Images of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in Several Memoirs of the 17th Century (Summary)

Marcin Bauer (PDF)

The article is devoted to depicting the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) in several memoirs of the 17th century. Most of the memoirs and diaries of the GDL were written during the turbulent events of the second half of the 17th century. The works discussed were written in the early 1660s, during the fight against the Russian invasion and the military confederation. It compares how the same events were perceived by the authors of three different texts: a landlord who experienced the occupation, a cavalryman in the Hussars and an ambitious politician who lost his power as a public official during the war. The article first discusses the latter of the two surviving memoirs of Bogusław Kazimierz Maskiewicz. The author, a veteran of the Hetman Janusz Radziwiłł’s army, who fought against the Khmelnytsky uprising and settled in the Novogrudok region, had a landlord’s view of the events of the 1660s, the Russian occupation and its end after the victorious offensive of Paweł Jan Sapieha and Stefan Czarniecki. Another text under discussion is the memoirs of Jan Władysław Poczobut Odlanicki, a native of Ukmergė powiat, who served in the hussar cavalry detachment of Field Hetman Wincent Gosiewski during the period mentioned above. Poczobut Odlanicki was often in the midst of the events depicted, i.e., he participated in the war with Russia and was a member of the largest military confederation in Lithuania, the Sanctified Union. The last work is the diary of Jan Antoni Chrapowicki, the King’s secretary and Voivode of Vitebsk. This text differs from the previous ones in its narrative nature and structure; it is a consistent personal diary. It depicts the 1660s as a representative of the political elite of the GDL, who looks at the occupation and the war as if from the outside, in the safety of exile, far away from the inherited estates occupied by the enemy.

Keywords: Bogusław Kazimierz Maskiewicz, Paweł Jan Sapieha, Stefan Czarniecki, Wincent Gosiewski, Jan Władysław Poczobut Odlanicki, Jan Antoni Chrapowicki