Jarosław Kurkowski
Instytut Historii Nauki PAN, Warszawa
[Institute for the History of Science PAS, Warsaw]
Źródłoznawstwo w służbie króla i Rzeczypospolitej. Uwagi o praktycznych celach badań naukowych doby stanisławowskiej
Source studies in the service of the King and Rzeczpospolita. Comments on practical purposes of scientific research in the times of the reign of Stanislaus II
The article presents political, journalistic and legal-international context of preliminary research and source-studies publications in the times of the reign of Stanislaus Augustus. A constant need to legitimize the power of the King was in the centre of the scheme of historical projects launched by his circles. This tendency was depicted for example in two versions of the painting by Bernardo Bellotto (Canaletto) presenting the election of 1764. Their underlying intention was to accentuate the election’s conformity with political heritage, the rule of law and also with the tradition of the Polish nobility. The point of departure for ‘controlling the past’ was gaining power over its testimony. Therefore a lot of activities of people around the King were undertaken in relation to the public archives: collecting, organising, conservation, research and taking over of the archive material.
The King ordered to continue the work on the Diplomatic Code (Codex diplomaticus Regni Poloniae et Magni Ducatus Lituaniae) that had been started by Piarist Maciej Dogiel. The work was specifically focused on current interests of Rzeczpospolita, as well as formal and legal overtones of published materials. In the international polemic about the First Partition such a ‘scholarly’ form – laborious and indirect to the heart of the problem – could not be applied. However, among the persons who at that time most probably presented the King’s and Rzeczpospolita’s position, we can find names of people known as members of the team working on the Code, other source studies and historiographic initiatives: Jacek Ogrodzki, Karol Wyrwicz, Klemens (Ignacy) Pokubiatta, and possibly also Adam Naruszewicz. Printed historical sources, both of narrative and legal character, played an exceptional role in that polemic.
Feliks Łoyko – the most prominent polemicist of the Polish side – supported his historical argument only with source materials already published, probably to enable the reader to check for himself the quoted references. A competent polemic with the lawless partition could therefore be possible thanks to the achievements of source studies in the times of the reign of Augustus III and editorial plans of erudite people gathered around the Załuski Library. Moreover, there is no visible creative difference in this field between the Saxon epoch and the times of the reign of Stanislaus II, and that erudite formula of action, formally aimed at the past, was easily combined with current, pragmatic goals.
Source-studies projects defending the rights of Rzeczpospolita could not be limited exclusively to the so-called royal castle circles and ‘state’ ventures. Also members of the elite who were in conflict with the ruler imposed by Russia were getting ready to polemicize with the propaganda of the partitioners. Analysis of the manuscript legacy of Józef Aleksander Jabłonowski contradicts a thesis that the Confederacy of Bar emigrants, when hearing the news about partition, limited themselves to proclaiming Lindawa manifesto. An example can be the draft of the manuscript 1144 Expositio fidelis et authentica juris ad Haliciam, Wlodimiriam, Luceoriam, Premisliam et alia…, preserved in the Princes Czartoryski Library in Kraków, having also its French version. There is an open question who was its author – some involvement of Józef Aleksander Jabłonowski is unquestionable. Jabłonowski’s materials reveal also some tracks of other preliminary research and lists related to the polemic with unlawful activities of the invaders.
Analecta – Studia i Materiały z Dziejów Nauki
[Analecta – Studies and Materials on the History of Science]
XXV, 2016, 2, 9-37