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Adam Jerzy Czartoryski
Polish politician

Adam Jerzy Czartoryski

Adam Jerzy Czartoryski
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Polish politician
Was Writer Diplomat Playwright Poet
From Poland
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature Politics
Gender male
Birth 14 January 1770, Warsaw
Death 15 July 1861, Montfermeil (aged 91 years)
Mother: Izabela Czartoryska
Father: Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski
Children: Władysław CzartoryskiWitold CzartoryskiIzabella Elżbieta Czartoryska
The details (from wikipedia)


Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈadam ˈjɛʐɨ t͡ʂartɔˈrɨskʲi], Lithuanian: Аdomas Jurgis Čartoriskis, also known as Adam George Czartoryski in English; 14 January 1770 – 15 July 1861) was a Polish nobleman, statesman and author. He was the son of Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski and Izabela Flemming.
Czartoryski held the distinction of having been part, at different times, of the governments of two mutually hostile countries. He was de facto Chairman of the Russian Council of Ministers (1804–6), and President of the Polish National Government during the November 1830 Uprising against Imperial Russia.

Early life and education

Czartoryski was born on 14 January 1770 in Warsaw. He was the son of Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski and Izabela Fleming. It was rumored that Adam was the fruit of a liaison between Izabela and Russian ambassador to Poland, Nikolai Repnin. However, Repnin left the country two years before Adam Czartoryski was born. After careful education at home by eminent specialists, mostly French, he went abroad in 1786. At Gotha, Czartoryski heard Johann Wolfgang von Goethe read his Iphigeneia in Tauris and made the acquaintance of the dignified Johann Gottfried Herder and "fat little Christoph Martin Wieland."

In 1789 Czartoryski visited Great Britain with his mother and was present at the trial of Warren Hastings. On a second visit in 1793 he made many acquaintances among the British aristocracy and studied the British constitution.

In the interval between these visits, he fought for his country during the Polish–Russian War of 1792 (was one of the early recipients of the Virtuti Militari decoration for valour there), which preceded the Second Partition of Poland, and would subsequently also have served under Tadeusz Kościuszko, had he not been arrested on his way to Poland at Brussels by the Austrian government in the service of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. After the Third Partition of Poland the Czartoryski estates were confiscated, and in May 1795 Adam and his younger brother Constantine were summoned to Saint Petersburg.

Russian service

Later in 1795, the two brothers were commanded to enter Russian military service, Adam becoming an officer in the horse, and Constantine in the foot guards. Catherine the Great was so favourably impressed by the youths that she restored them part of their estates, and in early 1796 made them gentlemen-in-waiting.

Adam had already met Grand Duke Alexander at a ball at Princess Golitsyna's, and the two young men at once evinced a strong "intellectual friendship" for each other. On the accession of Tsar Paul I, Czartoryski was appointed adjutant to Alexander, now Tsarevich, and was permitted to revisit his Polish estates for three months.

At this time the tone of the Russian court was relatively liberal. Political reformers, including Pyotr Volkonsky and Nikolay Novosiltsev, possessed great influence on the tsar.


Throughout the reign of Paul I, Czartoryski was in high favour and on the closest terms of intimacy with the Tsar, who in December 1798 appointed him ambassador to the court of Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia. On reaching Italy, Czartoryski found that that monarch was a king without a kingdom, so that the outcome of his first diplomatic mission was a pleasant tour through Italy to Naples, the acquisition of the Italian language, and a careful exploration of the antiquities of Rome.

In the spring of 1801 the new tsar, Alexander I, summoned his friend back to Saint Petersburg. Czartoryski found the Tsar still suffering from remorse at his father's assassination, and incapable of doing anything but talk religion and politics to a small circle of friends. against all remonstrances, he only replied, "There's plenty of time."

Foreign minister

Czartoryski, as Tsar Alexander's foreign minister, was key in forming the Third Coalition against France.

Tsar Alexander appointed Czartoryski curator of the Vilna Academy (3 April 1803) so that he might give full play to his advanced ideas. Czartoryski was, however, unable to devote much attention to education, for from the beginning of 1804, as foreign-affairs adjunct, he had exercised practical control of Russian diplomacy. His first act had been to protest energetically against Napoleon's murder of a Bourbon royal prince the Duke of Enghien (20 March 1804) and insist on an immediate rupture with the government of the French Revolution, then under First Consul Napoléon Bonaparte, whom the tsar considered a regicide.

On 7 June 1804, the French minister, Gabriel Marie Joseph, comte d'Hédouville, left St. Petersburg; and on 11 August a note, dictated by Czartoryski to Alexander, was sent to the Russian minister in London, urging the formation of an anti-French coalition. It was also Czartoryski who framed the Convention of 6 November 1804, whereby Russia agreed to put 115,000, and Austria 235,000, men in the field against Napoleon.

Finally, in April 1805 he signed an offensive-defensive alliance with George III's United Kingdom.

Czartoryski's most striking ministerial act, however, was a memorial written in 1805, otherwise undated, which aimed at transforming the whole map of Europe: Austria and Prussia were to divide Germany between them. Russia was to acquire the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmora, the Bosporus with Constantinople, and Corfu. Austria was to have Bosnia, Wallachia and Ragusa. Montenegro, enlarged by Mostar and the Ionian Islands, was to form a separate state. The United Kingdom and Russia together were to maintain the equilibrium of the world. In return for their acquisitions in Germany, Austria and Prussia were to consent to the creation of an autonomous Polish state extending from Danzig (Gdańsk) to the sources of the Vistula, under the protection of Russia. This plan presented the best guarantee, at the time, for the independent existence of Poland. But in the meantime Austria had come to an understanding with England about subsidies, and war had begun.

While Czartoryski was Minister of Foreign Affairs of Imperial Russia he was rumoured to have been a lover of Louise of Baden, Empress consort to Alexander I of Russia.

Chief minister

Czartoryski in 1810.
Portrait by Józef Oleszkiewicz

In 1805 Czartoryski accompanied Alexander to Berlin and to Olmütz (Olomouc, Moravia) as chief minister. He regarded the Berlin visit as a blunder, chiefly due to his distrust of Prussia; but Alexander ignored his representations, and in February 1807 Czartoryski lost favour and was superseded by Andrei Budberg.

Though no longer a minister, Czartoryski continued still to enjoy Alexander's confidence in private, and in 1810 the Tsar candidly admitted to Czartoryski that in 1805 he had been in error and that he had not made proper use of his opportunities.

That same year, Czartoryski left Saint Petersburg forever; but the personal relations between him and Alexander were never better. They met again as friends at Kalisz (Greater Poland) shortly before the signing of the Russo-Prussian alliance on 20 February 1813 and Czartoryski was in the Tsar's suite at Paris in 1814, and rendered him material services at the Congress of Vienna.

Later career

Czartoryski (seated) and sons. Standing to his right is Władysław Czartoryski.

It was considered that Czartoryski, who more than any other man had prepared the way for the creation of Congress Poland and had designed the Constitution of the Kingdom of Poland, would be its first namiestnik, or viceroy, but he was content with the title of senator-palatine and a role in the administration.

In 1817 he married Anna Zofia Sapieha. The wedding led to a duel with his rival, Ludwik Pac.

On his father's death in 1823, Czartoryski retired to his ancestral castle at Puławy; but the November 1830 Uprising brought him back to public life. As president of the provisional government, he summoned (18 December 1830) the Sejm of 1831, and, after the end of Chlopicki's dictatorship, was elected chief of the supreme council (Polish National Government) by 121 out of 138 votes (30 January 1831).

Czartoryski's casket in Sieniawa

On 6 September 1831, his disapproval of the popular excesses at Warsaw caused him to resign from the government after having sacrificed half his fortune to the national cause.

Yet the sexagenarian statesman continued to display great energy. On 23 August 1831 he joined Italian General Girolamo Ramorino's army corps as a volunteer, and subsequently formed a confederation of the three southern provinces of Kalisz, Sandomierz and Kraków. At war's end, when the Uprising was crushed by the Russians, he was sentenced to death, though the sentence was soon commuted to exile.

On 25 February 1832, while in the United Kingdom, he kept advancing the Polish cause and with the help of influential friends, many of them Scottish, inspired the creation of the Literary Association of the Friends of Poland, based in London, but with branches in Glasgow, Birmingham and Hull.

Hôtel Lambert and committee man

That same year, Czartoryski emigrated to France, where he bought and took up residence in the Hôtel Lambert in Paris. As a magnate and arguably the most considerable Polish-émigré figure of the time - Czartoryski was Chairman of the Polish National Uprising Government and the leader of a political emigration party - his political faction came to be identified by his private address, simply as the Hôtel Lambert. He was an active leader of the mushrooming committees that were formed to maintain political momentum and salvage Polish cultural heritage in the exiled community. He was the founding chairman in April 1832 of the Literary Society. In 1838 he became the legal owner as well as the founding president (for life) of the Biliothèque polonaise de Paris, the first repository of polonica, books and archives outside the territory of Poland, which had secured, with French public support, a building on the Ile Saint-Louis in the heart of Paris.

A Turkish Idyll

His tireless efforts on behalf of Poland continued well into his seventies: in 1842 he conceived a project to found a Polish settlement in rural Turkey. Czartoryski wanted to create a second emigration centre there, after the first one in Paris. He sent his representative, Michał Czajkowski, to Turkey and purchased a forest area which encompasses present-day Adampol from the missionary order of Lazarists. The settlement was named Adam-koj (Adamköy) after its founder, in Turkish, the "Village of Adam", whereas in Polish it was referred to as "Adampol". Polonezköy or Adampol survives to this day as a small village on the Asian side of Istanbul, about 30 kilometres from the historic city centre. At its inception, the village was inhabited by just 12 people, while at its peak, there were no more than 220 people. Over time, Adampol developed and became populated by emigrants from the unsuccessful 1848 Revolution, the Crimean War in 1853, and by escapers from Siberia and from captivity in Circassia. The Polish villagers engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry and forestry. Czajkowski eventually converted to Islam and from 1850, became known as Mehmet Sadık Paşa, or in its polonised version, as Mehmed Sadyk Pasza.

Proposed federation

Portrait of Czartoryski in an advanced age

After the November Uprising in 1830-31 until his death, Czartoryski supported the idea of resurrecting an updated Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on federal principles.

The visionary statesman and former friend, confidant and de facto foreign minister of Russia's Tsar Alexander I acted as the "uncrowned king and unacknowledged foreign minister" of a non-existent Poland.

Czartoryski was disappointed when his hopes held as late as the Congress of Vienna, that Alexander's might undertake reforms, failed to materialize. His subsequent thoughts were distilled in a book, completed in 1827 but published only in 1830, Essai sur la diplomatie (Essay on Diplomacy). This book, according to the historian Marian Kamil Dziewanowski, is indispensable to an understanding of the Prince's many activities conducted in Paris following the ill-fated Polish November 1830 Uprising. Czartoryski wanted to find a place for Poland in the Europe of the time. He sought to interest western Europeans in the adversities facing his stateless nation which he still considered to be an indispensable part of the European political structure.

Adhering to the Polish motto, "For our freedom and yours", Czartoryski connected Polish efforts for independence with similar movements in other subjugated nations of Europe and in the East as far as the Caucasus. Thanks to his private initiative and generosity, the émigrés of his subjugated nation conducted a foreign policy often on a broader scale than had the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Of particular interest are Czartoryski's observations, in his Essay on Diplomacy, regarding Russia's role in the world. He wrote that, "Having extended her sway south and west, and being by the nature of things unreachable from the east and north, Russia becomes a source of constant threat to Europe." He argued that it would have been in Russia's greater interest to have surrounded herself with "friend[s rather than] slave[s]." Czartoryski also identified a future threat from Prussia and urged the incorporation of East Prussia into a resurrected Poland.

Above all, he aspired to reconstitute – with French, British and Turkish support – a Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth federated with the Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians and all the South Slavs of the future Yugoslavia. Poland, according to his vision, could have mediated the conflicts between Hungary and the Slavs, and between Hungary and Romania.

Czartoryski's plan seemed achievable during the period of national revolutions in 1848–49, but foundered through the lack of western support, on Hungarian intransigence toward the Czechs, Slovaks and Romanians, and on the rise of German nationalism." "Nevertheless", Dziewanowski, concludes "the Prince's endeavour constitutes a [vital] link [between] the 16th century Jagiellonian [federative prototype] and Józef Piłsudski's federative-Prometheist programme [that was to follow after World War I]."

Czartoryski died at his country residence at Montfermeil, near Meaux, on 15 July 1861. He left two sons, Witold (1824–65) and Władysław Czartoryski (1828–94), and a daughter Izabela, who in 1857 married Jan Kanty Działyński.


  • Knight's Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari
  • Order of the White Eagle, 1815.


Czartoryski's principal works, as cited in the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, are Essai sur la diplomatie (Marseilles, 1830); Life of J. U. Niemcewicz (Paris, 1860); Alexander I. et Czartoryski: correspondence ... et conversations (1801–1823) (Paris, 1865); Memoires et correspondence avec Alex. I., with preface by C. de Mazade, 2 vols. (Paris, 1887); an English translation, Memoirs of Czartoryski, &c., edited by A. Gielguch, with documents relating to his negotiations with Pitt, and conversations with Palmerston in 1832 (2 vols., London, 1888).

Popular culture

The 1975–1976 academic year at the College of Europe was named in his honour.

Czartoryski makes a cameo appearance in volume 3 of Leo Tolstoy's novel, War and Peace, at an Allied Council conference that takes place at Olmütz (Olomouc, Moravia) on 18 November 1805, just before the Battle of Austerlitz.

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