Stanisław Szczęsny Potocki


May 28, 2022

Stanisław Szczęsny (Feliks) Potocki, Pilawa coat of arms, pseudonym: “Libatide Strimonio; Citizen Husband ", known as Szczęsny Potocki (born February 20, 1751 in Tartaków or Krystynopol, died March 14, 1805 in Tulczyn) - Polish politician of pro-Russian orientation, Freemason, Ruthenian voivode in 1782–1788, general-lieutenant of the crown troops 1784– 1792, Lieutenant General commanding the Ukrainian and Podolian Divisions (Podolska and Bracławska, later Bracławska and Kijowska), member of the National Education Commission in 1783-1792, general of the Crown Artillery in 1788-1792, Targowicz - Marshal of the 1792 Targowica Confederation in Korona, Russian General -en-chef from 1797, the great crown ensign in the years 1774–1780, the starost of Bełz in the years 1767–1782, the starost of Lithy in 1785, a diplomat and a poet, sentenced to infamy.

Beginning of life

The date of Szczesny's birth is a controversial issue. Jerzy Łojek, following Jerzy Piechowski - the publisher of the diaries of Antoni Chrząszczewski, the Potocki's official - adopted the date 1751. He justifies it as follows: In the 18th century, attempts were made to confuse this issue, and even the respected publishing house of the Polish Biographical Dictionary followed Szczesny's apologists. The thing is that due to the murder of Szczęsny's first wife, Gertrude Komorowska, and the disgraceful behavior of her husband in this case, Szczęsny's supporters tried to maintain that he was a minor boy at that time, not yet 18 years old; the situation of the Komorowski family, allowing Szczęsny to get close to Gertrude sexually, would then be disgraceful. However, everything that is known about the Potocki family leads to reasonable assumptions that the future head of Targowica was born at the beginning of 1751. On the other hand, Emanuel Rostworowski - the author of Szczęsny's biography in the Polish Biographical Dictionary - took the year 1752 as the date of birth, taking into account an inscription on Szczęsny's coffin. In his youth he wrote himself Stanisław, then Stanisław Szczęsny, while towards the end of his life he was known as Szczęsny and so he went down in history. He used the title of count, which was never awarded to him. Szczęsny was the only son of Franciszek Salezy Potocki, the voivode of Kiev (grand crown carver, from 1756 the voivode of Kiev), and Anna Elżbieta née Potocki (Poznań voivode). Szczęsny's father, thanks to the inheritance he received from his uncle Stanisław (died 1732), who handed over his property to him in Ukraine, and his marriage with Anna, became the richest magnate of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Szczęsny had an older sister Marianna (1743–1770) and three younger ones: Antonina (born around 1754), Pelagia (born around 1755) and Ludwika (born around 1757). He was educated at home in his hometown of Krystynopol, under the supervision of his mother. According to Leon Potocki's memoirs, his father gave him up to raise Pelagia Potocka, the wife of Józef Potocki, the castellan of Lviv. It is significant that he just studied at home and did not attend any Jesuit or Piarist college, which was the norm in the case of middle-class and magnate youth. In a letter to Ignacy Potocki (from 1773), he mentioned among the reasons for his misfortunes: the sharp education I had. Emanuel Rostworowski, an outstanding researcher of the 18th century, entrusts the account of Hugo Kołłątaj, who, citing obvious witnesses (perhaps his relatives of the Hulewicz family), wrote that Szczęsny, when he left his parents' audience, would always be scolded or beaten. On the other hand, the testimony of Antoni Chrząszczewski, an official at the Potocki family, shows that the mother raised her son "lovingly". Szczęsny's teacher was a professor of poetics from the Piarist college in Waręż, Fr. Maurycy Wolf (Wolff). Perhaps thanks to him the student had a certain cult