Our patron

Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski (1770-1861) - a Polish noble, statesman and author.

He was born on 14th January 1770 in Warsaw (in The Blue Palace – the capital residence of his wealthy parents) as the son of Prince Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski - the commander of the School of Chivalry (Corps of Cadets) and his wife Izabela Fleming.

Since his early childhood spent in Różanka by The Bug River, Wołczyn, Powązki near Warsaw, The Blue Palace in the capital and Puławy he was prepared to play a significant political role.

After careful education at home by eminent specialists, mostly French, he went abroad in 1786 to Germany and Great Britain (1789, 1793), where 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.

Later in 1795, the two brothers were commanded to enter the Russian 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 youths at once conceived 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.

Throughout the reign of Paul I, Czartoryski was in high favour and on terms of the closest intimacy with the Tsar, who in December 1798 appointed him ambassador to the court of Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia.

In the spring of 1801 the new tsar, Alexander I, summoned his friend back to Saint Petersburg. Czartoryski, as Tsar Alexander's foreign minister, was key in forming the Third Coalition against France.

On 3 April 1803 Tsar Alexander appointed Czartoryski curator of the Vilna Academy.

On 7 June 1804, the French minister, Gabriel Marie Joseph, 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.

Czartoryski's most striking ministerial act 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.

In 1805 Czartoryski accompanied Alexander to Berlin and to Olmütz (Olomouc, Moravia) as chief minister but in February 1807 Czartoryski lost favour and was superseded by Andrei Budberg.

In 1810 Czartoryski left Saint Petersburg forever; but the personal relations between him and Alexander were never better. The friends met again 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.

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.

1817 he married Anna Sapieżanka. 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).

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.

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 founded a Literary Association of the Friends of Poland.

Czartoryski then emigrated to France, where he resided in Paris' Hôtel Lambert—a prominent Polish-émigre political figure, head of a political faction accordingly called the Hôtel Lambert.

Czartoryski was the Chairman of the Polish National Uprising Government and the leader of a political emigration party. He founded Polonezköy (Adampol) in 1842. After the November Uprising in 1830-31 until his death, Czartoryski supported the idea of resurrecting an updated Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on federation 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.

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

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.