Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Recasting Utopia: Montesquieu, Rousseau and the Polish constitution of 3 May 1791*

  • Jerzy Lukowski (a1)

Between the sixteenth and eighteengh centuries, the nobility of the Polish–Lithuanian commonwealth had developed an ideology of extreme individualism and libertarianism, within a correspondingly weak and decentralized state structure. The first partition of 1772 starkly revealed the weaknesses of the Polish polity, but any hopes of major political overhaul were frustrated by the dead hand of Russian ambassadorial policing. The war of 1787–92 with Turkey proved a temporary distraction for Russia, which the Polish parliament of 1788–92 showed itself only partly capable of exploiting. Factional conflicts and a wary conservatism hampered reforms: the ideas of Montesquieu and Rousseau, which closely complemented so many aspects of traditional Polish noble ideology, seemed to offer the most acceptable way forward, culminating in the constitution of 3 May 1791, a compromise between enlightened idealism and political pragmatism.

Hide All

1 The preamble to the constitution makes this its principal point.

2 Kalinka W., Sejm Czteroletni, 3 vols. (Kraków, 18951896; 1st edn Lwow, 1881; Warsaw, 1991, 2 vols.); Smolenski W., Ostatni rok sejmu wielkiego (Kraków, 1897).

3 Lésnodorski B., Dzieło sejmu czteroletniego 1788–1792 (Wroclaw, 1951).

4 E. Rostworowski, ‘Marzenie dobrego obywatela, czyli królewski projekt Konstytucji’, idem, Legendy i fakty XVIIIw. (Warsaw, 1963), pp. 265464; Zienkowska K., Sławetni i Urodzeni: ruch polityczny mieszczánstwa w dobie sejmu czteroletniego (Warsaw, 1976).

5 Some of the most recent work is referred to in the notes below. A brave attempt to publish key source materials relating to the Four Years Sejm stalled, the editors overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task: Materiały do dziejów sejmu czteroletniego, ed. Woliński J., Michalski J. and Rostworowski E. (6 vols., Wrocław, 1955–69). There is no modern edition of the record of debates. The promise of a prosopographical analysis has yet to be realized. See Kowecki J., ‘Poslowie debiutanci na sejmie czteroletnim’, in Wiek XVIII: Polska i świat, ed. Zahorski A. (Warsaw, 1974), pp. 195210. For an accessible account in English of the sejm see Lukowski J. T., Liberty's folly: the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the eighteenth century (London, 1991), esp. pp. 239–56.

6 The standard work on Montesquieu in Poland remains Smolénski W., Monteskjusz w Polsce (Warsaw, 1927). See also his Przewrót umysłowy w Polsce wieku XVIII (Krakow, 1891). The most searching treatment of Rousseau's influence, Michalski J., Rousseau i sarmacki republikanizm (Warsaw, 1977) deals with an earlier period. Jobert's A. attempt in his useful, if ultimately disappointing, Magnats polonais et physiocrates français (1767–1774) (Dijon, 1941) to portray the 3 May constitution as a physiocratic document (p. 13) is unconvincing, undoubtedly strong as physiocratic ideas were among Polish reformers in social, economic and educational fields. For more accessible treatments of the influence of the Enlightenment in Poland see Lésnodorski B., ‘La pensée politique de Rousseau en Pologne’, Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française, XXXIV (1964), 497514; Rzadkowska E. and Przybylska E. (eds.), Voltaire et Rousseau en France et en Pologne (Warsaw, 1982); Lukowski, Liberty's folly, pp. 180–5, 218–38.

7 Wroughton to the earl of Sandwich, 5 Oct., 17 Dec. 1763. London, Public Record Office, State Papers 88/97, fos. 293, 353.

8 Considérations sur la grandeur des Romains et les causes de leur décadence, p. 116; De I'esprit des lois (hereafter Lois), book XI, ch. VI, p. 404; both in Montesquieu, Oeuvres complètes, II, ed. Caillois R. (Paris, 1951) (all references to this edition).

9 Stanisław Konarski, O skutecznym rad sposobie (‘On the means to successful counsels’) (4 vols., Warsaw, 17601763), I, 50–1, 162; II, 90–2, 96–9. For the approximation of the Polish commonwealth to heaven see Tazbir J., Wiek XVII. Rzeczpospolita a świat (Wrocław, 1971), pp. 109–23.

10 For an accessible English summary of the extensive Polish literature on the ‘Sarmatian’ origin myth and its cultural repercussions see Cynarski S., ‘The shape of Sarmatian ideology’, Acta Poloniae Historica, XIX (1968), 517.

11 The text of both statutes is to be found in Volumina Legum (hereafter VL), IX (St Petersburg, 1889), 215–19 (Statute on Towns) and 220–6 (Statute of Government). All references to the two statutes will be to specific articles. All references to supplementary and other legislation will be to the appropriate page in VL. For an English translation see the Annual Register for 1791, pp. 177–86 (Statute of Government) and 196–200 (Statute on Towns).

12 Fabre J., Stanislas-Auguste Poniatowski et l'Europe des Lumières (Paris, 1952), pp. 199204, 256; Rostworowski, ‘Marzenie’, pp. 368–9.

13 Literature barska, 2nd edn, ed. Maciejewski J. (Wrocław, 1976), e.g. pp. 1516, 91–2; Wolska B., Poezja polityczna czasoów pierwszego rozbioru i sejmu delegacyjnego 1772–1775 (Wrocław, 1982), pp. 4952, 64–8, 83–6, 93, 97, 113–15, 121, 236–7, 266–7; Grześkowiak-Krwawicz A., ‘Polska myśl polityczna lat 1772–1792 o systemie wladzy monarchii absolutystycznej’, Kwartalnik Historyczny, LXXXXIV, 3 (1988), 55–6. For the roots of such attitudes see Backvis C., ‘Les thèmes majeurs de la pensée politique polonaise au XVIe siàcle’, Annuaire de l'Institut de Philologie et d'Histoire Orientates et Slaves, XIV (1954–7), 307–55; Frost R., ‘“Liberty without licence?” The failure of Polish democratic thought in the seventeenth century’, in Biskupski M. B. and Pula J. S. (eds.), Polish democratic thought from the Renaissance to the great emigration ([Boulder, Colo.] 1990), PP. 2954.

14 O skutecznym rad sposobie, III, 253–78, IV, 36–60, 239–45; Konopczyński W., Polscy pisarze polityczni XVIII wieku (Warsaw, 1966), p. 182; Michalski J., ‘Stanisław Konarski wobec sarmatyzmu i problem europeizacji Polski’, Polska w świecie, ed. Dowiat J. (Warsaw, 1972), pp. 277–84.

15 Konopczyński, Pisarze polityczni, p. 200. For a sustained conservative riposte to the Monitor of 1765 see Czacki's Felix ‘List[y] z okoliczności Monitorów od przyiaciela do Przyiaciela pisan[e]’, Biblioteka Czartoryskich (hereafter, B. Cz.), Kraków, MS 1195, pp. 5138. Published selections from the Monitor in ‘Monitor’ 1765–1785: wybór, ed. Aleksandrowska E. (Wrocław, 1976).

16 ‘Pologne’, Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des arts, et des métiers… (Paris, 17511765), XII, 925–34. Jaucourt's main source was Coyer's Abbé Histoire de Jean Sobieski (3 vols., Varsovie, 1761), the republicanism of which was such as to arouse Louis XV's personal interest in its suppression in France, not least because the author was a protégé of Poland's ex-king, now duke of Lorraine and Louis XV's father-in-law, Stanisłw Leszczyński. See J. Fabre, ‘Stanislas Leszczyński et l'idée républicaine en France au XVIIIe siècle’, idem, Lumières et romantisme. Énergie et nostalgie. De Rousseau à Mickiewicz (Paris, 1980 edn), pp. 189–207.

17 Branicki's ‘Réflexions patriotiques sur l'état présent de la République…’, Paris, Archive du Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, Pologne 289, fos. 400–2. Cf. Rousseau's Du Contract Social, ‘Les meilleurs rois veulent pouvoir être médians…’ in Oeuvres completes, III, edited by Gagnebin B. and Raymond M. (Paris, 1964), p. 409 or his Économic politique, ibid. p. 253 (all references to this edition); Montesquieu, Lois, book XI, ch. iv, p. 395.

18 Konopczyński, Pisarze polityczni, p. III. Leśnodorski B. cites the case of an unnamed envoy to the Four Years Sejm who supposedly confessed to discovering what the ‘executive’ was only after the reading of the 3 May constitution (Dzieło, p. 381).

19 Even Montesquieu's warnings were given out of practical considerations, not because he felt such direct rule to be wrong in itself. Lois, book XI, ch. vi, pp. 399–400. See also ibid, book IX, ch. i, pp. 369–70, and cf. Rousseau's Considérations sur le gouvernement de Pologne, pp. 960–1, 970–1, 975, 979.

20 VL II, 150–3.

21 VL v, II.

22 Czacki F., ‘List XXII na karty Monitora XLXXX y XLXXXIV’, B. Cz. 1195, pp. 85–6; Bishop Kajetan Sołtyk to Jerzy Mniszech, 8 January 1765, ibid. 3860, fos. 1–2. Cf. Zielińska Z., Republikanizm spod znaku buławy. Publicystyka Seweryna Rzewuskiego z lat 1788–1790 (Warsaw, 1988), pp. 41, 73, 85, 90–2, 95, 113114, 120–1, 136–7, 171, 175, 185–6, 257–8.

23 O przywróceniu dawnego rządu według pierwiastkowych Rzeczypospolitej ustaw ([Amsterdam], 1775), pp. v–viii, esp. p. vi. The same point was elaborated at greater length in 1788 by Kołłątaj Hugo, in his Listy Anonima i Prawo Polityczne Narodu Polskiego, 2 vols., ed. Lesnodorski B. and Wereszycka H. (Kraków, 1954), II, 1720 (all references to Kollataj's works are to this edition, unless stated otherwise).

24 Michalski, Rousseau, pp. 38.

25 Considérations, pp. 980, 984. Rousseau wrote his work in 1770–1, though it was not published until 1782. A Polish translation, by Franciszek Karp, one of the radical envoys to the Four Years Sejm, appeared in 1789. Lésnodorski, ‘La pensée politique de Rousseau…’, pp. 503–4.

26 Wielhorski actually speaks of the ‘will of the palatinate’, wola województwa, i.e. of the basic political constituency of the szlachta nation, meeting at the local sejmik, in order to transmit the will of the electorate to the sejm. O przywŕoceniu, pp. 84, 97, 116, 169, 199, 202, 260, 308. For the mechanisms whereby this was to be done, ibid. pp. 30, 38, 53–4, 59, 68, 159, 194, 222–3.

27 Michalski, Rousseau, p. 48. For Wielhorski's defence of his law restoring the fully fledged veto in 1766 after the restrictions imposed on it in 1764, see O przywróceniu, pp. 80–1.

28 Considérations, pp. 979–80. Cf. Contract Social, p. 371. See also Wielhorski, O przywréceniu, p. 98.

29 The king lost the right to dispose freely of most of the so-called ‘crown lands’ (królewszczyzny), covering some fifteen per cent of the Commonwealth's area; as their current holders died off, they were to be let on long-term leases to the highest bidder. Historia państwa i prawa Polski, II, ed. Bardach J. (Warsaw, 1971 edn), 509. The Permanent Council put forward three candidates, of whom the king would appoint one, to each ministerial and senatorial vacancy. Otherwise, the king had to abide by the majority-vote decisions of the 36-member Council. Czaja A., Między tronem, bulawg a dworem petersburskim: z dziejów Rady Nieustającej 1786–1789 (Warsaw, 1988), pp. 4876. Czaja draws attention to the influence of Montesquieu's ideas on the creation of the Council, p. 68.

30 Ibid. pp. 107–11, 269. Leśnodorski, Dzieło, p. 323n.

31 Listy Anonima i Prawo Polityczne Narodu Polskiego, 1, 273, 332–3; II, 16, 30, 51–2, 109–13; 220–1, 236–8. Leśnodorski stresses the influence of Rousseau's Économie politique, written for the Encyclopédic, on Kołłątaj. Leśnodorski, ‘La pensée politique de Rousseau’, p. 502.

32 Fabre, Stanislas-Auguste Poniatowski, esp. pp. 435é8; Rostworowski E., Sprawa aukcji wojska na tle sytuacji politycznej przed sejmem czteroletnim (Warsaw, 1957), esp. pp. 203–21, 226–8.

33 Ibid. pp. 228–32: idem, ‘Marzenie’, pp. 342–54.

34 On 7 September 1789 the sejm had set up a ‘Deputacja do Formy Rządu’ – a ‘Deputation for the Form of Government’ to draft a new constitution. In practice, the Deputation entrusted most of the work to Ignacy Potocki: the Deputation's ‘Project for the Form of Government’ (Proiekt do Formy Rządu [Warsaw, 1790]) was submitted to the sejm on 2 August 1790. Its section on the sejmiki formed the basis of the law of 24 March 1791; otherwise, the Proiekt found little favour with the sejm and was never passed. VL IX, 107–8; Leśnodorski, Dzieło, pp. 145–61, 241; Rostworowski, ‘Marzenie’, pp. 290–2, 306–10, 318–24, 328–32, 425–6.

35 Fabre, Stanislas-Auguste Poniatowski, p. 344; Zienkowska, Sławetni i Urodzeni, pp. 109–12, 123, 147.

36 Kołłątaj, Listy Anonima, 1, 261–4, II, 6774; Kuźnica kołłątajowska: wybór źródeł, ed. Leśnodorski B. (Wrocław, 1949), pp. 61–3, 122–5; Staszic S., Przestrogi dla Polski (‘Warnings to Poland’), ed. Czarnowski S. (Kraków, 1926), p. 16 (first publ. Warsaw, 1790); Zienkowska, Sławetni i urodzeni, p. 96.

37 VL IX, 157–9.

38 This very charge was levelled against the Four Years Sejm. Zielińska, Republikanizm, pp. 121, 141, 173–4, 180, 260–1, 280, 350–1.

39 Under the supplementary legislation of 28 May 1791, future sejmy would continue to be called once every two years. They were to sit for seventy full business days, with scope for an extension of fifteen further business days. In case of necessity, the sejm could be called back at four weeks' notice as a ‘reconvened’ sejm, but all of its decisions would be subject to confirmation by the next ‘ordinary’ sejm. VL IX, 250–1.

40 Considérations, p. 993. Cf. Wielhorski, O przywróceniu, pp. 131, 319–20.

41 VL IX, 158.

42 VL IX, 61, 112; art. VII of the constitution; Leśnodorski, Dzieło, pp. 309–10.

43 VL IX, 251. Leśnodorski, Dzieło, pp. 2556. I do not intend to imply that Potocki and Kołłątaj were specifically following Rousseau in leaving episcopal nominations in the hands of future kings. It was hardly a practical proposition to entrust the nomination of bishops to the sejmiki (as Rousseau himself pointed out), particularly under a constitution whose first article explicitly affirmed Roman Catholicism to be Poland's ruling faith. Rousseau would have left lay senatorial elections wholly at the disposal of the sejmiki or, for lesser-ranking senators, at the disposal of the sejm, with no role left for the king in their appointment (Considérations, pp. 989–91). It is worth noting that under the legislation of 1775 the king could only nominate to bishoprics from among three persons presented by the Permanent Council (Czaja, Między tronem, p. 65). In so far as the legislation on royal patronage of 1791 applied purely to Stanistaw August, it represented, strictly speaking, a confirmation of a law passed on 13 September 1790, which, following a rapprochement between the king and the sejm, restored in full his powers to appoint senators and ministers. Zienkowska, Sławetni i Urodzeni, pp. 119121; VL IX, 182.

44 Rostworowski, ‘Marzenie’, pp. 462–3.

45 Montesquieu's view of England is directly juxtaposed with that of Poland. England's constitution aims at ‘la liberté politique’ whereas Poland's aims at ‘l'indépendance de chaque particulier…et ce qui en résulte, l'oppression de tous’. Lois, book XI, ch. v, p. 396.

46 Ibid, book II, ch. iv, p. 248. Sheila Mason has recently drawn attention to Montesquieu's complex views on England, ‘Montesquieu on English constitutionalism revisited’, Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, CCLXXVIII (1990), 105–46.

47 Lois, book XI, ch. iv, p. 395. Cf. Rousseau, Économie politique, pp. 245–7 and Contract Social, pp. 371–2.

48 The excellent translation in the Annual Register of 1791, pp. 177–86, renders straż praw as ‘council of inspection’, but this weakens the force of the term. Emanuel Rostworowski points out that in the penultimate draft of the constitution the king headed article VII ‘Król, czyli władza wykonawcza’, ‘The king, that is, the executive power’. Kołłątaj subsequently dropped the ‘czyli’, thus removing the direct equation of king and executive. Rostworowski, ‘Marzenie’, pp. 431–2. Significantly, article VI of the constitution is headed ‘Sejm, czyli wladza prawodawcza’, ‘The sejm, that is, the legislative power’.

49 Lois, book v, ch. vii, p. 282; earlier, Montesquieu speaks of the need for ‘un dépôt des lois’, as well as intermediary bodies, in a monarchy. Ibid, book II, ch. v, p. 249.

50 P. 454.

51 Rousseau, Considérations, pp. 1022–23, 1040; Wielhorski, O przywróceniu, pp. 140–1.

52 Wielhorski uses the term struż (rather than straż) praw, but the meaning is very similar. Ibid, p. 133. Wielhorski's work is to some extent a tacit polemic against Stanisław Konarski, who, in the context of a debate on the extent of royal power, put forward the argument that kings ‘are the guardians (stróże) of laws and justice’. O skutecznym rod sposobie, III, 142.

53 Kądziela Ł., ‘Spór szlachty kurlandzkiej z ks. Piotrem Bironem w okresie Sejmu Czteroletniego’, Społeczeństwo Polskie XVIII i XIX w., VIII (1987), 1215.

54 Kądziela Ł., Narodziny Konstytucji 3 Maja (Warsaw, 1991), pp. 52–3; Potocki's tract has recently been published in Kołłątaj i inni: z publicystyki doby sejmu czteroletniego, ed. Kądziela Ł. (Warsaw, 1991), pp. 4863. There is an earlier hint of a straż in Kołłątaj, Listy Anonima, II, 29.

55 Czaja, Między tronem, pp. 321–2, 340–9.

56 Leśnodorski, Dzieło, pp. 145–50.

57 VL IX, 158.

58 Leśnodorski, Dzieło, pp. 322–4.

59 The only substantial difference between the tribunat and the straż praw lay in Rousseau's opposition to the former's sitting in continuous session, which would lead to an excessive accumulation of power by the tribunat in its own right. This was indeed the burden of the charges made by the Polish opposition against the old permanent council. It is perhaps not too fanciful to see in the ample facilities which members of the straż and its subordinate commissions enjoyed for convoking the sejm a kind of (improved?) constitutional equivalent for Rousseau's recommendation that the tribunat should be subjected to statutory intervals ‘durant lesquels il resteroit supprimé’ (Contract Social, p. 455). Subject to this qualification, Rousseau's views are clearly echoed in Stanisław Potocki's Myśli o ogólnej poprawie rządu krajowego in Kołłątaj i inni, pp. 51–3.

60 Leśnodorski, Dzieło, pp. 322, 329; VL IX, 251, 264–5, 266–70. Stanislaw Potocki originally advised against the appointment by the king of ministers in the straz to its subordinate commissions (Potocki, Myśli…, pp. 53–4); Stanisław August unsuccessfully opposed this restriction. (Rostworowski, ‘Marzenie’, pp. 446–7). Rousseau stressed that his tribunat should be ‘une magistrature particulière qui ne fait point corps avec les autres’, Contract Social, pp. 453–4.

61 Considérations, pp. 991–2.

62 VL IX, 255.

63 Smoleński W., Ostatni Rok Sejmu Wielkiego (Krakow, 1897), pp. 241–9.

64 Czacki, ‘List XVIII na Monitora karty XXXV y XXXVI’, B. Cz. 1195, p. 57. Kołłątaj, Listy Anonima, I, 277–8.

65 Czacki, ibid. pp. 53–7; Zielińska, Republikanizm, p. 93.

66 Considérations, pp. 974, 1026–8; Michalski, Rousseau, pp. 23–4, 40–1; idem, ‘Stanisław August obserwatorem rewolucji francuskiej’, Kwartalnik Historyczny, LXXXXVII, nos. 1–2 (1990), 52–3, 56.

67 O pryiwróceniu, pp. 305–7.

68 VL VIII, 113.

69 VL VIII, 401, 405.

70 Zienkowska, Sławetni i urodzeni, esp. pp. 130–8 for some astonishing instances.

71 Ibid. pp. 19–21, 24–8 and passim; Maliszewski K., Jan Kazimierz Rubinkowski: szlachcic, mieszczanin toruński, erudyta barokowy (Warsaw, 1982); Zieliriska T., Szlacheccy właściciele nieruchomości w miastach XVIIIw. (Warsaw, 1987).

72 Considérations, pp. 211, 279–80.

73 The term ‘townsmen’ (in preference to ‘bourgeoisie’ or even ‘burghers’, which may imply a degree of social sophistication not shared by the great majority of Poland's town inhabitants) is used throughout this article to denote the non-Jewish inhabitants of the Polish royal towns; the Jews, though a significant percentage of the inhabitants of many Polish towns, in some even a majority, formed to all intents and purposes a separate legal estate which had no direct involvement in the agitation for municipal reform. See Lukowski, Liberty's folly, pp. 7782; Zienkowska K., ‘“The Jews have killed a tailor.” The socio-political background of a riot in Warsaw in 1790’, Polin, III (1988), 78101.

74 VL IX, 35.

75 Zienkowska, Sławetni i urodzeni, pp. 1213, 16, 22, 43–4, 62–6, 99107, 111–12.

76 Rostworowski, ‘Marzenie’, pp. 292–9; Zienkowska, Sławetni i Urodzeni, pp. 107–12.

77 Ibid. pp. 117–18; VL IX, 204.

78 Ibid, passim, but esp. pp. 43–4, 52–66, 69, 73, 102–17. Kołłątaj's own views on the constitutional role of townsmen can be seen most clearly in his Prawo Polityczne, II, 219–20, 273–85.

79 Zienkowska, Sławetni i Urodzeni, esp. pp. 160–78.

80 Article II (Statute on Towns). These voting rights were restricted to commercial and municipal matters.

81 The ramifications are discussed at length in Zienkowska, Sławetni i Urodzeni, esp. pp. 179290.

82 Ibid. p. 175.

83 Jan Dekert to Stanisław Małachowski, 3 Oct. 1790, quoted ibid. p. 119.

84 Smoleński W., Mieszczaństwo warszawskie w końcu wieku XVIII (Warsaw, 1976 edn), pp. 167–9.

85 Zienkowska, Sławetni i Urodzeni, pp. 249–50.

86 Ibid. p. 122; Rostworowski, ‘Marzenie’, p. 294.

87 Rostworowski E., ‘Ilu bylo w Rzeczypospolitej obywateli szlachty’, Kwartalnik Historyczny, XCIV (1988), 37–8.

88 E.g. Lois, book XI, ch. iii, p. 395: ‘La liberté est le droit de faire tout ce que les lois permettent.’

89 De Madariaga I., ‘Catherine and the Philosophes’, in Cross A. G. (ed.), Russia and the West in the eighteenth century (Newtonville, Mass., 1983), pp. 37–8. Cf. Rousseau, Considérations, p. 974.

90 Leśnodorski, Dzieło, p. 448; Rostworowski E., ‘Republikanizm polski i anglosaski w XVIII wieku’, Miesięcznik Literacki, VIII (1976), 94.

91 Schulz F., ‘Prodróże Inflantczyka z Rygi do Warszawy’, Polska stanisławowska w oczach cudzoziemców, ed. Zawadzki W., II (Warsaw, 1963), 655; Vahle H., ‘Die polnische Verfassung vom 3. Mai 1791 im zeitgenossischen deutschen Urteil’, Jahrbücher fur Geschichte Osteuropas, N.F. XIX (1971). 357–60.

92 Leśnodorski B., ‘“La Pacifica Rivoluzione” en Italieet ses reflets en Pologne au XVIIIe s.’, Italia, Venezia e Polonia tra illuminismo e romanticismo, ed. Branca V. (Florence, 1973), pp. 195213; Maestro M., ‘Gaetano Filangieri and his Science of Legislation’, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, n.s. LXVI, no. 6 (1976), 771.

93 Rostworowski, ‘Marzenie’, p. 380.

94 Économie politique, p. 250; Contract Social, pp. 384–6; Considérations, pp. 1036–7; Lois, esp. book 1, ch. iii, pp. 237–8.

95 Ibid, book V, ch. X, pp. 289–90.

96 Smoleński, Ostatni Rok, pp. 6571, 93–5, 110–11, 133–4.

97 VL IX, 259. Cf. Lois, book XIII, ch. XII, p. 319; Économie politique, pp. 264–78; Contract Social, p. 429; Considérations, pp. 1003–12.

98 Zahorski A., Centralne instytucje policyjne w Polsce w dobie rozbiorw (Warsaw, 1959), pp. 146–55.

99 Zienkowska, Sławetni i Urodzeni, pp. 219–21, 229–31.

100 VL IX, 428–30.

101 ‘Mowa na Sejmie dnia 28 czerwca 1791r.’, Kuźnica Kołłątajowska: wybór źródel, ed. Leśnodorski B. (Wrocław, 1949), pp. 160–73.

102 Lois, book II, ch. II, p. 240; Considérations, p. 983.

103 VL IX, 241.

104 Rostworowski, ‘Marzenie’, pp. 322–3; Kołłątaj, esp. Prawo Polityczne, II, 197337.

105 Lois, book XIX, ch. xvii, 567; Considérations, pp. 966–70. Cf. Économic politique, pp. 260–2.

106 Konarski, O skutecznym rad sposobie, esp. I, 50–3, IV, 135–6; Jean Fabre notes Kołłątaj's embarrassing lack of acknowledgement of Konarski, Stanislas-Auguste et l'Europe des Lumières, p. 119.

107 The strength of Polish republican utopianism was not, of course, a unique phenomenon in the eighteenth century. See Venturi F., Utopia and reform in the Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1971).

* This paper developed out of originally read to the 41st conference of the International Commission for the History of Representative and Praliamentary Institutions in Warsaw on 10 Sept.1991. I should like to express my appreciation of the discussions at the European History (1500–1800) Seminar of London University, to the Modern European History Seminar of Cambridge University and to the University of Birmingham's Modern History Seminar, which have all contributed to this version. I am particularly grateful for their comments to Professor D. E. D. Beales and to Professor Q. R. D. Skinner.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Historical Journal
  • ISSN: 0018-246X
  • EISSN: 1469-5103
  • URL: /core/journals/historical-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 25 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 140 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.