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1
Content available remote The Negotiations of Augustus II with Sweden in 1719-1720
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nr 3
23-44
EN
The author discusses the course of negotiations between Augustus II and Sweden in 1719-1720, starting with the considerable divergence of opinions held by historians concerning the date and form of the convention which ended the war between the Commonwealth-Saxony and Sweden; she also wonders whether the pact ever took place. Subsequently, the article goes on to analyse consecutive projects devised in Dresden, Stockholm and Warsaw, indicating the main discrepancies. Augustus II demanded the unconditional recognition of his power in the Commonwealth (without any rights or titles granted to Stanislaw Leszczynski) and territorial claims in the Reich. The Swedish side called for the renouncement of all claims, a confirmation of the treaty of Oliwa, the recognition of the royal title of Stanislaw Leszczynski and grants of means of subsistence (the restoration of estates of a pension), and the membership of the Commonwealth in an anti-Russian coalition. Another essential factor was the protest expressed by the Polish lords who feared that a separatist treaty with Sweden would pose the threat of an outbreak of a war against Russia; they placed greater hope in ending the war at the side of Peter I, relying on him to realise the promise of transferring to the Commonwealth Samogitia captured from Sweden. The author demonstrates that even the project of signing a preliminary treaty with Sweden by Augustus II as the elector of Saxony remained unaccepted by the Polish lords. The problem of negotiations was delayed until the Seym convention of autumn of 1720 and the congress of Brunswick. Nonetheless, the divergencies of the stands represented by the interested parties had not been eliminated. The Seym convention proved futile, and the congress of Brunswick never took place. As a result, both in 1719 and 1720 no formal pact was signed between Augustus II and Sweden. The ineffectual nature of the negotiations with Augustus II indubitably became for Sweden one of the impulses for signing a peace with Russia in Nystadt.
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Content available remote 'Intrigues and Simonies' Surrounding the Bishopric of Cracow in 1789
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nr 3
103-126
EN
The decision taken by the Four Year Seym on 17 July 1789, confirmed in the law passed on 24 July 1789, to confiscate the estates of the vacant bishopric of Cracow, and to pay all future bishops salaries of 100,000 zlotys p. a., threatened the most serious split between the State and the Roman Catholic Church in the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The decisions were taken by a parliamentary assembly that deliberated in public, and was subject to being swayed by persuasive orators.However, a focus on public discourse cannot explain why the Seym took some potentially acceptable decisions (such as that concerning the bishoprics) but not others (such as proposals to confiscate monastic property). This article seeks to explain how and why the issue of the bishopric of Cracow came to be presented to the Seym in the expectation that it would 'reduce' the bishopric to 100,000 zlotys p. a. . Beginning with the death of Bishop Kajetan Soltyk (1788), the article covers the ambitions of Primate Michal Jerzy Poniatowski to retain the administration of Cracow alongside his tenure of the archbishopric of Gniezno, and the aspirations of other episcopal hopefuls, such as Adam Naruszewicz, Ignacy Krasicki, Ignacy Massalski, Krzysztof Hilary Szembek, Józef Kossakowski and Feliks Turski, as well as the interests of the Holy See, the Polish king, the clique led by Hetman Franciszek Ksawery Branicki, and Prussian and Russian diplomats and their respective courts. It follows the jockeying for position among the interested parties in connection with other political issues, explains the failure of King Stanislaw Augustus to cut a deal with King Frederick William II, and throws some light on the deteriorating relationship between Stanislaw Augustus and the Russian Ambassador, Otto Magnus von Stackelberg. The article concludes that the king and primate were indeed responsible for summoning Krasicki to Warsaw for negotiations which precipitated the denouement in the Seym. It also advances evidence that the outcome satisfied the Prussian envoy Girolamo Lucchesini, and that he played a vital role in procuring the final result of what the papal nuncio termed 'intrigues and simonies'.
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Content available remote The 'Szlachta' (Gentry) and their Ancestors in the Eighteenth Century
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nr 3
161-182
EN
The article deals with an issue of crucial importance for comprehending the political culture of the gentry (szlachta) during the eighteenth century, namely, the attitude towards supposed ancestors whose majority remained unidentified. The function fulfilled by this topos involved predominantly justifying the existing state of the Commonwealth, i.e. so-called golden freedom purportedly obtained thanks to the virtues and spilt blood of the ancestors. Constant reference to these factors endowed almost all institutions, functions and reflections of the gentry community with a strong emotional content which constituted an essential obstacle for the introduction of 'novelties', i.e. reforms. The author attempted to demonstrate the manner in which assorted writers, either pro-reform or conservative, tackled the problem of ancestors and the objectives which references of this sort served. At the end of the century men of letters who demanded changes applied the ancestor topos much more rarely or outright renounced it, aware of the ideological 'cul de sac' to which this particular slogan led.
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Content available remote Veto - Liberty - Power in Polish Political Thought during the Eighteenth Century
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nr 3
141-159
EN
The 18th century was a period when the liberum veto was not only universally applied in practice, but also obtained a complete legal and doctrinal superstructure. The principle was treated not only as an outcome of the necessity to attain universal consent while making political decisions, but as the right of individual protest against collective decisions. For the supporters of the liberum veto principle it was tantamount to an extreme expression of political liberty and a guarantee of equal participation in governance by all the gentry citizens. Both the adherents and the opponents of the veto emphasised that it signified enormous power potentially wielded by every participant of political life. Nevertheless, it remained a negative 'liberty to negate', whose intention was predominantly to protect the existing state of things against any sort of changes threatening liberty. The liberum veto was treated as a sui generis right of rights - a guarantee of all other gentry rights and privileges. Not only the opponents but also the apologists of the veto were well aware of the dangers stemming from it. This is the reason why even the most fervent praise was accompanied by complaints against its abuse. The opponents drew attention to the fact that in practice it remained a tool in the hands of magnates. It was also noted that it was not so much extreme individual liberty as the despotism of an individual breaking up a parliamentary session. Starting with 'Glos wolny' (The Free Voice) it was stressed that the veto destroys fundamental institutions ensuring liberty - the Seym and dietines, and thus leads to the downfall of the free Commonwealth. The most complete arguments against ius vetandi were presented and analysed by S. Konarski, who contrasted the liberum veto - conceived as the unlimited power of an individual - with the liberty of the whole community and the individual citizen. Successive authors tended to echo Konarski's thought rather than add new reflections. From the 1770s, no one any longer defended the liberum veto and political discussions once again turned to the problem of the threat posed by the tyranny of the majority and certain fundamental rights for the republic, whose change required the universal consent of all citizens.
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During the 1770s and 1780s, the political scene in the Commonwealth was dominated by a struggle waged by the magnate opposition against the royal-ambassadorial system. A sudden intensification of the conflict was produced in 1785 by the so-called Dogrumowa scandal in which, upon the basis of uncertain confessions made by the adventuress Maria Teresa Dogrumowa, such malcontents as Ignacy and Stanislaw Potocki as well as Elzbieta Lubomirska accused Jan Komarzewski and Franciszek Ryx, close collaborators of King Stanislaw Augustus Poniatowski, of planning to poison Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski, general of the region of Podolia. The affair mobilised the entire opposition camp, which tried to use it for launching an attack against the monarch. The verdict issued by a marshal's court exonerated the accused royal co-workers, but did not end the antagonism between the king and the opposition, which had escalated due to the poisoning charges. As a result of the intervention made by Ignacy Potocki, the court verdict included the name of Franciszek Ksawery Branicki, providing the Grand Crown Hetman with a premise for attacking the marshal's decree and Stanislaw Augustus under the pretext of incurred injustice. Due to his connections with Grigoriy Potiomkin, Branicki managed to win the support of Catherine II for his efforts directed against the monarch. He also used them in a propaganda campaign, convincing the gentry about the correctness of his conduct, and the malcontents about the understanding and support shown by St. Petersburg for undertakings directed against the king. Owing to those endeavours, the years 1785-1786 witnessed a consolidation of the whole anti-royal camp and a radicalisation of attitudes, which predicted a turbulent course of parliamentary debates in 1786.
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