A History of the Polish Intelligentsia – Part 2
Edited By Jerzy Jedlicki
Chapter 4: The End of Tsar Nicholas’s epoch
← 152 | 153 → Chapter 4: The End of Tsar Nicholas’s epoch
“Don’t you trifle with scoundrels”, the Emperor wrote in 1846 to his loyal Viceroy in Warsaw, “but court-martial them mercilessly, there is no other way to tackle them. If there is a number of guilty ones in that gymnasium, you do order to close it down. […] Send the youngsters to their parents, and dispatch the teachers into the depths of Russia, if they are dubious but a little; and so you do in the future too.”132 Paskevich followed the recommendation and this gendarme-style socio-technology proved extremely effectual. 1846 saw Krakow and Galicia seethe, whereas the lands subdued to Russian rule were the scene of just one incident, which paid the price of three plotters hanged and the other few sent to katorga. In the Empire’s Lithuanian guberniyas, small groups of complotting Poles did not even dare to take up arms, but the police agents picked up their trail all the same: the Wilno and Kowno Inquiry Committees were kept busy for many months.
In the spring of 1848, almost the whole of Europe was shaken – Russia remaining unaffected. Notified of the revolutions in France, Austria and Prussia, Nicholas I put his army, gendarmerie, spies, and civil servants on the highest alert. Reinforced troops were sent to the western border, with more censors dispatched to post-offices to unseal letters and read them. Uvarov, the Minister of Education, ordered the superintendents to keep an eye open for “the spirit of what is lectured at schools” as well as “the...
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