pc2popiel.JPG (44294 bytes)
Portrait of Pawel Popiel - by Kazimierz Pochwalski. Collection of National Museum in Krakow.

Popiel (Chosciak Popiel) Pawel (1807-1892), a squire, a columnist and a conservative politician, a pioneer of historic monument preservation. Born on 7-21-1807 in Krakow was a grandson of Pawel, the castellan of Sandomierz, the eldest son of Konstanty (vide) and Zofia Badeni (dec. 1859), a nephew of Onufry (vide) and a brother of Wincenty (vide). At the beginning he had private tutors, in 1822 he started attending St. Anna Middle School and in 1823 he passed the maturity exam with merit. During 1823-1827 he was a student of the Law School at the University of Warsaw; at his grandfather's home (Badeni) he met every remerkable person of contemporary Poland. Next three years he travelled to France, England and Switzerland, occasionally studying, making acquaintances among local as well as Polish aristocracy. In summer 1829 he stayed in La Chesnaie at rev. F. Lamennais's home. After his return to Warsaw he started his career in the Commission of Education; he prepared a series of articles against becoming popular divorces, but the censors stopped their publication.

Outbreak of 1830 uprising Popiel considered a catastrophy. On 12-3-1930 together with Aleksander Wielopolski he tried to organize Gentry Assosiation a political competitior of revolutionary "Club". The idea was however abandoned on the very next day since the "Club" was dissolved. From February to May 1831 Popiel entered insurgent military service as an enlisted cavalryman in so-called the Poznan squadrons, he took a part in the famous charge along the Brzesc Road towards Dembe Wielkie (his brothers Ludwik and Waclaw also were insurgents). Before Ostroleka Popiel was called off from duty and assigned to the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, where he was a liaison for German press. On 9-6 he assisted passively and voluntarily to the 3rd Krakus Cavalry Squadron during Warsaw battle. He was with the army till they riched Brodnice, later he settled in Krakow; he received from his father a house at 20 Sw. Jan Street, and from his mother a little estate Ruszcze nearby Krakow. Not earlier than in 1840 he could return to the Kingdom, where he took over his wife's dowry - estate Kurozweki (1833) in Stopnica County, and after his mother-in-law death (1856) also estate Wojcza being in close proximity to Kurozweki. In 1833 together with Antoni Helcel and Konstanty Swidzinski, he prepared a "Memorandum to three courts un the defense of Jagiellonian University", where he suggested free election of professors by the University Board but was against political liberalism.  In the same year he received a duke Adam Czartoryski's emissary, Jozef Swirski. Popiel did not joint officially the National Union Association, but he did not refused his support, either; from then on duke Adam counted him in as his trusted backer. Popiel took a part in smuggling into Krakow a patriotic literature from the emigrant circles. He settled in Ruszcza and he was a local Judge of Peace. From 1840 he lived in Kurozweki, but often stayed in Krakow. Here he witnessed the 1846 uprising. The Galicia massacre caused that he was about selling his estates and moving to France. He was an inermediary between A.Z. Helcel and Wielopolski, when the latter was putting together his famous letter to Metternich. On 6-19-1848, during culmination of revolution when the democrats tried to make the gentry giving up their lands to the peasants, Popiel, during a meeting of the Krakow region gentry introduced a project of lifting drudgery and rents, but only if the peasants decide to buy out their crofts on privileged condition. The initiative came too late, since the tzar decreted abolition of the drudgery in Poland (but not in Russia). During 4-26-1848 action Popiel personally countered erection of the barricades. In the fall of this year he, with several others started a conservative daily "Czas" and he became the first editor-in-chief. He stepped down from that post in 1851, when Maurycy Mann, Walerian Kalinka and the others argued with him on his welcome to the emperor Franz Joseph, charging Popiel as excessively loyal. A year later Popiel published an anonymous open letter to the same emperor, condemning holding Adam Potocki prisoner, without due court process. Popiel was a "Czas" stockholder till his death, having great influence on the daily and through it, on the conservative camp tactics.

During 1848-1853 Popiel was a Krakow Councilman, where he was mainly on the budget matters. In 1853 he was appointed the Chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission of the City and County of Krakow and kept this appointment formally for seveteen years, in fact even longer. He initiated establishing of the Krakow Art Society. Also, he worked in the Division of Archeology and Arts of the Krakow Science Association (from 1858 untill the building of the Association on Slawkowska Street was completed, the Association's collections were kept at Popiel's house). He merited in preparation of a registry of the Krakow historic monuments after geat fire in the city, he put lots of personal efforts in re-construction of the Dominican church (as a Chairman of the Re-Construction Committee), in rehabilitation of the St. Mary's church - including the great altar sculpted originally by Wit Stwosz and presbytery, the St. Cross Chapel and the tumb of the Casimir the Great in Wawel cathedral, rehabilitation of the Collegium Maius and many other buildings. He mertited in preservation of the St. Florian Gate and the Town Hall tower. He represented a "modern" those days approach to maintain the original form of the historic building as a document of the past rather than perfecting or "purifying" the style. His important initiative was regulation of the relationship between the Presevation Commission and both Church and Town Authorities. He immensly helped in establishing the National Museum and in organization of the exibitions. After 1880 he was also a member of the Committee for Adam Mickiewicz monument in Krakow. In 1860 Popiel travelled to Italy to his son's rescue, who served in the papal army and became a prisoner of war after surrender of Ancona. Since he was a squire as an Owner of the Kurozweki estate, he was a member of the Agricultural Society since 1859 where he followed Andrzej Zamoyski. At the end of January 1861 in Nissa he prepared a very strong address to the Russian emperor, however he abandoned the idea, abstaining also from signing the Wielopolski's address. He wrote in his "Diaries", he and A. Zamoyski came to the conclusion that "any address to the tzar was dangerous and Wielopolski's impossible". He took a part in the last session of the Agricultural Society in February 1861 and witnessed death of first five (insurgents) in Warsaw. He came back to Krakow before their burial. He did not joint the "whites" organization, but he did not supported Wielopolski, either. He insisted, that the margrave's reforms shall be used to the advantage, but nobody shall join him. In February 1962 he came to Warsaw to meet and find out the new Archbishop Zygmunt Felinski's "feelings"; then he travelled to Rome to report to the pope Pious IX and cardinal G. Antonelli on the situation of the Catholic Church in Poland. He warned Rome against eagerness in negotiations with tzar's regime. The outbreak of the 1963 upraising cot him unprepared, he tried to stop the Krakow students from going to the insurgents. In the begginning of February at the meeting of squires in Zborow in Stopnica County, he suggested that the nobility shall move, together with peasants, against the insurgency - an idea which at that moment was truly unthinkable. He backed off before coming toward Staszow Marian Langiewicz from Kurozweki to Wojcza, but he felt that he did not have much of choice  but to join the party. In the beginning of March he went to Warsaw where "white" leaders were considering stepping down from the Council of State. Popiel promissed to the that he would presonally check in Paris what are the French government's expectations. He came to Paris and stayed there from March 12 to 20. Hotel Lambert received him icily, the minister E. Drouyn de Lhuys refused receiving him and Aleksandrem Walewski, whom he met, informed him quite untruthfully that the emperor Napoleon III is fully engaged in the Poland's freedom matters. Popiel came back to Krakow, ready to support uprising but under the condition of saving the National Government and establishing the "white" authority. In such a spirit he held a speech at the meeting of the gentry of the province in Krakow on April 5, but he did not gain any support; also, Kalinka wrote to him a letter on the matter, that if the nobility wants to retain any influence on the country affairs, they shall join the movement without any conditions.

Out of his five sons, two refused to join the uprising; the third was about to becoma a priest. Jan, the second son, with his father acknowledgement took a command of a troop, the youngest Waclaw went to the insurgents against his parents' will. The Kurozweki palace was turned int a hospital for the insurgents. After the uprising Popiel was praising himself that against the National Council Act, he took the rent from the peasants. On July 25, 1864 he published an anonymous article in Lipsk "Several words on the duke Adam Sapieha's proclamation", a pamphlet condemning the uprising forced upon the nation by "reds", which must have ended with defeat. The Kingdom gentry - as the conclusion of the pamphlet went - should give up independence dreams, taking care of their own interest aggravated by the tzar's enfranchising reform act. The pamphlet was not noticed in Galicia; however, it was noted with an approval by the governor-general T. Berg. Another pamphlet written by Popiel was directed to T. Berg: "Le prince Czerkaski. Etude psychologique et politique" (Lipsk 1866). Popiel condemned in it a perverse, anti-social policy of the Organization Committee in the agricultural and religion matters. Earlier (1865), and that time openly, Popiel wrote an open letter "To the duke Jerzy Lubomirski" (Krakow), proposing a conciliatory program for Galicia; giving up the independence aspirations, condemning those politicians who took part in the conspiracies, resumption of the legal endeavors for the autonomy of the Galicia. That voice gave a beginning to the hot debate, which in December 1866 closed with the parliament address: "With you, Sire we stand and stand we will". Popiel was active beyond the parliament and he was very successful in gaining support from Jozef Szujski for conciliation idea. Distrustful to the Hotel Lambert diplomatic agenda, Austrian solution for Polish problem, Popiel voiced against dualism as early as March 1867, and for common with Czechs opposition (a brochure: Austria, federal monarchy" part 1-3 Kr.). He stayed passive during "resolution" campaign. In June 1869 in regard with the preservation works run from 1866, he discovered a tomb of Casimir The Great in Wawel. The discovery happend to be cause for popular demonstration, which Popiel tried to stop and brought on himself a wave of attacks from the leftists. Popiel was strongly against patriotic demonstration, but criticized similarily opposed "Teka Stanczyka"; he did not approve its authors activities in the uprising authorities and in his judgement they represented nothing but opportunism and as long as he was a "Czas" stockholder, he did not allowed them as the paper columnist. He was very sceptic in his "Diaries" on substituting so-called "Krakow party" with Stanczyk coterie. Their talents and abilities shall be recognized - hi wrote - but their faults of which the most important was aspiration that "the good they duly wanted, happend only through their own action", shall not be forgotten. Broader charactristics of the Stanczyks' policy Popiel presented in the article "The second anniversary of Jozef Szujski's death" written for "Przeglad Powszechny" in 1885. Stanislaw Kozmian attributed to Popiel a "ability of inopportune voicing; there were times when it was enough to say that an idea came from Popiel, to nullify it". In 1866 in the brochure December 12, 1866 - several words by Pawel Popiel (Krakow) Popiel supported ultramontans in regard with the civil authority of the pope, criticizing the decision of departing Rome by the French garrison. Italians' aspirations on incorporation of Rome Popiel presented as a fight against catholicism. In 1870 in an article written for "Czas" Count Charles of Montallembert (Krakow) Popiel prsented to the Galician readers situation in French Catholic movement, clarifying the origin  of the European ultramontanism. In 1883 he published an article on the main activist of the European ultramontanism, L. Veuillot. Veuillot – he wrote - crushed French Ctholics unity, created a fanatic fraction of clericals "more papal than the pope himself".

In 1873 Popiel gave his Kingdom estates to his sons, and he himself settled permanently in Ruszcza or in Krakow, where at his home he received his male friends on Thursday's meetings, lead disputes on arts and society. He became a private citizen, apart from his memberships in Societes of Agriculture, Credit, and Friends od the Arts; also, he was a President of the St. Vincent Society. The Knowledge Academy appointed him a professor extraordinary on 12-23-1872; he was then one of the original members of the History of Art Commission at the Knowledge Academy. Stanislaw Smolka torpedoed in 1891 the nomination to the professor (ordinary), as too political candidate. Late, in his seventieth (February 1876) Popiel became a MP in supplementary election from Krakow circuit of major property owners and in next year he was re-elected as incumbent. He rarely appeared at plenar meetings, but he was active in the Administrative Commission in regard with the conservative idea of introfucing a Krakow Commons. He was courageus to voice his stand in not-so-popular matters: against enlaging the number of representatives from towns, against credits for agricultural drainage, against subdividing peasants lands, and for appointing the clergy as educators of the community teachers. He supported successfully construction of the Parliament Building in Lwow; during discussion of the subsidy for the theatres he required that the "stage shall not play on the low and bad emotions". He openly was against Jews, whom he charged that they are using privileges gained lately with Chirstians disadvantage. Sensitive more that before on reviving of the conspiracies he condemned a project of the Parliament address to the emperor on re-establishing Polish State in his brochure "To my electors" (10-20-1877, Krakow). The Russian-Turkish war was on, the Galician conspirators dreamed about Turkish, English or Austrian intervention to Polish advantage. The Popiel's protest caused a storm from democrats. also, they attributed to him another, anonymous brochure "Openly" (Poznan 1878) where the author revealed and condemned revived secret organization acting in three partitions. The brochure gained "Czas" support as a "noble denunciation" but Popiel did not admit being an author. In his "Diaries" he admitted being an author of another anonymous brochure Expose, designated for the delegates of the powers to Berlin Congress. Expose was an offer of co-operation of the conservatives with all three partitioners - against the revolution camp. It remained without a response. In 1880 Popiel in name of the Galicia nobility welcomed the emperor Franz Joseph in Krakow, and in memoranda for the emperor he indicated necessity of relaxing the liaisons with Germans and tightening them with Russia.

During the Parlament debate in 1881 on Galicia's reform, Popiel was not able to reach the tribune on time to give a speech. Disappointed with that,   and with the fall of the reform project, he gave up his mandate before the end of his term; he resigned from the Krakow County Council where he was a member from 1877 to 1883. In 1882 he voiced his opinion on the Ukraine matter in two open letters to Stanislaw Polanowski. He insisted that the panslavists and Ukrainian sc=ocialists shall be persecuted by the authorities; but, the Ruthenians - he said - shall be given equal rights which belong to them, without polonisation or latinisation. In the same year, when the Hniliczki community in Eastern Galicia turned orthodox, Popiel personally alarmed about of schisma endangering monarchy. Anonymously he published a brochure: Considerations sur l’etat de l’Eglise en Pologne a l’occasion de l’attentat du 13 mars (Lipsk 1881). Here he profeted that the death of Alexander II was due to the same evil forces which persecuted the Church and the nobility on the Polish soil. He forewarned Franz Joseph in a secter memorandum in 1885 about possible conflict with Russia, in which the emperor shall not count on Poles. He wrote a brochure "The sickness of the century" (Krakow 1880) on the Krakow court case of Ludwik Warynski, which was laughed out by the socialists. Shortly before his deth he charged the "anarchy party" i.e. Lviv democrats, about inopportune fueling patriotic sentiments (A word in many-year dispute, "Przeglad Polski" Krakow 1892). Active mentally till his last years, he published critics on books, memories. He was interested in the origins of the Constitution of the May 3rd, also he supported Kalinka in his research works letting him various documents from the Stanislaw August archives which he inherited from his grandfather Badeni (presently The Popiels' Collection in AGAD). Behind the scenes he influenced also Polish motions in Vatican. He was honored by Vienna with a title of Excellency, he did not hold any function  office, he was for the conservatives a very dear person, however, not necessarily listened to, "Till his death he was among distrusting and disinclined society" - wrote Stanislaw Tarnowski, respected Popiel very much. In 1890 Popiel received a honorary citizenship ot Krakow. He died after extended sickness in Krakow on 3-6-1892 and was buried at the church in Ruszcza. In the left aisle of the St. Maria the Virgin church there is a bronze plate with Popiel's relief portrait in Polish dress (sculpted by Pius Welonski). The family published his 63 pieces (Pisma, Kr. 1893, 2 volumes), then Diaries written in 1879-1889 with concisness in forcible, sometimes passionate language.

He had five sons from the marriage with Emilia Soltyk. Two died in early years: Kazimierz (1845-1873), a priest and Waclaw (dec. 1968). The eldest Marcin (1834-1890) inherited Kurozweki, Jan (vide) took Wojcza and Ruszcza, Pawel (vide) received Sciborzyce. Two elder out of four daughters Maria and Jadwiga were successive wifes of Feliks Roztworowski, the third Zofia (1846-1926) was a Catholic social activist in Krakow and Ruszcza, the youngest Aniela became a nun (Mother Ludmila) in Ursulan order, the Mother Superior of the congregation in Krakow.

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Stefan Kieniewicz

Translation from Polish to English: sp


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This site was created on June 15, 1998 and updated on May 11, 2007
Copyright 1998. Jan Popiel & Slawomir Popiel.