1763-1769. “ Sire, to incline it to our favour. Our obligation will be infi6 nite."

Why should she be absolutely against us? “ What has she to fear from us? The Courland business, if “ that sticks with her, could be terminated in a suitable manner.” _Troops into Poland, Sire ? “My Husband so little thinks “ of sending troops thither, that he has given orders for the re“ turn of those already there. He does not wish the Crown

except from the free suffrages of the Nation : if the Empress

absolutely refuse to help him with her good offices, let her, at “ least, not be against him. Do try, Sire."13_Friedrich answers, after four days, or by return of post-But we will give the rest in the form of Dialogue.

Friedrich (after four days). “ If, Madam, I had “ Crowns to give away, I would place the first on your head, as “ most worthy to bear it. But I am far from such a position. I “have just got out of a horrible War, which my enemies made

upon me with a rage almost beyond example; I endeavour to “ cultivate friendship with all my neighbours, and to get em“ broiled with nobody. With regard to the affairs of Poland, an “ Empress whom I ought to be well with, and to whom I owe

great obligations, requires me to enter into her measures; you, “ Madam, whom I would fain please if I could, you want me “ to change the sentiments of this Empress. Do but enter into “ my embarrassment !" “ According to all I hear from “ Russia, it appears to me that every resolution is taken there; “ and that the Empress is resolved even to sustain the party of “ her partisans in Poland with the forces she has all in readiness “ at the borders. As for me, Madam, I wish, if possible, not to “ meddle at all with this business, which hitherto is not com

plicated, but which may, any day, become so by the neigh“ bours of Poland taking a too lively part in it Ready, other

wise, on all occasions, to give to your Electoral Highness proofs “ of my—"14

Electress (after ten days). “Why should the Empress be so much against us? We have not deserved her “ hatred. On the contrary, we seek her friendship. She de

13 (Euvres de Frédéric, xxiv. 53.
14 Ibid. p. 54: 'Potsdam, 16th November 1763.'


1763-1769. “ clares, however, that she will uphold the freedom of the Poles “ in the election of their King. You, Sire"–15 —But we must cut short, though it lasts long months after this. Great is the Electress's persistence,—“My poor Husband being dead, cannot “our poor Boy, cannot his uncle Prince Xavier try? O Sire !" Our last word shall be this of Friedrich's; actual Election-time now drawing nigh:

Friedrich. “I am doing like the dogs who have fought bit“ terly till they are worn down : I sit licking my wounds. I

notice most European Powers doing the same; too happy if, “ whilst Kings are being manufactured to right and left, public “ tranquillity is not disturbed thereby, and if every one may “ continue to dwell in peace beside his hearth and his household gods.”16 Adieu, bright Madam.

No reader who has made acquaintance with Polish History can well doubt but Poland was now dead or moribund, and had well deserved to die. Anarchies are not permitted in this world. Under fine names, they are grateful to the Populaces, and to the Editors of Newspapers; but to the Maker of this Universe they are eternally abhorrent; and from the beginning have been forbidden to be. They go their course, applauded or not applauded by self and neighbours,—for what lengths of time none of us can know; for a long term sometimes, but always for a fixed term; and at last their day comes. Poland had got to great lengths, two centuries ago, when poor John Casimir abdicated his Crown of Poland, after a trial of twenty years, and took leave of the Republic in that remarkable Speech to the Diet of 1667.

This John is “Casimir V.,” last Scion of the Swedish House of Vasa, with whom, in the Great Elector's time, we had some slight acquaintance; and saw at least 1763-1769. the three-days beating he got (Warsaw, 28th-30th July 1656) from Karl Gustav of Sweden and the Great Elector, 17 ancestors respectively of Karl XII. and of our present Friedrich. He is not “Casimir the Great” of Polish Kings; but he is, in our day, Casimir the alone Remarkable. It seems to me I once had in extenso this Valedictory Speech of his; but it has lapsed again into the general Mother of Dead Dogs, and I will not spend a week in fishing for it. The gist of the Speech, innumerable Books and Dead Dogs tell you, 18 is ' lamentation over the Polish Anarchies,' and 'a Prophecy,' which is very easily remembered. The poor old Gentleman had no doubt eaten his peck of dirt among those Polacks, and swallowed chagrins till he felt his stomach could no more, and determined to have done with it. To one's fancy, in abridged form, the Valediction must have run essentially as follows:

15 Euvres de Frédéric, xxiv. 55: Dresden, 26th November 1763.' 16 Sans-Souci, 26th June 1764' (Ibid. p. 69).

Magnanimous Polack Gentlemen, you are a glorious Republic, and have Nie pozwalam, and strange ‘ methods of business, and of behaviour to your Kings

and others. We have often fought together, been “ beaten together, by our enemies and by ourselves; and

at last I, for my share, have enough of it. I intend ' for Paris; religious-literary pursuits, and the society . of Ninon de l'Enclos. I wished to say before going, that according to all record, ancient and modern, of " the ways of God Almighty in this world, there was ' not heretofore, nor do I expect there can henceforth

be, a Human Society that would stick together on " those terms. Believe me, ye Polish Chivalries, with• out superior except in Heaven, if your glorious Re



1: Suprà, i. 348-351.

18 Histoire des Trois Démembremens does, and many others do ;-copied in Biographie Universelle, vii. 278 (8 Casimir).


1763-1769. “public continue to be managed in such manner, not

good will come of it, but evil. The day will arrive' (this is the Prophecy, almost in ipsissimis verbis), 'the day perhaps is not so far off, when this glorious Re

public will get torn into shreds, hither, thither; be • stuffed into the pockets of covetous neighbours, Brandenburg, Muscovy, Austria; and find itself reduced to zero, and abolished from the face of the world.

'I speak these words in sorrow of soul; words which ' probably you will not believe. Which only Fate can 'compel you to believe, one day, if they are true words: ' -you think, probably, they are not? Me, at least, or

interest of mine, they do not regard. I speak them ' from the fulness of my heart, and on behest of friendship and conviction alone; having the honour at this moment to bid


and your Republic a very long ' farewell. Good morning, for the last time! And so exit: to Rome (had been Cardinal once); to Paris and the society of Ninon's Circle, for the few years left him of life.19

This poor John had had his bitter experiences: think only of one instance. In 1652, the incredible Law of Liberum Veto had been introduced, in spite of John and his endeavours. Liberum Veto; the power of one man to stop the proceedings of Polish Parliament by pronouncing audibly, “Nie pozwalam, I don't permit!"-never before or since among mortals was so incredible a Law. Law standing indisputable, nevertheless, on the Polish Statute-Book for above two hundred years : like an ever-flowing fountain of Anarchy, joyful to the Polish Nation. How they got any business done at all, under such a Law? Truly they did but little; and for the last thirty years, as good as none. But if Polish Par

19 • Died, 16th December 1672, age 63.'

1763-1769. liament was universally in earnest to do some business, and veto came upon it, Honourable Members, I observe, gathered passionately round the vetoing Brother; conjured, obtested, menaced, wept, prayed; and, if the case was too urgent and insoluble otherwise, the Nie pozwalam Gentleman still obstinate, they plunged their swords through him, and in that way brought consent. The commoner course was to dissolve and go home again, in a tempest of shrieks and curses.

The Right of Confederation, too, is very curious: do readers know it? A free Polack gentleman, aggrieved by anything that has occurred or been enacted in his Nation, has the right of swearing, whether absolutely by himself I know not, but certainly with two or three others of like mind, that he will not accept said occurrence or enactment, and is hereby got into arms against its abettors and it. The brightest jewel in the cestus of Polish Liberty is this right of confederating; and it has been, till of late, and will be now again practised to all lengths: right of every Polish gentleman to confederate with every other against, or for, whatsoever to them two may seem good; and to assert their particular view of the case by fighting for it against all comers, King and Diet included. It must be owned, there never was in Nature such a Form of Government before; such a mode of social existence, rendering “government” impossible for some generations past.

On the strength of Saxony and its resources and connexions, the two Augusts had contrived to exist with the name of Kings; with the name, but with little or nothing more. Under this last August, as we heard, there have been about forty Diets, and in not one of them the least thing of business done; all the forty, after trying their best, have stumbled on Nie pozwalam,

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