Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 454 pages of information about Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic.
two thirds are elected; one third of these, and all the officers of the higher tribunals, are appointed by the government.  In former times the profession of a lawyer, as well as that of a physician, was considered in Poland as degrading and unworthy of a nobleman.  These two professions were not indeed prohibited by law, like that of traders,—­for a nobleman who retailed “by yards or by pints,” legally lost his rank,—­but custom had made all those occupations which were the source of pecuniary profit, equally the objects of contempt.  There was even a time, “when it was reckoned a matter of indifference for a nobleman to understand arithmetic[66].”  In modern times the ideas on this subject have of course changed; the study of law is no longer despised, especially in its necessary connection with the administration of justice.  Slotwinski in Cracow, Bantkie and Maciejowski in Warsaw, were esteemed as teachers of law.  We shall hereafter have occasion to mention the valuable work of the latter on this subject.  The Roman law, both civil and criminal, was studied in the universities, as well as the law of nature and nations; which latter, in the case of this unhappy country, has been for more than seventy years so cruelly violated.

It is a singular fact, that although, down to the year 1818 when the Russian government interfered to prevent it, foreign travel was one of the favourite means of education among the Polish nobility, their literature exhibits hardly any books of travels.  A few were formerly written in Latin or French; among the latter we mention John Potocki’s ‘Travels for the purpose of discovering Slavic antiquities,’ Hamb. 1795.  In more modern times count Raczynski has published the ’Journal of his travels to Constantinople and the plain of Troy,’ richly embellished with illustrations, mentioned above.[67] A view of Great Britain was given in 1828 by Ljach Szyrma, under the title Anglia i Szkocya.

SIXTH PERIOD.

From the Polish Revolution in 1830 to the present time.

We have thus brought down the history of Polish literature to the year 1830; an epoch of glorious, although most melancholy moment in the history of Poland.  If the literature of a country could ever be regarded completely in abstracto; if it was not in intimate connection with the political fate and position of its country; we would have commenced this period with the first combats of the Romantic and Classical schools, that is, about fifteen years earlier.[68] But while these fifteen years may be considered in some measure as the time of the fermentation of that spirit, which broke out in 1830; this latter year—­with its melancholy attempts on the part of Russia to crush all Polish nationality, by the annihilation of their higher seats of learning and the spoliation of all their libraries, as the principal means of cultivating it—­forms only too distinctly an epoch, not only in Polish history in general, but specially in Polish literature.

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Historical View of the Languages and Literature of the Slavic from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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