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1815. 9.

its union with Rus

Add to this the termination of the long anarchy of Polish CHAP. democracy, and the substitution of the steady rule of a _ regular government, which, however despotic, was strong, uniform, and consistent, for the ceaseless dissensions and Great adsenseless jealousies of their stormy national assemblies. Poland from Warsaw, which, in 1797, contained only 66,572 inhabi- ii tants, and at the accession of Alexander less than 80,000, sia. rapidly increased in splendour and opulence, and in 1842 numbered 140,000 souls. The industry of the country made sensible progress with the preservation of peace, and the steady market opened for agricultural produce both in the warehouses of Dantzic and in the consumption of the capital. Its revenue had augmented before 1830 by more than a third, and the seeds even of manufacturing prosperity had begun to germinate on its soil. The entire kingdom, which in 1815 could number only a hundred weaving looms, had come, in 1830, to contain six thousand, which manufactured annually seven million yards of cloth. All other rude fabrics had advanced in a similar proportion ; but capital was still chiefly accumulated in the hands of the Jews, who amounted in Warsaw alone to twenty-seven thousand, and were to be found at the head of nearly all the industrial establishments in the kingdom. Nor was public instruction neglected; on the contrary, it was extended in the most remarkable manner during the pacific rule of the Russian emperor Schools of every description had been established at Warsaw, and in various parts of the kingdom, which were crowded by the ardent youth of that impassioned land. The scholars, who were only a few hundreds in 1815, had risen in the capital alone in 1830 to 3700, and over the whole king- Brun, Geog.

Univ. vi. dom to 35,000, which was in the proportion of 1 to 130 528, 530;

Tegoborski, souls, while in the neighbouring realm of Russia it was i. 222. only 1 to 280.1

But as it was to the military force of this new kingdom that the attention of the viceroy and the government was chiefly directed, so it was there that the most



1815. 10.

CHAP. rapid changes and the most extraordinary progress took

- place. It would pass for incredible, were it not attested

by undoubted evidence, and accounted for by the singular Great in- aptitude of the Poles for military instruction, and the crease of its military extraordinary skill of the Russians in military organisastrength.

tion. The Polish army, though it never exceeded forty thousand men—less than one in a hundred of the entire population-soon became, under the tuition of Constantine, one of the most formidable in Europe, from its incomparable state of discipline and equipment. The viceroy was extremely anxious on this subject, and rigorous to a fault in exacting the most ceaseless attention to the smallest minutiæ of dress and discipline. Though second to none in the hardihood with which he headed his chivalrous guards in a charge, it was on the trifling splendour of pacific display that he was chiefly set. He often said, after seeing his guards defile before him, “What a pity it is to go to war !-it dirties their dress; it spoils soldiers." To such a degree of perfection did he bring them in these respects, that when, in October 1816, the Emperor Alexander passed them in review at Warsaw, he was so struck with their martial air, exact discipline, and splendid appearance, that he embraced his brother several times in their presence. But they were not mere carpet knights who thus charmed the greatest military monarch in the world by their appearance: none showed, when the hour of trial arrived, that they were more equal to the duties and penetrated with the spirit of real soldiers. When the disastrous revolt of 1830 arrived, and the little kingdom of Poland strove to detach itself from its colossal neighbour, its fortresses of Modlin and Zamosc were in such a state of

defence, and its army so efficient, that for ten months it 1 Biog. des main

1.oneiv. the ended a doubtful confliction, that for ten mo

maintained a doubtful conflict with its gigantic foe, and in Hom. Viv. the end was only subdued by the aid of Prussia1-a meii. 228; MalteBrun, morable instance of devoted though mistaken patriotism, vi. 529,

and of the glorious destiny which awaited Poland, if its sons had had the sense to establish a stable government,



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and their heroic courage and military spirit had not been CHAP. rendered nugatory by the insane divisions and democratic selfishness of former times.

1815. The powers of western Europe acted naturally and in a liberal spirit in stipulating, for the fragment of the Failure of Polish nation embraced in the new kingdom, constitutional sentative privileges and a representative government, and the yotena." Emperor Alexander not less so in conceding them. But they proved worse than useless in practice ; and their entire failure adds another to the numerous instances which history affords of the extreme danger of transplanting institutions suitable to one race and state of society to men inheriting a different blood, and in a different stage of political existence. Not less stormy and unmanageable by ordinary meaps, or any appeals to reason, than their ancient diets, where eighty thousand horsemen discussed the affairs of state in the plains of Volo, the new Assembly united to it the selfishness, interested motives, and corruption which are the gangrenes of the representative system, even in the most highly-advanced and polished societies. They were seldom convoked, and, when assembled, more than once abruptly dissolved. Poland flourished under the Russian rule prior to the calamitous revolt in 1830, not in consequence of her representatives, but in spite of them. No salutary or useful measures are to be traced to their influence; and they drew forth from no common man, the Emperor Nicholas, the following, it is to be feared, as applied to that people, just condemnation: “I understand a republic; it is a clear and sincere government, or at least it may be so : I understaud an absolute government, since I am the chief of such an order of things; but I do not understand a representative monarchy. It is the government of falsehood, fraud, and corruption : I would retreat to the wall of China rather than adopt it. I have been a representative monarch ; and the world knows what it has cost me declining to submit to the exigencies of that infamous government.



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CHAP. I disdained the usual means of managing such assemblies :

I would neither purchase votes por corrupt consciences, nor seduce some to corrupt others. I disdained such methods, as not less degrading to those who yield to, than disgraceful to him who employs them, and I have paid dear for my sincerity; but God be praised, I have done, and for ever, with that form of government.” Thirty years'ago, these words would have passed for the violent declama

tion of a despotic prince, abusing any institutions which 1 Le Marquis put a restraint upon his own power ; but time has since La Russie en then taught us many lessons: we have seen the representa1839, i.

tive system working in France, Ireland, and some parts of England.1

· Strengthened by this great accession of power and Great in- territory, which brought their advanced posts into the fluence of Russia. heart of Europe, within a hundred and eighty miles both

of Vienna and Berlin, Russia now assumed the place which she has ever since maintained as the undisputed arbiter of eastern Europe. Happy if she does not also become the mistress of the west, and the endless divisions of its aspiring inbabitants are not in the end extinguished by the unity of her advancing power. Great as are the physical resources of Russia, and rapidly as they have recently increased her influence, the prestige of her name, the dread of her strength, have increased in a still greater proportion. Men looked with a sort of superstitious awe on an empire which had never receded for centurieswhich, secured in rear by the snows of the polar circle, had stretched its mighty arms almost to the torrid zone; which numbered the Vistula, the Amour, the Danube, and the Euphrates among its frontier streams, and already boasted of possessing a seventh of the habitable globe within its dominions. Nor had the events of recent times weakened this undefined impression; Napoleon's words had proved true, that Russia was backed by two invincible allies, time and space :” foreign assault was bopeless against a state which had repelled the invasion of five hundred thousand men; and no empire, how strong




soever, seemed capable of withstanding a power which, CHAP beginning its career of victory with the burning of Moscow, had terminated it by the capture of Paris.

What has augmented in the most remarkable degree this moral influence, is the prudence and wisdom with Great wis

dom of its which it has been exercised. Never impelled by senseless external ambition on the part of its rulers, or frantic passions policy. among its people, the policy of Russia for two centuries has been eminently moderate and judicious. Its rulers are constantly actuated by the lust of conquest, but they never precipitate the moment of attack; conscious of their own strength, they await calmly the moment of action, and then appear with decisive effect. Like a great man in the conduct of life, they are never impelled by the thirst for immediate display which is the torment and bane of little minds, but are satisfied to appear when circumstances call them forth, aware that no effort will then be required to prove their superiority. Their conquests, how great soever, seem all to have been the result of necessity ; constantly, in reality, aggressive, they have almost always appeared, in serious warfare, on the defensive. The conquest of Finland in 1808, the result of the treaty of Tilsit, is the only one for the last century in which its cabinet was avowedly and ostensibly the aggressors. While this prudent policy disarms their neighbours, and induces them to rely on the supposed moderation and magnanimity of the government, it adds immensely to their own strength when the moment of action has arrived. Every interval of peace is attended by a rapid growth of their internal resources, and its apparent leisure is sedulously improved by the government in preparing the means of future conquest. No senseless cry for economy, no “ignorant impatience of taxation," paralyses their strength on the termination of hostilities, and makes them lose in peace the whole fruits of conquest in war. Alike in peace as in war, at home and abroad, their strength is constantly rolling on ; like a dark thunder-cloud, a hundred and fifty thousand men, ready for

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