Poor BAR'S exploits in the fighting way were highly inconsiderable; all on the same scale; and spread over such a surface of country, mostly unknown, as renders it impossible to give them head-room, were you never so unfurnished. They can be read in eloquent Rulhiere; but by no mortal held in memory. Anarchy is not a thing to be written of; a Lernean Hydra, several Lernean Hydras, in chaotic genesis, getting their heads lopped off, and at the same time sprouting new ones in such ratio, where is the Zoologist that will give account of it? There was not anything considerable of fighting; but of bullying, plundering, murdering and being murdered, a frightful amount. There are seizures of castles, convents, defensible houses; marches at a rate like that of antelopes, through the Lithuanian parts, boggy, hungry, boundless, opening to the fancy the Infinitude of Peat, in the solid and the fluid state. This, perhaps, is the finest species of feats, though they never lead to anything. There are heroes famed for these marches.
The Pulawskis, for example,--four of them, Lawyer people,--showed much activity, and a talent for impromptu soldiering, in that kind. The Magnates of the Confederation, I was surprised to learn, had all quitted it, the instant it came to strokes: "You Lawyer people, with your priests and orthodox peasantries, you do the fighting part; ours is the consulting!" And except Potocki (and he worse than none), there is presently not a Magnate of them left in Poland,--the rest all gone across the Austrian Border, to Teschen, to Bilitz, a handy little town and domain in that Duchy of Teschen;--and sit there as "Committee of Government:" much at their ease in comparison, could they but agree among themselves, which they cannot. Bilitz is one of the many domains of Magnate Sulkowski:--do readers recollect the Sulkowski who at one time "declared War" on King Friedrich; and was picked up, both War and he, so compendiously by General Goltz, and locked in Glogau to cool? This is the same Sulkowski; much concerned now in these matters; a rich Magnate, glad to see his friends about him as Governing Committee; but gets, and gives, a great deal of vexation in it, the element proving again too hot!--
I said there were four famed Pulawskis; [Hermann, v. 465.] a father, once Advocate in Warsaw, with three sons and a nephew; who, though extremely active people, could do no good whatever. The father Pulawski had the fine idea of introducing the British Constitution; clothing Poland wholly in British tailorage, and so making it a new Poland: but he never could get it done. This poor gentleman died in Turkish prison, flung into jail at Constantinople, on calumnious accusation and contrivance by a rival countryman; his sons and nephew, poor fellows, all had their fame, more or less, in the Cause of Freedom so called; but no other profit in this world, that I could hear of. Casimir, the eldest son, went to America; died there, still in the Cause of Freedom so called; Fort Pulawski, in the harbor of Charleston (which is at present, on very singular terms, RE-engaged in the same so-called Cause!), was named in memory of this Casimir. He had defended Czenstochow (if anybody knew what Czenstochow was, or could find it in the Polish map); and it was also he that contrived that wonderful plan of suddenly snapping up King Stanislaus from the streets of Warsaw one night, ["3d November, 1771."] and of locking him away (by no means killing him), as the source of all our woes. O my Pulawskis, men not without manhood, what a bedlam of a Time have you and I fallen into, and what Causes of Freedom it has got in hand!
Bar, a poor place, with no defences but a dry ditch and some miserable earthworks, the Confederates had not the least chance to maintain; Kaminiec, the only fortress of the Province, they never even got into, finding some fraction of royal soldiery who stood for King Stanislaus there, and who fired on the Confederates when applied to. Bar a small Russian division, with certain Stanislaus soldieries conjoined, took by capitulation; and (date not given) entered in a victorious manner. The War-Epic of the Confederates, which Rulhiere sings at such length, is blank of meaning.
Of "Cloister Czenstochow," a famed feat of Pulawski's, also without result, I could not from my Rulhiere discover (what was altogether an illuminative fact to me!) that the date of Czenstochow was not till 1771. A feat of "Cloister BERDICZOW," almost an exact facsimile by the same Pulawski, also resultless, I did, under Hermann's guidance, at once find;--and hope the reader will be satisfied to accept it instead: Cloister Berdiczow, which lies in the Palatinate of Kiow; and which has a miraculous Holy Virgin, not less venerated far and wide in those eastern parts, than she of Cloister Czenstochow in the western: THIS Cloister Berdiczow and its salutary Virgin, Pulawski (the Casimir, now of Charleston Harbor) did defend, with about 1,000 men, in a really obstinate way, The Monastery itself had in it gifts of the faithful, accumulated for ages; and all the richest people in those Provinces, Confederate or not, had lodged their preciosities there, as in an impregnable and sure place, in those times of trouble. Intensely desirous, accordingly, the Russians were to take it, but had no cannon; desperately resolute Pulawski and his 1,000 to defend. Pulawski and his 1,000 fired intensely, till their cannon- balls were quite done; then took to firing with iron-work, and hard miscellanies of every sort, especially glad when they could get a haul of glass to load with;--and absolutely would not yield till famine came; though the terms offered were good,--had they been kept.
So that Pulawski, it would appear, did Two Cloister Defences? Two, each with a miraculous Holy Virgin; an eastern, and then a westerly. This of Berdiczow, not dated to me farther, is for certain of the year 1768; and Pulawski, owing to famine, did yield here. In 1771, at miraculous Cloister Czenstochow, in the western parts, Pulawski did an external feat, or consented to see it done, --that of trying to snuff out poor King Stanislaus on the streets (3d November, 10 P.M., "miraculously" in vain, as most readers know),--which brought its obloquies and troubles on the Defender of Czenstochow. Obloquies and troubles: but as to surrendering Czenstochow on call of obloquy, or of famine itself, Pulawski would not, not he for his own part; but solemnly left his men to do it, and walked away by circuitous uncertain paths, which end in Charleston Harbor, as we have seen. [At Savannah, in a stricter sense. "Perished at the Siege [futile attempt to storm, by the French, which they called a Siege] of Savannah, 9th October, 1779."] Defence of Czenstochow in 1771 shall not concern us farther. Truly these two small defences of monasteries by Pulawski are almost all, I do not say of glorious, but even of creditable or human, that reward the poor wanderer in that Polish Valley of Jehoshaphat, much of it peat-country; wherefore I have, as before, marked the approximate localities, approximate dates, for behoof of ingenuous readers.
The Russians, ever since 1764, from the beginnings of those Stanislaus times, are pledged to maintain peace in Poland; and it is they that have to deal with this affair,--they especially, or almost wholly, poor Stanislaus having scarcely any power, military or other, and perhaps being loath withal. There was more of investigating and parleying, bargaining and intriguing, than of fighting, on Stanislaus's part. "June 11th, 1768," says a Saxon Note from Warsaw, "Mokranowski, Stanislaus's General [the same that was with Friedrich], has been sent down to Bar to look into those Confederates. Mokranowski does not think there are above 8,000 of them; about 3,000 have got their death from Russian castigation. The 8,000 might be treated with, only Russians are so dreadfully severe, especially so intent on wringing money from them. Confederates have been complaining to the Turk; Turk ambiguous; gives them no definite ground of hope. 'What then, is your hope?' I inquired. 'Little or none, except in Heaven,' several answered: 'it is for our religion and our liberty:' religion cut to pieces by this Dissident Toleration-blasphemy; liberty ditto by the Russian guarantee of peace among us: 'what can we do but trust in God and our own despair?'" ["Essen's Report, 11th June, 1768" (in HERMANN, v. 441).] "Prave worts, Ancient Pistol,"--but much destitute of sense, and not to be realized in present circumstances. Here is something much more critical:--
JUNE-JULY, 1768. "The peasants in the Southern regions, Palatinates Podol, Kiow, Braclaw, called UKRAINE or Border-Country by the Poles, are mostly of Greek and other schismatic creeds. Their Lords are of an orthodox religion, and not distinguished by mild treatment of such Peasantry, upon whom civil war and plunder have been latterly a sore visitation. To complete the matter, the Confederates in certain quarters, blown upon by fanatical priests, set about converting these poor peasants, or forcing them, at the point of the bayonet, to swear that they adopt the 'Greek united rite,' which I suppose to be a kind of half-way house towards perfect orthodoxy. In one Village, which was getting converted in this manner, the military party seemed to be small; the Village boiled over upon it; trampled orthodoxy and military both under foot, in a violent and sanguinary manner; and was extremely frightened when it had done. Extremely frightened, not the Village only, but the schismatic mind generally in those parts, dreading vengeance for such a paroxysm. But the atrocious Russians whispered them, 'We are here to protect you in your religions and rights, in your poor consciences and skins.' Upon which hint of the atrocious Russians, the schismatic mind and population one and all rose; and, 'with the cannibal's ferocity, gave way to their appetite for plunder!' ...
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