Jozef Chlopicki, a Polish general and dictator, born in March, 1772, died at Krzeszowice, Sept. 30, 1854. At an early age he entered the military service, and distinguished himself in the war for independence under Kosciuszko. After the surrender of Warsaw to the Russians (171)4) he retired, went to France, and enlisted in the service of the Cisalpine republic, under the command of Gen. Dombrowski. When in 1806 Dombrowski and Wybicki called the Polish nation to arms, under the protection of Napoleon, promising the return of Kosciuszko, Chlopicki, returned to his country, and served with distinction in the great battles of Eylau and Friedland (1807) in the East Prussian campaign. From 1808 to 1811 he fought in Spain, taking part in the siege of Saragossa, and in the protracted war in Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia, where he defeated Palafox, Mina, and others. The campaign against Russia in 1812 promised the restoration of Poland, and he gained new distinction in the battles of Smolensk and on the Moskva, where he was wounded.
He then followed the retreating French army, but not having received the promotion to which he considered himself entitled, he resigned, and was living in retirement when the armies of the coalition entered Paris in 1814. On the invitation of Alexander of Russia, who assumed the title of king of Poland, and gave the new kingdom a constitution and a national government, he entered the ranks of the new Polish army as general of division; but the wild and capricious temper of its chief commander, the grand duke Constantine, soon caused him to retire. After the night of Nov. 29-30, 1830, which expelled Constantine from Warsaw, Chlopicki was called upon by the general voice to put himself at the head of the nation; but having no faith in the success of the insurrection, he hesitatingly joined the provisional council of administration, and could hardly be persuaded to accept the dictatorship, which he assumed, however (Dec. 5), on the field of Mars, but with the declaration that he would resign his dignity to the national diet immediately after the meeting of that body. But the diet confirmed him in his office, one voice only opposing.
He maintained order and discipline; but his temporizing movements, his fear of failure, his strict observance of the narrow limits of the kingdom as created by the treaty of Vienna in 1815, and his negotiations with the emperor, proved to the patriots that they had fallen into error in the choice of a leader. On Jan. 23, 1831, Chlopicki laid down his office and his military command, and proved his patriotism after the declaration of independence by serving in the battles of Wawer and Gro-chow (Feb. 19 and 25), as a common soldier and adviser of the new commander-in-chief, Prince Radziwill. In the second battle of Gro-chow he led a regiment against the Russians; three horses had already been shot under him, yet he was still advancing, when a double wound compelled him to retire, and checked the Polish advance. To restore his health he went to Cracow, where he remained after the fall of Poland, under surveillance, being but seldom allowed to leave the place.