|Abstract: ||In his work the Author researches the Crown assemblies’ (i.e. sejmiks’) attitude toward internal
conflicts that the Republic of Poland had to deal with at the time of short but turbulent reign of
King Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki (Michael I). However, Wiśniowiecki’s reign was influenced
by a destructive pro-French policy of the so-called Malcontents party, who aimed to dethrone
the king, and thus elect a candidate who would be designated by Louis XIV of France. Another
obstacle that Michał Korybut had to surmount was the Ukrainian conflict between a pro-Polish
Cossack hetman, Michał Chanenka, and Piotr Doroszenko, a hetman who strove for a separation
between Ukraine and the Republic of Poland. Doroszenko viewed himself as a Turkish subject,
which was connected with the aggressive Turkish policy that ultimately led to a war and consequently
to a defeat that the Republic of Poland suffered in 1672. The scope as well as other
aspects of the research are limited to the Crown territory, which was the Author’s intention. The
book is divided into five chapters.
Chapter one, comprising five subchapters, transcends the reign of Michał Korybut. The historic
narrative delineates the time of John II Casimir (Jan Kazimierz) and Ludwika Maria reign,
when the first pro-French party was formed. This newly-formed party was to pave the way for
introduction of political reforms which in fact did harm to the privilege of the nobility which was
a free (royal) election. The death of Ludwika Maria and the abdication of John II Casimir (Jan
Kazimierz) created a need to elect a new candidate to throne. The election of 1669 highly surprised
those who favored foreign candidates, as the nobility preferred Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki over
the foreigners. The election was opposed by the pro-French camp with Primate of Poland Mikołaj
Prażmowski and Crown Hetman and marshal Jan Sobieski. The Malcontents Party, who were favored
by Louis XIV of France, aimed to paralyze political plans of the young king and to dethrone
him. However, the nobility who stood up for their „own” king was his ally. The chapter makes
use of laudas and assemblies’ instructions on the basis of which it depicts the Crown assemblies’
attitude toward anti-royal opposition. The chapter presents chronological development till 1671.
Chapter two also falls into five subchapters. It depicts the most dramatic events that took place
during Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki’s reign, and concerns the dissolution of two subsequent assemblies
(sejmiks) summoned in 1672. The situation prevented from taking any defensive actions
that would repel Turkish attacks, which finally led to taking over a significant fortress – Kamieniec
Podolski, and to signing a treaty in Buczacz that sanctioned the loss of Podolia and Ukraine by
the Republic of Poland. The internal conflicts in the Polish-Lithuanian state became even more
complicated, for in 1672 they led to establishment of three confederacies, two of which were pro-royal – in Gołąb and Kobryń; whereas one was anti-royal – in Szczebrzeszyn. Further actions
entailed the confederate gathering in Warsaw called by Michał Korybut, which started its sessions
on January 4th, 1673. The sessions made it possible to hold talks with the Malcontent party, which
paved the way for its transformation into sejm and reaching a national agreement.
Chapter three splits into four subchapters which discuss reforms postulated by assemblies
(sejmiks) and aimed to improve the political system. Presented at the beginning are bills introduced
at Crown assemblies by the monarch, and then – the assemblies’ reaction to a reformatory
agenda proclaimed by the court as well as postulates that issued as effects of a creative reflection
by Crown assemblies.
Chapter four deals with monetary issues. It is divided into six subchapters, the first of which
presents a reformatory agenda of improving the monetary system issued by the court. The subsequent
subchapters illustrate the views of Crown assemblies on the reasons for the monetary crisis,
sanctions for people responsible for that situation, and solutions proposed to remove sub-standard
coins from circulation.
Two subchapters of chapter five investigate the military issues. The first one presents the assemblies’
attitude toward issues of defense as well as awkward questions of funding the army due
to areas of voivodeships and lands aroused tensions between the nobility and hetmans, as well
as the army itself. The soldiers who did not receive any money would raid and make illegitimate
requisition over the civilians’ possessions. The second subchapter discusses the issue of fortifications.
Their role – including the borderland fortifications located in Podolia and Ukraine which
were within the range of direct Turkish attacks – was of crucial importance. This was observed
by king Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki as well as by the assemblies, especially those located in
areas prone to Tatars raids.
The author provides an appendix which includes twenty-two attachments (e.g. prices of articles,
old weights and measures, prices of luxury items, approximate prices of items, soldiers’ pay
in 1673, indirect taxes values (szelężny and czopowy), and certain currency exchange rates.|