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arable land, but there are also barren tracts, consist-
ing of sand and swamp, especially in the eastern
parts of the country. Wheat, barley, rye, and other



12 THE COUNTRY AND PEOPLE OF POLAND.

cereals are produced. There are some small iron,
copper, and lead mines, and the vast salt mines of
Wieliczka, near Cracow. The population of the
former kingdom of Poland contained members of the
following races : вАФ

I. Aryan.

a. The Poles, forming the bulk of the inhabitants
of the country, among whom must be numbered
the Kashubes, now amounting to about 110,000,
living on the coast of the Baltic near Danzig. They
are chiefly engaged in fishing. The Poles, according
to the calculations accompanying the ethnological
map of Mirkovich (1877), amount to 4,633,378 in the
Russian Empire, 2,404,458 (exclusive of Kashubes)
in Prussia, and 2,444,200 in Austria. Besides these
there are 10,000 in Turkey. These figures give a
gross total of 9,492,036, and with the addition of the
Kashubes, 9,602,036. It is somewhat difficult to
obtain the figures exactly, as some Polish writers,
from motives of patriotism, augment the numbers,
adding many who are really Malo-Russians.

The Poles belong to the western branch of the
Slavonic race, as their language shows. It is a
vigorous tongue, and has preserved some peculiar
characteristics of Palaeo- Slavonic, now lost, or only
partially represented by her eldest surviving daughter,
the Church Slavoniq, Among these peculiarities are
the two nasals, g. and <^, the first pronounced as in
the French boUy the second as in fin. The existence
of these nasals in the Church Slavonic was first
proved by the Russian scholar, Vostokov. The
Polish language is somewhat disfigured by the



THE POLISH LANGUAGE. I3

German words which have crept in. Many Latinisms
were also introduced by the macaronic tendencies of
the Jesuits. But the poet Casimir Rrodzinski has
truly and forcibly expressed himself about his native
language when he says, " Let the Pole smile with
manly pride when the inhabitant of the banks of
the Tiber or Seine calls his language rude ; let him
hear with keen satisfaction and the dignity of a judge
the stranger who painfully struggles with the Polish
pronunciation like a Sybarite trying to lift an old
Roman coat of armour, or when he strives to articu-
late the language of men with the weak accent of
children. So long as courage is not lost in our
nation, while our manners have not become degraded,
let us not disavow this manly roughness of our
language, it has its harmony, its melody, but it is
the murmur of an oak of three hundred years, and
not the plaintive and feeble cry of a reed, swayed by
every wind."

The language of the Kashubes differs in some
interesting points from the Polish, having a fluctuating
accent (whereas that of the Polish language is almost
always on the penultimate) and more nasal sound.s.
A grammar has been published by Dr. F'lorian
Ccnoya, and also a dictionary by X. G. Poblocki
(Chelmno, 1887), but a more copious and accurate
vocabulary has appeared in the pages of the philo-
logical review, Prace Filologiczne. Their literature
consists of only a few songs.

/;. The Malo- or Red Russians. These belong to
the Eastern branch of the Slavonic family. At the
present time they number in Austrian Galicia and



14 THE COUNTRY AND PEOPLE OF POLAND.

the Bukovina, including the Guzules and Boiki,
about 2,149,000, and in the northern part of the
kingdom of Hungary 625,000 ; in the Russian
Empire, 10,370,000. The language spoken by the
Malo- Russians is essentially the same as that spoken
by the Red Russians, the latter, however, has a few
dialectic peculiarities. They were never in very
pleasant relations with their Polish masters, especially
the Cossack portion of them ; hence the continued
fighting and the final transfer of their allegiance
to the Emperor Alexis. We have a recrudescence
of these troubles in the horrible excesses committed
by Gonta and Zhelieznikov upon the Poles and Jews
at Human.

The songs of the Russians of Galicia have been
collected by Golovatski (Moscow, 1878). A poet
of some note among them who used the Guzule
dialect was Yuri Godinski, who wrote under the
name of Joseph Fedkovich. He was born in the
Bukovina, and died at Czernowitz in 1889.

c. The White Russians, inhabiting the governments
of Minsk, Grodno, &c. These formed the most
civilised element of the strange Lithuanian princi-
pality ; in their language have come down such legal
documents as the Poles issued to their Lithuanian
subjects, e.^., those of Wladyslaw H. in 1420-1423,
that of Casimir given in 1468, and the so-called
Lithuanian statute of 1529. Of this dialect there
is a grammar by Karski and a dictionary by
Nosovich.

d The Lithuanians, Letts, and Samogitians, amount
to about 3,000,000. Of these, the Lithuanians and



THE LITHUANIANS, 15

Samogitians now occupy the Russian governments of
Kovno, Grodno, and part of Wilno. They also ex-
tend over a small strip of Prussia bordering upon the
Kurisches Haf. The Letts occupy the whole duchy
of Courland, with the exception of those portions held
by German settlers. An interesting work on the folk-
lore of the Letts has been recently published by E.
Welter (St. Petersburg, 1890).

The history of the Lithuanians is legendary till the
days of Mindovg, who was crowned prince in 1252.
His son Gedymin proved a powerful sovereign
(13 1 5-1 340). He got possession of Kiev in 1320.
Many of the western Russian provinces fell into his
power, and he seems to have made some of his sons
rulers over them. At all events, he organised a
powerful Lithuanian state. He died at an advanced
age in the city of Wilno, which he had founded. Of
the union between Poland and Lithuania we shall
speak in the course of our narrative. This union,
made at the time of the marriage of Jagiello and
Jadwiga, was strengthened at Lublin, after which
Warsaw was chosen as the capital. But it took a long
time to thoroughly Polonise Lithuania. The bulk of
her people remained for many years adherents of the
Greek Church, and the feeling of patriotism was
strong in the families of Radziwill, Chodkiewicz, and
others. Constant tendencies to independence were
conspicuous. On the death of Sigismund Augustus
the Lithuanian national party wished to put an inde-
pendent prince upon the throne. Frequently during
an interregnum the Lithuanians were desirous of
having the Russian tsar for their ruler. In the



1 6 THE COUNTRY AND PEOPLE OF POLAND.

negotiations with the Poles which took place on the
death of Sigismund Augustus, the Lithuanian senate
was eager for the restoration of Volhynia, Kiev, and
other territories, so that Lithuania should not be
described as a part of Poland. On the death of
Batory some of the Lithuanian magnates again
wished to elect the Russian tsar. This is proved
by documents preserved in the archives of Prince
Czartoryski, from which the late Professor Perwolf
made extracts. Sigismund III., among the terms
offered to the False Demetrius in 1605, required that
he should bring about the perpetual union of the
states, 2mi0 zvieczng, Panstiv. As yet so many of the
people were of the Orthodox faith that their luke-
warm feeling to their Catholic neighbours can be
explained. Moreover, the bulk of them spoke White
or Malo-Russian. These languages continued in use
in judicial proceedings as late as the year 1697. The
Litliuanian statute remained throughout in full force.
[See Professor Daskevich, Zamietki po istorii Litov-
skoriisskago gosiidarstva^ " Remarks on the History
of the Lithuano- Russian State," Kiev, 1885.J

e. The Germans, who arrived in the country as early
as the thirteenth century. They formed for the most
part the burghers of the cities. They amounted to
about two millions. They early obtained great
influence in the country, and we are told of one of
the Polish kings, Leszek the Black, that he especially
affected their habits, dressing like a German and wear-
ing his hair after their fashion.

f. The Armenians, who came early into Poland
for the purposes of trade ; v/e find them settled



THE URGO-FINNISH RACE. I7

already in the thirteenth century. For a lon^ time
they preserved their devotion to the Orthodox faith,
but after 1626 many were converted to the doctrines
of the Uniates. Kromer thus speaks of them, " Ai'-
7?te7tii sjiis ritibus, suaque lingua in sacris utuntur.
Non abhorrent ii tamen^ siciit accepimns, a Romana
ecclesia et Romano pontifice ; qiiin principatum
ejus in universa Christi ecclesia agnoscunt!' Their
descendants are to be found in great numbers in
GaHcia, vi^here in some parts an Armenian dialect
is still spoken. It formed the subject of a learned
treatise by the young scholar Hanusz, who was too
soon lost to the Slavonic world.

2. Ugro- Finnish. Of this race the only inhabi-
tants in Poland were the Esthonians in the Baltic
provinces. Their literature is exceedingly scanty.
Till quite recently the earliest specimens known
were contained in some poems written to celebrate
two marriages by a certain Reiner Brocmann of the
years 1634, 1638, to which a third may be added
composed by Joachim Saleman in 165 1 ; but lately
there has been a discovery of several sermons in the
Esthonian language, preserved among the archives
of the city of Revel. These carry the literature back
to quite the beginning of the seventeenth century
(see Sitzungsberichte der geleJirten Estnischeft gesell-
schaft zu Dorpat, 1891). Moreover, the Esthonians,
like their brothers the Finns, were destined to have
a national epic. From the letters of Dr. Kreutzwald,
the literary father of the so-called Kalewipoeg, we
see that this epic was pieced together from fragments
of genuine popular poetry, very much in the same

3



1 8 THE COUNTRY AND PEOPLE OF POLAND.

way as Macpherson composed his Ossian. The
same process seems to have been carried on, more
or less, in the case of the more famous Kalevvala.
It is somewhat curious that Kreutzwald himself
should have recognised the suspicious character of
this so-called epic in many respects. He was better
able to do so because he was himself no mean adept
in the art of such compositions. In one of his letters
he speaks of the Kalewala as resembling Ossian :
" Einzelnes mag fur Volkpoesie gelten, aber selbst tritt
eine nachhelfende Hand vor, zvdJirend andei^e Stellen
aufstossen, die offenbar^ frentdes Element enthalten "
(see Verhandlungen der Estnischen gesellschaft zu Dor-
pat, 1 891).

3. The Semitic. The Jews came into Poland in
very early times ;~ they carried on a great part of the
trade of the country. In all probability the oldest
Jewish immigrants reached Poland from the countries
on the Lower Danube and from the kingdom of the
Khazars, who had accepted the Hebrew faith. The
introduction of the Jews into the national sagas and
the legends of the Church shows that they were very
numerous and not without influence on the country.
At the end of the eleventh century another stream
of Jewish immigrants came from Germany. In the
year 1264 Boleslas the Pious granted them certain
privileges. At first these advantages were only con-
ceded to the Jews of Great Poland, but they were
extended in 1334 by Casimir the Great, who was
probably in want of money. Some think that the
Jewish statute enacted by this monarch was suggested
by a privilege granted by Frederick, Duke of Austria,



THE yEWS.



19



in 1244, which was frequently imitated afterwards. It
is computed that the number of Jews in the countries
which once formed Poland amounted to 2,200,000.
They have never become assimilated, and they use
German instead of the Polish language.




II.



THE SAGAS OF EARLY POLISH HISTORY.



For our knowledge of early Poland and its people
we have only a confused mass of legends. Since
these stories have been examined critically, historians
are agreed in regarding everything as more or less
fabulous till we come to the reign of Micczyslaw I.
(962-992). The first Polish chroniclers, Gallus, Kad-
lubek, Dlugosz, and Kromer, who were ecclesiastics
and used the Latin language as their literary medium,
handling it with considerable dexterity, have treated
these stories as genuine history. The more sober
criticism of modern times, as shown in the writings
of Lelewcl and others, has relegated them to their
proper place. We are hardly likely to believe in the
existence of a Duke Lech or a beautiful princess
named Wanda, who flourished in the eighth century :
or in Cracus, said to have been the founder of
Cracow. All these are obviously only generic and
national names individualised. Many of the quaint
stories about these princes have done duty in the
legendary history of other countries. They recall to
us Tarquin and the poppies ; Zopyrus and Babylon ;
Tell and the apple ; and other quaint traditions which



LESZEK. 21

may be claimed by so many lands. Thus the
mythical hero, Przemyslas (Przemyslaw), forms clay
figures of men with lances, swords, and bucklers ;
the rays of the sun are reflected upon them, and the
Hungarians, with whom he was contending, scared at
the sight of these imaginary soldiers, beat a pre-
cipitate retreat. The same story is told in Kent
of the invasion of William the Conqueror. So also
with reference to the horse-race, in which the crown
was to be the prize of the victorious candidate. It
is an old story of classical times. Lescus (Leszek)
was of humble origin, became an excellent prince, and
loved to gaze upon his former ragged habih'ments,
which were preserved, that he might be reminded of
the lowly estate from which he had been called. In
the same way the shoes of the peasant Premysl^ the
husband of Libusa, are said to have been long, pre-
served in the Hradschin at Prague ; one of the many
points of identity between the Chekh and Polish
legends.

Leszek was succeeded by his son of the same name,
of whom in defiance of all chronology, Vincent
Kadlubek tells us that he overcame Julius Caesar in
three battles, and received his sister Julia in marriage,
and that he also subdued Crassus, king of the Par-
thians (!). We thus see Polish history rivalling the
most absurd fictions of Geoffrey of Monmouth. The
same may be said of the story of Popiel and the rats.
This duke was a vicious man and had become, so
the legend goes, so hateful to the whole nation that
a conspiracy was formed against him, headed by his
uncles. This he discovered, but concealing the infor-



22 THE SAGAS OF EARLY POLISH HISTORY.

mation he had received, invited them lo an entertain-
ment and caused them to be poisoned. Moreover, he
refused to allow their bodies to be buried, and from
the corpses sprang rats in countless numbers, which
destroyed Popiel and all his family. This is a variant
of the well-known legend of Bishop Hatto, which
Southey has versified in so spirited a manner.
Equally legendary is the account of the holy peasants,
the parents of Piast ; the visit of the gods to their
humble cabin ; their constantly replenished store, and
the ultimate election of their son to the sovereignty.
Whatever may have been their origin and the amount
of truth contained in this strange story, it is matter
of history that the Piasts ruled the country not less
than six hundred and thirty years. The date fixed
for their half-mythical ancestor is 842, but we cannot
say any more with confidence than that the Piasts
first came to power at some time during the ninth
century.

Now that we have dealt in a somewhat summary
fashion with these sagas, before we begin with the
real historical period, the reign of Mieczyslaw I., a
few words may be said as to what philologists and
ethnologists have been able to discover of the origin
of the Poles.

There seems reason to believe with Schafarik that
their name is found in that of the Bulanes, who are
mentioned by the geographer Ptolemy, who lived in
the second century A.D. The name implies the
dwellers of the plains (pole, a field) ; we can see by
the map that Poland is a flat country. In its more
fertile parts it reminds us of our own midland



THE LEKHS. 23

counties, but we rarely come upon the bolder features
of nature. Jordanes (A.D. 552) speaks of Slavs as
inhabiting the banks of the Vistula, but he has no
distinct name for them. In the sixth or seventh
centuries some people settled on that river are called
Lekhs, a word which has never been satisfactorily
explained. The older form probably had a nasal :
hence we get in the Latin chroniclers Lenchitce, in
Lithuanian, Lenkas, and in Magyar, Lengyel. The
name Lekh gradually made way for that of Poliane
or Polaki. Nestor, the old Russian chronicler, or at
all events the chronicle which goes under his name,
speaks of the Poliane Liakhove on the Vistula and the
Poliane Rusove on the Dnieper. When we first
become acquainted with the Poles we see them living
in their village communities, a purely agricultural
people. They are found grouped about Gniezno,
Kruszwica, and Cracow.

We can only make a passing allusion to the view
of Szajnocha that the organisation of the Polish race,
began like the Russian, from colonies of Norse
settlers. He endeavoured to support this opinion by
the interpretation of some of the names, but is not
considered to have succeeded, although few persons
at the present time would deny its truth in the case
of the Russians. Here and there in the old Polish
stories, as in the Russian, we seem to come upon
versions of Scandinavian sagas, but by far the greater
portion of them can be shown to be replicas of old
Bohemian legend ; thus Cracus reminds us of Krok
and Premysl of his Bohemian namesake, and we find
many similar instances in the pages of Cosmas, the



^4 THE SAGAS OF EARLY POLISH HISTORY.

old Bohemian chronicler. The parallel is further
strengthened when we see tha^ so much of the earliest
Polish literature which has come down to us is
modelled upon that of the Chekhs ; thus the Polish
hymn to the Virgin has its Bohemian prototype, and
the early Polish translations of the Bible were modelled
upon Bohemian.




III.



THE RISE OF POIJSH NATIONALITY. FROM THE
REIGN OF MIECZYSLAW I. (962) TO THE DEATH
OF BOLESLAS THE BRAVE (1026).

The first undoubted historical event in which
Poland is concerned relates to the year 963, when in
the time of the German Emperor Otho I. the Mark-




SEAL OF MIESZKO THE ELDER.



graf Geron conquered the heathen prince Mieczyslaw
or Mieszko, to use the abridged form of his name by
which he is frequently mentioned, who ruled over the



26 THE RISE OF POLISH NATIONALITY.

Poles in the country on the Warta from the Oder to
the Vistula, and made him pay tribute to the emperor.
In 965 we are told that Mieczyslaw became a Chris-
tian, in order to gain the hand of D^brovvka, the
daughter of Boleslas, the King of Bohemia. By
these means he consolidated the power of the Sla-
vonic tribes against the ever-increasing encroachments
of the Germans. The form of Christianity received
was the Latin, and thus Poland is at the outset in
contrast to Russia, whose civilisation was Greek and
Byzantine. According to some writers, traces of an
early Greek Christianity were originally to be found
in Poland. Mieczyslaw succeeded in bringing his
subjects over to the faith which he had adopted, with
the assistance of St. Adalbert, the bishop of Prague.
In 977 Dg.browka died, and in 982 he married Oda,
the daughter of a German Markgraf Mieczyslaw
acknowledged himself the feudatory of Otho, the
German Emperor, and, dying at Posen, was buried
there, aged sixty-one. In that city, in 968, he had
founded a bishopric, which was considered dependent
upon that of Magdeburg. The first bishop was
Jordan.

Mieczyslaw was succeeded by his son Boleslas
(Boleslaw), surnamed the Brave, or the Great (992-
1026). Otho III., of Germany, visited this prince
and raised his duchy into a kingdom. The splendour
of the ceremonies attending their meeting is fully
described by the Polish chroniclers. It is thus that
Kromer narrates the circumstances : Otho was re-
ceived by Boleslas and treated together with all
his attendants with more than regal magnificence



OTHO III. AND BOLESLAS. 2/

and liberality, and presented with splendid gifts, an
abacus (counting board), and all the gold and silver
plate on the table, a new service of which was brought
out each day. He also gave him valuable curtains
and robes. Whereupon the Emperor, wishing to con-
fer equal favours upon his host and friend, after a
conference with his councillors who accompanied
him, addressed him as king and ally and friend of the
Roman Empire, and free from all tribute and imperial
jurisdiction. Moreover, he placed the diadem upon
him, Gaudentius, the archbishop presiding at the
ceremony ; and he declared that the honours of a
king should remain to him and his posterity reigning in
Poland. To these, he added, as the gift of a guest the
lance of St. Maurice, which may still be seen in the
Cathedral of Cracow, where is the bishop's seat, and
in return he received the arm of St. Adalbert from the
new king. So far Kromer. St. Adalbert had for a
short time been the second archbishop of Gnesen, but
feeling it a sacred duty to preach the gospel among
the heathen Prussians, he had gone there and suffered
martyrdom. Boleslas was only able to purchase his
body at a great price, so that it might be kept as a
sacred relic at Gnesen. The events of his life are
figured on the brazen gates of the cathedral.

On the death of Otho III., in 1002, the relations
between Boleslas and the Germans changed. The
quarrels about the imperial throne enabled him to con-
quer all Lusatia and Misnia. He brought back from
exile Boleslas HI., the Prince of Bohemia ; and on the
latter breaking faith with him he took possession of
his country and also Moravia. Then began a long



28 THE RISE OF POLISH NATIONALITY.

and tedious war between Poland and the Emperor
Henry II., against whom Boleslas was infuriated be-
cause at a meeting at Merseburg, he had almost lost
his life through treachery. The Polish monarch, accor-
dingly, entered into relation with all those who were
ill-disposed towards the Emperor. But the first expe-
dition was unfortunate for Boleslas : his allies acted
feebly, Misnia was first lost and then Bohemia.
Lusatia was laid waste. But finally, in 1013, peace
was made between them at Merseburg, according to
which all Slavonic territory beyond the Oder was
freed from German rule. Boleslas then set about the
subjugation of the Pomeranians and the heathen Prus-
sians. Missionaries were left among them to instruct
them in the doctrines of Christianity, and an iron
pillar was erected between Rogozno and Laszczyn as
a sign of their subjugation, from whence the city of
Slupa took its name (j/?//, Pol. pillar). The most
famous, however, of the wars of Boleslas was that
with Yaroslav, Prince of Kiev, who had expelled his
brother Sviatopolk. Boleslas embraced the cause of
Sviatopolk, and a battle took place on the banks of the
Bug in 1016, in which he was victorious. He is said
to have been stimulated to join battle with the enemy
by the jeers of a Russian soldier who made fun of his
corpulence. Sviatopolk was restored, but he behaved
with treachery to Boleslas, who on a subsequent occa-
sion is said to have taken Kiev and to have struck the
golden gate, the ruins of which still exist, with his
sword. Our chief authorities for these transactions are
Thietmar, the German chronicler, and Martin Gallus.
Boleslas died in 102$ at Posen, and was there buried.



BOLES LAS THE GREAT. 29

He was fifty-eight years of age, and had reigned
thirty-three years. He had taken the title of King
of Poland ; his great idea was to make Poland a
powerful state in opposition to Germany.

His reign was one of great progress for the nation :
many new cities were built, trade was increased, Greek
merchants were induced to visit the country, and
money was coined. To spread Christianity more
effectually among his subjects, Boleslas sent for some
Benedictine Monks from France, and founded mona-
steries for them on Lysa Gora, at Sieciechowa, and
Tynec ; in his time also schools were established.
We are told that all the people wore mourning for
him during a year. He was, in reality, one of the
few vigorous monarchs of Poland. He had largely
extended her territory, having added White Croatia
(Bialo-Chrobacya) with Cracow as far as the Carpa-
thians, the towns of Galicia, and the Baltic coast. By
founding the archbishopric of Gnesen, he established an


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