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which about 500 guests welcomed him. Bonneville,
the president, proposed his health in the usual exag-
gerated style of French eloquence, *' La liberie est
smivee : Kosciuszko est en Europe ! " The Polish hero
was not more successful with Napoleon, and accor-
dingly went again into retirement at Fontainebleau,
where he spent many years.

When Alexander I. had received by the treaty of
Vienna a great part of Poland and had granted a
constitution, the hopes of Kosciuszko were again
aroused, and the patriot had several meetings with
the Tsar, whose benevolent feelings towards him were
somewhat chilled, when he perceived the extensive
demands of the Poles, who considered the eastern
boundary of their country to be the Dwina and the
Dnieper. Kosciuszko, now finding that all his plans
were regarded with disfavour, retired to Switzerland,
and died there on October 15th, 18 17, aged 71 years.



We must now return to the condition of Poland
after the cJefeat of Kosciuszko. A paralysis seized
the unfortunate country. The loss of their hero
seemed the ruin of Poland. As his successor General
Wavvrzccki was chosen, but he exercised very little
influence. The Poles now endeavoured to enter
into negotiations with Suvorov, but he refused to
admit them to his presence. Finding themselves
cut off from all hope, the people of Warsaw re-
solved to defend themselves to the last extremit}',
and Zaig.czek took the management of affairs. The
suburb of Praga, which afterwards obtained such a
sad celebrity in European annals, is separated from
the city of Warsaw by the river Vistula, but is joined
by a bridge. Suvorov divided his army into seven
columns, and commenced storming this suburb at
five o'clock in the morning of the 3rd of November.
The slaughter of the Poles was very great. 13,000
in all perished at Praga ; more than 2,000 were
drowned in the Vistula: 1500 were taken prisoners,
and not more than 800 succeeded in returning to
Warsaw. Among the slain were Generals Jasinski,
Korsak, Kwasznewski, and Grabowski. The captives
included Generals Mayen, Hesler, Krupinski, five
colonels, and 438 other officers. Suvorov entered
Praga when the horrors were over. Buxhovden was
appointed governor of the conquered suburb ; a tent
was put up for the Russian commander. The pri-
soners were there brought to him ; he returned them
their swords. That night he slept in a Kalmuck
kibitka ; the two previous nights he had passed with-
out sleep. Early on the following morning deputies




from Warsaw made their appearance. They brought
Suvorov a letter from King Stanislaus. " The Govern-
ment of Warsaw," wrote this feeble man, " has asked
my mediation : the inhabitants will defend them-
selves, unless their lives and property are guaranteed."
The deputies required an armistice for a week for the
conclusion of a treaty. The general on duty brought
back the answer of Suvorov. " Treaties are not
necessary. The soldiers must be disarmed, and all
weapons handed over to the Russians. The king will
be confirmed in his position, the Russians will imme-
diately enter Warsaw. The lives and property of the
inhabitants are guaranteed : an answer is expected in
the course of twenty-four hours." The deputies were
brought into the tent of Suvorov : he sat on a block
of wood : another block served him for a table. His
only word was '' pokoj' (peace), and throwing aside his
sword he went to meet the deputies with outstretched
arms. But he would not listen to any truce ; his only
terms were, the disarming or sending away the soldiers
from Warsaw, if they would not lay down their arms ;
the delivery of their arms and arsenals to the Russians,
and the setting free of the Russian prisoners. The
space of a day was to be granted, and if these terms
were refused, hostilities were at once to be recom-
menced. An indescribable tumult reigned in Warsaw,
and led to some sanguinary riots. On the 8th it
capitulated, and the Russians made their entry into
the unfortunate city, the keys of which were delivered
to Suvorov. The following day he paid a visit to
King Stanislaus. The last time they had met was
seven years before at Kaniov, among the splendid



retinue of Catherine, during her journey to the Crimea.
The inhabitants of the city were disarmed. But
there still remained elsewhere some bodies of Polish
troops. Joseph Poniatowski was at Blon with 3000
men and 17 guns : Orzarowski at Suchoczino with
1500 men and 10 guns. Madalinski and Dg.browski,
pursued by the Prussians and having 18,000 men with
20 guns, were reinforced by the 2000 infantry, 4000
scythemen, and 1500 cavalry with 25 guns, who had
escaped from Warsaw. Orzarowski and Poniatowski
endeavoured to come to terms with the conquerors,
and dismissed their forces. Madalinski gave up the
command to Wawrzecki, who was himself finally
compelled to surrender, and thus the various Polish
corps were broken up.

The Prussians now occupied Cracow ; they were as
eager for the spoils as the Russians, but left the
laborious and painful work to them, reaping all that
they could from the efforts of others. The third
division of Poland now took place. Austria had
Cracow, with the country between the Pilica, the
Vistula, and the Bug. Prussia had the capital with
the territory as far as the Niemen, and the rest went
to Russia. On April 25, 1795, Stanislaus resigned
the crown at Grodno, and retired to St. Petersburg,
where he died in 1798. His remains rest in the Roman
Catholic Church, in the Nevski Prospect ; the exact
place of his burial is unknown, as the inscription on
the stone has long since been effaced by the feet of
worshippers in the church, and no one has been so
careful of his memory as to have it re-cut. He died
despised by Poles and Russians alike. Enough has


been said already about the weakness^of his character.,
but Rulhiere tells us that the day after the Russians
had forcibly carried away certain persons of rank
and note for opposing the plans of the Empress
Catherine, to the dismay of the capital, Stanislaus
was found by the deputies of the diet busily em-
ployed in sketching the pattern of a new uniform for
certain of his attendants on the anniversary of his
coronation. Still he could display manly conduct on
some occasions, as on the memorable day of the
promulgation of the new constitution. He was an
elegant, accomplished man, and one who could admir-
ably have filled a private station, but in the " fierce light
that beats about the throne " we only see his weakness.
And thus tlie history of independent Poland concludes
with her Romulus Augustulus. During his life he was
often reminded by the epigrams in circulation of the
opinion in which his subjects held him, but the poor
king was always more or less in a state of dependence.
Soon after he ascended the throne, when he wished to
form a matrimonial alliance with an archduchess of
the Austrian family, he was obliged to forego it,
because it would not be pleasing to Russia.

Paul, on his accession, invited Stanislaus to come
to St. Petersburg. We have already seen that the
Emperor was disposed to treat the Poles tenderly.
Some details of this occurrence are given by Prince
Czartoryski in his memoirs, he at that time being
resident at the Russian Court. It appears that while
Paul as Grand Duke was on his tour through various
parts of Europe with his wife, they passed through
Southern Poland, and the king met them at Wisnio-


wiec, an interesting place on account of its historical
associations. It had once belonged to the Wisnio-
wiecki family, long extinct, whose last heir had
married a Mniszek, the descendant of the man whose
daughter became the wife of the false Demetrius.
From this family also came Michael, the weak king
who preceded Sobieski.

The apartments of the palace were full of valuable
historical portraits. Among them were those of
Marina and Demetrius : there were also pictures
representing their coronation at Moscow. It was in
this palace that King Stanislaus welcomed the Russian
Grand Duke. Paul took a liking to him, and spoke
of his intention of returning a hundredfold all his
kindness. When Stanislaus, the victim of the caprice
of fortune, came to St. Petersburg, he was received
with royal honours. Paul offered him one of his
palaces, which he had furnished magnificently for
his use, and did what he could to make his stay
agreeable ; but there was no thought of allowing
the unfortunate king to return to Poland. In 1797
the coronation of the Emperor Paul took place at
Moscow, and thither the Court followed him. He
insisted that Stanislaus should also be present at
this ceremony. His position at such a scene must
have been a very painful one. We are told that
during divine service and the ceremonies which pre-
ceded the coronation Stanislaus was so tired out, that
he sat down in the tribune which had been assigned
to him. Paul at once remarked this conduct, and
sent a messenger to tell him that he must stand up
while the ceremoiiies lasted, and the poor king was


obliged to submit. It will be remembered that one
of his nephews was Joseph Poniatowski, who distin-
guished himself in the days of Poland's independence,
and became a famous general of Napoleon. He was
drowned in the riv^er IiLlster after the battle of Leipzig.
The statue of Joseph Poniatowski, which was the
work of Thorwaldsen, and had been intended by the
Poles to adorn one of the public squares of Warsaw,
was ordered by the Emperor Nicholas to be broken
to pieces ; he subsequently, however, revoked his
command, and presented it to Prince Paskevich, and
it now adorns one of the seats formerly belonging to
that nobleman.

Such was the fate of the proud Republic of Poland,
which has since remained blotted out from the list of
nations, although in the sixteenth century we have
seen her the greatest power of Eastern Europe. To
Poland nothing now remains but her language as a
bond of union to her children. Her institutions and
laws have perished ; in Galicia the Austrian civil
code prevails ; in Posen, the Prussian Landrecht. In
the kingdom of Poland under Russian government
from the year 1807 the code Napoleon has prevailed ;
in the Western and South-western Governments the
Lithuanian statute, changed by an ukase of June 25,
1840, into Russian law.



The great events of the French Revolution follow-
ing with such startling rapidity seemed to efface from
men's minds the immediate effects of the terrible fate
of Poland. Many Poles emigrated on the destruction
of their country's independence, and a large number
entered the French service. But when they saw that
nothing was done for them by the peace of Luneville
(1801), many returned to their native country and
accepted the amnesty which had been offered them.
Some joined Napoleon in his expedition against St.
Domingo, and perished there ; indeed, he is said to
have been glad to get rid of them in .this way as they
had become importunate. The treatment of the Poles
by Austria and Prussia was less generous than their
treatment by Russia ; every attempt was made to
Germanise them, and, indeed, Prussia has proceeded iri
the same course ever since. Russia still allowed the use
of the native language, and Alexander, in 1803, con-
ferred great privileges upon the University of Wilno,

Mapoleon had become all-powerful after the battle



of Jena, in 1806, and in 1808 he took from Prussia
some of her Polish possessions and formed th2m into
a small Duchy of Warsaw, which consisted of six
departments — Posen, Kalisz, Plock, Warsaw, Lomza,
and Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) — with a population of a
little more than two millions. The government of
this duchy was given to the Elector of Saxony. It
was extended in 18 10 by the incorporation of Cracow,
Sandomir, Lublin, and other cities.

The Poles had greatly distinguished themselves in
the Peninsular campaign, especially in the affair of
Somo Sierra, on the 30th of November, 1808. It
was by the capture of this place by the Polish lancers
that the road was opened for the French troops to
Madrid. In 1812 took place the memorable expedi-
tion of Napoleon to Russia. When he arrived at
Wilno the Poles hoped for some declaration in favour
of the restitution of the country's independence. They
had joined the invading army to the number of
60,000 men. But when a deputation came to him at
Wilno, informing him that the Diet of Warsaw had,
on the 28th of June, voted the re-establishment of the
kingdom, he answered evasively, contenting himself
with general statements, and added, " I have guaran-
teed to the Emperor of Austria the integrity of his
dominions, and I cannot sanction any manoeuvre or
any movement that tends to trouble the quiet posses-
sion of what remains to him of the provinces of
Poland." It was at Warsaw, on the loth of Decem-
ber in the same year, that Napoleon had his interview
with the Archbishop of Mechlin.

A resettlement of the conquered portions of Poland


v/as made by the treaty of Vienna (18 14). Austria
was to have Gah'cia and the salt mines of Wieliczka ;
Posen was to belong to Prussia, and that power was
confirmed in what she had gained at the first partition.
The city and district of Cracow were to form an inde-
pendent state under the guarantee of the three
powers ; the remainder of the former kingdom of
Poland, including the Duchy of Warsaw (embracing
a tract bounded by a line drawn from 1 horn to near
Cracovv on the west ; to the Bug and Niemen to the
east), went to Russia, and was to form a constitutional
kingdom subject to the Tsar. Professor Freeman com-
pares the union in some respects with that of Sweden
and Norway. The constitution was a liberal one
considering the circumstances ; Poland was to be
governed by responsible ministers, a senate, and a
legislative chamber. There were to be a national
army under the national flag and a separate budget.
The freedom of the press and personal liberty were
guaranteed, and Polish was to be the official language.
But it was obvious that from the first it would be
difficult to unite a country with such a liberal consti-
tution to one under the patriarchal government of an
autocrat, however good the intentions of Alexander
may have been.

The Russian Emperor granted an amnesty to all
the Poles who had fought against him under Napo-
leon in the campaign of 18 12, and in this resettlement
of Poland was assisted by his old friend Prince Adam
Czartoryski. In the Congress of Vienna Prince Adam
played so prominent a part that Lord Castlereagh
wrote to Lord Liverpool that the Prince, " although




not in any official situation appears now the actual
Russian minister at least in Polish and Saxon ques-
tions." After the negotiations at Vienna the Emperor
Alexander issued a proclamation to the Poles, dated
May 25, 1 81 5, and a provisional government was
formed at Warsaw, with Prince Czartoryski at the
head. The enthusiasm of the Poles for Napoleon
seems to have lasted till the end. Two Polish officers
were very anxious to accompany him in any capacity
to St Helena, but were not permitted to do so.
Herzen tells us in his Memoirs how the Poles were
continually laying their wreaths at the base of the
column in the Place Vendome. A Pole, Zaj^czek,
was appointed viceroy of the new kingdom, and the
Grand Duke Constantine, brother of the Russian
Emperor, took the command of the army. The calm
which was felt at first after the long dissensions in the
country was soon destined to be interrupted. The
feud between Russia and Poland, as we have shown
in preceding chapters, had existed for ages ; on one
side, boundless liberty of the noble ; on the other,
personal rule of the Tsar ; religious differences must
be added. All the traditions of the Pole bound him
to the west, of the Russian to the east. The proud
Polish nobility, so long accustomed to unlimited
authority, began to feel humiliated, and their indigna-
tion soon showed itself. In 18 19 a censorship of the
press was established, contrary to the terms of the
constitution ; some of the students of the Universities
of Wilno and Warsaw were imprisoned for the expres-
sion of liberal opinions ; the diets, according to the
constitution, were to be convoked every two years, but



none were summoned between 1820 and 1825, and
only one after the accession of Nicholas ; finally, in
1825, the publication of the debates was abolished.
On the other hand, it seems to be proved that the
city of Warsaw increased greatly in material pros-
perity, as did the kingdom generally.

It was the French Revolution of 1830 which caused
the mine, which had long been prepared, to explode.
On the evening of the 29th of November, 1830, the
insurrection broke out. It was begun by some stu-
dents, who hoped to seize the Grand Duke Constan-
tine at his residence, the palace Belvedere, in the
vicinity of Warsaw. They killed two officers, but
did not succeed in getting hold of Constantine. The
citizens in the meantime rose, and the Polish soldiers
joined the people, killing some of their officers who
refused to desert their allegiance. The chief com-
mand was given to General Chlopicki, a veteran who
had distinguished himself under Napoleon. Constan-
tine retreated towards Volhynia with the troops which
remained faithful to him. Early in 1831 Nicholas
sent Diebitsch at the head of 120,000 men to crush
the insurrection. Chlopicki, who despaired of success,
and hoped to arrange matters with the Emperor, laid
down his dictatorship, which was conferred by the
Poles on Prince Adam Czartoryski, whom, in case of
success, they seem to have intended to make their
king ; this noble family had already furnished so
many great citizens to the republic. The Poles now
carried on the insurrection more vigorously than ever,
and appointed Prince Radziwill their commander-in-
chief. In answer to the proclamation of Diebitsch


they declared on the 25th of January that Nicholas
had forfeited the crown, and by a supreme effort
raised an army of 60,000 men, many of whom, how-
ever, were badly armed. Diebitsch crossed the river
Bug and received several checks from the insurgents,
especially at Grochow. He was cut off from all com-
munications with Russia by insurrections in Lithu-
ania and Podolia. He defeated the Polish general
Skrzynecki in the battle of Ostrol^ko (26th of May,
1 831), but died two days afterwards of cholera, which
also in a short time carried off the Grand Duke Con-
stantine at Vitebsk. Diebitsch, however, was suc-
ceeded by Paskievich, to whom Warsaw capitulated
on the 8th of September.

The punishment of the unfortunate country was
severe ; many Poles who had been engaged in the
insurrection were sent into Siberia, and the constitu-
tion which had been given by Alexander I. was
annulled. The diets were at an end, and the country
was administered by officials, appointed directly by
the Tsar. Its ancient historical divisions were also
replaced by Russian governments i^gubernii). The
University of Wilno was suppressed and Kharkov
founded in its stead. The valuable library at Warsaw,
which was founded by the Zaluskis, was carried off,
and now forms part of the Public Library of St.

After the collapse of the Polish revolution. Prince
Czartoryski escaped from the country, and arrived
in London, but although a Whig Ministry was in
power, the tone of England just at that time was
somewhat conservative ; at all events, in matters of


foreign politics. The country was alarmed at the
excitement in France, and the cries of revenge for
Waterloo, and, as the Polish delegates reported to
their compatriots, "had come to the conclusion that
the policy of England ought to be, not to weaken
Russia, as Europe might soon again require her
services in the cause of order, and to prevent Poland,
whom it regarded as the natural ally of France, from
becoming ' a French province of the Vistula.' " More-
over, the Government was occupied with the Reform
Bill and the Belgian question. According to his
Memoirs, Prince Adam narrowly escaped capture
by the Russian army at Cracow. '* He arrived without
a servant," says Niemcewicz the poet, who welcomed
him to London, "deprived of all property, and his
whole luggage represented by a small trunk. What
a freak of fortune ! I well remember when I was
his father's aide-de-camp fifty years ago, and when,
during an inspection of the Lithuanian army, the
tents of his suite were carried by 300 horses and
fourteen camels." The Prince gained nothing from
his interviews with Talleyrand and Palmerston, those
two masters of state-craft, who put him off with
vague speeches, expressive of sympathy, but little
more. He was, however, extremely popular in
London society, and on the 2nd of January, 1832,
a public dinner was given to him, at which Campbell
the poet made a speech. Our English Tyrtaeus got
up a kind of spasmodic enthusiasm, but although he
talked a great deal about Polish authors and states-
men, his zeal does not seem to have carried him so
far as to attempt to learn their language ; at least.


to judge from his ludicrous misspellings and confu-
sions of names and places.

Brougham, who was at that time Lord Chancellor,
gave the Prince but little encouragement, although
in his pre-ministerial days he had spoken warmly of
the cause of Poland. Austria was on the side of
Russia and Prussia also. Ancillon, the Prussian
Foreign Minister, is reported to have said that Poland
had better be annihilated, "so as to have donevvilh
her once for all," and when the British ambassador
at Berlin appealed to the Treaty of Vienna, he
sharply replied that " every man can do as he likes
in his own house." Nothing therefore was achieved
for Poland, and although Prince Czartoryski took up
his abode in England, his advocacy of the Polish cause
was only met with rhetoric and platonic sympathy.

In this condition Poland remained for some years ;
the only noteworthy event being the return of a
large body of the Uniates in her former Eastern
provinces to the Orthodox Church in 1839. The fact
that Russia at the time of the Crimean War was
engaged in a deadly struggle with two of the great
European powers, raised the hopes of the Poles that
something might be done for them. Their names
had just before become somewhat prominent in
Europe, as many of them assisted the Hungarians in
the war of 1849. It was probably on this account that
the Russians interfered on that occasion ; we all feel
uncomfortable when a great fire is raging in our
neighbourhood. The name of General Bem and his
heroic achievements will at once occur to our readers,
and we shall not readily forget his last struggle at


Segesvar (Schassburg), where the poet Petofi was
his aide-de-camp. Bern died as a Mussulman at
Aleppo in 1850. The Turkish Sultan, Abdul Mcdjid,
refused to surrender the Polish refugees who had put
themselves under his protection, although great
e (Torts were made to induce him to give them up.
Many of the Poles now entered the Turkish service,
and it was to assist in the formation of a Polish
legion that the poet Mickiewicz undertook his ill-
fated journey to Constantinople. How he and they
fared in their new spheres of action, we shall shortly
have occasion to narrate.

The Crimean War, as we have said, roused the
hopes of the Poles. Prince Czartoryski addressed
several notes to the English Government, recom-
mending various plans for attacks upon Russia. He
also applied to the French Emperor, Napoleon HI.,
but found him vague and deceptive. The following
remarks on an interview between him and Prince
Adam are to be found in the life of Mickiewicz, by
his son. In May, 1855, on the occasion of the
attempt of Pianori, Prince Adam Czartoryski thought
of presenting an address, in which it was said that
the Poles blessed Providence for having preserved
the life of him from whom they had such great
hopes. The Prince called upon Mickiewicz, and
begged him to accompany him to the Tuileries,
thinking that he might find an opportunity for saying
a few words on behalf of Poland. Mickiewicz accord-

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Online LibraryWilliam Richard MorfillPoland → online text (page 15 of 23)