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JAN ZAMOYSKI (1541-1605)

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 955 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JAN ZAMOYSKI (1541-1605), Polish statesman, was the son of Stanislaw, Castellan of Chelm, and Anna Herburtowna, who belonged to, one of the most ancient and illustrious families in Poland. After completing his education at Paris, Strassburg, and at Padua, where as rector of the academy he composed his celebrated work De senatu romano (Venice, 1563), he returned home in 1565, one of the most consummate scholars and jurists in Europe. His essentially bold and practical genius sought at once the stormy political arena. He was mainly instrumental, after the death of Sigismund II., in remodelling the Polish constitution and procuring the election of Henry of Michael the Brave, hospodar of Walachia and Moldavia. But beyond securing the Polish frontier Zamoyski would never go. He refused to wage war with Turkey even under the most favour-able circumstances, nor could he be drawn into the Holy League against the Ottomans in Moo. When pressed by the papal legate and the Austrian envoys to co--operate at the head of all the forces of the league, he first demanded that in case of success Moldavia, Walachia and Bessarabia should fall to Poland, and that she should in the meantime hold Olmutz and Breslau as guarantees. The refusal of the Austrians to accept these reasonable terms justified Zamoyski's suspicion that the league would use Poland as a cat's-paw, and the negotiations came to nothing. Statesman though he was, Zamoyski cannot, however, be called a true patriot. Polish historians, dazzled by his genius and valour, are apt to over-look his quasi-treasonable conduct and blame Sigismund III. for every misadventure; but there can be no doubt that the king took a far broader view of the whole situation when he attempted to reform the Polish constitution in 16o5 by strengthening the royal power and deciding all measures in future by a majority of the diet. These reforms Zamoyski strenuously opposed. The last speech he delivered was in favour of the anarchic principle of free election. He died suddenly at Zamosc on the 3rd of June 16o5. See Vincent Laureo,1574—78, et ses depee'ches inedites (Ital.) (Warsaw, 1877) ; Augustin Theiner, Vetera monumenta Poloniae et Lituaniae vol. ii. (Rome, 1862) ; Adam Tytus Dzialynski, Collectanea vitam resque gestas J. Zamoyocii illustrantia (Posen, 1881). (R. N. B.)
End of Article: JAN ZAMOYSKI (1541-1605)

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