Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł (1734–1790)
- For other people to use this name see: Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł
Sejm Marshal of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
5 October 1767 – 5 March 1768
|Monarch||Stanisław II Augustus|
|Preceded by||Celestyn Czaplic|
|Succeeded by||Michał Hieronim Radziwiłł|
|Born||February 27, 1734|
Nieśwież, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
|Died||November 21, 1790 (aged 56)|
Biała Podlaska, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
|Spouse(s)||Maria Karolina Lubomirska (pl) |
Teresa Karolina Rzewuska
|Mother||Urszula Franciszka Wiśniowiecka|
|Father||Michał Kazimierz "Rybeńko" Radziwiłł|
|Known for||Bar Confederation|
Prince Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł (Belarusian: Караль Станіслаў Радзівіл II, Lithuanian: Karolis Stanislovas Radvila II, Exonym: Charles Stanislaus: 27 February 1734 – 21 November 1790) was a Polish nobleman, politician, diplomat, prince of the Crown Kingdom of Poland and the Commonwealth, statesman of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Voivode of Vilnius, governor of Lwów and Sejm Marshal between 1767 and 1768. He is frequently referred to by his well-known idiolect "Panie Kochanku" ("My Dear Sir") to distinguish him from his earlier namesake.
Prince Radziwiłł held several important posts in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. From 1752 he was the Master Swordbearer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. On 3 August 1757 he was awarded the Order of the White Eagle and was officially one of that decoration's first recipients. From 1762 he was Voivode of Vilnius.
In 1767 he became Marshal General of the Radom Confederation and, the following year, Marshal of the Bar Confederation. After its fall in 1772 he emigrated, but in 1777 returned to the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and resumed all his previous posts after having first pledged his loyalty to Polish King Stanisław II Augustus, whom he had previously opposed. During the Great Sejm from 1788 until his death in 1790 he was a leading opponent of reform, King Stanisław Augustus and his allies; the members of the so-called Familia political party headed by the Czartoryski family.
Radziwiłł was the wealthiest magnate in Poland, in the second half of the 18th century, and one of the richest men in Europe. His private properties and wealth, including 16 cities, 683 villages and 25 counties, both in Poland and in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, could have been compared to those of the King himself. Legends about him abounded, and he was featured in historical novels and poems reflecting his contributions to the nation. On one hand, he was pictured as a drunkard and degenerate reveler; on the other, as a flamboyant character, the best representative of Sarmatism in the country, and a great patriot who fought for a free nation, that soon after his death would be partitioned between Austria, Prussia and the Russian Empire. He was popular among the poorer nobility and remains today a symbol of his era.
- 1 Early life and studies
- 2 Marriage, family and disputes
- 3 Inheritance and conflict with Count Brühl
- 4 Politics and rivalry with the Czartoryski family
- 5 Death of Augustus III and neglected duties
- 6 Struggle against the Grodno Confederation and exile
- 7 The Grodno Decree and confiscation of estates by the Czartoryski family
- 8 Catherine's aid and return to the country
- 9 General Radom Confederation
- 10 Financial difficulties and debts
- 11 Conflict in the Grand Duchy and granted asylum from Frederick the Great
- 12 Catherine's warning and temporary Prussian support
- 13 Diplomatic mission of the Confederation
- 14 Diplomacy within the Holy Roman Empire and succession
- 15 Journey to France, Italy and Bavaria. Issues with Turkey
- 16 Opposition to the king and financial demise
- 17 Final attempts at reclaiming stolen goods from Catherine
- 18 Last years and death
- 19 Legacy and symbolism
- 20 See also
- 21 References
Early life and studies
Karol Stanisław was born on 27 February 1734 to General-Hetman Michał Kazimierz "Rybeńko" Radziwiłł and Princess Urszula Franciszka Wiśniowiecka and spent his childhood in Nieśwież, in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which was then part of the mighty Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Because of his Polish noble and aristocratic background, he was provided with the best educational services in the country, however, historians often point out that Karol's father complained about the education of his son and accused the governess, tutors and teachers for neglected upbringing. Marcin Matuszewicz wrote in his diary about Karol and his twin brother Janusz: "Everything was obvious at once, quite promiscuous education, without any discipline. The infants were mischievous, without manners, nor respect towards the elders and people of higher standards." "He studied only when told, but with great dissatisfaction" - stated one of the members of the household, who also witnessed Karol's unpredictable and bad behaviour. Karol's most prominent teacher and tutor was Jesuit Mikołaj Kuczewski, who - as claimed by Matuszewicz - could not educate the child properly because of his "wilderness." According to Edward Kotłubaj, from 1743 to 1746 Radziwiłł studied at the private Jesuit college in Nieśwież, but after a long illness (smallpox) he did not return to school.
In 1739 Radziwiłł, along with his brother Janusz, received from the Palatine of Rhine the Order of St. Hubert and in 1748, while still being a minor, he was officially accepted into the Polish parliament, but he was still not allowed to vote because of his age. The fourteen-year-old son of a Hetman was met with the highest honors, when was appointed one of the deputies of a statesman that took part in the selection of the Speaker of the Sejm. Now allowed to vote and express his viewpoints in the parliament, Radziwiłł strongly opposed the destruction of an army garrison responsible for defending the city of Brest near the river Bug. In 1750 he was chosen to be a member of the Lithuanian Tribunal, representing the city of Pińsk. On April 20, 1751, he was appointed the "second colonel" of the national forces in the Grand Duchy. He accompanied his father on a trip to Wschowa, where the King of Poland Augustus III signed, on June 7, a parliamentary act. In 1752 Radziwiłł became the Cupbearer of Lithuania. As a member of the Vilnius parliament, in early 1752 he was appointed the Deputy Speaker of the Sejm and in October, during a Parliament sitting, he was promoted to Master Swordbearer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Marriage, family and disputes
Unsuccessful ties with the Lubomirski family
Throughout his life Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł lived mostly in the Nieśwież area and often visited his numerous estates in the Eastern Borderlands of the Commonwealth. His parents always believed that he would marry young, but Karol had no interest in relationships and love. In 1752 Karol's father, Michał Kazimierz Radziwiłł, desperately asked if Isabella Czartoryska would marry his son, but Isabella's father, August Czartoryski, refused believing that the couple was too young and undisciplined. Soon after, Michał Kazimierz began negotiations with Frederick William, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, and proposed a marriage between his eldest daughter and his son. Prussian King Frederick II the Great agreed to the proposition as the head of the House of Hohenzollern, however, demanding in return Michał's support for the unfavorable Prussian policy. Eventually the Margrave refused as his daughter, a strong, patriotic, young woman with anti-Polish sentiment refused to covert to Catholicism, the state religion of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Later that year, Michał Kazimierz suggested that his son marries Maria Lubomirska, the only daughter of Governor of Bolimów, Jan Kazimierz Lubomirski and his wife Urszula Branicka, the sister of famous and wealthy Hetman Jan Klemens Branicki. Karol himself, was more interested in marrying Teofila Potocka, the daughter of Stanisław Potocki, Voivode of Kiev, and was reluctant to marriage with Maria, but - in this case having the support of his mother - the father after his wife's death (May 23, 1753) led to the engagement, and soon after to the wedding (23 October 1753 in Mościska). The marriage from the beginning was unfortunate, mostly caused by the rivalry of the two families. In 1756, in Lwów, Michał Kazimierz sought to annul the marriage in order to preserve his young son's good mental health and strength. The process continued for several years and, according to Matuszewicz, the dispute concerned only money matters. Eventually Michał Kazimierz asked the Primate of Rome for help and on November 5, 1760, the Vatican annulled the marriage. On the basis of the judgment Radziwiłł was forced to pay Lubomirska 228,000 złotys as compensation for the time and the maintenance of marriage. This tense situation between the two houses, however, brought some good aspects, as from that day Hetman Branicki became a close friend and supporter of the Radziwiłł family.
Karol claimed that the failed marriage turned him into an alcoholic and a vulgar human being, surrounding himself with young adventurers with similar life issues. Following some public, embarrassing and violent situations that Karol encountered on the streets, while being under the influence of alcohol (most notably he became violent in a bar and threw fists at an elderly nobleman of higher status), he found himself under the direct control of his father. However, because of his public functions, he was still protected by the Crown and still highly respected among the civilians and nobility, even though he, even in the parliament, publicly compromised himself by his "drunken-foolish" conduct and behaviour. For these functions, moreover, he was rather a figurehead or de facto officially did not hold the post at all. Dn. On May 1, 1754, he was appointed major general of the army, and, in the same year, he represented the town of Nowogródek in the parliament. In 1755 as Deputy of Kowno (now Kaunas) he became the Tribunal Speaker from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, however, he strongly neglected his position, and gave the control over to Deputy Marshal Jan Abramowicz, his brother Jerzy and Ignacy Bohusz. The reaction to this "Radziwiłł" tribunal was the mobilization of the forces of the Czartoryski family, the dominating family of the Grand Duchy, who having won the next tribunal election, replaced Karol Stanisław with Georg Detlev von Flemming (Jerzy Flemming). Subsequently, during one of the tribunal sittings, Karol publicly accused his father of cowardice, because he was not able to stand up against Czartoryski's policy. In 1755 Radziwiłł purchased from Joachim Potocki the city of Lwów and in 1757 he received (personally from the king) the Order of the White Eagle. In 1759, in Warsaw, he received the title of a Prince and a claim on the Duchy of Courland.
Inheritance and conflict with Count Brühl
Fortune and jealousy of the royal court
After his father's death (15 May 1762) Karol inherited a colossal fortune (half-brother Hieronim, being still a minor, remained under his care and under his control) and became one of the first "celebrities" in Poland, after the king, who protected and favoured the Czartoryski family turned against them and instead supported Karol. Initially, Polish-Saxon Minister Heinrich von Brühl (in Poland known as Henryk Bruhl), one of the most loyal people to the monarch, was against the king's decision and hesitated in breaking the ties with the Czartoryskis. Instead, he even tried to imprison Radziwiłł and deprive him of all titles, but he was unsuccessful, because Radziwiłł had previously invested in the support of Hetman Jan Klemens Branicki, a powerful, wealthy and very influential magnate who opposed royal policies and personally hated Heinrich von Brühl. Following this Branicki threatened Brühl that a mutiny would erupt in the east against the king. In June, Radziwiłł went to Warsaw, where he met with Branicki and despite bribing Minister Brühl to regain his position in the Sejm and several estates in the Vilnius region he did not succeed. Upon returning to Nieśwież, Radziwiłł sought to increase the power and influence of small deputy-voting chambers in the Grand Duchy. He wished that the king and his ministers, including Brühl, would take into consideration the votes from the Grand Duchy when introducing new policies and laws.
Help from the East and final resolution
At the beginning of August, under the pretext of receiving the Order of St. Andrew, Radziwiłł secretly sent an envoy to Catherine II the Great, asking her for the protection of his position in the parliament and for the protection of his assets in the G. Duchy and in Poland, if, by any chance, a conflict would erupt between him and the monarch, and the ministers would deprive him of all titles and fortune. On August 24 he became the representative (poseł) of Livonia from Lithuania. Arriving at the parliament in Warsaw, in the company of a large army, possibly sent by Catherine who agreed to help, he made an agreement with Brühl and in October Radziwiłł received the entire province of Vilnius (Województwo Wileńskie), instead giving Eustachy Potocki the city of Lwów, as it was located in Ruthenia and was not part of the Grand Duchy, therefore after Radziwiłł's death, the Potocki family would inherit the city. When, under the influence of the Czartoryski family, Stanisław Poniatowski demanded the removal of Alois Friedrich von Brühl from the Chamber of Deputies, because of not having Polish noble background or heritage, surprisingly Radziwiłł stood in his defense, accusing the Czartoryskis and S. Poniatowski of breaking the liberum veto ("golden liberty" - freedom policy of the Polish Commonwealth).
Politics and rivalry with the Czartoryski family
After spending time in the capital, Radziwiłł visited his estates in Wołyń (Volhynia), where he was falsely informed of Hetman Michał Massalski's death. Believing in the message, he sent letters to the Sejm asking if he could inherit the title of a Hetman from Massalski. When he returned in December to Nieśwież, he vigorously began the expansion of Lithuanian voting chambers and in this case sought the support of the royal court, explaining that he was wrongly accused of binge drinking and "wild adventures" during his stay in Ołyka, while travelling to Nieśwież from Wołyń. In March 1763 he again returned to Warsaw and suggested the reconsideration of changing any laws and policies which coincided with Lithuanian freedom and sovereignty. During this sitting, the members of the Czartoryski family offended and angered Radziwiłł by saying that the Grand Duchy has no right to sovereignty. Radziwiłł later threatened that he would mobilize his forces and invade the Czartoryski estates near Vilnius, but he was unable to do so because of the king, who previously invested in them, and Radziwiłł was afraid that it would anger the royal court.
Radziwiłł led a series of unsuccessful attempts to destroy the Czartoryski "alliance" against him, but he could not have done so because of the Saxon-Russian intervention led by Russian Colonel Puchkov, a close friend of the Czartoryski clan, who brought terror to the Eastern parts of the Commonwealth and was a threat to Radziwiłł's possessions in the eastern parts of the Duchy.
On April 18, Radziwiłł made a coalition with other noble families of the Duchy and created a manifesto against the Great Sejm of Poland that considered the secret tribunal sittings in Lithuania illegal and that they should be forbidden. Czartoryski, though without much success, tried to carry out a boycott of the Radziwiłł tribunal. He later announced the formation of a confederation and asked Catherine II to send Russian troops to Lithuania in the hope that they would destroy the tribunal and even perhaps execute its leaders, however, Catherine has decided not to undertake such drastic actions and only sent troops to Ruthenia. Karol Stanisław, after the founding of the national tribunal in Nieśwież that was focused on anti-Russian sentiment, returned to Vilnius and directed his militia troops to Białystok on a conference of the party leaders. Czartoryski tried to convince Russian ambassador Kayserling that Radziwiłł has gone mad and would start a civil war in order to break the Russian-Polish friendship truce and asked if he could convince Catherine to destroy Radziwiłł's plans. On the Nieśwież tribunal, Karol proposed a war against Russia, but the majority of nobles gathered at the tribunal disagreed with him and believed that it would cause a bloodshed. Eventually Catherine II, worried about her popularity among other European leaders, withdrew from the Eastern Borderlands and Radziwiłł emerged triumphant over the Czartoryski family. He increased the influence of his own party and optimistically strengthened the importance of Lithuanian tribunals, proving it to be fruitful for the Commonwealth's economy, as he said in the Polish parliament. He was now considered one of the wisest and most respected men in the country, a man of freedom and Polish sovereignty, however ironically, Matuszewicz noted that at most of the tribunal sittings and political gatherings he was not sober.
"It's hard to describe it all, what the prince did when not sober. When one drinks alone, a wise man indeed he is, but with others to accompany him, then hell is created"— Matuszewicz - his impressions of the 1763 conference in Nieśwież.
Death of Augustus III and neglected duties
The death of King Augustus III in 1763 did not change Radziwiłł's obscure behaviour and addiction to alcohol, which now negatively influenced his highly successful policies and political campaigns. Furthermore, ambassador Kayserling demanded his separation from Hetman Branicki. Unlike Czartoryski, who constantly improved and participated in local councils, Radziwiłł neglected his duties, and, on the advice of one of his companions, he concluded several treaties with his closest allies, which eventually resulted in the weakening of his political party and proved to be a harm for the peasants supporting the policies issued by the Lithuanian councils under Radziwiłł's control. As a result, the election of deputies and court marshals were mostly influenced by the Czartoryskis. Radziwiłł, trying to repair his delicate and temporary reputation, travelled to Vilnius and in 1764 he established a new, illegal council and proclaimed himself marshal. The council was mostly focused on diminishing the power of Polish nobility, supportive of the Russian control over the Commonwealth, that resided in the Grand Duchy. The following day, drunk Radziwiłł broke into the home of Countess Anna Tyszkiewicz, and then to the palace of Bishop Ignacy Massalski where he insulted the royal court and humorously threatened to burn the property. The sober prince later apologized to the bishop. Having given up the duties of marshal, in March Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł left Vilnius. He later sent his militia (approx. 300 men) to defend the Polish diplomatic position at the Prussian council in Grudziądz.
Struggle against the Grodno Confederation and exile
On April 16, 1764, in the city of Grodno, a General Confederation against Radziwiłł was formed under the control of Michał Brzostowski. It was mostly focused on Radziwiłł's actions against the state and the Confederation believed that he was a threat to the monarchy, rather than a supporter of Polish sovereignty. On May 5 he travelled to Warsaw with his militia (approx. 1,000 men) in order to calm down the court and demand the destruction of the so-called "foolish Grodno confederation" and the Convocation Sejm. At the meeting in the Royal Castle, Radziwiłł reportedly demanded from Jan Klemens Branicki the use of force as a result of this alliance, however, on May 7 Radziwiłł, together with other leaders of the Republican camp and the Saxon Cabinet, signed a peace treaty and the next day, together with Branicki, left Warsaw with his militia. A few days later he separated from the Hetman, and went to the town of Biała, previously having received 11,000 ducats from the Saxon court. Radziwiłł spent a few weeks in Biała and in late May he sent Michał Pac as an envoy to Dresden and Berlin to discuss the protection of his possessions by the Prussian state and government, but he was unsuccessful.
After the royal court in Warsaw heard the news that he was secretly negotiating with Prussia (a political and cultural enemy of the Commonwealth) for his own benefit, the Convocation Sejm ordered the Hetmans (all of the finest generals in the country) to work with the Russian army against Radziwiłł. Furthermore, the royal court wanted to seize all of his estates in the Grand Duchy. Upon hearing the news that the Confederates were seeking help of the Russian army to capture Nieśwież, Radziwiłł went to Lithuania, on the way defeating the militia and troops of Treasurer J. Flemming in Terespol and partly (probably unintentionally) burning the city. Radziwiłł's victorious militia was eventually defeated on June 26 by the Russian army in Słonim (Radziwiłł himself did not participate in the battle), forcing him to retreat to Wołyń (Volhynia). In July he arrived in Ołyka. After a few days, to the news of the impending Russian army and the nearby forces of Franciszek Ksawery Branicki (a relative and great adversary of Jan Klemens Branicki) Radziwiłł moved towards the Turkish border. On July 14, having passed the Dniester river, the infantry and artillery of Radziwiłł surrendered near the town of Mohylow. He later fled to the Principality of Moldavia; first he was in Ottaka, and then in Soroca. He begged the Moldavian governor and the Ottoman authorities if he could be allowed to travel to Turkish-occupied Hungary, where he wanted to meet with the Jan Klemens Branicki, and asked if his troops and cavalry could station in Soroca.
Radziwiłł constantly hoped for a positive change of the political situation in the Commonwealth, and therefore remained loyal to some of the Hetmans, however, he refused military aid for the Confederation of Marian Potocki (August 6), although he expressed sympathy towards his policies. In early September, after receiving permission to travel, he crossed the Hungarian border and took part in a forty-day conference in Transylvania. In the first decade of November he went to Presov to meet his most trusted friend and military commander, Hetman Branicki.
The Grodno Decree and confiscation of estates by the Czartoryski family
Intervention of the competitive opposition
In June, 1764, the Russian troops captured Nieśwież and Słuck. The Grodno Confederation issued a Decree on August 16 stating that Radziwiłł committed many crimes against the government, mostly for his own benefit, and declared him an enemy of the country, and ordered the confiscation of all personal assets and estates, but the death penalty was not mentioned in the document. All past curators, and also the former guardians of Hieronim Wincenty Radziwiłł were imprisoned, and young Hieronim was now under the care of Bishop Massalski, Chancellor Michał Czartoryski and Józef Radziwiłł. Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł, if captured, was to be imprisoned in the Słuck fortress. The Decree also deprived him authority of the Vilnius province and questioned the legal basis for the regulations of the Nieśwież province. The document also mentioned the confiscation of Radziwiłł's troops and artillery and requested punishment for numerous supporters of Radziwiłł, primarily on I. Bohusz. Undoubtedly, Czartoryskis' intention was to destroy the enormous fortune that Radziwiłł possessed, and thus stabilize the weak economy of the Commonwealth by selling his assets to foreign investors. The Sejm approved all of the Decrees of the confederation and agreed to confiscate his goods and sell them to his former business partners, who were now his enemies, and furthermore, the document enhanced foreign traders and politicians to also be part of the "share". Even the normal judicial tribunals, supportive of Radziwiłł's policies, were now in the hands of the Czartoryski family. By doing this, the Czartoryskis rewarded their clients, allies and supporters (especially the Massalski family), antagonizing them against Radziwiłl, who were once his own clients and old friends. Most notably Eustachy Potocki, who loyally supported Radziwiłł in 1763, received the city of Żółkiew.
Radziwiłł, Catherine the Great and request for forgiveness
Radziwiłł lived almost a year in Presov, with the hope of acquiring the protection of Habsburg Austria, France, Turkey, Saxony and Prussia. On August 11, 1764, he wrote to M. Pac to ask him if he could seek the help of the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great, by coaxing her. In the last paragraph of the letter to Catherine, Radziwiłł wrote: "Such a great monarch, the brightest lady, Russian Empress. It would be a great honor to seek your protection MY QUEEN, LOVE K. S. RADZIWIŁŁ" He even offered to pay the Russian Imperial Court for service. Radziwiłł also remained in contact with some of his supporters in the Commonwealth, mostly near the Turkish-Hungarian border, and often asked them for loans. Initially, many of his adherents accompanied him in exile, but left soon after worried for their reputation. In November, 1764 M. Pac and Stanisław Ferdynand Rzewuski left Presov once in for all leaving Radziwiłł without moral support. Also, his wife, whom he accused of having an affair with Bohusz, left for Warsaw and when she returned to Presov Radziwiłł refused to see her. Later Bohusz, barely defended himself from the attack of Radziwiłł's men. Following this event, Bohusz left Presov and unsuccessfully asked the newly elected king Stanisław II Augustus for forgiveness.
Radziwiłł rejected the proposal of the Royal Court of Vienna (August 1765) to return to Poland and to sell his valuable goods to the Austrian Emperor in return for protection. In early September, 1765 Radziwiłł was persuaded by John Baptist Aloy to go to Saxony, in order to get closer to Berlin, and ask for the patronage of Frederick II. In mid-October, he arrived in Prague, but it turned out that the Royal Court of Dresden at the moment does not wish for his arrival. He eventually arrived in Dresden on February 6, 1766. From then on Radziwiłł sent letters to king Stanisław II Augustus and begged him for the final abolition of the Confederation, however, the king, who somewhat favoured Radziwiłł, was under the constant pressure and control of the Czartoryski family. Therefore, his requests were rejected once more.
Catherine's aid and return to the country
Already in August 1766, through the Saxon government, Radziwiłł came into contact with the newly appointed Russian envoy in Dresden, A. Beloselsky. Beloselsky, which heavily criticized Radziwiłł's poor living conditions in Dresden, also demanded Russian support for him. As a result of declining confidence of the imperial court of St. Petersburg towards the Polish king and Czartoryski, on October 18, 1766 Russian foreign minister allowed the ambassador to engage with Radziwiłł and facilitate his return to the Poland. On October 27 Radziwiłł, with the support of Jerzy Mniszech, turned for protection to politicians Nikita Ivanovich Panin and Nicholas Repnin. In 1767 he renewed the request, promising with his family and "friends" undying loyalty. At that time, the court of St. Petersburg finally ended the cooperation with the Czartoryski family.
Eventually Radziwiłł left Dresden and on May 22 he arrived in the city of Słupsk, having passed the Polish territory with the Russian convoy. On May 25, he entered Gdańsk, where he met with representatives of the Prussian "patriots" party, discussing with them political matters concerning Prussia and the Elbing-Ermland (now Warmia-Masuria) disputes. According to the court of St. Petersburg Radziwiłł then traveled, by passing Königsberg, to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Near the border Colonel Karr's troops joined the main convoy. On June 3, he was enthusiastically greeted by the citizens of Vilnius, while entering the city. He then travelled from Vilnius to Białystok to meet Branicki, who a month earlier, in a letter, expressed his joy for the Russian-Prussian demand of "restoration of ancient rights and liberties", and for "oppressed patriots to return to total wealth and prerogatives." On the June 11, in Brańsk, he was elected the Speaker of the newly created by Branicki Podlaski Confederation. Inauguration act of the confederation which called for the defense "of faith and freedom", was later supported by the Bar Confederation. On 13 June he arrived in Radom. All the time he was accompanied by Col. Karr and his soldiers. He then was appointed the Speaker of the General Confederation and foretold that he would obey all of the demands of Repnin. On June 21, under the command of Karr, Radziwiłł wrote a short letter to Stanisław Augustus, declaring his "faithfulness to the king and the Crown". On June 23, after the official establishment of the General Confederation in Radom, Radziwiłł was elected its marshal - the same day he sent a letter to Catherine, thanking her for the aid.
General Radom Confederation
Struggle against foreign influence
The General Radom Confederation, at the point of its inauguration, cancelled the Grodno Decree of 1764. Radziwiłł received all of his lost titles, however, Repnin kept him under strict surveillance and did not allow him to receive the seized goods and estates until 23 June. Later the General Confederation issued a policy that annulled all the decrees against Radziwiłł and he finally regained his "lost" fortune. The General Court of the confederation approved on July 13, the acquisition of goods ex possesso from curators rewarded by the Czartoryski family, making an exception for the Massalski family that previously resigned from the position. Radziwiłł, reluctant like the other leaders residing in Radom to Repnin's decision of moving the generality seat and headquarters to Warsaw, tried to dissuade him (On July 21 he even a letter to Rzewuski in this matter), pointing out the alleged danger lurking on the Confederation from the furious and aggressive Czartoryski clan in the capital, as most of the residences and palaces in Warsaw belonged to Czartoryski and the family possessed the largest army reserves in all of Europe. The fear of the "Czartoryski army and influence" has gone so far that Colonel Karr stated that he prefers to leave everything and flee abroad, rather fight alongside Radziwiłł and declare himself the detainee. Repnin persuaded Karr that under the protection of Catherine II, he is secure in the Commonwealth, and that the allied army of Russia, Prussia and Austria would make Czartoryski "crawl" on the floor. Additionally, Radziwiłł specifically requested that the Russian infantry would guard his Warsaw residence, rather than the Polish Royal Guard forces of the King. On 27 July Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł left Radom and already 3 days later he sent, from Warsaw to determined Brzostowski, Repnin's list of future members of parliament and specific instructions. After Radziwiłł performed all of the demands, Repnin was convinced that with the help from the "East" and the help from the Prussian king, the power and influence of the mighty and wealthy Czartoryski family will soon die and with it the entire "King Poniatowski" era.
Although not a member of the political party or the social movement, Radziwiłł soon became the Marshal General of the entire Radom Confederation. In this function, because of the intensifying political atmosphere in the country, he was always obedient to the orders of General Repnin.
Interference of the Imperial Court
As the Imperial Court of St. Petersburg wanted to share the responsibility for the resolution of parliament that was under the heavy influence of the Czartoryski clan, Radziwiłł was forced to bribe or threaten some of the notable members of the family. This took place on October 8 when Radziwiłł, assisted by a small group of soldiers and militia, visited Czartoryski in his palace and pathetically stated that in the name of the ministry and the government he was to prevent him from participating in the Diet. He did the same to the Vice-Chancellor A. Przeździecki. Radziwiłł would then receive from the parliament and the Treasury of the Commonwealth 7,346 Polish złotys. On March 5, 1768 Radziwiłł received the long lost Province of Vilnius. The same day he came to Repnin and thanked him for the aid. Soon after, while under the influence of alcohol, Radziwiłł fought with and accused Col. O. Igelströmow for having slandered him before Catherine II as an alcoholic. On March 10, Radziwiłł left Warsaw in order to sign important and valid parliamentary constitutions in the country and to deliver any documents to the monarch. In the letters to the Polish king, Repnin assured that such documents would not be connected in any way with the Confederation of Bar and that their purpose was to restrain the unhappy "society" with the new laws, and that it favors seeking to peace in the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Radziwiłł arrived on May 30 and signed the newly established constitution. For this Karol Stanisław lost the title of the protector of the Commonwealth and was now to be hated by the peasantry and the upper-middle classes. Once known to be the saviour of Poland, Radziwiłł now was a traitor in the king's eyes.
Financial difficulties and debts
Despite the difficult financial situation of the Radziwiłł family that was caused by the recent conflicts between St. Petersburg and Warsaw, Karol Stanisław never gave up hope and he soon was to seek a loan from one of the royal courts of Western Europe. Most of all he wished to get the loan from the Saxon royal family, the Wettin dynasty that once ruled Poland, by making weak promises and blandishing Prince Francis Xavier of Saxony.
Hoping for favorable judgments of both committees and the Treasury Radziwiłł denied his involvement in any of the Confederations against the Polish king that have occurred. Additionally he was accused for not paying his taxes on time (some historians suggested that he did not pay his taxes at all). The Commission that was supposed to be held in Lwów, never occurred because of the outbreak of the Bar Confederation. A new "anti-Radziwiłł" Commission started its operation in Vilnius (Wilno) on June 6, 1768, and ordered the confiscation of any goods and estates. Radziwiłł constantly declaring his loyalty to Repnin, asked for permission to go abroad for medical treatment, but in fact he was to arrive in the Holy Roman Empire and secretly receive money from the royal court. Panin, Repnin and their subordinates did not have the confidence in Radziwiłł (he was usually humiliated by them and often called nicknames like "The Bear", "Coot" and "Puppet") and believed that he would only make the political and financial situation of his family even worse. Already in September, 1767 Repnin concentrated his troops towards Nieśwież. In early October 1768 the Tsarist army, already occupying and controlling nearly half the Grand Duchy, moved on Veras and clashed with Radziwiłł's militia and privately owned troops. On October 13 Radziwiłł sent a letter to Repnin, ensuring him that he is innocent and that the militia did not obey his orders and commands.
Later Karol Stanisław promised the general that he would go to the Polish parliament in Warsaw in order to sign new documents and treaties concerning his finances. During this hearing of parliament Radziwiłł was forced by the Lithuanian faction to change his will. The cities of Veras and Slutsk were to be now protected by Russian guards and Radziwiłł's private militia was to be reduced to 560 men. Gathered in Nieśwież, the members of Parliament signed, on October 29, a document that would reduce Radziwiłł's influence on politics. In November he left Nieśwież declaring that he is going to Warsaw, however, he stopped in his estates in Mazovia and from there he sought permission to go to the city of Biała (today Biała-Podlaska).
In mid-December, during his stay in Biała, he was forced by royal Königsberg merchant of the Court of Berlin, F. Saturgus, to immediately pay off his family's large debts (including the debts of his deceased father). For this he was to go abroad and sell in the Netherlands, for 150,000 Dutch guilders, any jewels and valuable church ornaments belonging to his ancestors and deceased relatives.
Conflict in the Grand Duchy and granted asylum from Frederick the Great
Unexpected Prussian support
In early July, 1769 the Confederate troops under the command of Casimir Pulaski, his brother Franciszek and Józef Bierzyński entered the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Following this new reforms and laws came into effect that greatly angered the Russian-Saxon faction. Bierzyński quickly seized the majority of Radziwiłł's troops and militia. As soon as the news reached Radziwiłł, he secretly left Biała for East Prussia and arrived on July 20. On July 22, he demanded an asylum from Frederick II the Great. His officials in Poland announced that he was going to stay in Saxony with his old stepmother. Frederick II indeed granted him asylum, but was determined to ally Karol Stanisław with Austrian supporters of the Bar Confederation in Silesia. On July 31 he wrote a letter about it to A. Krasiński, T. Wessel and J. Mniszech. Bishop Krasiński, a close supporter of Radziwiłł, was responsible for negotiating peace between the Russian court and the Confederates, however, he was not very successful.
Through Prague Radziwiłł came in the last days of August to Cieszyn, where he met with A. Krasiński and discussed political matters. On September 7 he left for Presov in order to later settle (from November 1769) in the nearby town of Sebeș.
Radziwiłł was extremely pleased when he found out about the new establishment of the Generality under the leadership of M. Pac and his secretary I. Bohusz, with whom Radziwiłł reconciled after an argument and later promised undying loyalty. Karol Stanisław considered (revealed in a letter to his stepmother from 20 December 1769) Pac a "reliable friend" and thought that he'd become independent from other conflicted leaders of the Confederation like Krasiński and Wessel who both disagreed with each other. His initiative also attributed the decision to move to the Generality from Bielsko to Presov, and Pac with Bohusz assured him that shortly after he would become "one of the leaders of free Europe." Radziwiłł's intellectual level, however, prevented him from playing the leading role in the league, and Pac with Bohusz, despite their alliance with him, were able to maintain their independent status. Initially Karol wanted his militia, who had arrived with General Bierzyński, to focus on the estate in Żmigród and further enlist around 600 men, but with the Russian army approaching he ordered them to withdraw to Muszynka where Józef Miączyński was named commander. To "friends" in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania he wrote letters calling for the establishment of the Confederation/Generality in those counties and provinces that have not done so. He later sent marshals and officials to break down any resistance that would have occurred.
Catherine's warning and temporary Prussian support
On February 11, 1770 Radziwiłł received a letter from his stepmother about Empress Catherine, who was planning to confiscate all of his goods, possessions and estates in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and in eastern Commonwealth. In May, due to the Prussian intervention, an act against Karol's creditor Saturgus from Königsberg, Radziwiłł surprisingly received a loan from Berlin to pay off any debts. Soon afterwards the financial conflict has been restored, and regardless of what the Russian authorities demanded, the Kingdom of Prussia condemned these actions and considered Radziwiłł an ally, although Frederick II greatly supported the idea of the future First Partition of Poland in order to restore Prussia's former military glory and to commemorate the defeated Teutonic Knights at the Battle of Grunwald. Furthermore, Frederick had despised Polish people since his youth, and numerous statements are known in which he expressed anti-Polish prejudice, calling Polish society "stupid" and stating that "all these people with surnames ending with -ski, deserve only contempt" He passionately hated everything associated with Poland, while justifying his hatred with ideas of Enlightenment. He described Poles as "slovenly Polish trash". Frederick often compared the peasants of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to aggressive American Indians. Polish authors and historians have argued that already during his early days Frederick detested Poles, referring to them in a letter, dating from 1735, as "dirty" and "vile apes".
Diplomatic mission of the Confederation
Prague, Presov and audition with Joseph II of Austria
In February 1770 Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł agreed to deliver the Confederation's private message to the government of Turkey (then the Ottoman Empire). In late April, on his way, Radziwiłł went to Prague in order to visit his brother and sickly stepmother. The Confederates believed that this was highly suspicious and that possibly he was bribed by Szymon Kossakowski to resign from this diplomatic mission. As soon as those allegations and rumours reached Karol, he sharply reacted by declaring that he is not obliged to listen to anyone's orders and embarrass himself by performing such insane, purposeless and fruitless activities that would not benefit the Ottomans and the Poles, but the Russians instead. The Generality tried to appease him by sending additional money, jewelry and alcoholic beverages. On June 6, 1770 Radziwiłł returned to Presov, where he had a brief audience with Emperor Joseph II of Austria who was staying there for two days, however, the point of this audience and the topics discussed during his visit are unknown to modern historians and theologians.
Ottoman Empire and Sultan Mustafa III
In late July, he again decided to continue his journey to Ottoman Turkey. He requested, however, that this diplomatic mission was to be short, not because he wished to stay away from the Generality and the dangerous or risky politics, but fearing that A. Krasiński might attract the adherents of the Czartoryski family. On September 20 Radziwiłł sent one of his private diplomats from Czernihów province to the Grand Vizier of the Ottomans in order to arrange an anti-Russian coalition - an alliance between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire to repel the Russian aggressors and halt the numerous threats that haunted the inhabitants of the Eastern Borderlands (Kresy) of the Commonwealth and the northern territories of Turkey. Radziwiłł's second goal was to convince Sultan and Caliph of Islam, Mustafa III, to recognize the Czartoryski clan as enemies and to ensure that the upcoming war or conflict would be profitable for both Poland and Turkey.
Additional instructions from Karol Stanisław also contained blackening of the opinions of the Generality and M. Krasiński, who attempted to persuade Turkey not to recognize Radziwiłł as the marshal (and even to assassinate him), which would enhance Radziwiłł to take up Krasiński's position. Under pressure from the Generality, Radziwiłł sent a letter to the Vizier recognizing the authority of M. Krasiński and ordering the return of Mr Horwatt. His efforts to raise 15,000 ducats for an unexpected conflict with the Generality was unsuccessful, though he searched for a loan from J. Mniszech and previously from his dear friend and close ally Jan Klemens Branicki. Eventually, in unknown circumstances, the control of the Generality was taken over by the Czartoryski family and Radziwiłł's position as envoy and diplomat was immediately terminated.
Issues surrounding the diplomatic mission
Radziwiłł's costly visit in Sebeș, where he kept the exceptionally well trained dragoons as bodyguards, that have personally accompanied him to Ottoman Turkey and joined the Confederate in the spring of 1771, lavish lifestyle and hosting or supporting many wealthy, but demanding members of the Generality forced him into ever greater debt, however, Radziwiłł successfully defended himself from selling any personal assets. He rather preferred to increase the debt instead. Upon receiving the news about his stepmother's rapidly deteriorating health, he left in March 1771 for Dresden. Because of the vivid support of the commander of the Prussian army, occupying the Pomeranian provinces in the northern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Radziwiłł was able to keep the city of Człuchów following his stepmother's sudden death on March 19 of 1771. Radziwiłł strengthened the local garrison stationing in the town and ignored several threats from the authorities of Warsaw, that did not recognize the decision.
Towards the end of June, 1771, Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł returned to Sebeș, but on 1 September, together with the members and diplomats of the Generality, he went to Cieszyn, which was located on the border of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Austrian Empire. He was convinced that through "proper alliances with former enemies" the Confederation would succeed (such topic was discussed in a letter dating from December 11 addressed to the Castellan of Bracław A. Czarnecki) and was assured that the maintained contacts with several county officials of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania could possibly interfere with the controversial political system of the government in Warsaw. Radziwiłł's support helped to rehabilitate the Generality headed by S. Kossakowski at the beginning of 1772. He also attempted to recruit new units of militia for personal causes. On March 23 of 1772, offended by the Confederate Military Council, Radziwiłł announced that he is withdrawing his private militia and decided that the Confederation has no right to control any his private military units.
On May 1, 1772, in a letter to commander J. Schütz, Radziwiłł explained that he will recruit even more units and begin preparations for a possible invasion of the Commonwealth, however, he later disarmed the units, which angered and confused many of the hired officers. On May 28 he left Cieszyn and went back to Prague where he met his dear brother Hieronim. From Prague, on June 15, Radziwiłł went to Frankfurt am Main, with the hope of huge financial benefits from the court of Versailles, but his letters to d'Aiguillon and other personalities of the French court, as well as a diplomatic mission led by A. Gietulewicz to the secretary of Prince Charles did not convince the French government. Radziwiłł, however, constantly filled with illusions about political developments and long-lasting alliances, did not give up and still believed in the favors and patronage of the Versailles.
Diplomacy within the Holy Roman Empire and succession
In Frankfurt, and in the nearby town of Schlangenbad, Radziwiłł spent the first days of October 1772. He then settled in Mannheim, where he was kindly greeted by Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria. From there, strongly enhanced by the Confederate emigrants, he arrived in the town of Landshut in Bavaria, where he was one of the most intransigent opponents of instigating a project to reconcile France with the King of Poland Stanisław II Augustus. Through Munich, he returned, at the beginning of 1773, to Mannheim, where he met with the eldest son of his stepmother from her first marriage in order to prepare a testament; his last will where all his possessions would be left to his inexperienced brother Hieronim, and his legal guardian in matters of property was to be Mikołaj. Having secured his fortune Radziwiłł formally refused to get involved in any diplomacy that could directly affect his "wealth succession", rejecting an offer made in February 1773 by the royal court in Dresden to hand over, following his death, the enormous fortune to the Czartoryski family, and condemned the purposeless actions of the Confederates, who opposed the final testament.
Mikołaj's rights to the wealth were eventually accepted by the Poniński's Confederation in 1774 with a statement that he has the right to assume all the goods "only ... except those that were lost by Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł during the numerous conflicts with the monarch and were officially acquired by the Commonwealth government". In reality, however, the situation during the period of Poniński's Confederation was unfavorable for Radziwiłł and wished to see that the majority of shares would go to the Czartoryski clan or at least the Pro-Tsarist Potocki family, who were in the possession of several large estates in western and central Ruthenia, modern-day Ukraine, and greatly favoured Russian intervention in the politics of the country, especially the family representative, Count Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki, who, after the final Partition of Poland, stated that "Each true Pole, not blinded by the Prussian and royalist cabal, is convinced, that our Fatherland can only be saved by Russia, otherwise our nation will be enslaved". Furthermore, Potocki added that "About past Poland and Poles [I don't want to talk anymore]. Gone is this country, and this name, as many others have perished in the world's history. I am now a Russian forever." He was later condemned for these words, but avoided persecution.
Journey to France, Italy and Bavaria. Issues with Turkey
On April 30 of 1773 Radziwiłł moved to Strasbourg and in October, he went to Paris (dressed in a French-outfit that he only wore once in his lifetime) in order to receive France's support for a planned trip to the Ottoman Empire in connection with the resumption of hostilities and news about the alleged Turkish decrees in support of the migrating Confederates. Radziwiłł made plans to recruit troops in order to fight on the Turkish side against the Russian-backed Confederation, but instead, he created a separate political alliance, the so-called "Radvila Party" named after the Radziwiłł family but in the Latin language, that neither had the support of the French nor Russians or the representatives of the Ottoman Empire. Thus he was left without any moral support, which greatly affected his rapidly deteriorating mental and physical health.
Radziwiłł imagined that the resources for a possible war would be provided by Turkey alone, and also by the city of Gdańsk in exchange for a promise to develop the Turkish support against the hostile intentions of Prussia to annex northern parts of the Commonwealth with economically important cities and towns such as Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) and Toruń (Thorn), that also had a great cultural significance to the Polish nation. The royal court of Versailles agreed to enlist several officers and diplomats that would be in the service of Radziwiłł's ambassadors in Istanbul, then Constantinople. This enhanced Karol to travel around Turkey with several officials of the Polish Royal Army, including the notable Polish war hero Casimir Pulaski (Kazimierz Pułaski), also named the father of American cavalry. On November 10 of 1773 Radziwiłł sent a letter to the Sultan and Caliph of Islam asking him to "sign a treaty in order to save his beloved homeland from Russian aggressors, the pro-Tsarist Potocki plague and the adherents of the Czartoryskis." He also requested a loan from the ruler of the Ottomans. A similar letter was sent to the Khan of the Tartars, the Grand Vizier and other Islamic dignitaries, who opposed Russian domination in Europe, as well as the upcoming foreign partitions of Poland. On February 10, 1774 Radziwiłł travelled to Venice, where he arranged a meeting with an adventuress, called Duchess Tatarkova, who presented herself as the daughter of Russian Empress Elizabeth and who would help him in arranging a possible diplomatic relation with the Imperial Court of St. Petersburg.
On April 16 of 1774, having previously sent his court marshal M. Radziszewski to Istanbul, Radziwiłł left Venice and travelled with Duchess Tatarkova to Ragusa, where he arrived on June 30. Despite the ultimate defeat of Turkey and negotiated peace, he stayed there until November 1774 without receiving any loan and salary from the Sultan, to which he demanded Radziszewski to immediately return from his secret diplomatic mission to the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, the Turkish government advised Radziwiłł to reconcile with Stanisław II Augustus and return to the country not counting on any mediation or additional funding. After returning to Venice, Radziwiłł hoped for more favourable news from Istanbul, however, Radziwiłł later decided to break all ties with the Sultan and on March 22 of 1775 he wrote a letter to Catherine II, in which, he recalled his service during the Radom Confederation and tried to justify his lengthy participation in the Confederation of Bar, thus leaving his fate in the hands of the Russian Empress. At the same time he contacted Frederick II the Great and requested further protection.
On March 31, at a dinner with Russian officials in Venice, he incidentally met General Orlov, who promised to help him with the ongoing issue concerning Radziwiłł and the Russian Imperial Court that constantly refused to offer protection. In June Karol Stanisław moved from Venice to Bavaria, where he was kindly greeted and accepted by Maximilian III Joseph, Elector of Bavaria, who remembered the gracious dedication and sacrifice of King John III Sobieski and his loyal troops at the Battle of Vienna. Radziwiłł lived in the town of Moosburg an der Isar, from where he travelled several times to nearby Munich and Regensburg.
Opposition to the king and financial demise
As an opponent to Stanisław II Augustus
The upcoming autumn Radziwiłł spent in Saxony, however, in December he travelled to the Netherlands. The money sent from the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, mainly from his private estates in eastern Galicia and the Kresy region, were not enough to pay the large debts. Furthermore, the expenses rapidly increased after Hieronim's wedding to Princess Sophie Friederike of Thurn and Taxis, the daughter of Karl Anselm, 4th Prince of Thurn and Taxis and his wife Duchess Auguste of Württemberg. On February 17 of 1776, in Moosburg an der Isar, Radziwiłł signed a manifesto protesting against the improper care of Hieronim by Mikołaj Radziwiłł and proclaimed that he shall now be in charge of his higher education that could affect politics and diplomacy of the future heir to the family fortune, and therefore on the destiny of the Radziwiłł clan as well.
Encouraged by several magnates, Karol was determined to settle the issues surrounding the confiscated properties by the Polish Crown and wished to regain them from Stanisław II Augustus. At one point he dared to bribe treasurer Antoni Tyzenhauz and threatened to organize anti-royalist party in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which hopefully would attract many former supporters and customers. Radziwiłł also gave him a loan of 2,000 ducats. With offers of assistance and cooperation he also addressed the emerging leaders of the opposition like Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski (former opponent), Michał Kazimierz Ogiński, Franciszek Ksawery Branicki, Seweryn Rzewuski and Szymon Juda Marcin Korwin-Kossakowski, who all shared an interest in dethroning the king. Radziwiłł and the majority of his advisers hesitated to decide what steps to take and whom to trust among the nobility. On February 18, 1776, he sent letters (from abroad) to the voivodes of the provinces and districts in which he highlighted his sacrifices to improve the political situation of the Commonwealth, begged for the return on assets of the Radziwiłł family and asked to be paid 14 million Polish zlotys as re compensation. He repeated these calls on a larger scale, trying to embrace the Crown and, in the summer of 1776, the members of parliament and smaller sejmiks. Although his sacrifice and patriotism was deeply acknowledged by politicians and officials, the parliament failed to pass a constitution that ensured his safe return to the country, possibly due to his vivid involvement in the Bar Confederation.
Consequences and repayment
Radziwiłł had great difficulty in repaying the debts incurred in Bavaria (30,000 ducats); he was also looking for an overseas cheap credit or loan. In 1776 Radziszewski calculated his overall debt to be over 12 million Polish zlotys. On June 13, 1777 Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł, brother Hieronim and his wife arrived in Vienna where they were warmly greeted by Queen Maria Theresa of Austria. On June 28 he came to Żmigród, where he stayed for several months, meanwhile his brother Hieronim stayed in the town of Żółkiew. All of the luggage that Radziwiłł brought with him was firstly transported by the Danube River to Budapest and from there it was sent to Galicia.
In October he moved to Żółkiew and in November he was in Lwów. In March 1778 he came to Ołyka, and at the beginning of May to Warsaw, where he was received by King Stanisław Augustus, who demanded his cooperation with Antoni Tyzenhauz and requested that he'd emphasize his loyalty to the Crown. Radziwiłł, in an interview with the king, declared that he will reject the proposal of recruiting, in Poland, several thousand volunteers for the Habsburg monarchy in connection with the impending Austrian war with Prussia. In May he left the capital. At the end of September he was in Vilnius and, through Grodno, returned to Warsaw for an important sitting of parliament, however, the envoys, members of parliament and the Sejm Marshal requested his immediate removal from the room, where the session took place. Eventually, since his return to the country, Radziwiłł become loyal to King Stanisław II Augustus.
Final attempts at reclaiming stolen goods from Catherine
Throughout his later life, Radziwiłł struggled with the constant financial difficulties and lived with the fear of not repaying his enormous debt. An investigation began in Nowogródek on August 12 of 1777, which slowly continued for many years and had no result on the situation. Radziwiłł made ineffective attempts to recover all the estates in the Russian partition of Poland; he was refused to travel to St. Petersburg and was denied permission to visit Catherine II during her travels to Belarus in 1780. Potemkin also denied to help Radziwiłł. Furthermore, he was offered some of those estates by the government of the Russian Empire. Radziwiłł's attempts to receive loans abroad, in the Netherlands, in Genoa and in Germany, were purposeless. Some of his closest friends and supporters promised to develop a loan of 100,000 ducats, however, this also failed.
Between 1780 and 1784 Radziwiłł was forced to sell some of his estates in Volhynia (Wołyń) and later the entire city of Żółkiew. Karol Stanisław progressed slowly in rebuilding the Nieśwież residence that was devastated by the Russian forces. He was responsible for resurrecting the local theater and establishing the new repertoire, mainly based on ballet led by renowned ballet masters like G. Pettinati and F. Casella. In 1783 he employed a team of Polish professional actors led by L. Pierożyński. Radziwiłł also hired an orchestra from abroad to play during balls and organized several gatherings, which were attended by the greatest writers, artists and mathematicians of his era. Although he suffered great losses, following his return to Poland, Radziwiłł once more became one of the most influential diplomats in the country. In 1790 he instructed to sell his possessions in the Vilnius region to nobleman and composer Michał Kleofas Ogiński.
Last years and death
In 1788, upon hearing the news about the outbreak of the Russo-Swedish War, as recalled by King Stanisław Augustus, Radziwiłł once more began to involve himself in the risky politics of foreign nations. Furthermore, without hesitation, Radziwiłł sent his loyal militia, mostly composed of privately financed soldiers and farmers from the estates, to Riga in modern-day Latvia. Subsequently, Karol, together with his close friend Michał Kazimierz Ogiński, planned to organize a pro-Prussian confederation, which would enable Radziwiłł to once more gain control over the Sejm, which opposed the influence of the Russian Empire over the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. During several parliamentary assemblies, the closest supporters of Radziwiłł often boycotted the session by throwing rotten fruit and vegetables at the marshal and other politicians or diplomats that were not showing any affection towards his policies and views or strongly refused to listen to Radziwiłł's sermons about the instability of the country. Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł would personally spit on the robes of the pro-Russian Marshal of Sejm Kazimierz Nestor Sapieha, while he was exiting the chamber.
Radziwiłł stayed in Warsaw until March 1789. Having already lost his eyesight, he travelled in the summer for treatment to Wrocław (at that time Breslau) in Lower Silesia. Between August 25 and 27 he was received by the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm II. The financed medical treatment did not show any results and only made the matters worse, eventually leaving Radziwiłł completely blind. In autumn he returned to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, where he remained in contact by mail with G. Lucchesini. On March 5 of 1790, in a letter addressed to Lucchesini, Radziwiłł stated that he does not believe in the King of Prussia demanding the annexation of Gdańsk and Toruń for a potential alliance with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Suffering from obesity and the after-effects of alcoholism, in the spring of 1790 Karol Stanisław Radziwiłł moved to the town of Biała Podlaska in the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, where he died on November 21 leaving no issue to inherit his enormous wealth.
Legacy and symbolism
Radziwiłł, although highly disliked by the Polish royal court and the general public in support of the king, was one of the most influential Polish personalities of his era and perhaps the best representative of Sarmatism. Even during his lifetime Radziwiłł became almost a legendary figure, devoted to the country and the nation. Despite his fame, Radziwiłł was often portrayed as a drunkard, whose low intellectual level and severe mental illness caused many misfortunes. Furthermore, the European press have reported and often exaggerated his political "wilderness" and accused Karol of bragging about his wealth and power. Most of the attacks were from publishers, who were either in support of the Czartoryskis or King Stanisław II Augustus. Radziwiłł's participation in the Confederation of Bar made the public aware of his services to the country and following his sudden death, Prince Karol was hailed the defender of "faith and freedom". Such opinions were shared by the iconic personalities of the Enlightenment period. Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz stated that Radziwiłł was a "citizen with a heart of stone whose sacrifices for the Polish nation were remarkable and unforgettable". He also recalled with delight his impressive silhouette of an old Polish senator of the Sigismundian era, the times of King Sigismund III Vasa. Stanisław Augustus, in his private diaries and notes, described Karol as "cruel and stupid drunkard who was a victim of improper education and the vile society by which he was surrounded in his youth".
Radziwiłł was immortalized in Rejtan, the Fall of Poland, an oil painting by the Polish artist Jan Matejko, finished in 1866, depicting the protest of Tadeusz Rejtan against the First Partition of Poland during the Partition Sejm of 1773. Both a depiction of a historical moment, and an allegory for the surrounding period of Polish history, the painting is one of Matejko's most famous works, and an iconic picture of an emotional protest.
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- D. Sidorski, „Panie Kochanku”, Katowice 1987, s. 34.
- Mariusz Machynia, Valdas Rakutis, Czesław Srzednicki, Oficerowie wojska Wielkiego Księstwa Litewskiego. Spisy, Kraków 1999, s. 81, 470.
- Urzędnicy centralni i dygnitarze Wielkiego Księstwa Litewskiego XIV-XVIII wieku spisy opracowali Henryk Lulewicz i Andrzej Rachuba, Kórnik 1994, s. 146.
- Diarjusze sejmowe z wieku XVIII.T.III. Diarjusze sejmów z lat 1750, 1752, 1754 i 1758, Warszawa 1937, s. 131.
- Diarjusze sejmowe z wieku XVIII.T.III. Diarjusze sejmów z lat 1750, 1752, 1754 i 1758, Warszawa 1937, s. 244.
- Materiały do dziejów bezkrólewia po śmierci Augusta III i pierwszych lat dziesięciu panowania Stanisława Augusta Poniatowskiego, t. I Lwów 1857, s. 45-49.
- Teresa Zielińska, Radziwiłłowie herbu Trąby-dzieje rodu, w: Radziwiłłowie herbu Trąby, Warszawa 1996, s. 22. Uwaga! Teresa Zielińska mylnie nazywa Radziwiłła marszałkiem generalnym konfederacji radomskiej na Litwie, Panie Kochanku był marszałkiem konfederacji generalnej (koronnej), marszałkiem litewskim był Stanisław Brzostowski.
- Wykaz polskich lóż wolnomularskich oraz ich członków w latach 1738-1821 poprzedzony zarysem historji wolnomularstwa polskiego i ustroju Wielkiego Wschodu Narodowego Polskiego: uzupełnienia i aneksy, opracował Ludwik Hass, b. r. w., s. 113.
- Janusz Iwaszkiewicz, Wykaz dóbr ziemskich skonfiskowanych przez rządy zaborcze w latach 1773-1867, Warszawa 1929, s. 5, 15.
- Volumina Legum, t. IX, Kraków 1889, s. 470.
- Мальдзіс А. І. Беларусь у люстэрку мемуарнай літаратуры XVIII ст. — Мн.: Мастацкая літаратура, 1982. — С. 115
- Kawalerowie i statuty Orderu Orła Białego 1705-2008, 2008, s. 189.
- Бантыш-Каменский Н.Н. Списки кавалерам российских императорских орденов Св. Андрея Первозванного, Св. Екатерины, Св. Александра Невского и Св. Анны с учреждения до установления в 1797 году орденского капитула, 2005, s. 149.
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IV ks. 21–33 (kopiariusze listów R-a), koperty 22–28, 37, 38, 42, 43, 110, 160–167, 223, 240–284 (listy R-a do Radziwiłłów i do oficjalistów), 340–344, 433, 434, 459, 460, 464, 470, 471, 540–547, 564–568, 620, 621, 679, 715, 719, 728, 731, 732, 739, Dz. V (listy różnych do R-a), Dz. XI 164–179, Dz. XXVI 523–595, 600–603, 607–668, 750–758, 876, 907, 908, 910, 919 (spisy mobiliów i kosztowności R-a), Dz. XXIX 11–13, 15–16 (kopiariusze rozporządzeń R-a), 110, 160, 207, 302, 303, w innych działach materiały dotyczące spraw administracyjno-gospodarczych, prawno-majątkowych, wojskowych, kościelnych, Arch. Przezdzieckich B/67, Arch. Roskie XVIII/13, XLIII/11, LXVI/29, Zbiór Komierowskich 12/12; B. Czart: rkp. 684, 700, 717, 720, 721, 723, 729, 848, 941, 942, 943b, 946; B. Jag.: rkp. 3608, 6147, 6339, 6672; B. Narod.: rkp. 3262, 3268, 3279, 6684, 6903, 6976; B. Ossol.: rkp. 317, 562, 1071, 1076, 5973, 11835, 11984, 13563, 13732, 14161, 14269; B. PAN w Kr.: rkp. 278, 1761, 2663, 2682, 3261, 3364, 3384, 3599, 4434, 4447, 4498, 4506; B. Uniw. Warsz.: rkp. 89, 273, 304. (in Polish)