Popiel Michal (1817-1903), a conspirator, politician and democrat and autonomy activist in Galicia. Born in Kulczyce nearby Sambor, was a son of Andrzej, a noble owning part of a village, Catholic of an Eastern rite (<< gente Ruthenus, natione Polonus >>) and Teodosia. Popiel was a student of a middle-level school in Sambor and there and then he was won for democratic idea by Kacper Cieglewicz. In next year Popiel established a self-teaching organization of "filaret" type (patriotic) among his friends, which in May 1836 evolved into secret liaison called "Society" with majority of Ruthenian students as members. The conspirators tried to agitate tradesmen and taught military drill. Circulated in copies Popiel's poem "Rusyn na praznyku" condemned in strong words serfdom and drudgery and promulgated brotherhood between sons of Lech and Rus (Poles and Ruthenians), calling for common fight against Germans for liberation of Poland and emancipation of peasants and serfs. In February 1837 the police arrested 19 students of Sambor. Popiel took interrogation well, did not betray his fellows and liaisons with Association of Polish People and turn allegiations toward another one, luckier, who was able to run away and avoid arrest. In spite of that he was sentenced by Lower Court to 13 years in prison and the Appeal Court shortened that to 4 years. In December 1839 he was brought to Spielberg together with first transport of political prisoners. Released in 1843 he found an emplyment as a tutor for the children of Rozwadowskis family nearby Zloczow. Probably he was a part to the 1846 upraising, but luckily avoided repressions.

In 1848 spring he joined pro-Polish agitation of "Ruthenian Sobor" in Lviv, organized National Guard in Sambor, during session of Sambor Chapter of National Council on May 25 he commended Polish nobility in their abolishment of drudgery: <<From now on, there is no Master and no Peasant. We are all masters and all peasants>>. He was elected by voters in Nowa Sol as a representative for Vienna Parliament in June (in spite of significant absence of farmers' voters). The Parliament session of August 14 brought a great debate on drudgery. Popiel spoke in radical spirit for emancipation and enfranchisement of farmers, indicating the United States as a successful state without drudgery. He voted against indemnification of nobles for lost peasant work but also against certain privileges peasants were entitled to, as serfs. During next weeks he cooperated with Julian Goslar, agitating his farmer colleagues <<that in subject of Nation farmers voted for Nation>>. Goslar acnowledged that: "What Stadion was for farmers before, now Popiel is". Popiel signed farmers' petition to the Parliament that damages to the nobles shall not be paid before nobles return to the farmers all lands illegally held by nobles since emperor Joseph II times. He was explaining to his gentile voters that he was about gaining farmers' confidence and the damages will be paid at any rate. He was an ethusiats of Vienna's October Revolution; during later debates in Kromieryz he was rather silent. He was appointed as Ruthenian (and with Ruthenians blessing) to a commission that was about to design an act on local governments.

In fifties Popiel departed politics. He was not a co-owner of Kulczyce anymore, he only had a small real property in Sambor. In or about 1853 he started his practice in the office of the City Hall in Sambor. In or about 1861 he was elected a mayor of Sambor and he kept the office till 1867. No information on his engagement in 1863 uprising. From 1867 to 1873 and from 1879 to 1890 he was a councilman in the county council; he also was a presiden in a few local initiatives like Credit Union and "Elisabeth Fund" (help for poor tradesmen), etc. He was awarded a Gold Cross of Merit with Crown.
In 1867 he was elected to the Land Parliament from Sambor and at once gave on March 2 a sensational speech against motion of rev. T. Pawlykow for equality of rights both Galicia's nations. Using broken Ukrainian language he said (at geat applause of listeners) that there are no two nations in Galicia, there are people of two languages, but one nation, and that Eastern rite clergy do not represent any nation. In the same day he voted with Agenor Gluchowski's "mameluks" and against leftists and centre, for representation in the Council of the State in Vienna. He defended his stand next year, durin a debate on resolution 1868 condemning "patriotic blatancy". Many times he was on varoius matters like transportation, insurances, health care, etc.

During next election 1870 Popiel came back to the Parliament from curia of country communities Sambor-Stare Miasto-Stara Sol; with strong support from the county he passed with one vote defeating an Ukrainian politician J. Lawrowski. He held this mandate in 1876-1882. In 1873 he voted against motion of Jerzy Czartoryski for stopping resistance toward Vienna. Mostly he worked in the petition commission and was activ on local matters. In 1881 he got himself in fight with his namesake Pawel Popiel, protesting against clergy-run schools for community teachers. In 1882 he motioned for compensation for members of the county councilmen. No information on Popiel's late years and family matters. He died in 1903. His grandson was an attorney in Lviv during interwar period.


Borys W., Wybory w Galicji, "Przeglad Hist." 1967 s. 37; Franko L.,Panscyna ta ij skasuvannja w Halycyni, L'v. 1913 s. 104-8; Handelsman M., Ukrainska polityka A. Czartoryskiego, W. 1937; Herbil ' s ' kij H., Poredowa suspil ' na dumka w Halycyni, L ' v. 1959 s. 132-3; Kaminski A., Polskie zwiazki mlodziezy 1831-1848, W. 1964; Kieniewicz S., Pomiedzy stadionem a Goslarem, Wr. 1980; Kozik J., Miedzy reakcja a rewolucja, W. 1975; tenze,Nieznane listy J. M. Goslara, "Przegl. Hist." 1975 s. 611-19; tenze, Ukrainski ruch narodowy w Galicji w l. 1830-1848, Kr. 1973; Lopuszanski B., Stowarzyszenie Ludu Polskiego, Kr. 1975, Pannenkowa I., Walka Galicji z centralizmem wiedenskim, Lw. 1918 s. 269; [ Popiel M.],Rusyn na praznyku, " Zyt ' ja i Slovo" T. 14: 1895 s. 195-201 ( pierwodruk ) ; Popiel P., Rodzina Popielow..., Kr. 1936 s. 18; Radimsky R., Die Bauernabgeordneten im konstituierenden osterreichischen Reichstag 1848-1849, Wien 1976 s. 63, 117-19, 163; Zanevyc I., Znesenie panscyny w Halycyni, L ' v. 1896 s. 52-4; Zborucki Z., Proces studentow samborskich, Lw. 1927; - Bogdanski H., Pamietnik, Kr. 1971; Horoszkiewicz J., Notatki z zycia, Wr. 1957; Schematyzmy Krol. Galicji, 1849-91; Schmitt H., Listy do zony, Wr. 1961; Smolka F., Dziennik w listach do zony, W. 1913; Spraw. stenogr. Sejmu Krajowego galicyjskiego, 1867-82; - B. Ossol.: rkp. 7939; - Wyciagi z zeznan Popiela a w r. 1837 udzielone przez W. Borysa.

 

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
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