«USURIOUS DEXTERITY AND FRAUDULENT CUNNING»: STANISLAV TARNOWSKY ABOUT THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE PROSPEROUS NOBILITY OF GALICIA IN THE CONDITIONS OF FORMATION OF A FREE MARKET SOCIETY
Keywords:“portions”, gentry, peasantry, usury, stan’chiki, nati et possessionati, “unjust profits”
The article is devoted to the analysis of the essay “Portions” (“Porcyi”) authored by the famous Polish scientist, politician and publicist S. Tarnowski (1837-1917), which was published in November 1874 and revealed changes in social position, economic activity and behavior of wealthy Galician nobles, who, taking advantage of the plight of the peasantry, were actively engaged in usury, earning a solid income. The author states that remaining outside the “noble origin of the owners of estates”, these nobles actually turned into rural extortionists, who are essentially no different from the representatives of the “merchant’s craft” (commissioners, brokers, moneylenders, etc.), genus classes which did not provide for honor and conscience. This, according to S. Tarnowsky, caused enormous damage to the “Polish cause”, as it destroyed the barely planned agreement between the nobility and the peasantry.