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did not stir. In the broken ground Lydiadas was overpowered and killed. The popular judgment of the Achaians was probably the truth; it was, that Aratus had not supported Lydiadas as he ought to have done, and that through his fault Lydiadas had perished.
Lydiadas is a great favourite with Mr. Freeman; he places him “among the first of men.” It is disappointing, after his ardent panegyric, to turn to Polybius, or even to Plutarch; we are made to feel how scanty the materials are for so much enthusiasm. Something of greatness there must have been about this man, or he could not have divided with Aratus the affections of the Achaian people. We feel that Cleomenes did well when he wrapped the body of the fallen hero in a kingly robe and sent it crowned to Megalopolis. We wish to believe all that Mr. Freeman has found to say about him; but the utmost that we can bring ourselves to credit is, that it may be true. We read in Plutarch that Lydiadas, when he was yet a youth, made himself tyrant of Megalopolis. On this text we have the following comment:
“In his youth he seized the tyranny of his native city ; but he seized it with no igpoble or unworthy aim. We know not the date or the circumstances of his rise to sovereign power, but there is at least nothing to mark him as one of those tyrants who were the destroyers of freedom. He is not painted to us as a midnight conspirator, plotting rebellion against a state of things which made him only one free citizen among many. Still less is he painted as the chief magistrate of a free state, bound by the most solemn oaths to be faithful to its freedom, and then turning the limited powers with which his country bad intrusted him to overthrow the liberties of which he was the chosen guardian. We do not read that he rose to power by driving a lawful senate from their hall by the spears of mercenaries, or by an indiscriminate massacre of this fellow-citizens in the streets of the Great City. We do not read that he reigned by crushing every noble feeling, and by flattering every baser passion, of his subjects ; we are not told that every man of worth or talent shrank from his service, and left him only birelings and flatterers as the agents of his will. There is no evidence that the dungeons of Megalopolis or the cities of free Greece were filled with men whose genius or whose virtue was found inconsistent with his rule. We do not hear that his foreign policy was one of faithless aggression ; that he gave out that tyranny should be peace, and then filled Peloponnesos with needless wars. It is not told us that he seized on city after city, prefacing every act of plunder with solemn protestations that nothing was further from his thoughts. Still less do we find that he ever played the basest part to which tyranny itself can sink; that he stretched forth his hand to give a hypocritical aid to struggling freedom, and then drew back, that he might glut his eyes with the sight of a land wasted by anarchy and brigandage, to which a word from him would at any moment put an end. No; Lydiadas was” &c.
For Mr. Freeman's sake, no less than for that of his readers, we enter our protest against this mode of writing history. We have no partiality for Louis Napoleon, nor have we any wish to spare him a single invective, so long as invective does not intrude into history. But we instinctively feel that invectives against him, which might suit the columns of the Saturday Review, are out of place in a history of the Achaian League. To tell us what Louis Napoleon has done, under pretence of telling us what Lydiadas did not do, neither helps us to understand Achaian history, nor really does any honour to Lydiadas. Unfortunately the passage we have cited is not the only instance of the fault-so grave, and yet so easy to avoid-of carrying the passions and the language of a journalist into history. It is
a a real blemish in Mr. Freeman's book; it is a serious drawback to the pleasure with which we read his comparisons of the ancient and modern world, and it gives an ephemeral character to a work the interest of which is not, and ought not to be, ephemeral.
ART. V.-POLAND AS IT IS. [It may be right to say that we give in the following Article the exact words of
a most intelligent eye-witness of the Polish Revolution. The policy of this
country with regard to Poland is discussed in Article IX.] La Pologne Contemporaine. Par Charles de Mazade. Paris :
Michel Lévy. Recueil des principaux Traités. Par Martens. Vols. VIII, and X. The saying of the Emperor Nicholas, “there is no Poland except among the émigrés,” may now take place with the similar aphorism of Metternich, that Italy was only a geographical expression. At the very moment when the work of the Holy Alliance seemed to be complete, the accident of a political dinner among a few third-rate politicians in Paris shook it to the ground. The first Italian War, and the reappearance of a Napoleon in France, led up so naturally to Sebastopol and Solferino, that the new order might almost seem to have been inherited. The instinctive hatred which the Tory and Legitimist party every where have felt for the Crimean War, and their unreasoning previsions of evil, have been fully justified by the results on the absolutist system. making a new world every where in Europe; or rather, perhaps, we are stripping off the lath-and-plaster with which
certain kingly architects defaced the natural work of time nearly fifty years ago. There has been much bloodshed in the operation, and not a little blundering and intrigue. But the final results at present attained have been Italian liberty, serf-emancipation in Russia, a constitution in Austria, and a great expansion of material progress in France and England. Perhaps fifteen years could hardly have been expected to do more.
With the first beginnings of troubles, all eyes were turned upon Russian Poland. To the surprise of all, it remained quiet. There was insurrection in Posen and a war in Hungary, in which Poles did gallant service; but they seemed still to be the true countrymen of Sobieski, doing battle for every banner except their own. The Crimean War came and passed with no armed uprising against the Russian yoke in Warsaw. The campaign of Solferino had almost produced an insurrection in Hungary; but Poland was still apathetic, or at least peaceful. Suddenly, in 1861, the news came, not of insurrection, but of massacre. Europe heard with consternation of an unarmed crowd shot down in a public square without warning, and, as it seemed, with no better motive than the caprice of a subaltern of police. Presently, however, it appeared that a struggle of a kind never yet known had commenced throughout the Polish provinces of Russia. On the one hand, the Russians were striving to provoke a revolt, in order, as Wielopolski once expressed it, that they might bring the abscess to a head. On the other hand, the Poles had resolved to offer themselves to death on every possible occasion, in the belief that the spirit of martyrdom would at length be too strong for despotism itself. The parallel steadily kept in view, and unflinchingly acted up to, was that of the early Christians under the Empire. “The crown of thorns," said a manifesto, “has been our emblem for a century :... it means patience in grief, self-sacrifice, deliverance, and pardon.” The crown of thorns is never long waited for. Not two months after the first massacre a second crowd assembled near the castle, refused to disperse, and received fifteen volleys with the solidity of veterans. Only prayers and hymns answered the roll of musketry. It might seem that this enthusiasm would be as short-lived as all violent emotions commonly are. But months passed ; and the Poles were still readier to offer themselves to death than the Russians to slay. The whole country wore the garb and the aspect of a funeral. Such depth of national sentiment, the growth of long misery, confounded observers in happier distant countries, and was at first mistaken for a mere masquerade. The Saturday Review, which is professedly incapable of understanding that
there is a noble side to humanity, accused the Poles of acting like petulant children. That fatal contempt for weakness, which clings to Englishmen, added to the general misconception of the drama whose first scenes had been already acted, and the demonstrations were disregarded precisely because the actors were unarmed. At last the fatality of great crimes hurried the Russian Government into a new step. It was resolved to draw the new conscription entirely from the towns, with the double view of sparing the peasantry and of thinning the educated class, who are the eternal enemies of misgovernment. The deed seemed to be done, when some unlucky official conceived the idea of insulting the victims. Europe was told in a telegram that the conscription had been carried out in perfect tranquillity. The jest was one of questionable good taste even for an employé of the school of Nicholas, and its results were disastrous. A majority of one in the secret government decided that war at any hazards was preferable to extinction without a sign; and the conscripts not already in custody were instructed to take to the forests, and defend themselves as they could, unarmed in mid-winter, against a disciplined army. “And now," a Polish gentleman lately said to us, “ Europe believes that we are alive because we are fighting. Is it not horrible that all our sufferings, all our struggles after constitutional reform, were actually unheeded till we appealed to arms, the last argument of the barbarian ?"
Without wishing to defend English apathy on the Polish question, we are constrained to admit that it is not quite inexcusable. The Poles have been too apt to rest their cause primarily on the injustice of the two partitions of Poland, and to date all their demands for redress from 1772. We believe this to be a mistake in principle. The spoilers of Poland were certainly not sovereigns of high character, and they carried out their designs with a mixture of low intrigue, hypocrisy, and brutal violence, which made the injustice additionally revolting Perhaps the only extenuating circumstance was, that they did not invoke a blessing upon their plunder, like the Congress of Vienna a little later, in the name of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity. But their victim deserved its fate. Since the rescue of Vienna by Sobieski, Poland had governed itself worse than any nation is permitted to do and live. It had the most disorderly form of government, the most intolerant Church, and the inost degraded peasantry in Europe. Its one redeeming virtue was the courage of its people, and, thanks to its nobles, it had no army. It was a perpetual occasion of war on the confines of countries that might wish to be at peace. To have saved such a nation from its natural fate, foreseen for more
than a century, and to have propped up its decrepitude by European guarantees, would have been policy eminently worthy of the cabinet that now keeps the Turks in Constantinople. But it was not the statesmanship of Chatham or his contemporaries in England, any more than of Choiseul in France. Sensible men regretted that another bulwark against the Muscovite had been broken down, and that even such a shadow of freedom as the Polish constitution had been was replaced by very actual tyrannies. But it would have been the extreme of political quixotism for England to declare war against Russia and Prussia, its old and late allies, in behalf of a people who scarcely protested by words, and in no wise protested by acts, against the usurpation. At the time of the second partition we were in no condition to interfere, if we had wished it; the war with France absorbed every energy.
The real second life of Poland dates from the second partition. Short-lived as the struggle for liberty was, it had a few glorious memories. A body of insurgents in Warsaw, never stronger than 1500, by the admissions of the Russian general opposed to them, drove out a garrison of more than 10,000 disciplined troops from the town. Kosciusko invented the terrible Polish scythemen,-imitated, perhaps, from the old flailmen of Ziska, who are still the only known instances of peasants that have been able to cope with regular troops. Crushed by overwhelming forces, and by the ferocious energy of Suvarof, the insurrection now became an emigration, and traversed Europe under the banners of Napoleon. But Napoleon in his heart regarded Polish nationality as a chimera, useful only as a phrase in bulletins and a stalking-horse in diplomacy. He consented at the treaty of Tilsit to dismember the country for the benefit of the man he most hated and despised, the King of Prussia; he declared Lithuania Russian ; and in reconstituting a sort of shadowy Poland in the grand duchy of Warsaw he made it the appanage of a petty German prince, the King of Saxony. Nevertheless, under all discouragements, the Polish name made itself so well respected, that the conquerors of Vienna, who punished Saxony and Denmark for adherence to the fortunes of the fallen chief, were well disposed to reconstitute Poland. The time was eminently favourable for reconstruction, and Austria and Prussia would have made sacrifices to keep a few hundred miles of neutral ground between themselves and their Muscovite ally. To Russia alone Poland was too important to be given up. It was the richest province of the empire, the point of contact with the West, the advance-post upon Europe, and it symbolised Russia's retribution on an old foe. In face of the colossal Russian force