Rinkdamas duomenis vienam straipsniui visai netikėtai „užlipau“ ant Žano-Žako Ruso esė „Mintys apie Lenkijos Vyriausybę ir siūlomas jos reformas“ (angliškas vertimas – Considerations on the government of Poland and on its proposed reformation). Gaila, kad internete neradau vertimo į lietuvių kalbą, todėl galiu pasiūlyti tik anglišką variantą.
Tai mintys, suskirstytos į 15 skyrių, kuriuose filosofas pateikia siūlymus, kaip reikėtų reformuoti Abiejų Tautų Respublikos valdymo sistemą. Deja, tekstas pavėlavo, nes prašymą pateikusi Baro konfederacija po poros metų filosofo darbo jau buvo nugalėta, Abiejų Tautų Respublika pirmą kartą agresyvių kaimynų padalinta. Nepaisant to, tekstas liko aktualus ir 1791-ųjų Konstitucijai, ir – paradoksalu – šiandienai.
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. There, it seems to me, is the only sanctuary where force can neither reach nor destroy her. An ever-memorable proof of this has just been given; Poland was in the bonds of Russia, but the Poles have remained free.
Today, no matter what people may say, there are no longer any Frenchmen, Germans, Spaniards, or even Englishmen; there are only Europeans. All have the same tastes, the same passions, the same manners, for no one has been shaped along national lines by peculiar institutions. All, in the same circumstances, will do the same things; all will call themselves unselfish, and be rascals; all will talk of the public welfare, and think only of themselves; all will praise moderation, and wish to be as rich as Croesus. They have no ambition but for luxury, they have no passion but for gold; sure that money will buy them all their hearts desire, they all are ready to sell themselves to the first bidder. What do they care what master they obey, under the laws of what state they live? Provided they can find money to steal and women to corrupt, they feel at home in any country.
It is education that must give souls a national formation, and direct their opinions and tastes in such a way that they will be patriotic by inclination, by passion, by necessity. When first he opens his eyes, an infant ought to see the fatherland, and up to the day of his death he ought never to see anything else. Every true republican has drunk in love of country, that is to say love of law and liberty, along with his mother's milk. This love is his whole existence; he sees nothing but the fatherland, he lives for it alone; when he is solitary, he is nothing; when he has ceased to have a fatherland, he no longer exists; and if he is not dead, he is worse than dead.
National education is proper only to free men; it is they only who enjoy a collective existence and are truly bound by law. A Frenchman, an Englishman, a Spaniard, an Italian, a Russian are all practically the same man; each leaves school already fully prepared for license, that is to say, for slavery. At twenty, a Pole ought not to be a man of any other sort; he ought to be a Pole. I wish that, when he learns to read, he should read about his own land; that at the age of ten he should be familiar with all its products, at twelve with all its provinces, highways, and towns; that at fifteen he should know its whole history, at sixteen all its laws; that in all Poland there should be no great action or famous man of which his heart and memory are not full, and of which he cannot give an account at a moment's notice..
If these retrenchments do not take place, I can see only one means that might perhaps accomplish the same result; and this means, fortunately, is already in harmony with the spirit of your institutions. Let the separation of the two Polands be as complete as that of Lithuania is from them; have three states united in one. If possible, I should like you to have as many states as you now have palatinates. Subdivide each of these in turn into an equal number of particular administrations. Perfect the form of the dietines, extend their authority within their respective palatinates; but define their limits carefully, and be sure that nothing can break the bond of common legislation which unites them, or disturb their common subordination to the body of the republic. In a word, devote yourselves to extending and perfecting the system of federal government: the only one which combines the advantages of large and small states, and thus the only one that can answer your purposes. If you neglect this advice, I doubt whether your work will ever be successful.
The same was true of the ministers and great officials. All, being independent both of the senate and of one another, had unlimited authority in their respective departments; but these offices, quite apart from the fact that they balanced one another, were not perpetuated in the same families, hence brought them no absolute power; and all power, even when usurped, always returned to its source. The situation would have been different if the whole executive power had been vested either in a single corporate group, like the senate, or in a single family, through inheritance of the crown. This family or corporate group probably would have oppressed the legislative power sooner or later, and would thereby have placed the Poles under the yoke all other nations bear, and from which they alone are still exempt; for by now I would no longer count Sweden as an exception. This is your second lesson.
Such is the advantage of your situation; it is undoubtedly great. But the following is the disadvantage, which is hardly less great. The executive power, being divided between several individuals, lacks inner harmony, and gives rise to a perpetual wrangling which is incompatible with good order. Each depositary of a portion of this power sets himself, by virtue of that portion, wholly above the magistrates and the law. He does, indeed, recognise the authority of the diet; but since that is the only authority he does recognise, when the diet is dissolved he no longer recognises any; he despises the courts of law and flouts their judgments. Each is a petty despot who, without exactly usurping the sovereign authority, constantly oppresses the citizens in specific cases, and sets a fatal and too frequently imitated example of unscrupulous and fearless violation of the rights and liberties of individuals.
Dėl šių ištraukų drąsiai teigiu, jog asmeniškai man tai vienas įdomiausių atradimų šiais metais. Gaila,
kad neteko su tekstu susipažinti nei mokykloje, nei studijų Vilniaus universitete metu. O juk tai puiki medžiaga savęs pažinimui, susiejati didžiausius pasaulio protus su mūsų visų bendra praeitimi!