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of selling their prisoners of war taken year 964, became enamored of Dombrowamong that nation ; and they adopted, ka, (Dom-brov-kah,) the daughter of the impudently, if we may be allowed the Duke of Bohemia. But the price of Domexpression, DER SCLAVE as synonymous browka's hand was to be his conversion with Slavonian and slave. The Germans, tò Christianity, which he willingly paid; who have contributed so largely to the bar- and thus his happiness was barous Latinity of the middle ages, have mated, and the light of the Gospel brought also introduced into modern Latin the to his Pagan subjects. We may judge sclavi: the Romans did not know the of his zeal for his new faith from the Slavonians under that name at all. From edict which he issued, which required the same source the French word ésclave that when any part of the Gospel was is derived ; but the French for a Slavo- read, the hearers should half-draw their nian is un slave. English writers, for swords, in testimony of their readiness to want of correct information upon the sub- defend its truth. This custom prevailed ject, follow the Germans in this respect, till the wearing of swords at the side was and write Sclavonians. The impropriety given up, at the end of the last century. of using the word in that sense, which is On the death of Mieczyslas, in 992, forced upon it either by the ignorance or the throne devolved on his son, Boleslas, malice of the enemies of the Slavic race, who won laurels in many a battle-field, is evident.
and whose valor even his enemies acThe more prominent branches of the knowledged by styling him Chrobry, the Slavic race are the Poles, the Russians, Valiant. the Bohemians, the Servians; and the In Boleslas III., who succeeded to the remaining few are scattered and incor- throne in 1102, on the death of his fa. porated with other nations, some of ther, Wladislas, we see no less a hero wbom inhabit the eastern coast of the than in his namesake and ancestor above Adriatic. The whole family of the Sla- mentioned. Even the most happy of vonians amounts to 85 millions. The mortals expect, and sometimes meet, with Poles derive their present name from their reverses; but the conqueror of forty batword pole (po-leh) field. Their ancestors tles could ‘ill bear them. Through the dwelt in tents pitched in open fields, and treachery of a Hungarian, and cowardice hence they were at first called Polanie, of one of his generals, he was at length (Po-la-nieh) inhabitants of fields, subse- put to flight by the Russians, and his quently Polacy, the singular of which is glory of thirty-seven years' victory tarPolak, Pole; and hence their country in nished in a single day. Grief, at the their own language is Polska, (Pols-kah) faded laurels that fell at his feet, laid him Poland.
in his grave in 1139, A. D. The authentic history of the Poles While we recall the memory of the begins with the accession to the throne brave, we must not overlook the claims of the family of Piast, who was chosen that the mild and benevolent have upon their duke in the year 830, A. D.
His us. Such are the claims of Casimir Il., will and the fear of his barons was the Just, who ascended the throne in the only limitation of his power, which 1179. Though he waged successful he did not abuse through a long reign of wars with his country's foes, yet it is by nearly thirty-one years. He was suc his clemency and benevolence that he ceeded by Ziemovit, his son, in 860, who, made himself conspicuous. He protected after having reigned happily over his the weak against the strong and cruel, people, and laid the foundation of a strong and left to posterity the character of the empire, died 891. More critical histo- most amiable monarch that ever held the rians date the commencement of the au. Polish sceptre. Never swerving from thentic era of Polish history from Ziemo- equity, he tempered justice with mercy, vit, while his father's reign is looked and thus gained from his grateful subjects upon as veiled in uncertainty.
the enviable appellation of the Just. For five centuries and a half, (from It was destined that the last of the 830 to 1386,) the throne was in posses- family of Piast should be no less illustri. sion of the family of Piast, some of ous than his ancestors, and Casimir, the whose successors fulfilled the common Great, was the Polish Alfred. This destiny of princes-of being obscure in dynasty is so much endeared to the Polish high places; while others left their names nation that, to commemorate their memo. behind them with their deeds. Mieczys- ry, the appellation of Piast became the Las I., who ascended the throne in the distinction of the Kings of the Polish de
scent. In the year 1333, Casimir took the Pacta Conventa, curtailing royal prepossession of the throne of his father, rogatives, before ascending the throne. Wladislas, who, on his death-bed, gave But here we approach a more eventful him this remarkable advice: “If you epoch. Hedwiga, succeeding to her fahave any regard for your honor or your ther, Louis, in 1384, took for her husreputation, take care to yield nothing to band Yagellon, Duke of Lithuania. Thus the Knights of the Teutonic order, and the fortunes of the two nations, once the Marquis of Brandenburg. Resolve to enemies, were forever united by the bond bury yourself under the ruins of your of conjugal love. The family of Yathrone, rather than abandon to them the gellon swayed the Polish sceptre happily portion of your heritage which they for nearly two centuries. At this time, possess, and for which you are responsi. Poland was on the ascent to her highest ble to your people and your children. glory. Do not leave your successors such an After we have taken notice of our new example of cowardice, which would be acquaintances, the Lithuanians, we shall sufficient to tarnish all your virtues, and put on seven-leagued boots, and will pass the splendor of the finest reign. Punish quickly through the space of time that the traitors, and, happier than your father, separates us from more interesting though drive them from a kingdom where pity awful events in the life of the Polish opened an asylum for them, for they are nation. stained with the blackest ingratitude.” The Lithuanians and Samogitians are The succeeding bistory warrants the jus- different clans of common origin, who tice of this animadversion against the are believed not to have sprung from the Knights. Had his successors borne it Slavonic stem. They were Pagans; in mind sufficiently, the Prussians would believed in a Supreme God, whom they not now be the masters of Poland. called the All-wise-Spirit, and they wor
Casimir gave, for the first time, a code shiped other gods besides. Their lan. of laws to Poland, and saw justice im. guage resembles none of the Slavonic partially administered ; the condition of dialects, but approaches Greek and Latin, the peasantry was improved by him, for not only in words, but in its construcwhich he received the title of King of tion. The common people speak the the Peasants. He encouraged learning, language to this day, while the nobility and was the founder of the University of have adopted the Polish. A perfect harCracow, in 1347, which rose to such an mony subsists between the Poles and eminence that Pope Urban V. considered Lithuanians, as among children of one it, in 1364, as equal to any of the Uni- mother, of which they have given abunversities of Europe.
dant evidence in the last struggle for inDuring the reign of the family of Piast, dependence. the Poles frequently had to fight their But to return to the Yagellons. Casibattles with their neighbors; but with mir IV., who ascended the throne after the introduction of the Teutonic Knights the death of his brother, in 1444, reigned into Pomerania-a Polish province-in happily nearly forty-five years, (1492,) the beginning of the thirteenth century, extending the territory of his kingdom, greater demands were made upon their framing its constitution, and fostering vigilance and valor. The Knights were arts and learning. offered this abode, with the view that Under the last of the Yagellons, Sigisthey should defend the northern frontier mund Augustus, Poland reached the pinof Poland from its pagan neighbors, nacle of her glory; she took the first among whom they should propagate rank among the nations of Europe in Christianity. But no sooner had they power and learning. A galaxy of great established themselves, than they threw names shone in Polish literature in the aside the ostensible purpose of the mis- reign of the two Sigismunds, father and sion; and in the end, verified the story son. of the man and a frozen adder, which, After the demise of Sigismund Auguson being warmed by the fire, sprung tus in 1572, the Polish nation maintained upon his benefactor.
its elevated position for half a century Casimir leaving no immediate heirs, longer, for the seeds of her ruin were his sister's son, Louis, King of Hungary, slowly sown. The elective system of was called to the throne in 1370. This monarchy was introduced after the death period is remarkable on account of the of that king, and the inglorious Henry King's being made by the nobles to sign de Valois was its first fruit. Fortunately
for the country, after the reign of a few the walls of Vienna, Sobieski alone, who months, he fled to his native land, and frequently drove the Turks and Tartars Stephen Batory, elected in 1575, suc- before him, defied it. The blast of his ceeded to the Polish crown. The short victory (the 12th of September, 1683) reign of ten years was long enough for was heard all over Europe, and filled Batory to endear himself to his people; with extatic joy the hitherto frightened for his talent, courage, probity, and love Austrians, but not their Emperor, Leofor learning, were conspicuous. Yet, his pold, whose heart was possessed by otherwise glorious reign cannot be look- envy at the sight of his benefactor's gloed upon by the historian but with sorrow, ry. For this victory, Pope Innocent II. for he had the misfortune of planting received the honor of a statue as the libseed, whose nature neither he nor the erator of Christendom! What a hero ! world as yet knew anything about, till it and what a gratitude ! germinated and reached the season of its Splendid as the reign of Sobieski was, fruition. Anxious to contribute to the en- yet it had blemishes; and great as the man couragement of learning, he introdnced was, he had his weaknesses. He could into Poland the Order of the Jesuits, govern thousands of men on the field of whose real character was to be displayed battle, but at home he found himself unin subsequent reigns.
equal to the intrigues of his wife. But Sigismund III., of the family De Wasa, he is not the first who could not fight and son of the Swedish king John, was with woman; Samson himself was a next elected to the Polish throne in 1587, pigmy in such matters. Remembering and died 1632. His long reign of 45 his deeds, we must be less severe upon years was a source of calamities to the his foibles. Polish nation, yet it was not entirely de The 17th of June 1696, closed the eyes void of brilliancy. His reign was graced of our hoary warrior. Some time before by many distinguished men, among his death, the crows, birds ominous of whom stands foremost Zolkiewski, (Zol- storms, had passed over the political horkiev-sky) who brought the captive Czar izon of Poland, but when he died, it and his brothers in the train of his tri- grew dark; clouds gathered from all umphal entry to Warsaw, and laid the quarters, and the demon of discord was Russian crown at the feet of his royal busy in preparing thunder-bolts. The master. It was Sigismund who brought storm burst, and the frail bark of Poland upon Poland the Swedish wars for was tossed about by the raging elements, succession, which for many years ex- while the Swedes, the Saxons, the Prushausted her. It was also under his sians, the Russians, and the Austrians, sway that the Society of Jesus, in less stood ready to receive the wreck and dithan half a century from its introduction, vide the spoils. What hideous crimes struck deep roots into the Polish soil, and were perpetrated ! what superhuman vir. was spreading its baneful influence tues exhibited! just as if heaven and hell through the land. The Jesuits were fast were challenged to show their best and engrossing the public education of the their worst ! nation, and consequent imbecility, and Poland was now doomed to receive her bigotry, never failing concomitants of kings at her neighbors hands, even their system of instruction, gave a greater though they had not the baseness to proimpétus to the detrimental causes acting claim themselves her masters. An oppor. upon the country from without. It is a tunity soon presented itself to satisfy singular fact that the Jesuit colleges have their
lust for acquisition. Through the never produced a single great man in the influence of the intriguing Jesuits, the history of Poland.
political rights of the Protestants were When under the confluence of such encroached upon in 1717, rights which circumstances, Poland was convulsed they had enjoyed for upwards of a cenwith intestine commotions, fomented and tury and a half. Animosities arose at kept up by wily neighbors, who, like home, and Prussia, Russia, and Austria, hungry wolves, were waiting the disso- were glad to offer themselves as proteclution of her political body, there appear-tors of Protestant rights. They soon ed a man who could heal her wounds and showed their real intention. The archprolong her life yet a while—that man fiend, Frederic II., proposed the partition was John Sobieski.
of Poland, to which Russia and Austria When all Christian Europe trembled at readily acceded, and the ad of September, the sight of the crescent unfurled before 1772, saw that infamous act perpetrated,
not, however, without previous unheard- ty were enacted; dungeons were filled, of insults and cruelties.
and Siberia peopled with thousands of The country was overrun by the Prus- patriots. All humanity, but the black sians, Russians and Austrians; the halls of crew of despots, rejoiced at the blessings council were invested with Russian sol- which the new constitution promised. diers; and thus the three foreign ambassa. Fox thus speaks of it: “ It is a work in dors dictated the proceedings of the diet, which every friend to reasonable liberty and made them, at the point of the bayo- must be sincerely interested.” And Kant, net, approve of their nefarious deeds. Some the celebrated German philosopher, said, of the patriots who dared to resist, were “I should believe it divine, did I not sent to Siberia. The names of Reyten, know it to be a human work." Yet the Samuel Korsak, Dunin, Yerzmanowski, blessings of this divine work were withKozuchowski, Bohuszewicz, (Bo-hoo- held; the arms of the brutal Russians, shev-itch) and Penczkowski, Pench. Prussians, and Austrians, wrested it from kov.sky) will be handed down as fear the hands of exhausted Poland. less defenders of their country. When The pusillanimous king Stanislas was the session of the diet was unlawfully left merely nominal governor of the readjourned, Reyten, finding his exertions maining small portion of the kingdom, useless, threw himself along the door while the Russian ambassador was absoway, and with determined though wea- lute master at Warsaw. Such was the ried voice exclaimed : “Go, go, and seal lot of the constitution of the third of your own eternal ruin; hut first trample May, on the breast which will only beat for Notwithstanding these reverses and honor and liberty.” When Stackelberg, continual persecutions, the patriots deterthe Austrian minister, threatened the pa- mined to make one more effort to save the triots with confiscation of their estates, country. Kosciuszko, (Ko-stew-shko,) of if they should not submit to his demands, whom the nation conceived high hopes Korsak rose and put into his hands a list from his exploits of 1792, just then reof all his property, adding, “ This is all I turned from abroad, and on the 23d of have to sacrifice to the avarice of the en March, 1794, appeared at Cracow, wbere emies of my country. I know that they he was the following day proclaimed gencan also dispose of my life; but I do not eralissimo and dictator; so great was the know of any despot on earth rich enough confidence of the nation in this great and to corrupt, or powerful enough to intim- good man. The sequel proved he was idate me.” Thus nobly he fulfilled the worthy of it. The first battle Kosciuszko parting injunction of his father. My fought this year was near Raçlawice, son,” said the aged parent, “ I send you (Rats-lav-itsch) on the 4th of April, at to Warsaw accompanied by my oldest the head of about four thousand men domestics; I charge them to bring me against three times as many of the enemy. your head, if you do not oppose with all The result of it left three thousand Rusyour might what is now plotting against sians on the field, and many prisoners your country.” Can ancient Rome, can were taken. This glorious beginning Greece boast of a better father or a better revived the spirit of the nation and all son? May their names be forever the Poland was in arms once more. On the emblem of patriotism and the guide for 17th of April Warsaw rose, and the work noble youths!
of retribution began. For two days horEmboldened by their former success, ror reigned without any intermission; the enemy proposed another partition of young and old, men and women, all the rest of the Polish territory, and carried fought. Women from their houses threw their plans into effect in 1793. They stones and all sorts of missiles, and pour. saw that the Poles began to organize ed boiling water on the enemy in the themselves so as to be able to resist their streets, and fountains of blood washed farther encroachments. The constitution the pavement of Warsaw. which they had produced and which was To the 10th of October fortune favored proclaimed by the Diet on the 3d of May, the Poles, but on that day a battle was 1791, would give them new life and fought near Maciejowice (Mah-tsich-yostrength. This the enemy prevented by vitsch) and she declared herself for the inundating Poland with soldiery, and Russians. Kosciuszko charging the eneffecting the second partition after a brave emy fell covered with wounds, losing all but unsuccessful resistance of the Poles. his companious who were either killed New scenes of insult, horror, and cruel. or taken prisoners. He was found still
breathing, among the dead, by the Cos- ful of once the fosterer and protector of sacks, who made a litter with their lan- her civilization ! ces and carried him to their general. As soon as he was able to travel he was
“Oh, bloodiest picture in the book of time,
Sarmatia fell unwept, without a crime !" conveyed to Petersburg, where Catharine doomed the hero to prison.
It is common for the historians in the The consternation at these sad tidings interest of kings, to ascribe the fall of was unspeakable; men and women were Poland 10 the political vices of the Poles ; seen in the streets wringing their hands, but it is a mistake. The causes that probeating their heads against the walls, and duced the ruin of the country lie more in exclaiming in tones of despair, “Kos- the vices of European society than in the ciuszko is no more, the country is want of virtue in the Poles themselves. lost.”
When the religious enthusiasm that once Sad but true was the prophecy. Par- animated Europe subsided, and the guards alyzed by this disaster, ihe Poles were on the watch-towers of Christianity fell driven into the entrenchments thrown up asleep, or turned traitors to their holy before Praga. When on the 4th of No- calling, universal scepticism seized upon vember, 1794, Suwarow made an assault, society, and laxity in morals and despotthe earth groaned under more than a hun- ism in politics followed as natural consedred cannon vomiting fire from the batte- quences. Kings succeeded in absorbing ries of Praga. The flower of the Polish all the power of feudal Barons; and thus army that made the garrison, fought a monarch became the state. “ L'état, c'est bravely, as if in defiance of fortune; a moi,” said Louis XIV. of France. But few hours of carnage, however, decided Poland alone stood as the representative the day against them, and the fortifica- of the principles of freedom, amidst daily tions were carried. How much noble strengthening despotism around her, blood was sacrificed to implacable fate ! At this time Prussia had struggled into Eight thousand Poles fell sword in hand; a feeble existence, and acquired territory. and Suwarow, the monster, having given Austria losing ground in the west, turned orders to set fire to the bridge joining her attention eastward; and Russia havWarsaw to prevent the inhabitants from ing collected her heterogeneous tribes into retreating, let loose his Russian blood one hideous mass, was ambitious of hounds upon the devoted city. What taking a place among the European powscenes of horror followed! Human nature shudders at the very mention of Surrounded by such moral influences, them. Above twelve thousand towns- and by such neighbors, stood Polandpeople, old men, women and children, dangerous to kings from the freedom of were butchered in cold blood; the Cos- her people, and coveted equally by the sacks in exultation, carried little children three royal scoundrels as offering each on the point of their lances about the what he most desired. Her republican streets, brandishing them in the air. The government was, of necessity, too weak measure of iniquity was not yet full. to resist the combined power of despots. The Russians set fire to the place in four But while kings slood over the dismemdifferent parts, and in a few hours the bered body of Poland, enjoying their whole of Praga, inhabitants and their fiendish triumph, they were sounding the houses, presented but a heap of ashes ! death-knell of despotism. This event
Ou the 6th of November Warsaw had was the last triumph of crowned heads to capitulate, and the Russians, Prussians over the people; and history, when it and Austrians began to fill their dungeons will be written for the people, shall call with the most distinguished names of Po- it the culminating point of the glory of land. On the 24th of October, 1795, the kings. But from this time also, she will treaty for the third and complete partition date the increasing strength of the downof Poland was agreed upon by Russia, trodden masses. The time is not far dis. Prussia and Austria. Thus the Polish tant when the people will rise in their nation of more than twenty-four millions majesty, and recover their rights at the of inhabitants, was struck out from polit- cost of the heads of kings—their eneical existence; her king, Stanislas Au- mies. gustus Poniatowski, was made to abdicate And here let us add a few words about and retire on a pension to St. Petersburg, the hero who took such a prominent part where he died. Of these enormities all in the last events of his struggling counEurope stood a listless spectator, forget- try, and whose virtues rendered him the