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to the laws; which were open to serve, that frequent tumults hav, applications for redress, when the ing happened, and much blood teinper of the times was tranquil having been spilt, by the rising enough to allow of it. But in of the populace in the great cities, the present century, an advantage to demolith the Diflidents' church: has been taken, during the con- es, the latter, for the sake of fusion which attended the troubles peace, and to prevent bloodthed, in which the republic has been consented to a conftitution which so deeply involved, to get laws was passed in the year 1632, by paffed which struck directly at all which they were bound to build the rights of the Dillidents, and no new churches in any of the almost at their very existence; by royal cities. But by this new which it was intended, in proceís explanation, which now had the of time, to bring the secular pow. force of a law, and the effects of er to the aid of the ecclesiastic; which soon began to appear, all and from that means to prosecute churches which had been built in them, under
an appearance of any part of the kingdom, fince justice.
that period, were ordered to be The first attempt of this nature pulled down; and divine service was in the diet that succeeded the was only allowed in those that troubles in the year 1717 ; and were anterior to it. The nobles which met to ratify the treaty of who kept minifters in their houses, peace then concluded between and the ministers themselves, were, Peter the Great, Auguftus the in consequence of this inference, Second, and the republic. At punished by fines, imprisonments, this diet, through the cunning of and banishment; and the sense of Sieniawsky, Bishop of Culm, an the punishments and indigoities article was inserted in the treaty, was increased, from their being as explanatory of an ambiguous inflicted by inferior courts, comarticle of a constitution, which had posed chiefly of clergymen. This passed in the year 1632 ; by which method of procedure was the explanation, it was falsely pre- more extraordinary and unjuft, supposed, that the Disidents were as it was a direct violation of the forbidden, by the said article, to express laws of the kingdom, by build any churches after that pe- which it had been always decreed, riod. This was managed so art. that ecclefiaftical differences in fully, that the very deputies of which the Diflidents were concernthe princes who figned the treaty, ed, could only be brought before and Auguftus himself, imagined the diet; and were neither to be that it only regarded the abuses tried or judged by any other triintroduced by the Swedes during bunal. the war, who had exercised pub- Though the true design of this lic worship in some of the royal proceeding was not avowed, yet cities, where the Diffidents had no such were the measures taken, and churches originally.
so violent were the party who For the better understanding of supported it, that at the time the this passage, it is neceflary to obe treaty was read, no person durft give his vote, or speak one word tion to disoblige the prevailing against it; even the Prince Pri.
party. mate was not allowed to speak, The oppressions of the Diffidents who thereupon, with many other grew every day greater. To such Roman Catholics, quitted the af. a degree did the Bishop of Wilna sembly ; which has ever since, from inflame the minds of the people a. that cause, been stigmatized by gainst them, that they were by force the name of the Mute Diet. The drove out of the church, in which treaty was read to the assembly, they were to have taken the oaths and they all standing; and though to qualify themselves for counselan affair of so much consequence lors of the tribunals of Lithuania, in other respects to the nation, to which they had been legally yet to carry the favourite point, chosen ; and from which they were it was without debate, or delibera- excluded under pretence of the extion, hurried through almoft inftan. planatory article, though offices taneously. Many of the Diffident were not at all mentioned by it. deputies, however, protested a. In every other respect matters were gainst it, and immediately quitted' carried against them to the most the diet. The Primate, allo, and extravagant pitch, under the same many Roman Catholics refused to specious pretext; insomuch that assent to it; and as, by the con- endeavours were used to pre. ftitution of Poland, no conclusion vent even their repairing their can be valid, that is not una- old churches, which were not in nimously agreed to by the whole' any degree included in it. diet; lo nothing but the most In this situation did their affairs injurious and unjust force could continue till the election of Aupass this explanatory article as a guftus the IIId. and the diet which law.
succeeded to the troubles upon Peter the Great wrote a very that occasion in 1736. From this ferious letter, in which he expreff- diet the Diffidents received a ed great displeasure, at the op- deeper wound than they had ever preitions that ensued in consequence before experienced; for the constiof this article. Auguftus also pub-, tution of 1717, was not only conlined an edict, to maintain the formed in its fullest extent, but Diffidents in possession of their they were also excluded from all former liberries; and a declara- public offices; and to shut them tion, that the obnoxious article out from every hope of relief, it should not be prejudicial to them. was decreed, that should they im. Neither the letter nor the ediet plore the intercession of any fowere of any use to the Dissidents. · reign power, they were declared Peter, who was their best friend, traitors to their country, notwithwas at the present taken up with standing those were the very powother affairs; and when he was ers that were the guarantees of going to afford them effectual re- the treaty of Oliva. The Protedress, by sending an army into Po. ftant country deputies of Prussia land, he unfortunately for them were present at this diet, and prodied. Augustus had not power to tefted against the proceedings; serve them, nor had he inclina. but they were refused to be heard,
neither was their protest admitted of a great nation, could not fucin any of the courts of judicature; ceed with the powers for whom it which was a notorious and public was intended; so the Empress of breach of the laws, as well as a Russia, as one of the nearest and violence to the Dissidents.
the most immediately concerned, From this period, till of late, was the first who shewed her disapthere were no permanent diets in probation of it. In the mean time Poland, and the affairs of the Dif. the Diflidents, being sensible that sidents fell every day into greater mildness and submission would confufion. At the diet of 1764, only increase their dangers and both the two former fatal conftitu- hardships, under the present pretions were confirmed; and it was vailing party, who fought their enacted, that, for the future, accu. destruction to increase their own fations might be brought against strength, and perhaps with a view the infractors of those laws, be. to unhinge every part of the com. fore any of the courts of justice monwealth, in this situation bewithout distinction.
gan to form confederacies in the Our readers have already seen in different parts of the kingdom, for the last volume, the proceedings in their mutual preservation and de. the diet of that year; the applica- fence. Though their once numertions thatwere made in favour of ous and boasted nobility were at the Dissidents by the mediating present reduced to little more than powers; and the declaration made iwo hundred families, exclusive of by the diet at its breaking up, in those in the dutchy of Courland; answer to them. We then fore. yet they were animated to a bold saw that the conclusions of the diet attempt, by a sense of the wrongs were as little likely to give satis- they had so long endured, the imfaction to the powers who had in- mediate injuries which they allex. terested themselves upon the occa- perienced, and the total destrucfion, as they were to redress the tion which they believed was pregrievances of the sufferers. The paring for them. promise made by the declaration, The first act of that the Dissidents should be sup- confederacy was en. March 1oth, ported in their privileges accord. tered into at Sluck, 1767. ing to the constitutions of 1717, by the nobles and 1736, and 1764, and that the bi- citizens of the Greek communion, fhops should consider their reli. and the two evangelical confessions gious griets ; was, in fact, an assur. in the great dutchy of Lithuania. ance, that the three violent and This act of confederacy was signed destructive laws, which at once by a number of the nobility, who ftruck at their rights, liberties, and appointed Major General Grabowsafety, should be enforced to the kito be their marshal, and a counutmost against them; and that their cil to aflift him. About the same grievances should, for the future, time, a confederacy be referred to their most implaca- was
entered into March zoth. ble enemies.
at Thirn, by the As this evasive, pitiful declara- nobility of the kingdom of Po• tion, unworthy the representatives land, who appointed Lieutenant
General Goltze to be marshal of the make no remarks, nor use any confederacy, with a council con- pointed invectives against their fisting of twenty-four members to persecutors; they talk with great assist him. This act of confederacy reverence of the Roman Catholic was signed by three hundred and religion; profess the greatest reeight members, besides the mar. gard, love, and obedience to the Thal. Many of the Catholics, king and the republic; and de. urged by various discontents, must clare that nothing but inevitable have joined in this confederacy, neceflity, the sense of impending else it is hardly conceivable, when danger, which threatened them the numbers of Diffident nobility and their families with certain, are reduced to chat lowness, which and almost immediate destruction, we have mentioned above, on the together with repeated evidences fame authority with the rest of the that the laws were no longer a proaccount, such large bodies could tection, and were broke through have been formed. In some time in every inftance, could have urged after, the three great cities of them to enter into their present Thorn, Elbing, and Dantzick, union, though formed only for published at Thorn an act of ac- their own defence. In a word, ceffion to this confederacy. the whole tenor of these writings
In the mean time the Empress thewed, that they wanted nothing of Rullia sent a strong augmen- but to sit down in peace and secutation to her forces that were riry; and every defire of diffenalready in Poland, and pub- fion seemed very remote from their lished a declaration, wherein, be- present difpofition. fides reiterating the former te : The Prussian minister delivered, monftrances and complaints which at this time, a very strong declaThe had ineffeétually made, the ration from his master, to the king animadverts severely upon the con- and the republic, wherein he comduct of the late diet; avows her mented severely upon the declaraapprobation of the general con. tion made by the diet to the fo. federacies; declares herinreotion to reign minifters, and expressed great fupport them with her utmost dissatisfaction at the contradiction, power; that the fall look upon duplicity, and injustice to the Difany person or persons that offer fidents, which were couched in the them an injury, as her enemies; very terms of it, He complained and that her troops have orders to of the little attention that was paid act accordingly, and to procure a to his friendly representations up. full reparation from those who on the subject, declared his appro. should venture to attack them bation of the confederacy, and his either in their persons or ef. intention to coincide with the Emfects.
press of Russia in protecting of it, The Diffidents preserved a tem. and in procuring justice for the per and moderation in their acts Diflidents. The confederacy was of confederacy, their manifeftoes, farther encouraged by the declaraand all their other writings upon tions of England, Sweden, and this occasion. They modestly re- Denmark, which were all in its capitulate their sufferings, they favour. However, no power buc
Ruflia took a very active part in he prescribed a new oath of fidethis business.
lity to the king, and to the geneThe example the Dissidents had ral confederacy: in this oath, a. given of entering into a confede. long with the security of the Roracy, was soon followed by the man Catholic religion, the rights generality of the Roman Catholic of the Dissidents were included ; nobility throughout the kingdom; and the officers of the civil and so that there were twenty-four military departments were obliged confederacies formed in the great to take it, or lose their places. dutchy of Lithuania only. As Some of the great officers of fiate these confederacies were formed in are said to have resigned their opposition to fome political inno. places, rather than take this oath; vations, they were distinguished the new Prince Primate took it from the Dissidents by the appella- voluntarily; some of the other tion of Malecontents. Every one bishops also took it. of the confederacies had a clause The king seems to have been a inserted in their articles, whereby filent spectator of all these tranf. they acknowledged the justice of actions; which, it cannot be ima. the claims made by the Diffidents; gined, afforded him any degree of and declared their resolution to pleasure. He gave an audience to have them reinstated in their rights prince Radzivil, which it was ob. and immunities.
served continued only for a few In the midst of all these com- minutes : upon the whole he few. motions, the ftrictest order was ed a coolness and command of preserved throughout the king- temper, which has, perhaps, been dom, and we scarce hear an in- seldom seen in such circumstances, ftance of a single outrage commit- but which was very convenient, ted in any part of it. While af. where refiftance was imposible. fairs were in this situation, Prince It should be observed, that all the Charles de Radzivil, remarkable different confederacies, whether for being obliged to quit his na- Malecontents or Dissidents, had tive country, and having his el. taken at their first formation an tates !aid under sequestration, for oath of the stricteft fidelity to the the part he acted in opposition to king; and that it was also the first the election of the present king, part of the oath that was prescrib. arrived in Poland; he was receiv- ed by Prince Radzivil. ed with the greatest joy by the All parties seemed to agree, that people, and was immediately de- nothing could restore the peace of clared, with great powers, mare the republic, but the summoning shal of the general confederacy of an extraordinary diet: this of Malecontents. This prince af. measure was adopted, and the fumed all the state and dignity of king issued orders accordingly. a fovereign; he published an uni- The dietines were in many places versalia, in which he declares that very tumultuous, and some misall those who do not adhere to the chief was done; some of the no. general confederacy, shall be treat-bility cried out, that they made a ed as enemies to their country. part of a free people, and exAmong other extraordinary acts, claimed against a foreign military