"BAR, MARCH, 1768. The Confederation of Radom, as efficient preliminary, and chief agent in that Diet of emancipation to the Dissident human mind, might long have been famous over Poland and the world; but there instantly followed as corollary to it a CONFEDERATION OF BAR, which quite dimmed the fame of Radom, and indeed of all Confederations prior or posterior! As the Confederation of Bar and its Doings, or rather sufferings and tragical misdoings and undoings, still hang like fitful spectralities, or historical shadows, of a vague ghastly complexion, in the human memory, one asks at least: Since they were on this Planet, tell us where? Bar is in the Waiwodship Podol (what we call Podolia), some 400 miles southeast of Warsaw; not far from the Dniester River:--not far very from that mystery of the Dniester, the Zaporavian Cossacks,--from those rapids or cataracts (quasi-cataracts of the Dniester, with Islands in them, where those Cossack robbers live unassailable):--across the Dniester lies Turkey, and its famed Fortress of Choczim. This is a commodious station for Polish Gentlemen intending mutiny by law.
"MARCH 8th, 1768, Three short days after the Diet of Radom had done its fine feat, and retired to privacy, news came to Warsaw, That Podolia and the Southern parts are all up, confederating with the highest animation; in hot rage against such decision of a Diet, contrary to Holy Religion and to much else; and that the said decision will have to fight for itself, now that it has done voting. This interesting news is true; and goes on intensifying and enlarging itself, one dreadful Confederation springing up, and then another and ever another, day after day; till at last we hear that on the 27th of the month, MARCH 27th, 1768, at Bar, a little Town on the Southern or Turkish Frontier, all these more or less dreadful Confederations have met by delegates, and coalesced into one 'Confederatiou of Bar,'--which did surely prove dreadful enough, to itself especially, in the months now ensuing!"
No history of Bar Confederation shall we dream of; far be such an attempt from us. It consists of many Confederations, and out of each, PRO and CONTRA, spring many. Like the Lernean Hydra, or even Hydras in a plural condition. A many-headed dog: and how many whelps it had,--I cannot give even the cipher of them, or I would! One whelp Confederation, that of Cracow, is distinguished by having frequently or generally been "drunk;" and of course its procedures had often a vinous character. [In HERMANN (v. 431-448); and especially in RULHIERE (ii. livre 8 et seq.), details in superabundance.] I fancy to have read somewhere that the number of them was one hundred and twenty-five. The rumor and the furious barking of Bar and its whelps goes into all lands: such rabid loud baying at mankind and the moon; and then, under Russia's treatment, such shrill yelping and shrieking, was not heard in the world before, though perhaps it has since.
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.
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