previous next

The London Times remarks that whether Poland was made over to Russia in the last settlement of Europe as a trust or a gift, it has certainly proved a fatal possession. Poland, says the Times, has been ruled by three Russian Emperors since 1815, and has been a difficulty to all of them. Alexander and Nicholas would have left better names in history had they not been Kings of Poland. The judgment Europe has passed on them has been materially influenced by the system of government they authorized or permitted in this portion of their dominions. It identified the Russian power and the Russian name with the worst kind of despotism, and made it a kind of terror to the nations of the West. To repel any further encroachments, in any direction, by such a Government, appeared worth every sacrifice, and the feeling at last found expression in the war, from the effects of which Russia has not yet recovered. France, England and Germany judged the whole tendency of Russian policy by what Poland suffered under it more than by the internal administration of Russia itself. And what material advantage has the Government of the Emperor derived from the possession of Poland to compensate for the aversion of Europe? It has not added to the strength of the empire nor its prosperity. In peace, it was always necessary to keep a large army in Poland. It has always been garrisoned and occupied as a hostile territory.

Poor and discontented, the history of the connection of Poland with Russia is one unvarying record of calamity to both nations. Contact, as rulers, with a mone civilized people than themselves seems only to have developed all that is barbarous in the Russian character. A people with any capacity for governing would have found some better mode of administration possible than the brute force which can only destroy what it finds existing — even its own prosperity. If the authority of a Government can only be maintained by exterminating its subjects, something higher than the obligations of treaties is violated. The Russians are now to Poland what the Turks were to Hungary. Government, in the ordinary sense of the word, has ceased to exist.--Russia has lost everything that makes the possession of a territory an advantage. The army it is obliged to keep up must absorb more than the revenue of the kingdom. Commerce, agriculture, every kind of enterprise, is perishing.--It would be an incalculable gain to Russia if she abandoned the kingdom of Poland to itself; to govern it, even by the sword, against the hostility of the whole population, is impossible.

If there be a science of government, adds the Times, the Russians seem to be most deficient in it. That Government seems to have no principle or expedient at command except the savage process of exterminating all opposed to it. The operation is not so easy as the exterminators imagine. The attempt to Russianize Poland has now been carried on for thirty years, and has ended, so far, by leaving Russia with nothing in Poland but its army. The immediate appeal to force, says the Times, indicates a want of the high qualities of statesmanship Governments were made for men; but the Russian idea is that man was made for the Government, and that the human race must be exterminated rather than its peculiar system should be modified or abandoned.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Poland (Poland) (8)
Russia (Russia) (7)
Hungary (Hungary) (1)
France (France) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Russianize Poland (3)
Russian (1)
Nicholas (1)
Alexander (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1815 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: