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25th Nov. 1764. promised him, That extinct Poland should be resuscitated; and he fought and strove very fiercely, his Poles and he, in that faith or half-faith. And perished, fiercely fighting for Napoleon, ' fiercely covering Napoleon's retreat when his game was lost : " horse and man plunged into the Elster River (Leipzig Country, • October 19th, 1813, evening of the “Battle of the Nations”
there), and sank forever ;-—and the last gleam of Poland along 6 with him.27 Not even a momentary gleam of hope for her, in the sane or half-sane kind, since that,—though she now and " then still tries it in the insane: the more to my regret, for her (and others!
• Besides these three Brothers, King Stanislaus had two Sisters still living: one of them Wife of a very high Zamoiski; • the other of a ditto Branicki (pronounce Branitzki)—him whom
our German Books call Kron-Grossfeldherr, “Grand Crown• General,” if the Crown have any soldiers at all; the sublime, • debauched old Branicki, of whom Rulhière is continually talk‘ing, and never reports anything but futilities in a futile manner. "So much is futile, and not worth reporting, in this Polish ele6 ment !—King Stanislaus himself was born, 17th January 1732;
played King of shreds and patches till 1790,—or even farther • (not till 1795 did Catharine pluck the paper tabard quite off him); he died in Petersburg, February 11th or 12th, 1798.' After such a life!
Stanislaus was crowned, 25th November 1764. He needs, as preliminary, to be anointed, on the bare scalp of him, with holy oil before crowning; ought to have his head close-shaved with that view. Stanislaus, having an uncommonly fine head of hair, shuddered at the barbarous idea; absolutely would not: whereupon delay, consultation; and at length some artificial scalp, or second skull, of pasteboard or dyed leather, was contrived for the poor man, which comfortably took the oiling in a vicarious way, with the ambrosial locks well packed out of sight under it, and capable of flowing out again next day, as if nothing had happened.2 Not a sublime specimen of Ornamental Human Nature,
27 Biographie Universelle ($ Poniatowski, Joseph), xxxv. 349-359. 28 Rulhière.
1764-1767. this poor Stanislaus ! Ornamental wholly: the body of him, and the mind of him, got up for representation; and terribly plucked to pieces on the stage of the world. You may try to drop a tear over him, but will find mostly that you cannot.
For several Years the Dissident Question cannot be got
settled; Confederation of Radom (23d June 1767— 5th March 1768) pushes it into Settlement.
For several years after this feat of the false scalp, through long volumes, wearisome even in Rulhière, there turns up nothing which can now be called memorable. The settling of the Dissident Question proves extremely tedious to an impatient Czarina; as to curing of the other curable Anarchies, there is absolutely nothing but a knitting up by A, with a ravelling out again by B, and no progress discernible whatever. Impatient Czarina ardently pushes on some Dissident settlement,-seconded by King Friedrich and the chief Protestant Courts, London included, and by the European leading spirits everywhere,through endless difficulties: finds native Orthodoxy an unexpectedly stiff matter; Bishops generally having a fanaticism which is wonderful to think of, and which keeps mounting higher and higher. Till at length there will Images of the Virgin take to weeping,—as they generally do in such cases, when in the vicinity of brewhouses and conveniences;29—a Carmelite Monk go about the country working miracles ; and, in short, an extremely ugly phasis of religious human nature disclose itself to the afflicted reader. King Friedrich thinks, had it not been for this Dissident Question, things would have taken their old Saxon complexion, and Poland might have rotted on as heretofore, perhaps a good while longer.
As to the knitting up and ravelling out again, which is called curing of the other anarchies, no reader can or need say any thing: it seems to be a most painful knitting up, by the Czartoryskis chiefly, then an instant ravelling out by malign
99 Nicolai, in his Travels over Germany, doggedly undertook to overhaul one of those weeping Virgins (somewhere in Austria, I think); and found her, he says, to depend on subterranean percolation of steam from a Brewery not far off,
1766. Opposition parties of various indistinct complexion ; the knitting, the ravelling, and the malign Opposition parties, alike indistinct and without interest to mankind. A certain drunken, rather brutal Phantasm of a Prince Radzivil, who hates the Czartoryskis, and is dreadfully given to drink, to wasteful ambitions and debaucheries, figures much in these businesses; is got banished and confiscated, by some Confederation formed; then, by new Confederations, is recalled and reinstated,—worse if possible than ever. The thing is reality; but it reads like a Phantasmagory produced by Lapland Witches, under presidency of Diabolus (very certainly the Devil presiding, as you see at all turns),—and is not worth understanding, were it even easy.
Much semi-intelligible, wholly forgetable stuff about King Stanislaus and his difficulties, and his duplicities and treacherous imbecilities, 30 now of interest to no mortal. Stanislaus is at one time out with the uncles Czartoryski, at another in with these worthy gentlemen : a man not likely to cure Anarchies, unless wishing would do it. On the Dissident Question itself he needs spurring: a King of liberal ideas, yes; but with such flames of fanaticism under the nose of him. In regard to the Dissident and all other curative processes he is languid, evasive, for moments recalcitrant to Russian suggestions; a lost imbecile,-forget him, with or without a tear. He has still a good deal of so-called gallantry on his hands; flies to his harem when outside things go contradictory.31 Think of malign Journalists printing this bit of Letter at one time, to do him ill in a certain quarter: “Oh, come to me, my Princess! Dearer than all Empresses :
imperial charms, what were they to thine for a heart that “has—” with more of the like stuff, for a Czarina's behoof.
Winter of 1766, Imperial Majesty, whether after or before that miraculous Carmelite Monk, I do not remember, became impatient of these tedious languors and tortuosities about the Dissident Question, and gave express order, “Settle it straightway!" To which end, Confederations and the other machinery were set agoing: Confederations among the Protestants and Dissidents themselves, about Thorn and such places (got up by Russian engineering), and much more extensively in the Lithuanian
30 Hermann, v. 400, &c.; Rulhière passim. 31 Hermann, v. 402, &c.
230 June 1767-5th March 1768. parts; Confederations of great extent, imperative, minatory; ostensibly for reinstating these poor people in their rights (which, by old Polish Law, they quite expressly were, if that were any matter), but in reality for bringing back drunken Radzivil, who has covenanted to carry that measure. And so,
June 23d, 1767, These multiplex Polish-Lithuanian Confederations, twenty-four of them in all, with their sublime marshals and officials, and above 80,000 noblemen in them, meet by deputies at Radom, a convenient little Town within wind of Warsaw (lies 60 miles to south of Warsaw); and there coalesce into one general “ Confederation of Radom,"32 with drunken Radzivil atop, who, glad to be reinstated in his ample Domains and Winecellars, and willing at any rate to spite the Czartoryskis and others, has pledged himself to carry that great measure in Diet, and quash any Nie pozwalams and difficulties there may be. This is the once world-famous, now dimly discoverable, Confederation of Radom, which,—by preparatory declaring, under its hand and seal, That the Law of the Land must again become valid, and • Free Polacks of Dissident opinions concerning Religion (Nos • dissidentes de religione),' as the old Law phrases it, shall have equal rights of citizenship,—was beautifully instrumental in achieving that bit of Human Progress, and pushing it through the Diet, and its difficulties shortly ensuing.
Not that the Diet did not need other vigorous treatment as well, the flame of fanaticism being frightfully ardent; many of the poor Bishops having run nearly frantic at this open spoliation of Mother Church, and snatching of the sword from Peter. So that Imperial Majesty had to decide on picking out a dozen, or baker's dozen, of the hottest Bishops; and carrying them quietly into Russia under lock and key, till the thing were done. Done it was, surely to the infinite relief of mankind;—I cannot say precisely on what day: October 13th-14th (locking up of the dozen Bishops), was one vital epoch of it; November 19th, 1767 (report of Committee on it, under Radzivil's and Russia's coercion), was another: first and last it took about five months baking in Diet. Diet met, Oct. 4th, 1767, Radzivil controlling as Grand-Marshal, and Russia as minatory Phantom controlling 230 June 1767–5th March 1768. Radzivil; Diet, after adjournments, after one long adjournment, disappeared, 5th March 1768; and of work mentionable it had done this of the Dissidents only. That of contributing to the
82 Hermann, v. 420.
sovereign contempt with which King Stanislaus is regarded by 6 all ranks of men,' is hardly to be called peculiar work or peculiarly mentionable.
At this point, to relieve the reader's mind, and, at any rate, as the date is fully come, we will introduce a small Newspaper Article from a very high hand, little guessed till long afterwards as the writer,—namely, from King Friedrich's own. It does not touch on the Dissident Question, or the Polish troubles; but does, in a back-handed way, on Prussian Rumours rising about them; and may obliquely show more of the King's feeling on that subject than we quite suppose. It seems the King had heard that the Berlin people were talking and rumouring of “ a War being just at hand;" whereupon— March 5th, 1767, in the Vossische Zeitung (Voss's Chronicle), No. 28, an inquisitive Berlin public read, as follows:
• We are advised from Potsdam, that, on the 27th of February, towards evening, the sky began to get overcast; black clouds, presaging a tempest of unexampled fury, covered all the horizon: the thunder, with its lightnings, forked bolts of
amazing brilliancy, burst out; and, under its redoubled peals, (there descended such a torrent of hail as within man's memory
had not been seen. Of two bullocks yoked in their plough, with • which a peasant was hastening home, one was struck on the
head by a piece of it, and killed outright. Many of the common people were wounded in the streets; a brewer had his arm 6 broken. Roofs are destroyed by the weight of this hail; all the windows that looked windward while it fell were broken. In the streets, hailstones were found of the size of pumpkins
(citrouilles), which had not quite melted, two hours after the 6 storm ceased. This singular phenomenon has made a very great impression. Scientific people say, the air had not buoy, ancy enough to support these solid masses when congealed to ‘ice; that the small hailstones in these clouds getting so lashed • about in the impetuosity of the winds, had united the more the