Rousseau's counsel to the Poles

“POLAND is a large state surrounded by even more considerable states which, by reason of their despotism and military discipline, have great offensive power. Herself weakened by anarchy, she is, in spite of Polish valour, exposed to all their insults. She has no strongholds to stop their incursions…

“In the present state of affairs, I can see only one way to give her the stability she lacks: it is to infuse, so to speak, the spirit of the Confederation throughout the nation; it is to establish the Republic so firmly in the hearts of the Poles that she will maintain her existence there in spite of all the efforts of her oppressors…. You may not prevent them from swallowing you up; see to it at least that they will not be able to digest you.”

Considerations on the Government of Poland and on its Proposed Reformation, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1772

Twenty years ago tomorrow, the Polish people broke Moscow’s teeth for good. I’ll be writing more about that great moment later today.

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