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of the high powers who are medi- reigns of Lithuania. The inhabiators on the occasion, we imagine tants of all these provinces were of a clear but concise account of the the Greek religion, as well as nature and origin of them will not those of Moldavia, Wallachia, be unacceptable to many of our and the Ukraine, which were add. readers.

ed to the kingdom by 'the success, Poland, properly so called, was fors of Jagellon; fo that by these originally circumscribed within great accellions the members of very narrow bounds; the inhabi. the Greek church became at that tants, between the 9th and oth time vaftly fuperior, both in numcenturies, were converted to the bers and power, to those of the Christian religion, as it was then Roman Catholic persuasion. Ic professed by the church of Rome. seemed a felicity peculiar to PoAbout the same time a conversion land, that this difference of opiwas begun in many of the neigh- nion in religious matters, between bouring, provinces, which were the members of the same nation, then independent states, and who had produced none of those ill conat different æras embraced the sequences, thuse animosities and Chriftian religion according to the disputes, which other countries had Greek mode of worship. In pro. fo fatally experienced from the cess of time many of these neigh- fame causes. bouring states, by conqueft, by It is to be observed that the right of succeilion, by marriage, conftitution of Poland was orior by compact, became united to ginally very different from what the kingdom of Poland ; upon all it is at present. While her kings which accessions the new provinces succeeded to the kingdom by he were upon an exact equality with reditary right, she had no share of the old in every respect, and each that boasted liberty, which the has observed their own particular aspired to fince; by the extinction modes of worship

of the Jagellonic line, in The greatest and most remark- the person of Sigusmund Anno able of these acceflions was that Auguitus, she has affum- 1572.

which took place upon the ed the form of a republic, Anno, marriage of Jagellon, great and made the crown entirely elec. 1386. duke of Lithuania, to the tive. Under the kings of the Ja

daughter and heiress of geilonic, as well as the more anLewis king of Poland. By this cient races, the inferior nobility marriage the great duchy of Li. had no power; the prerogatives thuania, together with the pro- of royalty were almost the only levinces of White Ruffia, Podlachia, giflative power, and formed the Volhinia, Podolia, and foon after. code of laws. To give an exact wards Red Ruflia, became annexed idea how much the liberty of the to the kingdom of Poland; with nobility was limited, it is fuffithis distinction, that the union be- cient to remark, that the security tween the kingdom and the great of their persons was not allowed dutchy depended only upon the them, but by a privilege from Jacontinuance of the Jagellonic line'; gellon, by which he promised that that family being the natural sove. no person fhould be imprisoned, till he had been convicted of fome whether of Lithuanian or Rufliani crime by a court of judicature. extractions in every part of his do

Upoti occasion of the difturb- minions, even though their ancesances which were caused by the tors had not gained the rights of Husfites, in Germany and Bohe- nobility in the kingdom of Poland, mia, Uladislaus Jagellon, who shall, provided that they profess the

was brother-in-law to the Christian religion, be entitled to, Anno emperor Sigismund, caused and enjoy, all

the rights, privileges, 1424. some sanguinary laws to be and liberties, to which they are na

passed in Poland, to pre- turally intitled by their fank and vent the introduction of thefe doc- nobility. Likewise that they are trines, considered as heresies, into to be admitted to the honours and his dominions. At this period, dignities of the senate and crown, and for many years after, the epis. and to all noble trufts; that they copal courts had great powers, fhall be promoted, each according which proved very uneasy to the to his merit and dignity, to all digPolish nobility, and kept them in nities and considerable trüsts; and fome respects in a kind of servi- no one shall be excluded from them tude; as excommunications divest. for the sake of religions provided ed them of the power of acting he be a Chriftian. in the diets and dietines. This The same prince, five years af. grievance was at length removed, terwards, at the diet of Grodno, in with great joy to the nation,

the nation, 1568, granted letters of confirmathough with no small difficulty, tion on the fame subject, wherein by that great prince Sigismund the same articles are recited word Augustus.

for word; and, to prevent the conThe reformation began very ear- struction in their own favour, which ly to make a great progress in some prevailing denomination of Poland, insomuch that the majo. Christians, in prejudice to the rest, tity of the fenators and nobility might put upon the words--pro. became members, either of the vided he be a Christian-he made Lutheran or Reformed communi. use in the letters of confirmation ons. We are to observe that the of the following memorable ones word Reformed, in the writings of whatever Christian communion upon this subject, always fignifies or confeffio foever he be. the Calvanists, in contradistinction It is to be remarked with atten. to those of the Lutheran profession. tion, as an observation upon which To prevent all the mischiefs and mu of the knowledge of the fubdangers that might arise among ject depends, that thefe concessions the citizens on the score of relia and declarations' are stated to have gion, Sigismund Auguftus passed a been made during the great translaw at the diet of Vilna, on the action of an union between the king36th of June, 1563, which law is.. dom of Poland and the great dutchy still preserved among the archives of Lithuania. This was the greatof the supreme tribunal of the est and most consequential event, grand dutchy of Lithuania; where with respect to the two nations, that by it is declared, that all those of ever happened, and was happily the equestrian and noble orders, accomplished by this prince ; lo



that these concessions are with juf. 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 transac- 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 de union, held at Lublin under the fence and affection, and that a dif{ame prince in the year 1569, byference in religion should never which the grand dutchy of Lithua, prove the cause of civil diffenfion, nia was for ever united to the unanimously resolving to make an crown of Poland,

example of that perfon, who under Upon the death of Sigismund such a pretext should excite difturb Auguftus, the Polis conititution was entirely changed, and the na, As this law has been repeated tion assumed the form of a repub- in all the public acts, conftituti. lic. His grandfather, Cassimir 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 impositions. one; nor can any other law be Sigismund and his father used the produced, whofe sanction has been same method; but after his death more folemnly, more conftantly, the whole legillative authority fell and more frequently repeated. into the hands of the nobility. However, when the Roman Catho.

At this period it is asserted, 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 controvert ed, of more than one to seven. it, yet they newed a dispoñition, 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 signatures, sal-vis juribus era present model, and made the crown clefiæ Romanæ Catholicæ, saving the elective, was a Protestant. A per- rights of the Roman Catholic petual peace betwixt the Greeks, church; whereupon the Diffidents, the Roman Catholics, and the by way of reprisal, wrote under Protestants, was therein eftablish their signatures, salva pace inter ed, as a fundamental law of the Disidentes, saving ihe peace among republic. The wars in Germany the Diffidents. under Charles the Fifth, and in It appears from the infancy of France under Catharine de Medio the republic, that the term Dificis, made them sensible of the ne. dents equally comprehended the ceflity they were under of tolerat- Greeks, Catholics, Reformed, and


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REGISTER. Lutherans. The words of that considered that these conftitutions famous conftitution 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 sumus Diffidentes in re- taken into their own hands; but 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 some ftitution it is declared, that they degree a fovereign, as far as his will acknowledge no man for king estate and power extended. We or master " that shall not con- shall pay the greater regard to the firm by oath all the rights privi- memory of those illuftrious 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 most civi: fwear, that he will maintain the lized and best regulated governa peace among the Diffidents in ments in Europe: at the fame time points of religion.” In the con- it cannot be sufficiently lamented, titutions of the same diet are that their pofterity 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 configations of our oath, of our faith, dered that perverse disposition, by of our honour, and of our con. which almost every denominasciences, to preserve peace among tion of mankind would endeavour us who are Diffidents in religion ; to to plunder, enslave, and persecute shed no blood, nor to inflict on every other part of their own fpeany 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 furprised how a law, take, for the above reason, to shed so solemnly paffed, 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 fancti. him, even though he should shel- 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 inftances of equal moderation, in part of the constitution of ihe matters of religion, amongst a peo- ftate, 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 fewn; especially if it be change, much less a subversion of


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the constitution 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 fancformed the original compact, have tion of the very laws they were been {poiled of their rights, liber- tearing to pieces at the instant.



The causes afligned for the great superiority which the Roman Catholics in

Poland have acquired over the Greeks and Protestants. Account of Sigis mund the third. Treaty of Oliva. Edict against the Arians. Conftitu. tion of 1717. Oppression of the Disidents in consequence of it. Conftitu. tion of 1736. Confederacies formed by the 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 Russians. A commiffion appointed

finally to settle the affairs of the Difidents. I The (T must appear surprising, that the interest of the Princess Anne,

the Roman Catholics, who are fifter to the late king, and made. represented as having formed fo it a rule that whatever prince was small 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 Basion, should notwithstanding be- thori, who married her, to change

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 interest 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 perfuafion is faid to have ob reign of her nephew, Sigismund tained the ascendancy, and by the third, which lasted for near degrees the exclusive possession of half a century, all the material government, the following seem to interests of the nation were enbe 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 Protè. to the bringing over of converts, itant, was proposed for King, and in which he neither regarded the his accession wished by great num- means used, nor the fincerity of bers; but the Dillidents in ge- those converted ; and carried on neral, from a grateful attachment every degree of persecution and to the Jagellonic family, preferred oppression against those, who had VOL. X



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