THE BEGINNING AND THE PROGRESS OF THE MUSCOVITE WAR, I.E. ABOUT STANISLAW ZOLKIEWSKI'S 'WILLINGNESS TO SERVE HIS MAJESTY AND THE COMMONWEALTH' (Polish title below)
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(Polish title: Poczatek i progres wojny moskiewskiej, czyli o Stanislawa Zolkiewskiego 'ochocie do usluzenia krolowi jegomosci i Rzeczypospolitej'). An inconspicuous in size, yet saturated with content and skillfully written work by Hetman Stanislaw Zolkiewski (1547-1620), describing Polish-Muscovite relations in the Polish-Muscovite War period, has already had several editions. This fact reflects popularity and importance of the book. The author aimed at the subjective yet basically honest presentation of his own role in politics of those times, shown against the background of the 1604-1611 events. The text was started in less than a year from the actual events. It is incorrectly described as a diary; actually it is closer to the convention of the literature of fact. Since the times of Waclaw Sobieski historians have pigeon-holed Zolkiewski as a supporter of the Commonwealth and Muscovy union. The exegesis of the work results in no premises proving such a thesis. The hetman belonged to the opponents of this war. He believed that the interference with the Muscovite issues could only take place on the Seym's or - in exceptional cases - on the Senate's approval. Once the war began, he reluctantly participated in it, motivated by the military leader's feeling of duty and the regalism, which he believed was a proper political attitude. After the victory in the battle of Kluszyn, in the treaties signed with Muscovite boyars he diverged from the agreement decided upon half a year earlier on the king's approval. This resulted in Sigismund III and his circles' criticism. Then, in a defensive gesture, pointing to the analogy of the state union of Poland and Lithuania, he hinted in a couple of sentences at the possibility of union with Muscovy. Taking into account the circumstances, the hetman used this argument not according to the plan but instrumentally.
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