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Stanislaus and John Kozmian

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Two brothers who took part in the Polish insurrection of 1831, and subsequently fled the country. Stanislaus settled in England, studied its institutions, and strove to make both nations, England and Poland, acquainted with each other. John lived in France, was zealous in spreading Catholic ideas, and, when his wife died, became a priest. Later he went to Posen, and, as editor of the "Posen Review", became the centre of religious and political life there; Stanislaus aided him in his work and, returning to Posen, became president of the Society of Friends of Science. Both were ardent Catholics, able reformers, courageous politicians, and had minds of exceptional power.

Stanislaus Kozmian

(b. in 1811; d. in 1885)

When a student at Warsaw, had written some poetry, very romantic but only of average worth; later, in England, he set to translating Shakespeare, a work which occupied him for thirty years, and was not complete at his death; he also translated poems by Byron, Moore, Southey, Shelley, Cowper, and especially the splendid passages of Campbell on Poland. He was secretary to the Society of Friends of Poland, and in close relation with Lord Dudley Stuart. His translations of Shakespeare, though naturally not perfect, are as good as those in any other language. Of his original work, the poem best known in his days was entitled "To the Masters of the Word", addressed to Mickiewicx, Krasinski, and Zaleski in 1846. He especially worshiped and loved Krasinski, two of whose books ("The Day of To-Day" and "The Last One") first appeared as Koxmian's, as the author would not otherwise have published them. Their success put Kolmian in a very false and painful position, which he described in one of his poems—an imitation of Dante's "Inferno". Several other poems of a patriotic and religious tendency are also deserving of notice. His prose consists mainly of essays, many of which were published together in two volumes under the title "England and Poland ". The first volume contains important information for the writer on that period of Polish history: what the English thought, what they knew of Poland, how far their friendly feeling went, why the majority of the nation were indifferent to what might befall Poland, and so on. The second was interesting for the contemporary Polish reader, giving particulars of English institutions, life, politics, and literature—in the last respect nothing so good has since appeared in Polish. But it is impossible to notice separately all the multitudinous short articles that he wrote, those which deal with literary criticism are especially admirable. He was a practical man of action, a born journalist unpopular indeed, because, being a fervent Catholic, he condemned conspiracies and did not confound revolution with a war for independence. He lived and died comparatively unknown.

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John Kozmian

Born in 1812, died in 1877. As priest and author he wrote for upwards of twenty years in the "Posen Review"; his articles have been collected in three volumes (1881). Specially noteworthy are the programme of the Review, "That she may fulfil her mission, Poland must be united to the Church "; "The Two Idolatries", i.e., Revolutionism and Panslavism, and his last essay, "Duties are permanent." He also wrote a great deal about Italian affairs and in favor of the Temporal Power. We may also mention a controversial essay with the Jesuit F. Gagarin (a Russian convert ), who maintained that the great obstacle to the conversion of the Russians is that they identify Catholicism and Poland. His literary articles are not numerous. He also wrote funeral orations. He and his brother were the first secular workers for the revival of Catholic convictions in Poland.

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