A History of the Polish Intelligentsia – Part 2
Edited By Jerzy Jedlicki
Chapter 2: Inheritors
← 52 | 53 → Chapter 2: Inheritors
At home, 1832-1845
Emperor Nicholas comprehended the Polish revolution as an insane rebellion against the legitimate and sanctified authority. Any and all measures called for were taken in order to knock out from the Poles’ heads any similar designs, and turn them into obedient and grateful subjects of the Russian Empire. Such intent was however burdened with a contradiction. The emperor and his ministers primarily charged the military and civil leaders of the insurrection – mostly, the nobility – with responsibility for this rebellion. Still, they did not intend or actually will to alter the composition of social relations in Poland, as such a pattern could have been dangerous for Russia itself. Thus, the nobility deserved its punishment, its political rights taken away, its nobility patents verified with competent offices; but apart from confiscated properties of émigrés and of some deportees, the nobility was still to have its proprietary rights and primacy in access to offices and military grades.
A similar instability was the case with administrative reforms as well. The Kingdom’s autonomy was abolished together with the constitution, sejm assemblies and Polish army; all the same, the Kingdom was protected against being formally incorporated in the Kingdom by the legitimistic attitude of the European powers – signatories to the 1815 Vienna Treaty. Although the political lot of Poles was of little significance to the superpowers’ rulers and ministers, a renouncement of the Vienna Congress provisions would imply an upset of the European balance. This being the case,...
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