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Mieroslawski, Ludwik

Born January 17, 1814 in Nemours (France, Seine-et-Marne), died November 22, 1878 in Paris, Polish general, revolutionary activist, commander of revolutionary movements, and political writer. 1830 finished cadet school in Kalisz (central Poland); participated in the November Uprising 1830-31, then emigrated to France. After 1834 a member of the Young Poland [Mloda Polska] and on Mazzini's order unsuccessfully attempted to organize a Young France; 1835-36 published several poems, historical dramas and a novel, but these literary efforts proved unsuccessful; more renown brought him a history of the November Uprising in Poland, Histoire de la revolution de Pologne (Paris, 1836-38). In 1838 a member of the Towarzystwo Literackie [Literary Society] in Paris; in 1839 of the Union of the Polish Emigration [Zjednoczenie Emigracji Polskiej]; in 1843 of the Polish Democratic Society [Towarzystwo Demokratyczne Polskie]; and in 1845 a member of its governing body [Centralizacja]. Advocate of a revolution in Poland, designated as commander-in-chief of the future uprising in Great Poland [Wielkopolska], arrived in Poland in December 1845 and took part in secret councils in Poznan and Cracow; in February 1848 arrested in Swiniary, near Gniezno, by Prussian authorities; tried in the Berlin Trial of 1847 and sentenced to death; released in March 1848 due to the outbreak of the Berlin revolution. On March 28 arrived in Poznania; as a governor of Military Department [Wydzial Wojskowy] at the National Committee M. organized military troops in Great Poland; on April 10, 1848 nominated commander-in-chief of the revolutionary troops in Great Poland; fought at Miloslaw and Sokoló w; arrested in May was released in July due to the intervention of French diplomats. In December 1848 reelected a member of the governing body [Centralizacja ] of the Polish Democratic Society; in March and April 1849 commander of an unsuccessful campaign against the Bourbons in Sicily; in June of the same year took over a general command of the republican army in Baden and Palatinate; defeated by the Prussians near Rastatt, M. gave up the command and left Germany. In the autumn of 1849 back in France, M. gathered around him some right-wing politicians of the Polish Democratic Society and in the summer of 1853 his group split the Society and established the so-called Polish Circle [Kolo Polskie], counting on Napoleon III's support. In his speech of November 29, 1858 M. condemned a positivistic program for Poland and advocated a military uprising there. In 1861 M. co-founded the Polish Military School in Genoa (later moved to Cuneo); where he lectured on strategy, tactics and military geography; in the autumn of 1862 left the because of his intrigues and apodictic behavior. After the outbreak of the January Uprising 1863, in February that year M. arrived in central Poland [Kujawy], heading a small military detachment, and for a short time was the dictator of the uprising. After several unsuccessful military skirmishes with Russian army, at Krzywosadz and Nowa Wieś, he left Poland. Abroad, he tried to reestablished the Polish Democratic Society on new principles; in July 1865, with a group of his supporters, M. founded a military society [Towarzystwo Demokratyczne]; its program apparently referred to the manifesto of the Cracow Revolution 1846; in its foreign policy, the society advocated unification of all Slavs under the leadership of Poland, reconstituted within its pre-partition borders; denied national distinctiveness of Lithuania, Byelorussia and Ukraine. Initially the Democratic Society had almost four hundred members, mainly Polish emigrants from France, Switzerland, Belgium and Germany; but M. proved to be dictatorial, intriguing and evoking scandals among the emigrants; consequently, in January 1870, most of its members revolted against M. and removed him from the presidency, and later from the organization; in 1870 the Society merged with the Union of Polish Emigration [Zjednoczenie Emigracji Polskiej].

After the Prussian-Austrian war M. lost his influence with the Polish emigrants and withdrew from political life. Died in poverty and isolation; buried in Montparnasse. M. exemplified the contradictions of the Polish noble democracy: on the one hand, strongly manifested radicalism, on the other, however, fear of the masses' participation in the revolution; consequently, M. has evoked controversy among historians. Author of a revolutionary song of 1848, Dobroni ludy, powstanmy wraz [To arms, people, let us rise up together], known as "Mieroslawski's March;" and of many historical works, including: Histoire de la revolution de Pologne, 3 vols., 1836-38; Powstanie narodu polskiego w roku 1830 i1831 roku [A c ritical analysis of the 1831 campaign] (1845); Powstanie 1830 [Uprising of the Polish nation in 1830 and 1831], 8 vols., 1845-87; Rozbiór krytyczny kampanii poznanskie w roku 1848 [Poznan uprising in the year 1848] (1852); Pamietnik Mieroslawskiego (1861-1863) [Mieroslawski's Diary (1861-1863)](1924).

Jolanta T. Pekacz


M. Zychowski, Ludwik Mieroslawski 1814-1878. Warsaw, 1963.

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