The Objects

4th May 1815

Source: Pinakoteka Zaścianek

Adam Jerzy Czartoryski and the Kingdom of Poland

Contributed by: Jarosław Czubaty

Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski (1770-1861), seen here in an 1810 portrait by Józef Oleszkiewicz, was a descendant of a Polish aristocratic family who supported the Polish national cause. Because of this, after the Third Partition of Poland (1795), he was called by Catherine the Great to the court of Saint Petersburg, to guarantee the Czartoryskis’ loyalty towards Russia. After Alexander I’s accession to the throne, he forged a career in the Russian government. At the forefront of Russian diplomacy in the years 1801-1806, he attempted to persuade Alexander I to restrain Napoleon’s growing hegemony in Europe and to rebuild the Polish state.

During the Congress of Vienna Czartoryski supported the tsar’s efforts to create the Kingdom of Poland with Alexander I as its constitutional ruler. This goal required him both to mitigate the opposition of the many reluctant Russian dignitaries and to moderate the anti-Russian mood of many Poles. During Napoleon’s 100 Days Czartoryski was afraid that the Emperor’s return to power might awaken pro-Napoleonic sympathies among Poles and destroy his previous efforts to create a compromise between them and their future (Russian) king. He published several anonymous letters and articles in the Warsaw newspapers attempting to bring his compatriots to their senses and dissuading them from involvement in a new conflict between Napoleon and the coalition.

Geolocation

Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski (1770-1861), seen here in an 1810 portrait by Józef Oleszkiewicz, was a descendant of a Polish aristocratic family who supported the Polish national cause. In the 1792 war he fought against Russia in defense of Poland’s sovereignty, and after the Third Partition of Poland (1795) he was called by Catherine the Great to the court of Saint Petersburg as a guarantor of the Czartoryskis’ loyalty towards Russia. As a friend of Prince Alexander Pavlovitsch, he was able to make a career in the Russian government after the Prince’s accession to the throne in 1801, belonging to the circle of the so-called ‘young friends of the tsar’ who advised the new ruler on many state matters.

At the forefront of Russian diplomacy in years of 1801-1806, Czartoryski attempted to persuade Alexander I to restrain Napoleon’s growing hegemony in Europe and rebuild the Polish state.

After 1806, he moved away from active service but maintained friendly relations with the tsar. Although he was disillusioned with the Russian political system, he nonetheless believed in the liberal intentions of Alexander I, and was convinced that the tsar should use the force of the Russian empire to restore the Polish state.

During the Congress of Vienna Czartoryski supported the tsar’s efforts to create the Kingdom of Poland with Alexander I as its constitutional ruler. This goal required him both to mitigate the opposition of many reluctant Russian dignitaries and to moderate anti-Russian moods of many Poles. During the Napoleon’s 100 Days he was afraid that Emperor’s return to power might awaken pro-Napoleonic sympathies among the Poles and destroy his previous efforts to create a compromise between them and their future (Russian) king.

He published several anonymous letters and articles in the Warsaw newspapers attempting to bring his compatriots to their senses and dissuading them from involvement in a new conflict between Napoleon and the coalition. His fear was not unfounded: the Napoleonic legend was still vivid in Poland, and the anti-Russian mood was widespread, especially among many officers and young men. Ultimately, the conviction that the new war would not affect the political situation in the Polish lands prevailed, and no official pro-Napoleonic action was taken, although about 1000 Polish volunteers fought alongside Napoleon in Belgium campaign.

On 20 June 1815, two days after the battle of Waterloo, the Kingdom of Poland was officially proclaimed in Warsaw.


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