« ForrigeFortsett »
that these concessions are with juf. ing each other,
ing each other. The Catholics tice to be regarded not only as are said to have been by far the laws, but as parts of the great fun weakest, and thought themselves damental compact, upon which the happy in the concession made to union of the two nations depended. them, that the ecclefiaftical proThat they were then regarded as perty and revenues of Catholics fuch, is evident from their being ihould not be given to any but the included among the other general members of their own communion, and particular privileges, which in the fame manner as those apwere granted during that tranfac. pertaining to Greeks were to be tion, and afterwards received an beftowed on Greeks only. They equal confirmation at the diet of promised to each other mutual deunion, held at Lublin under the fence and affection, and that a diffame prince in the year 1569, byference in religion should never which the grand dutchy of Lithua- prove the cause of civil dissension, nia was for ever united to the unanimously refolving to make an Crown of Poland.
example of that person, who under Upon the death of Sigismund such a pretext should excite difturbAuguftus, the Polish conititurion was entirely changed, and the na. As this law has been repeated tion assumed the form of a repub- in all the public acts, constituti. lic. His grandfather, Cafsimir the ons, and pacta conventa, from that Third, was the first who convened time to the present, it cannot but the nobility, in order to oblige be allowed to be a fundamental them to accept the new impofitions. one; nor can any other law be Sigismund and his father used the produced, whose fanction has been same method; but after his death more solemnly, more conftantly, the whole legislative authority fell and more frequently repeated. into the hands of the nobility. However, when the Roman Catho.
At this period it is alerted, that lics, after the death of Sigismund the Roman Catholics in the king the Third, had gained an evident dom did not bear a proportion in fuperiority, though they did not number to the Greeks and Reform- think proper openly to controvere ed, of more than one to seven. it, yet they shewed a disposition, The Grand Marshal Firely, who when opportunity was favourable, convened the first diet of the re- to infringe it, by placing under public, that diet which formed its their fignatures, Jalvis juribus ec. present model, and inade the crown clefiæ Romanæ Catholicæ, faving the elective, was a Proteftant. A per rights of the Roman Catholic petual peace betwixt the Greeks, church; whereupon the Diffidents, rhe Roman Catholics, and the hy way of reprisal, wrote under Protestants, was therein eftablish their signatures, falva pace inter ed, as a fundamental law of the Diffidentes, saving the peace among sepublic. The wars in Germany the Dillidents. under Charles the Fifth, and in It
appears from the infancy of France under Catharine de Medi. the republic, that the term Dillicis, made them sensible of the ne. dents equally comprehended the ceflity they were under of tolerat- Greeks, Catholics, Reformed, and
Lutherans. The words of that considered that these conftitutionis famous constitution which we have were passed by a fierce and warjust mentioned, and which was like nobility, each of whom was passed by the diet which formed not only a member of the general the republic in the year 1573, sovereignty, which they had just are Nos qui fumus Disidentes in re- taken into their own hands; buc ligione, i.e. We who differ in re- also looked upon himself, in his . ligious matters. In the same con- own particular right, as in' fome ftitution it is declared, that they' degree a sovereign, as far as his will acknowledge no man for king estate and power extended. We or master « that shall not con- hall pay the greater regard to the firm by oath all the rights privi- memory of those illustrious Poles, leges, and liberties, which they if we reflect that the age they lived now enjoy, and which are to be in was far from being a temperate laid before him after his election. one, and that moderation was but Particularly, he shall be bound to little cultivated in the moft civiswear, that he will maintain the lized and best regulated governpeace among the Diffidents in ments in Europe : at the same time points of religion.” In the con- it cannot be sufficiently lamented, Atitutions of the same diet are that their posterity should fo fatally the following remarkable ftipula- lose fight of the politic, humane, tions; “ We all engage, in our and noble precedent, that was set own names, and in the names of them by their fathers. our successors for ever, by the obli. Those who have not confi. gations of our oath, of our faith, dered that perverse dispofition, by of our honour, and of our con. which almost every denomina. fciences, to preserve peace among tion of mankind would endeavour us who are Diffidents in religion ; to to plunder, enslave, and persecute fhed no blood, nor to inflict on every other part of their own spe. any one the penalties of confisca- cies; and who have not observed tion of goods, defamation, im- that words can always be found, prisonment, or exile, on account of when attended with power; to exthe difference of our faith, and plain away the most explicit sense, rites in our churches. More than and the most indubitable rights; that, if any one should under may well be surprised how a law, take, for the above reason, to shed so solemnly passed, and so useful the blood of his fellow-citizens, to the whole community, could be we should be all obliged to oppose rendered fruitless. A law fanéti. him, even though he should Thel- fied by the most folemn acts, which ter himself under the pretext of a the framers bound themselves and decree, or any other judicial pro- their pofterity, by the most sacred ceeding."
oaths, to preserve inviolate to all It would not be easy to produce futurity, which formed a principal instances of equal moderation, in part of the conftitution of the matters of religion, amongst a peo- state, and which every king at ple who differed so widely in their his accession was sworn to observe. opinions on that head, as these we Yet this law, without any materiał have thewn; especially if it be change, much less a fubversion of
che conftitution of the country, has ties, and immunities, by the fourth; been manifeftly broken through, and all this outrage and wrong while three of the religions, which committed under colour and sancformed the original compact, have tion of the very laws they were been spoiled of their rights, liber- tearing to pieces at the instant.
CHA P. IV.
The causes affigned for the great fuperiority which the Roman Catholics ir
Poland have acquired over the Greeks and Proteftants. Account of Sigifmund the third. Treaty of Oliva. Edie against the Arians. Conftitu. tion of 1717. Oppreffion of the Diffidents in consequence of it. Conftitusion of 1736. Confederaries formed by thę Diffident nobles. Declaration of the Empress of Russia in their favour. Of the King of Pruffia, &c. Malecontents. The diet meets; some of the Members arrested by the Ruffians. A commiffin appointed finally to fertle the affairs of the Diffidents, IThempto appear furprising, that the intereft of the Princess Anne,
fifter to the late king, and made represented as having formed fo it a rule that whatever prince was fmall a part of the whole, at the elected should marry her. This time of establishing the republic, princess, who had been all her life and who, from their weakness and in the hands of the Romish clergy, inability of defending themselves, and was violently attached to their seemed the most liable to oppres. principles, obliged Stephen Bafion, should notwithftanding be. thori, who married her, to change come
the most numerous and his religion. And what was attended powerful, and be able to tyrannize with much worse consequences, put over the rest of their brethren. her nephew Sigismund, who the It is not improbable that this part afterwards had intereft enough to of the picture has been a little get elected king upon the death of overcharged by the writer from her husband, into the hands of the whom we derive our materials. Jesuits for his education. Among the many causes by which During the long inglorious this persuasion is said to have ob- reign of her nephew, Sigismund tained the ascendancy, and by the third, which lasted for near degrees the exclusive poffession of half a century, all the material government, the following seem tò interests of the nation were en. be the principal
tirely neglected, and went acUpon the death of Sigismund cordingly to ruin. The bigotted Auguftus, and the foundation of monarch's whole time was applied the republic, Szafraniec, a Prote- to the bringing over of converts, ftant, was proposed for King, and in which he neither regarded the his acceffion wilhed by great num- means used, nor the fincerity of bers ; but the Diffidents in ge. those converted ; and carried on neral, from a grateful attachment every degree of persecution and to the Jagellonic family, preferred oppreffion againft'those, who had Voi, x.
honefty honesty and resolution enough, in some respects, very great powers, neither to be debauched by re- one of the principal of which, be. wards, nor compelled by threats. fides the dependence that is natu.
It is said of this weak prince, rally created by the disposal of gothat the conversion of a Dillident, vernments and all offices and places the demolition of one of their of trust or emolument, is, that churches, or the founding of a these very offices are what confti. new college of Jesuits, were more tute the senate, none of the mem. prized by him, than the gaining bers of which hold by any here. of a victory, or the preservation of ditary right ; so that this body a province.
bears a more just resemblance to a That the whole course of his king's private council and admi. administration was so odious, niftration, than to an English that even the Catholics, and the house of lords, to which the Pogreat Zamoisky, his protector, who lish writers sometimes compare it. had placed him on the throne, It should also be remembered, that,' were highly incensed at his con. in the days of Sigismund the duct, and reproached him bitterly third, the Polish nation were only in public for it. That by a con. newly emancipated from the goftant perseverance in this conduct, vernment of a long line of herehis whoie reign was a continued ditary kings, from whom he was series of lofs and disgrace; that defcended on the mother's fide, and by it he lost the kingdom of under many of whom, they had Sweden, as well as the noble pro- arrived at the highest degree of vinces of Livonia, Wallachia, and splendour and glory. The kingMoldavia. That the misfortunes dom of Sweden, which he por. incurred by it, were not 'confined fessed for a part of his reign, must to his reign, but are entailed upon have done more than contribute to the latest pofterity; for the great dazzle the eyes of the people ; revolt of the Cossacks, which gave and if we take all these causes toso irretrievable a shock to the re- gether, we cannot avoid fuppofing public, was a consequence of it, that he had very fuperior degrees and concerred during his life. of power and influence, to what And matters were carried to such a have been possessed by later mopitch at home, that a great part of narchs. the nation were at one time upon It is no wonder then, that such the point of dethroning him. a prince, during the course of so
People who take a transient and long a reign, with emoluments, diftant view of the affairs of Po- honours, and preferments to be. land, and who, from its name and ftow in one hand, and persecution form of a republic, look upon to threaten in the other, should their kings to be nearly nominal, have made an infinite number of and their power circumscribed profelytes. The event was anwithin very narrow limits, will swerable to what might have been be surprised how so weak and expected : bishops abandoned their bigotted a prince could have the flocks; the priests and people were power of doing so much harm. compelled to follow them. Eve. But the Kings of Poland have ftill, ry gentleman who embraced the
Catholic faith, immediately de- quoted upon the present disputes ; molished all the churches of the and it is to this treaty, that the Diffidents that were built upon great mediating powers became his estates ; the tradesmen that guarantees. were settled there dispersed them- A severe law was passed in the felves to other parts, and the pea- following year, and in the same fants were converted without dif- reign of John Casimir, against the ficulty. If the priest or any of Arians; who were charged with the vassals were first converted, blasphemy, and declared heretics; they were supported against the it was alfo ordained, that all prolord, who was compelled at secutions against them, as being length, by a variety of chicanery the cause of God, should be deand vexation, either to become a cided in the several courts, before convert, or to dispose of his estate. all other causes. It was at the In this manner the Dislidents loft, same time declared, that this law during the reign of Sigismund, had not the least reference to the upwards of an hundred churches; Dissidents, who were assured in the and the Catholics increased to that most folemn manner, in the body degree, that from five only, who of the law itself, that they should were members of the senate in for the time to come be conti. the beginning of it ; at his death nued in the enjoyment of all their they amounted to three parts of rights, employments, and ho. the whole assembly.
nours, as before, Notwithstand. Though the Dissidents were not ing these express stipulations, this uniformly oppreffed during the law has fince proved a fevere fucceeding reigns ; yet they met scourge to the Dillidents; to whom with such discouragements, as the clergy have applied it in all daily decreased their numbers ; their suits; especially during the and means were at length found reigns of the two Saxon kings;
to keep them entirely who, as new Catholics, affected to Anno 1660 out of the senate. By be very zealous to that religion,
the treaty of Oliva, and violently attached to the clers notwithstanding the general in- gy of it. To this very time, the tention which then prevailed to trials of the Dillidents are deterdeprive the Swedes of every pre. mined ex Registro Arianismi; and tence for ever again re-entering as a cause of this kind is branded Poland; yet it is stipulated by the with the epithet of “aboininable"; second article, “That all the sub- so no one person will venture to jects of the kingdom of Poland, espouse the part of a person ac. of what condition or religion so. cused under this title. ever, were to enjoy for the future Though the Dillidents met with all the rights and privileges, as
various and numberless oppres. well temporal as spiritual, which fions and injuries, during the they had enjoyed before the war.” course of the last century yet This is the celebrated treaty, they were ftill regarded only as which we have formerly taken acts of sudden violence or outrage, notice of, and which is so often and acknowledged to be contrary