Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/75

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PONIATOWSKI—PONS

which the English is a 16th-century adaptation, is formed from poing, fist, the clenched hand in which the weapon is grasped. (See Dagger.)


PONIATOWSKI, the name of a Polish princely family of Italian origin, tracing descent from Giuseppe Torelli, who married about 1650 an heiress of the Lithuanian family of Poniator, whose name he assumed.

The first of the Poniatowskis to distinguish himself was Stanislaus Poniatowski (1677–1762), who only belonged to the family by adoption, being the reputed son of Prince Sapieha and a Jewess. He was born at Dereczyn in Lithuania, and was adopted by Sapieha's intendant, Poniatowski. With his father he attached himself to the party of Stanislaus Leszczynski, and became major-general in the army of Charles XII. of Sweden. After the defeat of Pultowa he conveyed Charles XII. across the Dnieper, and remained with him at Bender. From there he was sent to Constantinople, where he extracted from the sultan Achmet III. a promise to march to Moscow. When the grand vizier, Baltagi Mehemet, permitted the tsar Peter I. to retreat unharmed from the banks of the Pruth, Poniatowski exposed his treason. He rejoined Leszczynski in the duchy of Zweibrücken, Bavaria, of which he became governor. After the death of Charles XII. in 1718 he visited Sweden; and was subsequently reconciled with Leszczynski's rival on the throne of Poland, Augustus II., who made him grand treasurer of Lithuania in 1724. On the death of Augustus. II. he tried to secure the reinstatement of Leszczynski, who then resumed his claims to the Polish crown. He was taken prisoner at Danzig by the Russians, and presently gave his allegiance to Augustus III., by whom he was made governor of Cracow. He died at Ryki on the 3rd of August 1762.

His second son Stanislaus Augustus became king of Poland (see Stanislaus II.). Of the other sons, Casimir (1721–1780) was his brother's chancellor; Andrew (1735–1773) entered the Austrian service, rising to the rank of feldzeugmeister; and Michael (1736–1794) became archbishop of Gnesen and primate of Poland. Joseph Anthony Poniatowski (q. v.), son of Andrew, became one of Napoleon's marshals.

Stanislaus Poniatowski (1757–1833), son of Casimir, shared in the aggrandisement of the family during the reign of Stanislaus II., becoming grand treasurer of Lithuania, starost of Podolia and lieutenant-general of the royal army. In 1793 he settled in Vienna, and subsequently in Rome, where he made a magnificent collection of antique gems in his house on the via Flaminia. This collection was sold at Christie's in London in May 1839. He died in Florence on the 13th of February 1833, and with him the Polish and Austrian honours became extinct.

His natural, but recognized, son, Joseph Michael Xavier Francis John Poniatowski (1816-1873), was born at Rome and in 1847 was naturalized as a Tuscan subject. He received the title of prince in Tuscany (1847) and in Austria (1850). He had studied music under Ceccherini at Florence, and wrote numerous operas, in the first of which, Giovanni di Procida, he sang the title role himself at Lucca in 1838. He represented the court of Tuscany in Paris from 1848, and he was made a senator by Napoleon III., whom he followed to England in 1871. His last opera, Gelmina, was produced at Covent Garden in 1872. He died on the 3rd of July 1873, and was buried at Chislehurst. His son, Prince Stanislaus Augustus, married and settled in Paris. He was equerry to Napoleon III., and died in January 1908.


PONIATOWSKI, JOSEPH ANTHONY (1763–1813), Polish prince and marshal of France, son of Andrew Poniatowski and the countess Theresa Kinsky, was born at Warsaw in 1763. Adopting a military career, he joined the Imperial army when Austria declared war against the Turks in 1788, and distinguished himself at the storming of Sabac on the 25th of April, where he was seriously wounded. Recalled by his uncle King Stanislaus when the Polish army was reorganized, he received the rank of major-general, and subsequently that of lieutenant-general, and devoted himself zealously to the improvement of the national forces. In 1789, when Poland was threatened by the armed intervention of Russia, he was appointed commander of the Ukraine division at Braclaw on Bug. After the proclamation of the constitution of the 3rd of May 1791 he was appointed commander-in-chief, with instructions to guard the banks of the Dniester and Dnieper. On the outbreak of the war with Russia, Prince Joseph, aided by Kosciuszko, displayed great ability. Obliged constantly to retreat, but disputing every point of vantage, he turned on the pursuer whenever he pressed too closely, and won several notable victories. At Polonna the Russians were repulsed with the loss of 3000 men; at Dubienka the line of the Bug was defended for five days against fourfold odds; at Zielence the Poles won a still more signal victory. Finally the Polish arms converged upon Warsaw, and were preparing for a general engagement when a courier from the capital informed the generals that the king had acceded to the confederation of Targowica (see Poland: History) and had at the same time. guaranteed the adhesion of the army. All hostilities were therefore to be suspended. After an indignant but fruitless protest, Poniatowski and most of the other generals threw up their commissions and emigrated. During the Kosciuszko rising he again fought gallantly for his country under his former subordinate, and after the fall of the republic resided as a private citizen at Warsaw for the next ten years. After Jena and the evacuation of the Polish provinces by Prussia, Poniatowski was offered the command of the National Guard; he set about reorganizing the Polish army, and on the creation of the grand duchy of Warsaw was nominated war minister. During the war of 1809, when an Austrian army corps under the archduke Ferdinand invaded the grand duchy, Poniatowski encountered them at the bloody battle of Radzyn, and though compelled, to abandon Warsaw ultimately forced the enemy to evacuate the grand duchy, and captured Cracow. In Napoleon's campaign against Russia in 1812 Poniatowski commanded the fifth army corps; and after the disastrous retreat of the grand army, when many of the Poles began to waver in their-allegiance to Napoleon, Poniatowski remained faithful and formed a new Polish army of 13,000 men with which he joined the emperor at Lützen. In the campaign of 1813 he guarded the passes of the Bohemian mountains and defended the left bank of the Elbe. As a reward for his brilliant services at the three days' battle of Leipzig he was made a marshal of France and entrusted with the honourable but dangerous duty of covering the retreat of the army. Poniatowski heroically defended Leipzig, losing half his corps in the attempt, finally falling back slowly upon the bridge over the Elster which the French in the general confusion blew up before he reached it. Contesting every step with the overwhelming forces of the pursuers, he refused to surrender, and covered with wounds plunged into the river, where he died fighting. to the last. His relics were conveyed to Poland and buried in Cracow Cathedral, where he lies by the side of Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Jan Sobieski. Poniatowski's Mes souvenirs sur la campagne de 1792 (Lemberg, 1863) is a valuable historical document.

See Stanislaw Kostka Boguslawski, Life of Prince Joseph Poniatowski (Pol.; Warsaw, 1831); Franciszek Paszkowski, Prince Joseph Poniatowski (Pol.; Cracow, 1898); Correspondence of Poniatowski (ed. E. Raczynski, Posen, 1843); Bronislaw Dembinski, Stanislaus Augustus and Prince Joseph Poniatowski in the light of their Correspondence (Fr.; Lemberg, 1904); Szymon Askenazy, Prince Joseph Poniatowski (Pol.; Warsaw, 1905).


PONS, JEAN LOUIS (1761–1831), French astronomer, was born at Peyres (Hautes Alpes) on the 24th of December 1761. He entered the Marseilles observatory in 1789, and in 1819 became the director of the new observatory at Marlia near Lucca, which he, left in 1825 for the observatory of the museum at Florence. Here he died on the 14th of October 1831. Between 1801 and 1827 Pons discovered thirty-seven comets, one of which (observed on the 26th of November 1818) was named after J. F. Encke, who determined its remarkably short period.

See M. R. A. Henrion, Annuaire biographique, i. 288 (Paris, 1834); Memoirs Roy. Astron. Soc. v. 410; R. Wolf, Geschichte der Astronomie. p. 709; J. C. Poggendorff, Biog. lit. Handwörterbuch.