1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wielopolski, Aleksander

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WIELOPOLSKI, ALEKSANDER, Marquis of Gonzaga-Myszkowski (1803-1877), Polish statesman, was educated in Vienna, Warsaw, Paris and Göttingen. In 1830 he was elected a member of the Polish diet on the Conservative side. At the beginning of the Insurrection of 1831 he was sent to London to obtain the assistance, or at least the mediation, of England; but the only result of his mission was the publication of the pamphlet Mémoire présenté a Lord Palmerston (Warsaw, 1831). On the collapse of the insurrection he emigrated, and on his return to Poland devoted himself exclusively to literature and the cultivation of his estates. On the occasion of the Galician outbreak of 1845, when the Ruthenian peasantry massacred some hundreds of Polish landowners, an outbreak generally attributed to the machinations of the Austrian government, Wielopolski wrote his famous Lettre d'un gentilhomme polonais au prince de Metternich (Brussels, 1846), which caused a great sensation at the time, and in which he attempted to prove that the Austrian court was acting in collusion with the Russian in the affair. In 1861, when Alexander II. was benevolently disposed towards the Poles and made certain political and national concessions to them, Wielopolski was appointed president of the commissions of public worship and justice and subsequently president of the council of state. A visit to the Russian capital in November still further established his influence, and in 1862 he was appointed adjutant to the grand-duke Constantine. This office he held till the 12th of September 1863, when finding it impossible to resist the rising current of radicalism and revolution he resigned all his offices, and obtained at his own request unlimited leave of absence. He retired to Dresden, where he died on the 30th of December 1877.

See Henryk Lisicki, Le Marquis Wielopolski, sa vie et son temps (Vienna, 1880); Wlodzimieriz Spasowicz, The Life and Policy of the Marquis Wielopolski (Rus.) (St Petersburg, 1882).

(R. N. B.)

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