Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

knights to crush the Prussian diet, which, bearing as it did most of the burdens, claimed fairly enough a proportionate share in the government of the Prussian provinces. Excommunicated by the pope and placed under the ban of the Empire, the Prussian cities and gentry naturally turned to their nearest neighbour, Poland, for protection. In October 1453 they placed themselves beneath the overlordship of Casimir; on the 4th of February 1454 formally renounced their ancient allegiance to the Order; and some weeks later captured no fewer than fifty-seven towns and castles. On the 6th of March 1454 Casimir issued a manifesto directing the incorporation of the Prussian provinces with Poland, but granting them at the same time freedom from taxation and full autonomy. But except in the border province of Great Poland, the acquisition of this new territory excited little interest and no enthusiasm in Poland generally. The local diets granted subsidies with a niggard hand, and for the conduct of the war the king soon had to depend almost entirely on Hussite mercenaries, who frequently turned against him when their wages were not paid. The Polish gentry on the other hand exhibited far less energy in the field than in the council chamber; they were defeated again and again by the knights, and showed themselves utterly incapable of taking fortresses. No wonder then if in the earlier years of the war the Order recovered its lost ground, and the king, irritated beyond endurance by the suicidal parsimony of the estates, threatened to retire to the forests of Lithuania. But manlier counsels prevailed, the struggle was resumed, and after the bloody victory of Puck (September 17, 1462) the scales of fortune inclined decisively to the side of Poland. Finally the Holy See intervened, and by the second peace of Thorn (October 14, 1466) all West Prussia, as it is now called, was ceded to Poland, while East Prussia was left in the hands of the knights, who held it as a fief of the Polish crown.

The intervention of the Curia, which hitherto had been hostile to Casimir because of his steady and patriotic resistance to papal aggression, was due to the permutations of European politics. The pope was anxious to get rid of the Hussite king of Bohemia, George Poděbrad, as the first step towards the formation of a league against the Turk. Casimir was to be a leading factor in this combination, and he took advantage of it to procure the election of his son Wladislaus as king of Bohemia. But he would not commit himself too far, and his ulterior plans were frustrated by the rivalry of Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, who even went so far as to stimulate the Teutonic Order to rise against Casimir. The death of Matthias in 1490 was a great relief to Poland, and Casimir employed the two remaining years of his reign in consolidating his position still further. He expired rather suddenly while hunting at Troki in Lithuania in June 1492.

The feature of Casimir's character which most impressed his contemporaries was his extraordinary simplicity and sobriety. He, one of the greatest monarchs in Europe, habitually wore plain Cracow cloth, drank nothing but water, and kept the most austere of tables. His one passion was the chase. Yet his liberality to his ministers and servants was proverbial, and his vanquished enemies he always treated with magnificent generosity. Casimir's married life was singularly happy. His consort, Elizabeth of Austria, "the mother of the Jagiellos," bore him six sons and seven daughters, and by her affection and good counsel materially relieved the constant anxieties and grievous burdens of his long and arduous reign.

See Jan Dlugosz, Opera (Cracow, 1887); August Sokolowski, Illustrated History of Poland (Pol.), vol. ii. (Vienna, 1904).  (R. N. B.) 

CASIMIR-PÉRIER, JEAN PAUL PIERRE (1847–1907), fifth president of the French Republic, was born in Paris on the 8th of November 1847, being the grandson of Casimir Pierre Périer (q.v.) the famous premier of Louis Philippe. He entered public life as secretary to his father, A. V. L. C. Périer, who was minister of the interior under the presidency of Thiers. In 1874 he was elected general councillor of the Aube, and was sent by the same department to the chamber of deputies in the general elections of 1876, and he was always re-elected until his presidency. In spite of the traditions of his family, Casimir-Périer joined the group of Republicans on the Left, and was one of the 363 on the Seize-Mai (1877). If he refused to vote the expulsion of the princes in 1883, and resigned as deputy upon the enactment of the law, it was only owing to personal connexions with the family of Orleans. On the 17th of August 1883 he became undersecretary of state for war, and retained that position until the 7th of January 1885. From 1890 to 1892 he was vice-president of the chamber, then in 1893 president. On the 3rd of December he became prime-minister, holding the department of foreign affairs, resigned in May 1894, and was re-elected president of the chamber. On the 24th of June 1894, after the assassination of President Carnot, he was elected president of the republic by 451 votes against 195 for Henri Brisson and 97 for Charles Dupuy. His presidency lasted only six months. The resignation of the Dupuy ministry on the 14th of January 1895 was followed the next day by that of the president. Casimir-Périer explained his action by the fact that he found himself ignored by the ministers, who did not consult him before taking decisions, and did not keep him informed upon political events, especially in foreign affairs. From that time he definitely and absolutely abandoned politics, and devoted himself to business—especially mining. At the trial of Dreyfus at Rennes, Casimir-Périer's evidence, as opposed to that of General Mercier, was of great value to the cause of Dreyfus. He died on the 11th of March 1907.

CASINO (diminutive of casa, a house), the Italian name for a pleasure-house in a garden, which has been extended to a place of public amusement at pleasure resorts, in which concerts, theatrical performances and public balls are given, and which usually contains a café-restaurant and gaming saloons. "Casino" as an architectural term is still employed in France, and the subject is given in competitive programmes in the French schools of design. In the 18th century in England many Italian examples were built in the parks of country mansions, and Sir William Chambers in his treatise on civil architecture publishes plates of the casinos he had built at Marino, near Dublin, Wilton near Salisbury, and Birdshall, Yorkshire.

Casino or Cassino is also the name given to a game of cards of obscure origin, played with a full whist-pack. The object is to take as many cards as possible, particularly such as have special value. It may be played by two, three or four persons, partners sitting opposite one another. The player at the dealer's right is called the pony (pone), the one at his left the eldest hand. The dealer (selected by the cut of the lowest card) deals four cards to each player by twos and also, just before dealing to himself, four to the table, face upwards. The eldest hand begins the game by playing a card in one of three ways. Either he may take one of the exposed cards on the table by matching it with one from his own hand; or he may put one of his cards upon one of the table hand and call the sum of the pips (called building); or thirdly, failing to do either of these things, he must trail, i.e. lay a card face upwards on the table beside the exposed cards, and the player at his left then plays in his turn. When each player has played out all four of his cards the dealer deals four more all round, and the game proceeds until the pack is exhausted. The game either (1) ends at this juncture, the player having secured the most points winning; or (2) the side or player first securing 21 points wins; or (3) the points secured in a given number of deals may determine the winner. The points and their respective values are as follows:—Big (or Great) Casino (ten of diamonds), 2; Little Casino (deuce of spades), 1; Cards (greatest number), 3; Spades (greatest number), 1; Aces, 1 each or 4 together; Sweeps, 1 each. Thus, without sweeps, the maximum points in one deal are 11. A sweep is a play that clears the table of all exposed cards. The game then proceeds by the next player placing a card on the table face upwards.

"Building," referred to above, is done as follows. Should a 3 lie exposed on the table, a player may place a 4 upon it, saying, "I build a 7," and, if it is not disturbed before his next turn, he may then take the two cards with another 7 from his hand. It follows that no combination may be built unless the builder holds the proper card in his hand. But a build may be increased. Thus, in the case cited above, another player may put a 2 upon the two cards which make 7 and say, "I build 9," in which case the original