wielded was its secret police. 
They were mainly recruited from the Schlachta and the artisans 
in the larger towns. It was the duty of this police to execute 
the sentences of their employers; and as those sentences 
were almost invariably death, this body was nothing else than 
a band of hired assassins. 

These men were the blind tools of a sanguinary system. 
They knew not who were their employers ; they knew not 
what crimes they might be instructed to commit; but they 
entered the service prompted by mercenary motives, or, at 
the best, by a mjost criminal patriotism. 

The following statement shows the way in which the 
services of these men were secured : 

" On the 8th of July, at a late hour at night, there were arrested in one of 
the streets of Warsaw, Antoine Heine, fireman, aged 27 years ; Ignace 
Stefanowski, care-taker of a house, aged 35 years ; and Auguste Zawistowski, 
fireman, aged 37 years. All carried daggers, and on Heine was found a 


written order of the so-called chief of the rebel gendarmes to assassinate one 
Fritsche, sergent de ville of the fourth circle. 

" On inquiry, it proved that all three formed part of the insurrectionary 
organization of Polish gendarmes, which had for its object political murders. 
Heine had been affiliated to the society by one Francois Nowicki, who in 
consequence of this information was likewise arrested. 

" These four avowed that they had consented to charge themselves with the 
execution of political murders, and had taken the oath required of them ; 
Heine and Zawistowski in the cloister of the Trinity before a priest whom 
they did not know ; Stefanowski and Nowicki, in the house of the so-called 
chief of the gendaraies, before a priest of the same cloister, whom they could 
not, they said, recollect, as they had taken this oath in a dark garret. Fifty 
copecks (Is. 7d.) a day was paid them as members of this organization. 

" The 7th July,Heine and Zawistowski had each received, in the town, from 
Stefanowski, a dagger, and Nowicki at the same time gave them the order for 
the assassination. These three men Heine, Zawistowski, and Stefanowski 
assembled in a cabaret, and were arrested at ten o'clock at night, as they 
were on the point of starting for the accomplishment of the murder." 

When public opinion had recovered its tone, and loathing 
was excited by that sanguinary system which at first had 
only produced dismay, the great proprietors indignantly dis- 
avowed all participation in these deeds of blood. The 
National Government, they said, were mechanics and students, 
men without education, or youths in their teens; they did 
not recognize its jurisdiction, they disclaimed many of its 
acts, and they protested against being identified with its 

The disclaimer came too late ; * for weeks and months that 
Government had been obeyed, and the homage rendered to it 
was cited to Europe as the most convincing evidence of 

* The best proof of this is the speech of Prince Czartoryski, as reported in 
the Times, May 11, 1863 : "Is it not a subject of consolation and of hope 
for our future prospects to see a nation so united in its efforts and so well 
disciplined in its struggles? A Polish Government has been established 
under the very eye of the enemy and in the midst of its spies and its execu- 
tioners, which has no executive force at its disposal, and which dispenses 
with police and gendarmes (?) ; which has no name, and the commands of 
which, nevertheless, are not the less executed throughout Poland. The 
entire country is subject to it, and all we emigrants obey it. Our people, 
whom our enemies have always accused of disturbance and anarchy, have 
given a decisive proof of their obedience to Government of their respect for 
authority, provided it be national." 


Polish unanimity. Its first act, the free gift of land to the 
peasant, had been confirmed by the proprietors, who thus 
testified their approbation of its rule, although they could 
only do so by abandoning the principles they had championed 
for upwards of thirty years ; and they qualified this act of un- 
conditional obedience by no protest against murder, robbery, 
and arson, till those crimes had destroyed the popularity and 
undermined the power of the National Government. 

It was indeed impossible that any political grievance should 
be held to excuse such a system. The murder of Minnislewski, 
a literary man who supported the policy of the Marquis 
Wielopolski, is an example of it. He was sentenced by the 
National Government to death as a traitor, for some unknown 
offence, and his murder is thus described : " It is said that he 
was warned some days beforehand that he was to die, and 
after receiving the warning never went out without being 
accompanied by two police agents. The day, however, of the 
murder being committed, there happened to be a street fight 
near the door of his house, and one of the attendants took 
the chief of the brawlers into custody. Just then, a barrel- 
organ began to grind forth " No, Poland is not lost/' and the 
remaining attendant, having a sharp ear for forbidden tunes, 
and being moreover a man of zeal, arrested the offender before 
he had got to the third bar. At that moment the long-meditated 
blow was struck. The appointed executioner (who by this time 
must be a practised hand) had followed Minnislewski into the 
house, and, seizing him from behind,- and laying his hand over 
his mouth to silence his cries, stabbed him to the heart. The 
executioner, or murderer, or whatever he is, got into a carriage 
when he had done the deed, and calling to the police agent 
who had an ear for music, said to him, ' You amuse yourself 
by running after organ-players, and you don't see that in that 
house a man is being assassinated/ "* 

At length the unpopularity which these murders brought 
upon the National Government was so great that, in a special 
circular addressed to its " Diplomatic Agents," it thus en- 
deavoured to vindicate them : 

* Letter of correspondent in Times of llth June. 


" In various announcements of the national authorities, and more particu- 
larly in the decrees of the provost of Warsaw, the public have been informed 
that sentence of death has been passed on persons proved to have acted as 
Muscovite spies. The Muscovite journals, in viewing these executions in 
another light, endeavour to misrepresent their bearing and character. Above 
all, they have attempted to circulate the news that the National Government 
is relying upon murder as an incentive to patriotism, which would have died 
away without the application of this particular means. * 

" The National Government never entertained the idea of supporting by 
executions a cause whose entire force lies in the principles it represents, and 
in which it persists ; in those principles on which all good Poles are agreed, 
on the principles, in fact, of culture and civilization, which are everywhere 
disregarded and trodden under foot by the Muscovites. These principles are 
our only object and incentive. By them incited, we seek, at the price of so 
many sacrifices, that liberty which alone can restore us the blessings of a 
civilized and well-ordered commonwealth. It is very evident,- and who can 
be more convinced of it than the National Government ? that executions 
would be utterly insufficient to create a spirit of patriotism among the 
people, even for a time, were it determined to abandon the country and 
surrender Poland to her foes. In our eyes, they are no more than an 
inevitable evil, to be employed in obviating still greater evils ; no more than 
a means of protection, justified as the only efficient arms against a hostile 
power, which does not even shrink from calling to its aid the services of 
some miserable and corrupt individuals. 

" The exceptional character of our judicial proceedings, which, however, is 
modified by the strictest regard to the correctness of the evidence, will be 
justified in the eyes of unprejudiced observers by our unexampled position. 
In all history it would be impossible to find a parallel to the system of 
injustice, robbery, murder, and incessant contempt of all rights of humanity 
so long imposed upon our country by the Muscovite Government, and now 
carried on with increased wickedness and barbarity. The daily aggravating 
character of Muscovite espionage and terrorism, whose savage deeds are 
denounced in so many reports of our patriotic police, alone induced the 
-National Government to have recourse to exceptional measures, which in the 
history of our commonwealth, and under an ordinary state of things, would 
never have occurred. But it is existence itself which we have hourly to 
defend. If some abandoned ruffians have been visited, here and there, with 
execution, a glance at the real state of things will suffice to show that we 
should have failed to breathe the soul of patriotism into the people had it 
not been its own will to pass through the trials awaiting it. Nor is it at all 
doubtful that the lawless executions, whose heart-rending spectacle the 
Muscovite authorities are thrusting before our eyes, will be altogether power- 
less in quenching that spirit. 

" A comparison between our official notifications and those of the Musco- 
vites will serve to unveil the faults and unprincipled character of their 
reports at the side of our indisputable facts. Thus, for instance, the murders, 


whose private and criminal nature was announced and publicly exposed by 
the National Government, were converted into political executions by the 
enemy, who, at the same time, endeavoured to sully the memory of the slain 
by adding them to the number of their tyrannic allies. But what is 
revolting above all, persons altogether unconnected with the national police 
and the execution of our sentences, have been carried off to the gallows, 
only to protect the Muscovite courts against the reproach of inefficiency. 
Thus Kaminski was hung at Warsaw, and the two brothers Rewko wski, Lipowicz 
and Jablonski, at Wilna. But even here Muscovite effrontery and wicked- 
ness does not stop. While glossing over their atrocities, their papers have 
been made to slander their victims, and start a whole system of mendacious 
attacks from the very beginning of our revolt." 

The vindication of the National Government, therefore, is, 
that in the cause of culture and civilization they committed 
murder, and that the espionage and terrorism of Muscovite 
agents rendered it necessary they should do so. They should 
show how culture and civilization can be injured by espionage, 
and how far the Russians attempted to repress them by 

The pretence that spies alone were murdered is completely 
false, and could only be advanced to deceive Europe ; no one 
in Poland would be misled by it. The allegation that Lipowicz 
and Jablonski were unjustly executed is, I have reason to 
believe, equally so, for I was present at the time, and was 
assured by members of the court-martial that they had con- 
fessed the crimes with which they were charged. 

But it was not murder only which disgraced the National 
Government. Their secret organization was often defective, 
and their agents committed excesses which added to the 
hatred with which the peasants regarded them. 

In looking through some of the records of legal proceed- 
ings at Wilna, I found a document, of which the following is a 
literal translation :. 


Arrived at the property of Pomoossya, which belongs to the proprietor 
Rossohatsky, I found the peasants holding some land at a rent under a 
contract concluded two years ago. I read them the manifesto of the 2nd 
January, 1863, and, in the name of the National Government, gave them 
those lands as their own property by virtue of this Act. I commanded the 







proprietor Rossohatsky that he should never require any rent or service from 
them, which he solemnly promised with oath (under menace of death). 

The present Act, written in three true copies, is given to the participating 

Attest the exactness of this Act. Pomoosya, the 3rd July, 1863. 

The Chief of the 3rd Section of \ 

the Military District of > SOONDER. 
Trock ) 

The Aide-de-Camp MEKALINSKT. 

The Secretary SIIIRPENSKY. 

Vdivodship of Wilna, 

The Chief of the District of Trock. 

The history of this document was as follows. A band of insur- 
gents arrived at the estate of the proprietor B-ossohatsky; they 
summoned the tenants, and informed them that the National 
Government had given them their land free from all claim on 
the part of the proprietor. They then sent for the proprietor, 
and were equally explicit with him. Under menace of death, 
as they are careful to record, they made the unhappy man 
subscribe whatever document, and take whatever oath they 
pleased, and then they handed the formal instrument, sealed 
with the official seal, to the liberated peasants and the plun- 
dered proprietor. Before departing, however, they made a 
demand for money on the peasants, to which the latter entirely 
demurred : there seemed in their eyes to be an inconsistency 
in first giving them land, and then asking them for roubles, 
which they were very anxious their new friends should not be 
betrayed into ; but the band became importunate ; where they 
had asked roubles they gradually lessened their demand till 
it dwindled into copecks, and at length, under the pressure of 
requests they could, and menaces they could not, resist, the 
peasants surrendered their cash to the band, which forthwith 

The liberators gone, the next question was what was to be 
done with the document they left behind them. Proprietor 
and tenants alike regarded it as valueless, and, on the whole, 


they judged it best to take it to the nearest Russian authority, 
depose to the facts, and leave it in his custody. 

The mischievous interference of the National Government 
did not stop even at acts like these ; it meddled with public 
contracts, with private employment, with the management 
of estates. 

Sir Morton Peto and his partners had contracted to con- 
struct some waterworks in "Warsaw, and on the llth of May 
the following decree on the subject was issued : 

" ART. 1. The contract relating to waterworks for the city of Warsaw, 
concluded on the 20th day of April of the present year, between the Presi- 
dent of the city of Warsaw and the foreign contractors, Sir Samuel Morton 
Peto, Member of Parliament, Edward Ladd Betts, and the house of John 
Aird & Co., is hereby dissolved, and must be regarded as null and void. 

" ART. 2. We entrust the carrying out of this decree to the civil and 
military functionaries." 

A German or Frenchman was employed on the Warsaw antl 
Petersburg Railway in a position of responsibility. He and 
his family were solely dependent on the salary he received from 
his situation. He was a man who did not mix in politics, and 
who, as far as he knew, had never done a thing to offend any 
political faction. Re was warned to quit his situation, and 
leave Warsaw within two days. He hesitated ; to him the 
change was ruin ; he thought the warning might have been 
given him in error, or that at least he would be allowed to 
plead his cause before the invisible tribunal which condemned 
him ; but no, when the two days had passed, a second missive 
reached him, telling him that as a foreigner the National 
Government gave him twenty-four hours more in which to 
depart r if he did not leave within that period, his life would 
pay the forfeit. So in terror the miserable and ruined man 
shook the dust from off his feet and left the accursed city. 

Pages could be t filled with the recital of similar actions, but 
my only object is to show the general scope and tenour of the 
policy of the National Government^ and then leave it to the 
reader to judge whether such a tyranny could be willingly 
endured by a high-spirited and patriotic race. 

One mistake into which the National Government was 
betrayed bears on it the impress of such utter incompetence 



that it should be recorded. It forbade the payment of taxes 
to the established Government ; so its officers naturally levied 
on the goods of the defaulters ; thereupon a decree was pub- 
lished forbidding any one to buy the goods so taken in execu- 
tion ; and in consequence, goods and live stock were seized and 
sold at the most absurd prices ; a cow or a horse might be 
bought for a few shillings, and other things in the same pro- 
portion. Of course the loss fell on the proprietors who 
obeyed the National Government. 

In opposition to the secret organization, the Government 
resolved to bring a new and untried power into the field. The 
peasants had not been prompt to side with either party, but 
their sympathies were opposed to the insurgents. The cry 
in favour of Polish nationality seemed to their dull but very 
practical common sense to mean, if not the restoration of 
serfdom, at least the withholding of all those rights which they 
believed should have been granted to them more than half 
a century before. The Polish landowners never attempted to 
give the peasants land till they saw the Government would 
insist on it, and then the scheme they propounded was only 
proposed for the almost avowed purpose of embarrassing the 
authorities ; the proclamation of the Central Committee was 
worthless, for it had no power to confer the land it pretended 
so generously to alienate ; and supposing the committee were 
eventually to succeed in procuring the independence of their 
country, what guarantee was there that it would act up to its 
own proclamation ? 

On the other hand, the Russian Government had evinced a real 
desire for the amelioration of the condition of the peasants. In 
Russia it had emancipated them and secured them their land ; 
in Poland, before the troubles broke out, it had shown similar 
intentions, and had it not been for the insurrection, would 
perhaps by this time have accomplished its wishes. Moreover, 
it was the stronger party, and would in the end be certain to 
prevail. Moved by these considerations, the peasants, as a 
class, early declared in favour of the Government, and assisted 
it both by the intelligence they procured for it, and by seizing 
and delivering up fugitive insurgents to the troops. 

On the 6th of March the Grand Duke issued a proclamation, 


by which, after recognizing the loyalty of the peasants and the 
assistance they at all times gave the troops, he directed the 
village authorities to employ watchmen for the purpose of 
examining all suspected persons, whether residents or travel- 
lers. The peasants, elders, and bailiffs were also desired to 
apprehend all armed individuals and persons belonging to 
insurgent bands, as well as marauders, and to convey them 
to the nearest military station. These instructions were to be 
carried out without committing excesses, and without doing 
any violent or arbitrary act. 

On the . following day General Nazimow issued a similar 
proclamation to apply to four of the governments under his 

The step which the Grand Duke had thus taken was viewed 
with the utmost displeasure by the great Polish nobles. Since 
the revolt had broken out, they complained that no overture 
had been made to them by the Government, 

They had crowded into Warsaw the moment the safety of 
the State was imperilled ; they had consulted anxiously how 
best to serve their country and their sovereign, and his repre- 
sentative had given them neither encouragement nor thanks. 
This they had silently endured, though it betokened suspicion 
and dislike. On the 3rd of March, the fete-day of their king, 
they had thronged to the levee of the Grand Duke, despite the 
threats of the revolutionary propaganda, and in so doing had 
incurred great peril ; yet the Grand Duke did not notice them. 
And now, three days after that vain humiliation, the Govern- 
ment which had treafed them so disdainfully gave the signal 
for a war of classes ; it placed in the hands of a barbarous and 
ignorant peasantry the right to command and to tyrannize 
over their masters ; it gave to men who were no better than 
the neighbouring serfs, authority to arrest the most powerful 
nobleman of Poland. Whose house was sacred from their in- 
trusion ? whose stable or farm-yard was secure from robbery ? 
and what guarantee was there that duties ostensibly bestowed 
on them in the interests of the State, might not be converted 
to the vilest purposes that revenge could suggest or avarice 
indicate ? 

In haughty displeasure the great nobles withdrew from the 

N 2 


Council of State. Nothing less, they pronounced, was intended 
by this step than the plunder of the mansions and imprison- 
ment of the persons of the proprietors, and subsequently the 
partition of their estates among those who were formerly their 
serfs. It was a socialist alliance between arbitrary power and 
the dregs of the people, and was levelled at all the education, 
all the intelligence, and all the patriotism of Poland. 

To comprehend these incoherent utterances, it must be re- 
membered that the land question was yet unsettled; the 
wildest notions upon that subject had been afloat, and the 
peasantry "had doubtless entertained very utopian ideas as to 
the advantages they were to possess when their new position 
was ascertained.* 

And these were the men, the proprietors urged, whom the 
Government were about to trust ; these were the men who, 
temporarily at least, were to hold sway over their former mas- 
ters ; who were to be salaried for watching, and bribed for 
denouncing them; and who would see in every estate that was 
forfeited through their false witness, additional booty which a 
grateful Government would ere long divide among them. In 
truth, in many places, the peasants were neither courteous nor 
intelligent ; they were uncouth, suspicious, and exacting ; and 
if they were zealous guardians of the public peace, it cannot 
be denied that their mode of preserving it was open to grave 

The peasant guard were a rough-looking police, and as they 
were drawn up at the railway stations armed, but dressed in 
their ordinary clothes, they appeared to be men who would not 
be very discriminating or very tender in their treatment of 
their captives. Nor indeed were they. At Mohileff, day 

* An amusing illustration of their theories was given a few months pre- 
viously in a remote district of Russia. The serfs on an estate waited on the 
proprietor, and told him they had been seriously considering how best to 
avail themselves of their new property when the land became their own ; 
that they had settled most points, but that on one they could not agree, so 
they thought, as he was a man of education, they had better refer to him for 
advice. They knew how to cultivate the soil, but would he tell them into 
what species of manufactory they had better convert his castle, as soon as, by 
the Emperor's benevolence, it became their own ? 


after day, the proprietors were brought into the town in their 
carriages ; on either side of a prisoner, whose hands were tied, 
would be a peasant armed with a musket or a sword, while 
another sat upon the box beside the driver, and others accom- 
panied the equipage to preclude the possibility of rescue. 
Thus, one after another, most of the proprietors were brought 
into the town, and handed to the Russian authorities, that the 
charges against them might be investigated. One day the 
Governor was waited on by a body of peasants from a particu- 
lar estate ; they represented that, on all the properties round, 
the peasants had captured their masters and brought them 
into the town ; their master, however, was, unluckily for them, 
staying at his town house, and all their neighbours mocked 
them as being alone unable to bring in their prisoner. Would 
the Governor, therefore, in order to save them from ridicule, 
permit them to seize the carriage of their master and his 
person, put him into it, and deliver him as a prisoner to the 
authorities ? 

Nevertheless a regular government cannot justly be blamed 
in revolutionary epochs for putting confidence in a class upon 
whose loyalty it can depend. Granting that the boors of Poland 
and the "Western provinces are somewhat uncouth ; granting 
that men who had received no education were not as fit for their 
offices as the members of the Metropolitan police ; it must 
still be remembered that fidelity, not refinement, is required 
in civil war, the honest and loyal performance of duty, not 
courtly insincerity and the traitor's smile. If, indeed, the Go- 
vernment had promised that the plunder of the wealthy should 
remunerate the services of the poor ; if it had promised to 
partition among the faithful serfs the property of their late 
masters; if it had sought to create a servile insurrection 
against them, and a repetition of the Galician outrages of 
1848; then, indeed, there would have been reason for an 
accusation which now falls to the ground as utterly cause- 

This complaint is, in truth, but the murmur of a defeated 
faction. The support of the peasants was essential to both 
parties, and the insurgents as well as the Government made 
every effort to secure it ; had they succeeded, and had their 


ranks been filled by the people their oppression had alienated 
from them, nothing would have been heard of socialist 
theories, and a war of classes would not have been denounced. 

The resignation of the independent members of the Munici- 
pal Council of Warsaw quickly followed, and a further 
evidence, beyond the limits of the kingdom, of the feeling 
among the higher class of the Poles, was conveyed by the 
resignation of the marshals of the nobility in Lithuania. Thus 
isolated by the retirement of the Poles who had taken part in 
public affairs, the Marquis Wielopolski became an object of 
suspicion both to his own countrymen and to the Kussians. 
The feeling of the former is sufficiently evidenced by the pro- 
clamation already cited, by which the Central Committee 
authorizes any one to murder him, and by the infamous 
attempts upon his life, which have also been referred to. The 
feeling of the Russians was of a different character; slowly 
they began first to wonder at the errors so able a man had 
committed, then to question the sincerity of the advice 
he tendered, and at length to suspect some deep-laid and 
Machiavellian conspiracy to annihilate the Eussian power and 
restore the supremacy of the Poles. Suspicion once awak- 
ened soon finds food for itself, and when a nation is deter- 
mined to discover premeditated treachery, every insignificant 
and unimportant fact has a tendency to confirm the creed. 
In all grades of society the Marquis was spoken of as a 
traitor who was secretly plotting for the independence of 

Yet, apparently, the opinions the Marquis professed were 
those that he really held ; and, holding such opinions, his 
course of action was such as many men under similar cir- 
cumstances would have adopted. It is impossible to forgive 
the conscription that one black and damning act which 
must ever remain a blot upon his scutcheon ; yet, even here, 
we should be wrong in visiting him with the same con- 
demnation an English statesman would under similar cir- 
cumstances deserve. There is nothing in his conduct to throw 
doubt upon his really entertaining the views expressed in his 
letter to Prince Metternich ; he despaired of a free Poland, 
he detested Austrian treachery, and he shrunk from the 


political system of Prussia. In Russia he recognized a nation 
sprung, like his own, from the Sclavonic race, having much in 
common with Poland and sharing in her deep-seated detesta- 
tion of Germany ; he saw in her a young, a powerful, and 
an ambitious people, under whose supremacy Poland might 
advance in physical and moral development ; he believed the 
time would come when the superior ability and education of 
the higher orders of the Poles would secure for them a large 
share in the government of Russia ; and he was anxious that 
no vain struggle for an independence they could never obtain 
should retard the era he anticipated. We cannot blame him 
for discountenancing a nobility who he felt were hostile to the 
cause for which he struggled; neither can we denounce him 
for arming the peasants with unaccustomed power, for the 
peasants were loyal, and in the death-grapple of nations it 
is impossible always to select the weapons to be used. 

The progress of the insurrection had been watched with 
deep anxiety by all classes in Russia. So long as it was 
thought that the autonomy or even independence of the 
Congress kingdom was the utmost the insurgents desired to 
obtain, the struggle had been regarded with an equanimity 
approaching to indifference ; but of late they had avowed that 
the Poland of 1772 was the object for which they strove j that 
autonomy they did not value, and that absolute severance 
from Russia was their only aim. Moreover, there were 
rumours that the Western powers had made representations 
to the court of St. Petersburg which unduly interfered with 
the internal policy of the empire. 

These reports deeply moved public opinion ; the Western 
provinces had long been regarded as wholly Russian, and her 
people would never consent to surrender them unless they 
were torn from her as the issue of a long and calamitous 
war. . 

As evidence of this change in the feeling of the nation, 
Lord Napier's letter to Lord Russell of 4th April is very con- 

" The first signal," he writes, " of patriotic agitation against Poland has 
been given. The Assembly of Nobility of the government of St. Petersburg 


have adopted by acclamation the accompanying address to the Emperor, 
expressive of their determination to support the integrity of the empire. In 
case of intervention or menace from abroad, this spirit will run very high. 
In the Polish question all the national and religious passions of the Eussian 
people are touched. The recruits in the Russian provinces are coming in 
with unusual alacrity, and go off under the impression' of an impending 
'holy war.' I was not present when the address of the Assembly was 
adopted, but I am informed that there was a scene of enthusiasm, in which 
the feeling of devotion to Eussia was, no doubt, at least as strong as that of 
devotion to the sovereign. It is not so much the insurrection in the 
kingdom of Poland which arouses the indignation of the Russians, as the 
alleged views of the Poles on the frontier provinces, extending even to the 
sacred city of Kieff. The frontier provinces are the traditional battle-ground 
and debateable land between the Polish and Eussian nations. They will 
never be relinquished by Eussia without a mortal struggle." 

The address was couched in the following terms : 

" The nobility of the government of St. Petersburg, being animated by an 
ancient devotion to the throne and to their native country, consider it their 
sacred duty solemnly to express to you, sire, the sentiments by which they 
are inspired. The pretensions of the Polish insurgents to the possessions of 
Eussia fill us with grief and indignation. Our enemies conceive the era of 
the great reforms undertaken by you for the happiness and welfare of the 
State is a favourable one for their attacks upon the integrity of the Eussian 
empire ; but they are deceived. The nobility, tried in devotion and abnega- 
tion, and sparing neither exertion nor sacrifice, will, in connection with all the 
orders of the nation, know how to take its stand firmly and immovably in 
defence of the territory of the empire. Let the enemies of Eussia know that 
the spirit of our ancestors lives in us, the spirit which succeeded in 
establishing the unity of our beloved country." 

But it was not alone from St. Petersburg that, such 
addresses came ; from all parts of the kingdom and from all 
classes they poured in ; assemblies of nobles, municipal bodies, 
merchants, and peasants, all vied with each other in their 
professions of loyalty and of patriotism; the Government, 
which so long had struggled against the general apathy, was 
at length impelled onward by the violent blast of public 
opinion ; its difficulty now was rather to restrain the passion 
of the people than to arouse their zeal. 

The situation had greatly changed ; no longer opposed by 
an army which, under the command of a competent general, 
defied their power ; no longer having any open opponent save 
the guerilla bands, who might, indeed, annoy, but who could 


never seriously damage it ; wielding an overpowering army, 
and supported by an unanimous people, the Government felt 
that the time had arrived when it could offer pardon to the 
rebels without the offer being construed into an evidence of 

Accordingly, on the 31st March (12th April) a proclamation* 
signed by the Emperor appeared, in which, after exonerating 
the Polish nation from the responsibility of the revolt, and at- 
tributing it to external influences, he offered to consign the 
past to oblivion, and then continued: "Therefore, ardently 
desiring to put a stop to an effusion of blood as useless as it 
is regrettable, we grant a free pardon to all those of our 
subjects in the kingdom implicated in the late troubles who 
have not incurred responsibilities for other crimes, or for 
offences committed while serving in the ranks of our army, 
who may before the 1st (13th) of May lay down their arms and 
return to their allegiance ; " and, after alluding to the liberal 
institutions recently conferred on Poland, he added, " While 
continuing for the present to maintain these institutions in 
their integrity, we reserve it to ourselves, when they shall 
have been tested by experience, to proceed to their further 
development, in accordance with the requirements of the 
times and of the country/-' 

The insurgents, ever deceived as to their true position and 
prospects, and, perhaps, misled by a few ambitious partisans 
who were unwilling to return to their former insignificance, 
treated this amnesty with scorn. They regarded it as an 
evidence of want of power ; they assumed it would never have 
been offered by the Russian Government unless it had felt 
convinced that in no other way could the insurrection be put 
down ; and, instead of thinning the rebel bands, the effect of 
the amnesty was to urge hundreds into the field. 

The Provisional* Government issued a proclamation. "An 
amnesty," they said, "has been announced by the Russian 
Government, as also a promise to maintain the existing 
institutions. Poland is well aware what confidence she can 
place in this pretended amnesty and in the promises of the 

* See Appendix C. 


Russian Government. But, to avoid any mistake, we formally 
declare that we reject all these false concessions. It was not 
with the intention of obtaining more or less liberal institu- 
tions that we took up arms, but to get rid of the detested 
yoke of a foreign government, and to reconquer our ancient 
and complete independence. It is for this, and for this 
alone, that the nation makes great sacrifices, and does not 
spare its blood. No man who has the love of his country at 
heart can be indifferent to the blood which has been shed, to 
the destruction of property which has occurred, to the fact 
that towns have been burned down, and that the whole 
country is desolated. Every honest patriot will indignantly 
reject the so-called favours and concessions of the Czar. We 
have taken up arms ; arms alone must decide the issue of the 

The amnesty took the Russians by surprise ; they had had 
their passions violently excited by what they regarded as the 
thankless and disloyal conduct of the Poles ; they were 
making great sacrifices to subdue them, and they were not 
prepared for this sudden act of clemency. They thought 
that the excesses of which the insurgents had been guilty, the 
murders they had committed, and the devastation they had 
caused, demanded something more discriminate than a pro- 
miscuous pardon. The enthusiasm of the people was checked, 
and the press was dumb. 

The English ambassador regarded it from a different point 
of view : it was, he said, conceived in a tone of humanity 
and clemency, which was congenial to the character of the 
Emperor, and was undoubtedly consistent with the interests 
of the Imperial cabinet and the wishes of the English 

Not so, however, thought Lord Russell. He addressed a 
despatch to Lord Napier,* in which he stated that an amnesty 
can lay the foundation of peace in only two cases ; the first 
of these was where the insurgents had been thoroughly de- 
feated, and only waited for a promise of pardon to enable 
them to return to their homes ; and the second was, if the 

* See Appendix, Lord Russell's letter of the 24th April, 1863. 


amnesty were accompanied with such ample promises of the 
redress of the grievances which gave occasion to the insur- 
rection, as to induce the insurgents to think that their object 
was attained. 

The former of these events, he stated, had not happened, 
because the insurrection was more extensive than it had been 
a few weeks before. 

The second of these proposed cases, he pronounced, did 
not arise ; for after the evidence the conscription gave of the 
worthlessness of the existing laws, he said the insurgents 
would not be satisfied to recur to them. 

The promise to develop existing institutions, he also de- 
clared to be unsatisfactory, because he said that promise was 
contingent on their working well ; and as the Poles had 
refused to co-operate in carrying them out, it was impossible 
they should work at all. He followed up this observation by 
a quotation from Lord Durham' s despatches, thirty-one years 
previously, in which he alleged that hatred existed between 
the Russians and the Poles ; and remarked, " Her Majesty's 
Government observe that the feelings of hatred between the 
Russians and the Poles have not in the lapse of thirty years 
been softened or modified; " and concluded that the amnesty 
would give no solid security to the most moderate of Polish 

Yet impartial observers will probably agree with the view 
taken by the Ambassador, rather than with that of the Foreign 

In his despatch of 2nd March, Lord Russell urged upon 
the Russian Government the propriety of proclaiming an 
immediate and unconditional amnesty, and of restoring the 
constitution granted in 1815. At that time the army of 
Langiewicz was in the field, and gave the revolution an 
apparent strength which precluded the Emperor from adopting 
a suggestion which would have been construed into an evidence 
of fear. The defeat of the Dictator changed the nature of 
the situation. It was to be assumed that no one would see 
in wandering bands, acting without concert or arrangement, 
an aggressive power dangerous to a military state. The 
Emperor, therefore, was free to follow the dictates of a humane 


disposition, and without compromise of dignity, to extend 
his pardon to those who would lay down their arms. Objections 
to this act of mercy came with no good grace from the Minister 
and Cabinet who five weeks before had recommended it. 

Neither does the second objection of Lordr Eussell appear 
to rest upon a more satisfactory basis. If indeed the English 
Minister had shown that the institutions of 1815 had within 
them any self- maintaining power which those recently granted 
did not possess ; if he could have proved, although an emperor 
or a government might break the Eecruitment act of 1859, 
that the constitution of Alexander I., once restored, would have 
been beyond their reach ; then his argument would have been 
intelligible, though perhaps it would have been open to 
dissent. But, in truth, there is nothing to prevent armed 
power setting law at defiance whenever it is so disposed ; and 
the only guarantee a constitution can possess is to be found 
either in the physical power it vests in those who are interested 
in its preservation, or in the character and honour of the 
prince who gives it. 

Did history lead Lord Eussell to think that the constitution 
of 1815 could sustain itself ? We look into her pages, and find 
that from the moment of its birth to that of its dissolution, it 
was never observed; to restore it would have been to invite a 
repetition of those sad and shameful scenes in which the revolt 
of 1831 had its origin ; it would have been to place before 
the Eussian Government the ever present example of how 
freedom can be repressed ; and it would have been to 
substitute for institutions really fit for the requirements of 
the country, a paper constitution, which, as we shall here- 
after see, contained little more than a mockery of national 

The argument, however, which of all others Lord Eussell 
should have avoided, was that which was founded on the 
refusal of the Poles to assist in the development of liberal 
institutions. Lord Eussell knew from the despatches of 
Colonel Stanton, that the resignation of the Polish members 
of the Council of State, and provincial and municipal assem- 
blies, was due, not to the conscription or to any act that 
provoked the revolt, but to the employment of the peasants as 


a temporary rural police; that this delegation of power to 
them had irritated the higher orders, and so they resigned 
en masse ; it was the result of the bad feeling which existed 
between different classes in Poland, and not of any hostility 
which the Grovernment had provoked. Taking, however, Lord 
Russell's statement as correct, it was the most damning 
argument which could be adduced against granting the Poles 
any free institutions at all ; for if " the co-operation of native 
Poles of property and character" could not be secured in 
favour of the institutions recently granted them, what chance 
was there that they would give their aid in working the 
revived institutions of 1815 ? The national party had never 
asked the restoration of that constitution; they regarded 
it with complete apathy; the insurgents had studiously 
disavowed all sympathy with it ; and no one could indicate in 
what way it would advance the interests of the people, of 
progress, or of good government. The logical deduction from 
Lord Russell's letter would seem to be that the Poles would 
not aid in working free institutions, and therefore (not that 
the constitution of 1815 should be restored to them), that 
free institutions were not fitted to their present state of social 
or political development. But the fact is, the Poles would 
have gladly assisted in carrying out liberal institutions, and 
the letter of the English Minister appears to have been 
written hurriedly and without due thought. The way in 
which it wound up, also, was an outrage on all the forms of 
diplomatic courtesy. England recognized Russia as her friend 
and her ally, yet Lord Russell, for the sake of indulging in 
the infelicitous luxury of an apt quotation, cast at her one of 
those sneers which, even when they are not openly noticed, 
are seldom overlooked or forgiven. 



Moral Force. Fabricated Intelligence. Mouravieff. Mourning Proclama- 
tion. Debate in the House of Lords. Property-tax. Sequestrations. 

GREAT reliance was expressed from time to time in England 
on the " moral force " exercised by public opinion. It was 
alleged that the Poles neither asked for nor desired armed 
interference ; all they hoped was sympathy on the part of our 
people and Government in the struggle they had commenced ; 
such aid was worth far more than money, arms, or men, and 
the Russians could not long ignore it or withstand its power. 
The theory may be correct, its application was certainly 
erroneous. Two parties were in arms. On one side were 
the insurgents strong in their conviction of the justice of 
their cause, they certainly did not require the moral force 
which foreign sympathy could afford them ; on the other side 
was the Government the moral force which public opinion 
could bring to bear upon it was certainly great ; but then it 
was the public opinion of Russia, and not that of England, 
which was thus effectual. For almost the first time in the 
modern history of Russia, its Government was surrounded by 
strong evidences of national support ; and this was the moral 
force by which its acts were vindicated and its policy upheld. 
The public opinion of England might have swayed the Russian 
mind, if the subject had been one on which our superiority 
was admitted, in consequence of our deeper knowledge of 
liberal institutions; but here we had no knowledge which 
gave us any special opportunity of arriving at a just result. 
The Russians found, on this subject, that the most pernicious 
doctrines were promulgated in England, and learned that they 
were founded on fables more preposterous still. The most 
ridiculous assertions, the grossest calumnies, the most trans- 
parent falsehoods, were not too absurd to find credence 
among our people; and out of that huge pile of mendacity 


and folly they selected the materials from which their boasted 
public opinion was created. The Russians naturally dis- 
regarded a conclusion based on such premises, and declined 
to be guided by it in their present action or future policy. 

If, indeed, those men who insisted on the moral force 
of English opinion, had endeavoured to diminish its value, 
they could not have taken a surer way to do so than that which 
they persistently adopted. Public declamation was poured 
forth, in which Russia was denounced as a semi-civilized 
state ; her Asiatic barbarism was continually railed against ; 
she was described as the violator of treaties, the perfidious 
instigator of troubles in friendly states, the insincere friend, 
and the relentless enemy. The press stimulated the illusions 
of the people ; extraordinary stories of successes which the 
insurgents had never won, were balanced by equally extra- 
ordinary statements of wrongs they had never suffered ; 
documents were forged and attributed to the Czar, so pal- 
pably and clumsily manipulated,* that even the most credu- 

* As examples of these documents, the following may be mentioned : 
Towards the end of May the Paris papers spread the report that in Livonia 
the sect of Old Believers (the Dissenters of Russia) had massacred all the 
Catholics, in consequence of an order from the Emperor. The translation of 
this pretended order having appeared in some papers, its authenticity was 
denied in the Journal de St. Petersbourg, which challenged the authors of the 
statement to produce the original Russ. This they did, entitling it, " Docu- 
ment trouve sur les Raskolniki (vieux croyants) apres les massacres de Livonie 
des 27, 28, et 29 avril, 1863." This document was not only one which never 
did or could have emanated from a public department, or from any other 
well-informed source ; but it was full of faults of syntax, of spelling, of 
grammar, and of construction, and was such a production as an individual 
knowing by ear a few Russian words might have drawn up with the aid of 
a dictionary, but without a grammar. Some of the words employed are 
used in their wrong sense, and could only have been arrived at in the 
manner suggested. f 

A few months subsequently a London journal stated that the Emperor had 
commanded the Russian language to be introduced into all official proceedings 
in Poland. The fact was at once denied, and then, in confirmation of it, a 
translation of an order appeared, in which Prince Dolgorouki commanded 
the change to be made. Unfortunately for him, the person inventing the 
intelligence forgot the difference between the New and the Old Style, or over- 
looked the fact that official documents emanating from St. Petersburg are 


Ions were astounded, and for a time withheld their belief. 
And thus was public opinion made the prey of designing 

always dated according to the latter. Allowing for this difference, the copy 
of the order was in the hands of the Paris correspondent of the journal in 
question within twenty-four hours from the time when the order was signed. 
The post would have taken about four days to deliver it ! 

In November a still more astounding revelation was made by the same 
correspondent : 

" I will now give you a document which, I tell you beforehand, will be 
contradicted by the Russian Government as soon as it appsars. Indeed, I 
scarcely expect that your readers will credit it, and yet I can assure them I 
derive it from a source worthy of unlimited confidence. It is proposed by 
the Imperial Government of St. Petersburg, acting on a traditional idea of 
the Empress Catherine, to destroy Protestants and Poles in one great massacre 
something like that of St. Bartholomew. The Euthenian provinces are des- 
tined to be the scene of the first act of this bloody tragedy, and these are the 
steps which the Imperial agents are taking to prepare it. The military com- 
mander of the district, having received an ukase from St. Petersburg, sends 
privately for each pope, and has an audience tete-a-tete, of course with him, 
during which he compels the pope to write from his dictation, and sign with 
his own name the following order, which being thus only left in the hand- 
writing of the persons who are to execute it, can easily be disavowed by the 
Government. This copy has been received from an honest pope, who, regard- 
less of consequences, carried it off to one of the provincial landowners to 
denounce the horrid plot, and ask advice what to do. Here is the text of 
the ' ukase,' which has been sent me by the hereditary chief of the Polish 
emigration : 

" ' His Majesty the Emperor has ordered me to inform you that you will 
shortly receive a circular from his Majesty requiring you to organize in all 
the orthodox churches of Eussia a solemn service, to pray the Omnipotent to 
save the Church and the Empire from another invasion of the French, and 
twenty other pagan nations, and that then you must also execute the imperial 
order which now follows := His Majesty believes that the religious service will 
be more acceptable to God if you bring to him as a holocaust the life of all 
the Poles. Therefore you are commanded to prepare, as is your duty, the 
peasants of your parish to execute the imperial will the evening before the 
day named for the holy ceremony, so that no Pole or Eoman Catholic shall 
escape. You must appreciate the serious importance of this charge, which 
his Majesty confides to your known loyalty, and you will keep strictly the 
secret confided to you. The violation of that secret on your part will be held 
to be a state crime of the gravest order, and punished with the extremest 
possible severity.' 

" Such is the document, a copy of which is now before me, and which one 
hesitates to ask any Englishman to believe, and yet, when I spoke to a Polish 


men, who, to obtain a moment's sympathy, scrupled at no 
falsehood which they thought could blacken their enemies or 
improve the position of their own party. 

The moral force of public opinion is doubtless very useful 
in correcting home abuses, but it does not aid in controlling 
the events of distant war. Public opinion in England was 
strongly excited by the war between the Northern and 
Southern States in America ; but its moral force did not 
save one burning city or one wasted farm. Public opinion 
was equally excited by the Polish struggle, and in the result 
was equally inefficacious. The Russian army conquered while 
its Government negotiated, and the only result was to impress 
the stronger nation with the belief that it had been unduly 
interfered with, and to leave on the minds of the weaker the 
conviction that it had been encouraged and betrayed. 

If the effect of the intervention of the Western powers was 
thus disastrous so far as Russian policy and public opinion 
were concerned, it was no less prejudicial to the Poles, owing 
to the false hopes in which it led them to indulge. They 
believed that the Western powers would not restrict them- 
selves to a diplomatic negotiation, but that they would extort 
with the sword concessions the pen was powerless to win. 
Once entertaining anticipations so delusive, they persuaded 
themselves that the terms on which peace or war depended 
could be dictated by the National Government instead of by 
the Cabinets of the West ; and they resolved to dispel all illu- 
sions as to the moderation of their views, and let Europe know 
in an authoritative manner what objects they intended to achieve. 

In a manifesto, therefore, published by the Central Com- 
mittee at the end of March, they declared that they abhorred 
the constitution of 1815, and the rights springing from it, for 
they were given by the Congress of Vienna, where their 

gentleman yesterday, he said : ' Believe it ! Of course I believe it ; and the 
Government are further prepared, no doubt, to throw the blame of the 
massacre on the fanaticism of some of the lower clergy ; and when the crime 
is over, punish them, and even some of the popes on whom they find the 
ukase, for the murders they have themselves commanded.' " 

This effusion was translated into the Journal de St. Petersbourg with some 
unflattering comments on the facile disposition of those who believed it. 



national feelings were insulted, and where their nation had 
no representative. The treaty which confined the kingdom 
within its present frontier they repudiated, and they declared 
the principles of eternal justice required that Poland should 
be re-established in her former limits; that tjie Kingdom and 
Western provinces should be torn from Russia, and that Galicia 
and Posen should be voluntarily ceded by Austria and Prussia. 

Popular feeling, roused by the conduct of the Poles, chilled 
somewhat by the amnesty, was now again excited to the 
utmost, and men of all parties and shades of opinion united in 
requiring that the ablest man who could be found should be 
appointed to rule over the disturbed provinces. In the 
kingdom it was believed that the Grand Duke would succeed 
in suppressing the revolt ; in the south-west, General Annen- 
koff held the discontented factions in control ; but in the 
North-western provinces it was felt by men of all ranks and 
opinions that the wavering policy of General Nazimoffmust 
be altered, and that a sterner ruler must be found to govern at 
Wilna. The individual who was pointed out alike by the people 
and their rulers was General Mouravieff, and he was appointed 
by the Emperor the Governor of the North-western provinces, 
and reached Wilna on the 26th May. 

General MouraviefF had the character of being one of the 
most resolute and determined officers in the Russian service. 
He had been thoroughly trained during a long life in the iron 
system of the late Emperor; he had taken part in the sup- 
pression of the rebellion of 1831 ; he had subsequently con- 
tinued for some short time in the army, and then held high 
rank in the civil service. Men differed in their estimate of 
him ; some pronounced him stern, harsh, and unfeeling ; 
declared him to be a false friend and a cruel enemy ; spoke dis- 
paragingly of his abilities as well as of his honesty ; enume- 
rated the offices he had held, and asked how it happened, out 
of their inadequate salaries, that he had heaped up wealth. 

He had for some years been Minister of the Domains, and 
they pointed to the crown lands, and asked during his 
administration what useful reform had been introduced, what 
recognized abuse had been extirpated ; was it not, they in- 
quired, the fact that his own benefit and the advantage of his 


useful friends had ever been more considered than the public 
good ? was it not the fact that they had made large fortunes, 
while the interests of the State were never consulted ? General 
Mouravieff was unpopular also with the Liberals of Russia, for 
he had no sympathy with their doctrines or hopes. A man of 
the old school, he disliked innovation and dreaded change, and 
from the emancipation downwards he viewed with extreme 
disquietude all the reforms which were so greatly changing 
the political and social relations of his countrymen. 

While he thus had his enemies, he had also a large number 
of adherents ; they declared him to be a most able administrator, 
a true and kind friend, and a conscientious servant of the 
State. The fortune he had acquired, they said, was the gift of 
a grateful sovereign, who had appreciated his merits, and thus 
rewarded them. 

But whatever might be the dispute as to some of his ante- 
cedents, all Russia was confident he was the only man who was 
fit to rule at Wilna. A turbulent nobility, who had conspired 
as they pleased, while the nerveless Nazimoff governed, required 
to be restrained by a strong and steadfast hand ; the peasants, 
who were suffering persecution because they would not rebel, 
were entitled to be protected by the Government to which 
they were faithful ; the Russian officials should have a chief 
to whom they could look up with confidence ; and finally the 
army must be so handled that the rebellion might forthwith 
be crushed. 

General Mouravieff was exactly suited to meet the difficul- 
ties of the moment with energy and success. He was not a 
man of great and far-reaching views, who looked with a 
statesman's glance through the mists and uncertainties of the 
future ; nor could he take any very liberal or generous estimate 
of the policy suited to the present ; but he was a man who, 
having a task to perform, would perform it thoroughly ; who 
would concentrate his energies on it ; who would bring to bear 
upon it all the resources of a strong common sense, guided by 
the experience collected in a long and varied official career. 
There was a singleness and intensity of purpose about all his 
acts which carried much weight with it ; no one about him 
could doubt his intention to quell the revolt, or fail to see that 

o 2 


he would deem no measure too severe which was calculated to 
effect that end. 

His remarkable energy gave new life to the executive. 
Officers, whose official routine began a little before noon, 
shuddered when they heard that the general received the 
reports of his subordinates at from six to nine a.m. ; but they 
were obliged to attend him. During the whole day to five or 
six o'clock, except for an hour devoted to exercise, he sat in his 
cabinet writing, dictating, and transacting the business of his 
office ; at eight o'clock at night he recommenced his labours, 
and generally did not cease until two in the morning. 

His knowledge of the character and capabilities of those 
who surrounded him was very great, and he used them accord- 
ingly ; he was prompt to take a resolution and slow to vary it ; 
if intelligence were suddenly brought to him of an unexpected 
difficulty, he would, without hesitation, give his orders, which 
were precise, appropriate, and generally successful. He possessed 
an extraordinary memory, which enabled him to recall at will 
the obscure occurrences of many bygone years ; every paper he 
had signed, every interview he had held seemed graven im- 
perishably on his mind. He was not a cruel man, but he 
appeared indifferent to the sufferings which were caused by the 
measures he adopted, and his enemies availed themselves of 
that fact to denounce him as the embodiment of harsh and 
malignant energy. The proclamations which he issued soon 
after his appointment clearly indicate the nature of his policy 
and the view he took of the exigences of the public service. 

The act which of all others tended most to excite popular 
feeling against General Mouravieff was one which, had it been 
properly understood, would have attracted little or no notice. 
It has been already shown that one of the symbols of the 
revolutionary party was the constant use of mourning, and 
this badge was continued without intermission from " the 
Warsaw massacres " to the date of his appointment. 

In grave and anxious periods, when rebellion devastates a 
country, and the ordinary machinery of civil government is 
displaced, every sign of insubordination or of opposition to 
the law must be repressed with decision and promptitude. 
The North-western provinces were in a state of siege, and 


the Polish women took every opportunity to mark their 
hostility to those who imposed it ; feminine invention taxed 
itself to the utmost to mortify the authorities and cover them 
with contumely and scorn : in a thousand ingenious ways the 
Russians were taught to feel that the educated classes de- 
tested them, and gave at least their moral support to the 
revolutionary cause. 

With some of these demonstrations it was obviously impos- 
sible to interfere. The Poles absented themselves from the 
theatres, and the actors performed to empty houses ; the public 
walks were deserted by the animated crowd which formerly 
gave them life ; and when a Polish lady met a Russian officer 
in the street, she would cross it in order to avoid him : all 
these annoyances it was necessary to bear, and they were borne 
in silence. 

The wearing of mourning, however, stood in a very different 
category ; it had become the emblem of disaffection to the 
Government, and of adherence to the insurgents ; it was as 
purely a party badge as an orange ribbon is in Ireland, or a 
white cockade was formerly in France, and neither precedent 
nor public law, nor the usages common among civilized nations, 
prevented the Government from suppressing its use. 

Believing it to be essential that these overt acts of insub- 
ordination should be stopped, General Mouravieff issued the 
following order : 

"Even before political troubles broke out in this country, the larger 
portion of the female population of the town of Wilna commenced wearing 
different kinds of mourning, in order to signify their sympathy with the 
revolutionary movements in the kingdom of Poland. The mourning con- 
sisted of black dresses with or without white borders, or black bonnets with 
white feathers, together with certain tokens previously agreed upon, such as 
metal bracelets with the arms of Lithuania and Poland combined, broken 
crosses with crowns o,f thorns, &c. These manifestations still continue 
in greater or less degree. As, however, all sympathy with the present 
insurrectionary movements, equally with rebellious acts, is forbidden by law, 
the general commanding in the country has ordered the governmental chief, 
upon the 31st May (12th June), to issue the following directions, in order to 
suppress these criminal manifestations : 

" 1. Proclamation is to be made throughout the town of Wilna that 
mourning and the wearing of black dresses and other revolutionary symbols 
cannot at present be permitted. 


" 2. Officials are to be instantly dismissed from their posts in all cases where 
females belonging to their families have appeared publicly in black dresses or 
other mourning garb. 

" 3. Females, without distinction of position, calling, or nationality, who 
appear in public places in black dresses, or generally attired in mourning, or 
with revolutionary accessories to the toilette, are to T5e punished in the 
following way : For the first offence a fine of 25 silver roubles ; for the 
second offence a fine of 50 silver roubles. Upon repetition of the offence 
such women are to be arrested, in order that they may be treated as persons 
who participate in the insurrection. 

" 4. In case the guilty party do not pay the fines imposed, a sufficient 
portion of their property is to be immediately sold to defray the amount. 

" 5. The fines are to be paid over to the governmental chief, and will be 
devoted to the support of families in the rural districts whose houses have 
been plundered and devastated by the insurrectionary bands. 

" 6. Persons mourning for their nearest relatives must produce legal proofs 
to the police of the actual death of such relatives. They will only be allowed 
to wear mourning for the period recognized by ordinary custom upon 
compliance with this requisition. 

" 7. All that has been ordered in the above six paragraphs relates equally to 
individuals of the male sex found publicly wearing mourning symbols, 
as also to persons furnished with czamarks, confederatkis, long boots above 
their trousers, or other tokens of the insurrectionary party. 

" The governmental tribunal has communicated this present order by special 
circular to all district police courts for their general guidance." 

Such was in its integrity the celebrated ' ' mourning pro- 
clamation" of General Mouravieff. It was subsequently 
represented in England and France to have been couched in 
very different terms, and the fabricated versions of it were 
used as a principal reason for urging intervention upon the 
Governments of Western Europe. 

The addition of corporal punishment which the papers in 
the Polish interest introduced was, of course, one of those 
shameless inventions with which, throughout the whole 
struggle, they disgraced their cause : there was absolutely 
no foundation for it. 

The administration of General Nazimoff had induced the 
Poles to trifle with the orders of Government, and there was 
an expectation that this decree would not be persevered in : 
it was an empty menace, and might be disregarded with 
impunity. On the day when the mourning was to be dis- 
carded, there was no sign of the proclamation being obeyed, 


and all parties anxiously anticipated the conduct of the 

* I believe the following account to be an accurate narrative of this 
transaction : " It is a grave misfortune, both to Russia and England, that 
the reports which are accepted in most of the London papers as true are 
almost uniformly penned by the emissaries of ' the National Government.' 
These statements are frequently devoid of any foundation, and generally they 
so represent facts as completely to falsify the truth. The reports which 
excited so great an outcry against Mouravieff are a good example of the way 
in which violent opinions are generated. There was a lull in political 
feeling ; men suspected that the interests of liberty and good government 
were not exclusively on the side of the insurgents, and began to weary of a 
contest in which a thousand successful battles had failed to yield them an 
inch of territory, or secure them even a passing indication of popular support. 

"Just, then, to raise the sinking hopes of the friends of Poland, the 
public were electrified by a report that the sanguinary Mouravieff had deter- 
mined to administer the knout to every woman who wore mourning. 
Enthusiastic Radicals summoned other people to arms ; they entreated the 
Poles, great and small, to sing the ' Mourir pour la Patrie^ and promised 
to wreathe chaplets of cypress and laurel, and hang them above their graves. 

"The Liberal journals re-echo the startling cry ; England is told that the 
widows and orphans of Poland must weep in silence, and wear gay colours at 
the tomb of the loved and lost ; and then a picture is limned, by a cunning 
hand, of the Spartan heroism of the matron who will wear black, and who is 
handed over to the polluting custody of the Calcraft of the knout. The 
readers of the journals referred to are told how hideous a punishment this 
Polish lady is fated to undergo, how the flesh shrinks, though the mind is 
constant yet, until at length, surrounded by a crowd of unsympathizing 
butchers, the spirit emancipates itself from the bleeding and mangled corpse 
to wing its angry way to the throne of justice and retribution. 

" These are effective themes when handled well ; and if the shield had no 
other side, the chameleon no other hue, certainly the insurgents would have 
found in Mouravieff as able an ally as they had already secured in Wielo- 
polski. Unluckily for them, however, history is in the main a castle of 
truth, and in this instance its voice will ere long penetrate through Europe. 
The facts are these : General Mouravieff had confided to him by his sovereign 
the supreme command of a district in the throes of insurrection ; his prede- 
cessor had been a weak, uncertain administrator, whose orders of to-day were 
frequently revoked on the morrow, and the Poles, supposing the new gover- 
nor to be a man of similar temperament, believed, though he might threaten, 
he would never dare to act. 

* * * * 

" In Wilna, on the Sunday after the proclamation, came the trial of strength. 
The Polish ladies all wore black, and paraded themselves before the Russians 


General Mouravieff was, however, a man of very different 
character from his predecessor, and when he put his name to 
the proclamation he had fully resolved that it should be obeyed. 
With firmness but without acting in an offensive manner, the 
regulations he had imposed were carried out, a few fines were 
levied, and mourning was discontinued. The completeness of 
this easy triumph will readily be understood when it is men- 
tioned that the whole amount of fines levied under this pro- 
clamation did not exceed 700 roubles. 

In August, when I visited Wilna, there was nothing un- 
usual in the dresses of the ladies, and they would have at- 
tracted no notice had it not been for the notoriety of the 
" mourning" regulations. Having obtained their victory, the 
authorities used it leniently, for a little piece of coloured rib- 
bon, or a coloured flower in a bonnet, was deemed a sufficent 
compliance with the order, although they were worn over a 
dress which would otherwise have been considered an infringe- 
ment of it. 

The people of England were supplied with a very different 
version of this proclamation. They were persuaded that if any 
lady thrice offended against the regulation she would be sub- 
jected to the punishment of the knout, and popular feeling was 

and the governor. He would not dare to punish them ; were they not noble ? 
The proclamation was only a threat, and they would 'put the governor 
down ! ' 

" Alas for the ardent, unthinking confidence of feminine patriotism ! An 
extremely civil, gentlemanlike individual approached the carriage of the 
principal offender. He raised his hat, and informed her that, as an employ^ 
of the Government, he was directed to inquire why the lady he addressed 
wore morning. Had she lost a relative, or for what cause was she in black ? 
' I am a Pole, sir,' was the haughty reply. The official regretted that such 
should be her only answer, for in that case he was bound to ask her for 25 
roubles, for which he begged to hand her the receipt. If she had not the 
money with her, he begged she would not distress herself ; he would send for 
it to her residence in the afternoon. 

" The fines were duly paid, and from that day forth the ladies of Wilna have 
arrayed themselves in all the colours of the rainbow. Their patriotism could 
not sustain the practical test the governor applied to it, and since that hour 
all parties have felt assured that a decree signed by him will be enforced, 
and they have obeyed without attempting to evade it." 


excited to the utmost on the strength of this most absurd and 
groundless charge. Yet we can hardly blame this credulity when 
we find that great names were not ashamed to pledge them- 
selves to the truth of the calumny, and that a quondam Cabinet 
Minister, who had himself in former times been ambassador at 
St. Petersburg, repeated a yet more loathsome fabrication. 

Lord Clanricarde is reported* to have said in his place in 
the House of Lords " Since March, when our representations 
were first made, General Mouravieff had been appointed, whose 
proclamations could not be read without horror and indigna- 
tion. Few people knew the full extent of these proclamations. 
Among other things, women wearing mourning in the streets, 
no matter what bereavement they might have undergone, were 
to be treated like common women of the town, registered, 
and subjected to all the examinations to which that class were 
liable." And he concluded by moving for reports of " atro- 
cities " committed or threatened by Eussians or Poles since 
1st May, and by inquiring " whether her Majesty's Government 
had reason to hope that the civil war now raging in Poland 
would be henceforth conducted according to the rules of civil- 
ized warfare." 

Lord Ellenborough the same night said " There have been 
atrocities mentioned arising out of the proclamationswithrespect 
to the treatment of women, which it appears to me impossible 
that any one who lives in civilized Europe should at any time 
have sanctioned. The man who outrages a woman makes man- 
kind his enemy, and exposes himself to all the loathing he 
excites. And yet it is impossible to doubt that under the 
orders of Mouravieff and Mouravieff is at this time appa- 
rently the favourite agent of the Russian Government these 
atrocities have been committed." 

"When these noblemen found it necessary thus to lay the lance 
in rest on behalf of 'the women of Poland, there is every excuse 
for those who had not their advantages, if they credited the 
fabrications which had thus deceived their superiors in rank. 

The next step of political importance taken by General 
Mouravieff was the issue of a proclamation on the 13th (25th) 

* Times, July 25, 1863. 


of June, by which he imposed a temporary property tax of ten 
per cent, on the income of the landed proprietors. At the 
same time he required the chiefs of the various governments 
under his command to give him a return of the names of such 
individuals as had satisfactorily evidenced their loyalty to the 
Government, in order that he might lighten the imposition so 
far as they were concerned, or grant them such time for its 
payment as he might see fit. In other cases the tax he im- 
posed was to be paid within seven days, and if default was 
made in so doing, the movable property of the defaulter was 
to be seized and sold to liquidate the claim. 

This severe proclamation was issued for the purpose of 
depriving the Poles of the means of encouraging the revolt. 
It was known, although the Lithuanian proprietors had not 
in any great numbers personally joined the insurgents, that 
they had given them every encouragement they believed they 
could safely extend to them. In addition to affording them 
shelter when they required it, they supplied them with horses, 
provisions, and all other requisites that their estates afforded, 
and above all, placed at their disposal every rouble they could 

The tax, therefore, which General Mouravieff imposed upon 
the proprietors he defended on the plea that it only deprived 
them of money which would otherwise have found its way into 
the military chest of the insurgents; and while he thus crippled 
the resources on which the leaders of the revolt depended, he 
prevented the proprietors from committing acts of treason 
which would have been fatal to themselves. 

A few days later a circular was addressed by General 
Mouravieff to the chiefs of the various governments under his 
authority. He stated, information had reached him that many 
proprietors furnished the insurgent bands with provisions, 
under the pretext of being forced so to do, and that they gave 
no information to the authorities of the movements of the bands, 
which were composed mainly of their sons, parents, friends, 
and servants. In such cases the chiefs of the governments 
were instructed to place a sequestration on the goods of the 
offender ; the corn and flour were to be given to the troops, 
and the horses and waggons appropriated for transport pur- 


poses. The proprietors and their stewards were to be arrested 
and tried by court-martial, and their families compelled to quit 
their properties. 

This order vested in the hands of military officers summary 
powers of the most extensive kind. Execution preceded 
judgment, and the property of any landowner in the country 
was at the mercy of informers and spies. In a period when 
men's minds were exasperated in the highest degree by mutual 
wrongs, when a contest raged, in which race, religion, and 
national sentiments were all involved, it was too much to 
expect that the Russian official would preserve the calmness 
and equity of the judgment-seat. 

The acts for which the Polish proprietors might lose their 
property were certainly acts of hostility to Russia, but in some 
cases at least they were so natural as hardly to rank as crimes. 
If, as stated in the circular, the immediate relatives, friends, and 
servants of a proprietor requested temporary assistance or 
shelter, his heart must have been very hard, or his loyalty to 
Russia very overwhelming, if he sent word of their move- 
ments to the nearest military station; and where a band forcibly 
extorted aid from the fears of a proprietor, it was scarcely just 
to sequestrate his property for the offence. 

On the other hand it must be remembered that if terrorism 
had been deemed a valid excuse, there was not a Polish pro- 
prietor who would not loudly have alleged it. Under cover of 
such a pretext, the insurgents would have invariably been 
received ; the horses, the arms, the money of the landowners 
would have been at their disposal; and even their servants 
and sons would have been enlisted, likewise without their 
consent, in the ranks of the rebels. 

Even as it was, the story told by three-fourths of the Polish 
prisoners was that against their will they were forced into the 
bands, and they frequently elaborated ingenious stories to 
account for their presence there. I asked prisoner after 
prisoner in Warsaw and Wilna, how they came to join in the 
insurrection, and almost without exception (save where they 
had been tried and condemned), there was the same attempt 
to prove that they were forced into it. Similar attempts would 
have been made with greater success by the landed proprietors, 


and it was absolutely necessary for the authorities to refuse 
to recognize coercion as a valid plea. 

While, therefore, it is impossible to defend on abstract 
grounds this decree of General Mouravieff, and while it is open 
to the charge of a recklessness of civil rights* which must be 
pronounced unjust, it must yet be acknowledged to be a for- 
midable instrument of war. The man who openly declares 
that he will sequester the property of any one who has 
afforded the least asylum to insurgents, and who shows by his 
subsequent acts that he is determined to act upon that decla- 
ration to the uttermost, is very likely to suppress all open 
sympathy with revolt ; whether the measure is a wise or just 
one is a different question, and one upon which few individuals 
will give precisely the same reply. 

Yet it would be unjust to omit from consideration the 
difficult and exceptional circumstances under which General 
Mouravieff assumed the government. He knew that "the 
nobility, clergy, citizens, and scattered gentry" were all 
opposed to the Kussian supremacy ; he knew, from his 
point of view, that they were all traitors, and that, what- 
ever might be the difficulties attendant upon proving their 
guilt, they were all nevertheless equally culpable. If he had 
gone into the first six country houses he approached and 
arrested their owners, he might have found it difficult to 
justify the act, but none the less he would have been certain 
that most of the men he arrested were implicated in the revolt. 

In well-ordered communities the right to life has ever been 
deemed more sacred than the right to property, and if one has 
to be sacrificed in order that the other may be preserved, it 
is the right to property which would everywhere be aban- 
doned. The Russians urged this principle in justification of 
the acts of Mouravieff. He saw the predatory bands with 
which the country was infested not only waging open war, 
but indulging in wholesale assassination ; he saw these bands 
encouraged and sheltered by men who as a class were hostile 
to the Government ; and, if this system was allowed to con- 
tinue unchecked, the whole country would become a scene of 
terrorism and murder. The authorities were not to be blamed 
for the wild chaos into which the acts of the rebels and the 


complicity of a hostile proprietary had hurried the country ; 
and if, for the sake of preserving order and protecting life, 
some civil rights were for the moment endangered, such was 
the necessary and unavoidable penalty which attached to the 
lawless plots of a guilty faction. 

The executions in his government were few in number, if 
the crimes for which they atoned are taken into account. 
Some Polish officers holding commissions in the Russian 
service who were found at the head of insurgent bands, were 
shot or hanged ; but in any country such would have been their 
fate. They may be the objects of commiseration, for it is fair 
to assume that a mistaken sense of duty led them to forsake 
their colours ; but in every army desertion to the enemy is 
punished with death. Some priests also perished; but they 
were either guilty of murder or had used their churches as 
revolutionary temples, where the creed of treason and assassi- 
nation was preached. The remainder of those who suffered 
death were, almost without exception, men who had been 
guilty of cold-blooded murders or else members of that in- 
famous corporation of hang rig gendarmes who were hired 
by the National Government to commit political assassina- 

The whole number of these executions up to a recent date* 
was 128, of which about 40 were officers and men who had 
deserted from the army and joined the insurgents. Although 
it is to be regretted that so much blood was poured out upon 
the scaffold, it is not a large number of executions, considering 
the circumstances of the period and the nature of many of 
the acts by which the insurrection was debased. 

* These numbers were given me by General Mouravieff personally, on 
17th March, 1865. 



Seriakoffski, his Capture and Execution. Attempted Murder of the Marshal 
of Nobility at Wilna. Death of Nullo. Rising in Kieff. Wysocki's 
Invasion. Letter of a Patriot Pole. 

AMONG the leaders of the insurgents in Lithuania, the most 
remarkable and most ill-fated was Seriakoffski, a captain in 
the Russian army. He was a Pole by birth, and while very 
young had for some trifling offence been appointed to serve in 
a regiment stationed in the distant government of Orenburg. 
He appears to have been a man of quick feeling and perception, 
but of little depth. Professedly devoted to the service of his 
superiors, his mind was secretly filled with schemes of vast 
and ill-regulated ambition, and while he held rank in the 
service of Russia and received its pay, he was pondering in 
secret how its power might be shaken and the independence 
of Poland achieved. He early acquired the confidence of the 
Minister of War, and distinguished himself by his efforts to 
procure the abolition of corporal punishment in the Russian 
army. He was sent by the 'Government to several countries 
in Europe to inquire and to report upon their systems of 
military discipline and the substitutes they adopted for the 
lash, and the report which he presented upon this subject was 
in a great measure acted upon by the Government. The road 
to rapid preferment seemed now to be open to him, but his 
mistaken patriotism and misplaced ambition destroyed his 

The Russian Government in no instance compelled Polish 
officers to serve against their countrymen ; on their intimating 
that they preferred to serve elsewhere, their desire was readily 
acquiesced in, for the Russians made every allowance for a 
national feeling, which they respected even while endeavour- 
ing to control it. Seriakoffski therefore had not the excuse of 
being driven to fight either for or against his countrymen. He 


was in the Kussian service, and could not without dishonour 
be false to the colours under which he served, and the oaths 
of fidelity which he had taken. If he was determined to rebel, 
he should have resigned his grade, and then, though impru- 
dent, he might have escaped shame. But the Russians charge 
him with more than ordinary treachery, for it is alleged 
that, under specious pretexts, he obtained money from the 
Government, which he subsequently applied in furtherance of 
the revolt ; and it is said that he formed a plot to surprise the 
great fortress of Diinaburg, availing himself for that purpose 
of an official mission in connection with its inspection and 

He was appointed by the insurgents commander of their 
forces in Lithuania, and waged war with the success of 
an ordinary guerilla chief. At length, on the 7th May, 
intelligence was conveyed to the Russian forces at Medeika 
that the band of Dolengo (under which name Seriakoffski was 
known) was in the neighbourhood, and some Cossacks and 
infantry attacked it. 

The insurgents hastily retreated into a forest which skirted 
the main road ; but the Russian commanding officer did not 
think it prudent to follow them, as he believed it was their 
design, when his troops were disordered in the wood, to sur- 
round and cut them off. 

Two days later, the Russians in the mean time having been 
reinforced, they marched against the insurgents. Seria- 
koffski's little army, amounting to 1,500 men, was posted on 
the border of a dense forest ; the right flank rested on the 
village of Gondischki, and the left on a muddy brook. In 
front of this position were scattered about 300 skirmishers, and 
at some distance in the rear were compact masses of scythe- 
men. The Russian skirmishers and Cossacks opened a 
murderous fire upon the enemy, on whom they inflicted heavy 
loss, and following up the attack, they endeavoured to surround 

* I received this information from a source which I believe to be well in- 
formed, but a copy of the depositions taken at his trial which I was promised 
has not reached me, and I am therefore unable to speak with certainty as to 
the truth of these charges. 


them on all sides. The scythe-men charged the left flank of 
the Russians and endeavoured to disperse them; but they 
were received by a steady fire from the Russian troops,, to 
which, inefficiently armed as they were, they had no means of 
adequately replying. The conflict was too unequal, and their 
ranks were quickly broken ; nearly 200 of them were killed, 
and the remainder fled. 

The account of the capture of Seriakoffski, which occurred 
a few hours after the defeat of his band, is given in the fol- 
lowing terms by a Russian officer who was engaged in the 
affair. It is so characteristic of the nature of the struggle, 
and gives so vivid an idea of the views of the men who mixed 
in it, that I introduce it without change or condensation. 

" The day that followed the affair of the 27th, the peasants 
of the neighbourhood began bringing in prisoners, one or two 
at a time : after some hours they numbered, including those 
taken by our troops, about 100 men. They were all proprie- 
tors (pani) or Schlachta. The soldiers surrounded the prisoners 
and addressed speeches to them : ' Oh you, you Poles/ they 
said, ' why do you rebel against the Government ? what can 
you want ? you have land and money j it is far better for you 
to sit at home. Do you look like soldiers ? No ; it is a real 
shame ! ' Among the prisoners was one young man who looked 
silent and sullen. The Russians asked him, ' Who are you, 
where are you from, are you a Pole ? ' He simply answered, 
' I know nothing/ Several such persons were met with ; 
their silence is owing to the interference of the priests, who 
make them swear, if they meet a Russian, that they will be 
dumb. If they torture you, say the priests, you go direct to 
Paradise and are a martyr : thus all the Schlachta are per- 
fectly convinced, if they get shot in a wood, that they will go 
straight to heaven. 

" An officer of the Hulans, who was among the troops, ap- 
proached one of the prisoners, saying ' Good morning, Stani- 
chewski, are you, too, in the band ? this is a pleasant way of 
renewing our acquaintance ! ' ' As you see/ answered the 
other ; ' I beg your pardon for not having executed your com- 
mission ; you gave me money to buy an opera-glass, but I 
could not/ This surprised us, and we surrounded him, and 


made inquiries. It appears he was a lieutenant- cap tain, who 
had left our service very recently to take an appointment in 
the excise in the district of Wilcomirsk. A month before he 
was captured,, he was going to St. Petersburg, and then had 
received the commission from the officer, but he was stopped 
by persons who were strangers to him, and threatened with 
death if he did not obey. He entered the band of Seriakoff- 
ski, and on the 26th commanded the right wing : he was the 
leader of the scythe-men. I do not know whether one can 
believe him, but he was the only Pole worthy of compassion. 
Every insurgent had his history one was innocent, another 
was in the band by compulsion. The commander of the 
band affirmed that he entered it at the instigation of the 
ladies. When his neighbours went into the woods the ladies 
sneered at him, and he went also, to avoid being an object of 
scorn. Some, however, of the insurgents acknowledged that 
they went of their own will. 

" In the evening an officer of the Koperski regiment arrived 
with some soldiers at the house of a proprietor : it was situated 
in the middle of some swampy ground in a wood, and was 
completely closed ; they surrounded it a window then opened, 
and a voice said, ' Enter, I am here, Seriakoffski.' In addi- 
tion to Seriakqffski they found Kolichko and part of Seria- 
koffski's staff, twenty-one in number, who, after the battle, 
had been conveyed to this house, which belonged to a count, 
who was himself in the band. This place was 18 wersts 
(12 miles) from our staff at Medeika. Having heard of this 
occurrence, our general sent me with forty riflemen to convey 
the prisoners to our staff. 

"We arrived at the house at twelve o'clock at night. 
The first room was occupied by our soldiers j I then entered 
a room guarded by two sentinels, in which were twelve 
prisoners ; they were all asleep on straw, except one, who had 
a handsome but displeasing countenance, and who introduced 
himself as Kolichko ; he told me he had been at the military 
school at Genoa ; he added, that the Government had tried for 
two years to arrest him for political offences, but that he had 
always contrived to escape. Even the linen of those who slept 
was black, as a sign of mourning. 



" I entered the next room, and was struck by what I saw. 
In the middle of the room, on a large bed, lay the wounded 
Seriakoffski; two doctors, in Polish costume, sat near his 
pillow ; in another part of the room six wounded men were 
lying on the straw. One very handsome young man approached 
me on tiptoe, bowed, and said, f I am Count Kossachoffsky, 
adjutant to our general/ I could not restrain a smile, and 
answered, ' Do put an end to this comedy ; wake Seriakoff- 
ski ; I have orders to convey him and all of you to our staff 
at Medeika/ But Kossachoffsky answered in the same tone, 
' Lieutenant, it is perfectly impossible, the wound of our 
general is dangerous ; wait till seven o'clock in the morning, 
when the crisis will be over/ The doctors likewise approached, 
and made the same request in French, hoping I should relent ; 
at the same time the Poles, endeavouring to frighten us, said 
the band of Mazkiewitch, the priest, was advancing to deliver 
Seriakoffski. This made me anxious ; I woke up the self-styled 
general ; he said, ' You are come to fetch me, but I cannot go 
at present ; wait till seven o'clock ; it will be better for you to 
bring me alive than dead ; I can then be of more use/ I 
answered him that his requests were rather suspicious. At 
about two o'clock in the morning, faint rays of light entered the 
room; I told everyone to get up and dress it was done, 
but with very great ill-will. At last they were all placed in the 
conveyances prepared for them. Seriakoffski, as a wounded 
man, was to be placed in an open carriage found in the house 
of the proprietor; but he would not come out, requesting 
some tea, as it would give him new strength. I allowed it ; but 
the preparations were unduly protracted; I therefore ap- 
proached Seriakoffski, and said, ' Seriakoffski, report describes 
you as a man of iron will ; prove it ; what can a cup of tea 
matter to you ? ' He immediately went out and seated himself 
in the carriage with the doctor and his adjutant. 

" Before reaching Wolkomir we saw a beautiful place, 
almost a palace, which belonged to the adjutant. This man 
young, rich, and handsome could easily have fled to his own 
house after the affair, as no one knew he had been in the 
battle. ' I could not leave my general in misfortune/ said he, 
pressing Seriakoffski's hand. I do not know whether Seria- 


koffski had moral influence over the persons about him, but his 
personal appearance was not attractive ; he had a yellow, sickly 
face, and dull, strange eyes. 

" We continued our journey. I began to ask Kolichko about 
the state of the band. ' I have been leader of this band/ he 
said, ' for three months ; I acquired strategic knowledge in 
the school of Genoa ; the Russians have been trying to take 
me for two months, but I always escaped, and often passed 
between two detachments without being caught ; it is Seria- 
koffski' s fault that I am taken ; if I had not joined him, I 
should still be in the woods with my band/ ' Why, then, did 
you join him?' I asked. 'He is our commander; we must 
obey him/ On several papers SeriakofFski had signed, 
' Commander (Woiwode) of Lithuania and Kovno/ Ko- 
lichko accused Seriakoffski of refusing him permission to 
attack Medeika when it was only garrisoned by one company 
of Eussian soldiers. ' Seriakoffski/ he continued, f is a clever 
man, but no military chief, he is not energetic enough/ In 
general he spoke unfavourably of him ; it was easily seen that 
Kolichko was very vain. 

' f We approached a wood and advanced very slowly. I was 
sitting near Seriakoffski, and began to talk to him. ' I left 
Kovno with three men/ he said, ' and soon had a band of 1,000. 
Our march through the provinces was a real triumph, c'etait 
une protestation sanglante ; we were everywhere received 
as if we belonged to one family ; the peasant women brought 
their sons to us, but we would not take them/ I could stand 
this no longer, and told him it was all untrue. We had fol- 
lowed him step by step, and seen the ravages he had made 
on the property of the unfortunate peasants. He found an 
answer immediately. f We ordered the peasants to complain 
of us, that you might not touch them/ At this moment, some 
insurgents emerged from a wood and waved their hats in 
token of surrender. Two Cossacks therefore arrested them. 
One of these men was seventeen years old, with a wounded 
hand. I asked him if he was in the band of his own will. 
'No/ he replied, 'they threatened to hang my father if I 
did not join/ < He lies/ said Seriakoffski. ' Well, Seria- 
koffski/ I said, 'you must have a great load on your con- 



science; what miseries you have caused/ He replied,, f lt 
is nothing ; these bloody seeds will give white flowers ; Po- 
land must do something to record her existence/ 'Why/ 
then/ I inquired, ' were you going to the Baltic provinces, 
where the peasants would have met you with axes, and where 
you would have perished with hunger ? ' t All the band together 
formed 5,000 men/ he said ; f in a week I might have had 
double that number, and with 10,000 men I could have roused 
the Baltic provinces/ I really do not know how much further 
the imagination of Seriakoffski might have carried him, but 
we had reached Medeika." 

The wound of Seriakoffski was mortal, and he used every 
endeavour in his power to prolong the legal proceedings, that he 
might avoid the ignominy of a public execution. The attempt 
was vain ; no doubt of his guilt could be entertained, and there 
were no circumstances in his case which, in the view of a 
military tribunal, could be alleged as the slightest extenua- 
tion of his crime ; but Seriakoffski had been honoured and 
esteemed by men high in rank in the public service, and if 
any intercession could have availed him/it would have been 
forthcoming on his behalf. He had been only married a few 
months, and his young wife entreated ministers and men 
high in the confidence of her sovereign to supplicate for her 
husband's life. They listened to her with respect, they sym- 
pathized in her despair, but they held out no hopes that 
the boon she asked would be granted. She went to Prince 
Souwaroff,* the kindness of whose heart is only equalled by 
the charm of his manners, and entreated him to use his all- 
powerful influence to avert the desolation that hung over her. 
He knew that in such a case all entreaty was in vain; she 
had begged to learn the truth from him, and he told it to 
her kindly but firmly. "Madam," he said, "you desire to 
know the truth, and I dare not trifle with you ; I will not say 
that your husband's life cannot be spared, for with God nothing 
is impossible ; but unless He interposes His omnipotent arm 
to save him, his life will not be spared ; the offence he has 
committed is one which the Government cannot pardon." 

* The Governor-General of St. Petersburg. 


The sentence of the court-martial was that Seriakoffski 
should be hanged, and it evoked a deep burst of indignation 
from his friends, which to this hour has not subsided. They 
contended that, as a Russian officer, he should have been shot, 
and that the mode of execution resorted to was a needless 
insult to a brave but most unfortunate enthusiast ; and they 
ascribed it to the fiendish cruelty and malevolence of General 
Mouravieff that this last indignity was put upon him. Such a 
charge, however, is very unjust ; for according to martial law 
in Russia, the court passes its judgment upon the criminal, 
and in that judgment the mode of execution is prescribed ; the 
law further directs that the sentence shall be confirmed or 
disallowed by the governor of the province, and that it shall 
be carried into execution within twenty-four hours. The sen- 
tence passed was in strict conformity with martial law; the only 
course open to General Mouravieff was to confirm it, and the 
cruelty, if cruelty there were in the sentence, must be attri- 
buted to the court-martial, and not to the superior officer, who 
simply confirmed its doom.* 

Towards the end of July the insurrection in Lithuania was 
practically at an end ; a few bands of robbers rather than insur- 
gents were sometimes met with, and the country was unsafe 
for peaceful travellers ; for all military purposes, however, it 
was completely in the hands of the Russians, and the proprie- 
tors throughout the provinces under the charge of General 
Mouravieff signed addresses expressive of their contrition for 
what had occurred, and of their loyal resolution for the future. 

The National Government viewed these addresses with the 

* Many absurd statements were circulated upon the subject of his execu- 
tion. It was said that the English ambassador had written to request Gene- 
ral Mouravieff to spare Seriakoffski's life, and that General Mouravieff had 
declared that he would teach the English ambassador not to interfere with 
him, and forthwith ordered his prisoner, although it was about midnight, to 
be hanged, without giving him a moment to prepare for death. 

Another story equally false represented that Seriakoffski was hanged imme- 
diately opposite the windows of his wife, and that the first intelligence she 
had of his -doom was the spectacle of his dead body suspended before her eyes. 

Both these stories, as will be gathered from the statements I have made in 
the text, are untrue. 


greatest alarm. They disclaimed its authority ; they held it up 
to public odium as an unjust and usurping power ; they pro- 
fessed the devotion of the men who signed them to the Russian 
Emperor, and solicited the protection of the Russian army. 

The Press which was in the pay of the Emigration described 
these addresses as having been extorted by menace and vio- 
lence : the proprietors, it declared, were at the mercy of the 
Russians, and no man's life or property was secure if he re- 
fused to sign any document Mouravieff or his myrmidons might 
require him to subscribe. This argument, however, was a 
dangerous one to employ ; for the more completely the proprie- 
tors were at the mercy of the authorities, the more evident did 
it become that the insurrection was finally extinguished. 

It was therefore necessary to resort to violent means to 
repress these indications of returning loyalty, and the National 
Government resolved, by the murder of one of the offenders, 
to prevent any repetition of the fault. An address to the Em- 
peror had been signed on behalf of the nobility of Wilna by 
M. Domeiko, their Marshal. 

On the morning of the llth of August, in broad daylight, and 
without a sign of concealment or fear, a stranger presented him- 
self at the house of the Marshal and requested to see him. He 
gave no reason for his visit, but there was nothing in his ap- 
pearance to create alarm, and he was admitted without hesita- 
tion into the house. After waiting some little time, he was 
shown into the room where M. Domeiko received his business 
visitors. The ordinary salutations over, the stranger presented 
to the Marshal a paper, having the appearance of a government 
despatch, and as he took it from his hand, stabbed him with one 
of those long double-bladed daggers upon which the National 
Government relied for the propagation of their principles. 
The wound was not mortal, and the cries of his master brought 
a servant into the room. This man grappled with the assassin, 
and endeavoured to arrest him ; he too was stabbed severely, 
and the assassin then left the house. As he passed out of the 
porte cochere he said to the wife of the porter, whom he met 
there, " Hasten up stairs, your master is ill I go for a doc- 
tor." Suspicion being thus disarmed, he for the moment 
escaped ; but subsequently, owing to an informality in his pass- 


port, he was arrested, and was executed for the crime. The 
paper presented to the Marshal was subsequently found to 
be his death-warrant, issued by the National Government. 

The deliberation and the general immunity from punishment 
with which this class of crime was committed are evidences of 
the extent to which the town populations sympathized with 
the revolt. In fact, in this particular, the assassinations com- 
mitted by order of the National Government were as remark- 
able as the agrarian murders which were some years since so 
common in Ireland. In both cases there was a wide class- 
feeling in favour of the criminal, which prevented the magni- 
tude of his crime from being appreciated, and gave him an 
unfortunate immunity from punishment. Among the town 
populations of Poland this feeling extensively prevailed during 
the earlier part of the insurrection ; but it gradually wore away, 
owing to the frequency and causelessness of these murders, 
and was replaced by a feeling of fear, loathing, and disgust. 

While such was the course of events in Poland and the 
Western provinces, the Emigration continued to distort facts, 
and the journals in their pay to circulate the most grotesque 

About this time the Polish Committee in Paris issued an 
address, in which they stated that, " In the middle of the 19th 
century the Muscovite despotism presents a spectacle of atro- 
cities unknown even in the annals of barbarous times. The 
deceitful mask which covered Russia has fallen off, and the 
barbarous Mongul appears in his hideous nakedness. The 
cruelties of Tamerlane and Ivan the Terrible pale before the 
horrors of the Government of Alexander II. 

" Exasperated by the moral support that the sympathies of 
the civilized world have given to the Polish insurrection, 
Eussia has launched her most savage hordes against Poland, 
and the autocrat has delivered over the victim as a prey to his 
most ferocious proconsuls. The war is no longer a war, it is 
a horrible carnage. Pillage and burnings are the order of the 
day; the gibbets are kept standing; fusillades and grape- 
shot shed streams of blood. Neither age nor sex are spared, 
and priests, while clothed in their sacred robes, are delivered 
without trial to the hangman. 


" To stir up the flame, and crown the work of destruction, 
in contempt of all social laws, the Muscovite Government 
appeals to passions the most odious ; it endeavours to place 
the torch and the axe in the hands of the peasants, and excites 
them to assail the proprietors, whom it promises they may 

( ' Europe shudders at the recital of these atrocities 

but for Poland more is required than empty wishes. 

" Poland defends her religious creed and her domestic 
hearths ; she demands her liberty and independence, and she 
will not cease to combat until she has reconquered from the 
oppressor her frontiers of 1772. The National Government 
has declared that Poland repudiates every negotiation (trans- 
action) as suicide, as treason, and from the Vistula to the 
Dnieper, the whole nation has vowed to perish rather than to 
treat with the foreign tyranny. 

" Between Poland and the Muscovite despotism there is, 
then, a deadly strife (duel a mort) ; between a Christian people 
which is associated with all the progress of modern civilization, 
and claims rights the most dear and the most sacred, and 
the barbarous Mongul, who represents brute force, and tram- 
ples divine and human laws under its feet, there is hence- 
forward an abyss of blood. 

" Will Europe suffer that humanity shall be thus insolently 
outraged ? Will she permit this war of extermination to be 
prolonged to the eternal shame of the nineteenth century ? 

"People of the West, hear the cry of alarm which this 
martyred nation raises ! it is over its body that despotism 
hopes to force its way to the heart of civilization. But God 
is with us, and his justice will make us triumph." 

While the Emigration thus endeavoured to stir up Western 
Europe, the Roman Catholic clergy did their best by word and 
act to goad the ignorant peasantry and the sluggish masses 
to take part in the revolutionary movement. 

A portion of the over-excited and feverish population of 
Warsaw having persuaded itself that it had seen a fiery cross 
in the air, the news spread through the city that the sign of 
victory had shown itself, and an immense crowd collected at a 
spot thought to be advantageously situated for viewing the 


phenomenon. The commissary of the fifth and sixth police 
quarters of Warsaw made a formal report on the subject of 
the supposed aerial cross, saying that it was to be seen "just 
above a pear-tree in front of the house No. 2487," and that 
it had caused a crowd to assemble, whereby the public peace 
was likely to be disturbed. The Russians, finding that some 
intimate connection existed in the popular mind between the 
pear-tree and the miraculous symbol, ordered the former to 
be destroyed, and the tree, which is said to have been in full 
bloom, was cut down. This appears to have had the effect 
of dispelling the apparition ; at least, no more was heard of 
it, and the crowd broke up, lamenting only the fall of the 

Another example of miraculous but vain interposition on 
behalf of the insurgents was witnessed and officially recorded 
in the government of Grodno. A shepherdess twelve years 
old saw four birds come down from Heaven, who, when they 
reached the earth, changed themselves into as many saints ; 
a chariot descended at the same time from Heaven, to which 
four horses were yoked. These saints said to the girl, 
" Poland will assuredly live, and that which the Poles are 
unable to accomplish, God will accomplish with his thunder- 
bolts. Go and make this known to holy Poland !" The 
shepherdess stated that one of these personages was an 
angel, the second a cardinal, but she did not know who the 
two others were. The saints then took their seats in the 
chariot, and returned to Heaven. 

Here, also, the Eussians failed to acknowledge the truth of 
the alleged revelation, and they deprived the over-officious 
commissary of police who recorded it of his place, and handed 
him over, together with the cure who had vouched it, to be 
tried for their excess of faith. 

The insurgents sustained a severe loss about 5th May, in 
the death of Francisco Nullo, a general in their service. He 
had been a distinguished officer in Garibaldi's army, and he 
brought with him from Italy thirty or forty of his former 
comrades, by whom he was greatly beloved. He was asso- 
ciated in command with Miniewski, and their little force 
consisted of some gentlemen calling themselves the "Zouaves 


a la mort," and the Italian company. They assembled at 
Cracow, intending to invade Poland from that neighbourhood. 
Instead of acting stealthily, and in a manner calculated to 
prevent their proceedings being remarked, the "Zouaves^ 
made their progress a pageant and a show ; their friends 
accompanied them to the plains of Wola, outside the city, 
and then took an affecting farewell of them. The consequence 
was, that the Eussians were perfectly informed of their move- 
ments, and prepared an overwhelming force with which to 
oppose them. The hostile bands met, and the insurgents 
taking shelter in a wood, kept up an ineffectual fire on the 
Russians, which the latter, owing to the superior weapons 
with which they were armed, replied to with success. Finding 
his men were being sacrificed unavailingly, Nullo determined 
to charge and endeavour, in a hand-to-hand encounter, to 
change the fortunes of the day ; the " Zouaves a la mort," 
however, preferred remaining under cover, and Nullo received 
a fatal wound almost on the moment of leaving the wood. 
Then ensued a strange and unexampled scene. Maddened by 
the death of the leader whom they loved, the Italians called 
out his name in the accents of bitterest grief; they sobbed, 
they shrieked, and by a general impulse rushed upon the 
enemy, and found a glorious death on the field they could not 

The " Zouaves a la mort " were not so indiscreet ; they 
retreated in a manner somewhat hurried and disorderly, and 
few of the friends who paid them so sad an honour on the 
plain of Wola had the additional sorrow of counting their 
heroes among the slain. 

The Russians knew how to respect a noble foe. The follow- 
ing day they buried Nullo with all the honours of war. The 
army was drawn up in line, and saluted his remains as they 
were carried past. A solemn mass was performed in the 
church of Olkusz for the repose of his soul, and Prince Scha- 
koffskoy, the commander of the Russian forces, with his staff, 
and detachments from each regiment, and all the Polish 
population of the town, followed him to the grave. 

The peasantry of the South-western were even more 
hostile to the insurgents than those of the North-western 


provinces. Whatever may be their race, their language and 
customs are Russian, their religion is almost exclusively that 
of the Greek Church, and no bond of common interest unites 
them to the proprietors of the soil. Their masters have never 
been their friends ; they are not so easily trampled on as the 
natives of the north-west, and consequently have not sub- 
mitted to the same ignominious thraldom ; but the cruelty, 
the injustice, and the persecutions of many years have left a 
deeper scar behind, and they regarded the insurgents with 
undisguised enmity. Emancipation they considered to be the 
gift of the Emperor against the will of the nobles, and it was 
in him only that they trusted to grant them their land in fee. 
The proclamation of the revolutionary Government, by which 
it assumed to give them the land, and the adoption of it by 
such of the proprietors as failed to demand their quarter's 
rent when it became due, did not win them. They considered 
this as a cunning device practised simply to delude them, and 
believed that concessions accorded in the moment of danger 
would be withdrawn in the hour of success. 

The peasants somewhat unnecessarily feared, if the insurgents 
were victorious, that they would again be reduced to servitude ; 
but their alarm on the subject of their land does not appear 
so causeless, when we remember the tenets on that subject held 
by the Polish proprietors up to the very commencement of the 
revolt; their conversion was suspiciously sudden, and the 
peasants might well doubt its sincerity. 

They soon satisfied themselves that the Russians were the 
stronger party, and being quite clear on this point, gave full 
play to their loyalty. They afforded them information, and 
supplied them willingly with food when they required it ; they 
assisted them wherever it was in their power, captured sus- 
pected persons, and hunted down fugitive Poles. 

The difference in religion created a wide gulf between the 
peasants and the insurgents, and the result of a close inquiry 
will be to show that religion has had far greater influence than 
race in this contest. The Greek has universally sided with the 
Russian Government ; the Roman Catholic peasant has fre- 
quently done so also ; but the superior classes who profess the 
Roman Catholic faith have invariably given more or less overt 


assistance to the revolt. In the provinces of Podolia, Volhynia, 
and Kieff, the Roman Catholics numbered only 476,236 out of 
a population of 4, 7 13,48 6. 

The peasantry having thus evidenced their feelings, it was 
evident that no inroad into their provinces had a chance of 
success ; but the insurgents organized an ill-timed and ill- 
advised rising, which took place at Kieff towards the end of 
May. Numerous individuals, and among them many of the 
students of the university, daily quitted the town. They pro- 
cured their passports without difficulty, and the only measure 
of precaution the Government adopted was to confiscate such 
depots of arms as they were able to find. On the 27th of 
May the streets were thronged with Poles dressed in the 
national costume ; they hurried up and down in an agitated 
manner ; they crowded the doorways of shops, and purchased 
provisions of all kinds. 

The students hired the horses of a dragoon regiment, and 
rode into the country, where many of the proprietors in the 
district and some of the artisans of the town joined them. 
An armed force followed them, and at Borodinski, a place a 
short distance from the town, encountered and completely 
defeated them. This victory was so easily won, that one 
soldier killed and ten or eleven wounded was the total loss the 
Russians sustained. 

The reason for this easy triumph was apparent when the 
prisoners were seen. Among them were schoolboys of thir- 
teen and fourteen years old ; their armament was incomplete, 
their commander was a riding-master of the university, and 
the unlucky insurgents were suffering greatly from wounds 
caused by their new high-heeled boots, which they thought it 
patriotic to wear, but which sorely pinched them on their 
march . 

The troops would have had more trouble in arresting the 
fugitives than in defeating the enemy, had it not been for the 
exertions of the peasants. The inhabitants of the adjoining 
villages, armed with any weapons they could procure, scoured 
the country in all directions and attacked and arrested the 
insurgents. Day after day for some weeks they brought them in 
as prisoners to Kieff, and delivered them over to the authorities. 


This was the only attempt of any importance made by the 
insurgents in that neighbourhood. 

Nevertheless the National Government desired to show that 
the South-western provinces sympathized with the revolt, and 
only waited a favourable opportunity to rise against the Russian 
Government. The extreme ignorance which existed in Western 
Europe of the social and political condition of the various parts 
of the Poland of 1 772 facilitated the leaders of the insurrection 
in the attempt, and very trifling successes or a long continu- 
ance of guerilla warfare in those provinces, would have enabled 
them to effect it. It was therefore resolved, as far back as the 
end of March, that an expeditionary corps should rendezvous 
at or in the vicinity of Lemberg, and thence invade Yolhynia 
on the first opportunity that offered itself. 

It was not an easy task either to procure the men or the 
weapons required for this attempt, for . the Austrian troops 
were on the alert, and were constantly intercepting suspicious 
travellers, and searching for and finding the arms which the 
insurgents had concealed. Moreover, the peasants of Galicia 
were bitterly hostile to the Poles, whom they not unnaturally 
recognized as akin in race, object, and feeling to their own 
landlords men whom they had never had reason to sympa- 
thize with or respect. 

The insurgents were received into the houses of the Galician 
Poles, and were concealed there in great numbers for various 
periods, until at last the expeditionary corps having col- 
lected on the frontier, all was prepared for the invasion of 

It had been originally intended that the force should consist 
of about 4,000 men, and be divided into five bands, who were 
to cross the frontier at different points. The combined move- 
ment was to be directed by General Wysocki, formerly the 
leader of the Polish legion in Hungary, and the title conferred 
upon him by the National Government was "General com- 
manding in the province of Lublin, and in the Ruthenian 

When the moment of march arrived, it was found that about 
1,200 was the total number of men who could be equipped 
and sent into the field, and these men were divided into two 


detachments, one of 750 under Wysocki, the other of 450 
under Major Horodycki, an officer who had also seen service in 
the Hungarian war. 

In the Times' correspondent's letters we have a very 
interesting narrative of the expedition, and highly instructive 
sketches of the men who took a share in it, 

" With all the admiration/' he says, " which I sincerely feel 
for the Langiewiczs, Frankowskis, Narbutts, Padlewskis, 
Horodyckis, Gliszminskis, and so many other noble-minded 
soldiers who have given dignity to the Polish movement, and 
who are now, for the most part, in prison or in the grave, 
there is one class of the Polish insurgents which I confess I 
cannot stand at all. These are the men and boys who are 
to the true patriots of the insurrection what youths who enter 
regular armies for the sake of the uniform are to true soldiers. 
For six weeks you may see them strutting about the streets 
and talking loud in the coffee-houses of Cracow and Lemberg, 
proud of their martial bearing, very proud indeed of their 
boots, and boasting of all sorts of things they are going to 
do, but have not yet done. Houses are open to them which 
at other times and under other circumstances they would not 
be allowed to enter ; they have only to say that they are going 
into the cavalry to have excellent horses placed at their 
disposal, and there is scarcely anything they may not get by 
asking for it or hinting that they are in need of it. Then 
they are allowed to pay, and even themselves receive, an 
undue amount of attention from women, for the Polish ladies 
look upon patriotism as the first virtue, and are too patriotic 
themselves to imagine that those insurgents who are the most 
ferocious when they are a hundred miles away from the 
frontier can be among the mildest when they find themselves 
in presence of the enemy ; and that, while the bravest and 
most pure-minded men in Poland are literally sacrificing 
themselves beneath the Eussian sword in the supposed interest 
of their country, ' ces messieurs bottes ' (as I have heard them 
called by their own sex) are sniffing the battle a very long 
way off, and gracefully lounging on the Austrian barrier at 
least a mile from the scene of action. On the morning of the 
invasion of Volhynia (it was all over by 2 p.m.) a Polish 


gentleman arrested in my presence more than twenty of these 
faint-hearted patriots as they were hurrying from the rear of 
Wysocki's detachment to the Galician frontier. They had not 
the slightest idea who this gentleman was ; but he threatened 
to report them to the National Government, took their names 
down, caught new fugitives one by one as they came up, and 
did it all in such a tone and decision, and with such an air of 
authority, that when he ordered them to form, and marched 
them to a convenient little nook in the wood which lines the 
right side of the road to Radziwilow, the score of armed men 
obeyed their unarmed, self-appointed chief, and were forced to 
proceed like lambs to the ambuscade, from which, if the oppor- 
tunity presented itself, they with some sixty who afterwards 
joined them, were to fire upon the Russians. Then, finding that 
the Russians were not coming, they were lions once more, and 
boasted how they had been the last men to leave the field of 
battle (the action, as could be seen, had just begun), and how 
the rest of the detachment had been cut to pieces, and they 
alone had lived to tell the story, which they certainly told in 
the nursery sense of the word. 

( ' ' Ces messieurs bottes ' are, after all, not the worst members 
of the Polish insurrection. What is to be said of the gentle- 
men who are not bottes, because they have no boots, and who 
have also no shirts, and who come to the insurgent camp 
clothed with vermin and rags ? And is there any excuse for 
making brave officers risk their lives and reputations in 
endeavouring to lead such miserable creatures the refuse of 
the Polish towns against Russian troops who are no more 
' demoralized' in Volhynia than they were in the Crimea, 
and who can certainly make as good a stand against a horde 
of Polish ragamuffins as they did against the well-trained 
soldiers of France and England ? 

" ' I thought/ said one of Wysocki's captains to me, when 
I went to see him in the hospital at Brody, where he is 
lying with a bullet in his leg, ' I thought I should have found 
the same sort of men fighting here that I found in Hungary 
when I was in the Polish legion. It was too bad to give me 
such rubbish to command/ 

" ' If you could have seen your men beforehand/ I inquired, 


f would you have left England and your wife and family to 
take charge of such soldiers ? ' 

<f ' Of course not/ he replied. ' It is no use trying to lead 
men who cannot be got to follow. I was not merely disap- 
pointed but disgusted, when I saw what material I had to deal 

" e What class of men had you in your company ? ' I con- 
tinued ; ' do you think I could call them vagabonds ? ' 

(< ' Well, they were covered with lice, and were the sort of 
persons you might find in swarms for any sort of work in 
Whitechapel. I should think vagabonds just the word for 

" ' And how long did they remain under fire ? ' I asked. 

" ' Only for a few minutes. I was hit about twenty minutes 
after the battle had begun, and already half my company had 
got away. I had only forty men left. I believe they all wan- 
dered into the woods, and dispersed as soon as I was carried 
to the rear. People will be abusing the general ; but he did 
his best, and the officers did their best to support him. The 
first and fourth companies were the only ones that did any real 
fighting. The others had so many bad men among them that, 
taken altogether, they were quite worthless.' ' 

This was the force with which the National Government 
proposed to revolutionize Yolhynia, a province where the 
people were opposed to them, and which was efficiently held 
by a large and well-appointed Russian army. Contrasting the 
greatness of the end intended with the poverty of the means 
employed for effecting 'it, the only conclusion at which it is 
possible to arrive is that the National Government knew the 
expedition was certain to meet with immediate and igno- 
minious defeat, but that they organized and sent it forth in 
order that they might advertise the spread of the insurrection, 
and persuade the great powers of Europe that it was extending 
to all the provinces included in the Poland of 1772. 

The first object of the invaders was the capture of Rad- 
ziwilow, an unimportant town, about two miles from the 
Austrian frontier ; and the two detachments, commanded by 
Horodycki and Wysocki, were to approach it from different 
quarters, and simultaneously attack it. 


Horodycki' s detachment advanced, and not meeting with 
that under the command of Wysocki, marched into Eadzi- 
wilow, which they entered about three o'clock a.m. In the 
market-place, a small Eussian force, variously estimated at from 
five hundred to nine hundred men, was drawn up, and a conflict 
immediately ensued. The engagement lasted for upwards of an 
hour, and ended in the entire defeat of the insurgents, who 
lost their commander, Horodycki, many other of their officers, 
and a very large proportion of their men. So utterly were 
they beaten, that when, at seven o'clock, Wysocki reached the 
neighbourhood of the town, he thought they could not have 
arrived, but that the sound of firearms would bring them to 
his aid. 

While Horodycki's detachment was thus being cut to pieces, 
the men under the command of Wysocki had difficulties of 
their own to encounter. They were pursued by the Austrian 
troops, and were compelled to take a long circuitous route to 
the frontier, and when at length they arrived before Eadzi- 
wilow, they had marched nearly thirty miles, and had had 
nothing to eat for twenty- four hours. 

In front of the town, some eight hundred Eussians had taken 
up a position, and Wysocki, unconscious of the misfortunes 
which had overwhelmed him, looked anxiously round for the 
promised aid of Horodycki. As the succour came not, the 
action commenced ; but it was not of a character to test the 
steadiness or military capacity of the invading force. There 
were no charges, no hand-to-hand encounters, not even any 
steady firing, and the cavalry were not engaged. The opposing 
parties were hundreds of yards distant from each other, 
the Poles taking shelter in a forest, from which they fired on 
the Eussians, while the latter concealed themselves in some 
standing corn, whence they returned the fire of their eneniy. 
In this ignominious skirmishing hours wore away, and 
General Wysocki, finding he could make no impression on the 
Eussian troops, and that he had already lost several of his 
best officers, was reluctantly obliged to retreat. He buried his 
arms, and recrossed the Austrian frontier. 

Major Synkiewicz, the second in command of Horodycki's 
detachment, "had to take refuge in a large pond or lake, 



where ho remained for eight hours, while the peasants who 
had been pursuing him stood on the banks, armed with 
scythes, and ready to murder him if he returned to dry land. 
The major had swum to a little island of mud, and there 
remained concealed among rushes and weeds," until he at last 
thought of taking his Italian hat off, and sending it floating 
along the water. Then the peasants thought their victim was 
drowned, and went home to dinner." 

The ill success of this expedition excited great discontent 
in Galicia. The papers in the interest of the insurgents com- 
plained that blow after blow was striking them, while their 
own most carefully prepared attempts invariably failed. The 
false reports, too, which excited Western Europe were begin- 
ning to lose their value, and it was found, in some instances, 
that they disheartened those they were intended to encourage. 

The following is an extract from a pamphlet entitled, 
"Letter of a Patriot Pole/' addressed, in the autumn of 1863, 
to the National Government :- 

" What pleasure I and my brave companions in arms expe- 
rienced on finding, in those copies of foreign newspapers which, 
occasionally reached our forest, the announcement of the rapid 
increase of the forces of the insurrection, the news of so many 
victories won from the enemy ! Pursued by superior forces, 
driven as we were like fallow-deer, we breathed more freely 
on learning that on other points our brothers were victorious, 
and that from all parts of the east and of the west succours 
were hastening their arrival to join with us in the great work 
of the liberation of our country. Intoxicated with happiness, 
every one forgot his sufferings, some their wounds, others the 
enervating effect of continual privations, when one day, among 
the catalogue of victories of which the papers spoke, we found 
the recital of that which our legion had achieved over two com- 
panies of infantry and fifty Cossacks. Our amazement was 
indescribable. On the day mentioned in the despatch, there 
had been no encounter; we were not in all more than 186 men, 
instead of 1,500, as the telegraph alleged, and, alas ! in place 
of being victorious, we had taken that very morning the reso- 
lution to disperse, and each of us to join other bands more 
fortunate and more numerous than our own. Four of us were 


in the tent of Count A. to read with eagerness the bundle of 
papers sent him from Cracow, and to communicate to each 
other what we found remarkable among them. It was B. 
who met with the passage in question ; I observed that he 
grew pale as he turned over the paper which he held in his 
hands. As he was wounded in the leg, I thought his wound 
must have re-opened ; but he handed me the journal, saying, 
in a voice trembling with rage, f Read ! ' We read, all three 
of us, this ill-omened despatch, the count in a loud voice, the 
other two of us following him with our eyes ; and never shall I 
forget the terrible effect those five lines of print made upon us. 

" So, these recitals of victories, these narratives of successes 
won over the enemy, were nothing but lies ! We had the in- 
controvertible proof that they had lied once, we were entitled 
to believe that the other f brilliant affairs,' the other ' complete 
defeats of the Muscovites ' were equally false. But if all this 
was a lie, the sympathies of the people for the cause we de- 
fended might also exist only in the imagination of those who 
deceived us ; and then what were we ? Adventurers, filibus- 
ters, a band of brigands, acting by the order of its chiefs, and 
pursuing an object altogether selfish ; an object which the 
people repudiated. 

" This idea upset us. We wished to know the truth of all 
these shams ; we wished to ascertain for ourselves what was 
true and what was false in all that was said and published on 
the revolutionary movement ; we wished to know if we were 
the dupes of an intriguing minority or the champions of a 
truly popular cause. Under the influence of the first burst of 
passion, we adopted the most extreme resolutions : to protest 
publicly against the falsehood of the would-be patriots ; 
to write to the Central Committee at Warsaw, and require 
them to tell us what was true and what was invented in the 
statements which described the insurrection as gaining strength 
every day ; and, finally, to call together all our companions in 
arms, to read to them the lying despatch, and send them into 
various districts in Lithuania, Podolia, &c., with the commis- 
sion to personally satisfy themselves of the condition of things, 
and to return on a day fixed to advise together on that which 
we had to decide. Nothing of the kind was done. The 

Q 2 


night, a sleepless night to all four, brought reflection with it, 
and the very excess of our grief caused renewed courage and 
hope to fill our hearts. The news of the victory that they said 
we had gained, was false ; but this might be explained by an 
unintentional error; the name of a place, written indistinctly, 
or a mistake in printing might have caused what we found 
there. This explanation was highly improbable, but it was 
possible ; we finished then by admitting it, so easily do 
we believe what we desire, and so much pain would our 
patriotism have caused us, had we thought that the brilliant 
successes of our brothers in arms in other districts had not been 
more real than our own. We, who had braved death which 
the Muscovite carbines scattered amongst us ; we, who had 
faced in our ranks the Cossack pikes, we were afraid to look 
the truth in the face, we were afraid to say that we were de- 
ceived, we were afraid of losing our courage if we admitted 
what we thought, and, not to discourage our comrades, we 
resolved to deceive them, or at least not to undeceive them as 
to the value of the favourable intelligence which stimulated 
their patriotic zeal. 

' ' With one accord we burned the paper containing the false 
despatch, and gave the remaining numbers to our companions 
in arms, which they read in a loud voice, a reading which was 
more than once interrupted by the cry of f Vive la Pologne ' 
caused by the recital of the 'victories' gained over Mus- 



The Six Points. Public Opinion in Russia. Diplomatic Correspondence. 
Analysis of the Six Points. Proclamation of the National Govern- 
ment. Cessation of Foreign Interference. 

AFTER prolonged negotiation between England, France, and 
Austria, the three great powers agreed to urge on Russia six 
points, which, in their opinion, should be conceded by her to 
the insurgents ; and in a letter addressed by Lord Russell to 
Lord Napier, on 17th June, these points were embodied.* 

Lord Russell prefaces the more important portions of his 
despatch by accepting the offer of Prince Gortschakoff " to 
enter upon an exchange of ideas, upon the ground and within 
the limits of the treaties of 1815." Before, however, com- 
mencing this discussion, the Foreign Secretary states that, in 
the opinion of the English Cabinet, there were two leading 
principles upon which the future government of Poland ought 
to rest : the first of these was the establishment of confidence 
in the Government on the part of the governed; the second 
was the stability of law over arbitrary will. Doubtless, both 
these principles are very important, but neither is exactly 
attainable amid the convulsions of a civil war; and it will 
presently be seen that the six points submitted for acceptance 
to the Government of Russia were not so well calculated 
eventually to secure them, as were the liberal institutions 
recently granted by the Emperor, and so scornfully rejected 
by the Poles. 

The six points demanded of Russia were : 

1st. A complete and general amnesty. 

2nd. National representation, with powers similar to those 
which are fixed by the charter of 15th (27th) November, 1815. 

3rd. Poles to be named to public offices in such a manner 

* See Appendix. 


as to form a distinct national administration, having the con- 
fidence of the country. 

4th. Full and entire liberty of conscience; repeal of the 
restrictions imposed on Catholic worship. 

5th. The Polish language to be recognized in the kingdom 
as the official language, and used as such in the adminis- 
tration of the law, and in education. 

6th. The establishing of a legal and regular system of 

These six points were in the English despatch supplemented 
by the additional stipulations : That there should be a pro- 
visional suspension of arms, to be proclaimed by the 'Emperor 
of Russia, and that there should be a conference of the eight 
Powers which had signed the treaty of Vienna. 

The first difficulty which the consideration of these six points 
creates, is to know with what aim they were proposed for the 
acceptance of Russia. They were so framed that she could 
not accept them without compromising her own dignity; 
while, at the same time, their acceptance would have placed 
the Poles in a worse position than that which they occupied 
under the recent decrees of the Emperor ; and it was quite 
clear that if the Russians accepted them, the Poles would not. 
For what purpose, then, were they proposed ? 

No doubt, in politics, where the feelings of the people are 
strongly excited, it is sometimes necessary to minister to their 
ignorant sympathies and pander to their national vanity. 
Public opinion in France had for many months been carefully 
misled by lying telegrams, long, circumstantial, and artful 
misrepresentations from " the seat of war," recitals of Musco- 
vite atrocities, of Polish sufferings and Polish wrongs, and high- 
wrought appeals to the mighty and magnanimous race which 
alone among nations goes to war for an idea. Thus the Emigra- 
tion had succeeded in creating a very strong war feeling among 
the excitable population of Paris. In England, these feelings 
were to some extent reciprocated; there was an uneasy throb- 
bing of the popular pulse, which any accident might stimulate 
into a fever for war ; public meetings (many of them certainly 
insignificant, but more than one of them respectable) had 
sympathized with the Polish cause ; members of both Houses 


of Parliament had made strong speeches in its behalf; and 
there were signs that much was expected of the Government, 
and that something must be done. Moreover, the conduct of 
the Opposition was not reassuring : almost as numerous and 
powerful as the Government they desired to overthrow, their 
policy was an expectant one ; they did not declare themselves ; 
and if the Government took no steps to advocate the Polish 
cause, it was at least possible that the Opposition might step 
in, and by the adoption of a bold and advanced line of action, 
enlist popular sympathies entirely on their side. 

It was necessary, therefore, that something should be done 
what should that something be ? 

It has already been seen how little was really known in 
England of the merits of the Polish question ; the false reports 
which the National Government spread through the medium 
of the press, had persuaded the people that the Poles under 
the Russian Government were the victims of a cruel and 
jealous despotism, and consequently the six points would be 
supposed to secure to them a great increase in their liberty and 
rights. The people who in England were clamouring in favour 
of the Poles would probably be satisfied, or at least silenced, 
if those points were conceded. Was there not reason to 
suppose that Russia would willingly grant them ? If they in 
some slight degree modified the institutions she had already 
conferred on Poland, such modifications were not on the side 
of liberality ; there was nothing in them which could by possi- 
bility interfere with her present intentions on the subject of 
liberalized institutions, or with her future views ; and if there 
was some indignity in adopting a series of resolutions dictated 
to her by other powers, she would probably overlook it and 
think her acceptance of the prescribed points an easy way of 
avoiding a disastrous war. 

But the ministers of England, and perhaps the autocrat of 
France, forgot that Russia of to-day is not the Russia which 
obeyed the Emperor Nicholas. They were ready enough to 
applaud the liberal institutions recently granted to the great 
Empire of the North; they overlooked the fact that those 
institutions, together with the expectation of others of a more 
advanced kind, had created a public opinion there. While 


they praised the Emperor Alexander for sowing the seed, they 
failed to recognize that the plant had already struggled to the 
surface ; that day by day it acquired importance and increased 
power ; and that no emperor and no council of ministers 
could longer ignore it. There was, at length, a public opinion 
in Russia, patriotic in its character, and decided in its tone. 
The Russians who, in the earlier stages of the Polish agitation, 
were most disposed to regard it with favour, and to consider 
it as a struggle for reasonable constitutional freedom, had now 
taken the alarm, and beheld in it a conspiracy to dismember 
their venerated empire. Had the revolutionary parties a year 
previously aimed at the autonomy, or even complete inde- 
pendence, of the kingdom of 1815, they would have found a 
large party among the liberal Russians who would have en- 
couraged, or at least would not have opposed, the attempt ; 
but the revolutionary programme, when it was extended to 
the Western provinces, threatened to dismember the empire > 
and this attempt every true Russian was determined to resist 
to the utmost. 

Moreover, the press and the people had been taken into the 
confidence of the Government, and they were flattered and 
influenced by so unusual a condescension. The policy of the 
Emperor had been avowed ; it had been shown that he had 
conferred franchises and immunities on his rebel subjects, and 
only waited till ihe insurrection was ended to endow them 
with more; he had offered them, an amnesty which they had 
insolently spurned ; he had done all that a wise and benevolent 
monarch could do to win their confidence, and his efforts had 
been in vain. 

The tide which had flowed so high in favour of the Poles, 
now ebbed beyond its ordinary margin, and they were regarded 
as influenced by a morbid antipathy to Russia an antipathy 
which no good intentions and no reasonable concessions would 
ever avail to remove. 

These feelings of hostility were aggravated beyond measure 
by the interference of the allied powers. An intensely na- 
tional feeling sprang up, which, reasonable or not, would be 
listened to and would be obeyed. It may well be doubted if the 
Government could have withstood this feeling had it been so 


ininded; as it was, the national sentiment gave power and 
expression to the policy on which it had resolved. Had it 
compromised the honour of Kussia by complying with the six 
points, such compliance with the dictates of foreign powers 
would have involved it in measureless difficulties with the 
very men whose co-operation it secured by taking a more open 
and manly course. 

The English Cabinet addressed their despatch to a nation 
whose honour and self-esteem were deeply pledged to a stead- 
fast line of action, a nation which had roused itself to a 
full sense of its own power, and was determined to main- 
tain its rights. At this moment its new-born sense of its 
duties and its destiny made it more than usually jealous of 
foreign dictation ; and, well advised as Lord Russell was of 
the internal condition of the country, it is inexplicable that he 
should have chosen such a crisis for blending supercilious 
advice with menaces but half concealed. 

The suggestion of the six points might almost be regarded 
as an insult to an independent state ; but one at least of the 
preliminaries suggested by Lord Eussell was yet more 

What likelihood was there that a powerful sovereign would 
te proclaim a suspension of arms " between himself and his 
rebel subjects ? It would be at once to acknowledge them as 
belligerents ; to give them a status and a consideration to 
which no act of theirs had ever entitled them ; and to invest 
them with an importance which would subsequently have 
given the great powers of Europe the most obvious excuse 
for interfering on their behalf. Insurgents may be recognized 
as belligerents by foreign powers when they keep large armies 
in the field, hold possession of fortified places, and have a 
regular and avowed Government which can be made to answer 
for its shortcomings and misdeeds ; but to ask the Emperor 
of Russia to recognize the guerilla bands which infested 
Poland as a belligerent power, was certainly an unprece- 
dented act of eccentric statesmanship. Doubtless it was in 
the power of Russia to accede to this request; but was it 
reasonable to demand it ? If her armies retired to the frontier 
or contented themselves with crowding into camps or fortifi- 


cations, where was her guarantee that the rebels would lay 
down their arms ? There was no known authority which 
could bind them, no recognized power with which it was 
possible to negotiate. And if Russia, at the instance of 
three nations, retired from the struggle, those- nations would 
have been bound in honour and equity to impose similar 
terms upon the rebels in arms. Suppose, however, the rebels 
did for the moment acquiesce, and at the end of a few weeks 
again broke out in insurrection, what would have been our 
remedy? To compel the Imperial Government to perform 
its treaties, England could blockade its ports, capture its 
shipping, and lay siege to its citadels ; but what was her hold 
upon the invisible conclave calling itself the National Govern- 
ment ? How could she treat with it, and how punish it for 
a breach of faith ? Common prudence should have taught 
Lord Russell not to treat with a body which could not 
answer for those it professed to govern, and which it was 
impossible to punish or bring to a reckoning should it trifle 
with him. This proposal, too, was made when the illusions as 
to the power of the insurgents were dispelled; when their 
armies were broken, their leaders in prison or flying from 
the scene of the insurrection ; and when day by day the 
Government was gathering strength, and the rebellion itself 
was dwindling down into the compass of guerilla war. 

To make this unpalatable overture more galling still, Lord 
Russell proposed to cite the London newspapers as authorities 
to prove that the Russians had committed excesses in Poland ! 
If he wanted to show that excesses had been committed (and 
when has there been a civil war unstained by them ? ) the Am- 
bassador at St. Petersburg and the Consul- General at Warsaw 
were the sources from whence his information might justly 
have been drawn. But their despatches were too true too 
matter of fact for any such use to be made of them ; so, to 
point a paragraph, and give a sting to uncalled-for counsel, 
Lord Russell relied on the chance rumours which had found 
their way into foreign and hostile journals. 

There is, again, a difficulty arising out of this despatch, 
which conveys the idea that Lord Russell was really ignorant 
of the subject matter of the treaty upon which he wrote. It 



is clear that the treaty of 1815, which relates to Poland, refers 
only to the duchy of Warsaw, or rather to what is now known 
as the Congress kingdom. Lord Russell, however, cites a 
conversation between Lord Castlereagh and Alexander I., 
which conversation relates to a scheme that was never 
carried out, and in citing it contrives so to introduce " the 
Polish provinces, formerly dismembered," as to make it 
appear that he referred as much to the Western provinces as 
to the Congress kingdom. Whatever may be the right of the 
powers who were parties to the treaty of Vienna to interfere 
with the government of the Congress kingdom, it is clear 
they have as little title to interfere with the Western pro- 
vinces as they have to dictate to England how the Isle of 
Man or Jersey are to be ruled ; and thus, if the " suspension 
of arms " had been granted at the instance of Lord Russell, 
half the insurgents would have been included in its operation, 
while the other half would have been unaffected by it. This 
objection, however, is not singular to the question of sus- 
pension of arms, it runs through all the proposals of the 
English Government. 

The six points taken seriatim were liable, among others, to 
the following objections : 

An amnesty had already been offered by the Government to 
such of the insurgents as would lay down their arms ; it had 
been conceived in a humane and liberal spirit, and the excep- 
tions from its operation were only such as were necessarily 
made. That amnesty, however, had been rejected by the Poles; 
it had been regarded by them as an evidence of weakness ; it 
had encouraged the malcontents ; and it had damped the zeal 
of loyal men. Alive to the evil results of that measure, the 
Russian Government was indisposed to repeat an offer which 
had been thus misinterpreted ; and it was most unlikely that it 
would yield to foreign pressure a concession which could only 
be politic if it were an act of voluntary clemency. 

The second stipulation, that a national representation should 
be granted, with powers similar to those fixed by the charter 
of 15th (27th) November, 1815, deserves investigation. Bear- 
ing in mind what the present Emperor had granted in the 
way of constitutional freedom to the kingdom of Poland, and 


remembering that he was pledged to develop the new insti- 
tutions so soon as they had fairily taken root there, let us see 
for what advantages the Western powers wished to barter 
them away. 

The Diet of 1815 consisted of two chambers'; the first com- 
posed of a nominated Senate, and the second of Deputies from 
the different communes. The legislative power resided in the 
person of the king and in the two chambers of the Diet. 

In the sovereign was the sole power to summon, adjourn, 
prorogue, and dissolve the Diet. It was provided, however, that 
it was to sit once in two years, and that its session was to last 
for thirty days. It was to deliberate only upon such projects 
of law as were submitted to it on the part of the king by the 
Council of State, and those projects of law it had no power to 
alter, but could only submit representations for the considera- 
tion of the Council, of the amendments it desired to introduce. 

The sole subjects submitted to it, and they, as has been 
shown, were only discussed after, and in obedience to directions 
from the sovereign, were the augmentation and reduction of 
duties, contributions, taxes, and such other matters as might 
be specially submitted to it by the Crown. 

Thus the national representation for which the Western 
powers contended was a Diet composed of a king, a nominated 
and an elected chamber, meeting for thirty days once in two 
years, and restricted to the discussion of such laws and such 
questions as were directly referred to it by the Government. 

The revival of this institution would not have benefitted 
Poland. It had never worked to its advantage, and its re- 
stricted powers and its occasional session were not calculated 
to advance her interests now. Free and unfettered parliamen- 
tary discussion has done much for England ; but does any one 
suppose that a Parliament having no power to originate a dis- 
cussion, to amend a bill, or to stray out of the narrow limits of 
a ministerial programme, would be of any value in preserving 
or enlarging popular freedom ? The institutions recently 
granted to the Poles were not, it is true, founded on our model, 
but they were suited to the requirements of the country ; they 
met the demand for local legislation ; they confided to muni- 
cipal government many important details of administration ; . 


atd above all they paved the way to extended liberties in the 
future. No friend of constitutional freedom would have sug- 
gested the exchange of these substantial advantages for the 
illusory benefits to be derived from the reconstitution of the 
abandoned Diet. 

The third and fifth stipulations evidence the same want of 
knowledge of the existing circumstances, as the second does 
of the past history of the kingdom. It has already been seen 
that all the civil employes, from the Marquis Wielopolski to 
the lowest clerk in the public offices, were Poles; that the 
Kussians had all been dismissed ; and that, while the Polish 
language was universally employed, the Russian was every- 
where exluded from public offices, and the transaction of public 

The fourth stipulation, providing for full and entire liberty 
of conscience, and a repeal of the restrictions imposed on 
Catholic worship, is equally unintelligible. The Catholic 
Church was burdened by no restrictions ; her services were 
performed in public, and with all the solemnity her clergy and 
people chose to invest them ; the number of her temples was 
unlimited, as was also the number and dignity of her priests. 
The only restriction by which the Catholic Church was in any 
degree shackled was to be found in the law which prescribed, 
where a Catholic married a member of the Greek Church, that 
the issue of the marriage should be brought up in the ortho- 
dox faith; but this law, objectionable as it doubtless is, has 
no particular reference to the Roman Catholic Church ; for in 
every case of a mixed marriage, where one of the parents is of 
the Greek persuasion, the children are educated in that faith. 
Moreover the Catholics would hardly do wisely in mooting 
this question, for, wherever a Catholic intermarries with a Pro- 
testant, the Church will only consent to the marriage on con- 
dition that the children shall be educated in the Catholic faith ; 
and the number of disciples they thus gain exceeds their 
losses under the existing law. 

The sixth stipulation was the establishment of a legal and 
regular system of recruiting. This legal and regular system 
of recruiting, our minister should have known, was provided 
for by a law of 3rd (15th) March, 1859. The real ground of 


complaint was, that instead of acting upon that law, as legally 
he was bound to do, the Marquis Wielopolski ignored it, and 
acted under the old system, instituted in 1816, and which that 
law abolished. 

Regarded from another aspect, these proposals were equally 
strange. The insurgents were fighting not for their rights 
under the treaty of Vienna, but for complete independence of 
Russia. They cared nothing for the treaty ; they asked for 
no amnesty ; they would agree to no suspension of arms ; they 
refused even to recognize the Treaty kingdom. They required 
the restitution of the Poland of 1772, freed from Russian in- 
fluence and supremacy, and declared repeatedly that nothing 
else would satisfy them. 

The following is an extract from one of the proclamations 
of the National Government issued when these proposals were 
under discussion : " The National Government pronounces 
that Poland repudiates negotiation as suicide, as treason, and 
declares that the whole country from the Vistula to the 
Dnieper has vowed to perish rather than treat with the 
foreign oppressor." Yet in the presence of all these difficul- 
ties English statesmen propose impracticable expedients, and 
base them on inferences they deduce from treaties which 
extended only to the ancient duchy of Warsaw. 

The reply of Prince Gortschakoff to these representations* 
of Lord Russell was felt to be conclusive ; and although it 
appears to have excited the deep resentment of the Foreign 
Secretary, he saw the only choice before him was acquiescence 
or war. The Cabinet of St. James's was not willing to involve 
the country in hostilities on behalf of Poland, so another wordy 
and ill- written despatch f was closed with an assurance which 
was couched in the following language : ' ' If Russia does not 
perform all that depends upon her to further the moderate and 
conciliatory views of the three powers ; if she does not enter 
upon the path which is opened to her by friendly counsels, she 
makes herself responsible for the serious consequences w T hich 
the prolongation of the troubles in Poland may produce." 

* See Appendix. Prince Gortschakoff's despatch of 1st July, 1863. 
t See Appendix. Lord Russell's despatch of llth August, 1863. 


The language employed by the French press had been more 
violent than that of our own ; its Government also had done 
much to stimulate the hopes of the insurgents. The Palais 
Royal, if not the Tuileries, was thrown ostentatiously open to 
the representatives of the national cause, and rumour alleged 
that French gold and French arms were unsparingly lavished 
in support of the insurrection. Poland had claims on the 
magnanimity of a Napoleon which it was hard for the head 
of that aspiring house to disavow ; and when significant words 
were spoken which pointed to armed redress; when officers 
were sent to join the insurgents and report on their numbers, 
their prospects, and their plans ; when the friends of Poland, 
whether English senators or the leaders of the Emigration, 
had ready access to the Emperor and his ministers ; when, 
above all, the diplomatic correspondence of France grew more 
and more hostile and threatening in its tone, it was natural 
that the insurgents should count on the aid of France, and 
that his Polish clients should sustain the rebellion until their 
imperial patron had time to unsheathe his sword. 

It would occupy too much space to dwell at length on the 
correspondence between France and Russia. It must suffice 
to say, that while the language of M. Drouyn de Lhuys was cer- 
tainly more dignified than that employed by Lord Russell, it 
indicated graver displeasure and more determined opposition. 
It was well understood, when the despatches of June 17th 
were sent, that France had resolved to follow up her remon- 
strances by an appeal to arms; but France had reckoned on 
the support of the English administration, and that support 
failed her. 

The despatches of Prince Grortschakoff humiliated the pride 
of the French Emperor ; they questioned his statements ; 
they denounced his motives ; and they challenged his power. 
Yet their language, bitter in all the courteous refinement of 
diplomacy, gave no handle to those who were unprepared to 
throw their sword into the scale ; and submission, if sub- 
mission were decided on, must be silent unless it were 

The French Emperor retired from the contest, sullen, indig- 
nant, complaining of the conduct of his allies, looking back 


with vain and undignified regret at the past ; he endeavoured 
to reassert his position, and become once more the arbiter of 
Europe, by inducing its nations to meet in council beneath 
the shadow of his throne. The dream was a vain one ; a short 
uncourteous refusal from Lord Russell awoke him from his 
delusion ; and he was compelled to accept in its integrity the 
humiliating truth, that his policy had been an error, and that 
his prestige had received a severe, if not a fatal blow. 



Dispute between the White and Red Parties. Public Opinion in Russia. 
Resignation of Wielopolski. Embarrassing Position of the Grand Duke. 
Excesses of the National Government. Robbery of the Treasury. 
Compulsory Loan. Death of Lelewel. Hopeless Character of the Revolt. 
Resignation of the Grand Duke. Appointment and Character of Count 
Berg. His Policy. Attempt upon his Life. The sacking of the Za- 
moyski Houses. Suppression of Mourning. Close of the Insurrection. 

BY the beginning of the month of June the revolt had ceased 
to be formidable. A long train of disasters had been unre- 
lieved by a single success, and on all sides the insurgents were 
losing ground, and their bands were being defeated and dis- 
persed. The lofty aspirations which had animated men like 
Seriakoffski had died out, for it was seen that the peasantry 
had no sympathy with the insurrection; the hopes of the 
White party had been crushed when Langiewicz fled; and 
every day the prospects of foreign intervention, in which some 
among the insurgents trusted, were becoming more doubtful 
and remote. 

The insincere alliance between the Red and White parties 
was rudely shaken by these continued failures. It is impos- 
sible to trace with precision the changes which from time to 
time took place in the National Government. That mysterious 
body was always nominally the same, but its policy varied 
from month to month, and these variations were believed to 
reflect successive changes in its personnel. In truth it was 
impossible for two parties whose opinions differed so greatly 
to continue to act for any considerable period harmoniously 
together ; for a time they might unite, and, forgetful of the wide 
difference which existed between them, they might act in con- 
cert against the common foe ; but it was certain that success or 
failure must alike be fatal to their union. The rupture which 
had thus been distinctly foreseen was precipitated by the 


overthrow of Langiewicz. That general was regarded as the 
representative and champion of the White party, and his defeat 
was accepted as an evidence that its policy was faulty or its 
patriotism insincere. His defeat also, as we have already seen, 
threw the conduct of the insurrection into the hands of the 
Red party, and they attempted by a sanguinary and relentless 
course of action to compensate for diminished numbers and 
waning reputation. 

The views of the E-ed party* are expressed with great dis- 
tinctness in a pamphlet which about this time was published 
by, it is stated, one of the members of the ancient revolution- 
ary organization of Galicia. 

In this pamphlet the failure of the revolt of 1830 is attri- 
buted to the weakness and folly of its leaders. On the present 
occasion, however, the author stated the insurrection was 
commenced under other auspices, and the unarmed agitation 
and the propaganda, which was working through all the Polish 
provinces and through all classes of society, had prepared the 
ground for revolution. 

Two parties had, at the commencement of the national 
organization, formed themselves the White party and the 
party of action. 

The White party desired to accomplish " organic changes 
by reform, by government measures, by the development of 
national prosperity and material well-being in a word, by 
all those half-measures which the revolution had long since 
repudiated. Their rally ing-point was the Agricultural So- 

" The other party, from which the Central Committee sprung, 
resolved to organize all Poland, politically as militarily, both 
towns and villages, and to create for this purpose a national 
Junto. In order to give the people the stimulus necessary to 
induce them to pass from the influence of dreams to that of 
action, they were incited by the crimes committed at Warsaw 

* In Appendix B will be found a letter of Mieroslawski, dated as far back 
as March, 1861, in which the policy and aims of the Red party are stated 
unreservedly. This letter shows that the unarmed agitation and subsequent 
revolt were even then resolved on, and that no concessions on the part of the 
Russian Government would have prevented it. 



crimes which had the advantage of satisfying the impatient 
and moderating their feverish excitement/' 

The author insisted that the party of action had given a 
signal proof of its ability by so adroitly profiting by the re- 
cruitment to precipitate a national rising. The White party, 
however, rejected the movement, deemed it infatuated, refused 
pecuniary contributions to it, and even quitted the country. 
The Czas compromised the success of the revolution by de- 
claring that it did not exist, and that there was nothing save a 
desperate resistance to the recruitment. The result was, that 
when their share of the national contribution was demanded 
from the Cracow Jews, they replied they would not pay until 
the revolution had really broken out. 

" Although the insurrection had lasted more than five 
weeks, and the importation of arms and warlike stores was 
not stopped along the Austrian frontier, not one of the bands 
was properly equipped. 

<f The Central Committee had not punished the White party 
as they deserved. It should have given them some token that 
the national organization was not alone called upon to strive 
with the Muscovites, but that it ought to exterminate all 
parties opposed to itself, and govern the people exclusively 
by means of its own adherents . . . But moral courage was 
wanting to the Central Committee. The opposition terrified 
it; it had not sufficient courage to act in a revolutionary 
spirit against the Whites ; it had the weakness to treat with 
them, until, after numberless concessions, it admitted into 
its councils those who were altogether strangers to the 

.... " Composed of incapables, the Committee dis- 
tinguished itself by the worthlessness of its acts and the 
inefficacy of the half-measures it adopted ... If the in- 
surrection has continued, it is owing to the enthusiasm of 
that section of the Poles which constitutes the heart of the 
nation. In the next place, it is because the White party are 
convinced that thus they can increase their power, and that 
this is the only means to destroy the influence of Mieroslawski, 
who is their bugbear, and whom they regard as a socialist 
vampire . . . After the preliminary agitation and the enfeeble- 

R 2 - 


ment of the Central Committee, the revolution entered on the 
much to be regretted period of dictatorship. The "White 
party, although almost absolute masters of the situation, 
were haunted by the phantom of a Mieroslawski dictatorship, 
and resolved to protect themselves by a dictator of their 
own. At the commencement of the movement they had 
cast their eyes on Langiewicz, whose pliability they had 

" The Czas extolled his clumsy skirmishes, as though they 
were incomparable military exploits. After having magnified 
his name and increased his influence, they offered him money 
to disband his troops, hoping to terminate the insurrection. 
.... The nation, which discerned not this mass of intrigue, 
accepted with enthusiasm the puppet which they presented to 
it. The White party triumphed, and the Committee remained 
open-mouthed, asking itself how Langiewicz had dared to 
proclaim himself dictator. Instead of energetically opposing 
and punishing him, and proclaiming him and his assist- 
ants traitors and knaves, the Committee addressed him in a 
diplomatic note, and vociferated ' Long live the Dictator/ 

"The country is organized neither politically nor in an 
administrative sense. There are a multitude of papers, official 
or semi-official, and all even those that are not secret, white, 
red, yellow, and violet without distinction of colour chant 
hymns of praise to the Central Committee. They lie deli- 
berately, under the pretext of patriotism and unity." 

" Faithful to this system of invention, the Czas and other 
journals conceal our losses, the terrible state of our affairs, 
and thus plunge the people in apathy. . . Thus it has often 
happened that it has not been weapons that were required for 
combatants, but combatants for weapons. 

" Organs of public information have a right to mislead 
popular opinion, so long as there are diplomatic negotiations 
pending, and if the Junto had not wished to crush the head of 
this diplomatic hydra, it is that it deceived itself into the 
belief that it would find safety from its efforts. It is with 
this view alone that the Central Committee have furnished 
Ladislaus Czartoryski with powers enabling him to cringe in 


imperial and princely ante-chambers, unmindful that this 
family of Czartoryski never worked save for its own aggran- 
dizement " (pro domo sua). 

The programme traced by this pamphlet for the future was 
as follows : " Firstly, it is necessary to retrace our steps, and 
replace the revolution on the base originally intended for it. 
It is indispensable to unite to the national territory the pro- 
vinces usurped by the Germans, not by the bonds of a feeble 
union, but by those of an intimate, organic, and irrevocable 
fusion. Secondly, it is necessary to create a revolutionary 
tribunal to which the Junto shall itself be subject. This 
tribunal will be the representative of the popular conscience, 
and will exercise the executive power with a firm and resolute 
hand ; it will punish with inexorable justice, and its sentences 
must be executed by a well-organized body of executioners. 
Thirdly, it is necessary to act vigorously beyond the country, 
in order to terminate the isolated action of parties, and to 
sever the last links that unite us to Czarism. To this end it 
is necessary to get rid of the Czar, his brother, and the 
Marquis Wielopolski. It is necessary to get rid of, or at 
least to remove, Mouravieff, Annenkoff, Nazimoff, Schakoff- 
skoy, Dlatowski, Droutzki, Gavidoff, etc., etc. ; and it is 
necessary to do it, even should it cost thousands of lives and 
hundreds of thousands of roubles/' 

This pamphlet is a curious proof of the disunion which 
existed among the revolutionary parties. It was apparent 
from the first moment of their ill-starred coalition that the 
objects for which they strove were dissimilar, and that they 
sought to attain them by means which greatly varied. Both, 
it is true, desired to win the independence of their country ; 
but in the way in which that independence was to be achieved 
they widely differed. One party would have secured it by 
peaceful progress, the other depended on revolutionary war- 
cries and the assassin's knife. During the unarmed agitation 
they worked together, and perhaps the difference in their 
ulterior views was forgotten amid the excitement of that 
strange period ; and after the revolution broke out, they for a 
short time acted together, for they felt it absolutely necessary 
to forget their mutual distrust in face of the common foe. 


Soon, however, the feuds, temporarily stifled, broke out again 
with redoubled violence, and the pamphlet from which the 
foregoing extracts are taken shows how irreconcilable they 

The condition of affairs in the Congress kingdom did not 
satisfy public opinion in Russia; there was no system laid 
down by the authorities, and persevered in without deviation. 
Everything appeared to be done as chance or caprice dic- 
tated. The intentions of the Grand Duke were kind, his 
character was humane, and the desire of the Marquis Wielo- 
polski was apparently to be merciful and conciliatory ; yet the 
administration occasionally acted with great harshness, some- 
times with unwise haughtiness, and constantly with misplaced 
clemency. The Russians contrasted the condition of affairs in 
Warsaw with that which they witnessed at Wilna. General 
Mouravieff they admitted was perhaps too severe a governor, 
but he had pacified the country over which he ruled; the in- 
surrection was crushed ; property was secure, and life was only 
imperilled when assassins were sent thither by the revolu- 
tionary Government which sat at Warsaw. In the kingdom, 
however, all was different ; bands of insurgents traversed the 
country with impunity, terrorism everywhere prevailed, and 
under the very shadow of the Russian court and army murder 
was daily committed with impunity. Surely it was not diffi- 
cult to detect a conspiracy whose ramifications were so widely 
spread, whose staff was evidently so numerous, and whose print- 
ing-presses were so busy. Among all the hundreds who were 
employed in the manufactory of treason, surely an able govern- 
ment could at least detect some of the subordinates ; and if 
they failed to do so, it must be because at heart they sympa- 
thized with the insurgents. The Russian mind is prone to 
theorize ; and from the facts before them, which simply showed 
that there was a lack of vigour in the administration of the 
affairs of theCongress kingdom, many wild ideas were broached 
and clung to with great pertinacity. 

The Marquis Wielopolski was held up to universal execra- 
tion. The Poles denounced him as a traitor who had sold his 
country to the Russians ; the Russians regarded him as a 
traitor who had taken office only to betray them ; so that at 



the same moment he was an object of hatred and suspicion to 
two parties who agreed upon no other point. He still had 
faith in his policy; his proud and self-reliant spirit was 
unbroken by difficulties, and he presented an assured front to 
the enemies by whom he was assailed ; but all confidence in 
him was lost, no one credited his sincerity or was disposed 
to trust in his judgment ; and it was felt on all sides that his 
retirement was inevitable. He resigned, and left the country. 

The position of the Grand Duke, if less ambiguous, was 
equally embarrassing. He had come to Poland anxious to 
conciliate an alienated race ; he had endeavoured to deserve 
their confidence and win their esteem. His first efforts had 
been answered by an attempt upon his life ; later on, the 
country had plunged into anarchy and revolt. The attempt 
upon his life had not induced him to relax in his endeavours 
to benefit the people subjected to his care, and he had essayed 
to suppress the revolt by mild and moderate measures : he 
had failed, and nothing now remained save a stern system of 
repression, which was alien to his character and repugnant to 
his inclinations. Moreover, it did not become a prince of the 
Imperial house to be the administrator of such a system, and 
he foresaw the necessity of retiring from his high office, in 
order that a substitute might be appointed who, without 
inconsistency or dishonour, could adopt a severer policy. 

The atrocities committed by the " hanging gendarmes " 
were calculated to excite the attention of the Russians, for 
they have been rarely equalled in cruelty or in number. 
Detailed lists of them from time to time appeared in the 
public journals, and the victims, by the beginning of July, 
amounted to five hundred. To such a condition was Poland 
reduced, that months after the Grand Duke had resigned, it 
was currently stated in Warsaw that a murderer could be 
hired who would take the life of any individual if he received 
a few roubles for the deed. 

In addition to the murders committed by the agents of the 
National Government, its other acts were calculated to excite 
very angry feelings in the minds of its enemies. The system 
of terrorism introduced by it was brought to bear upon every 
rank, and upon occasions the most trifling. For example, 


two orders 'of their agents were found on the person of a 
proprietor in the province of Kowno. By the first of these 
orders he was directed, on pain of death, to present himself 
in the insurgent camp immediately, to receive instructions 
from the commander ; by the second he was "directed, at his 
own cost, to feed and attend to four horses which were sent 
him from the camp, and warned, in case he did not look after 
them properly, that he would be put to death, and that his 
property would be utterly destroyed. 

On the 9th of June a daring robbery of the public treasury 
was discovered at Warsaw. The cash it contained was 
counted every week, and the money in question had been 
reckoned six days previously. 

The office in which the money was lodged was locked and 
sealed every evening, in the presence of an inspector, and a 
guard was stationed at the door day and night. The chief 
cashier was assisted in the receipt and payment of money 
by an inspector and three clerks. Each cash-box had two 
keys one remained with the inspector and the other with the 
cashier. Some days previous to June 9th the cashier was ab- 
sent without leave, and his assistant having inquired for him, 
found him ill in bed. A messenger from the War-office having 
brought an order for 170,000 roubles, a soldier was sent to the 
sick man for the key ; but it was found impossible to open the 
cash-box, the lock having been damaged. A locksmith was 
sent for, and when the cash-box was forced open, a deficiency 
was discovered of 3,000,000 roubles in bonds of the Credit 
Foncier of the kingdom of Poland, of 300,000 roubles in gold, 
and of 400,000 roubles in bank-notes. The same day the 
inspector and clerks disappeared. A decree of the National 
Government shortly afterwards acknowledged the receipt of 
the stolen securities, and pronounced that the thieves had 
deserved well of their country for what they had done. 

On the 5th of July the National Government decreed that a 
compulsory loan should be raised for carrying on the struggle 
in Poland. The amount was to be 21,000,000 florins (or 
575,000), and it was to be raised in three issues of 7,000,000 
florins each. The management of this loan was intrusted to 
Prince Ladislaus Czartoryski and two coadjutors, and in their 



decree the National Government stated that the existence of 
the insurrection sufficiently guaranteed the return of the money, 
and arrangements would, it was stated, be made for the half- 
yearly payment of interest. 

The assessment and negotiation of this loan " on the most 
opulent capitalists of the country " was left to the department 
of Finance of the National Government. 

The decree was met by a proclamation from the Russian 
authorities, warning the inhabitants against contributing to 
this loan, and stating that doing so was an offence punishable 
with all the rigour of martial law, and that neither terror of 
the revolutionary emissaries, or ignorance of the law or procla- 
mation, would be accepted by the authorities as an extenuation 
of the offence. 

On the 6th September the cause of the insurgents received 
a severe blow in the defeat and death of the partisan leader 
who had taken the name of Lelewel. 

This individual during his short career had shown courage 
and capacity. He had had some military experience, having 
served in the Engineers during the Hungarian campaign of 
1 848-9, and he brought it to bear with great effect in Poland. 
He was remarkable for the celerity and daring of his move- 
ments, his self-reliance, the confidence with which he inspired 
his men, and the promptitude with which he seized any advan- 
tage the errors or incapacity of his opponents placed within 
his reach. 

He had made two inroads into the kingdom from Galicia, 
and on each occasion, after gaining some successes over his 
enemy, had been compelled by the pressure of superior num- 
bers to disband his troop and make them separately seek for 
security in flight. 

Once again in Galicia, he occupied himself in preparing 
the materials for a third expedition, and he collected together 
many of those who had formerly been under his command, 
and, combining them with fresh levies, formed a band of from 
700 to 800 strong. Towards the end of August these men 
crossed the Austrian frontier in little detachments of some 
fifty men each, so as to escape the observation of the Austrian 
and Russian troops. They crossed in perfect safety without 
even meeting with an enemy. 


For about a fortnight Lelewel occupied himself in exercis- 
ing his band and in drilling the new recruits who joined him. 
He had penetrated some forty miles into the kingdom, when, 
on the 3rd of September, he was attacked by the Russians, with 
whom he had a severe engagement. The Poles lost upwards 
of 100 men, and a very large number of their officers. " The 
most remarkable event of the day was a charge of the insur- 
gent cavalry,* in which ninety-seven men started, and only 
twenty-two returned. The charge was directed against the 
Russian artillery, and was so far successful that the artillery- 
men were driven from their guns, and the guns (four in 
number) spiked. The Poles, however, had to pass an ambus- 
cade of sharpshooters before reaching their destination ; they 
had to meet Cossacks on the other side, and they were charged 
by Cossacks as they were returning. It may be said that 
the insurgent cavalry was entirely destroyed in this heroic 
attack, for of the twenty-two men who rejoined the detach- 
ment, some were wounded, some unhorsed, and scarcely a 
dozen were in a fit state to continue their service. On the 
other hand, the enemy's artillery was completely silenced. It 
appears that the precise preconceived aim of the charge, 
undertaken at such terrible risk, was not merely to spike, but 
to capture the guns. Lelewel had fourteen experienced gun- 
ners with him, and not being able to reach a spot where 
artillery of his own awaited him, resolved to try whether he 
could not furnish himself with a battery at the expense of the 

The insurgents laid claim to the victory, alleging that they 
had pursued the Russian troops for some miles ; but on the 
following day their enemy was seen hovering near. On the 
5th, skirmishes took place between them, and on the 6th 
Lelewel found his little army was surrounded by the enemy. 
All that remained for him was to endeavour to fight his way 
through them, and so regain the Austrian frontier ; but to 
cut his way through superior numbers, and then retreat in 
safety for forty miles, was indeed a forlorn attempt. The 

* This account is principally taken from the Times of September 22iid, 
and is a summary of the 1 narratives of insurgents. 


result may readily be anticipated : at the very commencement 
of the battle, Lelewel received a wound in the left arm, and 
shortly after, as he was leading his infantry to the charge, 
was mortally wounded by two shots in the body. Their leader 
fallen, the insurgents were repulsed on all sides, and those who 
did not fall in the fight, or were not captured by the Russians, 
were arrested by the Austrians on crossing the frontier. 

It is difficult to understand why these continued expeditions 
left Galicia. The Russians were in such force in the kingdom, 
that the utmost the insurgents could accomplish was to maintain 
themselves there for a few weeks, and then retreat across the 
frontier. They gained no successes of the smallest import- 
ance ; their constant study was how best to escape the forces 
by which they were surrounded; and the first important 
conflict was sure to terminate in their defeat. So long as it 
was possible to deceive the nations of Europe by fabricated 
intelligence and lying telegrams, there might have been a 
political reason for throwing the lives of brave men away. 
But in September the bubble had burst ; men were no longer 
deceived by victories existing only on paper, and terminating 
in a hurried flight across the Gralician frontier. Yet one band 
after another marched into Poland, only to be annihilated, 
their leaders hurried into the tomb, their rank and file into 
an Austrian or Russian dungeon. 

Most mournful indeed became the strife. No glory was to 
be gained by death in some ignoble skirmish ; no crown of 
martyrdom was to be won beneath the shadow of a Russian 
scaffold; but brave and generous and devoted men still 
sacrificed their lives in paltry enterprises ; still thought they 
rendered their country an acceptable offering by pouring forth 
their blood in desperate and fruitless services. 

The leaders of many of these bands could ill be spared by 
their sorrowing countrymen. Brave and chivalrous, their 
minds impressed with those vague and beautiful ideas of 
freedom which alone are given to the young, they were 
spurred into action by chimeras of which most men only 
dream. Boys who should have been at school, carried their 
impetuous daring into the foremost ranks of war; they in- 
spired unimpassioned men with much of their own valour, and 


with something of their own enthusiasm. The portrait of one 
of them, a lad of nineteen years of age, lies before me now. 
The bearer of an ancient name, nobility and energy are 
written on his brow ; he was the leader of a band of men, 
who, many of them his equals in station, and" most of them 
his superiors in age, " were proud to follow one who was so 
proud to lead them/' And now he Ijes in his early grave, 
one of the costly sacrifices of an utterly unavailing strife ; 
his house is desolate ; the patrimony of his race a forfeit ; and 
in an obscure garret of a foreign capital, his father lingers 
out his broken-hearted years. 

These men must not be confused with the unprincipled 
leaders of a sanguinary faction. They had nothing in common 
with the National Government or the executioners and hang- 
men in their pay. They were the worthy representatives of 
a gallant race, inheriting all its traditions, and unfortunately 
many of its errors. 

At the end of August the Grand Duke Constantine resigned. 
He had not governed Poland long, but during his brief supre- 
macy events had crowded rapidly upon each other; the mode- 
rate views which had animated him had resulted in the out- 
break of revolt ; the reforms to which he and his minister had 
trusted, had indignantly been rejected by the men he had 
striven to benefit ; Poland had appealed to the sword, and the 
time for conciliation was gone by. The policy which, twelve 
months before, he had endeavoured to institute, was utterly 
out of date ; and martial law, and not constitutional rule, was 
now supreme in Warsaw. 

It needed no distant commentator to remind him of the 
change. The nobles and proprietors of Poland no longer 
thronged his palace; some of them had fled to Germany, to 
England, and to France, that they might not witness the de- 
solation of their country, or be suspected of treachery by 
either of the contending parties; others had sought refuge on 
their estates, and were there breathlessly watching the progress 
of a revolt which had all their sympathies, but none of their 
active aid; while others again had immured themselves in 
their Warsaw mansions, where, in gloomy solitude, they held 
aloof from their Russian masters. 



The lower orders were infected with the virus of the 
National Government. The assassinations which daily dis- 
graced the city, the immunity of the murderers, the impossi- 
bility of detecting the men who composed, printed, and 
published the proclamations of the insurrection, proved that 
among the town population moderation had been tried in 

The measures which failed to win the Poles excited the 
deepest indignation in Russia. The long-suffering which strove 
to reclaim the insurgents without having recourse to extreme 
severity was misconstrued, and the humanity which dictated 
the policy of the Grand Duke was ascribed to indifference, 
incapacity, or disaffection. He could no longer govern with 
advantage to the kingdom or honour to himself. His was 
not the hand which could suitably preside over a system 
of punishment and repression; and if, despite all his efforts, 
such a system was inevitable, it must be administered by other 
hands. He had done his best to reconcile Poland to Eussia, but 
his efforts had failed ; and he therefore resigned his office, and 
retired from the country he had vainly striven to serve. 

His successor in his high office was Count Berg, a nobleman 
who had for some months held an important place under him, 
and who was well acquainted with the condition of affairs in 

Count Berg was well qualified for the post he was selected 
to fill. A man of mature years and great experience, he had 
spent his long life in the public service. His courtly and 
polished manners, it has been well remarked, carried the 
memory back to distant times, and reminded those who met 
him of the noblesse who thronged the halls of Versailles in 
the great days of Richelieu and of Louis XIV. He was well 
qualified in tranquil times to preside over the stately hospi- 
talities of a court, for the only trace of age about him was to 
be found in an intimate knowledge of men and of events 
which have already become subjects of curious inquiry on the 
part of the present generation. From the close of the great 
European struggle to the present time, there were few men 
eminent in politics or literature to whom he was personally 
unknown, and while to the Continental he could converse of 


Metternich, Polignac, or the first Alexander, to the Englishman 
he could speak of his personal recollections of Castlereagh, 
Wellington, and Byron.* 

In addition to this knowledge of men, the new Viceroy 
had travelled extensively, and scanned all he "had seen with 
an observant eye. His various duties had led him to an 
intimate acquaintance with Asiatic as well as European Russia. 
The Caucasus, with its warlike tribes, the distant Altai range, 
Siberia, with its winter snows and its summer garb of flowers, 
had all been traversed by him, and from each he apparently 
had brought home something of interest which he had stored 
up in the garner-house of his memory. Most of the countries 
of Europe and their capitals were also familiar to him, and 
from each of them he had collected some information which 
guided him in his views of foreign and domestic politics. 

In addition to these varied experiences, he was not unac- 
customed to rule in his sovereign's name. The appointment 
he held immediately before his departure for Poland was that 
of Governor of Finland, a post scarcely second in difficulty or 
responsibility to that of the kingdom itself. 

The new lieutenant had little sympathy with modern 
liberalism ; his opinions had been formed in an age and under 
auspices which showed it no favour, and he saw in the revolt 
one of its strange and portentous developments. As a patriot, 
he was constrained to oppose to the utmost a conspiracy which 
sought to dismember his country, and as a religious man, he 
resolved to quell an unexampled outburst of violence and 

The policy he adopted was energetic, effective, and severe. 
The immunity with which murders were committed was attri- 
buted by him, in a great measure, to the large number of 
Poles employed in the police : these men were known to be 
disaffected, and they were yet employed for the repression of 
crimes with which they sympathized. Every effort was now 
made to recast the entire force; Poles were gradually weeded 
out of it, and Russians were appointed in their room; the 
result was, that life and property became more secure, and 

* Count Berg met Lord Byron in Greece, and told me several anecdotes 
of their acquaintance. 



that the assassins of the National Government no longer 
pursued with ease and immunity an unchecked career of crime. 

A vigilant watch was maintained upon the officials connected 
with the railways, and it was discovered that in numerous 
instances they were in league with the insurgents. The 
information they possessed of the contemplated movements 
of troops, the ease with which they could retard them, and 
the command they had over the telegraph, made these men 
valuable members of the revolutionary organization, and their 
dismissal greatly crippled its activity. 

The monasteries and convents, which had hitherto been free 
from interference, were now subjected to the most searching 
scrutiny. Their immunity from surveillance had led to their 
being the repositories of many of the secret printing-presses ; 
the proclamations which had been so mysteriously issued had 
frequently been struck off by their inmates or by conspirators 
in their confidence; and the current of the literature of the 
insurrection was dammed up and choked by the system Count 
Berg adopted. Occasionally, indeed, a proclamation or a 
gazette struggled into existence ; but it was at rare intervals, 
and usually bore about it traces of haste and fear. The 
revolutionary press was paralyzed, and the unanimity in 
action of the various sections of the revolution was thereby 

The monasteries had afforded shelter for more than printing- 
presses. They had been converted into sanctuaries by the 
gendarmerie of the National Government, and under the 
shadow of their walls the assassin had escaped red-handed 
from his pursuers. In many of the monastic buildings poi- 
soned daggers were discovered, which, together with uniforms, 
weapons, and ammunition, could not have been secreted there 
without the cognizance and consent of the fraternity. These 
discoveries led the authorities to take possession of the 
buildings which had thus been used; and in many of the 
monasteries of Warsaw, as for example that of the Bernardines, 
a portion was set apart for the reception of the Russian 

* When, at a later date, I visited that monastery, its military and 
ecclesiastical occupants were apparently living in harmony together. The 


In addition to these alterations introduced by Count Berg, 
an altered system gave increased efficiency to the army ; at 
length all the troops at the disposal of the Government were 
regulated by one mind, and formed, as it were, parts of one 
machine, whose province it was to crush the revolt; and 
gradually, but certainly, the insurgent bands were defeated, 
and order restored to the districts their agitation had 

There are no stirring events to record in connection with these 
operations. Slowly, silently, and surely the revolt was crushed, 
and in dying made no sign ; a few ignoble skirmishes, some 
isolated acts of gallantry, or an occasional murder, leave 
nothing for the historian to comment upon or to record. 
Measures of repression, skilfully conceived and inflexibly 
carried out, were followed by their natural result the sup- 
pression of the insurrection. 

Before the curtain fell upon the struggle, the National 
Government made one effort to divert the current of misfortune 
which was setting in against it. The measures which Count 
Berg had organized (for even before the resignation of the 
Grand Duke he had for some time been virtually the ruler of the 
country) were gradually depriving the insurrection of its 
power and vitality ; but if Count Berg could be removed, the 
insurrection might perhaps be revived; it was determined, 
therefore, that he should be assassinated in the streets of 

In one of the principal streets of the town are two large 
houses adjoining each other, and known as the Zamoyski 
House and the Zamoyski Palace. They belong to Count 
Andrew Zamoyski. These houses are built in the form of a 
quadrangle round a square plot of garden, and the only com- 
munication existing between them is through a door in one of 
the wings, which opens into a short passage communicating 

monks, as a body, seemed to have reconciled themselves to their schismatic 
visitors ; they allotted to them certain corridors, with the cells they contained, 
and gave them some rooms on the ground floor, where their cooking was 
carried on. The services of the Church were not interrupted, and no 
inconvenience of any consequence, except to the insurgents, resulted from 
the interference of the Government. 


from one quadrangle to the other. The rooms in that portion 
of the two houses facing the street were, in September, 1863, 
let out in separate apartments to numerous tenants. 

A few weeks after his appointment to the office of lieutenant, 
Count Berg returned from one of the hospitals he had been 
inspecting, and his road lay through the street in which the 
Zamoyski houses stood. He was seated with an aide-de- 
camp in an open caleche, and an escort of five Cossacks 
followed immediately behind his carriage, while an officer 
rode on either side. As he passed the Zamoyski House, a 
gun was fired at him from a window on the second or third 
floor j the ball entered the back of his great coat, and passed out 
without injuring him ;* a second time the gun was ineffectually 
fired, and immediately afterwards several Orsini bombs were 
flung from the same window, which exploded beneath the 
carriage, and under the feet of the horses. Out of the nine 
horses belonging to Count Berg and his attendants, eight were 
wounded, six so severely that it was necessary to kill them ; 
the aide-de-camp received a severe contusion, and the carriage 
was struck in seventeen different places. f 

The Zamoyski House and Palace, were immediately taken 
possession of by the troops, their inmates were placed under 
temporary arrest, and instructions were issued that the contents 
of both mansions should be destroyed. When the soldiers first 
entered, they made some attempts at plundering ; but orders 
were quickly circulated prohibiting it ; and from the time they 
reached the troops they were implicitly obeyed. The furniture, 

* These facts were stated to me by Count Berg, and the great coat he wore 
was shown to me : it contained the two holes made by the musket-ball, and 
was a good voucher for the accuracy of the narrative, if any confirmation 
were needed. 

t The statements made by the Russian press that a subterranean passage 
existed between the two houses were untrue. I made particular inquiries of 
the officer in command there, and ascertained not only that no such commu- 
nication exists, but that there are not even vaults to either house. The only 
access is that which has already been described. 

On the other hand, the statement made by the organs of the insurgents 
that a street or lane divides the palace from the house is equally false ; they 
bear about them evident marks of belonging to the same owner, and the 
facilities for communication existing between them gave the authorities some 
excuse for treating them as the same property. 



books, works of art, and other valuables, were taken or hurled 
into the courtyard ; they were deliberately fired, and, without 
exception, destroyed. 

The most exaggerated reports were circulated by the revolu- 
tionary party, of excesses they alleged had been committed 
during the f{ sacking of the Zamoyski Palaces." Prisoners 
were robbed and insulted ; children were thrown out of the 
windows by the infuriated soldiery; and, in short, these 
writers tasked their well- trained powers of invention to the 
utmost, in multiplying charges of cruelty and wrong. 

All these representations were, however, utterly false. 
Opinions may well differ as to the expediency or the justice of 
the act of confiscation \ but it was carried out in strict pur- 
suance of the directions given, in perfect order, and with no 
unnecessary harshness. Some acts of plunder were at first 
committed by the soldiery, but, in obedience to the officer in 
command, they at once desisted. 

Subsequent inquiries brought to light some curious incidents. 
The time of Count Berg's passing through the street was 
known, and a few minutes previously, in front of the Zamoyski 
House, an individual, passing along the street at a gallop, gave 
a signal with his whip, and the moment the caleche arrived 
opposite the house, a white handkerchief was waived from one 
of the windows, apparently as a signal for the discharge of the 
Orsini bombs. 

For some hours previously to this attempt, scarcely any car- 
riages had passed through the street ; and although it cannot 
be supposed that the intended assassination was communicated 
to any large number of individuals, the authorities inferred 
from these and other circumstances that the revolutionary 
agents must have cautioned their friends not to pass that 

The measures adopted by Count Berg for the repression of 
the revolt were very severe, and some of them cannot be 
defended on the ground of justice ; their only vindication must 
be the plea of necessity, and the excuse that they were adapted 
to the strange and wayward people they were intended to curb. 
In the abstract, nothing could be more unjust than this 
forfeiture of the Zamoyski property. Its owner was in France, 


the dwellings were let out to numerous lodgers, over whom he 
had no control, and the attempted murder was an act which he 
was too wise to have sanctioned ; yet his property was sacrificed 
because some assassin temporarily resided there, and made his 
landlord's house a manufactory for hand-grenades. Neverthe- 
less, however unjust the confiscation may be deemed, it is 
certain that no act of the Russian administration had so bene- 
ficial an effect in Warsaw ; it impressed the Poles with the 
conviction that the Government was thoroughly in earnest, and 
that, no longer a thing to be cheaply indulged in, rebellion was 
a costly and a dangerous game. From the hour when the 
forfeiture was proclaimed, and the Poles found that no station 
was a shelter from the severities of the Russians, the revolution 
in Warsaw was paralyzed, and order restored. 

The National Government lost its prestige in Poland, and 
many circumstances made its discomfiture apparent. It had 
ordered that every one connected with the Official Journal 
should abandon his employment by the 1st of October ; but the 
1 st of October came and passed, and none of them obeyed the 
decree. In Warsaw, with the apparent intention of provoking 
a trial of strength and of proving that the National Govern- 
ment was no longer obeyed, Count Berg, on the 2nd of October 
issued the following proclamation : 

" For the last two years the city of Warsaw has been a den of crime, and 
the principal source of all the misfortunes which overwhelm the country. For 
this reason the Government is obliged considerably to increase the expenses 
of the state, which expenses have been caused by the present deplorable state 
of things. The Government is also bound to assist the numerous cases of 
distress originating from the same cause. Justice demands, therefore, that 
this increased expenditure should not be borne by the treasury of the king- 
dom alone, but that the city which tolerates and protects so large a number 
of perjurers and murderers should also bear part of the expenses arising from 
the present condition of the city. Taking these matters into consideration, 
I am compelled to impose an extraordinary contribution on the city of War- 
saw, and order as follows : 

" 1. An extraordinary contribution will be levied from all house proprie- 
tors and owners of plots of ground in Warsaw, and the suburb of Praga, at 
the rate of 8 per cent, of their net income, which shall be calculated from the 
returns of 1861. 

" 2. This contribution is to be collected by the 1st of November of this 

" 3. Whoever has not paid his contribution by the above date, will be com- 

9 2 


polled to do so by a military execution, and in the increased proportion of 
12 per cent, upon his property. 

" 4. House and other proprietors have a right, if their property is mort- 
gaged or otherwise burdened, to deduct 8 per cent, from the legal interest 
they are paying. 

" 5. The Committee of the Interior will convey to the magistrate of the 
city of Warsaw that it shall be his duty to issue such regulations as are indis- 
pensable for the carrying out of this decree. 

" In communicating the above to the Administrative Council, I call upon 
them to issue the necessary orders." 

The National Government issifed a proclamation threatening 
all who paid this tax with death ; and subsequently published 
in the revolutionary papers the names of those citizens who 
first paid the tax, and summoned them before the secret 
tribunals to answer for their crimes. Nevertheless the tax 
was paid and the menace disregarded. 

On the 27th of October an order, to take effect from 10th 
November, prohibiting mourning except for the loss of a 
relation, was published in Warsaw. Offenders were to be 
subjected to fines estimated on the following scale : a woman 
on foot was to pay 10, in a hired carriage 15, and in a 
private carriage 100 roubles. If the offender was the wife or 
child of an official, "that official lost one month's pay. The 
ladies of Warsaw discussed this proclamation (as the terms 
were known some time before it was to be carried into effect) 
anxiously. In a spirit of fervent patriotism, one lady deter- 
mined to be fined five times, another ten, and a third twelve; 
but their resolution failed them in the hour of trial ; mourning 
was entirely discontinued, and not a single fine had to be 

On this occasion the National Government gave a striking 
evidence of its waning power; it had to the present time 
forbidden all compliance with the orders of the Russian police ; 
it now changed its tactics, and published a proclamation 
directing that the authorities should be obeyed; and the 
reason it assigned was the desire that the ladies of Warsaw 
should be protected from insults at the hands of the Russian 
soldiers ; but it was felt universally that the true cause of its 
altered tone was its conviction, in any case, that the police 
order would be obeyed. 



From this date the insurrection may be considered to have 
ended. The revolutionary agitation which had for years been 
gaining over converts to the national party, and which had 
ever been increasing and consolidating its strength, had 
utterly collapsed when arrayed in arms against the might of 
an established government. The resources of men and money 
which had long been anxiously hoarded up, were vainly 
lavished in one brief and inglorious struggle. The improve- 
ments which had been creating wealth and paving the way 
to power, were paralyzed and arrested by the presence of intes- 
tine strife. The national character, which Europe had hitherto 
regarded as chivalrous, high-souled, and impassioned, had 
been sullied by the homage it rendered to the occult Govern- 
ment. The propagandism which had for years been converting 
Letts, Ruthenians, and Russians into Poles, had been detected, 
and its practice rendered impossible for the future ; while the 
cup from which Poland might have drunk in the invigorating 
draughts of constitutional freedom had been dashed to earth 
in the fevered paroxysm of civil war. 

It was, indeed, full time that the contest should end. 
The deeds which daily stained the streets of the capital 
with the blood of murdered men, and the executions which 
sternly avenged the slain, had induced a carelessness of the 
lives and an indifference to the sufferings of others, which 
roused the apprehensions of every wise and patriotic Pole. 
Commerce was extinct, ordinary employment there was little 
or none ; but assassination had grown into a trade, and this 
loathsome trade nourished. Throughout the kingdom, also, 
other classes of crime and demoralization were rapidly extend- 
ing their baneful influence, and even the men who longed for 
national independence were anxious that tranquillity should 
be on any terms restored. It was acknowledged that the 
insurrection had failed ; it was foreseen that years must elapse, 
and the politics of Europe be again disturbed, before there was 
any prospect of a successful rising, and it was felt that the 
continuance of an abortive revolt would only lead to the sacri- 
fice of many lives and the further embittering of national 

The occult Government could no longer control the expres-. 


sion of these feelings or the conduct to which they naturally 
led. The active aid it extorted from the proprietors when its 
power and organization were unbroken, it was unable at this 
crisis to exact ; and thus while the Eussian resources were for 
the first time guided by a skilful and accustomed hand, the 
cause of the insurrection was deprived of the material assist- 
ance and the prestige of secret power by which it had hitherto 
been upheld. 

Such were the conditions under which the contest was now 
waged, and day by day the bands of desperate men who con- 
tinued it were slain, defeated in battle, or driven across the 
frontier. At length, the long cold winter of the North set in ; 
the hardiest were unable to keep the field ; and, conquered 
partly by their enemy and partly by a climate that no one 
could resist, the last of the revolutionary bands dispersed, and 
the Polish insurrection was at an end. 



Resum6 of the Narrative. 

MY narrative is ended. I have traced, to the best of my 
judgment, the progress of events, the cabals of diplomatists, 
and the motives of the party of action; and endeavoured, 
without favour or partiality, to present them dispassionately to 
my readers. My work is necessarily imperfect; for materials, 
doubtless, exist which would explain some facts at present ill 
understood, and alter the lights and shades in which the 
historical painter would pourtray the men he endeavoured to 
describe. Many details might also be filled in which would 
interest the general reader, and invest the story with a degree 
of personal interest to which it now has little claim. 

Such incidents would render the narrative more attractive, 
but would scarcely add to its historical value. The great 
danger in treating of the Polish insurrection is that leading 
principles may be lost sight of in a mass of individual expe- 
riences. Writers of unquestionable veracity have in Galicia 
and Posen mingled with the insurgents and with those who 
sympathized in their aims ; they have listened with unfortu- 
nate credulity to their statements, and given them a wide 
and instant publicity. A knowledge so acquired has its value 
in so far as it enables an author to master details that a 
stranger will not understand, and may furnish materials for 
some spirited sketches and the introduction of some inter- 
esting descriptions ; on the other hand, such an acquaintance 
with details often prevents their possessor from rightly appre- 
ciating principles ; dwarfs his view of the subject which he 
treats to the level of the petty chiefs who surround him ; and 
degrades the history of a national crisis into the chronicle of a 
local emeute. Let us endeavour to form a more impartial 
estimate, and base it on facts which admit of no cavil or 


In the earlier pages of this work I have traced the history 
of Poland and the Western provinces during the reign of the 
Emperor Nicholas, and shown that it was one long con- 
spiracy on the part of a monarch to denationalize a people. It 
was the supremacy of an unbending military despot, who ruled 
his subjects on the same principle on which he ruled his army, 
and who considered that in this instance his subjects were 
mutinous, and must be treated with more than ordinary 
severity. Such a tyranny justified resistance, and almost 
demanded it. When Hungary was in arms, or when the war 
in the Crimea was draining away the Russian army, every 
true friend of liberty, careless of the European complications 
it would, have eventually involved, would have hailed with 
enthusiasm Poland's efforts to be free. In face of that cruel 
persecution, the whispers of expediency would have been 
forgotten ; and, despite the stipulations of world-famed con- 
gresses and the traditionary wisdom of ancient statecraft, the 
kingdom of Poland might have been constituted anew. But 
then the hapless land made no struggle for freedom, and gave 
no signs of national life. Perhaps the iron had entered so 
deeply into her soul that she was conscious only that she was 
a slave ; perhaps she thought herself unable to compete 
successfully with the master of a million bayonets, and gazed 
with fear upon the citadel which frowned beside her ancient 
capital ; perhaps she thought that the tyranny, whose blighting 
influence was everywhere felt, had organized its secret 
agencies with so much skill that an informer was present in 
every company, and a spy was lurking by every hearth. 

Whatever the reason, Poland, from the suppression of the 
revolt in 1831 to the death of Nicholas, stirred not; and when 
her oppressor died, the sympathy which would have over- 
borne all ordinary prudential considerations died out also. 
Europe could not recognize in the Poland of 1857 the same 
conditions which had won for her so mournful an interest 
twenty-five years before ; and as political and social improve- 
ment were seen moving on with a steady and measured step, 
it was felt that time, patience, and mutual forbearance would 
yet weld two hostile races into one united people. 

In her captivity, however, opinion had been silently forming, 

RESUME. 265 

though it was not evidenced by any outward signs which other 
nations recognized, and a fierce and deadly hatred of Russia 
had sprung up among the educated classes, which was the 
more dangerous because it was unavowed. Opinions nurtured 
in secret are always extreme, for they are unchecked by dis- 
cussion, inquiry, and minute investigation ; and we accordingly 
find that the views of the disaffected in Poland were remarkable 
for their violent and uncompromising character. That among 
the great proprietors were to be found many men of moderate 
opinion is unquestionable ; but in political and revolutionary 
contests, moderate men lose their weight, and although they 
may guide the State through peaceful waters, when the 
storms are raging and the vessel is drifting on the rocks, 
it is the determined partisan who invariably springs to the 

In the absence of deep-seated disaffection, the reforms of 
the Emperor would have won the confidence of his people ; 
and as it was, two parties, who were respectively represented 
by the Marquis Wielopolski and Count Andrew Zamoyski, 
were opposed to any revolutionary action ; but the sentiments 
of loyalty or prudence which restrained them had no weight 
with less cautious politicians, and violent men refused to 
recognize that any change in their position should make a 
corresponding alteration in their policy. The heavy hand of 
tyranny no longer oppressed them; their Church was free 
from persecution ; their universities were restored ; the founda- 
tion of representative institutions was laid ; and a practical 
autonomy was granted to them. All these concessions they 
would gladly have accepted thirty years before ; but the day 
for such compromises was gone. Complete independence they 
now required, and nothing else would they accept, and that 
independence was to extend to the whole of ancient Poland, 
from Dantzic to Odessa, and was to be obtained by the recon- 
quest from three of the great powers of Europe of territories 
which had been theirs for the greater part of a century. This 
visionary scheme was avowed with greater or less distinctness 
throughout the period of the insurrection and the agitation 
which preceded it. It was not convenient to give it reality by 
stirring up revolt in Galicia or Posen, but it was understood that 


these possessions were to be revolutionized after Poland and 
the Western provinces had been torn from Kussia. 

Reviewing this programme dispassionately, it is difficult to 
understand how any statesman could be so rash as to encourage 
it : it threatened to kindle a strife in Europe which might last 
for thirty years, and then leave behind it hatred and jealousies, 
the memory of injuries unatoned, and of humiliations yet to 
be obliterated, which would be the fertile source of many a 
future war. 

The Poland springing into existence after such a preliminary 
struggle, would probably, if any success had been achieved, 
have included the Congress kingdom and some few of the 
adjoining governments. It was perfectly clear, however, that 
a state so constituted would be regarded as only a portion of 
that which was eventually to be formed ; and it would have been 
the centre of a religious and political propaganda, having for 
its object the spread of the Roman Catholic religion and the 
re-establishment of the Polish supremacy over all the provinces 
of the kingdom of 1772. 

Apart from the danger of encouraging such revolutionary 
ideas and efforts, the injustice of the scheme should have been 
patent to the statesmen of Europe; for why should the 
Western provinces of Russia, with their population of 9,868,771, 
be remitted to the domination of the 1,046,947 Poles those 
provinces contain ? and why should the religious education of 
the country be confided to the Roman Catholic clergy, although 
their Church scarcely numbers within her pale one-fourth of 
that same population ? Again, it would have been very unjust 
towards the German settlers who have done so much to culti- 
vate and reclaim various parts of Poland, more especially of 
Posen, to have subjected them to the rule of an arrogant and 
hostile race ; and it would have perilled the advancing rights 
and civilization of the peasants, over which every philanthropist 
and statesman desires to keep anxious guard. 

Neither is there any reason to suppose that the Poles are 
more fit for self-government now than they were a century 
ago. The unarmed agitation did indeed evidence that under 
the pressure of strong excitement they could act in concert ; 
that they could make considerable sacrifices in the supposed 

RESUME. 267 

interests of their country; and that the Russian supremacy 
was unpopular among a large proportion of the city and 
privileged classes. Yet this very combination seems to 
evidence, with almost as great distinctness, that the educated 
classes were misled by sentiment, vanity, and vague historical 
theories, and that in action they altogether lacked the inspiration 
of a sound and vigorous policy. From the inferior orders, the 
mechanics of the towns, and the petty Schlachta, no enlightened 
resolve was to be looked for, and they joined with ignorant 
enthusiasm the unarmed agitation in the earlier stages of the 
struggle, and with ferocious brutality the insurrection which 
subsequently occurred. 

The changes which the moderate party among the Polish 
nobility silently worked by the introduction of schools, the 
teaching of their national traditions and language among the 
peasantry, and the gradual amelioration of the condition of 
the poor, were doubtless calculated to serve their cause; but 
the unarmed agitation itself was a foolish and mischievous 
device, which only drew down on them the suspicion of 
their rulers, and induced them to take unusual measures for 
the preservation of the Kussian supremacy. 

When the insurrection actually broke out, nothing but the 
overwhelming necessities of the hour served to give even the 
semblance of unity to the efforts of the disaffected ; and in a 
very few weeks the contentions of the Red party and the 
White, of the nobles and the democrats, of Langiewicz and 
Mieroslawski, betrayed to all who studied the question the 
utter hopelessness of the revolt. But, even supposing it 
possible for the effort to have been successful, the moment 
independence was won, fresh difficulties must have arisen ; for 
the democrats would never have allowed their exertions and 
their sacrifices to result in the coronation of a Czartoryski in 
the cathedral of Warsaw ; and the leaders of the emigration 
and great proprietors and magnates of Poland would never 
have permitted the Red party to have dictated to them the 
future constitution of their country. The -immediate result of 
a successful insurrection would probably have been anarchy ; 
and that anarchy, if terminated without the overthrow of the 
newly-constituted state, would have been followed by a 


condition of things still more to be deprecated, and yet more 
threatening to the peace of Europe a state of things in 
which a policy of aggression and conquest must have been 
adopted by the Poles with the avowed object of re-conquering 
in its integrity an ancient kingdom according t(7 its limits at a 
date capriciously selected by themselves. Who could foresee 
the complications such a policy would engender, or any 
termination of the dissensions it would immediately induce ? 

Despite these considerations, which rendered it madness 
to afford the insurgents encouragement or aid, it is impos- 
sible to have witnessed without compassion the headlong 
valour and the fervent patriotism which gave life and reality 
to their cause. They were mistaken in their highly-coloured 
visions of the past ; but, in the midst of a miserable present, 
was it not natural that they should thus deceive themselves ? 
Does not the Jew look fondly back to the mythical tales 
with which tradition has surrounded the history of his race ? 
Does not the Irish peasant, as he sits at night by the dim 
peat fire, chant in a voice of low and monotonous dreaminess 
the deeds of mighty chiefs and sages who only find existence 
in that traditionary lay ? Who, indeed, would not allow for 
national prejudices and the pride of race ? What statesman 
or what historian can fail to recognize in them the most 
unfailing stimulants to future exertion? Prostrate a race 
may be, miserable in outward appearance, without the rights 
of free men, trodden in the dust, outcasts and slaves ; yet, if 
they still cling to the memory of a prouder and a happier era, 
if in their humiliation they yet resolve that the day of their 
resurrection shall dawn, we may be sure that there exists 
among them the spirit to do and to suffer nobly, and that 
in some future exigency they will vindicate their ancient 

The struggle between Russia and Poland was necessarily 
short, for the resources at the disposal of the National 
Government were utterly inadequate to the end it had in 
view. When the forces of Langiewicz were scattered, there 
remained no army in the field ; and although the wandering 
bands which haunted the forests and marshes of the Congress 
kingdom retained a show of organization, their efforts were 

RESUME. 269 

as futile for all military purposes as are those of the brigands 
in Southern Italy. The annihilation of the only army that 
made a stand against the Russians served to bring out in 
clearer relief the acts and the principles of the National 
Government, and men witnessed with amazement the esta- 
blishment of a secret tribunal, in face of which rank had 
no immunities,, and before which innocence was no protec- 
tion. Its decrees sentenced men to death, and the dagger 
of the murderer carried out the doom. Everywhere was 
terror. The police professed to be paralyzed j but they, it 
was alleged, were leagued with the guilty. Men high in 
rank and office declared themselves unable to combat this 
unseen power, to protect the victim, or to avenge the crime. 
Great names were muttered as though they sat on this secret 
committee, and it was whispered that the proudest nobility of 
Poland were not too proud to mingle in this conclave of 
assassins. Meanwhile the avowed emissaries of the National 
Government counted among them the historic names of Czar- 
toryski and Sapieha. It was all but recognized by the French 
Government, and was spoken of considerately by English 
Ministers of State. It declared itself to be the only exponent 
of the will of the people ; it issued its proclamations, appointed 
its officers, levied its taxes, published its gazettes, and tra- 
vestied in every practicable form the. operations of a regular 
government. It identified itself with the Polish cause, and 
in an evil hour for themselves the insurgents permitted the 
assumption. Perhaps this ready submission to the occult 
Government was a necessity. The Poles saw they were com- 
pletely overmatched, and felt that internal dissension would 
accelerate the ruin of their cause ; they clung, therefore, to 
the only body which had about it even the semblance of 
authority or action. Nevertheless, however necessary this 
acquiescence may have been, it greatly injured their cause 
among educated and thinking men. What is the principle, 
such men demanded, upon which this Government is con- 
ducted? And the inevitable reply \\as, that it was terrorism 
carried to a pitch that had never been surpassed ; that it was 
power derived from, and solely reliant upon the dagger. Its 
malignant influence was not restricted to important enemies j 


it extended its proscriptions to every class, and murdered for 
every fault. Orsini bombs were devoted to governors of pro- 
vinces ; the poniard was prepared for travellers who failed in 
the devotion this new sovereignty demanded ; while for the 
peasant and the soldier there were tortures and mutilations, 
the hangman's rope, and the grave, into which, yet living, 
they were flung. 

These outrages contrasted painfully with the previous 
conduct of the Poles, and the Kussians asked what had be- 
come of that high and holy patience which this nation of 
martyrs claimed as their inheritance ? For three years they 
said the Poles had held their national fasts, had observed 
their national anniversaries, and proclaimed that by meekness 
and long-suffering they would put to shame the counsels of 
the violent and the power of the mighty. During that period 
Russia had looked on with a troubled consciousness that she 
had no weapons wherewith to oppose an unarmed movement ; 
her policy had been wavering, weak, and ineffective ; and the 
public opinion of Europe had pronounced against her. Now, 
without any adequate reason, the Poles had quitted their 
vantage-ground, and descended into the arena ; they had 
staked their cause on the vulgar arbitrament of war, and dis- 
carded the enormous advantages their former attitude had 
secured them. Nor was this all; for their false and trea- 
cherous nature was fully displaying itself in the acts of men 
who reduced murder into a system, who robbed for the sake 
of their country, and forged in the interests of truth ! 

It was under the influence of passions thus excited and 
expressed, that the struggle was subsequently carried on ; 
assassination on one side seemed to call for a stern system of 
repression on the other; and the dictates of the supposed 
necessity were acquiesced in. Repudiating the calumnies 
which found too ready a credence in France and England, 
it will yet be admitted that some of the measures adopted 
by the Russian authorities tended to shake the rights, and 
therefore to destroy the value of property ; and that there was 
somewhat too great a disposition to assume that every Polish 
proprietor was a traitor, and to punish him as such, unless 
his innocence was proved to the satisfaction of a government 

RESUME. 271 

official. Some of the orders of General Mouravieff are 
certainly open to the former of these charges, and although 
the latter be not susceptible of such direct proof, it is 
believed by a considerable body of his countrymen to be 
equally true. 

The feature in the Russian policy which excited the greatest 
indignation among the Poles, is one for which an impartial 
observer will not blame it. The great proprietors, the officials 
of Polish descent, the Catholic clergy, the professors of schools, 
and the educated classes generally, had plainly evinced their 
disaffection ; it was only natural, therefore, that the Govern- 
ment should appeal to the masses. An arrogant and high- 
spirited aristocracy beheld with speechless anger the repre- 
sentative of the Emperor place weapons in the hands of 
peasants, who had never been so trusted before ; permit them 
to arrest suspicious persons, even when those persons had 
recently been their masters ; and reward them for their zeal 
in the public service, even when that zeal had been misplaced, 
and the license given to them had been exceeded. In civil 
convulsions, however, distinctions of rank are frequently 
obliterated, and a Government assailed by conspirators may 
well prefer a loyal peasant to a malcontent noble. 

The harshness with which the peasants had formerly been 
treated, made the change more marked and unpalatable, and 
the Polish proprietor, under the surveillance of his former serfs, 
bore the infliction as impatiently as would a South Carolinian 
if he were imprisoned and watched by his own slaves. 

Prompt to take advantage of every opportunity, the dis- 
affected party denounced the Government for socialist ten- 
dencies, and described emancipation and the subsequent 
arming of the peasants as the two first acts in a drama of 
which confiscation was to be the catastrophe. By this artifice 
they enlisted on their side much of the sober and temperate 
opinion which had not hitherto pronounced itself, and iden- 
tified themselves in the minds of those whom they misled with 
the cause of order, property, and enlightenment. 

The action of diplomacy reflected little credit on the wisdom 
or steadfastness of Western Europe. The despatches of Lord 
Russell were speeches in disguise, and speeches more worthy 


of the hustings than of a parliamentary assembly. As bids 
for popularity they might have succeeded, if Kussia had been 
terrified by them ; but as they were fruitless,, they covered 
their author with ridicule and odium. To interpose and not 
to be regarded, to threaten and not to strike/ to parade the 
name and power of England before the world, while he 
inwardly was convinced that he could never guide her into 
war these were not acts of wisdom or high policy, and were 
unworthy the traditions of his office or the antecedents of his 

Moreover it is evident that the Foreign Secretary had no 
accurate knowledge of the subject upon which he treated ; for 
he allowed alleged cruelties at Wilna to be urged in both 
Houses of Parliament as reasons for interposing on behalf of 
the Poland of 1815 : he pressed on the acceptance of the 
Russian Government six supposed reforms, some of which 
were already in existence, and others were absolutely inad- 
missible; and he made statements which were utterly at 
variance with the information furnished to him by the Ambas- 
sador at St. Petersburg and the Consul- General at Warsaw. 
The most favourable construction that can be placed upon his 
acts is to suppose that he really desired to embark in a war of 
liberation, and that he was only restrained by prudential con- 
siderations, and the remonstrances of less ardent colleagues. 
Be this, however, as it may, there is no doubt that the atti- 
tude taken by him helped to induce the insurgents to prolong 
a hopeless contest ; that it encouraged the Emperor of the 
French in his schemes of ambition and of conquest ; and that 
it shook the confidence of Russian statesmen and the Russian 
people in the honour and good faith of England. 

The tortuous policy of France gradually inclined to war. 
After watching carefully the currents of popular opinion, and 
after meditations, lengthy if not profound, on the chances of 
the struggle in which he might possibly be involved, the Im- 
perial Sphinx determined to try the arbitrament of arms. To 
pave the way to such a consummation, French gold and French 
blood were lavished in maintaining a guerilla war ; a servile 
press adroitly imitated the utterances of a free people, and 
preached the doctrines of a fantastic liberalism to a nation 



which was itself enslaved. History was invoked in order to 
revive dormant animosities; treaties were misconstrued to 
justify interference in the internal affairs of another state ; and 
diplomacy did its utmost to pave the way to a war for which 
armies were silently collecting, and campaigns had secretly 
been planned. 

The passions of the French people were thoroughly roused, 
and the language of their statesmen became more stern 
and menacing. The Emperor perhaps relied on English aid 
and Austrian endurance, on the willing help of the Polish 
nationality, and the unpatriotic indifference of the Eussian 
people on the prestige of past triumphs and the confidence 
of Europe in his own far-seeing wisdom. Probably too he 
felt that some device was needed to divert the attention of his 
people from Mexico and Kome, and that a scrutiny of his 
home administration offered nothing in palliation of foreign 
and ignominious embarrassments. 

The cast was dangerous, but it possessed attractions for one 
who gambled with empires for his stake, and apparently the 
risk was slighter than it eventually proved to be, while there 
seemed to be spoil obtainable which it was subsequently im- 
possible to grasp. The calculation, however, was erroneous 
in every particular. 

It is not surprising that foreigners often mistake us. The 
empty clamour, which sounds so loudly and is so little worth, 
seems to them the voice of the governors as well as of the 
governed ; and they cannot understand debates arranged for the 
purpose of winning notoriety for a partisan. When they wade 
through the columns of monotonous dulness with which ob- 
scure members weary their hearers, they construe their unre- 
futed accusations into the scarcely veiled menaces of parties 
and cabinets ; when they read of meetings which members 
of both Houses attended, and over which Lord Mayors pre- 
sided, they imagine they peruse the semi-official announce- 
ments which precede an open rupture. It was, however, 
strange that the Emperor of the French should have fallen 
into this error; he must have known that the Polish cause 
had at most only a sentimental hold on the sympathies of 


England, and that, in deference to her sentiments, England 
never goes to war ; that the prominent leaders of the friends 
of Poland were men who, however respectable, had no poli- 
tical weight; and that the liberal policy of the Emperor 
Alexander had disarmed much of the anti-Russian feeling 
which the despotic rule of his father had provoked. If in the 
person of Lord Russell he found a confederate or an instru- 
ment, it was evident that the sway of the Foreign Secretary 
over the external policy of his country did not extend beyond 
the penning of voluminous despatches. 

The chances of assistance from Austria were even less 
encouraging. Embarked in a career of constitutional de- 
velopment, her statesmen found it prudent to adopt a tone 
of enlightened liberality, and the 1 ^ united with France and 
England in diplomatic representations which bound them to 
no ulterior policy. One fatal inheritance, however, was always 
present to their thoughts ; and although they might not have 
regretted any humiliation to which Russia might have been 
subjected, their liberal dreams of a restored Poland were 
scared by the fear of Galicia in revolt. In the cause of Polish 
independence it was impossible for Austria to unsheath her 

There remained the Polish nationality, and we have seen 
what that term includes. If a French army had ever reached 
the frontier of the Congress kingdom, there is no doubt a 
considerable number of recruits would have gathered to its 
camp. Prudential considerations would no longer have re- 
strained many who had estates to lose and rank to forfeit, if 
they joined in a fruitless insurrection. Yet the success of 
such a crusade would have been very doubtful, the penalty 
of failure would have been hard to bear, and the guerdon 
of a successful war, unless Prussia were involved in it, 
would faintly recompense the risks and the peril of the 

The expectations which were based on the indifference of 
the Russian people were equally erroneous, and their attitude 
would have precluded submission, even if their rulers had 
been disposed to acquiesce in the demands of the intervening 



powers. In the course of my narrative I have shown how 
deeply public opinion was roused by the insurrection, and 
with what a proud and confident spirit the demands of diplo- 
macy were met. There was no sacrifice which would not 
willingly have been submitted to for the sake of preserving 
the honour and integrity of Russia, and the nation rose as one 
man to vindicate her independence. It was this unanimous 
resolution which gave unwonted weight to the masterly 
despatches of Prince Gortschakoff, for it was felt that his 
policy was supported by the will of an united people. 

From the time that these despatches were written the Polish 
question was virtually at an end ; the alternative presented to 
Western Europe was acquiescence or war, and as war involved 
risks which neither England nor France cared to run, acqui- 
escence became a necessity. Ceasing to be an European 
question, the Polish insurrection shrank back into its natural 
dimensions ; it became merely the revolt of a disaffected class, 
a class which might have some claims on the generous 
sympathy, but had none on the armed support of foreign 

Unaided by the Western powers, it was certain that the 
insurrection must fail. A guerilla war might, indeed, be 
persevered in until winter drove the insurgents from their 
forests and other lurking-places ; attacks might from time to 
time be made on posts which were defended only by a few 
soldiers, and detachments still be assailed as they crossed 
morasses or wound their way through woods. Sometimes also 
officials might be assassinated or peasants tortured and 
robbed. Such deeds were neither war nor insurrection, they 
were simple acts of brigandage, and would be so accounted 
by every impartial man ; translated, however, into the lan- 
guage of telegrams and special correspondents, they wore a 
very different complexion, and for months after the revolt was 
virtually ended, the people of England and France regarded it 
as an existing struggle. At length winter set in, the bands 
were completely dispersed, and the Polish insurrection of 1863 
was definitively suppressed. 

The time had now arrived when dissimulation was of no 

T 2 



advantage to the Government. If its liberal professions 
were made with a fraudulent design, if it simply waited its 
opportunity to crush all improvement, and to revive the 
blighting rule of Nicholas, there was no one who had now the 
power to oppose it. Victorious over his rebel subjects, equally 
successful in his contest with diplomatic adversaries, the 
Emperor saw Poland prostrate before him, silently awaiting 
her doom. 



TABLE I. Showing number of Poles as compared to other races 
in Western Provinces. 

Name of 






of Poles 
in every 

4 ( Witebsk 







^ ( Mohilew 
g [Minsk ... 
jf Wilna... 








( Kowno... 
^ [Grodno .. 







1 fKieff ... 
^/ Volhynia 








| [ Podolia 
Total ... 












TABLE II. Showing the number of Free-born, Apanage t and 
Serf-born Individuals in Western Provinces. 





Kovno ... ' 

229 923 











[Jews and Colonists are not included in this table. Old soldiers are 
numbered in the Apanage column.] 

* This and the two following tables are taken from A. von Buschen's 
work " Bevb'lkerung des Russischen Kaiserreichs in den wichtigsten statis- 
tischen Verhaltnissen dargestellt. Gotha, Verlag von Justus Perthes, 1862." 





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" HASTEN to Warsaw in order to obtain the fullest information as to the spirit 
and tendency of the demonstration of the 25th February on the subject 
of the resolution of the Agricultural Society relating to the grant of land 
to the peasants. Take this grant as the starting-point of all the measures 
destined to prepare for the national rising, and make use of the masses, who, 
by virtue of this wholesome resolution, have received lands in full and perpetual 
ownership, as the foundation-stone of the regeneration of the State. 

" In traversing the eastern countries to the most distant limits of Poland, 
spread the news that the Agricultural Society, in evidence of its solicitude 
for the people, ordered, on the 24th February, the proprietors in all the pro- 
vinces, without exception, to endow the peasants spontaneously with all the 
lands hitherto liable to statute labour (corvee). Admit no discussion on this 
matter ; declare it in laconic terms and as an accomplished fact. 

" In order to obtain permission from the Government that this order, 
emanating from the capital, be imposed on all the provinces, the Lithuanian 
and Ruthenian proprietors should send immediately to St. Petersburg a 
deputation intended to unite with that of Warsaw, and to submit itself 
implicitly to the injunctions of the latter. 

" Our oppressors wiil not succeed in disuniting us if we are ourselves 

" Write and print in the Russian language proclamations to inform the 
people of the benefits which come to them from Warsaw ; combine the stipu- 
lations and the payments to be made to the proprietors in such a manner that 
this measure may surpass by far the advantages offered by the regulations of 
the St. Petersburg ukases. 

" If the Czar, which it is difficult to suppose, should give his consent imme- 
diately to everything, spread at once the report that he has done it by 
intimidation, and that even he submits to the orders which are imposed on 
him from Warsaw. 

"Organize in this case national solemnities, numerous and clamorous 

popular meetings directed by the lesser nobility (Schliackta). It is they also 

who should guide the people, without the smallest interference of priests or 


" Immediately after, openly, without the least hesitation, even though it 

* This document may be regarded as the programme of the Red Republican 


involve a great loss, it is necessary to give effect to the resolution taken at 
Warsaw, without waiting, from which God preserve us, for the initiative of 
this application to come from St. Petersburg. 

" The position of the Schliachta will be still more favourable if the Czar 
refuse to sign the ukase confirming the resolution of Warsaw, or if he delay 
the matter until the preparations for the insurrection are complete. 

" Charge the Central Committee of Action (Kapitoul) at Warsaw to occupy 
the attention of Europe by newspaper correspondence and by deputations 
sent to the Governments of France and England. 

"1. On the one hand, the opinion of the Western masses must be kept in 
a state of the most feverish excitement by means of ever-growing manifestations 
of the vitality of Poland and the impotence of Kussia. To this end informa- 
tion must be sent to all the German, French, English, and Italian journals, 
invented, if necessary, on the civil commotions in Kussia which shake the 
power of the Czars, and on the serious and irreconcilable dissensions which 
have broken out between the peasants, the boyards, and the employes ; insisting 
particularly on the distress of Russia, financial and administrative, on the 
avenging and disintegrating influence exercised by the Polish idea on that 
structure created by Peter the Great, and which is now falling into ruins. 

" It is necessary to persuade the world that Czarisni can only be vanquished 
by the Poles. 

" 2. On the other hand, the Governments of France and England must be 
wearied with complaints and grievances emanating from Warsaw, fabricated 
for the purpose, and professedly remaining unnoticed at St. Petersburg. It 
is to be observed that these deputations will obtain nothing at first ; but that 
must not cool our zeal, for our principal end should be to compromise these 
Governments with that of Eussia, and, moreover, to furnish us with an 
occasion to complain of their indifference. 

" We confidentially inform our fellow-citizens that these counsels have 
been given to us by persons in a position to know well the policy of the 
Tuileries, and who have cited to us the example of the Italians, who have 
succeeded in obtaining in a few years, by the force of patriotic perseverance, 
the overthrow of all diplomatic obstacles, in persuading the Emperor of the 
French to accomplish what he had never wished, or even thought of doing, 
and in forcing his Government, whether they would or no, to aid them in 
their attempt for emancipation. 

" But God preserve us from employing emigrants in these missions, for 
this would be the best way of giving to the Western Governments little 
sympathizing in general with the Polish movement an excellent pretext for 
holding themselves apart from all relations with this movement. 

" It is important, above all, to avoid those intriguers of the Hotel Lambert, 
who have abandoned the country, who have completely accustomed them- 
selves to scrub (frotter) the ministerial antechambers in foreign countries, and 
who have covered themselves with ridicule in the eyes of all those who are 
little disposed in favour of our cause. 

" The national emissaries should avoid too frequent resort to the Tuileries, 
where they may be easily detected ; but, as a set-off, they should visit the 
Palais Royal (residence of Prince Napoleon), where they are sure to receive 
every kind of assistance and informati6n. The Deputy G. L. M. is in a 


position to furnish all the instructions and explanations required for this 

" We repeat, these deputations must not expect from their proceedings and 
the parade of their grievances any other result than smoothing the way 
destined in the future to bring insurgent Poland nearer to the West, and to 
intimidate the Russians and the Germans by the belief that the Governments 
of France, of England, and of Italy are in secret relations with the Polish 

^"We ought, in reality, to content ourselves with the knowledge that each 
Warsaw demonstration brings us nearer to t$ie Italians, the Hungarians, and 
all the nationalities which aspire to break the Austrian chains. In regard 
to this, there is complete accord between Mieroslawski, Garibaldi, and 

" 3. Restrain as long as possible, in the interior of the country, the propa- 
ganda of agitation within the limits of purely economic reforms ; anticipate 
in every way an armed insurrection until the tribunes of the Schliachta have 
brought the whole population of the Western provinces to a degree of patriotic 
exaltation equal to that of the people of the Mazurie. In this way await the 
offensive operations on the part of the Muscovite troops ; and, from the very 
commencement of these operations, whatever may then be the degree of 
maturity of the insurrection, join, without the least hesitation, for life or for 
death, the masses of the people ; do not abandon them until the definitive and 
glorious deliverance of the Kzecz pospolita; take possession of them, and 
lead them wherever the desperate struggle against the oppressors may 

" All should foresee no long-sighted policy being able to mislead them 
the fatal elements, erostatiques, and even Khaidaniachiques, which will arise 
in this period of agitation, engendered by the leaven of a society corrupted 
by long servitude ; but, at the same time, the duty of every one will be the 
quieting of these elements by practical sacrifices on a grand scale, and the 
alleviation of the fate of the people as much as may be possible and as means 
may permit. What, above all things, is necessary is to heal society by the 
discipline indispensable for military preparations, because none of the pseudo 
tribunes will sustain this trial. 

" Besides, for the incurable demagogues it will be necessary to open the 
cage, that they may enroHhemselves on the other side of the Dnieper ; that 
they may there propagate the Cossack haidamatchina against the priests, the 
boyards, and the officials, by insinuating to the peasants that it is they who 
strive to maintain them in servitude. It will be necessary to hold in readiness 
an entire store of troubles, and to cast them into fire already kindled in the 
interior'of Muscovy. Let all the agitation of little Russianism remove itself 
to the further side of the Dnieper ; it is there that will be found the vast 
field of Pougatschew for our retarded chmelnitcheivstchina* 

* This word is derived from Chmelnicki, a Polish gentleman, and chief of 
the insurrection^ the Cossacks against Poland in the first half of the seven- 
teenth century. " The name is stated by Russian writers to be associated with 
scenes of the most horrible cruelty and brutally atrocious acts. 


" It is from there that our Panslavic and Communist school is composed. 
There is all the Polish herzenisme. Let it prepare silently and for a long 
time the enfranchisment of Poland by rending the entrails of Czarism. Here 
is a work as worthy as it is easy for the demi-Poles and the demi-Kussians, 
who at present occupy all the degrees of the civil and military Government 
in Russia. Let anarchy replace everywhere the Russian Czarism, from which 
in the end the Russian nationality, our neighbour, will deliver and purify 

" Let us leave others to be seduced by the delusion that this Radicalism 
will promote your liberty as well as ours : but to transport it within the 
limits of Poland would be to betray the country ; and this crime should be 
punished by death, as treason to the State. Within our country Radicalism 
must limit its impatience to preparations for the insurrection ; on all points 
of the frontier must be introduced into the country powder, good arms, single- 
barrelled fowling-pieces but not double-barrelled and, if it be possible, 
carbines and all kinds of iron household utensils ; all the manufactures of 
articles in iron in the hands of the Poles should be appropriated to the pre- 
paration for war ; everywhere it will be necessary to prepare the materials 
necessary for cavalry and convoys, in order that all may be ready the instant 
when the necessity for them is felt. 

" In the mean time it will be necessary to prepare and to organize the 
population beforehand, in the continual expectation of a sudden outbreak of 
war. In doing all this, it is necessary not to lose sight of the fact that the 
Schliachta furnish more volunteers for the cavalry, the citizens and the popu- 
lation of the woody countries for the sharpshooters, and the mass of peasants 
for the scythemen. All should be objects of solicitude and of particular care. 
Further, the pupils of the technical establishments may join the engineers or 
the artillery. 

" The Poles of the Mosaic persuasion will work in factories with the 
needle, &c. &c. Everywhere let impatient patriotism understand that a 
period of suspense, which is to be one of activity and preparation, is indis- 
pensable to us in all respects, as much for the purpose of bringing back 
the people, especially in Lithuania, in Russia, and Galicia, to their ancient 
reliance upon, and submission to, the Schliachta, of which they have lost the 
habit under the influence of a long Muscovite and Austrian servitude, as for 
their material armament ; and, finally, to await, in an approaching future, 
one of two consoling eventualities a foreign war or an insurrection in 
Russia. May it please God that both may take place. 

" 4. It is only the fortunate concurrence of favourable circumstances in 
the interior and the exterior of the country which should be considered as 
the signal for a general insurrection in the whole country of Poland. Con- 
sidering, however, that many provinces are in an exceptional position, and 
might, consequently, form an exception to the general rule, the insurrection 
should be organized in the following order : 

" (a] The masses of the agricultural population, prepared by the preceding 
economic agitation, armed with anything which may come to their hands, 
but absolutely under the command of the Schliachta, will hasten from all 
parts to the town of the district, annihilating by their unexpected attack the 
garrison of the oppressors, immediately barricading the streets and trans- 


forming the buildings into blockhouses, so that the town may take the appear- 
ance of a fortified castle. 

" (&) The chiefs will choose, as quickly as possible, the best men from 
among this crowd, under the denomination of the first levy, distributing to 
them the best arms, especially arms which are not fire-arms, provisions for 
three days, and conducting them to a camp agreed on by the Wolwodie, or 
the Government, avoiding as much as possible any encounter with the enemy 
until all the levies are united in the same detachment, under the command 
of a single leader. 

" As at least half of the fire-arms will remain in the towns of fortified 
districts, for the reserves, the chiefs of the camps of Wolwodies must rely 
principally on the cavalry and the scythemen ; if, at each halt, they exercise 
the foot-soldiers, without intermission and with indefatigable zeal, to the 
easy management of arms, and teach the lancers to despise the enemy's 
fire, by inspiring them with the ardent desire to rush upon them, then 
the army will be sufficiently formed. The scythemen must be taught to 
lie on the ground before the fire of artillery, and to charge at a rapid 
pace under the fire of musketry. All the arms, whatever they may be, 
must be kept near some companies of sharpshooters, which must not be 
separated from the battalions of scythemen in any evolution, not even for an 
instant, with the sole exception of cases where the sharpshooters disperse 
themselves ; and then they must disperse in sight of the scythemen. 

" Menaced with an attack by the enemy, the sharpshooters must shelter 
themselves in the squares of the scythemen as well as in intrenchments 
formed of palisades ; and it is from the third rank, above the heads of the 
kneeling scythemen, that they will deliberately fire (avec sang froid), allowing 
the enemy to approach as near as possible. 

" The convoys, indispensable in every insurrection, must be placed in 
tabors, similar to those which were formerly in use among the Cossacks, the 
Poles, and the Tcheques. During the combat these tabors must be formed 
with the reserves, in the manner of movable fortifications, and in case of 
defeat, their retrograde movement must not be commenced until the enemy's 
attention is distracted, if only for a time, by some well-calculated offensive 
movement on our part. 

" (c) The detachment, already exercised during the marches which will 
have preceded its general union, and trained during the few days which it will 
have passed in camp, must now march, according to the exigency of the case, 
either against the nearest detachment of the enemy, or for the chief place of 
the Government. 

" It is at this phase of the insurrectionary action that our preliminary in- 
structions must cease, because this phase of the local insurrection must 
absolutely correspond with that in which the foreign legion will be found 
ready to fly to the aid of the insurrection. 

" 5. The agitation in the interior of the country must not only not distract 
the people and prevent supplies being furnished, by material as well as moral 
means, to that army which is forming outside the country ; but, on the con- 
trary, this anchor of safety so near to them must be considered as the surest 
basis of the whole affair. Consequently, let none of the capital specially 
designed for this sacred object be retained under any pretext of more pressing 


need for interior operations ; but let it be forwarded in time to the central 
fund of the legion, because foreign affairs are the most powerful lever of our 
whole enterprise ; and God grant that we may not be taken unawares in the 
midst of a fatal irresolution. 

" N.B. In the present situation of affairs, the people must not allow to 
the enemy either recruitment or forced disarmament. The negotiations with 
the Muscovite Government will furnish a crowd of eloquent arguments on 
this subject ; but if these negotiations do not lead to the desired end, force 
must be repelled by force. 

(Signed) "Louis MIEROSLAWSKI. 
"1st March, 1861." 




" SINCE the first news of the disturbances which have taken place in the 
kingdom of Poland we have followed the impulse of our heart in declaring 
that we did not consider the Polish nation responsible for an agitation which 
is, above all, fatal to herself. We have attributed it alone to external influ- 
ences that have long been brought to bear upon the country by certain 
parties who have contracted, during the long years of an adventurous life, 
habits of disorder, of violence, and of obscure plots, which have perverted in 
them the noble sentiments of love for humanity, and even inspired the idea 
of sullying by crime the honour of the nation. 

"These manifestations of another age, long since condemned by the judg- 
ment of history, are no longer in accordance with the spirit of our epoch. 
The object of our present generation should be to establish the welfare of the 
country, not by torrents of blood, but by the means of peaceful progress. 

" This is the object we have had in view when, trusting in the Divine pro- 
tection, we made before God and our conscience the vow to consecrate our 
life to the happiness of our subjects. 

" But, in order to accomplish to the full extent this vow, which we shall 
always hold sacred, we need the assistance of all honest men who are sin- 
cerely devoted to their country, and who show their devotion not by 
interested calculations or criminal attempts, but by the maintenance of 
public tranquillity under the protection of the laws. 

" In our solicitude for the future welfare of the country, we are ready to 
consign to oblivion all past acts of rebellion. Therefore, ardently desiring to 
put a stop to an effusion of blood as useless as it is regrettable, we grant a 
free pardon to all those of our subjects in the kingdom implicated in the late 
troubles who have not incurred responsibility for other crimes or for offences 
committed while serving in the ranks of our army, and who may before the 
1st (13th) of May lay down their arms and return to their allegiance. 

" It is upon us that the duty devolves of preserving the country from the 
recurrence of these turbulent agitations, and to inaugurate a new era of its 
political life. This can only commence by a rational organization of the local 
administrative autonomy as a basis for the whole edifice. 

" We have already laid the foundations in the institutions granted by us to 
the kingdom ; but, to our sincere regret, the result has not yet been tested 
by experience, owing to the intrigues which have substituted chimerical 


delusions for the conditions of public order, without which no reform is 

" While continuing for the present to maintain these institutions in their 
integrity, we reserve it to ourselves, when they shall have been tested by 
experience, to proceed to their further development in accordance with the 
requirements of the times and of the country. It is on!y by confidence in 
our intentions that the kingdom of Poland will be able to efface the traces 
of the present evils, and to advance surely towards the destiny which our 
solicitude assigns it. We invoke the Divine assistance that we may be 
permitted to accomplish that which we have ever considered to be our 

(Signed) " ALEXANDER. 

" St. Petersburg, March 31e, 1863." 



Extract from the Address of the Municipality of St. Petersburg to the Emperor, 

April, 1863. 

" Enemies, envious of the progress of Kussia, and only beholding in the 
revival of society the fermentation of subversive elements, have conceived 
the plan of striking a blow at the integrity of the Russian empire. They 
dream of the possibility of tearing from it provinces which are the cradle of 
the Russian orthodox faith, and which were restored to our common country 
at the cost of torrents of Russian blood. 

"We, the citizens of St. Petersburg, feel convinced that any attempt against 
the integrity of the empire is an attack upon the existence of Russia, where 
the sentiment of national honour and attachment to its sovereign is more 
lively than ever. 

" We do not reply to our enemies by hatred and a thirst for vengeance ; but 
if it should please Providence to put Russia to the proof, we shall not recoil 
from any sacrifice ; we will raise the standard for our Czar and for our 
country, and will march wherever your sovereign will may think fit to 
lead us." 





"Foreign Office, April 10th, 1863. 

" MY LORD, Her Majesty's Government think it incumbent on them to 
state once more to the Government of his Majesty the Emperor of Russia the 
deep interest which, in common with the rest of Europe, they take in the 
welfare of the kingdom of Poland. 

" The general sympathy which is felt for the Polish nation might of itself 
justify her Majesty's Government in making, in favour of the Polish race, an 
appeal to the generous and benevolent feelings of his Imperial Majesty, who 
has of late, by various and important measures of improvement and reform, 
manifested an enlightened desire to promote the welfare of all classes of his 
subjects. But with regard to the kingdom of Poland her Majesty's Govern- 
ment feel that the Government of Great Britain has a peculiar right to make 
its opinions known to that of his Imperial Majesty, because Great Britain, having, 
in common with Austria, France, Prussia, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden, become 
a party to the treaty of Vienna in 1815, her Majesty's Government are entitled 
to interfere with regard to any matter which may appear to them to constitute 
a departure from the provisions and stipulations of that treaty. 

" By the first article of that treaty the grand duchy of Warsaw was erected 
into a kingdom of Poland, to be inseparably attached to the empire of Russia 
under certain conditions specified in that article ; and her Majesty's Govern- 
ment are concerned to have to say, that, although the union of the kingdom 
to the Empire has been maintained, the conditions on which that union 
was distinctly made to depend have not been fulfilled by the Russian 

" The Emperor Alexander, in execution of the engagements contracted by 
the treaty of Vienna, established in the kingdom of Poland a national repre- 
sentation and national institutions corresponding with the stipulations of the 
treaty. It is not necessary for her Majesty's Government to observe upon 
the manner in which those arrangements were practically administered from 
that time down to the revolt in 1830. But upon the suppression of that 
revolt by the Imperial arms those arrangements were swept away, and a 
totally different order of things was by the Imperial authority established. 


" Prince Gortschakoff argues, as his predecessors in office have on former 
occasions argued, that the suppression of that revolt cancelled all the engage- 
ments of Eussia in the treaty of Vienna, with regard to the kingdom of 
Poland, and left the Emperor of Eussia at full liberty to deal with the 
kingdom of Poland as with a conquered country, and to dispose of its people 
and institutions at his will. But her Majesty's Government cannot acquiesce 
in a doctrine which they deem so contrary to good faith, so destructive of the 
obligations of treaties, and so fatal to all the international ties which bind 
together the community of European states and powers. 

" If, indeed, the Emperor of Eussia had held Poland as part of the original 
dominions of his crown, or if he had acquired it by the unassisted success of 
his arms, and unsanctioned by the consent of any other power, he could have 
contended that might was equivalent to right, and without listening to the 
dictates of generosity and justice, he might have punished a temporary revolt 
of a portion of his Polish subjects by depriving the whole of them and their 
descendants for ever of those privileges and institutions which his predecessor 
had deemed essential to the welfare and prosperity of the Polish kingdom. 

" But the position of the Eussian sovereign with regard to the kingdom 
of Poland was entirely different. He held that kingdom by the solemn 
stipulations of a treaty made by him with Great Britain, Austria, France, 
Prussia, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden ; and the revolt of the Poles could not 
release him from the engagements so contracted, nor obliterate the signatures 
by which his plenipotentiaries had concluded, and he himself had ratified, 
those engagements. 

" The question, then, having arisen whether the engagements taken by 
Eussia by the treaty of Vienna have been and are now faithfully carried into 
execution, her Majesty's Government, with deep regret, feel bound to say 
that this question must be answered in the negative. 

" With regard to the present revolt, her Majesty's Government forbear to 
dwell upon that long course of action, civil, political, and military, carried on 
by the Eussian Government within the kingdom of Poland, of which the 
Poles so loudly complain, and to which they refer as the causes which occa- 
sioned, and in their opinion justified, their insurrection. Her Majesty's 
Government would rather advert to the much-wished-for termination of these 
lamentable troubles. 

" What may be the final issue of this contest, it is not, indeed, for her 
Majesty's Government to foretell ; but whether the result shall be the more 
extended spread of the insurrection, and its assumption of dimensions not at 
present contemplated, or whether, as is more likely, that result shall be the 
ultimate success of the imperial arms, it is clear and certain that neither 
result can be arrived at without a calamitous effusion of blood, a great sacri- 
fice of human life, and an extensive devastation of property ; and it is evident 
that even if Poland shall be reduced to subjection, the remembrance of the 
events of the struggle will long continue to make it the bitter enemy of 
Eussia, and a source of weakness and of danger instead of being an element 
of security and strength. 

" Her Majesty's Government, therefore, most earnestly entreat the Govern- 
ment of Eussia to give their most serious attention to all the foregoing con- 
siderations ; and her Majesty's Government would beg, moreover, to submit 



to the Imperial Government that, besides the obligations of treaties, Russia, 
as a member of the community of European states, has duties of comity to- 
wards other nations to fulfil. The condition of things which has now for a 
long course of time existed in Poland is a source of danger, not to Russia 
alone, but also to the general peace of Europe. 

" The disturbances which are perpetually breaking oul among the Polish 
subjects of his Imperial Majesty necessarily produce a serious agitation of 
opinion in other countries of Europe, tending to excite much anxiety in the 
minds of their Governments, and which might, under possible circumstances, 
produce complications of the most serious character. 

" Her Majesty's Government, therefore, fervently hope that the Russian 
Government will so arrange these matters that peace may be restored to the 
Polish people, and may be established upon lasting foundations. 

" Your lordship will read this despatch to Prince Gortschakoff, and you 
will give him a copy of it. " I am, &c., 

(Signed) " RUSSELL." 


" Foreign Office, April 24th, 1863. 

" MY LORD, I have received and laid before the Queen your Excellency's 
despatch of the 12th instant, inclosing a copy of a manifesto on Polish 
affairs issued by the Emperor of Russia on 31st March (12th April). 

" Her Majesty's Government have carefully and anxiously considered the 
contents of this document, in the hope to find in it the germ of a restoration 
of peace, and the hope of good government to Poland. 

" I have to make to you the following remarks as the result of their 

" An amnesty may lay the foundation of peace in two cases : 

" 1st. If the insurgents have been thoroughly defeated, and are only 
waiting for a promise of pardon to enable them to return to their homes. 

" 2nd. If the amnesty is accompanied with such ample promises of the 
redress of the grievances which gave occasion to the insurrection, as to in- 
duce the insurgents to think that their object is attained. 

" It is clear that the first of these cases is not that of the present insur- 

" It is not put down ; it is, on the contrary, rather more extensive than it 
was a few weeks ago. 

" Let us, then, examine the amnesty with reference to the second of the 
supposed cases. 

"The Emperor, referring to the institutions which he has conferred 
(octroyees) on the kingdom of Poland, says : 

** * En maintenant encore aujourd'hui ces institutions dans leur integrite, 
nous nous reservons, lorsqu'elles auront e"te" eprouvees dans la pratique, de 
proceder a leur developpement ulte"rieur selon les besoins du temps et ceux 
du pays.' 

" This promise can hardly be satisfactory to the Poles. For it must be 
observed, with regard to the institutions already given, that it was during 


their existence that 2,000 young men were seized arbitrarily in one night, 
and condemned to serve as soldiers in the Russian army, in defiance of jus- 
tice, and even in violation of the law of 1859, so recently enacted ; so that 
it is evident no security would be obtained by submitting again to the same 
laws. With those institutions in full force and vigour, innocent men might 
be imprisoned as criminals, or condemned to serve as soldiers, or banished to 
distant countries, without a trial, without publicity, without any guarantee 

" As to the promise held out for the future, it must be observed that it is 
made to depend on the practical working of these institutions, and on the 
wants of the time and of the country. 

" The first of these conditions alone destroys all reasonable hope of the 
fulfilment of this promise ; for the practical working of the institutions 
hitherto given depends on the co-operation of native Poles of property 
and character, as members of the Council of State, and of provincial and 
municipal assemblies. But the recent conduct of the Russian Government 
in Poland has deprived them of the confidence of all Poles of this descrip- 
tion and forced all such Poles to withdraw from the bodies in which their 
functions were to be exercised. 

" There are wanting, therefore, in this Imperial manifesto, the first ele- 
ments of success ; namely, a guarantee of security on the one side, and the 
feeling of trust and confidence on the other. 

"In a despatch of Lord Durham, then ambassador at St. Petersburg, 
dated in August 1832, Lord Durham says ' There has long been a jealousy, 
nay hatred, existing between the Russians and the Poles.' Her Majesty's 
Government had hoped that the present Emperor, by raising the social con- 
dition of his Russian and securing the political freedom of his Polish sub- 
jects, might have united both by the link of loyal attachment to the throne. 

" This hope has been unfortunately disappointed, and it is with great pain 
that her Majesty's Government observe that the feelings of hatred between 
Russians and Poles have not in the lapse of thirty years been softened or 

" The present amnesty does not appear likely to diminish the intensity of 
the insurrection, or give any solid security to the most moderate of Polish 
patriots. " I am, &c., 

(Signed) " RUSSELL." 


" St. Petersburg, April I4th, 1863. 

" M. LE BARON, On the morning of the 5th (17th) of April Lord Napier 
delivered to me a copy, herewith enclosed, of a despatch from Her Britannic 
Majesty's Principal Secretary of State relative to the present situation of the 
kingdom of Poland. 

" The first part of this document is devoted to a retrospective examination 
of the question of right; the second expresses the wish that peace may be 
restored to the kingdom of Poland, and established on a lasting basis. I will 
reply to these two points of Lord Russell's despatch. 

u 2 


" As regards the question of right, her Britannic Majesty's Principal 
Secretary of State reproduces the arguments already recorded in his des- 
patch of the 2nd of March ; I can, therefore, refer to the observations which 
I then made to the ambassador of England. 

" The Government of her Britannic Majesty takes a position on ground 
where the Imperial Cabinet will never hesitate to meet it that of treaties. 

" Nevertheless, it is here a question less of the text than of the interpre- 
tation of treaties. We have the right not to admit without reservation every 
interpretation which it might be wished to give them. 

"Lord Russell says in his despatch that, by article 1 of the General Act 
signed at Vienna, the 28th of May (9th of June), 1815, 'the duchy of 
Warsaw was erected into a kingdom of Poland to be inseparably attached to 
the empire of Russia under certain conditions.' 

" Now, this is what the Act of Congress of Vienna stipulates in respect to 
those conditions : 

" ' Poles, subjects of Russia, Austria, and Prussia respectively, shall enjoy 
representation, and shall obtain national institutions to be determined in 
conformity with the political existence which each of the Governments to 
which they belong shall consider it useful and expedient to grant to them.' 

" The Emperor Alexander I. developed these principles in accordance with 
his personal views. He granted to Poland the constitution of the 12th 
(24th) of December, 1815. It was a spontaneous act of his sovereign will, 
and it did not constitute an irrevocable engagement towards foreign powers, 
inasmuch as the act of the constitution, posterior to the treaty of Vienna, 
was not even communicated to them. 

k 'Lord Russell contests the principle according to which the revolt of 
Poland in 1830, having resulted in the declaration of the forfeiture of the 
sovereign dynasty, should be held to annul the bases of political existence 
granted in virtue of the Act of Vienna. 

" Although history has more than once confirmed this conclusion of natural 
right, theory may afford matter for controversy. We think it may be laid 
down that if the revolt does not invalidate the national engagements, it at 
any rate annuls the spontaneous development of them which had been 
generously added, and which have led to fatal results to Poland and to 

" But the Principal Secretary of State of her Britannic Majesty gives to 
this argument a prominent place in his despatch, while I had only inciden- 
tally put it forward in the course of my conversation with Lord Napier. 

" The English ambassador alludes to it in the following terms in the 
despatch which he had the goodness to communicate to me : 

" ' Prince Gortschakoff also said to me that, desiring to treat this question 
in a spirit of conciliation and humanity, he had abstained from employing 
an argument which lay at his disposal that of the right of conquest.' 

" Moreover, everything has been said on both sides in this discussion, and 
to prolong it on that ground would be a useless task. 

{t I proceed to the second part of Lord Russell's despatch. 

" The design of our august master is to arrive at a practical solution. We 
assume that such is also the desire of the Government of her Britannic 
Majesty. Since its aim is to see assured to the kingdom of Poland the repose 


and welfare which are the objects of the solicitude of his Majesty the 
Emperor, it appears to us difficult not to arrive at an understanding. 

" The difference in our points of view lies in the fact that the English 
Government appears to believe that the constitution of 1815 is the sole 
panacea calculated to calm the present agitation of Poland. 

" But the English Government and nation, whose practical good sense has 
founded the greatness of England, can hardly assert that there is only one 
form of government possible for all peoples, whatever may be their history 
and development. Before arriving at the political maturity of which Eng- 
land offers the example, there are many degrees to pass through, and each 
nation must proceed in this path according to its own instincts. It is just 
and natural that a sovereign, animated by the most benevolent intentions, 
should calculate the bearing and extension of institutions destined to place 
his subjects in the most favourable conditions of existence. 

" The idea of our august master has been shown ever since his accession to 
the throne, and cannot be ignored by any one in Europe. 

" His Majesty has resolutely entered upon the path of reform. Belying 
upon the trust and devotion of his people, he has undertaken and accom- 
plished in a few years a social transformation which other states have only 
been able to realize after a long lapse of time and many efforts. His solici- 
tude has not ceased there. A system of gradual development has been 
applied to all the branches of the public service, and to existing institutions. 
It opens to Eussia the prospect of a regular progress. The Emperor 
perseveres in it without precipitation or impulse (entramemenf), taking into 
account the elements which it is the work of time to prepare and mature, 
but without ever deviating from the line he has traced for himself. 

" This measure has conciliated to him the gratitude and affection of his 
subjects. We think it gives him a title to the sympathies of Europe. 

" The same designs have not ceased to influence his Majesty since his 
solicitude has been brought to bear upon the kingdom of Poland. 

" We shall not enter here into an enumeration of the national institu- 
tions, for the most part elective, with which this country has been endowed. 

" They do not appear to have been sufficiently understood in Europe, 
either on account of remoteness, or rather, because chimercial passions and 
the interested labours of a hostile party have stood in the way of an equitable 
and impartial judgment. 

" The system inaugurated by our august master contains a germ which time 
and experience must develop. It is destined to lead to an administrative 
autonomy on the basis of the provincial and municipal institutions which in 
England have been the starting-point and the foundation of the greatness 
and prosperity of the country. But in the execution of this idea the 
Emperor has encountered obstacles, which are found principally in the 
agitations of the party of disorder. 

" This party has understood that if it allowed the peaceable majority of 
the kingdom to enter upon this path of regular progress, there would be an 
end to their aspirations. Their intrigues have not allowed the new institu- 
tions to be carried into effect. It has been impossible to show how they 
work, or how far they respond to the real necessities and to the degree of 
maturity of the country. 


" It is only when this experiment shall have been made that it will be 
possible to pass a judgment upon this work and to complete it. 

" The manifesto of the 31st of March indicates the wishes of our august 
master in this matter. 

" By the side of an act of clemency, to which it has been possible to give 
a large extension since the dispersion of the most important armed bands, 
the Emperor has maintained in force the institutions already granted, and 
has declared that he reserved to himself the power of giving to them the 
developments indicated by time and the requirements of the country. 

" His Majesty can, then, refer to the past in the rectitude of his conscience ; 
as to the future, it necessarily depends on the confidence with which these 
institutions will be met in the kingdom. 

" In taking a stand upon this ground, our august master considers that he 
acts as the best friend of Poland, as the only one whose aim it is to secure 
her welfare by practical means. 

" Lord Eussell calls upon Russia to discharge those duties which, as a 
member of European society, she owes to foreign states. 

" Russia is too directly interested in the tranquillity of Poland not to under- 
stand the duties of her position towards other nations. 

" It would be difficult to assert that she has met, in this respect, with 
scrupulous reciprocity. The continual conspiracy which is being organized 
and armed abroad to keep up disorder in the kingdom is a fact of public 
notoriety, the inconvenience of which principally consists in the moral effects 
which the favourers of the insurrection deduce from it, in order to lead 
astray the peaceable population by gaining credit for the belief in direct 
assistance from abroad. 

" In this manner we have seen -produced two influences, both equally 
grievous that exercised by foreign agitation on the insurrection, and that 
which the continuation of the insurrection itself exercises in its turn upon 
public opinion in Europe. 

" These two influences react one upon the other, and have ended by bring- 
ing affairs to the situation which the Powers at present point out to the 
vigilance of the Imperial Cabinet. 

" It is asked of it to restore the kingdom to the conditions of a lasting 

"The Powers are inspired with this desire by the conviction that the 
periodical troubles of Poland cause to the states placed in the immediate 
vicinity of its frontiers a shock, the reaction of which is felt by the whole of 
Europe, that they excite the minds of the people in a disquieting manner, and 
that they might, if prolonged, bring about, under certain circumstances, 
complications of the most serious nature. 

" The Government of her Britannic Majesty, in expressing this desire, 
further relies upon the engagements of 1815, which affect the condition of 
the different parts of Poland. We do not hesitate to declare that these 
wishes are entirely hi accordance with those of our august master. 

" His Majesty admits that in the peculiar position of the kingdom the 
troubles which agitate it may affect the tranquillity of the adjoining states, 
between which were concluded on the 21st of April (3rd of May), 1815, 
separate treaties intended to determine the condition of the duchy of 


Warsaw, and that they may interest the powers who signed the general 
transaction of the 28th of May (9th of June), 1815, in which were inserted 
the principal stipulations of these separate treaties. 

" The Emperor believes that explanations on the basis and in the spirit of 
the communications which have just been addressed to us may conduce to a 
result conformable to the general interests. 

" Our august master notices with satisfaction the sentiments of confidence 
which the Government of her Britannic Majesty testify towards him in 
relying upon him to bring back the kingdom of Poland to conditions which 
would render possible the realization of his benevolent views. 

" But the more the Emperor is disposed to take into account the just pre- 
possessions of the neighbouring states, and the interest which the powers 
who signed the treaty of 1815 show in a state of things which is the cause 
of deep solicitude to his Majesty himself, the more our august master con- 
siders it a duty to request the serious attention, to the true causes of this 
situation, and to the means of remedying it, of the courts who have 
addressed themselves with confidence to him. 

" If the Government of her Britannic Majesty lays stress upon (releve) 
the reaction which the troubles of Poland exercise on the peace of Europe, 
we must be still more struck with the influence which the agitations of 
Europe have in all times had the power to exercise upon the tranquillity of 

" Since 1815 this country has witnessed the development of a material 
welfare unknown until then in her annals, while other states have in the 
same interval undergone many interior crises. 

" This repose was only troubled in 1830 by the consequences of commotions 
coming from abroad ; eighteen years later, in 1848, while almost the whole 
of Europe was convulsed by the revolution, the kingdom of Poland was able 
to preserve its tranquillity. 

" We are persuaded that it would be the same at present, were it not for the 
continual instigations of the party of cosmopolitan revolution. If this party, 
everywhere devoted to the overthrow of order, at present concentrates all its 
activity upon Poland, a grave error would be committed in supposing that 
its aspirations will stop short at that limit. What it seeks there is a lever to 
overturn the rest of Europe. 

" Those cabinets which attach importance to seeing the kingdom of Poland 
return a moment earlier to the conditions of a durable peace, cannot there- 
fore more certainly insure the realization of this desire than by labouring, on 
their side, to appease the moral and material disorder which it is sought to 
propagate in Europe, and thus to exhaust the main source of the agitations 
at which their foresight is alarmed. 

" We entertain the firm hope that in strengthening in this respect the ties 
which bind them together, they will effectually serve the cause of peace and 
of the general interests. 

" I have the honour to request that you will communicate a copy of this 
despatch to the principal Secretary of State of her Britannic Majesty. 

" Receive, &c., 




"Foreign-office, May 2nd. 

"MY LORD, Baron Brunnow came to me this morning, and, before 
giving me a copy of the despatch of his Government in answer to mine to 
your Excellency of the 10th of April, said to me in substance what follows : 
' You have declared to me that the step which Lord Napier was instructed 
to take was taken with a pacific intention. The Imperial Cabinet has 
received your despatch in a similar spirit of peace and of conciliation. 

" ' You have told me that the representation you have made is founded 
upon the basis of the stipulations of the treaty of Vienna of 1815. 

" ' The Imperial Cabinet on its part accepts this basis. 

" * The Imperial Cabinet is ready to enter upon an exchange of ideas upon 
the ground and within the limits of the treaties of 1815.' 

" I enclose a copy of the communication of Prince Gortschakoff. 

" I shall, in another and a later despatch, furnish you with the views of 
her Majesty's Government upon the contents of that communication. 

" I am, &c., 



" Foreign-office, June 17th, 1863. 

" MY LORD, Her Majesty's Government have considered with the deepest 
attention the despatch of Prince Gortschakoff of the 26th of April, which 
was placed in my hands by Baron Brunnow on the 2nd of May. 

"Her Majesty's Government are not desirous, any more than Prince 
Gortschakoff, of continuing a barren discussion. I will therefore pass over 
all the controversy regarding my previous despatch ; I will not endeavour in 
the present communication to fix the precise meaning of the article regarding 
Poland in the treaty of Vienna, nor will I argue, as Prince Gortschakoff 
seems to expect I should do, that there is only one form under which good 
government can be established. Still less will I call in question the benevolent 
intentions of the enlightened Emperor who has already in a short time 
effected such marvellous changes in the legal condition of his Russian 

" Her Majesty's Government are willing with the Emperor of Russia to 
seek a practical solution of a difficult and most important problem. 

" Baron Brunnow, in presenting to me Prince GortschakofFs despatch, 
said, ' The Imperial Cabinet is ready to enter upon an exchange of ideas 
upon the ground and within the limits of the treaties of 1815.' 

" Her Majesty's Government are thus invited by the Government of 


Russia to an exchange of ideas upon the basis of the treaty of 1815, with a 
view to the pacification and permanent tranquillity of Poland. 

" Before making any definite proposals, it is essential to point out that 
there are two leading principles upon which, as it appears to her Majesty's 
Government, any future government of Poland ought to rest. The first of 
these is the establishment of confidence in the government on the part of 
the governed. 

" The original views of the Emperor Alexander I . are stated by Lord 
Castlereagh, who had heard from the Emperor's own lips, in a long conversa- 
tion, the plan he contemplated. 

" The plan of the Emperor is thus described by Lord Castlereagh : ' To 
retain the whole of the duchy of Warsaw, with the exception of the small 
portion to the westward of Kalisch, which he meant to assign to Prussia, 
erecting the remainder, together with the Polish provinces formerly dismem- 
bered, into a kingdom under the dominion of Russia, with a national 
administration congenial to the sentiments of the people.' 

" The whole force of this plan consists in the latter words. 

" Whether power is retained in the hands of one, as in the old monarchy 
of France, or divided among a select body of the aristocracy, as in the 
republic of Venice, or distributed among a sovereign, a house of peers, 
and a representative assembly, as in England its virtue arid strength must 
consist in its being a ' national administration congenial to the sentiments 
of the people.' 

" The Emperor Alexander II., speaking of the institutions he has given, 
says, ' As to the future, it necessarily depends on the confidence with which 
these institutions will be received on the part of the kingdom.' 

" Such an administration as Alexander I. intended, such confidence as 
Alexander II. looked for, unhappily do not exist in Poland. 

" The next principle of order and stability must be found in the supremacy 
of law over arbitrary will. Where such supremacy exists, the subject or 
citizen may enjoy his property or exercise his industry in peace, and the 
security he feels as an individual will be felt in its turn by the Government 
under which he lives. 

" Partial tumults, secret conspiracies, and the interference of cosmopolite 
strangers, will not shake the firm edifice of such a government. 

" This element of stability is likewise wanting in Poland. The religious 
liberty guaranteed by the solemn declarations of the Empress Catherine, the 
political freedom granted by the deliberate charter of the Emperor 
Alexander I., have alike been abrogated by succeeding governments, and 
have been only partially revived by the present Emperor. 

" It is no easy task to restore the confidence which has been lost, and to 
regain the peace which is now everywhere broken. 

" Her Majesty's Government would deem themselves guilty of great pre- 
sumption if they were to express an assurance that vague declarations of good 
intentions, or even the enactment of some wise laws, would make such an 
impression on the minds of the Polish people as to obtain peace and restore 

" In present circumstances it appears to her Majesty's Government that 


nothing less than the following outline of measures should be adopted as the 
bases of pacification : 

" 1. Complete and general amnesty. 

" 2. National representation, with powers similar to those which are fixed 
by the charter of the 15th (27th) November, 1815. 

" 3. Poles to be named to public offices in such a manner as to form a 
distinct national administration, having the confidence of the country. 

" 4. Full and entire liberty of conscience ; repeal of the restrictions imposed 
on Catholic worship. 

<' 5. The Polish language recognized in the kingdom as the official language, 
and used as such in the administration of the law and in education. 

" 6. The establishment of a regular and legal system of recruiting. 

" These six points might serve as the indications of measures to be adopted 
after calm and full deliberation. 

" But it is difficult, nay, almost impossible, to create the requisite confi- 
dence and calm while the passions of men are becoming daily more excited, 
their hatreds more deadly, their determination to succeed or perish more 
fixed and immovable. 

" Your lordship has sent me an extract from the St. Petersburg Gazette of 
the 7th (19th) of May. I could send your lordship, in return, extracts from 
London newspapers, giving accounts of atrocities, equally horrible, committed 
by men acting on behalf of Russian authority. 

" It is not for her Majesty's Government to discriminate between the real 
facts and the exaggerations of hostile parties. 

" Many of the allegations of each are probably unfounded, but some must 
in all probability be true. How, then, are we to hope to conduct to any good 
end a negotiation carried on between parties thus exasperated ? 

" In an ordinary war, the successes of fleets and armies, who fight with 
courage, but without hatred, may be balanced in a negotiation carried on in 
the midst of hostilities. An island more or less to be transferred, a boundary 
more or less to be extended, might express the value of the last victory or 
conquest. But where the object is to attain civil peace, and to induce men 
to live under those against whom they have fought with rancour and despera- 
tion, the case is different. The first thing to be done, therefore, in the opinion 
of her Majesty's Government, is to establish a suspension of hostilities. This 
might be done in the name of humanity by a proclamation of the Emperor of 
Russia, without any derogation of his dignity. The Poles, of course, would 
not be entitled to the benefit of such an act, unless they themselves refrained 
from hostilities of every kind during the suspension. 

" Tranquillity thus for the moment restored, the next thing is to consult 
the powers who signed the treaty of Vienna. Prussia, Spain, Sweden, and 
Portugal must be asked to give their opinion as to the best mode of giving 
effect to a treaty to which they were contracting parties. 

" What her Majesty's Government propose, therefore, consists in these 
three propositions : 

"1st. The adoption of the six points enumerated as bases of negotiation. 

" 2nd. A provisional suspension of arms, to be proclaimed by the Emperor 
of Russia. 


" 3rd. A conference of the eight powers who signed the treaty of Vienna 
" Your Excellency will read and give a copy of this despatch to Prince 
Gortschakoff. " I am, &c., 



u St. Petersburg, July 1st. 

" M. I,E BARON, Lord Napier has been instructed to give me the annexed 
despatch from her Britannic Majesty's principal Secretary of State to read, 
and a copy of it. We have pleasure in learning that Lord Russell admits 
with us the barren nature of a prolonged controversy relative to the significa- 
tion of the 1st article of the treaty of Vienna ; and that with us, likewise, 
he desires to place the question upon ground which should offer more oppor- 
tunities for arriving at a practical solution. Before taking our stand upon 
this ground, we deem it useful to put in a clear light our positions respect- 
ively. The Imperial Cabinet admits the principle that every power signing 
a treaty has the right to interpret the sense thereof from its own point of 
view, provided always that that interpretation remains within the limits 
of the meaning that is possible to be put upon it according to the text itself. 
In virtue of this principle the Imperial Cabinet does not dispute this right 
in any one of the eight powers which have concurred in the general proceed- 
ings of Vienna of 1815. Experience has, it is true, demonstrated that the 
exercise of such right issues in no practical result. The experiments made 
already in 1831 have had no issue but to place on record the divergence 
of opinions. Nevertheless, this right exists. It extends as far as the limits 
which I have indicated above, and is incapable of obtaining a wider range 
but with the express consent of the contracting party most directly interested. 
Accordingly, it depended upon the Imperial Cabinet to maintain the strict 
application of this principle, observing the line of action taken towards them 
in the course of the month of April last, with respect to events which occurred 
in the kingdom of Poland. If, in reply to that appeal, they went further into 
the subject, it was entirely owing to their perfect readiness to seek to con- 
ciliate, and in order to reply with courtesy to an appeal which bore a similar 
character. I will add that another cause was, that in the intentions which 
his Majesty the Emperor cherishes towards his Polish subjects there was no 
purpose which could dispose us to remove them from the light. This con- 
sideration was perfectly brought out by your Excellency when you informed 
the principal Secretary of her Britannic Majesty that the Imperial Cabinet 
was ready to enter upon an exchange of views upon the basis and within the 
limits of the treaties of 1815. That declaration we adhere to, and my 
despatch of this day will furnish the best proof of our perseverance in the 
same disposition. Having thus confirmed the genuine and sole character of 
the invitation which we have addressed to the English Cabinet, we will permit 
ourselves, after Lord Russell's example, to precede the observations which we 
have to communicate to his Excellency by some reflections in reply to the 
questions which he has entered upon and proposed at the outset. 


" The principal Secretary of State of her Britannic Majesty says that the 
basis of government is in every case the confidence which it inspires in the 
governed, and that the ascendancy of the law over the arbitrary element must 
be the foundation for order and stability. A priori, we subscribe to these 
principles. We will only recall to mind that their indispensable corollary is 
respect for authority. The confidence with which a government inspires the 
governed depends not only on the goodness of its intentions, but also on the 
conviction imparted that it has the power of carrying them into effect If 
Lord Russell affirms that partial tumults, secret conspiracies, and the influence 
of cosmopolite strangers, will not shake a government based upon confidence 
and respect for the laws, he will also admit that neither confidence nor legal 
conduct would be possible were that government to allow that a fraction of 
the people was vested with the right of seeking elsewhere than under the 
legitimately constituted authority, by armed rebellion supported by hostile 
or foreign parties, the well-being and the prosperity which they might declare 
that they could not realize without the aid of inspirations from abroad. Lord 
Russell places before us six articles, which he considers to be of a nature to 
provide for the pacification of the kingdom of Poland. In communicating 
them to us, her Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State adopts in 
part the point of view put forward by my despatch of the 14th of April. This 
is an exchange of sentiments, and to that form of expression we have no 
objection to raise. I have clearly indicated in the despatch to which I refer 
the germs of practical conduct laid down by our august master, and the 
developments reserved in his Majesty's purpose to be given them when he 
should deem the proper time to be come. In comparing them with his own 
views, Lord Russell will convince himself that the greater part of the 
measures which he points to have already been decreed or prepared on the 
initiative of our august master. The Principal Secretary of State of her 
Britannic Majesty expresses the hope that the adoption of these measures 
would lead to the complete and permanent pacification of the kingdom of 
Poland. We are unable to share this hope without certain reserves. Viewing 
the subject as we do, re-organization of the kingdom must in all cases be pre- 
ceded by the re-establishment of order in the country. That result is dependent 
upon a condition to which we had called the attention of the Government of 
her Britannic Majesty, and which is not only unfulfilled, but is not even 
alluded to in the despatch of Lord Russell. We refer to the material assist- 
ance and moral encouragement obtained from abroad by the insurgents. 
We are not aware from what sources of information the Government of her 
Britannic Majesty have formed their judgment of the state of affairs in 
Poland ; we must presume that they are not of impartial origin. Indeed, we 
find Lord Russell himself establishing a kind of similarity between the news 
published by the St. Petersburg journal from statements furnished under the 
control and upon the responsibility of the recognized agent of the Govern- 
ment, and the information of every kind which the London journals borrow, 
without discernment or any guarantee, from the most suspected publications 
of the Polish revolutionary press. The confidence inspired by these publica- 
tions has more than once given cause for declarations which, in spite of the 
formal denials given to them by daily events, have contributed to mislead 
opinion in England. In this manner have been propagated, in relation to 


the brave Russian soldiers who fulfil in Poland a painful duty with devotion 
and self-denial, calumnies and outrages which all Russia has felt with pro- 
found indignation. If Lord Russell were exactly informed of what passes in 
the kingdom of Poland, he would know, as we do, that wherever the armed 
rebellion has striven to acquire substance, to give itself a visible head, it has 
been crushed. The masses have kept aloof from it, the rural population 
evinces even hostility to it, because the disorders by which agitators live ruin 
the industrial classes. The insurrection sustains itself alone by a terrorism 
unprecedented in history. The bands are recruited principally from elements 
foreign to the country. They gather together in the woods, and disperse at 
the first attack to reunite in other places. When they are too closely pressed 
they cross the frontier, to re-enter the country at another point. Politically, 
it is a stage display intended to act upon Europe. The principle of action of 
the directing committees from without is to keep up agitation at all cost, in 
order to give food for the declarations of the press, to abuse public opinion, 
and to harass the Government by furnishing an occasion and a pretext for a 
diplomatic intervention which should lead to military action. All the hope of 
the armed insurrection is in this it is the object at which it has laboured 
from its rise. 

" Lord Russell will admit that in this situation the measures which he 
recommends to us would with difficulty find application practically. The 
greater part, I repeat it, have already been decreed ; the state of the country 
has, up to the present time, paralyzed their execution. As long as that con- 
dition of things shall subsist, the same causes will produce the same effects. 
The presence of armed bands, the terrorism of the central committee, and the 
appearance of an immediate pressure from without, would, moreover, take 
from these measures the fitness of time, the dignity, and the effectiveness 
which we could promise ourselves in their spontaneous adoption. We will 
go further. Even when they could be put into execution with the full exten- 
sion with which they are invested in the mind of the principal Secretary of 
State of her Britannic Majesty, they would have no prospect whatever of 
attaining the result which he has in view that of pacifying the country. If 
Lord Russell follows attentively the productions of the press devoted to the 
Polish rebellion, he must be aware that the insurgents demand neither an 
amnesty, nor an autonomy, nor a representation either more or less complete. 
The absolute independence of the kingdom even would be for them only a 
means for arriving at the final object of their aspirations. This object is 
dominion over provinces where the immense majority are Russians by race 
or by religion ; in a word, it is Poland extended to the two seas, which 
would inevitably bring about a claim to the Polish provinces belonging to 
other neighbouring powers. We desire to pronounce no judgment upon these 
aspirations. It suffices for us to prove that they exist, and that the Polish 
insurgents do not conceal them. The final result at which they would arrive 
cannot be doubtful. It would be a general conflagration, which the elements 
of disorder scattered through all countries would be brought to complicate, 
and which seek for an opportunity to subvert Europe. We have too much 
confidence in the principal Secretary of State of her Britannic Majesty to 
allow that he can approve an object as irreconcilable with the peace and with 
the equilibrium of Europe, with which are bound up the interests of Great 


Britain, as they are with the maintenance of the treaties of 1815, the only 
basis and the only starting-point of the overtures which he has just made to us. 
Lord Eussell quotes a passage related by Lord Castlereagh of a conversation 
which that statesman had with the Emperor Alexander I. in 1815, and which 
mentions the project formed by this sovereign to combine the duchy of 
Warsaw * with the Polish provinces anciently dismembered, into a kingdom 
under the sovereignty of Russia, with an administration in accordance with 
the wishes of the people." This idea was a passing inclination of the Emperor 
Alexander I., and one which that sovereign did not accomplish when he was 
enabled to consider more maturely the interests of his kingdom. At all 
events, this question must be excluded even in an exchange of ideas made 
within the limits of the treaties of 1815. The only stipulation of these 
treaties which can have made it appear doubtful that the Emperor of Russia 
possessed the kingdom of Poland by the same title as that by which he holds 
his other possessions, the only one which might have made his rights 
dependent upon any condition whatever, and which explains the possibility 
of an exchange of ideas with foreign courts upon the subject of his relations 
with that portion of his dominions, is the vague phrase of article 1, which 
says ' that the Emperor of Russia reserves it to himself to give to this state, 
enjoying a distinct administration, such an internal extension as he shall 
deem advisable ;' and that article which says * that the Poles, the respective 
subjects of the high contracting parties, shall obtain representation and 
national institutions, regulated in conformity with the mode of the political 
existence which each of the Governments to which they belong shall deem it 
expedient and proper to bestow upon them.' But the history of this period 
is not so remote that the remembrance can be lost of the position which 
Russia held at the termination of the European crisis which was brought to 
an end by the treaty of Vienna, From that time we should not be far from 
the truth if we affirmed that the 1st article of the treaty of Vienna was pre- 
pared by and directly emanated from his Majesty the Emperor Alexander I. 
The conversation with Lord Castlereagh cited by Lord Russell is an additional 
evidence of this fact 

"After saying this, the Principal Secretary of State of her Britannic 
Majesty will dispense us from giving an answer to the proposed arrange- 
ment for a suspension of hostilities. It would not resist a serious examina- 
tion of the conditions necessary for carrying it into effect. If it were to be 
defined between whom it was to be negotiated, of what nature the status quo 
was to be which it would guarantee, and who was to watch over its execu- 
tion, it would readily be perceived that the provisions of public law could 
not be applied to a situation which would be a flagrant violation of such law. 
His Majesty the Emperor owes to his faithful army, which struggles for the 
maintenance of order, to the peaceable majority of the Poles who suffer from 
these deplorable agitations, and to Russia, on whom they impose painful 
sacrifices, to take energetic measures to terminate them. Desirable as it 
may be speedily to place a term to the effusion of blood, this object can only 
be attained by the insurgents throwing down their arms and surrendering 
themselves to the clemency of the Emperor. Every other arrangement 
would be incompatible with the dignity of our august master, and with the 
sentiments of the Russian nation. It would, besides, have a result dia- 


metrically opposed to the one recommended by Lord Eussell. As to the 
idea of a conference of the eight powers who signed the treaty of Vienna, 
which should discuss the six points adopted as bases, it presents to us serious 
inconveniences, without our being able to see in it any advantage. If the 
measures in question are sufficient for the pacification of the country, a con- 
ference would be without object. If the measures were to be submitted to 
ulterior deliberation, there would result a direct interference of foreign 
powers in the most intimate details of the administration an interference 
that no great power could admit, and which certainly England would not 
accept in her own affairs. Such an interference would be neither in the 
spirit nor in the letter of the treaties of Vienna, on the base of which we 
have invited the powers to a friendly exchange of ideas. It would result in 
removing still further the end which they propose to themselves by depriving 
the Government of its prestige and its authority, and by further increasing 
the pretensions and illusions of the Polish agitators. The course which was 
followed in 1815 appears to us to indicate clearly enough the nature of the 
deliberations which may take place upon questions bearing, on the one side, 
on the general interest, and on the other upon administrative details of the 
exclusive dominion of the neighbouring sovereign states. At that epoch a 
distinction was practically established between these two classes of interests ; 
the first have been the object of separate negotiations on the part of the 
courts of Russia, Austria, and Prussia, between which the traditions of his- 
tory, a permanent contact, and an immediate neighbourhood created a strict 
solidarity. All the arrangements destined to regulate the interior adminis- 
tration and the mutual relations of the Polish territories placed, since the 
congress of Vienna, under their respective dominions, have been laid down 
in treaties concluded directly between these three courts on April 21st 
(May 3rd), 1815. They have been successively completed by a series of special 
conventions whenever circumstances have required it. The general principles 
mentioned in these treaties, and which could interest Europe, have alone 
been inserted in the Act of the Congress of Vienna, signed on May 27th 
(June 8th), by all the powers invited to concur in it. At present it is not a 
question of these general principles, but the administrative details and 
ulterior arrangements would furnish useful matter for discussion by the three 
courts, in order to place the respective position of their Polish possessions, 
to which the stipulations of the treaties of 1815 extend, in harmony with 
present necessities and the progress of time. The Imperial Cabinet declares 
itself from the present time ready to enter into a similar understanding with 
the Cabinets of Vienna and Berlin. In any case the re-establishment of 
order is an indispensable condition, which must precede any serious applica- 
tion of the measures destined for the pacification of the kingdom. This 
condition depends greatly upon the resolution of the great powers not to 
lend themselves to calculations which the instigators of the Polish insurrec- 
tion found on or expect from an active intervention in aid of their exaggerated 
aspirations. Clear and categorical language on the part of those powers 
would contribute to dissipate these illusions, and to thwart these calculations 
which tend to prolong the disorder and excitement of public opinion. They 
would thus bring nearer the moment which we invoke that in which the 
tranquillization of passions and the return of material order will permit our 


august master to labour for the moral pacification of the country by putting 
into execution the measures which his Majesty maintains both in the germs 
already laid down, and in the 'development of them which he has allowed 
to be foreseen. Your Excellency will have the goodness to read and give a 
copy of this despatch to the principal Secretary of State of her Britannic 
Majesty. " Receive, &c., " GORTSCHAKOFF." 


" Foreign Office, August llth, 1863. 

"MY LORD, On the 18th of last month Baron Brunnow communicated to 
me a despatch which he had received the evening before from Prince Gort- 

" This despatch, of which I enclose a copy, is far from being a satisfactory 
answer to the representation which, in concert with France and Austria, her 
Majesty's Government addressed to the Cabinet of St. Petersburg. 

" The despatch begins, indeed, by stating that ' the Imperial Cabinet ad- 
mits the principle that every power signing a treaty has a right to interpret 
its sense from its own point of view, provided that the interpretation remains 
within the limits of the meaning that it is possible to put upon it according 
to the text itself.' Prince Gortschakoff adds, ' In virtue of this principle, the 
Imperial Cabinet does not dispute this right on the part of any one of the 
eight powers which have concurred in the general act of Vienna of 1815.' 

" Prince Gortschakoff, however, departing widely from the question of the 
interpretation of the treaty of Vienna, proceeds to ascribe the continuance 
of the insurrection in Poland to the moral and material assistance which it 
receives from without ; admits vaguely the six points ; rejects the proposed 
suspension of hostilities ; refuses to accept a conference of the eight powers 
who signed the treaty ; and, finally, declares that the re-establishment of 
order must precede the serious application of any measures destined for the 
pacification of Poland. 

" Her Majesty's Government will now proceed to examine calmly the 
principal topics of Prince Gortschakoff's reply to the considerations brought 
before him in my despatch. 

" 1. Prince Gortschakoff, while he admits that confidence on the part of the 
governed, and the ascendancy of law over arbitrary power, must be the foun- 
dation of order and stability, adds 'that the indispensable corollary to these 
principles is respect for authority. But the Russian Cabinet cannot be igno- 
rant that clemency and conciliation are often more effective in establishing 
respect for authority than material force. It would be a lamentable error to 
seek to restore that respect by force of arms alone, without the addition of 
some adequate security for the political and religious rights of the subjects 
of the king of Poland. Such security the proposals of the three powers 
held out to Russia and to Poland alike. 

" It has pleased the Cabinet of St. Petersburg not to avail itself of this 
mode of restoring respect for authority. 

" 2. Prince Gortschakoff affirms and this view is the theme of the begin- 
ning and end of his despatch that the re- establishment of order in Poland 


is dependent upon a condition to which he had called the attention of the 
Government of her Britannic Majesty, 'and which is not only unfulfilled, 
but is not even alluded to in the despatch of Lord Eussell ; we refer to the 
material assistance and moral encouragements obtained from abroad by the 

"Her Majesty's Government would have been glad to have avoided this 
topic, and, instead of commenting on the past, to refer only to healing 
measures for the future. 

" But, thus compelled by Prince GortschakofP s reference to allude to the 
subject, her Majesty's Government have no hesitation in declaring their con- 
viction that the principal obstacle to the re-establishment of order in Poland 
is not the assistance obtained by the insurgents from abroad, but the conduct 
of the Russian Government itself. 

"The Empress Catherine in 1772 promised to the Poles the maintenance of 
their religion. The Emperor Alexander I. in 1815 promised to the Poles 
national representation and national administration. 

" These promises have not been fulfilled. During many years the religion 
of the Poles was attacked, and to the present hour they are not in possession 
of the political rights assured to them by the treaty of 1815, and the consti- 
tution of the same year. 

" The violation of these solemn engagements on the part of the Russian 
Government produced disaffection, and the sudden invasion of the homes of 
Warsaw, in a night of January last, was the immediate cause of the present 

" Unless the general feeling in Poland had been estranged from Russia, the 
moral and material assistance afforded from abroad would have availed the 
insurgents little. It is true, however, that lively sympathy has been excited 
in Europe in favour of the Poles. In every considerable state where there 
exists a national representation in England, in France, in Austria, in Prussia, 
in Italy, in Spain, in Portugal, in Sweden, in Denmark that sympathy has 
been manifested. Wherever there is a national administration, the admini- 
stration has shared, though with prudence and reserve in expression, the 
feelings of the legislature and the nation. 

" Russia ought to take into account these sympathies, and profit by the 
lesson which they teach. 

" 3. Prince Gortschakoff lays much stress on the fact, which cannot be 
denied, that * the insurgents demand neither an amnesty, nor an autonomy, 
nor a representation more or less complete.' 

" But it would be a mistake to suppose that in cases of this kind there are 
only two parties, viz., the Government occupied in suppressing the insurrec- 
tion, and the leaders of the insurgents, busy in fomenting and extending it. 
Besides these parties there is always in such cases a large floating mass 
who would be quite contented to see persons and property secure under a 
just and beneficent administration. The confidence of this great mass has 
not been obtained, and their continued inaction can hardly be depended 

" Her Majesty's Government must again represent the extreme urgency of 
attempting at once the work of conciliation which is so necessary for the 
general interest. 



" In profiting by the loyal and disinterested assistance which is offered 
her by Austria, France, and Great Britain, the Court of Russia secures to 
herself the most powerful means towards making ideas of moderation prevail 
in Poland, and thus laying the foundations of permanent peace. 

"4. In referring to the treaty of Vienna, Prince Gortschakoff says that ' we 
should not be far from the truth if we affirmed that the first article of the 
treaty of Vienna was prepared by and directly emanated from his Majesty 
the Emperor Alexander I.' 

" Her Majesty's Government readily admit the probability of this suppo- 
sition. In 1815, Great Britain, Austria, France, and Prussia would have 
preferred to the arrangement finally made a restoration of the ancient king- 
dom of Poland as it existed prior to the first partition of 1772, or even the 
establishment of a new independent kingdom of Poland, with the same 
limits as the present kingdom. 

" The great army which the Emperor Alexander then had in Poland, the 
important services which Eussia had rendered to the alliance, and, above all, 
a fear of the renewal of war in Europe, combined to make Great Britain, 
Austria, and Prussia accept the arrangement proposed by the Emperor 
Alexander, although it was, in their eyes, of the three arrangements in con- 
templation, the one least likely to produce permanent peace and security in 

" But the more her Majesty's Government see in the decision adopted the 
prevailing influence of Russia, the more they are impressed with the convic- 
tion that the Emperor of Russia ought to be. of all sovereigns, the most 
desirous to observe the conditions of that arrangement. 

" It would not be open to Russia to enjoy all the benefits of a large addi- 
tion to her dominions, and to repudiate the terms of the instrument upon 
which her tenure depends. 

" In stating these terms Prince Gortschakoff says that the only stipulation 
which can have made it appear doubtful that the Emperor of Russia pos- 
sessed the kingdom of Poland by the same title as that by which he holds 
his other possessions, the only one which could make his. rights dependent 
upon any condition whatever, is contained in two passages which he proceeds 
to quote. 

" But there is another passage which he does not quote. It is found in the 
beginning of the first article, and says : 

" * The duchy of Warsaw, with the exception of the provinces and districts 
which are otherwise disposed of by the following articles, is united to the 
Russian empire, to which it shall be irrevocably attached by its constitution, 
and be possessed by his Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias, his heirs 
and successors, in perpetuity.' 

" Were not a national representation intended by this article, it would 
have been sufficient to say, ' to which it shall be irrevocably attached,' with- 
out any mention of a constitution. 

" It is therefore evident that the constitution is the link by which Poland 
was connected with Russia. It is important to know what this constitution 
was which united Poland and Russia. It was not prescribed by the treaty ; 
it was not promulgated by the European powers ; its construction was left 
entirely to the Emperor Alexander ; but nevertheless, when once proinul- 



gated, it must be taken to be the constitution meant by the framers of the 
treaty of Vienna. 

" It was for this reason that her Majesty's Government proposed as the 
second of the six points laid before the Government of Eussia, ' national 
representation with powers similar to those which are fixed by the charter of 
the 15th (27th) November, 1815.' 

" 5. Passing to the specific propositions of her Majesty's Government, 
Prince GortschakofF says, in regard to the six points, that the greater part of 
the measures which were pointed out by the three powers ' have already been 
either decreed or prepared on the initiative of our august master.' 

" Towards the end of the despatch an allusion is made to l the measures 
which his Majesty adheres to, both in the germs already laid down, and in 
the development of them which he has allowed to be foreseen.' 

" This passage, though far from being a definite assurance either of a 
national representation with efficacious means of control, or of a national 
administration, gives some hope that the Emperor Alexander will ultimately 
listen to the inspirations of his own benevolent disposition and to the 
counsels of Europe. 

" The proposal of a suspension of hostilities is rejected, ' in justice to the 
Emperor's faithful army, to the peaceable majority of Poles, and to Russia, 
on whom these agitations impose painful sacrifices^ 

" The proposal of a conference of the powers who signed the treaty of Vienna 
is rejected, and with it the prospect of an immediate and friendly concert. 

" In the place of this fair and equitable proposal, the Russian Cabinet 
suggests that the three powers who proposed the separate treaties between 
Austria and Russia, and Prussia and Russia, previously to the general treaty 
of Vienna, should meet together, and that France and Great Britain should 
be afterwards informed of the result of their deliberations. 

" There are two reasons, either of which would be sufficient to condemn 
this suggestion : 

" 1. The treaties in question, taken apart from the provisions inserted in 
the general treaty of Vienna, have reference only to material objects the 
use of the banks of rivers, the regulations for towing-paths, the free passage 
of merchandise from one province to another, and such other matters of 
convenience and of commerce. No political developments or details are 
contained in them. 

" 2. It is obvious that such a conference would place Austria in a false 
position, and be inconsistent with her relations to France and Great Britain. 

" His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, therefore, with a proper sense of 
his own dignity, has at once rejected the Russian proposal. 

" In communicating their views to Prince Gortschakoff, it remains to 
her Majesty's Government to discharge an imperative duty. 

" It is to call his Excellency's most serious attention to the gravity of the 
situation, and the responsibility which it imposes upon Russia. 

" Great Britain, Austria, and France have pointed out the urgent necessity 
of putting an end to a deplorable state of things which is full of danger to 
Europe. They have at the same time indicated the means which, in their 
opinion, ought to be employed to arrive at this termination, and they have 
offered their co-operation in order to attain it with more certainty. 

x 2 


" If Kussia does not perform all that depends upon her to further the 
moderate and conciliatory views of the three powers, if she does not enter 
upon the path which is opened to her by friendly counsels, she makes her- 
self responsible for the serious consequences which the prolongation of the 
troubles of Poland may produce. " I am, &c., 

(Signed) " RUSSELL." 


" Tsarlcoe-Selo, August 2Gth (Sept. 7th}, 1863. 

" LORD NAPIER has, by order of his Government, communicated to me a 
despatch from Lord Russell, of which your Excellency will find a copy here- 
unto annexed. 

" It is in answer to my despatch of the 1st (13th) July last, which you 
were invited to communicate to the Principal Secretary of State of her 
Britannic Majesty. 

" The overtures which we had set forth in that document were dictated to 
us by the desire to arrive at an understanding. 

" In receiving the observations which they have suggested to Lord Russell 
with the attention which we always pay to the opinions of her Britannic 
Majesty's Government, we cannot but regret that we must come to the con- 
clusion that we have not attained the end which we had proposed to ourselves. 

" From the moment that this discussion could only end in establishing and 
in confirming the divergence of our views, it would be too contrary to our con- 
cilatory disposition for us to seek to prolong it ; and we believe that in this 
we are not acting at variance with the sentiments of the Principal Secretary 
of State of her Britannic Majesty. 

" We prefer to fix our attention only upon the essential points of his 
despatches, upon which we find ourselves agreed, at least in intention. 

" Her Britannic Majesty's Government desire to see promptly re-estab- 
lished in the kingdom of Poland a state of things which shall restore 
tranquillity to that country, repose to Europe, and security to the relations of 
the cabinets. 

" We entirely share in this desire, and all that can depend upon us shall 
be done to realize it. 

" Our august master continues to be animated by the most benevolent 
intentions towards Poland, and by the most conciliatory towards all foreign 
powers. To provide for the welfare of his subjects of all races and of every 
religious conviction is an obligation which his Imperial Majesty has accepted 
before God, his conscience, and his people. The Emperor devotes all his 
solicitude to the fulfilment of that obligation. 

As regards the responsibility which may be assumed by his Majesty in his 
international relations, those relations are regulated by public right. The 


violation of those fundamental principles can alone involve responsibility. 
Our august master has constantly respected and observed those principles 
with regard to other states. His Majesty has the right to expect and to 
claim the same respect on the part of the other powers. 

" You will be pleased to read and give a copy of this despatch to the 
Principal Secretary of State of her Britannic Majesty. 

" Keceive, &c., 


Accompanying this despatch, a copy of the following memorandum was 
presented to Lord Russell : 


The powers which have expressed to the Cabinet of St. Petersburg their 
wishes and opinions relative to the troubles in the kingdom of Poland have 
taken for their starting-point the treaty of 1815. 

According to all the known rules of international right, and even in virtue 
of the more modern principle of non-intervention, their diplomatic proceedings 
could have no other basis. 

It is, then, only within the limits of this treaty that the discussion should 
be confined relative to the questions of right belonging to the kingdom of 

Treaties should be interpreted in their letter and in their spirit. 

The treaty of 1815, notwithstanding the caution observed in its formation, 
in order to spare and to conciliate different opinions and interests, is, however, 
sufficiently precise in its terms to leave but a very small space for differences 
of opinion. 

If we desire to deduce the precise meaning of this document from the 
spirit by which it was dictated, it must be judged by the ideas and circum- 
stances prevailing at the period in which it was concluded, and not by those 
to which it is now attempted to give the ascendancy. 

Let us see what was the position of the duchy of Warsaw at the time of 
the congress ; it was as follows : 

In 1812, Russia had conquered and occupied the duchy of Warsaw by its 
unassisted power, by the incontestable right of war. She had retaken it 
from Saxony, an ally of the power with which she was in declared hostility. 

She had the greater right to consider it as a legitimate and irrevocable 
conquest, as the duchy of Warsaw had not only been the theatre of war : it 
had also taken an active part in the foremost rank of the enemies of Russia ; 
it had furnished numerous contingents to the power which had invaded the 
territory of the Empire ; it had served as the basis of its operations. 

Russia was fully justified in a moral and political, as well as in a legal 
point of view, in wishing to rid itself, once for all, of a permanent menace 
to its security. 

The Emperor Alexander I. had, nevertheless, been restrained by two 
considerations : 


First, he had seen in the hostility of the Poles a moral evil requiring other 
than material remedies for its extirpation. 

It is a law of human nature that each generation acts under the dominion 
of sentiments and impulses which are often forgotten by the following 
generation. Placing itself in antagonism to it, the latter frequently undoes 
the work of its predecessors. 

The Empress Catherine II., living nearer to the period of the struggles 
between Poland and Russia, influenced by their traditions and the duties 
they imposed on her, a witness of their calamities, had adopted the policy of 
separation as an inexorable necessity. The Emperor Alexander I., beholding 
the consequences of this policy, the animosity and the agitation of the Poles, 
attributed them exclusively to the fact of the separation, and was led to 
think of remedying this state of things. This idea, conceived in his youth, 
had grown with him ; towards the end of the year 1812^ he had asked 
himself whether the time had not arrived for Russia to extinguish this 
hotbed of hatred and disorder in his vicinity, by raising Poland and rendering 
it a reconciled and allied nation. But he would not proceed in this until 
the great work he had begun was completed. This was the meaning of the 
words he addressed to the Poles. " My intentions have not changed," said he, 
" but I shall await the conclusion of the struggle." " It is as conqueror that 
I will regenerate Poland." This work and this was the second motive 
which influenced his resolutions in respect to the duchy of Warsaw this 
work was the deliverance of Europe, and the great design of consolidation 
which the calamities of twenty-five years' war had implanted in his soul ; 
the design whose inspiration gave the energetic impulses of the years 1813, 
1814, 1815. 

Under this impression, the Emperor Alexander I. desired to set an example 
of self-denial and disinterestedness, and to remove every element that might 
disturb the union he wished to establish with the great powers. 

It had been already arranged at Kalisch, on the 16th (28th j of February, 
1813, in the course of the negotiations with the Cabinet of Berlin, "to unite 
ancient Prussia to Silesia, by a territory which should answer this end 
perfectly in every respect, military as well as geographical." 

During the negotiations of Gorlitz with Austria, the 1st (13th) May, 1813, 
this power had stipulated for " the annihilation of the duchy of Warsaw." 

By the treaty of Toplitz, the 28th of August (9th of September), 1813, 
it was agreed "that an amicable arrangement between the three courts 
should determine the fate of the duchy of Warsaw." 

Finally, in all the treaties subsequently completed and settled by the 
alliance, the Emperor Alexander I., generously forgetting that the duchy 
of Warsaw had been conquered by the arms of Russia alone, from an enemy 
in whose ranks Prussia and Austria then figured, had admitted the principle 
that "the fate of conquered territories should be ultimately settled in a 
congress which should be assembled at Vienna." 

Such was the attitude in which the Emperor Alexander I. presented him- 
self to the congress, after the accomplishment of the great work to which 
he had devoted himself. 

It is incorrect to allege that the Polish question occupied the first place in 
memorable deliberations It had a marked place, thanks to the 


disinterestedness of the Emperor Alexander I"., but did not hold the only 
pla.ce, nor the first. The fate of all Europe, and almost that of the whole 
world, was then to be settled. If the chief discussion was on the questions 
of Saxony and Poland, it was because Russia and Prussia had neglected to 
stipulate for themselves at Paris in 1814, immediately after the victory, and 
had neglected their own interests in the general interest : it is also because 
they did not think of opposing either the views of England or those of 
Austria, while questions which interested them excited ill-feeling. 

In the general settlement of affairs, England obtained considerable aggran 
disement : Malta, the Cape, the Isle of France, the island of Heligoland 
and several important colonies, were adjudged to her. She had also caused 
her views and her interests to predominate in Europe, particularly by the 
creation of the kingdom of the Netherlands, which included the important 
question of Antwerp. 

Austria was aggrandised in the Tyrol, in Lombardy, in Venice, in Dalmatia 
she ruled Italy. Prussia itself, although not seeking an element for com- 
pensation, succeeded in establishing the principle of the restoration of her 
possessions of 1805, with a more compact and more homogeneous geographical 

It would have been strange that at the time when all the .great powers of 
Europe obtained such increase of territory, Russia alone Russia which had 
been the first to shake the conquering power against which all Europe was 
contending Russia, which had given the signal for the struggle for general 
independence, which had devoted herself to it at the price of the greatest 
sacrifices, and which had been the connecting link between the great Euro- 
pean alliance should have been deprived of every species of advantage and 

She did not even demand aggrandisement ; but the power of carrying out 
an intention of pacification and reparation, of closing a long-standing wound 
by restoring to reconciled Poland a national existence under the sceptre of 
the sovereigns of Russia. 

The resistance the Emperor Alexander encountered in this path from 
his allies was certainly one of his most painful disappointments. This 
resistance was of a very complex nature. 

On a careful examination of the documents of the period, there is only one 
conclusion to be arrived at ; it is, that the powers who opposed themselves to 
the realization of the wishes of the Emperor Alexander I. were in no degree 
actuated by solicitude for Poland. She then weighed but little in the 
balance of interests, and the clamour that had been made around her was 
lost in the momentous crisis that was taking place in Europe. 

That which the allies feared was the aggrandisement of the power which 
had now revealed itself with so much splendour. 

It was feared that the addition of Poland, uniting under the same sceptre 
the greater part of the population of the Sclavonian race, would double the 
material and moral power of Russia, and carry its advanced posts to the 
heart of Germany and of Europe. The event has not justified these 
anticipations, but they are evident at every step in the documents of the 

The powers would then have preferred, in deference to views which were 


purely theoretic, the re-establishing a Poland which should have been com- 
pletely independent. But thi* independent Poland could only be re-estab- 
lished at the expense of the three partitioning powers, and it would have 
been inadmissible that, immediately after the glorious struggle to the success 
of which Russia had materially contributed with so much energy, while the 
other victorious powers derived from it ample advantages, the proposal could 
have been seriously made to her that she should subscribe to her own dis- 

Lord Castlereagh declared " that such a combination would impose sacri- 
fices so great that the British Cabinet would never have thought of making 
the proposal ; that the only means of avoiding new troubles would be to per- 
severe in the system of partition, and that it appeared to him that no power 
could desire the maintenance of this system more than Russia." 

Prussia and Austria opposed themselves to the re-establishment even of the 
name of Poland. Prince Metternich said, in a conference of the 15th (27th) 
September, 1814 : " The consequence of a war would unfortunately be still 
easier to foresee if, as is supposed, the Emperor Alexander should intend to 
lend himself to the accomplishment of the ideas of some Poles, by giving to 
these new acquisitions the name of Poland. Under this supposition we must 
consider Galicia as lost to us, and this question is therefore more important 
than that of territory. It comprehends all the elements of future troubles, 
and is entirely contrary to existing treaties, the tripartite powers having 
at the time of the partition pledged their word no longer to make use of 
that name." 

On his side Chancellor Hardenberg, in the same conference, enlarged 
especially " on the danger that equally menaced Prussia should the name of 
Poland be given to the acquisitions of Russia." 

It was only at a later period, when the Emperor Alexander I. had testified 
a resolution not to draw back even in case of war, and that to avoid such an 
extremity by carrying conciliation to the utmost possible limits, he had 
consented to agree on the questions of Posen, Cracow, and the salt- 
mines of Wieliczka, as well as on the question of Saxony ; it was not 
till then that the powers, unwilling to be behindhand in demonstrations 
of sympathy towards Poland, finally agreed to the propositions of the 
Emperor, propositions reduced very considerably from those of his original 

It would be committing a grave error to allege that those conditions which 
governed the arrangements then made were in their liberal character dictated 
to Russia at the conclusion of preliminary conferences having a European 

First one may repeat that it was not at the time when Russia had 
taken so considerable and so decisive a part in the affairs of Europe, and 
when all her strength weighed down the balance, that the Emperor Alexander 
I., who possessed in the highest degree the conviction of his sovereign 
dignity, would have permitted such interference in the internal adminis- 
tration of a portion of his dominions. 

On the contrary, he peremptorily opposed all discussion on the constitution 
he intended giving to the Poles reunited under his sceptre. 

But more than this. It may be affirmed that the initiative of liberal 


intentions emanated from the Emperor Alexander I., and that the resistance 
to his intentions proceeded from the other powers. 

With the exception of England, which had long lived under a constitutional 
government, the generality of the powers were unfavourable to these ideas. 

The trials attempted in some of the German states were very incomplete. 
Prussia had adjourned all reforms of this kind. As to Austria, no govern- 
ment was further removed from constitutional principles. 

In this state of things it cannot be supposed that these principles could have 
been imposed on, or even recommended to, the Emperor in respect of Poland. 

Far from this being the case, the powers were seriously engaged in con- 
sidering the bearing of the Emperor's views, and the rebound which might 
result from it in their own Polish possessions. 

Chancellor Hardenberg said, in a memoir transmitted to Prince Metternich 
on 2nd December : 

" The affair of Poland is reduced to the widening of the aggressive 
boundary and the preventing of the political existence of the new kingdom 
from becoming hurtful to the tranquillity of its neighbours and of Europe, 
and making it rather turn to their profit. It is necessary then, in the first 
place, to demand of the Emperor Alexander of what nature the existence and 
the constitution of the new kingdom are to be, what guarantees he will give 
to the neighbouring powers, and also what he will require on their part." 

Now, the guarantees which the Emperor Alexander first demanded of his 
neighbours were to secure to the Poles under their dominion institutions 
conformable to the popular wishes. 

This demand was formally made by Count Razoumowski, the 10th of 
December, in a proposal in which it was said : 

" When this deduction is made the rest of the duchy of Warsaw 

has devolved to the Russian crown as a united territory to which his Majesty 
reserves to himself the right of giving a national constitution, and what 
extension of boundaries he may judge fit. 

" The Emperor of Russia, desiring to make all the Poles participate in the 
benefits of a national administration, intercedes with his allies in favour of 
their subjects of this nation, with the design of obtaining for them provincial 
institutions which may preserve proper respect for their nationality, and give 
them a share in the administration of their country." 

The counter-project, presented January 3rd, 1815, by Austria, indicated 
the views by which that power was animated. It bore : 

" The duchy of Warsaw shall be re-united to the dominions of his Majesty 
the Emperor of all the Russias, to be possessed by him in full property and 

Thus this project carefully excluded every allusion to the kingdom of 
Poland as a state united to Russia, to a national constitution, and to the 
provincial institutions which the Russian scheme proposed to bestow on the 
Polish subjects of the three Courts. 

These explanations preceded by some days the notes of Lord Castlereagh 
and Prince Metternich, from which the inference has been deduced that the 
powers represented by these two plenipotentiaries testified their sympathy 
with the Poles, and recommended the Emperor of Russia to respect their 
nationality. This fact proves that the initiative of sympathy for Poland 



emanated from the Vlcxander I., and that if the other powers 

rallied round it, it was because the principles of the policy of the times 
cautioned them .1 gainst leaving to Russia the merit of this initiative, and 
counselled them to divide it with her, in order to lessen the overwhelming 
strength which they feared to see this power acquire, and which they would 
otherwise be unable to prevent. 

They did not foresee, doubtless, at that time, the embarrassments which 
would be occasioned to Kussia by the tendencies the Poles would find in 

It is argued that it was of little consequence that these engagements should 
have emanated from the initiative of the Emperor of Russia, from the moment 
they were contracted by him-. On the contrary, these considerations are of 
essential consequence, because they mark precisely both the nature of the 
engagements taken by the Emperor of Russia and the aim of the rights 
which are alleged to flow from the powers of the mind which presided in the 
transactions of 1815. 

The assertion, amongst others, must fail that the liberal intentions mani- 
fested by the Emperor Alexander I. were a motive for adhering to the re- 
union of Poland to Russia. It clearly results from what has preceded, that 
it is the contrary which is true ; that the Emperor Alexander I. would have 
encountered fewer obstacles had he renounced the revival of the Polish name 
and the Polish nationality ; and had he confined himself to insisting on the 
territorial question, which nominally the court of Vienna put down as a 
secondary one, and had he incorporated purely and simply the duchy of 
Warsaw with his other dominions. 

It is both possible and probable that the fear of rekindling the war had (as 
has been affirmed) great effect in this adhesion of the powers. 

But this desire of preserving peace was entirely for their own interest. 
They were emerging from twenty-five years of war ; they were principally 
indebted to Russia for their deliverance ; they knew the enormous power she 
had possessed in this war, and the power she might yet throw into the scale, 
should the work of pacification to which she had so energetically contributed 
be once more shaken. 

As to the arguments which are endeavoured to be drawn of the intentions 
of the Emperor Alexander I., they do not appear to us to bear profound exami- 
nation. These illusions of a generous mind, and the disappointments in 
which they resulted, teach a useful lesson, but could constitute no engage- 
ment. The Emperor Alexander I. made an attempt at conciliation. He did 
not succeed. He stopped before the obstacles revealed to him by experience, 
which showed that the institutions with which he had endowed the kingdom 
were so many weapons placed in the hands of the Poles, and that they would 
use them only to attain the aim of their chimerical aspirations, that is to 
say, the reconstitution of a Poland in the most extended sense, independent, 
at the price of the dismemberment of three mighty neighbouring powers. 

Morally, the promise he had made to the Poles was annulled by the use 
they had made of his gifts. Materially, the international engagement he had 
contracted was limited by the treaty of 1815. These limits were ascertained 
by a stipulation which one passes over willingly in silence : it is that which 
reserves to the three Courts the. right of settling the representative and 


national institutions of their Polish subjects after the manner they shall 
judge it fit and suitable to grant. 

Animated as he then was by liberal intentions, which were not bounded by 
the frontiers of the kingdom of Poland, the Emperor Alexander I. appears 
not to have thought of putting this reservation in form. He was led to do 
so by the scruples of the Cabinet of Vienna. The Austrian plenipotentiaries, 
on presenting their counter-project in the conference, accompanied it by 
verbal observations, which, on the demand of the Emperor, were embodied in 
the form of the article, in which it was said that " the Poles are the qualified 
subjects of the high contracting powers, and considered as such under their 
distinct denominations, and in this quality, and according to the forms of 
political existence which each Government shall judge fit to grant them, 
they shall obtain the institutions which secure the preservation of their 

This was the root of the reservation stipulated afterwards in article 1 of 
the definitive treaty. The idea which inspired the Emperor Alexander is easily 

That sovereign never intended to cause revolution, but conservation. He 
was convinced that to satisfy the just wishes of the people by an enlightened 
and beneficent administration was to disarm the revolution. He wished 
authority to be loved, in order that it might be more respected. Every act of 
the Emperor Alexander I. bears the impress of this conviction. Even in 
1820, when his faith in the realization of this principle began to be shaken, 
whilst he concurred energetically in the suppression of the revolutionary 
movement of .Naples, he suggested, by his advice to the king of the Two 
Sicilies, a wisely liberal constitution, and invited the Italian princes to unite 
in adopting analogous principles in the government of their dominions. 
With such views it could not enter into the intentions of the Emperor to 
weaken in any degree the sovereign authority, either in his own territory or 
in that of others, which would have been the case had the powers which 
possessed parts of Poland been compelled to govern their Polish subjects 
according to the principles they would have judged compatible with the con- 
dition of their other possessions. The kingdom of Poland being indissolubly 
united to Kussia, as Posen and Galicia are irrevocably attached to Prussia 
and Austria, these possessions were subjected to conditions which were 
indispensable to the unity of the three powers of which they made part. 
Prussia and Austria had exacted these guarantees which the Emperor 
Alexander I. could not think of refusing to them. He had then confined 
himself to stipulating that the Polish subjects of the three Courts should 
have national representation and institutions ; he intended to apply them 
himself, and hoped to see them applied by the others in the widest sense ; 
but he had expressly reserved to the three Governments the power of regu- 
lating them according to that form of existence they should judge it useful 
and suitable to grant. 

The same considerations apply equally to the internal development which 
the Emperor Alexander I. had reserved himself the power to give to the 
kingdom of Poland. To infer from this an obligation would be to change 
the nature of the character of the stipulations, which, while evincing 
generous intentions, attest, on the other hand, to what a great extent the 


sentiment of dignity and sovereign independence was carried at this epoch. 
Doubtless, the idea of extending the frontiers of the kingdom of Poland had 
at one time occupied the mind of the Emperor ; but the realization of it 
depended on the manner in which the Poles would justify on their part the 
hopes he had founded on this combination, and the Emperor had expressly 
reserved to himself the application of it according to what he might judge 
useful and suitable. It could not be otherwise. The argument that some 
pretend to draw from the denomination Polish subjects, in order to apply 
equally to the Polish inhabitants of the Western provinces of Eussia the 
clause Art. 1, which stipulates in their favour representative and national 
institutions, is inadmissible. In these provinces the Poles hardly form a 
seventh part of the population. It is then evident that there the only national 
institutions are those of the majority. Besides, article 1 of the treaty 
of Vienna has so clearly established that these stipulations apply exclu- 
sively to the ancient duchy of Warsaw, with the interior extension which 
the Emperor of Russia may judge suitable to give to it, that the Im- 
perial Government must peremptorily repel every allusion to provinces 
which do not constitute a part of it, and which are consequently shut 
out from the international engagements which might spring from the 
treaty of Vienna. 

From these premises it results, that, whether we inquire into the spirit or 
the letter of the treaty of 1815, it is impossible to arrive at any other con- 
clusions than the following : 

The kingdom of Poland is indissolubly united to Eussia, with any internal 
extension that the Emperor of Eussia may think fit to give it. 

The Polish subjects of the three Courts are to have national institutions and 
representation, according to the species of political existence which each of the 
Governments to which they belong may judge useful and convenient to grant 

The rights and the duties of all parties engaged in the question are per- 
fectly limited by the terms of these stipulations. 

The Poles of the Empire should respect the ties which bind them to 

It is the duty of foreign powers to do nothing to weaken these ties. 

The three Courts are under obligation to grant to their Polish subjects 
national representation and institutions, administered according to their own 

This is the position which springs from the treaties of Vienna. 

The Emperor Alexander I. saw fit to give to the Polish subjects of his 
kingdom the institutions specified by the constitution of 1815. He might 
have clothed them in another form, and given them more or less extension, 
provided they preserved a, national and representative character. The terms 
of this constitution were not, could not be, obligatory. 

The Congress of Vienna had wisely recognized this in leaving the insti- 
tutions to be granted to the free choice of the sovereigns. 

The argument drawn from the fact that, according to the text of the 
1st article, the kingdom of Poland is bound to Russia by its constitution, is 
not admissible. It is erroneously concluded from this that if the powers 
had not had in view a cerlaiu constitution they would have confined them- 


selves to saying that the kingdom of Poland is bound to Russia, without 
adding the words by its constitution. 

But, besides that the word constitution had not then the meaning now 
assigned to it, it would be more exact to conclude that if the powers had in 
view a certain constitution, they would have defined it with precision, since 
they must have guaranteed it. 

The preparatory conferences which were summoned were confined to 
general principles they did not, they could not, bear on details of internal 
administration, or on any particular form of constitution, necessarily variable 
according to time and place : it would have been entirely contrary to the 
ideas of the epoch. Neither of the three sovereigns would have admitted it. 
No foreign power would have proposed it. 

The proof of this is, that the constitution of 1815 was promulgated nearly 
six months after the Congress, without having been communicated to either 
of the Cabinets ; it may be added that, when it was promulgated, many 
considered it too liberal. 

There can, then, be no doubt on this question ; and even if there were 
any, the authority of Vattel, who decides that in case of doubt the interpre- 
tation should be given against him "who dictated the law" could with 
difficulty be applied to it. 

The Emperor Alexander I. no more intended to dictate the law than he 
intended to submit to it. That which occurred during the following years 
is sufficiently known. The Poles had not been in any way satisfied by the 
constitution accorded them by the Emperor Alexander I. They dreamed of 
the reconstitution and the independence of Poland in its ancient limits. 
Their Diets presented so factious a character that it was necessary to adjourn 
them, and secret societies multiplied. The Government of the Emperor 
Alexander I. is reproached with having restricted by decrees the exercise 
of the political rights which it had granted to the Poles. 

It is certain that the agitations of Europe after the year 1820 had dispelled 
the illusions of this sovereign. It is possible that the novelty of constitu- 
tional principles and the struggles of the tribune which are the ordinary con- 
sequences of them, may have produced a strong impression on his mind, 
especially by the contrast they formed with the order subsisting in the rest of 
the empire. But while we admit these impressions, which were also produced 
in all European states, and everywhere complicated the relations between 
the government and the people, it is impossible to deny two facts. 

The first is, that, in spite of these internal collisions, the kingdom of 
Poland, from 1815 to 1825, enjoyed a tranquillity and a prosperity which it 
had never before known. 

The second is, that the Poles made a use of the liberties which had been 
granted them, showing the same factious spirit which had led to the loss of 
their political independence. 

The French revolution of 1830 occurred. 

The rebound which it had on Poland attests one truth ; namely, that it is 
not Poland which troubles the security of Europe, but the situation of 
Europe which invariably reacts on the tranquillity of Poland. 

When the insurrection broke out in the kingdom, nearly the same facts 
were produced which we now witness. The insurgents called to their aid the 


sympathies of liberal Europe. Cabinets offered their diplomatic intervention. 
It was rejected. The Emperor Nicholas was firmly resolved to quell the 
rebellion. It was repressed. The Western powers protested against this 
repression in the name of the treaty of 1815, and insisted that the Polish 
constitution should be re-established as an international engagement. This 
demand was declined. The Imperial Government affirmed that the re- 
bellion of the Poles had destroyed all engagements ; that Kussia, 
compelled to have recourse to war, had henceforth all the rights which 
conquest confers. 

This theory was not agreed to by other cabinets. The Russian Govern- 
ment maintained it. 

The international discussion had no other result. It would be fruitless 
now to recur to these controversies. The question is not how to recriminate 
as to the past, but how to resolve the difficulties of the present and to prepare 
a better future. 

To effect this, it is important to define the present situation. 

His Majesty the Emperor Alexander II., from the time of his accession to 
the throne, has given undeniable pledges of his liberal and reforming 

The kingdom of Poland obtained institutions bearing the impress of this 

Whatever judgment may be formed of these institutions, it must be 
acknowledged, first, that they endow the kingdom with an administrative 
autonomy, with a national government, and with a representation based on 
the principle of election. 

The Emperor of Russia made use of his rights in tracing for these inetitu- 
tions the limits he judged suitable for the good of a country where it was 
desirable to avoid the melancholy experiences of the past, and for that of 
the empire, whose development, prepared by the care of the sovereign, was to 
be accomplished gradually. 

Secondly. That these institutions constituted a marked amelioration for 
the present, and opened a path for progress in the future. 

Now this was the moment chosen by the Polish agitators to raise the 
standard of revolt. This is a sufficient starting-point to enable us to define 
clearly the cause and the aim of this insurrection. 

However, the three Courts of England, France, and Austria roused them- 
selves at the troubles of Poland, in the name of the treaty of Vienna and 
the security of Europe. They concerted together to address representations to 
the Russian Government, and to express their desire for the prompt and 
durable pacification of the country. 

The Imperial Cabinet deferred to this desire of an understanding, and 
consented to an exchange of amicable ideas on the basis and within the 
limits of the treaty of 1815. 

The conciliatory overtures which it made in reply to the propositions of 
the three Courts met, nevertheless, with objections forwarded in their last 
despatches, which suggest the following observations : 

Firstly. It has been remarked, that, if respect for authority is the indis- 
pensable condition of confidence and legality, it would be an error to believe 
that it is possible to restore respect for authority by the force of arms alone, 


without adding to it a corresponding security for the political and religious 
rights of the subjects. 

The Imperial Cabinet has always shared in these convictions. His Majesty 
the Emperor has so little sought in force alone the conditions of respect for 
his authority, that he has spontaneously endowed the kingdom of Poland 
with institutions granting to it an administrative autonomy based on repre- 
sentative and elective principles. His Majesty has loudly proclaimed his 
intention of maintaining arid developing them. 

But the grant of these institutions was precisely the signal for the insurrec- 
tion, which even drew from it the arms for its organization and propagation. 
It follows evidently from this that the evil does not reside in the intentions 
attributed to the Government of employing force alone, nor in the absence 
of legitimate security for the subjects, but in the moral agitation and the 
insensate aspirations kept up by the permanent conspiracy abroad. These 
motives have prevented the application of the reforms granted by his 
Majesty the Emperor. 

The Polish rebels, who wish for complete independence and the limits of 
1772, are not contented with these institutions, any more than with the six 
points indicated by the three Courts. They declare this loudly. 

It is then indispensable that before everything else the rebellion shall be 
subdued, and respect for authority re-established. There is not a government 
in Europe that has proceeded differently ; not one which has admitted the 
possibility of concession before armed revolt. The history of all nations 
(even of those who now address themselves to Eussia) offers numerous and 
recent proofs of this. 

Secondly. The assertion of the Russian Government that, the insurrection 
of the kingdom of Poland is kept up by material and moral encouragement 
from abroad, has been the object of a refutation tending to prove That the 
principal obstacle to the re-establishment of order in Poland arises from the 
Russian Government not having fulfilled the promises which the Empress 
Catherine II. in 1772, and the Emperor A lexander I. in 1815, made to the Poles, 
as to the maintenance of their religion and their political rights, national repre- 
sentation and administration. We cannot understand on what basis the 
assertion rests that during a great number of years the Polish religion was 
attacked. There is evidently here an appreciation of facts which is incorrect. 
In the kingdom of Poland, the predominant religion, which is Catholicism, 
enjoys a liberty to which few states in Europe offer the equivalent. This 
liberty is only bounded at the limits where it could degenerate into 
propagandism. Beyond this legitimate prohibition, the only restrictions 
on the full liberty of exercising the Catholic worship are those usual 
in almost every state in Europe, even in those where the Catholic religion is 
that of the State. These restrictions, which figure in almost all concordats, 
have for their object the limitation of the spiritual jurisdiction and direct 
relations of the Church of Rome. They are occasioned by the character of 
temporal sovereignty inherent in the papacy, which does not permit any 
sovereign to admit that his subjects can be placed under the authority of a 
foreign sovereign. 

As to political institutions, those which the Emperor Alexander I. had 
granted to the kingdom of Poland produced results on which experience has 


pronounced. His Majesty Alexander II. granted to his subjects belonging to 
the kingdom of Poland representative and national institutions, such as he 
has judged useful and suitable, after the experience that had been acquired, 
having in view the well-being of the country, the generous principles of his 
Government towards the rest of his empire, and within the limits of his 
international engagements. 

These liberal institutions did not prevent the insurrection : they gave the 
signal for it. 

The fact of recruiting, which is assigned as the cause of the rising, was 
but the consequence of it. 

The three powers, who address themselves to the Government, have suffi- 
cient means of information to know that the Polish movement had been 
fomented for a considerable period by the emigration ; that it only awaited 
a favourable occasion, and especially that, two years before the measure of the 
recruitment, all was preparing for the outbreak. The recruitment, which 
was not a violation of the law, but the application of the ancient custom 
which the new law had not yet definitively replaced, aimed only at baffling 
and defeating these machinations. It may have served as the pretext for the 
insurrection, but it would be incorrect to assert that it was the cause of it. 

Thirdly. The cause is deeper and more inveterate it partly resides in 
the " sympathy which in England, in France, in Prussia, in Italy, in Spain, in 
Portugal, in Sweden, in Denmark, wherever a national administration exists, 
is pointed out as having been manifested towards the Poles, although with 
prudence and reserve" 

Without denying that these evidences have been the result of very pressing 
diplomatic action, and that the prudence and reserve which characterize them 
have been carried by several Governments to the point of not transgressing 
the limits of a humane wish, accompanied by assurances of confidence in his 
Majesty the Emperor, yet it cannot be contested that they have exercised an 
influence on Poland, which is much to be regretted. 

Fourthly. It has been attempted to explain this by different motives. It 
has been endeavoured to establish a difference between the efforts of a people 
defending its nationality, making an appeal to all that is most lofty in the heart 
of man, to ideas of justice, of country, and of religion, and the disordered 
aspirations of unhealthy minds attacking the very basis of social order. It 
has been observed on another side, " that in cases of this kind there are not 
two parties only, viz., the Government occupied in suppressing the insurrection, 
and the leaders of the insurgents engaged in fomenting and extending it. But 
that, besides these parties, there is always in such cases a large floating mass who 
would be quite contented to see persons and property secured under a just and 
beneficent administration" 

From the moment when the insurgent Poles, who pillage, hang, assassinate, 
torture, ravage, and terrorize their country, shall be considered as defending all 
that is most sacred in the heart of man the ideas of country, nationality, 
and religion, it would be perfectly useless to discuss the question of rights 
founded on treaties. It would remain only a question of strength between 
Governments possessing subjects of different races and different religion, and 
people aspiring to free themselves from all the ties created by history and by 
treaties. The map of the world must be re-drawn on principles entirely new, 


and escaping all criticism, because they have not undergone the trial of 

The distinction attempted to be established between the disturbers of 
public repose and the masses who live by repose and by work, and are essen- 
tially conservative, is perfectly just. 

The Russian Government has relied on, and still continues to rely on, that 
great floating mass to bring back the kingdom of Poland to the condition of 
order and tranquillity indispensable to its prosperity and to the application of 
useful reforms. But it is precisely there also that its efforts have been para- 
lyzed by external influences. 

It is impossible not to be amazed by seeing that Governments, which could 
not be suspected of favouring revolution, could be brought to support the 
same cause as its most accredited organs and its most ardent leaders ; that 
Governments attached to the maintenance of the European equilibrium 
founded on the treaties of 1815, and who took the text of these treaties for the 
starting-point of their diplomatic intervention, should have been brought to 
defend the same cause as the Polish insurgents, and the party of the cosmo- 
politan revolution, who dream aloud of the re-establishment of Polish inde- 
pendence with the boundaries of 1772, and a general derangement of Europe, 
that is to say, the negation and the destruction of the state of things founded 
on treaties. 

These anomalies must necessarily have unsettled minds already over-excited 
by the appeal to traditions of national independence, always so easy to be 
aroused. They contributed to confirm the illusions of a crusade composed of 
almost all the powers of Europe to attain an aim diametrically opposed to 
the interests and to the views of the majority of these very powers. 

This illusion has precisely acted on this great floating mass which is every- 
where hostile to disorder, and which is the healthy and solid medium on 
which a just and enlightened government may place the prosperity of a 
country by the application of measures destined to guarantee the security of 
persons and property. 

This mass is not ignorant of the fact that it can only expect these guaran- 
tees from the authority of Government, and not from the powers of an anarchy 
contending for the right to pillage and oppress the country. With very few 
exceptions, it has never favoured disorder, unless when constrained to do so 
by violence, executions, and terror. It has remained, and will remain, the 
firm stay of the Russian Government, despite the weight of revolutionary 

But in this mass there are credulous and timid minds easily led astray, and 
on whom the excitements from without, the goading of the press, and above 
all, the comments circulated on the subject of the diplomatic action and 
the intentions of foreign powers, must necessarily exercise influence. The 
agitators of the kingdom of Poland have been careful not to neglect this 
means of drawing away the weak and the undecided, by making them antici- 
pate as immediate the active intervention of foreign powers in favour of their 
most extreme aspirations. These seductions on the one side, and on the other 
the terrorism of a secret committee, shrinking from no crime, have contri- 
buted to swell the ranks of insurrection, and to multiply the number of 



The Powers were thus unintentionally induced to work directly against the 
aim they had in view. Whilst they demanded of the Russian Government 
the speedy pacification of the kingdom of Poland, their diplomatic action, 
designed (exploitee) and perverted by the chiefs of the rebellion, became the 
principal obstacle to the restoration of tranquillity, by favouring the attempts 
made to deprive the Russian Government of the concurrence of the masses. 

Consequently, instead of affirming that the moral and material assistance 
from abroad would have influenced the insurrection but little if the general 
feeling had not been alienated from Russia, it would be more correct to acknow- 
ledge that public feeling would not have been led to err without the moral 
support which the insurgents derived from the attitude and the diplomatic 
intervention of foreign powers. 

This influence is incontestable ; it is clearly revealed by the fluctuations 
manifested in the disposition of the minds of the kingdom, according to the 
manner in which fureign diplomacy appeared to favour or to discourage the 
hopes of the revolution. It manifests itself now still more clearly, when the 
masses, disabused, wearied with the disorders, the crimes, and the terrorism 
of the Central Committee, manifest more and more their aversion to these 
enemies of public repose. 

It cannot, then, be doubted that the problem which agitates the kingdom 
of Poland, preoccupies Russia, and interests Europe, will be near its solu- 
tion when the attitude and the language of those powers who desire only the 
good of the country, the peace and security of Europe, shall be calculated to 
prove in the eyes of the Poles that they do not intend to favour the dream of 
the reconstruction of one great and independent Poland, the realization of 
which could. &fy be accomplished by the dismemberment of three mighty 
powers and a general conflagration ; that they intend to maintain the 
order of things founded on treaties ; and that the Poles must expect national 
prosperity alone from an .indissoluble union with Russia under a just and 
beneficent monarch, from the application and the regular working of the 
institutions which have been granted to them, from the progressive develop- 
ment which the sovereign has given them reason to foresee, and for which 
every act of his reign, and the actual tendencies of his government, offer a 
secure pledge. 

5thly. It is useless to return to the amnesty and suspension of hostilities 
proposed by the three powers. It is affirmed that the suspension of hostilities 
was not impracticable ; that a great country cannot derive dignity from pro- 
longing unequal strife ; that the most bitter enemies of Russia would not have 
dared to violate the armistice ; that the trial deserved to have been made, and 
would have honoured those who had attempted it ; in short, that an amnesty 
subordinate to the political usages of the Russian Government, could not 
influence the disposition of the Poles, as is attested by the trifling effect of the 

It is sufficient to state that there may be different opinions on questions of 
dignity, but that each government must be the sole judge of its own. Even 
had the insurgent Poles not violated the armistice, they would certainly have 
profited by it to complete their armament and their organization. A govern- 
ment has too much responsibility to stake its honour on experiments which 
could end only in prolonging deplorable struggles in which blood too precious 


to be lavished must flow. As to an amnesty, if that spontaneously granted 
by the Emperor has not influenced the dispositions of the Poles, why should 
the proposed amnesty have produced more effect ? If, on account of being 
offered and guaranteed by foreign powers, it must be acknowledged that the 
Russian Government was right in preferring making it subordinate to its 
own political convenience rather than to that of foreigners. 

6thly. As to the conference, it is affirmed that/rom the moment when the 
Russian Government admits the right of interpretation by the powers who 
sign a treaty, it 'must admit that these powers have the right to unite together 
to exercise it. All that can be granted to it in such matters is the material fact 
that its Refusal to take part in such reunion would render it impossible. 

Had it been a question of modifying the fundamental principles of the 
treaty of Vienna, there is no doubt that the Congress ought to have seized it. 
But it was a question only of the application of these principles, and it is 
impossible to deny that any discussion relating to this would have touched 
upon the most intimate details of the administration. It would have been 
necessary to state precisely the character which constitutes national institu- 
tions, the mode and degree of representation, the competency of representative 
assemblies, the electoral census, &e. Questions more delicate or interference 
more direct cannot be imagined. A government which could have accepted 
it would have virtually given up its authority into the hands of the 

The proposition substituted by the Russian Government, that of an agree- 
ment of the three neighbouring powers, the result of which should be made 
known to those who signed the treaty of 1815, does not appear to have 
been well understood. It was alleged that it departed from the precedents of 
1815, that the powers were then without the basis of the treaties which are now 
the starting-point of their diplomatic action. It was remembered lhat the 
particular treaties concluded at this epoch between the three Courts, had been 
confined to questions of details of commerce, of navigation, towing-paths, &c. 
&c. ; that besides the stipulations of these separate treaties had been finally com- 
prised in the general act as constituting a part of it and having the same force 
and same value. It was observed also that the Court of Vienna had always 
repulsed every preliminary understanding on subjects of this sort, as contrary 
to its dignity. 

The despatch of the Austrian minister for foreign affairs containing no 
allusion to this last point, it is useless to raise it. It belongs to him only to 
appreciate that which may affect the dignity of his country. It is certain 
that the Imperial Cabinet in proposing an agreement between the three 
neighbouring Courts, according to historical precedent, cannot be suspected 
of wishing to lessen the dignity of any one. It suffices, besides, that the 
Austrian Government should have found such an agreement incompatible 
with the new ties it has contracted. 

As to the foundation of the question, the Russian Government has had no 
other aim than that of calling attention to the important distinction established 
by the precedents of the Congress of Vienna, between the general principles 
in which att Europe was interested, and the internal question exclusively 
appertaining feo the adjoining powers. These countries, possessing each parts 
of ancient Poland, may have derogated from their own rights of sovereignty 

Y 2 


by concerting together in order to establish a certain harmony in their Polish 
possessions, according to the general principles laid down by the Congress ; 
they could never have consented to alienate these rights, and place them in 
the hands of all Europe. 

This distinction springs clearly from the stipulations of 1815. If, at that 
epoch, the separate treaties concluded between the three Courts touched only on 
questions of commerce, of navigation, of tonnage, &c. &c., it is because these 
questions alone were discussed. Nevertheless, it must be allowed that these 
questions of detail were not without importance. The questions of frontier, 
for example, were of very grave import. The treaties concluded between the 
three Courts in 1818 and 1825, as to custom-houses, extradition of deserters, 
&c. &c., had a certain political value. Lastly, the treaties concluded between 
them in 1833, and still later in 1846, on the subject of the free state of 
Cracow, were yet more serious. And yet all these treaties were concluded 
without the participation of those who signed the general act of Vienna. 

This fundamental distinction applies itself perfectly to the present 

The principles laid down by the general treaties (acte) of Vienna are not 
now in question, since, on one side, the three powers which have made repre- 
sentations on the subject of Poland have taken as their basis the stipulations 
of 1815, and on the other side the Kussian Cabinet has declared its willingness 
to respect these stipulations. 

It is then only necessary to apply them ; but in doing so, internal ques- 
tions are touched upon which have been always considered by the three 
powers as belonging to their sovereign dominion, and to which they are 
exclusively competent. 

To sum up all, if from the region of dissertation one passes to the field of 
practice, the only place where so grave a problem can be resolved, the result 
is that the three Courts desire the return of the kingdom of Poland to the 
conditions of a durable peaec. This is also the most constant and the dearest 
wish of the Emperor of Eussia. 

The three Courts have declared their wish to seek the means for this 
within the limits of the engagements of 1815 ; the Kussian Emperor declares 
his determination to maintain these engagements in their full extent. 

To satisfy this, his Majesty has granted to Poland institutions formed on 
the principle of an administrative autonomy and elective representation. 

He maintains these institutions, reserving to himself the right of developing 

The three Courts have on their side recommended six points, as likely to 
contribute to the pacification of the kingdom of Poland : the greater part of 
these are already in existence ; some are in the course of preparation, or lie 
in the same direction as the views of the Emperor of Kussia, and the deve- 
lopments which his Majesty has given cause to expect. But at the same 
time, the three Courts think that the application of these measures should 
be immediate, and would secure the re-establishment of order and tranquillity 
in the kingdom. 

The Russian Government, on the contrary, is of opinion that, after the 
experience it has acquired, these measures cannot be adopted in face of 
armed insurrection ; that they should be preceded by the re-establishment 


of order ; and that to be efficacious they must emanate directly from the 
sovereign power, in the plenitude of its strength and liberty, without any 
foreign diplomatic pressure. These are the shades which separate opinions. 

But these shades do not appear of a nature to occasion serious discussion 
between the Cabinets, still less to trouble the peace of Europe. 

It could not take this character if the evident plans of the agents in the 
Polish revolution were allowed to develop themselves ; these agents on one 
side weigh on the public opinion of Europe, by the spectacle of a struggle of 
which they endeavour to multiply and to aggravate the calamities, whilst, 
on the other hand, by prolonging and propagating disorder, they deprive the 
Russian Government of the possibility of adopting and applying the measures 
of moral pacification which would correspond with its own intentions not less 
than with the desires of the Cabinets and the sentiments of public opinion. 

There would be no reason to fear such a toleration on the part of those 
powers, unless they were determined to pursue, under the appearance of 
diplomatic action, within the limits of international engagements, the 
realization of the most extreme desires of the Polish revolution, leading to 
the overthrow of treaties, and of the equilibrium of Europe. 

One cannot evidently expect this from those Cabinets which are interested 
in the maintenance of this equilibrium, and who have taken as the basis of 
their intervention the scrupulous execution of the treaties of 1815. 

TsarsUe Selo, 26th August, 1863. 


Foreign Office, Oct. 20th, 1863. 

MY LORD, Baron Brunnow has communicated to me a despatch from 
Prince Gortschakoff, dated August 26th (September 7th), in reply to my 
despatch to your ExceUency, No. 178, of the llth ultimo, of which you were 
instructed to give a copy to his Excellency. 

Her Majesty's Government have no wish to prolong the correspondence on 
the subject of Poland for the mere purpose of controversy. 

Her Majesty's Government receive with satisfaction the assurance that 
the Emperor of Russia continues to be animated with intentions of bene- 
volence towards Poland, and of conciliation in respect of all foreign powers. 

Her Majesty's Government acknowledge that the relations of Russia 
towards European powers are regulated by public law ; but the Emperor 
of Russia has special obligations in regard to Poland. 

Her Majesty's Government have, in the despatch of the llth of August 
and preceding despatches, shown that, in regard to this particular question, 
the rights of Poland are contained in the same instrument which constitutes 
the Emperor of Russia King of Poland. 

I am, &c., 

(Signed) RUSSELL. 

p.& Your ExceUency is instructed to give a copy of this despatch to 
Prince Gortschakoff. 


ABICHT, Assassination of Page 113 

Administration, Laxity of in Western provinces . . . .107 

Agitation, unarmed 50, 57, 67 

Secret progress of . . . . . . . 64, 78 

Agricultural Society .56 

Intended uses . . 65 

Political purposes . . . . . 65, 66 

Dissolution of ....... 68 

resented by demonstration 72 

Various narratives of demonstration . . 73, 74, 75 

at Kieff, dissolved 106 

Alecot, People of, assist those of Kovno in procession .... 101 

Alexander the Emperor, his views .16 

Visit to Warsaw 19 

Address to the nobles 20 

Eeforms introduced by . . . . .21 

Oukase of 68 

Polish view of his reforms . . . . 104 

Amnesty, Proclamation of 185 

Arrest of students 98 

Assassination attempted, of Count Luders 85 

Grand Duke Constantino .... 87 

Wielopolski 88 

Count Berg . . . . . . .267 

Assembly of Nobles, Address from St. Petersburg . . . .184 

Austria, Policy of 140 

BANDS, Composition of insurgent 129 

Berg, Count, appointed Viceroy of Poland 253 

his character and antecedents 253 

his vigorous policy 254 

Search of convents 255 

Attempt to assassinate 257 

Measures for suppression of revolt . . . . /. . 258 

imposes property tax on proprietors in Warsaw . . 259 

' prohibits mourning ....... 260 

Bismarck, Herr von, Explanation of convention to Prussian chambers . 137 
Explanation to Sir A. Buchanan . . . .140 



Buchanan, Sir A. Statement of convention between Kussia and 

Prussia . . . . . . . Page 136 

Explanation of 138 

CATECHISM, Polish 9 

Central Committee defy Government to effect conscription . . .113 
Proclamation of, after conscription . . . .119 

authorize the murder of Wielopolski . . .125 

their letter to General Langiewicz . . . .158 

resume power on the defeat of Langiewicz . . 167 

Church, Koman Catholic, Influence of 28-31 

how exercised towards Kussia ... 30 

towards Austria ... 30 

Churches, Warsaw, blockaded 81 

Clanricarde, Lord, his speech in the House of Lords .... 201 

Clergy, Eoman Catholic, favour the revolt 130 

Committee, Polish, in Paris, Address of . . . . j .215 
Comparative position of peasantry ....... 24 

Congress kingdom, Condition of peasants 16-26 

Population analyzed and classified . . 23-26 

historically defined 89,90 

Advantanges of Poles in 124 

Conscription, effected 113 

Evil consequences of 115 

Exaggerations respecting . . . . . .116 

Conscripts, Number of . . . . . . . . .113 

Constantine, Grand Duke, appointed Viceroy of Poland . . .85 

Character 69-85 

Resignation of 247 

Convents, search of 255 

Council of State, Withdrawal of Polish nobles from . . . .180 

DEMOCRATIC Prejudices, how exhibited 
Demonstrations, Political, prohibited 


Domeiko, M., Attempt to assassinate . . . . 


Education of Poles after suppression of their universities 
Ellenborough, Lord Observations in the House of Lords 

his speech in the House of Lords 

Engineer absconds with railway engine 
England Feeling in favour of insurrection 
Executions by General Mouravieff .... 







GENDARMES hanging, Murders committed by 
German Press, feeling of ... 


INDEX. 329 

Gortschakoff (General) Policy as lieutenant . . . Page 57-72 

Death of 76 

Retrospect of policy . . . . .76 

Gortschakoff (Vice-Chancellor) Statements in reply to Lord Russell's 

despatch . 151 

Effect of his despatches . . .154 
Government, National. See National Government. 
Grockovo, Commemoration of battle of 52 

HISTORY, Study of Polish, forbidden 7 

Horodicki, Defeat of 225 

Hostile Demonstrations . . . . . . . < .98 

INSURGENTS, Excesses of " 126 

Exaggerated statements of 142 

Insurgent, Composition of bands 129 

Insurrection, Outbreak of . . . .-..-. -, V .114 

Collapse of . . . . . . . . 261 

JAROSZTNSKI, Louis, attempted assassination of Grand Duke Con- 

stantine by .87 

Jews and Poles, mutual feelings of . . . . . .63 

Jitomir, Demonstration in 106 

KIEFF, Rising in 221 

Kovno, Demonstration at 100 

LAMBERT, Count, appointed Viceroy 78 

Langievicz, commands the insurgents in Radom, establishes provisional 

government'there . . . . . . .131 

Defeat of, at Winchock 133 

his partisan system of warfare . . . . . .155 

his^assumption of dictatorship 157 

Letter received by him from the Central Committee . .158 
surrounded by Russians; . . . . . . . . 161 

his last skirmishes . . . . . . . .162 

resolves to resort to guerilla war 164 

Consternation and flight of his army 164 

his capture by the Austrians . . . . . .165 

denounced by his enemies ... . 166 

Lelewel, Death of 249 

Lepel, Scene of patriotic demonstration 102 

Liberal party in Russia ; their views of the policy of Emperor Nicholas 14 
Lithuania, Commemoration of union with Poland .... 90 
Losses of the Russians in engagements with insurgents . . -.129 

MASSACRE of Russian soldiers H? 

Mieroslawski . 28-53 

Miracles alleged on behalf of Poland 216 


Monti force, mistaken theory regarding ..... Page 190 

Mouravieflf, General, appointed Governor of North-western provinces . 194 

Character of 194 

Proclamations against wearing mourning , . 197 

Success of proclamation 200 

imposes property tax on landlords " . . 202 

Sequestrations of property by . . . 202 

Executions by order of ..... 205 

Mourning adopted by Poles ........ 84 

Proclamations against, by General Mouravieff . . .197 

misrepresented in England 200 

Statements in House of Lords concerning . . . 201 

NAPIER, Lord Explanation of convention between Russia and Prussia 139 
On patriotic agitation in Russia . . . . .183 

Napoleon Policy of Emperor . . . . . . . .144 

his designs on Prussia . . . . . . .145 

Character of 146 

Difficulties of his position 147 

Close of his diplomatic correspondence . . . .239 

National Government, Popular impressions regarding . . .168 

Explanations of its apparent power . . .169 

Proceedings of ,171 

its secret police 171 

Murders committed at the instance of . .173 

its diplomatic circular 173 

its interference in land question . . .175 

denounces the amnesty . . . . .185 

denounces the constitution of 1815 . . 194 

Terrorism exercised by 248 

desires employees of official journal to abandon 

their employment 259 

prohibits payment of property-tax . . . 260 

prohibits mourning 260 

Nazimoff, Governor-General of Wilna 90 

his wavering policy . . . ' . . . . . 105 

re placed by General Mouravieff ...... 194 

Nicholas the Emperor, Policy of, after revolt of 1830 . . . . 3 

Suppression of Polish universities 4 

Results upon education of Poles ... 5 

his death and its effects 14 

his advice to Emperor Alexander . . . . .15 

his restraints relaxed consequences . . . . .104 

Nullo, death of Francisco . . . . . . . . .217 

OPINION (public) in Russia ......... 246 

Order of the day of the revolutionary chief of Warsaw . . .125 

Marquis of, President of Delegation . . . . .61 

INDEX. 331 

Paskievitch, Viceroy of Poland Pa^e 19 

Peasants Guard, formation of 178 

Conduct of 181 

Disposition of, in the South-western provinces . . .218 
Arrest fugitive insurgents . . . . . . .220 

Petersburg (Saint) assembly of nobles address .... 184 

Peto, Sir Morton his contract declared void by National Government 177 
Podolia, address of nobles of ........ 108 

Points, the six motive of Western Powers in proposing . . . 229 
Indignation of Russians at six ....... 232 

Poland, State of during the Crimean war ...... 18 

Division of into military districts . . . . . .128 

Pole, Letter of a patriot 226 

Poles, Education of subsequent to 1830 . . . . . 4 

Hostility of to Russia 5 

' holding office conduct of .7 

Polish literature restricted . . 7 

nobility , 23 

proletarians . . . . . . . . .25 

peasantry . .' 24 

soldiers, conduct of in Crimean war ...... 19 

exiles, effect of their return ....... 23 

aristocrats. .......... 27 

women, patriotism of . . . . . . . .31 

Position of peasantry, reviewed ..... 33-49 

compared with that of Austria and Prussia 46 

delegation, influence of ........ 59 

National Hymn ......... 29 

mayors' duties and responsibilities, and how fulfilled . . . 40 
,, insurrectionary leaders ........ 58 

policy of 95 

Council of State 68 

,. commissioners of public instruction and public works . . 69 

costumes 75 

address to the Grand Duke Constantine 90 

nobles, dissatisfaction of 179 

withdrawal of from State Council 180 

Character of some of the leaders 252 

Posen, Policy of Prussia in 134 

Proclamation of Governor of 137 

Powers, Western, effect of interference of 193 

Property-tax imposed by General Mouravieff 202 

Proprietors, Hostility to Government .... 9 

Commercial activity of 22 

Position of in the Western Provinces .... 26 

Prejudices of 6 ? 

Resentment of on behalf of Agricultural Society . ; 72 

Embarrassed position of 1 2() 

., Views of patriotic party amongst . . . ... 122 


Provinces, Western, effect of reforms of Emperor on . . . Page 124 

Prussia, her policy in Posen 134 

her alarm at the Polish insurrection . . . . .135 
her convention with Russia as to refugees . . . .136 
Report of Sir A. Buchanan upon . . . . . 136 

RACES, Analysis of ... 25 

Radziwilow, Attack upon ......... 224 

Railway, Destruction of 118 

Red and White parties, Disputes between 241 

party, Views of . 242 

Religion, Influence of . 29-63 

Religious veneration of Russians 83 

Revolt, Plan of 95 

Polish, of 1830 3 

Revolutionary hymns prohibited 79 

press, suggestions and instigations of . . .94 

education and preparations 108 

Roman Catholic clergy, influence in Kovno 100 

Rossiny, Demonstration at . . 100 

Russell, Lord Despatch to Sir A. Buchanan 138 

Further Despatch to Sir A. Buchanan . . .139 

withdraws his demands < 140 

Speech in the House of Lords 149 

Despatch of to Lord Napier . . . . 150 

Apparent ignorance of Polish question . . .153 

Incompetency to cope with Prince Gortschakoff . 153 

View of Amnesty 187 

proposes the six points ...... 229 

his ignorance of the Treaty of Vienna . . . 234 

he closes diplomatic correspondence . . . 238 

Russia her convention with Poland as to refugees . . . .136 

Report of Sir A. Buchanan upon . . . . .136 

Anxiety of people of ....... 183 

Public opinion of ........ 246 

Russian tombs violated .... . . . .51 

SEQUESTRATIONS by General Mouravieff . . . . . . 202 

Seriakoffski appointed commander of insurgents in Lithuania . . 207 

Defeat of 208 

Capture of 209 

Execution of 213 

Six points, Objections to . . . . . . . .235 

Skarga, Opinion of on the state of the peasantry .... 35 

South-western provinces disarmed 106 

Stanton, Colonel, Despatch of, announcing conscription and revolutionary 

outbreak 114 

Synkiewicz, Major, Escape of ........ 225 

TREASURY, Robbery of in Warsaw 248 

INDEX. 333 

VOLHYNIA, Invasion of .... ^ ... Page 221 

WALDECK, Herr Von, speech of in Prussian chambers . . .137 

Warsaw, Suppression of University of 4 

Massacres of February 27th, 1860 . . . .54 

Public funeral of killed in 60 

Re-establishment of university 70 

Disturbance in ......... 74 

Proclamation of state of siege ...... 79 

Resignation of municipal council . . . . .182 

Treasury, robbery of . . . . . . . 248 

Wengrow, Capture of by Russians 132 

Western provinces, Revolutionary sympathies of . . . . .95 

White and Red parties, Disputes between ...... 241 

Wielopolski, Marquis of, insists on conscription . . . . .113 

appointed Chief Minister ...... 85 

Character and state craft 86-92 

sentenced to death by National Committee . . .125 

Change in policy of 127 

suspected both by Russians and Poles . . . .182 

Resignation of . 247 

Wilna, Suppression of university of 4 

Demonstration in ........ 98 

Arrest of students at 99 

Martyrs of, funeral services for 103 

Proprietors, Roman Catholic, taxed 106 

Wysocki, General, appointed to command in Volhynia . . .221 

Description of his army 222 

Defeat of 225 

ZAMOYSKI, Count Andrew .... 23,54,56,59,61,90 

Exile of 92 

Popularity of 97 

Palace, confiscation of 258 





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