1902 Encyclopedia > Russian Poland

Russian Poland

RUSSIAN POLAND. After the three dismemberments of the old kingdom, the name of Poland was chiefly re-tained by the part of the divided territory annexed to Russia. Since the insurrection of 1863, however, the name "kingdom of Poland" has disappeared. Thencefor-ward this portion of the Russian empire is referred to in official documents only as the " territory of the Vistula," and later on as the "Vistula governments." Nevertheless the geographical position of Russian Poland, its ethno-graphical features, its religion, and its traditions differ-entiate it so widely from the remainder of the Russian empire that the name of Poland still survives in current use. The area of this territory is 49,157 square miles, and the population exceeds 7,300,000. See RUSSIA, and map accompanying that article.
Projecting to the west of Russia in a wide semicircle between Prussia and Austria, it is bounded on the N. by the provinces of western and eastern Prussia, on the W. by Posen and Prussian Silesia, on the S. by Galicia, and on the E. by the Russian governments of Volhynia, Vilna, Grodno, and Kovno. It consists for the most part of an Surface, undulating plain, 300 to 450 feet above the sea, which joins the lowlands of Brandenburg in the west, and the great plain of central Russia in the east. A low swelling separates it from the Baltic Sea; while in the south it gradually rises to a range of plateaus which imperceptibly blend with the spurs of the Carpathians. These plateaus, with an average height of from 800 to 1000 feet, occupy all the southern part of Poland. They are mostly covered with beautiful forests of oak, beech, and lime, and are deeply cut by the valleys of rivers and numerous streams, some being narrow and craggy, and others broad, with gentle slopes and marshy bottoms. Narrow ravines inter-sect them in all directions, and their surface often takes, especially in the east, the pmzcza character,—in other words, that of wild, unpassable, woody, and marshy tracts. In these tracts, which occupy the south-eastern corner of Poland, and are called Podlasie, the neighbourhood of the Polyesie of the Pripet is felt. The Vistula, which borders these plateaus on the south-west, at a height of 700 to 750 feet, has to penetrate them before finding its way to the great plain of Poland, and thence to the Baltic. Its valley divides the hilly tracts of Poland into two parts,—the Lublin heights in the east, and the S§domierz (Sandomir), or central, heights in the west. These last are diversified by several ridges which run east-south-east, parallel to the Beskides, the highest of them being those of the " Bald " or " Holy Cross Mountains " (Lysog6rski, or Swietokrzyski), two summits of which respectively reach 1813 and 1961 feet above the sea. Another short ridge, the Checinski hills, follows the same direction along the Nida river, reaching 1135 feet at Zamkowa G6ra. South of the Nida, the Olkusz Hills, already blended with spurs of the Beskides, fill up the south-west corner of Poland, reaching 1473 feet at Podzamcze, and containing the chief mineral wealth of the country; while a fourth range, from 1000 to 1300 feet high, runs north-west past Czestochowo, separating the Oder from the Warta. In the north, the plain of Poland is bordered by a flat and broad swelling, 600 to 700 feet above the sea, dotted with lakes, and recalling the lake regions of north-western Russia. Its gentle southern slopes occupy the northern parts of Poland, while the province of Suwatki, projecting as a spur towards the north-east, extends over the flat surface of this swelling. Wide tracts covered with sands, marshes, peat-bogs, ponds, and small lakes, among which the streams lazily flow from one marsh to another, the whole being covered with poor pine-forests and a scanty vegeta-tion, with occasional patches of fertile soil—such are the general characters of the northern border-region of the great plains of central Poland.

These plains extend in a broad belt, 150 miles wide, from the Oder to the upper Niemen and the marshes of Pinsk, gently sloping towards the west, and slowly rising towards " the woods " of Volhynia and Grodno. Few hills raise their flat tops above the surface, the irregularities of which for the most part escape the eye, and can be detected only by levellings. As far as the eye can see, it perceives a plain; and each hill, though but a few hundred feet above its surface, is called a " g6ra" (mountain). The rivers flow in broad, level valleys, only a few hundred or even only a few dozen feet lower than the watersheds; they separate into many branches, enclosing islands, forming creeks, and covering wide tracts of land during inunda-tions. Their basins, especially in the west, are mixed up with one another in the most intricate way, the whole bearing unmistakable traces of having been in recent geo-logical and partly in historical times the bottom of extensive lakes, whose alluvial deposits now yield rich crops. The fertility of the soil and the facility of communication by land and by water have made this plain the very cradle of the Polish nationality, and every furlong of it to the Pole is rich in historical memories. The very name of Poland is derived from it,—Wielkopolska and Wielkopolane being the Slavonian for the great plain and its inhabitants.

Rivers. Russian Poland belongs mostly, though not entirely, to the basin of the Vistula,—its western parts extending into the upper basin of the Warta, a tributary of the Oder, and its north-east spur (Suwaiki) penetrating into the basin of the Niemen, of which it occupies the left bank. For many centuries, however, the Poles have been driven back from the mouths of their rivers by the German race, maintaining only the middle parts of their basins.

The chief river of Poland, and the very cradle of the Polish nationality, is the Vistula (Poh, Wista), the Vandalus, Visula, and Istula of antiquity. It has a length of 620 miles, and a drainage area of 72,000 square miles. It rises in Galicia, in the Beskides, 8675 feet above the sea, where the Black and White Vistulas unite. Flowing first north-east, in an elevated valley between the Beskides and the Sandomir heights, it separates Russian Poland from Galicia, and already at Cracow has a breadth of 90 yards. It enters Russian Poland at Zawichwost, 473 feet above the sea. After having re-ceived the San, it turns north, traversing for some 35 miles a broad valley deeply cut through the plateaus of southern Poland. This valley reaches at several places a width of 10 miles between the limestone crags which border it on both sides, the space between being occupied by two alluvial terraces, where the river winds freely, divides into several branches, and frequently changes its bed. Here it has a speed of 8 feet per second, with a gradient of 1 '3 to 1 '5 feet per mile, and a depth ranging from 4 to 20 feet. About Jusefow (51° N. lat.) it enters the great central plain, where it flows north and west-north-west between low banks, with a breadth of 1000 yards. Its inundations, dangerous even at Cracow, become still more so in the plain, where the accumulations of ice in its lower course obstruct the outflow, or the heavy rains in the Carpathians raise its level. Dams, 20 to 24 feet high, are maintained at great expense by the inhabitants for 60 miles, but they do not always prevent the river from inundating the plains of Opolic and Kozienic, the waters sometimes spreading as far as 150 miles to the east. Below Warsaw (267 feet) it frequently changes its bed, so that, for example, Ptock (180 feet), which formerly was on its left bank, is now on the right. About Thorn it enters Prussia, and a few miles below this town it finds its way through the Baltic ridge, flowing in a north-east direction and entering the Baltic Sea in the Frische-Haff at Dantzic. On the whole, it is what the physical geographer would call a "young" river, which is still excavating its bed, and probably on this account few towns of importance are situated on the Vistula in Russian Poland, the principal being Sedomierz, Warsaw, and Ptock, and the fortresses of Ivangorod and Novogeorgievsk (Modlin), while very many small towns have sprung up within short distances from its course. It is navigable almost from Cracow for small boats and rafts, which descend it at high water. Real navigation begins, however, only below its confluence with the Wieprz, the middle and lower Vistula being the chief artery for the traffic of Poland. Thousands of rafts and boats of all descriptions descend every year, with cargoes of corn, wool, timber, and wooden wares, giving occupa-tion to a large number of men. Steamers ply as far as to Sedomierz.

The Vistula receives many tributaries, the most important being the San, the Wieprz, and the Bug on the right, and the Nida and the Pilica on the left. The San (220 miles) rises in Galicia, in the same part of the Carpathians as the Dneister, and flows north-west, close to the southern frontier of Poland; it is navi-gable downwards frora Dynow, and is ascended by boats as far as Yarostaw in Galicia. The Wieprz (180 miles) is the chief artery of the Lublin government; it flows north-west past Lublin and Lubartow, joining the Vistula at Ivangorod. It is navigable for small boats and rafts for 105 miles from Krasnostaw. The Bug, which describes a wide curve concentric with those of the middle Vistula and Narew, rises to the east of Lwow (Lemberg) and flows north and west, past Hrubieszow, Chetm, and Brest-Litowski, separating the Polish provinces of Lublin and Siedlce from Volhynia and Grodno It joins the Vistula a few miles below its confluence with the Narew, some 20 miles below Warsaw, after a course of more than 675 miles. Only light boats (galary) are floated down this broad but shallow stream, whose flat and open valley is often inundated. Its great tributary, the Narew (150 miles), brings the forest-lands of Byelowezha into communication with Poland, timber being floated down from Surazh and light boats from Tykocin. The mountain-stream Nida waters the hilly tracts of Kielce, and, rapidly descending south-east, joins the Vistula close by the Opatowiec custom-house. The Pilica rises in the south-western corner of Poland, and flows for 135 miles north and east in a broad, flat, sandy, or marshy valley, of evil repute for its unhealthi-ness ; it joins the Vistula at Mniszew, 30 miles above Warsaw.

The Warta (450 miles) rises in the Chestochowo hills, 900 feet above the sea, and flows north and west pasfSieradz (448 feet) and Koto. Below Czestochowo it waters a flat lowland, whose surface rises only from 2 to 5 feet above the level of the river, and the inhabitants have a constant struggle to keep it to its bed ; the country is, however, so low that every spring an immense lake is formed by the river at the mouth of the Ner ; as regards its right hand tributaries, it is almost impossible to define them from those of the Bzura, tributary of the Vistula, amidst the marshy grounds where both take their origin. The Warta turns west at Koto and leaves Poland at Pyzdry in the government of Kalisz ; it serves to convey timber to Prussia.

The Niemen, which has a total length of 500 miles and a basin of 40,000 square miles, flows alongthe north-east frontier of Poland, from Grodno to Yurburg, separating it from Lithuania. Already 70 yards wide at Grodno, it advances northwards in great windings, between limestone hills covered with sand, or amidst forests, past numerous ruins of castles, or koorgans, which witness the battles that have been fought for its possession. The yellowish sandy plains on its left allow only the cultivation of oats, buckwheat, and some rye. The river flows so si owly below Kovno as to seem almost stationary ; it often changes its bed, and, notwithstanding repeated attempts to regulate it, offers great difficulties to navigation. Still, large amounts of corn, wool, and timber are floated down, especially after its junction with the Black Hancza, giving occupation to about 90,000 men. A little above Kovno the Niemen turns west, and after having received the Wilja from the right, it attains a width of nearly 500 yards. At Yurburg it enters eastern Prussia, and reaches the Baltic Sea at the Kurische-Haff. Of its tributaries in Poland, only the Hancza Czarna and the Szeszupa, which winds through the province of Suwaiki, are worthy of mention.

Lakes are numerous in the province of Suwatki, amounting Lakes, there to over five hundred ; but the largest of them, Wigry, tra-versed by the Hancza, covers only 11,000 acres. They are mostly concealed amid thick coniferous or birch forests, and their waters stretch with undefined banks amidst marshes, sands, or layers of boulders thickly covered with moss. Another group of some one hundred and twenty small lakes is situated in the basin of the Warta (north part of Kalisz), the largest being Gopto, 18 miles long and 100 feet deep, surrounded by many smaller lakes, and receiving the Notec river. It was much larger even within historical times, and was well known from being situated on the highway from the Adriatic, via Koto on the Oder, to the basin of the Vistula.

Though navigable for a few months only, the rivers of Poland Canals, have always been of considerable importance for the traffic of the country, and this importance is further increased by several canals connecting them with Russian and German rivers. The Niemen is connected with the Dnieper by the Oginski Canal, situated in the Russian government of Minsk. The Dnieper-and-Bug (Horodecki, Brzeski, also Krolewski) Canal in Grodno connects the Mukhavets, tributary of the Bug, with the Pina of the basin of the Pripet, that is, the Dnieper with the Vistula. The Vistula is connected also with the Oder by the Bydgoski or Bromberg Canal in Prussia, which connects the Brda, of the basin of the Vistula, with the Noted, or Netze, tributary of the Warta. All these canals are, however, beyond Russian Poland. In Poland proper, the Augustowski Canal connects the Vistula with the Niemen, by means of the Hancza, Netta, Biebrz, and Narew. Another canal, to the west of teczyca, connects the Bzura, a tributary of the Vistula, with the Ner and Warta ; and the bed of the former has recently been altered so as to obtain regular irrigation of the rich meadows extending along its banks.

With the exception of its southern parts, Poland is built up Geoh'gj, almost exclusively of Secondary and Tertiary formations, covered with a thick sheet of Quaternary deposits. The non-schistous rocks are represented only by a small patch of porphyries near Checin, and another of basalts at the castle of Teczyiiski. Small deposits of quartzites in the Dyminski Hilts, characterized by the Orthis Melcensis, Rom., which formerly were considered as Devonian, belong to the Silurian as also a few dolomites appearing from beneath the Devonian Old Red Sandstone and limestones. The last two cover wide tracts in the province of Kielce, and in the district of Bedzin, on the Silesian frontier. The Devonian lime-stones of Kielce, which contain the Orthis striatula, Spirifer inflatus, Atrypa reticularis, A. desquamata, Leptsena interstrialis, Bronteus flabellifer, Spirifer verneuili, and lihynchonella ciiboides, thus exhibit a fauna closely akin to that of the Devonian of Germany and Belgium, or the lowest part of the Upper Devonian—the so-called " CWoMte-Sehichten." The hard sandstone of Dombrowa, Brzezina, &c, with Chonetes sarcinulata, Spirifer paradoxus, S. cultrijugatus, and Pterinea pailletei, is certainly Lower Devonian. This formation contains the chief mineral resources of Poland.

The Carboniferous formation appears in the Olkusz and Bedzin districts. It consists of sandstones and clays, with layers of coal 30 feet thick. The Permian is represented by porphyric tuffs in the Olkusz district, " Zechstein " characterized by Produetus horridus, Sow., at Kielce, and a breccia consisting of Devonian boulders. The Trias is widely spread. It consists of variegated sandstones, characterized by Myophoria costata, occurring exten-sively in the governments of Kielce and Radom, yielding a fine building stone. The red sandstones north and west of Kielce, con-sidered as Permian on Pusch's map, probably belong to the same formation, like the red sandstones in the most northern parts of the Kielce mountains. The " Muschelkalk " appears in the districts of Olkusz and Bedzin, as also in the Kielce mountains, and has great importance, containing as it does zinc, tin, and iron ores. The " Keuper" in the governments of Kielce, Piotrkow, and Radom consists of sandstones, dolomites, and limestones, and con-tains brown coal and iron ores.
The Jurassic formation is widely spread ; in south-west Poland it occupies the space from Olkusz to Wielun, and consists of brown and white "Jura," the whitish crags of which give pleasing land-scapes at Ojcowo and on the Pilica. The Oolite crags of Ojcowo contain numerous caverns, renowned for their bone deposits, worked out for manure, and for their numerous and remarkable Quaternary fossils. That of Jerzmanowice, close by Ojcowo, the largest of the series, has a length of 750 feet. The Cretaceous formation, which covers very large tracts throughout Poland, con-sists of lower series of sandstones, and of an upper series containing chalk and limestone, and yielding very fertile marls. They are covered with Tertiary limestones and gypsums, which, together with Cretaceous deposits, cover nearly the whole of the central plain and the northern provinces. The layers of sulphur at Kielce, 7 to 70 feet thick, belong to the Tertiary.

The whole is covered with Quaternary deposits, reaching at several places a very great thickness. They are chiefly made up of boulder clay containing Scandinavian erratics of all sizes up to 5 and 7 feet in diameter. The Baltic ridge is quite covered with them, their southern limit extending to 51° N. lat., or perhaps even to 50°, as the longitudinal valleys of the Kielce hills also con-tain layers of Scandinavian boulders. Diluvial and alluvial sands and clays cover the glacial deposits ; and everywhere in Poland one meets with remains of extensive lakes that filled up all depressions of the country during the post-Glacial period. Thick peat-bogs are being formed in the moister depressions, and cover an aggregate surface of no less than 2,800,000 acres.

In these lacustrine deposits numerous traces of prehistoric man have been found, but the old lake beds still await a more thorough exploration. The bone-caves at Ojcowo have yielded rich finds of extinct mammals, thirty-two species of which are familiar to explorers of British caverns ; the cave-bear alone has yielded fully four thousand canine teeth, while the mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros, the cave hyajna, and especially the reindeer, are repre-sented by numerous remains. The bones of extinct mammals have been found in association with very numerous relics of man, some of which are most probably Palaeolithic, while the great number belong to the Neolithic period,—those cave-inhabitants being in some instances dolichocephalic, like those of the shores of post-Glacial lakes, and in others mesocophalic. Minerals. Southern Poland is rich in minerals, especially in the Kielce moun-tains and the region adjacent to Prussian Silesia. The Devonian sandstones contain malachite ores at Medziana Gora, near Kielce, and copper has been worked there since the 15th century. In the years 1816-1826 65,000 cwts. of copper ore were extracted, but the mines are now neglected. The brown iron ores, also Devonian, of Kielce, and especially those of Daleszyc, contain no less than 40 per cent, of iron. The Triassic zinc ores of the Olkusz district, more than 50 feet thick at Bolestaw, contain 8 to 14 per cent., sometimes 25 per cent., of zinc ; and in 1879 2,866,000 cwts. of ore were extracted from nine pits, yielding about 100,000 cwts. of zinc. The tin ores of Olkusz, also Triassic, are still more import-ant, and were extensively wrought as early as the 16th century, notwithstanding the difficulties arising from the presence of water; they are reported to have then yielded more than 35,000 cwts. per annum. In 1878 the very fluctuating yield reached only 8960 cwts. Brown iron ores appearing in the neighbourhood of Bedzin as lenses 55 feet thick, and containing 25 to 33 per cent, of iron, accompany the Triassic zinc ores. Spherosiderites and brown iron ores are also widely spread in the " Keuper." Sulphur is wrought at Czarkowa, in the district of Pificzow ; the deposits, which con-tain 25 per cent, of sulphur, reach a thickness of 7 to 70 feet, and the amount of sulphur is estimated at 1,300,000 cwts.

Carboniferous coal is spread in south-west Poland over a surface of about 200 square miles in the districts of Bedzin and Olkusz, which are estimated to contain 732,000,000 cubic yards of coal. The Triassic brown coal, which appears in the Olkusz district in layers 3 to 7 feet thick, has lately been worked out, the single pit of St John yielding in 1879 204,200 cwts. of coal. Of other mineral produce, chalk exported from Lublin, a few quarries of marble, and many of building stones are worthy of notice. Mineral waters are used medicinally at Ciechoein and Nafechow. Climate. With the exception of the Lysa Gora hilly tracts (Kielce and South Radom), which lie within the isotherms of 41° and 42°, Poland is situated between the isotherms of 42° and 46°. The isotheres and isocheims (i.e., lines of equal mean summer and winter temperature) crossing one another at right angles, and the former running east-north-east, Poland is included between the isotheres of 64° and 61° and the isocheims of 35°'7 and 39°'2. The prevailing winds are westerly, with north-north-east and south winds in autumn and winter, and east winds in spring. The number of rainy and snowy days varies from 152 to 158, increasing towards the Baltic, with an average of 217 to 23 6 inches of rainfall in central Poland, which figures slowly increase also towards the south on account of the proximity of the Carpathians, where they reach 30'3 inches. Of the above amounts, about 17 per cent, fell in spring, 29 per cent, in summer, 21 per cent, in autumn, and 33 per cent, in winter. Owing to this distribution the snow-cover-ing in Poland is not very thick, and the spring sets in early. Still, frosts lowering the thermometer to - 4° and - 22° Fahr. are not uncommon, and the rivers are covered with ice for two and a half to three months,—the Warta being under ice for 70 to 80 days, the Vistula at Warsaw for 80 days and (exceptionally) even for 116, and the Niemen for 100 (exceptionally for 140).

The following averages may help to give a more adequate idea of the climate of Poland:—

== TABLE ==

The flora of Poland is more akin to that of Germany than to that Flora, of Russia, several middle European species finding their north-east limits in the basin of the Niemen or in the marshes of Lithuania. Coniferous forests, consisting mostly of pine (Pimis sylvestris) and birch, cover large tracts in Mazovia, extending over the Baltic lake-ridge, reaching southwards as far as the junction of the Bug with the Narew, and joining in the south-east the '' Polyesie " of the Pripet. The pine covers also the Lysa Gora hills and those on the San. The larch (Larix europsea), which three centuries ago covered large tracts, has almost entirely disappeared ; it is now met with only in the Samsonowski forests of Sandomeria. The Pinus Cenibra is only remembered, as also the Taxus baccata, which has but a few representatives in Sandomerian forests, on the Pilica, on the puszczas of Ostroteka, and in the Preny forests on the Niemen. The Picea obovata is cultivated.

Of leaf-bearing trees, the common beech (Fagus sylmtica) is the most typical of the Polish flora ; it extends from the Carpathians to 52° N. lat., and three degrees farther north in small groups or isolated specimens ; the confluence of the Bug and Narew may still be regarded as its eastern limit. The white beech (Carpinus Betulus), the aspen (Populus tremula), and two elms (Ulmus campestris, U. effusa) are found nearly everywhere, mingled with other trees in forests. The same is true with regard to the lime-tree (Tilia parvi-folia), which appears in groves only in the east (Niemen, Pripet, Lublin). It is the most popular tree with the Poles, as the birch with the Russians; judgment of old was pronounced under its shade, and all the folk-lore songs repeat its name. The oak—a highly venerated tree in Poland, though not so much as in Lithuania—grows in forests only on the most fertile patches of land, but it is of common occurrence in conjunction with the beech, elm, &c. The maples (Acer platanoides and A. pseudoplatamus) are somewhat rare ; the black alder (Alnus glutinosa) covers the banks of the rivers and canals, and the Alnus incana is common. The willow, and the orchard trees—apple, pear, plum, and cherry—are cultivated everywhere.

The flora of Poland contains 12 per cent, of Composite, 6 per cent, of leguminosx, 2 per cent, of Ijabiatx, 4 per cent, of TJmbelli-ferx, 5 per cent, of Cruciferx, and 2 per cent, of Coniferx.

The wheat frontier coincides very nearly with that of the leaf-bearing forests. It yields good crops on the fertile tracts of Sando-meria and Lublin, and on the plains of the Vistula and Wartha, but does not thrive very well beyond 52° N. lat. Bye, oats, barley, buckwheat, and hemp are cultivated everywhere, and flax in the east; hops are very common, and tobacco-culture has been begun in the south. Some attempts in sericulture have been made with success.

The fauna of Poland belongs to the middle European zoological Fauna, group ; within the historical period it has lost such species as formerly gave it a subarctic character. The reindeer now occurs


only as a fossil; the sable, mentioned in the annals, has migrated eastwards; the wild horse, also, described by the annals as intermediate between the horse and the ass—probably like the recently discovered Equus przewalskii—is said to have been met with in the 13th century in the basin of the Warta, and two centuries later in the forests of Lithuania. The wild goat, bison, and elk have migrated to the Lithuanian forests. The lynx and beaver have also disappeared. The brown bear continues to haunt the forests of the south, but is becoming rarer in Poland ; the wolf, the wild boar, and the fox are most common throughout the great plain, as also the hare and several species of Arvicola. The mammals in Poland, however, do not exceed fifty species. The avi-fauna, which does not differ from that of central Europe, is repre-sented by some one hundred and twenty species, among which the singing birds (Dmitirostrx and Conirostra) are the most numerous. On the whole, Poland lies to the westward of the great line of passage of the migratory birds, and is less frequented by them than the steppes of south-west Russia. Still, numerous aquatic birds breed on the waters of the Baltic lake-region.

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The bulk of the population are Poles. During prehistoric times the basin of the Vistula seems to have been inhabited by a dolichocephalic race, different from the braehycephalic Poles of the present day; but from the dawn of history the Slavonians (Poles), mixed to some extent with Lithuanians, are found on the plains of the Vistula and Warta. The purest Polish type is found in the basin of the middle Vistula and in Posen; in the north-east there is a Lithuanian admixture, and in the south-cast a Little Russian. The geographical domain of the Poles corresponds approximately with the limits of Russian Pofand. Some 250,000 Lithuanians (277,000 or 284,000, according to other enumerations) occupy the north part of Suwaiki, their southern limit being the Hancza river and the towns Seino and Suwaiki; while the Ruthenians (about 506,000 in 1873) appear in compact masses in the east and south-east, occupying the whole space between the Bug and the Wieprz as far as Siedlee, as also the region between the upper Wieprz and the San. The White Russians numbered 27,000 in the north-east and east, and the Great Russians 12,000. The Poles extend but little beyond the limits of Russian Poland. In east Prussia they occupy the southern slope of the Baltic ridge (the Mazurs); and on the left bank of the lower Vistula they spread to its mouth (the Kaszubes). Westward they occupy a strip of land of an average breadth of 50 miles in Brandenburg, Posen, and Silesia, stretching down the Warta as far as to Birnbaum (100 miles east of Berlin); and in the south they extend along the right bank of the Vistula in western Galicia to the San. In Russia they constitute, with Jews, Lithuanians, Ruthenians, and White Russians, the town population, as also the landed nobility and szlachta, in several provinces west of the Dwina and the Dnieper. Their numbers in these provinces may be seen from the following figures :—

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According to the localities which they inhabit, the Poles take different names. They are called Wielkopolanie on the plains of middle Poland, while the name of Maiopolanie is reserved for those on the Warta. The name of Leczycanie is given to the inhabitants of the marshes of the Ner, that of Kurpie to those of the Podlasie; Kujawiacy, Szlacy in Silesia, and Gorale in the Carpathians.

The Kaszubes, and especially the Mazurs, may be considered as separate stocks of the Polish family. The Mazurs (whose northern limits may be thus described—Przerosl in Suwaiki, Goldap, Rastenburg, and Bischofsburg in Prussia, and Miawa in Ptock) are distinguished from the Poles by their lower stature, broad shoulders, and massive structure, and still more by their national dress, which has nothing of the smartness of that of the southern Poles, and by their ancient customs ; they have also a dialect of their own, containing many words now obsolete in Poland, and several grammatical forms bearing witness to the Lithuanian influ-ence. They submit without difficulty to German influence, and already are Lutherans in Prussia. The language of the Kaszubes can also be considered as a separate dialect. The Poles proper are on the whole of medium stature (5 feet 4'6 inches), finely built, dark in the south and fair in the north, richly endowed by nature, inclined to deeds of heroism, but perhaps deficient in that energy which characterizes the northern races of Europe, and in that sense of unity which has been the strength of their present rulers.

The German element is annually increasing both in number and in influence, especially during the last twenty years. The Lodz manufacturing district, the Polish Birmingham, is becoming more German than Polish ; and throughout the provinces west of the Vistula German immigration is going on at a steadily increas-ing rate, especially in the governments of Ptock, Kalisz, Piotrkow, and Warsaw'. It is estimated that a strip of land 35 miles wide along the Prussian frontier is already in the hands of Germans, whose advance is further favoured by the rapid transference of landed property into German hands in Posen. In Russian Poland associations of four to six men, supported by German banks, purchase large numbers of properties belonging to members of the Polish nobility who have been ruined since the last insurrection. No fewer than 30,736 German landholders, owning 5433 estates, were enumerated last year in the provinces west of the Vistula; while 13,714 foreign proprietors, farmers, and labourers (11,497 Prussians and 1914 Austrians) were at the same time owners of 1,857,900 acres, valued at 135,000,000 roubles. According to other statistics, the foreigners in Poland, mostly Germans, who remained foreign subjects, numbered 170,000 in '1881 (5"15 per cent, of the population). Of these, 91,440 (families included) hold landed property to the amount of 2,605,500 acres, or 8'3 per cent, of the area of the kingdom. The aggregate number of Germans in Russian Poland, estimated at 370,000 in 1873, must now exceed 450,000, thus constituting about one-fifteenth of the population.

The Jews, who are found everywhere throughout Poland, are still more numerous, and must now exceed a million. They are nowhere agricultural; in the larger towns many of them are artisans, but in the villages they are almost exclusively engaged as shopkeepers, second-hand traders, dealers on commission, innkeepers, and usurers. In the country, both commerce and agriculture are in the hands of their intimately connected trading associations. Their relations with Poles and Ruthenians are anything but cordial, and "Jew-baiting" is of frequent occurrence. They are increasing much more rapidly than the Slavs.

The relative numbers of the various inhabitants of Poland may be seen from the following figures :—

== TABLE ==

Great Russians

Religion. The prevalent religion is the Roman Catholic, to which, in 1870, 4,596,956 out of a population of 6,034,430 belonged; at the same date 246,485 were adherents of the United Church, 327,845 were Lutherans, 34,135 were of the Greek Church, and 4926 Nonconformists. The Jews at the same date were reckoned (certainly an under-estimate) at 815,443, and the Mohammedans at 426. The number of followers of the United Church has much diminished since 1873, when they were compelled to join the Greek Church.

Since the last insurrection a series of measures have been taken to reduce the numbers of the Roman Catholic clergy in Poland; in 1883 there remained 1313 churches out of 1401, 1544 priests out of 2322, 10 monasteries out of 29, and 8 convents out of 30. One diocese (Podlasie) having been abolished, and a new one established at Kielce, while several bishops had been sent out of the country, the whole situation remained unsettled until 1883, when the pope recognized the new diocesan subdivisions introduced by the Russian Government. Poland is now divided into four dioceses- (Warsaw, Sedomierz, Lublin, and Ptock). Agri- From remote antiquity Poland has been celebrated for the produc-culture. tion and export of grain. Both, however, greatly declined in the 18th century ; and towards the beginning of this century the peasants, ruined by their proprietors, or abandoned to the Jews, were in a more wretched state than even their Russian neighbours. Serfdom was abolished in 1807 ; but the liberated peasants received no allotments of land, and a subsequent law (1808) rendered even their transference from one landlord to another almost impossible ; the old patrimonial jurisdictions were also retained. Compelled to accept the conditions imposed by the landlords, they had to pay rack-rents and to give compulsory labour in various forms for the use of land. Only a limited number were considered as permanent farmers, while nearly one-half of the peasants became mere prolétaires; in 1864 1,338,830 former peasants had ceased to have land rights at all. Pursuing a policy intended to reconcile the peasantry to Russian rule and to break the power of the Folish nobility, the Russian Government promulgated, during the outbreak in 1864, a law by which those peasants who were holders of land on estates belonging to private persons, institutions (such as monasteries and the like), or the crown were recognized as proprietors of the soil,—the state paying compensation to the landlords in bonds, and the peasants having to pay a yearly annuity to the state until the debt thus contracted had been cleared. The valuation of these allotments was made at a rate much more advantageous than in Russia, and the average size of holding reached 15 acres per family. Of those who held no land a number received it out of the confiscated estates of the nobility and monas-teries. At the same time the self-government of the peasant was organized on democratic principles. The so-called "servi-tudes," however, that is, the right to pasture on and take wood from the landlord's estates, were maintained for political reasons, becoming a source of great inconvenience both to landlords and peasants.
Whatever be the opinion held as to the intention of these reforms, there can be no doubt that they resulted in a temporary increase of prosperity, or at any rate an alleviation of the previous misery of the peasants. In 1864 there were 342,500 peasant families, holding an aggregate of 8,300,000 acres of land ; but only 22,000 peasants, that is, less than one-half per cent, of the agricultural population, were proprietors, the remainder (218,500) being nobles, while 2,000,000 peasants were czinszewiki, that is, tenants at will, and 1,338,000 had no land at all. In 1872 there were already 572,100 free peasant estates, occupying 13,000,000 acres. In ten years (1864-73) the area of cultivated soil had increased by 1,350,000 acres, while during the fourteen years 1845-59 its increase was only 540,000 acres. The crops, which stood in 1846-60 at an average of 9,360,000 quarters of corn and 6,500,000 quarters of potatoes, reached respectively 15,120,000 and 14,400,000 quarters. The yearly increase, which was only 2-2 per cent, for corn and 1*8 per cent, for potatoes during the years 1846-60, became respectively 4'7 and 8'3 per cent, during the years 1864-75, and the average crop per head rose from 1'93 quarters in 1850 to 2'52 in 1872. The annual increase of horses, which formerly was 1 per cent., reached 27 per cent, in 1864-70, while the yearly increase of cattle remained almost stationary (1'2 per cent., against l'l per cent). In fact, Poland had in 1870 only 37 head of cattle for each 100 persons, against 41 head in 1860. Another consequence of these measures was a notable decrease of crime, and a rapid increase of village primary schools, maintained by the peasants themselves.

It must be acknowledged, however, that the maintenance of the "servitudes" has become a serious evil. Moreover, the want of pasture-land, the want of money for improvements, quite insuffi-ciently supplied by the joint-stock banks in the villages, and the very rapid increase in the price of land, from 50 roubles per morgen (1'3835 acre) to 120 and 250 roubles, have all helped to lessen the benefits of the agrarian measures of 1864. The peasants are unable to purchase land proportionately with the increase of population ; and, while a few of them buy, many others are compelled to sell to the Jews (notwithstanding the law which prohibits the purchase of land by Jews) or to German immigrants. The estates of the nobility do not pass into the hands of the Polish peasants as they are sold, and still less to Russians, but largely into those of German immigrants.

Agriculture in Poland is carried on with more perfect methods on the whole than in Russia. The extensive cultivation of beet-root, of potatoes for distilleries, and of grasses has led to the introduction of a rotation of several years instead of the former " three-fields " system ; and agricultural machinery is in more general use, especially on the larger estates of the west. Winter wheat is extensively cultivated, especially in the south, the Sando-mir wheat having a wide repute. In 1873 50 per cent. (15,728,000 acres) of the surface of Poland was under crops, 9 per cent. (2,929,000 acres) under meadows, and 26 per cent. (8,242,000 acres) under forests. The first of these figures exceeds now 54 per cent. In 1881 the crops reached 19,050,000 quarters of corn, 21,151,000 quarters of potatoes, and 14,368,000 cwts. of beetroot (14,365,950 cwts. in 1882). The corn crops were distributed as follows :—wheat, 11 per cent.; rye, 38 ; oats, 29 ; barley, 12 ; buck-wheat, 4; various, 6 per cent.,—3 per cent, being used for manu-factures, 22 per cent, for seed, 60 per cent, for home consumption, and 15 per cent, for export. The potatoes were used almost entirely for distilleries. The culture of tobacco is successfully carried on (about 3500 acres), especially in Warsaw, Ploek, and Lublin.

Cattle rearing is an important source of income. In 1881 there were approximately 3,300,000 cattle, 4,500,000 sheep (including 2,500,000 of the finer breeds), and 1,000,000 horses. Fine breeds of horses and cattle occur on the larger estates of the nobility, and cattle are exported to Austria. Bee-keeping is widely spread, especially in the south-east. Fishing is carried on remuneratively, especially on the Vistula and its tributaries.
Manufactures have shown a rapid increase during the last twenty Manufac-years. While in 1864 the annual production was only 50,000,000 tures and roubles, it now exceeds 150,000,000,—the manufactures of Poland mines, yielding one-eighth of the total production of the Russian empire.

Mining has shown a still more rapid development within the same period. While in 1862 only 154,100 cwts. of pig-iron and 100,900 cwts. of iron and steel were made, these figures respectively reached 947,800 and 1,742,500 cwts. in 1881; and, whereas the highest figure in the annual returns of the coal-mining industry from 1867 to 1873 was only 2,494,000 cwts., the average for 1876-80 was 17,157,000, and the amount reached 27,659,000 cwts. in 1S81. The zinc mines yielded in 1881 89,640 cwts., and the extraction of tin reached 7580 cwts. in 1878. Sulphur was obtained to the amount of 6450 cwts. in 1879.
The development of the leading manufactures may be seen from the following figures :—

== TABLE ==

Thus, while the number of hands occupied in these industries has increased by 40 per cent., the production has nearly trebled, showing a corresponding improvement in the machinery employed. The chief manufacturing centres are the £6dz region in the govern-ment of Piotrkow (woollen stuffs, cottons, sugar, corn-flour, wine-spirit, coal-mines) and Warsaw (linen stuffs, leather, machinery, sugar, wine-spirit, tobacco, and all kinds of grocery and mercery wares). Mining is chiefly concentrated in the south-west. The annual production for separate governments (exclusive of mining, flour-mills, and breweries, and the number of hands employed by distilleries remaining unknown) was given in 1879 as follows :—

== TABLE ==

These figures, however, have already increased considerably, especially with regard to distilleries, which yielded, in 1882-83, 6,269,500 gallons of pure alcohol; while the sugar-works, which occupied in 1882-83 9774 men, 2636 women, and 2403 children, produced 315,460 cwts. of rough sugar and 425,800 cwts. of refined sugar. In 1882 the production reached 66,291,700 roubles in Piotrkow, 3,948,200 in Siedlce, and 1,240,230 in Suwatki. Oommuni- The railways of Poland have an aggregate length of 888 miles. «*tion. A line of great importance, connecting Vienna with St Petersburg, crosses the country from south-west to north-east, passing through the mining district and Warsaw, and sending a short branch to todz. Another important line, connecting Dantzic with Odessa, crosses Poland from north-west to south-east. A branch line, parallel to this last, connects Skiernewice with Thorn and Bromberg; while a military railway connects the fortresses of Warsaw and Ivangorod with Brest-Litowsky, via Siedlce and iiukow, and a side line will soon connect Siedlce with Matkin on the lower Bug. The great line from Berlin to St Petersburg crosses North Suwatki for 54 miles, between Eydtkunen and Kovno. The aggregate length of the macadamized roads, increased by 2110 miles since 1864, is now about 6700 miles.
Commerce. The traffic on the Polish railways is very brisk. In 1880 the aggregate amount of merchandise brought to and sent from Warsaw reached respectively 36,055,000 and 18,248,000 cwts.; and the whole amount of merchandise conveyed on Polish railways within Poland (exclusive of the Eydtkunen and Kovno line) amounted to 81,469,000 cwts.

The chief custom-houses of the Russian empire—Wierzbotowo, Sosnowice, Granica, Warsaw—and many minor ones are situated on the frontiers of Poland. Their aggregate imports and exports reached respectively 127,414,054 and 146,320,921 roubles in 1882. Adminis- The " primary cell " of the administrative organization of Poland tration. is the gmina,—formerly a village commune for the common posses sion and partly also for the common cultivation of land, which lost its characters with the introduction of serfdom, but has been taken by the law of 1864 as the basis of the organization of the peasantry in Poland. Each district is subdivided into twelve to twenty gminas, including several villages and all farms on its terri-tory, and having a population of from 2000 to 10,000 inhabitants. All landholders of the gmina who are in possession of at least 4 acres constitute the communal assembly of the gmina. Only the clergy-men and the police officials are excluded from it. Each member has but one vote, however extensive his property. The gmina differs thus from the Russian volost in its including, not only pea-sants, but also all lauded proprietors of the territory. The assembly elects the wait, or elder (the executive of the gmina), a clerk, a sottys in each village, and a tribunal consisting of tawniki, who judge all matters of minor importance, according to local customs. It also allocates the taxation among the members of the gmina, administers the common property (pasturage, grazing lands, forests), has charge of the poor, and generally deals with all questions educa-tional, hygienic, and economic which concern the gmina. The cost of administration of each gmina varies from 1000 to 3000 roubles. In reality, the powers of the gmina are, however, very much limited in all but purely economical questions by a numerous bureaucracy, and especially by the " chief of the district" nominated by the crown ; there is also a general tendency towards transforming it into a mere auxiliary to the Russian administration, the clerk or secretary becoming its chief organ.

The provincial administration is regulated by the law of December 31, 1866. Each government being subdivided into ten to twelve districts, the district administration consists of an ouyezdnyi natchalnik, or " chief of the district," with a number of secretaries and "chancelleries" (military, for recruiting; philanthropic; for mutual assurance against fire ; for finance ; and for gendarmerie). The provincial administration, under a military governor, consists in each of the ten governments of the following institutions :—(1) "chancellery" of the governor; (2) a provincial " college," with councillors corresponding to the following departments—administration, military and police, finance, state domains, law, medicine, and insurance ; (3) a philanthropic committee ; (4) a postal depart-ment; (5) a "college for finance; (6-10) departments of excise, customs, forests, control, and education. There is also in ^ach government a special institution for the affairs of peasants.

The entire administration of Poland is under the governor-general, residing at Warsaw, whose power is limited only by " collegiate " institutions corresponding to the different branches of administra-tion. He is at the same time the commander of the entire military force of the " Warsaw military district." Justice is represented by the gmina tribunals ; the justices of the peace (nominated by government); the syezd, or "court" of the justices of the peace ; he district tribunals (assizes) in each government; and the Warsaw courts of appeal and cassation. The prisons of Poland, with excep-tion of a reformatory for boys at Studzieniec, are in a very bad state. With an aggregate capacity for only 4050 prisoners, they had in 1883 7210 inmates. Poland constitutes also a separate educational district, a district of roads and communications, an administration of justice district, and two mining districts.

Poland has had no separate budget since 1867; its income and finance expenditure are included in those of the empire, and since 1881 they have ceased to appear under separate heads. The peasants arrears, which reached 663,685 in 1878, have notably increased since then, ranging from 200,000 to 600,000 roubles in each government.

Perhaps no other country in Europe had so many towns (453), Municipal for the most part enjoying municipal rights according to the jngtitu-Magdeburg and Lithuanian law, as Poland. A large number oftions. them (228) remained, however, private property, or property of the crown. In some of them the proprietors only levied rents on the holders of land that had been built upon ; while in others the dominium supremum was maintained, and the proprietor exacted, not only rents, but also taxes from the inhabitants and visitors,, claiming also the monopoly of selling spirits, &c.

After the last insurrection, all towns with less than 2000 inhab-itants were deprived of their municipal rights, and were included, under the designation of posads, in the gminas. The seignorial rights were abolished or redeemed, and those inhabitants who lived on agriculture received allotments of land redeemed by the state. But the spirit-selling monopoly was maintained, as also the " servitudes." Viewed with suspicion by the Russian Government, the Polish towns received no self-government like the villages. Instead of the former elective municipal councils (which enjoyed de jure very large rights, including that of keeping their own police, while in reality they were under the rule of the nobility), Russian officials were nominated and entrusted with all the rights of the former municipal councils. These last were, however, maintained to carry out the orders of the military chiefs. The new municipal law of 1870, first introduced at Warsaw and then applied to other-towns, reduced the functions of the municipal council almost to nothing, depriving it even of the right of discussing the general budget, which is established by a special administrative committee aided by three to four citizens nominated by the governor. The burgomaster, chosen by Government out of three candidates, and the members of the municipality (tawniki) elected by one section of the citizens, mostly from the poorest classes, have no authority. The burgomaster, who often is a retired private soldier, very badly paid (£18 to £45 per year), is entirely dependent upon the police and the chief of the district, and has to discharge all sorts of functions (bailiff, policeman, &c.) which have nothing to do with municipal affairs.
Poland naturally contains the first line of the fortifications of For-the Russian empire on its western frontier. These fortifications, tresses, however, are intended only to protect the country to the east of the Vistula, the region to the west of it, which contains the chief mining and manufacturing districts of Poland, remaining quite open to invasion. The marshy lowlands, covered with forests on the western bank of the Vistula, are a natural defence against an army advancing from the west, and they are supported by the fortresses on the Vistula connected by the Vistula railway. Their centre is at Warsaw, with Novogeorgievsk, formerly Modlin, in the north, at the mouth of the Bug, and Ivangorod, formerly Demblin, in the south, at the mouth of the Wieprz. Novogeorgievsk is a strongly fortified camp, which requires a garrison of 12,000 men, and may shelter an army of 50,000 men. The town Sierock, at the junc-tion of the Bug and Narew, is now fortified to protect the rear of Novogeorgievsk.

The citadel of Warsaw protects the railway bridge over the Vistula, and six forts—rather out of date, however—protect the capital. The fortress of Ivangorod, on the right bank of the Vistula, is now supported by six forts, four of which are situated on the right bank and two on the left. The Vistula line of fortresses has, however, the great disadvantage of being easily taken from the rear by armies advancing from East Prussia or Galicia. Brest-Litowsky, at the western issue from the marshes of the Pripet, the towns of Dubno and Lutsk, now about to be fortified, and Bobruisk constitute the second line of defence.

Education. The educational institutions of Poland are represented by a university with 1000 students in 1881 ; 18 gymnasiums and 8 pro-gymnasiums for boys, with 8269 scholars in 1878 ; 3 " real-schulen," with 914 scholars ; and 3279 primary schools, with 113,084 boys and 57,260 girls. There are also excellent technical schools, an institute of agriculture and forestry at Nowa-Alexandrya, and several seminaries for teachers. In 1881 the number of scholars was 1 to 35 of the aggregate population, only 19 per cent, of the children of school age receiving instruction in school. The Jewish children mostly are taught in the lieders, where they receive almost no instruction at all.

Russification. The school is the great means used by the Russian Government " for the so-called " Russification " of Poland. The teaching in the former Szkoia Giowna, now the university of Warsaw (even that of Polish literature), has been carried on in Russian since 1873, both by a few Polish professors and by the new Russian ones. Polish is taught in primary and secondary schools only twice a week, in the lower classes ; and the scholars are prohibited from speaking Polish within the walls of the lyceums. In all official communications Russian is obligatory, and a gradual elimination of Poles from the administration is steadily going on, Polish employes being either limited in number (to a fourth, for instance, for the examining magistrates), or else totally excluded from certain administrations (such as that of certain railways). The vexatious measures of Russian rule keep up a continuous feeling of discontent; and, though it was allowed in 1864 that the agrarian measures would conciliate the mass of the peasantry with the Russian Government, it now appears that the peasants, while gaining in those feelings of self-respect and independence which were formerly impossible to them, are not accommodating themselves to Russian rule ; the national feeling is rising into activity with them as formerly with the szlachta, and it grows every day.

There are 27 towns the population of which exceeded 10,000 inhabitants in 1880-82, and 66 towns having a population of more than 5000. The list of the former is as follows :—Warsaw (1882), 406,260 ; Augustow, 11,100 ; Biaia, 19,450 ; Czestochowo, 15,520 ; Garwolin, 14,620; Kalisz, 16,400; Kalwarya, 10,610; Kielce, 10,050 ; Konska Wola, 14,300 ; Kutno, 13,210 ; task, 10,810 ; todz, 49,590; tomza, 15,000; Lublin, 34,980 ; tukow, 11,030 ; Mtawa, 10,010 ; Piotrkow, 23,050 ; Pfoek (1883), 19,640; Radom (1883), 19,870 ; Sedomierz, 14,080 ; Siedlce, 12,320; Sieradz, 15,040; Suwalki, 18,640 ; Turek, 11,500 ; Wiociawek, 20,660; Wtodawa, 17,980 ; Zgerz, 13,360. (P. A. K.)

The above article was written by: P. A. Kropotkine.

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