Popiel (Chosciak Popiel) Jan (1836-1911), pseudonym "Chosciakiewicz", a member of Galician gentry, insurgent of 1863, conservative politician, was a second son of Pawel (vide.) and Emilia Soltyk, and a brother of Pawel (vide.). In 1847 by father's decision he was sent to a German, catholic school in Nysa, in order to separate him from freedom conspiracy in Poland. During springbreak in 1848 Popiel was witnessing the Krakow mutiny of April 26. In 1851 he started his studies in the Military Engineering Academy in Bruck and after graduation he was commissioned as an officer in the Austrian army. He took a part in 1859 campaign and during Solferino battle was a commanding officer of the communication unit. Later the army transferred him to  Hungary. He was not sympathetic to the Austrian monarchy and was discharged from the army at his request. During summer of 1860 he volunteered to papal army. Accepted, however, without enthusiasm, he was delegated to fortify Ancona; promoted to the rank of captain on September 20, several days prior to the outbreak of a war against Piemont. During 11-days siege of Ancona he was a commanding officer of the fortress artillery unit defending one of the fortress gate. After the surrender he became a prisoner of war; released shortly afterwards, he was decorated by the Pope Pius IX with the St. Gregory Cross. He returned to the country and was helping his father in managing the family estate in Kurozweki. He took a part in a well-remembered session of the Agricultural Society in February 1861 in Warsaw. In April 1963, with his father accord he joined insurgents, what he later commented: "My country decided to jump out off the window, therefore so did I, however without hope nor illusion". Under a pseudonym Chosciakiewicz, taken from his family by-name, he was a commanding officer of an unit of 375 infantry and 50 cavalry in Zygmunt Jordan's campaign on July 26 against Komorow. The unit was under direct fire for several hours and then Popiel led a charge with some 20 or 30 volunteers. Almost all were killed and the unit ceased to exist. Popiel was solved quite miraculously, rambling in the area for several hours, taken prisoner by Cossacks he bought out himself and finally, with his father's help he managed to get behind the Austrian borders (so-called "kordon"). Once more he crossed the Austrian-Russian border leading an unit of some 100 Calvary. He advanced some 40 kilometers into Kielce region, was not, however, able to meet Zygmunt Chmielenski [army] and facing outnumbering units of the enemy in the area of Uniejow, he came back to Galicia. The paper "Gazeta Narodowa" reproached him, but by the order of the National Government of July 22, he was promoted to the rank of Major.

Popiel was not present during the fall-winter campaign of the general Hauke-Bosak. In February 1964 he was in Rome, among averse to insurgency Resurrectionists; he also traveled to Spain. After a year he returned and leased out a bailiwick Laszki from Stefan Zamoyski, in estate Wysock, for 12 years. In mid-seventies he was allowed entry to the Russian-occupied part of Poland (the Kingdom) and his father transferred to him an estate Wojcze in Stopnica county. He kept the Austrian citizenship, therefore when his father gave up his membership in the Galicia Parliament in 1881, he was elected in lieu, from great freeholders curia (electoral group). He was a MP during period of 1883-1888, he wrote a number of brochures on his political stand under a title To my voters  (Kr. 1883 i 1889). In most cases he was a member of the Lustration Commission (a body controlling activity of the Domestic Department), he inspected the government institutions like hospitals, hospices, etc. In the House he followed his father as uncompromising conservative. Openly he was against ex-officio vote for the President of the Lviv University; against forming town councils by small Jewish towns; against mandatory education; against tax increase, on the other hand he was for impartible peasants' land ownership and for deployment of the nuns in the hospitals and orphanages. His speeches were met with vehement resistance within and without the Parliament, even his political friends tried to moderate his views, what disheartened him from running for the seat in next election. He published brochures Propination matters (Kr. 1888) and in the subject of the popular education (An open letter to the reverend Wladyslaw Chotkowski, Kr.1888).

Popiel settled permanently in Wojcza and dedicated himself to managing the estate. He was active in such actions as building embankments and dikes along the banks of Wisla and as a member of the Kielce Chapter of the Agricultural Society. In well run estate he was accepting the gentry youth to practice agriculture. In 1888 he published his memories on his deployment in the service of the Holy Father. Other parts of his memories were printed in "Przeglad Polski" in 1909-1914. The best of them The peasantry formerly and today (Kr. 1910) contained a very accurate evaluation of the agrarian relations in the Southern Poland: with idealization of well off peasants but not without critical remarks against gentry and clergy. In the polemic publication  A Mr le comte Leon Tolstoi. Une lettre (W. 1905) he was opposed unilateral interpretation of the Gospel by Russian thinker. Together with his nephew, a Jesuit Jan Rostworowski, translated from Spanish an ascetic book of a Jesuit G. Palau "A Catholic by deed and truth" (Kr. 1910). During 1905 revolution he associated himself with the Party of Real Politics. In brochures printed mostly in Krakow (On autonomy of the Kingdom, Kr.1906, On a position of the members of the Parliament from the Kingdom of Poland in Petersburg, Kr. 1906, On the election to the Parliament, Kr. 1906) he stated that the only chance for Poles in Russian partition is to come to terms with the Tzar similarly to the status quo in Galicia. After dissolving of 1st Duma (Russian Parliament) he strongly criticized the National Democratic Party charging fault upon them for their tolerance of strikes, radicalism in agrarian matters and pacts with "cadets". He appealed to "less doctrinaire and non-affiliated" elements of NDP to call on the government together with Realists for help to fight socialism and banditism (On proper order of the general matters and about those who wreck it) "Przegl. Pol." 1906 i odb.). In 1908 Popiel took a lead of the first Polish pilgrimage to Roma, during which he got sick and never recovered. He died on May 1, 1911 in Wojcza, buried in the cemetery in Biechow; he ordered an inscription to be carved on his tombstone: "Pontificiae cohortis centurio ceterum peccator pessimus".

Married (1872) with Jadwiga Dunin-Borkowska (1846-1917), left daughters: Teresa (1882-1974), unmarried, and Rosa (1887-1971), a wife to Karol Hubert Roztworowski, a writer, and a son Michael (1884-1955).


 Enc. Wojsk., VI;- Kozlowski E., Wyprawy wojenne z Krakowa w r. 1863, w: Krakow w pwstaniu styczniowym, Kr. 1968; Popiel P., Rodzina Popielow …, Kr. 1936 s. 75-8, 130 (fot.); Przyborowski W., Dzieje 1863 r., Kr.1905 IV 253-6; Tarnowski S., Jan Popiel, Wspomnienia posmiertelne, Kr. 1911; Zielinski S., Bitwy i potyczki, Rapperswil 1913 s. 171-5;- Dok. Wydzialu Wojny; Dokumenty terenowych wladz wojskowych powstania styczniowego 1863-1864, Wr. 1976; Kozlowski E., Bitwa pod Komorowem, Studia i Mater. Do Hist. Wojsk., W. 1964 cz. 1 s. 292-4; Ozegalski-Kosciesza J., Wspomnienia krwawych czasow, Kr. 1908 s. 230-5; Polska dzialalnosc dyplomatyczna w 1863-1864 r., W. 1963 II; Popiel P.,Pamietniki (1807-1892), Kr. 1927; Prasa tajna, I; Spraw. Stenogr. Sejmu krajowego galicyjskiego, 1882-8 [Zaleski S.], Swiatlomir, Ciemnota w Galicji, Lw. 1904 s. 49; - "Czas" 1911 nr 221, 223; "Slowo"1911 nr 132,134;- B. Narod.:rkp. 7284; B. Ossol.:rkp. 11789.

Stefan Kieniewicz

Translation from Polish to English: sp

 

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This site was created on June 15, 1998 and updated on May 13, 2007
Copyright 1998. Jan Popiel & Slawomir Popiel.