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in chief; and hé indicated Prince Radziwill. The suggestion struck them forcibly, and they succeeded in gaining to their views a majority of the Diet. Radziwill was raised to this important post in the session of January 21st, the votes of the minority being for General Pac. In accepting the command, Radziwill declared that he would hold it only until events should disclose some military genius, competent to direct worthily the energies of the nation. The moderation and frankness of this remark gained him additional favor, and men pleased themselves to see at the head of the army a fit descendant of the great Constable Radziwill, who in the seventeenth century had planted the Polish eagle upon the towers of Mos
Another important step remained to be taken. It will have been observed, in the course of our narrative, that the Poles, thus far, had been halting between rebellion and revolution. They had established a revolutionary government, they were arming themselves to maintain their stand by the sword; bụt they had not yet decided whether their ultimate object was to enforce the compact of 1815, or to raise a new dynasty to the throne. Men seemed unwilling to approach this point, reluctant to look the future distinctly in the face. Roman Soltyk brought forward a motion on the 21st, which dissolved this state of doubt and uncertainty. It consisted of these three brief articles:
1 The Polish Nation declares its entire independence, the Romanoff family deposed from the Polish throne, and all the rights which it possessed over Poland annulled.
• 2. The Polish Nation is discharged of its oath of fealty, which it cansiders as forced and contrary to its interests; it discharges from the same oath our brothers of the Russo. Polish provinces ; it deelares that every Pole owes fealty and obedience only to the Diet, which represents the Revolution of the 29th of November and the rights of the whole Polish Nation subjected to the sceptre of Russia.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
63. The Nation declares that all power emanates from the people, and that Poland, which has regained independence by the Revolution of the 29th of November, pos. sesses also the unlimited right to regulate its own affairs, and to establish whatever government it pleases.'
This proposition was received with profound silence, which sufficiently attested both its importance, and the indecision of mind in which it found the Diet. The members of the movement party, to which Soltyk belonged, had not been consulted by him, and were unprepared to act; the constitutional party thought ill of the measure; and the conservative party were vehemently opposed to each of the articles. The motion, however, was committed, and several days elapsed before it was again taken up. On the 24th, Lelewel presented a petition signed by several hundred Russo-Poles, residing at Warsaw, demanding the reunion of the dismembered provinces of ancient Poland.
Meanwhile the circulation, by Marshal Diebitsch, of proclamations addressed by him to the Poles preparatory to invading the country with the Russian forces, had began to satisfy the Diet that no middle course remained to them; and the proceedings of the 25th of January settled the question conclusively. On that day the Ministers communicated to the Diet the two letters of Grabowski, and the report of the Nuncio Jezierski. It appeared that Jezierski had an interview with the Czar on the 10th of December, in which, of course, Nicholas adhered to the position assumed by him in his proclamation of the 17th of that month, refusing to go beyond the promises contained therein, or to reunite the Russian provinces of Poland. Jezierski submitted a written statement of the grievances of the Poles, which was afterwards returned to him with annotations written by the Czar's own hand, and was now submitted to the Diet.
termine his authority. Chlopicki selected a Council of five persons, Czartoryski, Radziwill, Ostrowski, Dembowski, and Barzykowski, whose duty it should be to submit to him such measures as they thought the public good required, and appointed Thomas Lubienski Minister of the Interior, Bonaventure Niemoiowski of Justice, Jelski of Finance, Lelewel of Instruction, Krasinski of War, and Gustavus Malachowski of Foreign Affairs. These different bodies tended somewhat to counteract the efficacy of the principle of concentrated energy, which alone was consulted in appointing a Dictator; but still enough of power remained to him, if rightly exercised, to secure the independence of Poland.
Chlopicki's popularity, as we have already stated, was unbounded. It is admitted, on all hands, that he was a highminded honorable man, a general of eminent capacity, energy, and science, and devotedly attached to the welfare of Poland. But he began and proceeded upon a fatal error, misjudging altogether the exigencies of his office and of the time. He sought to reconcile his allegiance with revolution; and in so doing he made shipwreck of the hopes of his country.
There was, in the beginning of the Revolution, but one sure decisive course to pursue,
but one, which held out a certain promise of success;
and that was, to rouse to battle the millions of ancient Poland in a mass, and to make Lithuania the seat of the
But the time for action, - for striking a decisive blow in Lithuania which should have filled its provinces with insurrection, -- was lost in fruitless diplomacy.
Chlopicki had closed the clubs, when he first assumed the dictatorship; but they still held their meetings in private, to discuss his measures, and the progress and prospects of the Revolution; and
they began to take alarm at the slowness with which the organization of forces proceeded, and to suspect the Dictator of counter-revolutionary designs. The journalists of the capital, too, were preparing to direct the newspaper press against him, the moment that plausible grounds of complaint should arise.
Chlopicki's first care, on obtaining power, had been to despatch the Minister Lubecki and the Nuncio Jezierski to Saint Petersburg, as envoys to negociate in behalf of Poland. They were charged to demand that all Russian troops should be withdrawn from the Kingdom forever, that the privileges of the Constitution should be again confirmed in full extent,
and tha all the ancient Polish provinces incorporated with Russia should partake of the benefits of it, as Alexander had promised. In short, they demanded that the solemn pledges, which Russia had given to the Poles and to Europe, should be redeemed. They also invited Nicholas to open the Diet in person. All the preparations for war were paralysed in waiting the return of the deputation. In fact, Chlopicki had no certain knowledge of the views of the Emperor, until the public journals brought his proclamations of the 17th and 24th of December, addressed, the first to the Poles, and the second to the subjects of the Empire in general, which settled forever the question of peace and war.
In these documents, nothing is more worthy to be remarked than the hypocritical spirit of pretended religious confidence, which is particularly offensive in that addressed to the Russians. Here was a half-Asiatic despotism, which had acquired possession of Poland by a series of abominable frauds and cruelties, the blackest on the page of European history. 'Alexander had given
responsible persons, who should appoint six Ministers charged with the duties of administration. The Commission were to exercise all the functions of power with the following exceptions. 1. The enactment of laws and the control of peace or war belonged to the Diet exclusively; and vacancies in the Senate were to be supplied by vote of the Nuncios. 2. The Commander in Chief was to have sole direction of the operations of war. Czartoryski and Barzykowski of the conservative party, Vincent Niemoiowski and Morawski of the constitutional, and Lelewel of that of movement, - were elected to compose the Government.
Along with the progress of these events, the assemblies of the Patriotic Society had continued to grow more and more numerous, regular, and imposing. They sought, also, to give themselves an official existence under the sanction of the Diet. But the Diet judged wisely that the only proper body for the consideration and adoption of public measures was the Diet itself, it being intolerable that an irresponsible club should undertake to dictate public measures, when the people had appointed their representatives, whose regular duty it was to enact the laws. Nothing, it was clear, but anarchy and ruin could arise from the admission of the pretensions of the Society.
At the same time, a majority of the Diet declared itself against the democratic ideas and principles, which the party of the movement were industrious to propagate. To put an end to controversy on this point, the Diet adopted, on the 8th of February, a profession of political faith, which all the inhabitants of the country were required to swear to and subscribe. It consisted of three articles, of which two are material:
*1. The Diet declares, in the name of the Nation, that it