A History of the Polish Intelligentsia – Part 2
Edited By Jerzy Jedlicki
Chapter 1: In lands foreign
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In exile, 1832-1845
Wanderers, exiles, pilgrims: so they would call themselves, but the collective term ‘émigrés’ or ‘immigrants’ was most frequently in use. Some of them found their errant destinyto be a must: the tsarist amnesty did not extend to the conspiracy members who commenced the uprising; similarly, to parliamentary deputies who had advocated at the sejm that Nicholas be dethroned; National Government or Patriotic Society members; those who had participated in the Warsaw mob-law incidents; military officers that had not laid down their arms after Warsaw surrendered (unless they had their loyalty oath to the Tsar renewed); and, volunteers from the guberniya1 incorporated earlier on in the Empire. All of them could be certain to be taken to a criminal court, in case they would turn up within the Kingdom or Lithuania. Others could come back to be at the tsar’s mercy, albeit no-one knew what the price could be in each individual case. All those formally covered by the amnesty, particularly if one was a simple soldier or non-commissioned officer, were urged to return – brutally, in many cases, by the Prussian and Austrian authorities, who had provided them with temporary shelter; only if resisting efficiently, would they eventually be dispatched to the West. For many an Insurrection participant, interned once they crossed the frontier, refusal to submit a request for the tsar’s mercy was a matter of honour. They would rather emigrate, which they did – hoping it would not last long.
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