Inter-Confessional Strife and Foreign Relations

Part Two

IV – The Rulers of Sweden and of Brandenburg-Prussia as Protectors of the Protestants

Brandenburg-Prussia under the Great Elector succeeds Sweden as protector of the aggrieved Protestants in Poland-Lithuania. - The Radziwiłł estates in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Protestant and Orthodox interests coincide at Kieydany. Proposals for Russian support. - The legal status of Protestantism in the Grand Duchy. - The beginnings of the Prussian 'Schutzpolitik'. Samuel Bythner, Jerzy Rekuç and Daniel Ernest Jabłoński keep the Protestants in touch with Berlin and Königsberg. - Efforts to secure the status of the Polish-Lithuanian Protestants by means of international guarantees after the end of the northern war. - The Swedes in Poland . The dethronement of Augustus II and the election of Stanislas Leszczynski. The Primate, Cardinal Radziejowski, disapproved of by Pope Clement XI. - The pamphlet 'Equitis Poloni epistola...' - An article in the treaty of alliance between the Republic and Sweden (1705) temporarily protects the Protestants. Its original and final form. - Charles XII as defender of Lutheranism and protector of the Silesian Protestants. His defeat in 1709 leaves Prussia as the sole extraneous protector of the Protestants in the Republic.

Sweden was the traditional, but by now inactive protector of the aggrieved Protestants in the Republic. Its position in relation to Poland-Lithuania bears comparison with that of Muscovy, for Sweden too had a formal status with regard to a non-Catholic religious group. In 1660 the Republic and Sweden had made peace at Oliva. The treaty, to which Prussia also was a party, guaranteed to the entire population of Poland-Lithuania, albeit in vague and general terms, the continued enjoyment of its rights and privileges in matters both civil and ecclesiastical. The treaty also safeguarded in the towns of West Prussia (which Sweden had occupied during the war) the free exercise of the Catholic and Evangelical religions, under royal tutelage, as practised before the war. The Protestants had demanded much more: complete freedom of worship, personal security for their clergy, equity in the distribution of offices and dignities and fair treatment by all courts and tribunals. After the treaty had put an end to the conflict between the two powers Sweden showed no further interest in the condition of Protestants in the Republic for the time being.

This concern now passed to Frederick William III, Elector of Brandenburg (1640-1688), known as the Great Elector. Having already made a name for himself by upholding the rights of the Protestants in the patrimonial lands of the Emperor, Frederick William took it upon himself to give support and patronage to the Protestants in the Republic, more especially those living on the other side of the East Prussian border in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

As a neighbour and still a vassal of the Kingdom of Poland, the Great Elector, with an eye to the main chance, took part in the military and diplomatic activities resulting from the war between Sweden and the Republic in the years 1655-1660. In 1657 he obtained from Poland full sovereignty over East Prussia. But for his religion he would have been a strong candidate in the royal elections of 1669 and 1674, both of which offered an opportunity to revise the laws concerning the dissenters, provided the necessary support among the szlachta could be mustered. These expectations were disappointed; at other times Frederick William promoted the Protestant cause by authorizing or ordering the collection abroad of money needed to cover the cost of dealing with the unsympathetic authorities, endowing scholarships for study abroad, offering asylum to exiles and giving direct financial support to congregations in straits. The marriage in 1681 of his third son, Ludwig (1666-1687) to Ludwika Karolina (Louise Charlotte) Radziwiłł (1666-1695) gave comfort to the Protestant inhabitants of the vast Radziwiłł estates in the Grand Duchy. Here in the town of Kieydany (Kedziniai) Protestant and Greek Orthodox interests coincided: the priests of a local Orthodox church received their stipends from a fund endowed by Louise Charlotte. The dispatch in 1682 of a delegate from the Protestants of the Grand Duchy to collect money from their Lutheran and Reformed brethren in the West gave rise to the proposal – the first one of its kind – that the Tsar of Muscovy be invited to join forces with the Protestant protectors of their co-religionists. Nothing was done but the proposal was revived, again fruitlessly, by the Queen of Denmark, Charlotte Amalia, when the Rev. Thomas Ramsay, minister at Kieydany, visited Denmark to collect money for the Lithuanian Protestants with a letter of recommendation from the Elector Frederick III in 1698.

The Great Elector had died in 1688 and was mourned by the Protestants of Lithuania as totius reformatae fidei defensor. His son, the margrave Ludwig, had died a year earlier. The Great Elector's successor, Frederick III, later Frederick I of Prussia, regarded himself as the legitimate protector of the Protestants on the Radziwiłł estates. In 1688 he instructed his diplomatic representative in Moscow, Johann Reyer, thus: should the tsars' ministers express concern about the future of non-Catholic churches on the Radziwiłł estates, he was to assure them that the Elector would do his utmost to preserve the existent arrangements but he would also expect active Russian support in the matter.

Reyer's instructions apparently also bore on the Protestant interest in general. The Great Elector had offered the Huguenots shelter in his dominions by the edict of Potsdam promulgated in November 1685 soon after Louis XIV had revoked the edict of Nantes. Now A Declaration of the Czaars of Muscovy against the French King in favour of the poor Protestants Distress in the present Persecution; obtained for them by the intercession of the Marquess of Brandenburg (London, 1689), invited the Protestants to settle in Muscovy where they would be 'favourably entertained in the service of the Czaars'. It is not clear whether there was any response to this invitation.

Frederick III readily came to the aid of his co-religionists across the border. But the most effective defenders of Protestantism in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were the Protestants themselves, being able, thanks to the legal status enjoyed by particular chapels (zbory) and indeed by the entire Reformed community, to stand up for their rights.

The turn of the century saw a change in the character of Frederick III's activity on behalf of the Protestants as well as an extension of its scope. A secret article in Brandenburg's treaty with Sweden of 1696 (which renewed that of 1686) confirmed that the two countries would act in concert to protect the Protestant religion and the freedom of conscience in the Empire and now declared their common interest in the preservation of the rights and privileges of the nobiliary Republic which was about to elect a successor to John III. Within a few years, as the direction of affairs passed from the hands of Frederick as king of – or, rather, in, Prussia since 1701 – into the hands of his ministers, the protection of the Protestants became a permanent objective of the government's policy and from this point on may properly be called Schutzpolitik.

During the decade of turmoil which the northern war brought to the areas of the Republic inhabited in sizeable numbers by Evangelicals, the relations between them and the authorities in Berlin and Königsberg were kept up by three ministers of religion. Samuel Bythner (d. 1710) was in 1701 elected superintendent or Senior of the Reformed congregations in Samogitia and appointed regent or keeper of the archives of the Reformed Churches recently removed for safety to Königsberg. In the same year Jerzy Rekuç (d. 1721) was appointed Polish minister (preacher) in Königsberg and in that capacity acted henceforth as representative of the Lithuanian Calvinists. Both men received stipends from Frederick I. In 1698 Daniel Ernest Jabłoński (already mentioned), at that time Court preacher in Berlin, was, with strong support from that quarter, elected Senior (non-resident) of the Unitas Fratrum (Bohemian Brethren) in Greater Poland. All three imparted information or passed on petitions to the king or his ministers.

It was the intention of Prussian diplomacy as much as the wish of the Polish-Lithuanian Protestants to secure their status by means of international guarantees to be included in a future peace treaty. The first step in that direction was the Prusso-Swedish treaty of 29 July 1703 which comprises a plan of action for the nearest future: in view of the continuing persecution suffered by the Protestants of Poland-Lithuania, at the conclusion of peace with the Republic the parties will press for the restoration of the rights and privileges of their co-religionists in accordance with the latters' aspirations. The parties were also to intercede with the Emperor for the protection of Evangelicals in his patrimonial dominions.

By October 1703 the Swedes had captured Thorn and Poznan, thereby virtually depriving the Saxons of their strategic bases in Greater Poland and West Prussia, invigorating the opponents of Augustus II and conjuring up the prospect of his dethronement in accordance with the initial intention of Charles XII. In February 1704 the Sejm, assembled in Warsaw, constituted itself a general confederacy, approved a statement drafted by the Primate, Radziejowski, and, guided by its substance, declared the throne to be vacant. Charles XII's protégé, Stanislas Leszczynski, palatine of Poznan, was elected king 12 July 1704 but without the Primate's participation.

The Pope, Clement XI (Albani), in order to thwart Leszczynski, issued two briefs: one suspending Radziejowski in his duties on the grounds of opposition to the legitimate monarch, Augustus II, and complicity with Leszczynski, the other forbidding the archbishop to take part in the anti-king's coronation. It is possible that the first brief was not handed to the Primate and therefore had no legal validity but the Pope's intention was clear. The contents of the two briefs became widely known and caused an outburst of indignation from the szlachta at the ecclesiastical power's disregard of the laws of the realm and interference in state affairs.

The most significant and powerful expression of these feelings was supposed to have been the Equitis Poloni epistola de potestate pontificis Romani et ejusdem decreto adversus primatem et episcopos, Regni Poloniae senatores (A Polish Knight's letter on the authority of the Roman Pontiff and his decree against the Primate and the bishops, senators of the Kingdom of Poland), published in August 1705. But the pamphlet should not have been taken for good coin by some historians and ascribed to Franciszek Radzewski, starosta (sheriff) of Wschowa (Fraustadt), for the place of publication was Stockholm and the putative Polish knight Olof Hermelin, originally professor of law at the university of Dorpat (Tartu), recently appointed to Charles XII's field chancellery, author of several propagandist pamphlets, and subsequently historiographer royal. Hermelin took advantage of the events in Poland to attack in the strongest terms, from a Lutheran position, the political power of the Papacy, referring to the Pope as fautor malorum, oppressor innocentium, hostis populi catholici. Political opinion in the Republic, lay and ecclesiastical, divided as it was in its attitude towards the king and anti-king, did not dwell on the true or alleged misdeeds of the Papacy. Before long the excesses committed by the Swedish military in levying contributions in money and kind gave more grievous grounds for widespread anger among all classes of the population. Radziejowski, changing his mind, entered into negotiations with Augustus II but died on 13 October, having taken refuge in Danzig. Ten days earlier Konstanty Zieliński, archbishop of Lvov, had crowned Leszczynski and his wife, Katarzyna, née Opalińska. The way was now clear for final discussions with the Swedes over the terms of a treaty of peace and alliance.

The treaty, signed on 26 November 1705 but dated 28 November, included an article, no. 18, designed to protect the rights and liberties of the Protestant dissenters. The terms initially proposed by the Swedes may have owed something to the petition submitted by the Protestants of Greater Poland in 1703 to Frederick I and forwarded to his diplomatic representative with Charles XII, K.F. Schlippenbach.

The Evangelicals, speaking as szlachta , had complained of being prevented from participating as deputies in the Sejm and the sejmiki (dietines, provincial assemblies), of having been excluded from the senate since the reign of Michael WiÊniowiecki (1669-1673) and unfair treatment in disputes at law with Roman Catholics. Charges of blasphemy were being brought, with resort to false witnesses, for uttering accepted phrases, children of mixed marriages were declared to be Catholics. A conviction could result in the confiscation of property. The tribunals (courts of appeal) were dominated by their ecclesiastical members. The szlachta's right, as patrons, to build churches on their own land was no longer valid in practice and could not be exercised without risk; the restoration or extension of church buildings was forbidden. The frequent ill-treatment of ministers and the prohibition from increasing their number were matters of general concern. All in all, since the beginning of the war, the condition of the Protestants had worsened.

The Swedes demanded the return of the churches, especially in Poznan and Thorn, lost to the Catholics since the treaty of Oliva (1660), permission to build new churches, Lutheran as well as Calvinist, the quashing of discriminating sentences passed by the tribunals against Protestants, privileged status for Protestant schools. The Polish side rejected these proposals as offensive to Catholic sentiments, absurd and ignominious. The Swedes allowed themselves to be persuaded that they must relent and deal with the matter only in general terms in order not to harm the cause of Stanislas.

The product of these discussions was article 18 of the treaty of peace and alliance. Avoiding political issues, it upheld the principle enshrined in the laws of the land: the Protestants would continue to enjoy peace and security as guaranteed by the various confederacies, pacta conventa and royal oaths, with the ominous proviso that they conduct themselves quietly. (A breach of the peace, alleged or actual, by the Protestants, could therefore have grievous consequences.) They would not be hindered in the practice of their religion nor molested on account of it, their children would be allowed to receive a Protestant upbringing. No defendant in proceedings connected with religion would be charged with Arianism. The towns of West Prussia would enjoy their ancient rights and privileges.

The defeat of Charles XII at Poltava and the return of Augustus II rendered the treaty of 1705 de facto null and void. This was an undisguised blessing. The treaty had been declared a fundamental law of the Republic, had it remained in force it would have been extremely damaging to the country's political and economic independence. The effect of a strict implementation of article 18, however, would have benefited the Protestant dissenters, provided a charge of disorderly behaviour did not give the Catholics an opportunity to retaliate.

It was a symptom of the Republic's diminishing sovereignty and its inability to conciliate the Orthodox and Protestant communities, that in the space of two decades their condition should have become the subject of an article in a treaty of alliance with a neighbouring power, first with Muscovy and next with Sweden.

Article 18 of the treaty had made Charles XII for a while de facto protector of the Protestants in Poland-Lithuania on terms more stringent and more closley defined than those on which article nine of the Russo-Polish treaty of 1686 had made the tsar protector of the Orthodox. But since there was no such thing as an Orthodox interest for the tsar to reckon with in Europe, he was absolute in that capacity, whereas Charles XII, while exercising his protectorship as a belligerent and a conqueror still found it prudent to show solidarity with the Protestant interest as represented by Prussia.

To describe him as a pertinace e furioso difensore of Lutheranism pure and simple was accurate. Charles XII took little notice notice of the Reformed churches in Lithuania. The Swedish military squeezed their members as hard as they did the rest of the population. James Gordon and James Gray, sent to England in 1727 by the Protestants of Kieydany to collect money, reported in their memorial that 'during the late war the King of Sweden, by his commissioners sent thither, had laid hands on the magistrates, clapped them into irons and thrust the principal inhabitants though Protestants, into a noisome filthy prison till they paid vast contributions, not only for themselves but also (by an uncommon severity) for the duchies of Birzhi (Birzhai), Nevel and Sebezh and other cities belonging to the House of Neuburg' (to which, through the marriage of the late Louise Charlotte born Radziwiłł secundo voto to Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine, 1641-1742, Kieydany had become subject). In this way the Swedes extorted from the inhabitants of Kieydany at least 100,000 rix-dollars more than had been due as their quota.

In September 1706 Charles XII invaded Saxony, principally in order to compel the King-Elector officially to renounce the Polish throne. This Augustus II did under the terms of the treaty of Altranstadt concluded on 24 September between his plenipotentiaries and Charles XII. Article 19 of the treaty guaranteed the security of the Lutheran religion in Saxony and forbade the introduction of Popery into the Electorate. The next treaty to be concluded between Sweden and Prussia was that of 16 August 1707. Its article seven expressed the intention that the Lutheran and Reformed inhabitants of Hungary, Poland, the Palatinate and Silesia should enjoy freedom of conscience and their religious rights.

The presence of Charles XII and his army in close proximity to Silesia brought the relations between the Emperor and Sweden to a point of crisis. A prolonged diplomatic tug-of-war resulted in the convention of Altranstadt (signed on 1 September 1707) which, among other provisions, restored to the Silesian Protestants the religious rights that had been guaranteed to them in 1648 by the treaty of Osnabruck. The Protestants recovered 125 churches; on 8 February 1709 their rights were set out in an Imperial edict.

But the Russian victory at Poltava put an end to Charles XII's ambitious action in the Empire and in Poland-Lithuania in defence of the Protestant interest in cooperation with Prussia. Thereafter Frederick I's Schutzpolitik reverted to single-handed intercession, whenever the need arose, with the civil and ecclesiastical authorities in the Republic. Eventually Prussia turned against Sweden and in 1715 Frederick William I made an alliance with Peter I. But in the course of the pacification of the North, Sweden and Prussia reaffirmed their common interest in the fate of the Protestatnts. The first separate article in the treaty of peace concluded by the two powers in 1720 bound them to secure the free exercise of the Protestant faith with its original rights and privileges within and without the Empire.

V – The Dissenters in Distress

Between 1705 and 1709 the Protestants recover enough ground to revive Catholic rancour. Disturbances in Poznan. - Some bishops concerned at the Protestant recovery. Many Protestants seen as non-Poles. - Resolutions of the General Council of 1710 against the dissenters. Dissatisfaction at foreign elements at Court and in the army. - The Protestant members of the Council in consultation with the Dutch and British envoys. An appeal to Queen Anne from the Protestants of Lithuania. - The dissenters blamed for the Republic's misfortunes, past and present. - This justifies persecution. The cases of Kehler, Gorzeński and Zygmunt Unrug. - 'Casus inauditus Unrugianus'. Its significance. - Unrug accused of blasphemy. The question of religious freedom in the Republic. - The tribunal of Piotrków finds Unrug guilty. He goes into hiding. - The doctors of the Sorbonne exonerate him. - Unrug pleads his case in the 'Casus...' and 'Relacja dyskretna...' - More writings in defence of Unrug and the dissenters. - Unrug helps to draft articles in favour of the Protestants for insertion in a future peace treaty (1718). Unrug appeals to the Pope. The decision of the tribunal is quashed but formalities prevent a retrial. - Unrug expresses his disappointment in further pamphlets. - The Sejm of 1726 allows him to return. He publishes 'Proces rzymski' ('The Roman trial.') - The material cost of his case.

Between 1705 and 1709 when Leszczynski was recognized as king in Greater Poland, West Prussia, Mazovia and Little Poland, the Protestants recovered or gained a small totality of ground. During the Swedish invasion they built some churches and schools on private estates but the number of these could not have been large. Protestant services too were held, both private and public, with sermons preached and hymns sung. Between 1707 and 1713 the grand treasurer of Poland, J.J. Przebendowski, himself a convert from Lutheranism, settled some Lutherans on his land, allowing them freedom of worship. After the Swedish troops had occupied Poznan in 1703 the Lutherans, having been removed from their town church early in the previous century, took steps to restore Evangelical divine service in the city. Three buildings, including the former municipal bathhouse, were turned into houses of prayer.

The populace saw the Protestants as the accomplices of parasitic foreign troops, Swedish and Saxon by turns. As early as 1703 the old rancour of former days had begun to revive, the Protestants were being called German and Swedish (sic) dogs who had brought the Swedes into the country and were rejoicing at their arrival. In 1710 in Poznan the chapel in the old bathhouse fell prey to the zeal of the pious mob (zelus piorum). A crowd acting in the spirit of the decision newly made by the city council to close the chapel wrecked and pillaged the interior of the building. Upon the entry into the town of Saxon troops in 1713 it was reopened only to be wrecked again in 1716 by a detachment of soldiers fighting on the side of the confederates of Tarnogród under the command of Colonel Ch.J. Gniazdowski. Some Protestant officers saved the contents of the chapel from being burned in front of the municipal pillory.

The very appearance of a Protestant recovery, however modest, gave some Roman Catholic bishops cause for concern. As if to put things to rights, the bishop of Poznan, B.M. Tar∏o, withheld permission to rebuild three Protestant churches destroyed by fire during the Russian raids on the towns of Leszno and Rawicz in 1707. The ban was lifted in 1715 on payment of fines. In 1718, Tar∏o's successor, K.A. Szembek, in writing to his cousin, the grand chancellor of Poland, condemned colonization by 'peregrine men of peregrine religion' as a danger to state and Church, adding in amplification: 'If I were to settle a few Muscovite cohorts on my land, the whole of Greater Poland, and the dissentient gentlemen in particular, would growl at me.'

The term 'dissenters' (dysydenci) originally, in its broadest interpretation, described all Christians (other than Arians or Socinians and Anabaptists), divergent in their confessions: Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists and also Greek Orthodox; later, in the second half of the seventeenth century, the Protestants alone, but without any reference to nationality (although the Greeks were always also known as Rus'). In the early eighteenth century the term acquires a negative connotation: the Protestants, or most of them, are non-Poles. The title of a compendium (472 pp.) published in Warsaw in 1708 by a Dominican, Piotr Drogoszewski, reads in English translation: 'The shield of the Christian Faith, armed with which a Pole may easily blunt the weapons of Lutherans, likewise of Calvinists' (Tarcza wiary Chrystusowej, którà uzbrojony Polak, ∏atwo mo˝e przyt´piç or´˝a Lutrów, osobliwie Kalwinów.)

In everyday life the Protestants were under attack: 'Vexa Calvinum, dabit tibi vinum, vexa Lutherum, dabit tibi thalerum' ran the saying. Early in 1710 the General Council of the confederacy of Sendomir formally renounced the 1705 treaty of alliance with Sweden, including its provisions in favour of the dissenters. The Council specifically invalidated all recent measures contrary to the Holy Roman Catholic faith and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, especially those which had allowed the building of chapels and schools and the avoidance of charges of Arianism (the principal heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus Christ) in the tribunals of Poland. It also ruled out of order various declarations in this connection, including the manifest registered in the previous year at Wa∏cz. This was a protest, probably initiated by a member of a prominent Lutheran family, Zygmunt Unrug (or von Unruh), against the summoning of dissenters before the tribunal on trumped-up charges ex regestro Arianismi.

The Council's resolutions met most of the desiderata voiced on behalf of Clement XI by his nuncio, Niccolò Spinola, titular archbishop of Thebes, in particular the elimination of Luther's heresy and its defective practices. The nuncio himself was displeased at the presence at Court of so many Lutherans privy to the political secrets of the government.

The demand for the Polonization of the army, first voiced on this occasion, was to be repeated at the Sejm of 1720. The officers should be Catholics and Polish nationals (nacjonaliÊci), as well as being landed, with a stake in the country. Too many, having taken their money, escape abroad or, in a war, when they have to fight against dissenters (Protestants), their heart is not in it. Drill and exercises should be conducted in Polish.

The 15 or so Lutheran and Reformed members of the Council, Unrug among them, silently accepted the will of the majority. They did, however, confer in private to consider matters of common interest, including joint representation in the future peace negotiations. On this point they held consultations with the Dutch and British envoys, Johan Haersolte, heer van Kranenburg and Lord Stair. Stair had been sent to Warsaw with a plan to quieten the troublesome northern rivals, Charles XII and Peter I. There was no reference in his instructions to the Protestants in the Republic but he evidently took an interest in their condition, for at the end of March 1710 Henry Boyle, the secretary of state, informed Stair that Her Majesty approved of his protecting the Protestants in Poland and would have him assist and support them in their privileges etc. A direct call for help on behalf of the Protestants of Lithuania, addressed to Queen Anne in person and to the archbishops and bishops of England, came from Bonawentura (Dobrogost) Kurnatowski, a Calvinist royal chamberlain. The queen was much exercised by the discomfiture of Charles XII and the prospect of the Electoral Prince of Saxony, Frederick Augustus, being 'perverted' to 'the Roman superstition'. Her successor, George I, inherited this anxiety.

The dissenters were now being blamed not only for the country's recent misfortunes but also for those suffered in the more distant past. One medium for such propaganda was apparently the Poznan calendar (Kalendarz Poznański) for 1711. The anonymous author of List szlachcica polskiego do konfidenta (A letter from a Polish gentleman to a confident), possibly Unrug, questions the assertions made in the calendar that Poland had always flourished under a single Catholic faith and that 'since the arrival of the dissenters', on account of their religion, various afflictions have been ruining the fatherland, bringing it almost to perdition.

To make scapegoats of the dissenters, as a number of polemicists were to do over the next few years, had the added advantage of justifying persecution. The prejudice and xenophobia of the early years of the century were now turning to hatred even before the fresh influx of Saxon troops which began as early as 1711. In 1713 a court (probably that of the grand marshal of Poland) condemned to death a captain of dragoons, Kehler by name, a Prussian in the Polish service. To the taunt that Luther had not brought back to life a single dead dog, Kehler had been rash enough to retort: 'Nor has the Pope'. Kehler's tongue was to be torn out and his body quartered but, having abjured the Evangelical, in favour of the Roman Catholic religion, he was only beheaded, forty hours after being charged. The request made later for his rehabilitation was probably granted. Some eight years earlier Zygmunt Unrug's father-in-law, Chryzostom Gorzeński, had been accused by an informer of insulting the dominant religion and summoned before the tribunal sitting in Piotrków. Thanks to the intervention of the Primate, Cardinal Radziejowski, he escaped with fines and an abjuration.

Unrug himself, a former adherent of Leszczynski, was now in the bad books of the ultra-Catholics. The cause célèbre which bears his name is more than the stuff of anecdote, for it encompasses many of the controversial issues connected with the condition of the Protestant dissenters in the Republic: their rights and liberties, the trials by the tribunals on charges ex regestro Arianismi, the competing claims of the tribunals and the bishops relating to matters concerning faith and worship, as well as the divergent attitudes towards the dissenters among the Catholic clergy.

Unrug was educated at the gymnasium at Leszno when Jabłoński was its rector, and later at the university of Frankfurt-on-Oder. A budding courtier and diplomat, he was employed in confidential missions by Stanislas Leszczynski but later entered the service of Augustus II, each one of whom appointed Unrug chamberlain. The purpose of his visit to Berlin in 1708 was to request Frederick I's mediation between Stanislas and the confederates of Sendomir.

Having, at a time when the clouds of obscurantism were slowly dispersing, imbibed the ideas of what later became known as the Frühaufklärung, he acquired a taste for wide reading and the habit of critical thinking. Passages of particular interest, some of them scabrous, he entered in a commonplace book. Early in 1715 the book was stolen from him in suspicious circumstances and ended up in the hands of one Andrzej Potocki, a judicial officer of middle rank in Gniezno. Adducing the manuscript, Potocki denounced Unrug as a blasphemer. His motives were entirely mercenary; he offered to give the book back to its owner in return for a sum of money but Unrug refused to be blackmailed. Since the authorities of the dominant Church did not readily approve of such action, Unrug's powerful Roman Catholic friends were able to turn for help to the bishop of Poznan, B.M. Tar∏o, on the grounds of confusion of jurisdiction, secular with ecclesiastical. The bishop, who was no friend of the Protestants, nevertheless pointed out that books which contained something contrary to the Roman Catholic faith must in the first instance be examined and judged by the appropriate Ordinary. The matter was referred to the consistory court which ordered Potocki to hand over the manuscript. Potocki refused and, for his recalcitrance, was anathematized. Both parties, Unrug and Potocki, lodged protests with the gród (castrum, castle, the place in which the starosta or sheriff administered justice) in Poznan. Unrug claimed the right to the free exercise of the Evangelical religion in the Kingdom of Poland as part of the prerogatives and liberties of the dissentients in the Christian religion (dissidentes in religione Christiana). Peace among the dissentients, he argued, must not be broken on account of differences in religion and recourse should not be had to any court of law on that score (including, no doubt a consistory court, the appropriate forum being the Sejm). None of this deterred Potocki. He did not hand over the book and was able to disregard the execration because the Jesuit Fathers did not refuse him the Sacraments.

The concept of an inclusive society was not and never had been held by the Polish Protestants alone for their own benefit. In connection with the action brought against Unrug's father-in-law, Gorzeński, Cardinal Radziejowski, in a letter to him, had expressed surprisingly similar views: with regard to blasphemy in general, where the offending statement derives from the dogma of the dissenters' faith it cannot be imputed to them as blasphemy. Otherwise all dissenters would have to be convicted of blasphemy and driven out of the kingdom and those laws would have to be abrogated by means of which the Republic, avoiding dangerous conflicts, ensured peace and the free exercise of religion among dissentients and which entitled them to the freedom of belief in accordance with Dogma.

The bishop of Poznan died in September 1715. The efforts made by the former suffragan, now administrator of the diocese, Fr Piotr Tar∏o, to have Unrug's case examined by a consistory court proved fruitless. In November 1715, at Piotrków, the tribunal, composed of eight lay and seven clerical deputies, presided over by a lay marshal assisted by a clerical president, all elected annually, tried Unrug in absentia ex regestro Arianismi and found him guilty of having insulted the Majesty of God (laesio Divinae Majestatis) and committed blasphemy. The hand which had written the blasphemies was to be burned, the blasphemer's tongue was to be torn out through the nape of his neck in public to the sound of trumpets. He was declared an outlaw and his property, movable and immovable was to be confiscated and evenly divided between the public treasury and the denouncer, Potocki.

The conviction rested principally on the charge that Unrug had transcribed from an article in L'Esprit des cours de l'Europe, a journal published at the Hague and often satirical in tone, the following rhetorical question: 'La Vérité salutaire n'est elle donc descendue du Ciel, que pour être aux habitants de notre Globe une occasion perpétuelle d'erreur, de guerre, de haine et de division?'. The preceding sentence asks a leading question: 'pourquoi faut il que le Culte , au lieu d'enchaîner la passion, l'opinion, la superstition, l'orgueil, l'hypocrisie, en soit la source, à la vérité la plus innocente, mais aussi la plus ordinaire et la plus féconde? ' (Has therefore salutary truth descended from Heaven only to be for the inhabitants of our Globe a perpetual cause of error, war, hatred and division? ... why must it be that Religion, instead of restraining passion, prejudice, superstition, pride and hypocrisy, should be the source thereof, the most innocent in truth but also the most common and the most fertile?)

The defence pleaded that Unrug had made the excerpts not out of hatred of the Roman Catholic faith or with the intent of publishing a book but from sheer curiosity. If the mere transcription of someone else's words was bad enough for the tribunal, the subject of the article, unknown to the judges, was even worse, being a critique of the so-called Ryswick clause, the clause in article four of the treaty of that name (1697) in favour of the Catholic communities which had been reestablished by Louis XIV after the peace of Nymegen (1679).

Unrug went into hiding and later into exile, leaving behind his wife and four children. Augustus II made over that part of Unrug's property which had been adjudged to the public treasury to his brother, Bogus∏aw. The gesture did not cost the king anything in material terms but could only diminish his credit with the ultra-Catholics.

In December 1715 the French envoy to the Court of Berlin, C.A. de Rottembourg, on the occasion of his visit to Augustus II at Gubin (Guben) in Lusatia, had shown an interest in the plight of Unrug. It was apparently he who, on Unrug's behalf, asked the doctors of the Sorbonne to review the judgment of the tribunal of Piotrków against Unrug. It was an early instance of an appeal by an aggrieved party to a neutral authority in a distant part of Europe. The doctors, renowned for their integrity and experience in interpreting Doctrine, examined the case without knowing the names of the parties. They found in July 1717, that the incriminatory passage was not blasphemous in itself or in intent and even if it were such, the intention of the person who had copied it was not evidently culpable. The judgment against the complainant was a patent violation of all divine and human law.

Between 1717 and 1718 Unrug and his friends took steps to obtain a retrial on the grounds of new evidence in the form of the passage from which Unrug had copied the offending sentence but the tribunal ruled that the document did not invalidate the original decision.

The account given by Unrug himself of the earlier proceedings in the anonymous Casus inauditus Unrugianus, sub nomini Titii, in illustrissima ac per totum terrarum orbem celeberrima Sorbonna Parisiensi decisus, 1718, n.p. (The extraordinary Unrug case decided under the name of Titius ... by the Sorbonne) is a vigorous plea by its author in defence and justification of himself and his co-religionists. Unrug's likewise anonymous Relacja dyskretna ˝a∏osnej i nieszcz´Êliwej sprawy JegomoÊci Pana Zygmunta Unruga... (A discreet account of the pitiful and unfortunate case of His Honour Mr Zygmunt Unrug...), was also written by Unrug himself and published in 1718. Since it makes no reference to the measures against the dissenters approved by the Sejm of 1717, it was probably indited before January of that year. After quoting the axiom that Persecutiones in fratres, ratione religionis tandem, deveniant funestae (The persecution of brethren on grounds of religion in the end becomes fatal), Unrug argues in rebuttal of the blame heaped on the dissenters for the Republic's unceasing misfortunes that the Republic was in the ascendant so long as piety, justice and rectitude prevailed. Each man's rights and privileges were preserved regardless of religion, leaving him in peace to enjoy his honestly acquired fortune. So long as this was so, Poland was truly Poland.

The first polemicist to use the Casus Unrugianus in conjunction with the measures of 1717 in evidence against the oppressors of the dissenters was the Rev. Krzysztof (Christoph) Arnold, the newly appointed Senior of the Lutheran community in Greater Poland, formely preacher at Kargowa (Karge, later Unruhstad), an urban property of the Unrugs. In 1717 he published anonymously at 'Frey-stadt' (perhaps Danzig or, more likely, Königsberg), a pamphlet entitled Send-Schreiben von dem Zustande und Drangsalen derer Dissidenten oder Protestanten in Pohlen und Litthauen, etc., an einen Guten Freund... (A Letter on the Condition and Hardships of the Dissenters or Protestants in Poland and Lithuania, etc). 'Wherein', the title continues, 'in particular an account is given of the sad predicament and oppression of Mr Siegmund von Unruh, etc. And also of the dangerous article concerning religion which was enacted at the recent peace treaty in Poland and the letter patent thereupon graciously granted by His Royal Majesty in Poland.' The letter was obviously intended to be read by potentially sympathetic German-speaking Protestants. The petition under the title Libellus supplex, prepared by Jabłoński for submission to the King and Republic at the forthcoming Sejm, likewise cites the Unrug case and calls for the quashing of the sentence against him. It strongly objects to sentences imposed on Protestants for alleged blasphemy. By describing the dissenters in the Christian religion as heretics, the tribunals expose them to the hatred of their fellow countrymen. The petitioners implore the king, the Estates of the Republic and their fellow citizens to give them back the liberty of conscience in life and death. Their requests, stated in detail, if granted would have abrogated the restrictions imposed on the Protestants in 1717. The concluding paragraph of the tract points out that the wrong done to a part brings about the ruin of the whole and that calamities in general are caused by human sin (rather than a section of society).

In 1718, according to Charles Whitworth's report from Berlin to Lord Stanhope, Unrug and some other dissenters drew up articles in favour of the Protestants for insertion in a future peace treaty between Sweden and Poland by the agency of Prussia. One of the articles ruled that all decrees against Unrug be rescinded and quashed. An extended and updated version of these articles drawn up about 1725 comprised a recommendation to the same effect, making reference to Radziejowski's letter to Gorzeński and to the ruling of the Doctors of the Sorbonne.

For its part the consistory court in Poznan could not easily overlook the usurpation of its jurisdiction by the tribunal or, until Potocki's death in 1718, the contempt of the anathema uttered against him. Unrug had already received from a Roman prelate messages of sympathy and consolation. At the beginning of the pontificate of Innocent XIII (1721-1724), some of Unrug's friends among the higher Roman clergy suggested a formal appeal to the Pope. In October 1721 an application was made to the Curia, with reference to the opinion of the Doctors of the Sorbonne who had censured the tribunal for incuria, negligentia ac iactura dignitatis episcoporum Regni Poloniae . In 1722 the bishop of Poznan, Piotr IV Tar∏o, appointed a plenipotentiary in Rome. Thanks to his solicitations the Curia ordered the nuncio in Warsaw, Vincenzo Santini, to supply the relevant information. Thus, by a strange coincidence, Santini found himself obliged to deal with complaints emanating from both non-Catholic communities in the Republic. In October 1723 the plenipotentiary informed Unrug that the Consistory had declared the decision of the tribunal to be null and void and therefore constituting no obstacle to the whole case being brought back to its original state. In December the nuncio referred Unrug to the bishop of Poznan (by then K.A. Szembek) whom the Pope had commanded to act in the matter. But the Holy Office refused to let Unrug have a copy of the decree because this was contrary to regular practice, a letter from the Secretary of State to the nuncio was enough. It was for the nuncio to ask the king to use his authority to obtain the execution of the Roman decree. But the king had no authority in the matter.

The tribunal, as constituted in 1723, ignored Unrug's plea for his rehabilitation. Rome was piqued by this disregard shown to its jurisdiction, the szlachta were offended by the nuncio's interference also in other ecclesiastical matters regarded as domestic, such as the filling of vacancies and the holding of benefices in commendam. It was something akin to foreign intervention. Death threats were uttered against anyone who dare as much as mention the sentence against Unrug, the Pope was labelled a Calvinist.

Santini's attempt, at the end of 1724, to save the lives of some of the Protestants accused of instigating the tumult of Thorn made him even more unpopular. Neither he nor the king could do anything to help Unrug. He expressed his bitter disappointment in a pamphlet entitled Rzym sprawiedliwy w sprawie Unrugowskiej do uwagi ludzkiej krótko podany (Rome the just in the Unrug case briefly brought to public attention), published in 1726. Without entering into any analysis or enquiring into the causes, the author would only point out that for the sake of destroying a dissenter it was proper to do anything and everything to turn good into evil and evil into good.

But all was not lost. The arbitrariness and venality of the tribunals had become so blatant that the szlachta demanded their reform which was carried out by the Sejm of 1726. That Sejm also agreed, at the request of the deputies from Greater Poland, to consider quashing the decree against Unrug. But the chamber only went as far as to end his exile by securing his life and residence in the kingdom. The most charitable explanation of this omission was the difficulty of disentangling the conflicting rights of the original and the current owners of the Unrug estates. Unrug commented on this decision in yet another pamphlet, Proces rzymski (The Roman trial) published in 1726 and again in 1729. Here he strikes a more personal note and makes no reference to religious controversy. He puts the financial loss and damage suffered and the expenses incurred since 1715 at about 107,505 rix-dollars. Since the matter could not be further considered because the Sejms of 1729 and 1730 failed, Unrug had to be content with buying back his hereditary estate in the name of his sons for about 41,500 rix-dollars. A victim of greed, prejudice and lawlessness rather than of deliberate persecution, he died in 1732.

The matter did not end there because the heirs of Potocki, in order to regain possession of the Unrug estates, obtained from the tribunal at Piotrków the invalidation of all transactions between Unrug's sons and the previous owners of the estates. The Unrugs appealed against that decision and in 1741 the tribunal dismissed the claims of the heirs of Potocki as groundless, ruled out any further litigation and bound both parties to perpetual silence.

VI – Mere Tolerance

The bishops recover lost ground. - The Protestants turn for protection to Frederick William I. 'Schutzpolitik' becomes a part of Prussian policy. Its moving spirit is D.E. Jabłoński. His 'Iura et libertates...' (1708). - Representations in Warsaw by the Prussian, Dutch and British envoys. - 'Gravamina dissidentium' (1712). - The reconquests of Bishop Stefan Rupniewski. - Should Prussia intervene? - The Saxon troops in combat with the confederates of Tarnogród attack churches (1715). - Thebishops fear for the well-being of the Church. - Debates over an article concerning the dissenters to be included in the treaty of reconciliation between the king and the confederates. - The resultant article four of the Act of 1717. Article two also partly relevant. - Augustus II promulgates a diploma intended to mitigate theeffect of the two articles. Mere tolerance replaces rights and privileges. - The articles come close to the realization of the ideals of Fr Piotr Skarga, S.J. - The Evangelicals of the Grand Duchy send Bogus∏aw Kopijewicz to the West in search of support. His petition to the Lord High Almoner. - The convention of 1599 between the Orthodox and the Protestants of Lithuania. - It is invoked in 1710 by Frederick I's ministers. The Russians fail to respond. - The possible effect of article four on the position of the Orthodox recognized by the Russians in 1718. - The militant bishops take up arms against the dissenters. - The Sejm of 1718 expels the only Protestant deputy, Piotrowski. - The 'Ius plenum Religionis Catholicae...', Vilno: 1719 justifies this action. - Article four applied rigourously in the diocese of Poznan. - The picture not uniformly sombre. Reasons for the unpopularity of the Protestant communities and of the Jews. - Demands for the removal of all foreigners and dissenters from public offices and from the army (1720). - The leaders of the Protestants hold a synod at Danzig (1718). Jerzy Rekuç, representing Samogitia, opposes joint action with the Orthodox and questions the validity of the compact of 1599. - The Protestant synod of 1719 resolves to seek help abroad. - Augustus II rejects the pleas from Frederick William I and George I for better treatment of the Protestants. - James Scott, the British diplomat, returns to Poland in 1720 to find the Protestants worse off than before. He meets Tsar Peter's commissioner, Rudakowski, and notes 'the reunion' of 'some poor people of the Greek religion'. His memorandum on behalf of the Protestants uses the phraseology of the Age of Reason. - The Catholics of Thorn complain of ill-treatment by the Protestants.

While the tribunals at Piotrków and Lublin bore hard on 'the heretics' the more zealous among the bishops devoted themselves to recovering with a vengeance such ground as they had lost to the Protestants during the period of Swedish preponderance in Poland. It was reported in October 1711 that A. K. Załuski, grand chancellor of Poland and bishop of Warmia (Ermeland) and the bishop of Poznan, B. M. Tarło, had carried out a visitation of the latter's diocese. Many Lutherans, said the report, having merely listened to Tar∏o's sermon, recanted, some Lutheran parishes, though protected by privilege, were now content to obey the bishop's command to pay the local Roman Catholic priest a tax on Protestant baptisms, marriages and funerals.

The Protestants again as a matter of course turned to Prussia for help which was willingly given. The accession to the throne in 1713 of Frederick William I brought about an intensification of the Schutzpolitik which in his hands became an integral part of Prussian foreign policy. By means of formal representations made through diplomatic channels or letters addressed direct to Augustus II, Frederick William pressed relentlessly for the redress of wrongs suffered by the Evangelicals just as Peter I had done and would do again on behalf of the Orthodox.

For advice on matters relating to the Protestants in Poland-Lithuania, Frederick William relied principally on his former tutor in religione et pietate, Jabłoński, who had risen to a position of authority and influence far above that of his offices of Senior and Court preacher. An Honorary Doctor of Divinity of the University of Oxford since 1706, co-founder (with Leibniz) of the Prussian Academy of Sciences, he was held in high esteem in the world of Protestant learning and ecclesiastical politics. The Court of Prussia occasionally used him as an instrument of diplomatic intrigue. As well as being learned he was well informed about the political scene in Poland, largely thanks to one of his many correspondents, the postmaster general in Warsaw, Holtzbrinck by name. This moving spirit of the Schutzpolitik was also the chief propagandist and activist on behalf of the Protestant dissenters outside the Republic. In 1709 Jabłoński came to England, ostensibly to organize a collection of money for his Church (which he did) but principally to request from the government measures to prevent possible reprisals against Protestants in the Empire after the defeat of Charles XII at Poltava.

Jabłoński's Iura et libertates dissidentium in Religione Christiana in Regno Poloniae et Magno Ducatu Lithuaniae... was published anonymously in 1708 but had been written soon after the conclusion of the treaty of Altranstadt in September 1706 had aroused hopes of imminent negotiations to end the northern war. The earlier policy of the Prussian government may have encouraged the Protestant leaders in Poland-Lithuania to believe that their grievances and claims would be considered at the conference table and would therefore need to be appropriately documented. Jabłoński's compendium, the first one of its kind, was printed for this purpose at the royal press in Berlin at the king's expense; it covers the period from 1517 to 1701. The dissenters of Poland, Jabłoński declares in the last sentence of his survey, have their rights but these need to be asserted and defended. He submits their cause to the judgment of the supreme legislators and judges: God, the king and the Republic. But events took an unexpected turn, within a year of the publication of the Iura the king was no longer Stanislas Leszczynski but, once more, Augustus II and the war continued. Nevertheless the compendium still served a useful purpose; as supporting evidence it accompanied nearly all the petitions from the dissenters. Further pleas by Jabłoński, printed and manuscript, in defence of the Protestants were to follow. A new and augmented edition of the Iura appeared in 1718, in all probability in Berlin; a Polish version entitled Supplement praw i wolnoÊci dysydentów w nabo˝eństwie chrzeÊcijańskim was printed in the same year and again in 1720 by the press of the Reformed Churches of Lithuania.

Early in 1713 the Prussian envoy in Warsaw, G.F. von Löllhöfel reported that the Protestants had complained to him of having suffered ill-treatment at the instigation of the Roman clergy in the dioceses of Poznan, Cracow and Lutsk. He was thereupon instructed to make the appropriate representations to the authorities in Warsaw in cooperation with his British and Dutch counterparts.

James Scott, the British envoy extraordinary, reported on 26 July (O.S.?) that he had conferred with Löllhöfel and Kranenburg. He had no orders to act but was assured of Her Majesty's intentions and did not fear being disavowed. The envoys had waited on Augustus II. The king said that he did not know that the Protestants had reasons to complain of ill usage and was ready to protect them, indeed was obliged to do so under his coronation oath. He would have the facts and grievances looked into, meanwhile he assured the envoys that he did not approve 'les sentiments de persécution ' against anyone. On 29 September the king replied to the memorials which the envoys had evidently submitted; one of these replies is addressed to the Danish chargé d'affaires T. W. von Jessen, not mentioned in Scott's report. The king repeated his earlier assurances and took this opportunity to request the alleviation of the burden of disabilities weighing on the Catholics in Great Britain. Soon afterwards the king left for Saxony; the last meeting of the envoys was held at the end of the year. This concerted intercession by more than one Protestant power, the first one of its kind, set a precedent for several such future démarches.

Scott's memorial of 1713 is not extant; the document headed 'Gravamina dissidentium' enclosed with his despatch of 12 May 1712 (O.S.?) lists the by now familiar grievances of the Protestants: noblemen are not allowed to build chapels or schools on their own land, chapels have been torn down, most recently at Szczepanowice (near Tarnów), Parczyce, Chmielnik and Malice (also in Little Poland), by order of the tribunals which have been exceeding their authority. (Scott's list is not up to date, it does not mention Leszno or Rawicz, already referred to, or the Reformed chapel at Węgrów, east of Warsaw which also served the Lutheran inhabitants of the capital.) The infamous regestrum Arianismi is now applied more frequently by the tribunals because this practice is deemed to have been legitimized by the Council of 1710; the exercise of the right of appointment of a minister to a parish has recently been denied to a Protestant landowner.

The 'Gravamina pleibeiorum ', in particular of traders and aliens, many of them English or Scottish, would have been of special interest to Scott. These people had previously enjoyed civic rights and liberty of conscience but were now being kept out of municipal affairs and harrassed by the Roman clergy – compelled to take part in processions on the feast of Corpus Christi, converted against their will when gravely ill or dying. If allowed to die quietly they could not be buried quietly unless money was paid to the parish priest and turbulent students were placated with gifts. If the bodies of the dead were not redeemed in this way they could be dragged through the streets or cast into the cesspit.

The king's humane sentiments did not bring about any substantial improvement in the plight of the Protestants. In 1715 Stefan Rupniewski, at that time bishop of Kamenets-Podolsk and suffragan bishop of Lvov, obtained an order from the tribunal at Lublin for the return to the obedience of Rome of the Protestant church on private land in Radzieńczyn (in the vicinity of Biłgoraj, in Little Poland). On the strength of the order Rupniewski incorporated the church, the cemetery, the parsonage and the hospital in his diocese. This flagrant abuse of juridical and ecclesiastical authority brought forth a protest from Löllhöfel and set off a chain reaction of intercession, resistance to foreign interference, threats of reprisals against Roman Catholics in East Prussia and Pomerania, the counter-threat of the same in Poland against the Protestants, as well as a flurry of diplomatic activity involving not only Frederick William I, Jabłoński and Augustus II but also George I, the Roman Curia, the Papal nuncio in Warsaw, Girolamo Grimaldi, titular archbishop of Edessa (not Santini, at that time internuncio in Brussels), all to no avail. Augustus II declared at the end of the year that he could not alter the decision of the tribunal and that the King of Prussia's threats of reprisals were unlawful. Nevertheless in the end some of the Prussian acts of intercession did produce positive results. Rebuilding at Leszno and Rawicz was allowed to proceed and the Reformed chapel at W´grów was eventually saved, though not the one at Szczepanowice.

Frederick William I, having more than once toyed with the idea of reprisals against Roman Catholics, in the end decided to stop at mere threats because, as he put it, having undertaken to preserve the practice of all the religions tolerated in his dominions, he could not in conscience follow the Catholic example of persecuting fellow believers dissentient in respect of certain articles of faith. Jabłoński likewise advocated the use only of threats of reprisals but upheld the principle of intervention on theological and legal grounds, citing the communion of saints and Grotius: 'If a tyrant practises atrocities towards his subjects which no just man can approve, the right of human social connection is cut off in such a case.' The appropriate time for intervention, however, was not while the war lasts but when peace negotiations begin. The king could then act in defence of Evangelicals for their own benefit and in his own interest, for he would thereby strengthen his position in the Empire. If he obtained the right to guarantee the peace he would be in a position to protect the dissenters. It would be necessary to reopen their access to the higher dignities, viz. seats in the senate; this would give the king a political party in the Republic.

At the end of 1715 the ultra-Catholics would no longer speak of religious rights but only of permissive (or limited) toleration. By that time fighting had broken out between the confederates of Tarnogród and the king's Saxon troops. The insurgents had taken up arms as much in defence of the holy faith as against the violation of public and private security and the arbitrary and unauthorized extortion of contributions; they deemed it their duty to restore the dignity of the desecrated temples of the Lord and vowed not to rest until the means had been found not only to evacuate the Saxons but also to prevent their return. Some went further and promised that after getting rid of the Saxons they would chase out the dissenters. Neither the confederates nor, it seems, the general public took the trouble to distinguish between the inoffensive native Protestants and a predatory foreign soldiery. The Saxons were accused of having attacked churches at Be∏z, Grabowiec, Krasnystaw and Mosty as well as the fortified Pauline monastery at Cz´stochowa dedicated to the Virgin, although the latter assault had been led by J.I. Lubomirski, a general in the king's service. A detachment of troops under the command of a Captain Forbes was said to have desecrated and damaged a statue of the Virgin on a private estate in the region of PrzemyÊl. Religion had been outraged and the nation insulted.

Once the hostilities had ceased, concern for the security of the Roman Catholic religion and the desire to curb heresy bound together a large number of confederates and the more militant among the bishops, Szaniawski of Cuiavia, Rupniewski of Kamenets-Podolsk, Brzostowski of Vilno, Łubieński of Cracow and K. A. Szembek of Poznan. The Primate, Stanisław Szembek, feared or professed to fear a debasement of the holy faith in consequence of the material damage done by the confederacy and the circumstances that brought it about. His cousin Jan, the grand chancellor of Poland, painted a gloomy picture of the Church: priests abandoning their parishes, monks and nuns asking permission to leave their monasteries for lack of sustenance. 'Worship ceases and puts the faith in peril; prelates, canons and clergy are held in contempt and affronted. The way to heresy lies open.' The remedy surely consisted in giving the force of law to the measures which the militant bishops, acting in the spirit of the resolutions adopted by the General Council of 1710, had already been taking against the dissenters even before the beginning of the recent troubles. The excessive influence on affairs of state allegedly wielded by dissenters in high places would have to be curtailed by means of separate provisions.

In the discussions which preceded the conclusion of the treaty of reconciliation between the king and the confederates of Tarnogród no article was more 'chewed over and twisted this way and that' than the one concerning the dissenters. But the desire to curtail their rights was common ground for Catholics from both sides: Szaniawski, a bishop acting as a royal plenipotentiary and, from among the confederates, Franciszek Poniński, starosta (holder of the benefice) of Kopanica, and Stefan Humiecki, palatine of Podolia. The dissenters had no official representatives but their case was defended by Flemming who was also a royal plenipotentiary, General F.J. Goltz, a royal nominee, and Colonel A. Ró˝ycki, deputed by the confederates. The cut and thrust of the debates held in October 1716 conveys something of their tone and level.

Humiecki: The former laws granted only the tolerance of private perils (niebezpieczeństwo, viz. religious services). Flemming: The king swore to protect the dissenters. Szaniawski: But only in respect of civil law. Flemming: Even the Turks tolerate extraneous religions. If Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion then there must be others. Szaniawski: The king is not a king of two religions (an echo, perhaps, of the French adage Une foi, un roi, une loi, a far cry from King Stephen Batory's dictum 'I am not a king of consciences but of peoples'). Flemming: You tolerate the Tatars but ill-treat the dissenters. Szaniawski: The Tatars have their own privileges. Flemming: The dissenters will leave, to the detriment of the country. Szaniawski: Many were driven out of France yet the kingdom still stands. Ró˝ycki: They suffer the Jews but want to evict us. Poniński: The Church prefers to suffer the Jews because they do no harm although there is the peril of contagion. Szaniawski: The question is how to contain the law regarding the dissenters within proper bounds. Humiecki: The law should be clear. Szaniawski: The laws are clear but have to be explained. After 1632 there were to be no further chapels [in towns under royal authority], the existent ones were merely tolerated, without privileges. Flemming: Custom makes the law. Szaniawski: This is not custom but an error. The debate continued. Flemming was a skilful dialectician but he would have scored more points if he had consulted Jabłoński's compendium Iura et libertates where he would have found evidence of repeated confirmations of the Act of 1632. But even the most persuasive advocate could not have overcome the determination of the ultra-Catholics to reduce the status of the dissenters. The marshal of the confederacy himself, Stanis∏aw Leduchowski, had expressed the view that the toleration (tolerancja) of the dissenters was more necessary to the country than innovation (inowacja) which in a Republic (where in the Sarmatian perspective, any change was necessarily for the worse), was harmful (nociva). The royal plenipotentiaries replied that the by then proposed article four did not detract from the existent rights of the dissenters but since, during the Swedish wars and the domestic disturbances, abuse of the ancient laws had crept in, their extent was in need of revision, subject to peace among the dissentients and parity of status with regard to the law and its sanctions. Yielding to persuasion by the critics of the proposed article four, Leduchowski proposed a formula intended to confirm all the laws which between 1573 and 1685 had guaranteed to the dissenters peace, security and the right to exercise their religion notwithstanding any disposition to the contrary. A fall-back alternative to the above to the effect that the dissenters were to be maintained in their rights and privileges and that any abuses thereof would be corrected by due process of law was finally adopted by common consent and signed by Leduchowski. But being a mere explication of the proposed article it remained on paper.

Article four and its complement, article two, were adopted by the one-day Sejm of 1 February 1717 and became law, ushering in a new phase in the history of the relations between the several confessions in the Republic. The principle of consensus, of agreement by the szlachta as a body to differ among themselves in point of religion was overborne by an arbitrary act which subjected the Protestant minority to the will of the majority guided by the dominant Roman Catholic Church.

Under article four all temples (fana, zbory) built before 1632 were recognized as lawful places of worship. No new temples were to be built and, on the strength of a spurious interpretation of the laws of 1632, 1648, 1668 and 1674, any that had been erected since 1632 in towns, villages and on private estates must be demolished. The dissenters, the article specifies, must not hold any religious meetings or gatherings, public or private, with sermons and singing in groups, as had been the practice during the recent Swedish war. Anyone who holds such meetings, engages or gives hospitality to sectarian teachers or preachers will be punished, first by a fine, next by imprisonment and finally by banishment, as will be those ministers. The sentence will be imposed by the grand marshals of Poland and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (responsible for the maintenance of public order in and around the king's place of residence) or by the tribunals or the starostas (sheriffs). Foreign diplomatic representatives will be allowed to hold private services at home. The subsequent paragraph one moves swiftly from the general to the particular, demanding the restitution of the parish church of St Mary the Virgin in Danzig to the Church of Rome, in accordance with numerous decisions of Polish courts of law, on pain of reprisals in Poland against citizens of Danzig. The beneficiary of the restitution would have been the diocese of Cuiavia and its bishop, Szaniawski, the originator of article four. A single disconnected sentence in article two, perhaps slipped in surreptitiously, deserves as much attention as the whole of article four. The product of a union between xenophobia and bigotry, as well as administering a snub to the king, it strikes at the root of the principle of equality among the szlachta but its prime object is to debar dissenters from preferment. The ruling forbids the grand chancellors and their deputies to seal royal warrants conferring offices or secular benefices on foreigners, on nobles of uncertain pedigree or on dissenters to the detriment and prejudice of Catholics.

The king almost immediately, on 3 February, at the request of the mayor of Leszno, Benjamin Arnold, promulgated a diploma which declared his wish that the new articles should not be understood to affect the common equality of the szlachta and its peacable condition or to detract from the liberties granted to the dissenters by the confederacies of 1573, 1632, 1668, 1674 and 1697 and his own compact with the szlachta , the pacta conventa. This attempt to mitigate the effect of articles two and four was a mere gesture: the diploma lacked the sanction of Parliament and, in consequence, legal validity. According to a list of Gravamina drawn up several years later, perhaps in 1725, by dissenters in the Christian religion, Greek Orthodox as well as Evangelical, their chief and fundamental grievance was the substitution for rights, guaranteed by privileges conferred on the dissenters by law, of mere tolerance and precarious permission which may be diminished or withdrawn arbitrarily under a pretext.

The conduct of the militant bishops, Szaniawski, Brzostowski, K.A. Szembek and especially of Rupniewski (who was engaged in combating both Orthodoxy and Protestantism) conjures up the spirit of their doctrinal and political ancestor, Fr Piotr Skarga, S.J. (1563-1612). A sworn enemy of the Protestant heresy and by the same token a champion of religious uniformity, Skarga never ceased to proclaim the principle that ecclesiastical unity, essential for the salvation of souls, also secures the imperative political unity of the state. Hence his advocacy, after the establishment in 1589 of the Patriarchate of Moscow, of the union of the Ruthenians of the Greek Church to Rome and his implacable opposition to the confederacy of Warsaw of 1573. The confederacy of Warsaw, as he saw it, was an error deserving of divine condemnation. Not only did it, by tolerating Protestant creeds (Arianism included), authorize blasphemy, but, by giving succour and protection to the blasphemer, it allowed his being honoured and accorded offices and dignities. Tolerance for Skarga was only a provisional and enforced attitude, to prescribe it by law was to protect heresy. Whether Skarga would have approved of the enforcement of, rather than genuine conversion to, the Union, may be doubted but articles two and four of the Act of 1717, by virtually abrogating the terms of the confederacy of 1573 came close to the realization of his ideals. The reprinting in 1715 of Skarga's Wzywanie do pokuty (A call to repentance), Cracow: 1610, which condemns the confederacy of 1573 as heretical and contemptuous of the law, was well timed.

The Protestants now once more looked to the pacification of the North to restore and secure their liberties. It was expected that the final peace negotiations would be held at Brunswick where representatives of neutral German powers had met at the end of 1712 under Imperial auspices to concert measures for the preservation of peace in the Empire. The Evangelicals of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, first in 1717 and again in 1720, despatched the Reformed minister of Vilno, Bogus∏aw Kopijewicz to the Protestant countries of the West to seek financial and political support. The ground for this mission was prepared by the Prussian resident in London, L.-F. Bonet. Kopijewicz submitted a petition to the Lord High Almoner of England, Richard Willis, bishop of Bristol, twice, the first time early in 1718 and again three years later. In it he explained that the congress of Brunswick at which the tsar and the King of Sweden would make peace, the King of Great Britain could do much for the Protestants in Poland and in the Grand Duchy because only the Imperial and Polish representatives would be Papists, all the others would be ministers of the Protestant princes. As for the tsar, he was a dissidens in religione, though not a Protestant but of the Greek Church. Once upon a time there had been a political union between the Old Greek or Muscovite, and the Protestant religions for mutual protection against the Romans. Kopijewicz speaks of 'the Russ religion which under the designation of Dissident suffers equal persecution'.

The convention in question was made in Vilno in 1599. Originally, in 1595, it had been intended as a religious union but this having proved impracticable, representatives of the Protestant and Orthodox szlachta formed a confederacy for the common defence of their religious rights and liberties as guaranteed by the confederacy of 1573. Information about this act was to be found in printed form in Andrzej W´gierski's Systema historico-chronologicum ecclesiarum Slavonicarum..., Amsterdam: 1652, surely known to Jabłoński before 1702 when Samuel Bythner, the superintendent of the Reformed churches in Samogitia drew his attention to the existence of the original document in the Radziwiłł archives, newly moved for safety to Königsberg. Apart from that memories may still have been alive of the attempts made in 1682, 1688 and 1698 by the leaders of the Reformed churches in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to obtain, through the Elector of Brandenburg, Muscovy's participation in a démarche of Protestant powers to be made also on behalf of the Orthodox.

Why was so much store set by the convention of 1599 so many years after its conclusion? Without the existence of such a precedent any rapprochement between the Protestant and the Orthodox under foreign auspices might have looked like a plot. The practical value of the convention was repeatedly pointed out in Polish Protestant circles between 1702 and 1714.

The grievances of the nonconformists of both confessions were essentially the same but their political strength had dwindled since the end of the sixteenth century. Neither community now had within the Republic powerful and influential patrons of the calibre of the Orthodox Konstanty Ostrogski, grand hetman of Lithuania or the Protestant Krzysztof Mikolaj Radziwiłł, palatine of Vilno; the Orthodox had no political leaders at all and no religious ones to speak of. Each community, however, had a defender across the border, the tsar and the King of Prussia respectively, the former being so entrenched and influential that without his cooperation the latter could achieve but little.

In the event the only attempt to invoke the convention of 1599 was made by Frederick I's ministers in 1710. The occasion was a call for help from the Protestants at Kieydany where the Carmelites had begun to build a monastery in breach of an agreement made in 1627 between Krzysztof Radziwiłł, at that time deputy hetman of Lithuania and the then bishop of Vilno, Eustachy Wołłowicz, about ecclesiastical construction. Kieydany was a constituent of the Radziwiłł inheritance and one to which the House of Hohenzollern had a claim. According to the advice given by Jerzy Rekuç, the Polish (language) preacher at Königsberg and custodian of the Radziwiłł archive, the erection of a monastery was a threat not only to the Protestant but also to the Orthodox community of a nature which called to mind the purpose of the convention of 1599. The Prussian envoy in Moscow, J. G. von Keyserlinck, was instructed to make representations in this sense and also, if possible, to arrange for one of the Russian officers stationed in Livonia to stand by the Protestants. The response was disappointing. If the Greek church at Kieydany was Uniate, said the Russians, it was of no interest to them and they did not know whether it was Uniate or Orthodox. They had never heard of the Vilno convention nor could they give any orders of the kind suggested. But the Russian envoy in Warsaw would be instructed to support his Prussian counterpart in lodging a protest. If such instructions were ever given to Dolgorukii they did not cover future occasions. This uncharacteristic though perhaps feigned ignorance of the existence of an Orthodox monastery and church, and the air of indifference to their fate, could be read as a rebuke for an encroachment on Russia's exclusive sphere of influence at a time when care had to be taken not to ruffle the Poles. In 1713 the envoys of the Protestant powers in Warsaw tried to enlist the cooperation of the Russian resident, Aleksei I. Dashkov, in their representations on behalf of the oppressed Protestants only to hear that he had neither instructions in the matter nor any inclination to incur more odium in Poland.

In 1716, while the negotiations between the plenipotentiaries of the king and of the confederates of Tarnogród were in progress, Peter I was out of reach, in Holland, but in Warsaw Dolgorukii was on his behalf acting as mediator between the parties. During the preliminary discussions of article four, not all of which he attended, Dolgorukii expressed misgivings about its effect on the position of the Orthodox but demurred at discussing the subject in public and allowed himself to be persuaded that 'the Greeks' were protected by the Russo-Polish treaty of 1686 whilst the status of the Protestants was a subsidiary domestic matter. After the text of the article had been agreed, representatives of the Protestants tried to parry the blow aimed at them by the zealots by demonstrating to the king as constitutional guarantor of the peace between dissentients in the Christian religion, and to the mediator, that the article as drafted was a threat also to the Orthodox and should be amended. In these efforts they were guided by Lölhöffel. It was reported that Dolgorukii was lending a sympathetic ear to his arguments but, according to Rekuç, although the Russian had pocketed a bribe of 150 gold ducats, he remined aloof. Lölhöffel and the Danish chargé d'affaires, von Jessen, put it to the king that while it was hardly likely that any article in the treaty could be harmful to the mediator's interests, some sinister intention prejudicial to the rights and liberties of all dissenters could be suspected. Later an anonymous commentator in an undated analysis of article four stretched its meaning by asserting that indirectly but clearly the Greek religion too was hereby affected. Behind the scenes the Lithuanian Protestants, seconded by diplomatic representatives of the Protestant powers (notably Prussia) tried at the last minute to 'ameliorate' article four. Flemming condemned these attempts to revise the wording of the text instead of dealing with its substance as inappropriate and apt to offend national pride while Rekuç declared that Flemming had lost his grip and did not (or pretended not to) understand what was happening.

The Court of Berlin, having failed, as was to be expected, to oblige the Poles to relent, now saw a chance of reopening the question of the status of the dissenters at the future peace congress. Jabłoński was therefore commissioned to write a memorandum in which the tsar's cooperation would be requested on the grounds of historical precedent in the shape of the 'union' of 1599 (which, incidentally, was not between governments) and of a common interest. The document was to be delivered to the tsar while he was passing through Berlin in September 1717. Nothing is known of its reception.

The potential threat from the treaty to the Orthodox community in Poland-Lithuania was eventually recognized in St Petersburg. When, in October 1718, the vice-chancellor, Shafirov, told the Polish emissary, Poniński, that the tsar's government disliked article four, he did so with good reason. We have seen that the bishop principally responsible for the renewed and intensified persecution of the Orthodox, Rupniewski, if he was not acting in virtue of article four was at least emboldened by its purport. Brzostowski, the bishop of Vilno, in 1722 forbade the building of Orthodox churches, supposedly on pain of death. This ban, clearly based on an arbitrary interpretation of article four, indirectly condemns the permission, already mentioned, given by Sieniawski to the Orthodox at Maslaki in that year.

The gradual withdrawal of Russian troops from Poland-Lithuania in 1719 left the Orthodox without physical protection but it was the Protestants who asked the tsar to leave some of his men behind for their sake. By that time the militant bishops – Brzostowski, Łubieński, Szaniawski, K.A. Szembek – had already taken up arms against the dissenters as a social group and as individuals. This campaign went far beyond the limits of the law but was in harmony with its spirit.

Since the identification of Polish national virtue with the interest of the Catholic religion and the detestation of foreigners required the elimination of non-Catholics, native and foreign, from all political activity and state service, article two was soon applied to the membership of the nobiliary Republic's elective bodies – the Sejm, the sejmiki (dietines, provincial assemblies) and the tribunals. In 1717 the tribunal of Lithuania excluded four of its members on account of their religion in accordance with the recommendation made by Brzostowski and with his circular to the szlachta in his diocese. Before the Sejm of 1718 (held in Grodno), in a message to the participants in the sejmiki, the bishop, after praising the members of the tribunal for their action, called on the voters to remove all Protestants from public office and not to elect any to the Sejm. In the judgment of Kopijewicz, the delegate sent to Great Britain by the Reformed churches of Lithuania, this exclusion was 'the root of the evil' because, once excluded, the Protestants were no longer able to defend their churches. The parliamentary deputies, duly chosen, received instructions from their constituents couched in similar terms amd were reminded that in the lands of the dissenters or where they were in a majority, no one of the Catholic faith was admitted to any office, high or low.

Brzostowski dispatched to the Sejm two able propagandists, Frs Aleksander ˚ebrowski and J.K. Ancuta, both canons of Vilno. The sermon preached by the former and an interruption from among the strangers by the latter brought down the fury of the zealots on the head of the one Protestant deputy: at the very beginning of the session, after a heated debate, Andrzej Piotrowski, miecznik (sword-bearer) of Wieluń in Greater Poland was expelled from the House solely by reason of his religion.

A treatise entitled Jus plenum Religionis Catholicae, published in 1719, sought to justify Ancuta's action by demonstrating that, contrary to the arguments advanced by Jabłoński in his Libellus supplex which had been submitted to the Diet and in the new and augmented edition of the Iura et libertates (both published in 1718), the dissenters had no active or passive political rights. Although Ancuta is named as the author of the treatise, there are reasons to believe it was the work of Stanisław Sokulski, S.J.

As to article four, it was applied with the utmost rigour by K.A. Szembek, from 1720 bishop of Cuiavia. In 1723, in a letter to his fellow bishops, he enunciated the principle that any invocation by the Protestants of article four which allowed the safety of chapels built before 1623 was groundless because, in his view, the law of that year applied to such buildings only in the royal towns. By implication therefore, chapels built on private land had no legal status. This sophism contradicted established practice but chimed in with the intention of the originator of article four, Szaniawski, expressed by him in the discussions which preceded its adoption. Acting on this principle Szembek in his then diocese of Poznan between 1717 and 1719 destroyed 16 chapels, closed down 10, took over five and closed down four schools. Some of the communities thus affected later recovered their places of worship through prolonged litigation, the payment of fines and the interposition of highly placed patrons. Szembek himself, after some nudging by Frederick William I, was translated to the see of Cuiavia which conveniently fell vacant in 1720.

The picture, however, was not uniformly sombre. The paradisus haereticorum of the sixteenth century was lost forever but, despite systematic hounding by the militants, no dissenters were driven out of the country, none emigrated and some even arrived in Greater Poland from the Empire to be settled by Catholic and Protestant landowners alike, chiefly in villages depopulated by the war. The reasons for this migration, however, were not wholly flattering: the plight of the Protestants in Franconia, Swabia and the Palatinate was even worse. K.A. Szembek and his namesake, Stanis∏aw, the Primate, strongly disapproved of these colonies.

The Protestant communities were unpopular not only by reason of their religion but also on account of their lucrative economic activities. Their presence in the towns was said to be undesirable because they 'spoilt' the credit available to the Catholics. In Poznan about 1720 there were 120 Catholic and 88 dissenter households but the wealth of the latter was reckoned to be 100 times greater than that of the former. The Jews made up a separate category of undesirables. In a circular letter addressed to the sejmiki which preceded the Sejm of 1718 the Primate called for a total removal of the Jews, 'that heap of rubbish', productive of more harm than good and prejudicial to the laws and customs of the Church. He further proposed that the mining of silver be resumed and improved, foreigners might be engaged for the purpose, but all should be genuine Catholics: 'Let there not be a single Jew among them or God help us.' But the Jews did not fare badly. Two years later the Prussian envoy in Warsaw, K.Chr. von Schwerin, observed testily in a memorandum that the Evangelicals were not being allowed any churches at all whereas the Jews were building one synagogue after another.

By 1720 the scope of article two had come to be regarded by some extremists as inadequate; a parliamentary deputy declared that in a Catholic kingdom the interest of religion deserved the first consideration, the old laws should be revised so that those who are imbued with heretical dogma are excluded not only from all offices under the Crown but also from all public functions. A bill was mooted to that effect. In relation to the army the repeated demands for the removal from its officer corps of non-Catholics and foreigners were so unrealistic as to move Szaniawski, of all people, to declare in 1720 that foreigners and dissenters could not be excluded entirely and that they never had been excluded since regiments on the foreign model (infantry and dragoons) were introduced. There were not enough Poles to be found for these posts but there was a sufficiency of suitable dissenters in Courland, (West) Prussia and (Polish) Livonia.

Dismayed by the reverse recently suffered by the Protestants, their leaders held a synod at Danzig in September 1718 which adopted the requisite countermeasures, including the printing in Polish, German and Latin of Jabłoński's Libellus supplex to be presented at the forthcoming Diet, and the revival of the compact made with the Orthodox in 1599 since they too were labelled as dissenters. It also officially espoused the cause of Zygmunt Unrug, who was among those present.

Rekuç, now superintendent of the Reformed churches in Samogitia, did not share the general eagerness to join forces with the Orthodox and questioned the validity of the act of confederation. In his letter of 14 October 1719 to Jabłoński he pointed out that the confederacy was imperfect because only some Protestants and not many from among the Rus' had signed it, and those were Protestants, not Orthodox. There were blank spaces left for signatures and wax loci for seals. If the document were to be shown the whole thing would fall to the ground because these gaps revealed the lack of a catholicus consensus between the parties. But in any case Rekuç did not believe that this mattered to the Protestants. The Greeks were false. 'At the Sejm of 1718 when our Mr Piotrowski was excluded they had a deputy who had ample opportunity to speak for the dissenters and was asked to do so but, being glad not to be attacked, would not speak. There can be no bond between Christ and Belial, the idolaters will never be friendly towards us. I remember that often they were more disloyal towards us than the Papists themselves, even though they were under Evangelical orders. That is why I never liked seeking their assistance; it is better to rely on God himself. He will help us when the time comes. An open enemy is not so harmful as so underhand and deceitful a friend.'

Did Jabłoński, after he had received this information, act in bad faith? Possibly, although in fairness it has to be said that he never claimed any validity for the compact of 1599 but concentrated on its symbolic value. The election by the Orthodox and the Protestants of 'general provisors' testifies to the political importance of the confederation, the paucity of signatures notwithstanding.

The further setback suffered by the Protestants at the Sejm prompted the calling together of another synod. Held in February-March 1719, again in Danzig, it resolved to have recourse ad exteros, in the first place to the King of Prussia. For this purpose Unrug, furnished with letters of recommendation, set out for Berlin and thence to England, Denmark, Holland and Hesse-Cassel. In response to his plea George I wrote to Augustus II, as did Frederick William I, requesting better treatment of the dissenters as commanded not only by Christianitatis ratio sed et vel solus humanitatis character. The messages from George I and from the States-General of Holland met with an indignant rebuttal from Augustus II: not content with gratiosa tolerantia the dissenters disturb the public peace and, ignoring legal remedies, resort to underhand procedures. The Dutch should show benevolence towards the Roman Catholics. About the same time Augustus complained to Frederick William inter alia that Prussia had aroused the Evangelicals in Poland and was intriguing to deprive Saxony of the directorate of the Corpus Evangelicorum in the Imperial Diet.

James Scott returned to Poland early in 1720 with the rank of minister, later raised to that of envoy extraordinary. This time his instructions ordered him to join his representations on behalf of the oppressed Protestants to those of the King of Prussia and also to ensure that in the peace treaty between Sweden and Poland an article was inserted confirming the Protestants in the privileges to which they were entitled under the treaty of Oliva (1660). This was a pis-aller after Peter I had made it clear that he did not wish to give the Swedes the opportunity to meddle in Polish affairs.

After an absence of several years Scott found the Protestants much worse off than before, suffering more acutely from the same forms of ill-treatment. His despatches show that he was well informed about the plight not only of the Lutherans and Calvinists but also about that of the Orthodox which he judged to be just as dire. In September he met 'Count' Rudakowski, Dolgorukii's de facto adviser on matters concerning the Orthodox and arranged with him to exchange draft memoranda. Scott does not say whether Rudakowski ever joined him and his Prussian colleague in any démarche on behalf of the dissenters. In August he had noted the departure of the Papal nuncio, Grimaldi, for Lvov where he was 'to promote the conversion or reunion, as they name it, of some poor people of the Greek religion. One must think this undertaking very worthy of the Roman Catholic zeal when one considers the tender constitution of the nuncio, the extreme heat of the season, the length of the journey and little convenience on the roads. But what will not those of the Church of Rome do in order to gain proselytes though it were but amongst the men of the lowest class?'. Grimaldi had just been appointed Visitor of the Armenians and the Ruthenian Uniates; he died in 1733.

Scott does not mince his words when reporting the militant activities of some of the bishops and accuses them bluntly of bigotry; he believes that Szaniawski's zeal proceeds from the hopes of a cardinal's hat and other advantages he may expect from the Court of Rome. Flemming, he reports, has in confidence unburdened himself of his feelings against the unbearable tyranny of the clergy. The king, in a private audience, told Scott that he would like to see no discrimination made amongst his subjects but explained that he could not always do what he liked. Scott believed that Augustus II's compassion for the dissenters was overriden by considerations of high policy; the Court and the clergy were acting in concert to recover Livonia and Courland from the Russians. The king's written reply to the memorandum which Scott had submitted to him on the part of George I again requested the King of Great Britain to relieve the sufferings of the oppressed Catholics under his rule.

Sweden and the Republic did not make a peace treaty so that the question of inserting therein an article in favour of the Protestants did not arise. Scott's hopes of the inclusion of such an article, guaranteed by the tsar, in a general treaty of peace to be negotiated at Brunswick, were also disappointed.

Scott's memorandum on behalf of the Protestants is as much a defence of the victims as an indictment of the persecutors. Some of the evidence may have been supplied by Jabłoński through Whitworth. Writing in French, Scott uses the phraseology of the Age of Reason: 'suffering inflicted solely because of some differences of opinion concerning religion', 'actions neither humane nor politic in relation to the dissenters, given their loyalty, industry and general usefulness', 'excessive and intemperate zeal which inspires some ecclesiastics and causes others to treat as enemies their brothers and compatriots'. And further: 'A large number of ill-intentioned Catholics ... from zeal or from other motives maintain that the extirpation of heretics, viz. all those who refuse to conform to their religious beliefs, is a service agreeable to God and one which contributes to the augmentation of His glory. ... However little experience one may have of the world, however little one knows about the workings of the human heart, one must confess that unity in the matter of religion is something to be wished rather than to be hoped for, that of all the means one could employ to achieve it, the least appropriate and least natural, are force and constraint'. It will be recalled that a year earlier, in a letter of intercession addressed to Augustus II, Frederick William I had used similar language: 'Christianitatis ratio sed et vel solus humanitatis character ' demanded better treatment of the dissenters.

While it is clear that the Roman Catholic clergy were harrassing the Protestants it is also true that the Protestants did not show much forbearance towards the Catholics. Indeed the complaints of the Catholics of Thorn look like a mirror image of Protestant or Orthodox gravamina : they were being overtaxed by the town council, were debarred from civic office, kept out of craft and merchant guilds and systematically discriminated against as if with the intention of squeezing them out altogether. Their churches were being deprived of endowments and lands, hospitals endowed with incomes in money and kind were being taken over, as were schools founded by Catholics. The civic authorities exercised control over and taxed, all religious rites – marriages, baptisms, funerals. The taxes were disproportionate: a Roman Catholic maidservant paid more than the wife of a merchant. Apostasy was encouraged so as to convert poor and lukewarm Catholics; Protestant ministers preached in Polish so as to corrupt the simpletons. The Protestants were directed to ignore Catholic ecclesiastical feasts and to oblige their employees to work on holy days – blacksmiths to hammer iron, brewers to wash barrels in the street, carpenters to work wood and do noisy work outside Catholic churches. On Good Friday the Protestants in their gymnasium staged theatricals which held up to ridicule and blasphemed the Catholic religion. Books which attack that religion were being printed and sold in the town.

VII – Russia and Prussia Defend the Orthodox and the Protestants

The Russians continue to ignore calls for support from the distressed Protestants. An exception: the treaty of 1720 between Russia and Danzig. - Cooperation between the Orthodox and the Protestants at Slutsk (1719) and elsewhere. - Limited cooperation between the envoys of Russia and Prussia during the Sejm of 1722. - Jabłoński's 'Pro Memoria...' on behalf of the oppressed Protestants published in 1723. A copy sent to Tsar Peter. He instructs Dolgorukii in Warsaw to take an interest in the Protestants. - The interconfessional conflict in the Republic rises to a critical level. - Prussia threatens retaliation against the Jesuits at Heilige Linde. - Rupniewski's diatribe against the dissenters. - Steps taken at Heilige Linde probably disturb the Jesuits at Thorn (1724). Peter I, yielding to the entreaties of Ferderick William I, writes to Augustus II (August 1724), He defends the rights of 'the Greeks and the Protestants' and warns of the consequences of their ill-treatment. - Religious strife in the Empire. The gathering storm about to break over Poland. - Protestants and Catholics at loggerheads in Thorn. - The tumult of 4 July 1724. Judicial proceedings. Sentence and execution. Outcry in Protestant Europe. The Poles rally round. The zealots' conduct seemingly vindicated. - The tsar 'takes the events at Thorn very much to heart'. Final appeal to him from Frederick William I to protect the dissenters. His death (8 February 1725). - The Prussians are ready to march to the Polish frontier but Catherine I plays safe. - The alliance of Hanover (3 September 1725) comprises a secret but inoffensive article in favour of the dissenters. - Failure of Prussia's constant efforts to secure the rights of the dissenters by means of an international treaty. - The Prussian draft for a treaty of alliance with Russia (1725) includes an article regarding the dissenters. It appears in a modified form in the treaties of 1730 and 1743. - But the question of the dissenters demanded a solution without the interference of third parties. - The respective contributions of Augustus II and Peter I. - The legacy of the past and the germs of the future.

The Russians for a long time continued to ignore all calls for political support from the distressed Protestants, with one exception. The treaty between Russia and the city of Danzig of 30 September 1717 comprises an article in which the tsar promises to make it his business in the future northern peace settlement to uphold the ancient religious rights and liberties of the city and especially the exercise of the Evangelical religion. The treaty was signed by the tsar's representative, Lieutenant General V.V. Dolgorukii, but probably without his principal's knowledge of the details. The treaty concluded between Russia and Prussia on 17 February 1720 was intended chiefly to prevent the Republic from acceding to the treaty of Vienna of 1719 and introducing a sovereign and arbitrary form of government which would lead to the Polish throne's being preserved for Augustus II's heir, the Electoral Prince of Saxony. The two powers agreed to do whatever was necessary to maintain the Republic in its traditional laws, institutions, rights and prerogatives but without any mention of the dissenters: an article proposed by Prussia to the effect that every possible measure would be taken to uphold the Greeks and Protestants in Poland was not included in the treaty. A few instances of spontaneous cooperation between the Protestants and the Orthodox in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania have, however, been recorded.

In Slutsk, which formed part of the former Radziwiłł estates there was a small Lutheran community, dating from the seventeenth century, with its own church. The patrons of the local Orthodox monastery of the Holy Trinity, the collateral heirs of Bogus∏aw Radziwiłł, Elizabeth Augusta, daughter of Charles III Philip of Neuburg, Elector Palatine (a zealous Roman Catholic) and her husband, Joseph Charles, Duke of Sulzbach, were represented by the administrators of the estate. These men were on such good terms with the archimandrite of the monastery, Iosif (Lapetskii) that in 1717, after he had laid down his office, they declared themselves ready to defend him from harrassment by Sylwester Czetwertyński, bishop of White Russia. (It was the bishop's intention to subordinate the monastery of the Holy Trinity and the other houses under the rule of the archimandrite, to the authority of the Metropolitan of Kiev.) The Orthodox community of Slutsk obviously owed a debt of gratitude to the local Lutherans, for in May 1719 Iosif's successor, Feodosii (Volkovich, Voukovich, Wo∏kowicz) wrote (in Polish) to Stefan (Iavorskii), Metropolitan of Riazan' and Murom, temporary head of the Orthodox hierarchy in Russia: 'Together with the Lutherans we resort to your protection... . Were it not for the men of that faith, there being so few szlachta of the Orthodox communion ... we should not only have been deprived of our rights but should long ago have been in danger of losing our lives and property ... . And now the Lutherans are asking Your Eminence [probably in a separate letter] to request His Imperial [sic] Majesty that at the forthcoming peace conference ... his envoy should uphold the rights of the Orthodox and the Protestants in Poland.' The reference to the peace conference suggests a link between the writer of the letter and the Protestant synod recently held at Danzig. But whoever had prompted Feodosii was badly informed. Stefan was a critic of Protestantism and out of favour with the tsar; further, although Charles XII, the champion of Protestantism in general and Lutheranism in particular, was dead, the war with Sweden was not over yet. In 1722, according to Peter the Great's commissioner in the Grand Duchy, Rudakowski, the Protestants apparently helped the Orthodox at the time of their dispute with the Uniates and were expecting help in return.

Although Tsar Peter refrained from giving a formal answer to Frederick William I's written proposal made in the spring of 1722 for coordinated and open action in favour of the dissenters he did instruct Dolgorukii to stand up for the Protestants at the forthcoming Sejm if he saw fit to do so, provided the Prussian envoy did the same for the Orthodox. But Dolgorukii's chief concern was to prevent the Sejm from doing anything that might favour the succession to the throne of the Electoral Prince. This he achieved by bribing some of the deputies to break up the Sejm. The cost was 2590 gold ducats, 2000 of which Dolgorukii received from his Prussian counterpart, K.Chr. von Schwerin, who was obviously acting in the spirit of the Russo-Prussian treaty of 1720.

At the end of the year Schwerin thought the moment opportune for a conference, to be held in Berlin, of all the states concerned with the plight of the Polish Protestants – Prussia, Great Britain, Sweden and Russia. Jabłoński was again invited to prepare a memorandum for the use of the participants. It was published in Berlin in 1723 in a revised version with appendices, one of which was a translation of the compact between the Protestants and the Orthodox of 1599, under the title Pro Memoria der bedrängten Evangelischen in Polen . But the plan for the conference was abandoned when it became clear that while the tension between Britain and Russia persisted and Tsar Peter remained non-committal, the chances of agreement on co-ordinated action were slim. A copy of the Pro Memoria sent to Mardefeld in Saint Petersburg provided him with evidence to show how necessary Russia's help was and how natural it would be to give it. Mardefeld tried Jabłoński's arguments on A.I. Osterman and was assured that the Tsar had the best intentions but could not take up such an uncompromising attitude as that which was being asked of him. He would like to cooperate with the Protestant powers but for the time being he had a number of difficulties to contend with: shortage of money, internal unrest and the Persian expedition. Osterman concluded with a sally against Flemming: in 1716 the dissenters should have listened not to him but, rather, to Dolgorukii. But it will be recalled that the latter, lacking instructions, was unwilling to commit himself. The truth was that Peter suspected Frederick William of wanting to join Austria in her projected alliance against Russia and felt ill-disposed towards him. Mardefeld's dispatch had not yet reached Frederick when he wrote a further letter to the tsar; according to Mardefeld's report of 2 August, Peter's carefully phrased direction to Dolgorukii to take an interest in the position of the Protestants was the response to that letter.

Meanwhile the interconfessional conflict had risen to a critical level. The pressure exerted on the nonconformists by lay and clerical zealots was in some measure mitigated by threats of retaliation against Roman Catholics in East Prussia uttered in Berlin, but at the cost of creating much resentment in the Republic. In 1719 a royal commission (perhaps in execution of an unspecified judicial decision) ordered the Lutheran community at Wschowa (Fraustadt) to pay for the rebuilding of a Roman Catholic church destroyed by fire in 1685 or to hand over one of its own chapels to the Catholics. The authorities in Berlin made it clear to the Roman Catholics in East Prussia that their churches would be taxed if they did not use their influence in Poland to obtain the revocation of the order against the Lutherans at Wschowa. The demand was dropped. In 1721 the bishop of Vilno, Brzostowski, stopped the Evangelicals at Liubech (Lubecz, on the Nieman, to the south of Nowogródek) from repairing their church and fined them heavily for having begun the work but relented under the threat of retaliation against Roman Catholics in East Prussia. In 1723 in the diocese of Lublin, the dispute over the churches at Piaski and W´grów erupted anew. The tribunal forbade the holding of services in the two churches at Piaski, one Lutheran, the other Reformed, on the grounds of unlawful repairs and the propagation of heresy to the sound of bells. For this a punitive fine was imposed on the patron of the churches. In 1724 the tribunal confirmed the ban on repairs and the fine but allowed the resumption of services, in this case without yielding to any obvious external pressure. With regard to W´grów the tribunal had ordered the closure of the church in 1715 but the order had not been carried out. Late in 1723 the bishop of Lutsk, Rupniewski, charged the Protestant congregation before the consistory court with the ringing of church bells which he described as the propagation of heresy. The defendants unwisely disobeyed the summons to the hearing whereupon the court ordered the closure of the church and Rupniewski in turn ignored the request of two Protestant delegates to have the matter referred to a secular court. Early in 1724 Frederick William I wrote to Augustus II on behalf of the Protestants at Piaski and W´grów and prevailed on George I to do likewise.

In East Prussia the Society of Jesus had houses at Königsberg, Tilsit and Âwi´ta Lipka (Heilige Linde). Consecrated in 1693, Âwi´ta Lipka was a place of pilgrimage; among its benefactors were some of the most powerful families in Poland-Lithuania, the Czartoryskis, Krasińskis, Ogińskis, Ossolińskis, Potockis, Radziwiłłs, Sapiehas and Za∏uskis. The authorities now warned the Jesuits that they would be prohibited from holding church services if the plight of the Protestants in Poland did not improve. The Fathers alerted the proper quarters in Warsaw to this danger but neither their message nor the royal letters of intercession softened the official Polish attitude. Augustus II explained in reply that decisions of the tribunals were irrevocable but promised to remonstrate with the bishops. Rupniewski answered that he would reopen the church at W´grów (which in the end he did) subject to the return to the Catholic fold of two daughters of a mixed marriage. But the tone of his letter was intemperate to the point of insolence. Having lost the case against the Orthodox in 1722, Rupniewski took this opportunity to deliver a diatribe against the dissenters. They were, in his opinion, to be tolerated not in law but merely gratis et ex sola clementia. He impugned the validity of the royal oath to maintain the peace inter dissidentes because it formed part of a general undertaking and was contrary to the interest of the Church; its purpose was to do no more than mitigate the severity of earlier laws.

In Berlin requests for retaliation were received from Protestants in Poland. It was felt that Rupniewski was playing for time and that action should no longer be delayed. Even Jabłoński who had hitherto deprecated reprisals, whether in Gibraltar and Minorca or in East Prussia, did not demur. A modest start was to be made. Steps were accordingly taken to sequestrate a piece of land which the Jesuits at Heilige Linde were said to occupy unlawfully; in Königsberg they were forbidden to lead a procession and permission was refused to build a Catholic parsonage there. These decisions were taken barely two and a half months before the outbreak of the tumult of Thorn and could not but have disturbed the Jesuits in that city.

In March 1724 the King of Prussia, nothing if not persistent, sent copies of Jabłoński's Pro Memoria to the kings of Sweden and Denmark and again approached Tsar Peter in the matter of the Protestants. On 25 May Mardefeld expressed the opinion that the tsar was unlikely to take any action but on 16 June reported some progress: Dolgorukii was being instructed to support the new Prussian envoy, H.B. von Schwerin, with a view to obtaining a revision of the status of the dissenters by the Sejm which was due to meet in October. Frederick William's next letter of intercession to Augustus II, dated 6 August 1724, called on him to spare and preserve the rights of the Orthodox as well as of the Protestants. Tsar Peter, in the expectation of Prussia's backing for his efforts to secure territorial compensation for his dispossessed son-in-law, Frederick IV, Duke of Holstein Gottorp, chimed in on the same day with a letter of his own.

The tsar skilfully fuses the case of the Protestant with that of the Orthodox nonconformists which had been the subject of his letter to Augustus II of 2 May 1722. These other nonconformists, says the letter, are no less oppressed, he has an equal interest in the plight of both communities and that interest obliges him to take both under his protection. Frederick William's importunities were thus dismissed with a thrust of the elbow: in no circumstances was the tsar willing to content himself with the part of co-protector. In his newly assumed capacity Peter I reiterates his earlier representations. These the king had disregarded with the result that oppression grows by the day and has brought the nonconformists to the point of extinction. The pretext for these acts of persecution is the treaty concluded in 1716 (between the king and the confederates of Tarnogród) by the mediation of the tsar and under his guarantee. How could he allow the treaty to be misinterpreted by false explications and used to justify the stripping of the Evangelicals of their traditional rights, liberties and privileges?

In point of fact it was the tsar who was straying from the truth: he did not not guarantee the treaty and anyone who had read its article four and the relevant parts of article two could see that their purpose was to discriminate against the Protestants. Dolgorukii, who had been acting for the tsar in his absence, realized this but, as has been seen, did not even try to prevent these provisions from being included in the treaty.

The tsar now finds himself obliged by his conscience, the letter goes on, to uphold the rights of 'the Greeks and the Protestants in general' and to conjure the King and Republic not to allow their being subjected to persecution by a few individuals and to adopt the appropriate countermeasures at the next Diet. Peter I's letter ends on a note of warning: several Protestant powers are taking a close interest in the situation of the nonconformists, their continued ill-treatment in the Republic might have painful consequences.

The only effective means of restoring the nonconformists in their former rights and privileges was to oblige the Sejm by the use of force to repeal articles two and four of the Act of 1717. In order to achieve this Russia and presumably Prussia, would need to invade the Republic but neither power would readily embark on so hazardous an adventure. The Russians would not wish to antagonize the erstwhile allies of Vienna, Augustus II, George I and Charles VI, while not many Prussians would have shared the view expressed in 1718 by the hot-headed Rekuç that the Poles would perhaps come to realize that the King of Prussia could use his army not only for the protection of his territories and people but also for the preservation of religious freedom. But in referring to the Protestants and 'the Greeks' collectively as nonconformists (or dissenters) and having declared himself to be their protector, Peter the Great had made a statement of momentous potential: as an item in his political legacy this rôle was ready to be performed by a Russian monarch whenever their drama reopened.

Religious strife was not confined to Poland-Lithuania. In the Empire the expected end of the war with Spain after Austria's accession to the Quadruple Alliance in July-August 1718 coincided with the peace made with Turkey and the death, in November, of Charles XII heralded the pacification of the North. These developments lulled vigilance and loosened internal ties, giving rise in 1719 to a crisis which brought the Empire to the verge of civil war.

In August the marriage between the Archduchess Maria Josepha and the Electoral Prince of Saxony, Frederick Augustus II, two years after the announcement of his conversion, aroused great hopes among the Roman Catholics. Rome had gained much ground since 1648, the year of the treaty of Westphalia, even in the predominantly Protestant regions, but had suffered losses elsewhere. The Protestants for their part were ready to exert themselves against the Papists. Before long the tsar, the target of the treaty made in Vienna in January by the Emperor, George I and Augustus II, took advantage of the turmoil to sow dissension between the two signatories.

In April 1719 Charles Philip III, Elector Palatine, ordered that all copies of the Heidelberg Catechism of 1562, the standard of Protestant doctrine in the Palatinate, be withdrawn on the grounds that it gave offence to the Catholic religion. He also demanded that the Protestants relinquish their part – the nave – of the church of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg. The Protestants having failed to comply, possession of the whole church was taken in September. The Protestant Electors retaliated with threats and measures against Catholic churches and monasteries in their own dominions. George I ordered the closure of the Roman Catholic church at Celle, Frederick William I seized the monastery at Hamersleben in the bishopric of Halberstadt, closed the cathedral at Minden and threatened confiscations and further closures. Many prominent supporters of the Protestant cause blamed 'the Jesuits' for these excesses, thus William Wake, Archbishop of Canterbury, George I and his envoys, Saint-Saphorin in Vienna and James Haldane at Heidelberg. A similar complaint came from a Catholic, Maximilian Ulrich von Kaunitz-Rietberg whom Charles VI had sent to Heidelberg as his envoy. In Heidelberg James Haldane's servants and some pupils of the Jesuits came to blows; a servant of the Dutch envoy was jostled by soldiers and two Jesuit collegians because, as a procession passed by, bearing the Blessed Sacrament, he doffed his hat but did not genuflect. In October the Corpus Evangelicorum resolved to put a stop to the reprisals and in November Frederick William I gave an order for the return of the various holy places to their former status and obedience. The danger of an armed conflict had been averted but disagreements persisted; early in 1721 the Imperial vice-chancellor, F.K. von Schönborn, was contemplating the formation of a Catholic league, in the spring of 1723 Prince Eugen of Savoy was of the opinion that, if necessary, one should oppose the Protestants manu forte. The storm which had gathered over the Empire was finally to break over Poland.

Before Peter I's letter to Augustus II was written the tumult – but not ‘the massacre’ – of Thorn had already occurred. In Thorn (Toruń) Protestants and Catholics had been at loggerheads for decades. The Jesuits were established there in 1593. Their college, unwelcome as a centre of Polish and Catholic culture, was sacked by a mob in the course of a tumult in 1609. The Fathers were driven out, returned and were denied the town twice more, between 1626 and 1629 and between 1655 and 1660, during the Swedish invasions. The Lutherans debarred the Polish-speaking Catholics from the town council and were similarly intolerant of the Calvinists. The town was also divided by friction between the different social groups, patricians and plebeians, natives and immigrants. Religious altercations never ceased. In 1717 the council prevented the Jesuits from making a public procession through the streets, in 1719 the bishop of Culm (Che∏m), J.K. Bokum, ordered the mayor (or president) J.G. Roesner and members of the council to appear before his consistory court in connection with charges of blasphemy directed at some pupils of the Protestant gymnasium but the matter was settled out of court.

On 16 July 1724 some Lutheran youths were attacked or merely reproved by some pupils of the Jesuits for having allegedly shown insufficient respect to a Catholic religious procession that was being held to celebrate the feast of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel. There followed over two days of mutual assault, fisticuffs, detentions and hostage taking, culminating in the irruption of a Protestant mob into the Jesuit college. Much wilful damage was done to the interior, sacred images were destroyed or harmed, including one of the Virgin, but no one was killed. Outside a bonfire was lit into which pieces of broken furniture and possibly some religious objects were thrown.

The cult of the Virgin was a characteristic feature of Roman Catholic piety in Poland-Lithuania; it had recently been manifested in coronations of icons of the Virgin, in 1717 at the monastery of Jasna Góra near Cz´stochowa and at Kodeń, in 1719 at Troki (Trakai) and in 1724 at Sokal. A desecration of the kind just described was bound to arouse horror and anger among Roman Catholics throughout the land.

No sooner had calm returned than legal proceedings were initiated by means of parallel actions brought by the Crown and Jesuit Fathers of the college at Thorn against the persons considered to be responsible for the affray. The case was to be judged by the grand chancellor's court (sàd asesorski), later augmented by the addition of forty senators and parliamentary deputies appointed by the Sejm which assembled on 2 October. This unusually numerous bench, composed of high-born Roman Catholics, was to sit in judgment over sixty-six Lutheran burghers, artisans and plebeians.

Fourteen of the accused were condemned to death but not all were executed. One was pardoned without further formality because he agreed to abjure 'the Protestant heresy', another man escaped, a third was never properly identified and could not be found. In response to a public petition submitted on his behalf, the deputy mayor, W.F. Zernecke was reprieved by the king and eventually pardoned. In the small hours of 7 December 1724 the sentence was carried out. The mayor, J.G. Roesner, was beheaded in the inner courtyard of the town hall, the remaining nine accused were put to death in the main square later that morning. Five were beheaded in the ordinary way, the other four only after the right arm of each one had been severed; the body of one was quartered. A number of other accused were flogged or imprisoned. In central Europe at that time such dire retribution was generally destined for bands of criminals; judged by the Republic's historical standards it was an aberration, committed under the ever stronger influence of zealotry and xenophobia as if to make up for the relative leniency shown to 'the heretics' over the last century and a half.

The sentence also imposed penalties on the Protestant community as a whole, thus resolving a confessional dispute of long standing. The ancient church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the building of the gymnasium, formerly a monstery, were restored to the Catholics, four Catholics were to be elected to the town council.

The sanguinary epilogue of the tumult of Thorn caused an outcry in Protestant Europe and brought forth a spate of tracts and pamphlets animated as much by compassion for the Protestants as by aversion to the Papists. The events described therein damaged the reputation of the Republic, once renowned for its tolerance towards the nonconformists. In England the secretary of state, Charles Viscount Townshend, spoke of that 'bloody, unjust and unheard of decree against the town of Thorn', 'this inhuman sacrifice to the Papists'. But within the confines of the Republic indignation at the interference by foreign powers and the hurt done to Catholic religious feelings prevented any wholesale heart-searching although, according to the British minister plenipotentiary Edward Finch, the grand chancellor of Poland, Jan Szembek, had owned that there were defects in the decree against Thorn. The Poles and Lithuanians rallied to their king who had shown that his heart was in the right place after all, and to the Church. The Primate, Teodor Potocki, in his memorandum of 10 September 1725, was able to strike back at the Protestants by accusing them of persecuting the Catholics and at 'the Elector of Brandenburg' for interfering in Polish affairs. He threatened the harshest reprisals against the Protestants in Poland-Lithuania, including the sealing of churches and the detention of ministers. His diatribe ends with a stirring appeal for calling the szlachta to arms but plays safe by declaring that the purpose of the mobilization would be no more than to oblige 'foreign powers' to intercede by persuasion and friendly overtures rather than violent and extreme means. It is possible that the rigour of the Primate's language owed much to talk at the Imperial Court of sending 40,000 men in defence of the Catholic religion.

The Pope, Benedict XIII (Orsini), received with satisfaction the news of the expected execution of the sentence pronounced in Warsaw although his nuncio, Santini, had pleaded for mercy. Edward Finch made representations on behalf of the Protestants only to be informed that the King and Republic had no treaty with any foreign power concerning religious dissenters; the Republic was sovereign (domina absoluta) in all matters regarding religion and all affairs of state.

The episode of Thorn ended the acute phase of the conflict between the ultra-Catholics and the Protestant dissenters dating back to 1716, with an apparent vindication of the line taken by the zealots. Were not the Evangelicals troublemakers, blasphemers, enemies of the Church of Rome in league with foreign powers? As such they must be repulsed by the implanting in a Catholic kingdom of one faith and among its citizens of one heart and one soul. The means to this end was the voluntary conversion of the nonconformists or, failing that, their subordination to the authority of the bishops. The prospects for the re-Catholicization of the Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania and for the continued progress of the Union in the Grand Duchy had never looked rosier. The spirit of the writings of Skarga had triumphed.

Augustus II's written reply of 13 December to Tsar Peter's note reiterated the point made earlier by his ministers in an interview with the Russian envoy extraordinary, V.L. Dolgorukii: whenever the Orthodox had appealed to the king they had been given a hearing and received satisfaction. The Protestant dissenters had nothing to fear so long as they behaved quietly. Next, he was inclined to consider the grievances of the Orthodox as inventions of persons who were interested in marring the good relations between the two monarchs. As to the Protestants, they sought protection abroad which amounted to high treason. Poland continued to tolerate them in the hope that they would mend their ways.

When the details of the aftermath of the affair of Thorn became known, Peter the Great, unlike the kings of Prussia and Denmark, did not address a personal protest to the King of Poland against the excessive harshness of the punishments that had been meted out. But, as the Saxon envoy in St Petersburg, Jean Lefort informed Flemming on 2 January 1725, the tsar took the events at Thorn very much to heart and seemed angry with the king for sitting on his hands; the affair had redoubled his hatred of the Catholics. Lefort was obviously not taken in by Tsar Peter's earlier display of tender feelings towards Rome. On the 23rd the French envoy, Campredon, reported that V.L. Dolgorukii had returned from Poland three days before. He had had several interviews with the tsar and had been closely questioned, among other things about the executon of the sentence against the municipal officers of Thorn. This had also been the subject of secret conferences between Mardefeld and Osterman; the latter would like to frighten the King of Poland by joint action with the King of Prussia into recognizing the imperial title of the tsar who, however, would take care not to quarrel with the Republic. Also in January Frederick William I appealed to Peter I for the last time to protect the dissenters, promising his own support for the Orthodox. On the 23rd Mardefeld reported universal indignation in the Russian capital at Poland and the Jesuits; the tsar, blind to his own shortcomings, had said 'one could now see what a barbarous people the Poles were'. On 8 February Peter the Great died; he was succeeded by his consort who ruled as Catherine I.

On 26 February Santini informed the secretary of state that the Court of Dresden welcomed the news of the tsar's demise. It was expected to have a calming effect, especially with regard to the affair of Thorn in which no one had been feared more than he. Cardinal Paulucci replied in an undated message: 'The death of the tsar shows that the hand of God has already begun to favour the Catholics in the affair of Thorn.'

Court mourning in St Petersburg did not prevent Frederick William from requesting that a Russian corps march to the Polish border with a view to crossing it. The Russians prevaricated, encouraging the Prussians without stating their own intentions. By May sabres were being rattled, the Prussians were ready to march to the Polish frontier, presumably with the intention of entering Polish Prussia; the Saxon corps which Augustus II had concentrated by way of precaution within striking distance of Brandenburg was numerous enough for Frederick to ask Augustus what it was doing there. But as early as 31 March Campredon had summed up the situation as follows: Mardefeld was doing his best to persuade the empress to use force in Poland conjointly with Prussia on behalf of the Orthodox and the Protestants. Prince Menshikov (the mainstay of Catherine I's rule), less from friendship for the King of Prussia, towards whom he had obligations, than from a desire to serve in Poland with a Russian army, had said that this was the empress's wish. While the tsar was alive, Mardefeld had seriously proposed an alliance under the pretext of the Thorn incident to put Peter I in possession of Polish Livonia and the King of Prussia in possession of Elbing and Ermeland. The tsar had evaded the proposal by making unacceptable demands; the tsarina was too wise to entertain any such notions.

She had already, not later than May, recalled Rudakowski, showing thereby that Russia set greater store by pleasing the Poles than by protecting the Orthodox. Frederick William, however, went on to solicit the empress as tenaciously as he had urged the emperor. By April Mardefeld in turn reported that Russian military cooperation was not in prospect. Frederick William nevertheless continued, through Mardefeld, to ask for a note of intercession to be addressed to Augustus II. This was promised by Osterman but never sent. Instead, after a long delay, in August, S.G. Dolgorukii was instructed once more to make representations on behalf of the Orthodox and of the Protestants. Beyond that Frederick William could not expect support from a government disappointed in its hopes of Prussia's backing for the pretensions of the Duke of Holstein and apprehensive of her drawing closer to Great Britain and France. Russia's interest demanded an eventual alignment with Austria; neither imperial power had anything to gain from a religious war, unlike the King of Prussia, always on the lookout for aggrandizement. Frederick William was probably still smarting from the wrongs done to the Protestants on the Rhine, certainly incensed at 'the bloodbath of Thorn', infuriated by the repressive measures against the Protestants recently introduced in the diocese of Cracow and in conscience bound to come to the rescue of the Evangelicals in the Republic (Unrug among them) who were again soliciting for his help. Nevertheless, single-handed, he was unable to undertake the hard and dangerous task of military intervention.

For the use of force treaty-making was a poor substitute. The alliance concluded at Hanover on 3 September 1725 by Great Britain, France and Prussia (and later joined by the United Provinces, Sweden and Denmark) comprised a secret, separate and, as requested by the French, circumlocatory article in favour of the dissenters. It refers to the recent occurrences at Thorn but without mentioning them by name and expresses the intention to redress whatever may have been done to the prejudice of the treaty of Oliva of 1660 (which guaranteed the religious rights and privileges of the towns of Polish Prussia in statu quo ante). Frederick William's proposal to demand that the churches taken away from the Protestants since that date should be returned to them was not accepted; on the subject of future diplomatic representations he remarked that negotiation without the backing of force would be of no use to him. There the matter rested for the time being.

Thanks to the successive efforts of Frederick I and Frederick William I and their advisers (Jabłoński in particular) the plight of the Protestants in the Republic, newly attested by the events at Thorn, had for a while become an international issue but the plans for officially securing the rights of the dissenters within the framework of an international settlement were not realized. Nor did Frederick William I succeed (also on the advice of Jabłoński) in persuading the rulers of Russia to join him in a coordinated course of action on behalf of the Orthodox as well as of the Protestants. Only the first halting steps towards a formal understanding in that regard with Russia were taken.

The Prussian draft, dated 25 May 1725, for a treaty of alliance with Russia included an article intended to make the toleration of 'the so-called dissenters of the Evangelical as well as of the Greek religion' the joint responsibility of the two states. The article consists of a single sentence 287 words long, couched in emotive terms and refers to 'the bloodbath of Thorn, gruesome and almost unexampled among Christians'. By treating the two communities as one, the Prussian draftsman, possibly Jabłoński, sought to involve Russia in a joint Schutzpolitik, ouwardly high-minded and disinterested but potentially an instrument of Machtpolitik . The article, omitted from the final text of the treaty of 21 August 1726, found its way in a more businesslike form into the Russo-Prussian treaties of 30 September 1730 and 16 March 1743.

The state of strife between the Roman and Greek Catholic (Uniate) churches on the one side and the Orthodox and Protestant communities on the other was one of long standing. In resisting the efforts of the Church of Rome to re-Catholicize the Protestants and bring over the Orthodox by the agency of the Union of Brest (1596) the nonconformists took their stand on the rights and privileges which they had enjoyed since the middle of the sixteenth century. In consequence of the northern war the conflict grew in intensity and complexity. The immixture of the principal belligerents, Sweden and Muscovy, joined later by Prussia, on behalf of their Protestant or Orthodox co-religionists, turned what had been a domestic dispute or, at times, the subject of bilateral agreements, into an international issue.

The legal grounds for foreign intervention were not equally valid. None of the treaties between the Republic and Brandenburg-Prussia comprised a provision corresponding to article 9 of Poland-Lithuania's treaty with Muscovy of 1686 or to clause 3 of article 2 of that with Sweden in 1660, nevertheless the Electors of Brandenburg, later kings in Prussia, while still in regular consultation with representatives of the Protestants, in the course of time assumed a role not very different from that of the tsars. In the absence of any official and permanent spokesmen for the Orthodox in the Republic it was the tsar of Muscovy who spoke and acted on their behalf. Peter the Great, however, towards the end of his reign made it clear that he regarded the protection of religious dissenters in the Republic, Orthodox and Protestant alike, as his own prerogative.

Within the Republic the steady growth of xenophobia worked against the nonconformists; foreign interference or intervention seldom improved their plight and was unwelcome to the episcopate as much as to the majority of the szlachta. The traditional practice of toleration among the szlachta between those of the Roman Catholic and those of the Protestant persuasion under the aegis of the Crown was hindered by the steady progress of the Counter-Reformation. In the midst of the upheaval caused by the northern war the Catholic Church, although it complained of its weakened condition, was the only public institution in good working order and with a clear view of its temporal purpose: to put the nonconformists in their place and to achieve religious unity where political and national cohesion were wanting. This programme, Catholic and nationalistic in its essence, received the force of law in the form of practical measures directed principally against the Protestants but applied also to the Orthodox. The bracketing of the members of two distinct and disparate communities as dissenters furnished their extraneous protectors for the first time with a ground and pretext for joint action which was bound to offend the national and religious sensibilities of the Poles. This soon proved to be the case in the crisis of 1724-25 that followed the uncommonly harsh punishments meted out to the perpetrators and alleged abettors of the tumult of Thorn. The prospect of armed intervention by Russia and Prussia with a view to restoring the rights of the dissenters brought the king, Augustus II, closer to the nation; the inability of the two powers to act in concert breathed self-confidence into the szlachta , already heartened by the news of the death of Tsar Peter. But in the longer term the question of the dissenters could not be ignored, it demanded a solution without the interference of the third parties which had posed it as an international issue.

In relation to the subject of interconfessional strife Augustus II, whilst lacking religious sentiments of any kind, was not indifferent to the convictions and rights of the nonconformists and took seriously his obligation to keep the peace among the dissentients. He did so within the narrow confines of political expediency, responding to pressures brought to bear on him from outside by the rulers of Russia and Prussia and from within by the dissenters or the militant Catholics. However, as the passage of time brought nearer the prospect of the next royal election, Augustus's desire to keep the Polish throne in the House of Wettin became paramount. It was a wish that could not be fulfilled without Roman Catholic support at home and abroad and this would be given only to a king who promoted the twofold process of re-Catholicization and union with Rome.

Augustus's former ally Peter I, the great-grandson of a Patriarch of Moscow, steeped in the tradition of the Orthodox faith but a wayward Christian, comported himself as the supreme governor of the Russian Church and obliged it to serve the state in common with the other orders of society, regardless of any spiritual considerations. In Poland-Lithuania the interests of Church and State were identical. Tsar Peter defended the remaining outposts of Orthodoxy and led a counter-attack against the Union but, like Augustus II, kept within the limits of political expediency. His courtship of Rome during the critical years of the northern war was a sham calculated to enlist support for Russia in the Catholic world. He did not allow the conflict between his Church and that of Rome to spoil his credit with the men of power and influence in the Republic and his position as its potential arbiter.

In historical perspective the conflicts examined above conform to the traditional pattern of Rome confronting the Reformation, as well as neo-Byzantium, in various parts of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Looked at more closely they reveal concerns of a more modern stamp: toleration, the liberty of conscience and human rights which foreshadow the controversy that was to break out later in the century between les lumières and la superstition.

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