Russophobia on the Bosphorus

The contest between the Crimean Tatars, the Cossacks and the Muscovites for the mastery of the Black Sea steppes. - Turkey and Russia make peace (1700). - The szlachta in two minds about Turkey. - Devlet Giray khan fears Russia. - Russian influence in Istanbul and in the Balkans. - Ferriol and Leszczyński warn the Turks. - 'Dread Pultowa's day' (1709). - Victory celebrations in Moscow. - Russian troops in Poland. - Charles XII at Bender. - His agents and partisans stir up Russophobia in Istanbul. - Neugebauer, Poniatowski, Ferriol, Des Alleurs, Orlik, Devlet Giray. - Tatar raids. - Turkish displeasure at the presence of Russian troops in Poland. - The Porte as defender of Polish independence. - The deeper cause of the war with Russia. - The Polish factor in Russia's defeat on the Pruth (1711). - The agreement between Peter I and Augustus II. - The Republic's neutrality. - Peter I and the Balkan Christians. - The treaty of the Pruth. - The Porte's care for the preservation of Poland. - The articles in the Russo-Turkish peace treaty (1713) concerning Poland, also the Tatars and Kalmyks. - The objectives of Ottoman policy. - Peter I writes off Azov. - The disloyalty of Devlet Giray. - Kaplan Giray khan and the Porte's designs on Ukraine. - The agreement between the Republic and the Porte (1714). - The Republic unable to keep out or drive out the Russians. - Russian and Saxon troops in Poland (1714-1719). - Tatar incursions into Russia. - Turkish objections to the presence of Russian troops in Poland (1716-1719). - Russophobia in north-western Europe. - The Northern Crisis. - Failure of the intrigues of Goertz and Alberoni. - The common cause of George I and Augustus II. - Anglo-Hanoverian attempts to revive Turkish Russophobia through Saint Saphorin in Vienna and Stanyan in Istanbul. - A dynastic marriage (1719) disturbs the Porte. - The mission of Dashkov to Istanbul. - The role of Bonnac. - The Russo-Turkish treaty of 1720. - Russia and Turkey clash in Persia (1722-23). - The Poles ignore Russia's request for support. - Epilogue: The crisis of the Polish Succession (1733-34). - The Porte's reaction to Russian intervention. - The revival of Russophobia. - Kaplan Giray on the war-path. - The outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war (1735). - Could France and Turkey have saved Poland?

Sir Halford Mackinder's concept of the Heartland, summarized earlier, may usefully be applied to the unravelling of the tangled relations, in different combinations, between the Russians, the Poles, the Ukrainian Cossacks, the Tatars, the Turks and, for a short period, the Swedes, in the early years of the eighteenth century. Taking a long-term view, Mackinder points out that under the Romans, the realm of the seamen had been advanced to the northern shore of the Black Sea, whereas under the Ottoman Turk 'The Heartland, the realm of the horsemen', was advanced to the Dinaric Alps in the west and the Taurus in the south-east. From about 1450 the mastery of the steppes to the north of the Black Sea was contested from the north by the Cossacks (at first as self-appointed vigilantes of the frontier zone, later in the service respectively of Muscovy and of Poland-Lithuania) and from the south by the Crimean Tatars and their neighbouring kinsmen.

The Tatars in their heyday had lacked the manpower upon which to found a lasting empire and, after the annexation of the khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan by the Muscovites in the mid-sixteenth century, had retreated to the shores of the Black Sea and into the Crimean peninsula but continued to rely on tribute and booty for their livelihood. From their raids into Poland, Ukraine and Muscovy they brought back loot and captives for employment on the land, sale or ransom; in addition they drew a steady income from the military services which they rendered to the sultan. The khan received money for distribution among his troops, a cash allowance to cover his personal expenses and presents in kind - sable pelts, arms and garments. The kalgay or first dynast in the line of succession to the khan was likewise rewarded for going to war. Thus Devlet Giray who was kalgay from June 1684 to January 1699, for his part in the expedition against the Imperial army in 1689-90 received one sable pelt and 15,000 (unspecified) gold pieces towards his expenses. For guarding the frontier against the Muscovites and Imperialists and taking part in the expedition against the Emperor in 1696-97, the khan Hadji Selim Giray received one ordinary robe (khalat) and one of fur, a present of 10,000 aspers (then worth about £10) and 60,000 aspers for his men's pay. In 1712-13 for being in readiness to escort Charles XII out of Turkey Devlet Giray received one plain robe and one of fur, a piece of jewelry, one sable pelt, one encrusted quiver, 22,750 aspers for his personal needs and 60,000 aspers for his men's pay. It is obvious that for the Crimea war brought plenty but peace spelt mere sufficiency.

The Cossacks were restless and mobile frontiersmen, given more to the exploitation than to the cultivation of the steppe and not at all to state-building. But behind the Cossacks were the Russian ploughmen (more numerous, it might be added, and better protected by frontier defences than their Polish-Lithuanian counterparts), pressing southwards as migrants or as colonists settled by a powerful state. The unhindered continuation of this process might in the not so distant future lead to the enclosure by Muscovy of the rich no man's land and put an end to the Cossacks' economic activities - hunting, fishing, cattle grazing and salt gathering.

The Russian attacks against the Crimea carried out in 1687 and 1689 in support of the Holy League, although abortive, were ominous enough in themselves. Moreover, before the beginning of their second Crimean campaign the Muscovites had stated the terms on which they would be willing to make peace with Turkey. Their opening bid was as revealing as it was exorbitant; it comprised the cession of the Crimea, the removal of its Tatar and Turkish population and the handing over of all Russian captives without ransom. The demand for 2,000,000 ducats in compensation for damage done by recent Tatar raids portended the termination under the treaty of Constantinople eleven years later of the payment by the tsar to the khan of an annual tribute or 'present'.

But it was the growing power of Russia, defensive and offensive, that the Turks had most to fear. In 1697 the Muscovites repulsed an attack on the fortress of Azov; in the sea of that name the Turkish galley fleet had to fight off some sea-borne Cossacks. In 1699 the Russian representatives for the next stage of the peace negotiations sailed from Azov under convoy. The escorting ships were turned back at Kerch but the arrival in the Bosphorus of the Russian delegates in a man-of-war named Krepost' (The Fortress) caused alarm in Istanbul. One of the proposals put forward by the Russians was that the Holy Places in Jerusalem which had been taken over by the Roman Catholics in 1689 should be handed back to the Greek Orthodox, another that the Orthodox subjects of the sultan should have freedom of worship. Both proposals were rejected but the tsar who had already (under the treaty of 1686) acquired the right to intercede on behalf of the Orthodox in Poland-Lithuania had spoken his first word as would-be protector of the Orthodox under Turkish rule. Small wonder that Dositheus (Notaras, 1669-1707), Patriarch of Jerusalem, a secret ally of Tsar Peter's, was to assure him a few years later that his being in Azov was like being in Constantinople itself. Under the terms of the peace (or, rather, truce) of Constantinople of 13 June 1700 the Russians kept Azov but gave up Gazi-Kermen and three other forts to the north of the mouth of the Dnieper. The forts were to be demolished before being handed over and were not to be rebuilt but by remaining in possession of the fort of Kamennyi Zaton (Stony Creek) on the right bank of the Dnieper, just below the rapids, the Russians remained also within striking distance of the Black Sea. In the opinion of some contemporary memorialists Kamennyi Zaton not only restrained the Tatars but, enlarged and furnished with magazines, could also serve as a base for an attack on the Crimea, followed by a naval expedition to Constantinople, as well as a starting point for an invasion of Wallachia and Moldavia. Azov was undeniably capable of development as a commercial centre, it was also a vantage point on the route to the Caucasus but as things turned out it was to cost the Russians more than it was really worth. Meanwhile, however, they were making the most of their victory of 1696. The great 'organizer of man-power' (Mackinder's phrase) from the North was also a navigator and planner of waterways and lost no time in deciding to connect the Volga with the Don by means of a canal to be cut between the points of closest proximity of their tributaries (near Kamyshin on the Volga) so as to create a supply and trade route from Moscow to Azov and also a barrier against Tatar raids. Jewish tradesmen were to be brought over to Azov from Italy.

In consequence of the treaties of Karlowitz with Venice, the Emperor and Poland (1699) and of the peace of Constantinople with Russia, Ottoman Turkey's position on the south-western fringe of the Heartland was substantially weakened even though its military and naval strength still posed a potential threat to the Empire and to the Venetian Republic. The direct involvement after 1709, the year of the battle of Poltava, of the Baltic Swedes in the struggle for the mastery of the Black Sea steppes, however accidental and temporary it may have been, owed something to the logic of historical geography. In geography and strategy Sweden was the analogue of the European portions of Turkey, the status of both these great powers in eastern Europe, separated by a Poland in decline, was threatened from the same quarter - Muscovy, now in the process of becoming Russia.

The attitude of the szlachta of Poland-Lithuania towards their Islamic neighbours was complex and ambivalent. The implacable hostility towards the unclean and miscreant enemies of Christendom was tinged with a magnanimous respect for a powerful foe who had had the grace the allow himself to be defeated by the Poles twice in living memory, at Khotin in 1673 and ten years later before the gates of Vienna, on both occasions under the command of John Sobieski. The Turks could therefore, unlike the Swedes or the Russians, be faced on equal terms. What is more, the antemurale Christianitatis was wide open, through trade with Turkey and Persia, to the influence of the material culture of Islam. This can be clearly seen in the dress (including headgear), arms, armour and saddlery sported by Poland's landed warriors and to some extent also in the furnishing of their manor houses. Neither women's fashions nor, understandably, ecclesiastical art or architecture were affected by these tendencies. But for men of standing Oriental fashion was de rigueur; Sobieski in his younger days kept himself informed about Crimean trends in dress and saddlery. The attraction of Eastern exoticism was reinforced by a vague feeling of affinity with the Orient since the szlachta regarded themselves as being descended, through the ancient Sarmatians, from the Medes of old.

This ambivalence and the intermittently accepted community of interests with the Tatars in relation to Muscovy, enabled some prominent Poles, at the turn of the century, to question the notion that the Turks as hereditary enemies of all Christendom were beyond the pale as political partners. That was the view which prevailed in the entourage of Augustus II at the beginning of the northern war in which he became involved as Elector of Saxony. But at least two dignitaries, Michał Radziejowski (1645-1705), the cardinal-primate and Hieronim Lubomirski (1647-1706), grand hetman of Poland, both ill-disposed towards the king, believed that the Turks should be seen rather as potential enemies of the tsar who was a dangerous ally of Augustus. Early in 1700 Rafał Leszczyński (1650-1703), starost general (lord lieutenant, as it were), of Greater Poland and the father of Stanisław, set out for Istanbul as ambassador with instructions to clarify and put into effect the provisions of the treaty of Karlowitz. Taking advantage of the absence of the king, the primate (who had the authority of interrex but not of regent) added to the ambassador's instructions an article directing him to hinder the conclusion of a lasting peace between Turkey and Muscovy. Leszczyński himself had in 1690 spoken in favour of stopping the war with Turkey. Despite the order given by the king on his return to Warsaw that the additional article be amended in favour of Muscovy, the ambassador did all he could to turn the Porte not only against the Russians but also against the Emperor. To the Venetian bailo he conveyed his doubts as to the Turks' willingness to make peace with Muscovy and his belief that if the war continued that country would be ruined within three years. Two years went by before the tsar lodged a protest at Leszczyński's conduct through one of his representatives in Warsaw who called the Poles venal and the friends of their own ill-wishers. These endeavours of Leszczyński's caused Dositheus, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, to press the tsar to attack Poland, especially as he had heard that the Poles were handing over Orthodox churches to the Uniates. But the Turks took little notice of the Polish ambassador's representations and in other respects too - for example the release of Polish prisoners of war - his mission was accounted a failure. Leszczyński apparently told the British ambassador, Lord Paget, that 'he was necessitated to return home with a peace without friendship'. Paget also observed that 'when he discoursed with me he always named the Republic without mentioning the king at all'. After Leszczyński's death Lubomirski continued to look for assistance to the Crescent and entered into direct relations with khan (1702-1704) Selim Giray with a view to setting the Tatars on the Saxon troops of Augustus II and on the auxiliary troops of the tsar.

The paucity of source material makes it difficult to assess the part played on the side of the enemies of Russia by the khan of the Crimean Tatars (1699-1702, 1707-1713, 1716), Devlet Giray. Described by Sir Robert Sutton, the British ambassador to the Porte (1700-1717), as 'a Prince of a very restless, bold and enterprizing temper', also astute to the point of duplicity and far-sighted, he realized that the long-term future of the Crimea depended on the outcome of the conflict between the Russia of Peter I and the Ottoman Empire and was bound up with the position of Poland-Lithuania on the Dnieper. So long as the Republic's strength matched that of Russia there was a chance that the steppe on which the Tatars depended for a good part of their livelihood (especially cattle grazing) would remain their preserve. If the Republic grew weaker it could still be reinforced by the Tatars, as it had been in the mid-seventeenth century, provided it was prepared to pay the price. No sooner had Turkey and Russia made peace at Constantinople than the khan began to keep a watchful eye on Russian naval and military activities in the area of Azov and it was not long before he received warnings, brought by emissaries from the Dnieper Cossacks, of Russia's designs on Ukraine and the Crimea. Two successive grand viziers, Hüseyin Pasha and Daltaban Mustafa Pasha, dismissed Devlet Giray's reports to that effect as unfounded and rejected his request to allow him to forestall the Russians by making a foray into their and, for good measure, also into Polish territory. The sultan, Mustafa II, deposed Devlet in December 1702 but the former khan did not remain idle and soon demonstrated his capacity for intrigue and treachery in circumstances which again were germane to the tension between Turkey and Russia. The trouble which broke out among the Nogay and Buçak Tatars as well as in the Crimea were probably fomented by Devlet Giray in complicity with Daltaban. The vizier, having had second thoughts, now secretly intended, after forcing the sultan to take military action, to join the Tatars in attacking Kiev and Azov in order to obliged the Russians to give up their southern fleet, raze the fort of Kamennyi Zaton on the Dnieper and allow a delimitation of the Russo-Ottoman frontier in the steppe between the southern Bug and the Dnieper in favour of Turkey. But Devlet Giray, perhaps unwilling at this stage to go to such lengths, gave away Daltaban who was executed. Devlet himself, abandoned by his supporters, fled to Circassia but was later officially banished to Rhodes before being pardoned by his father and successor (1702-1704), Selim Giray. This was the first of several occasions between the turn of the century and the departure of Charles XII from Turkey on which a Crimean khan or a grand vizier owed his appointment or dismissal to a change of attitude at the Porte towards Russia from outright hostility to muted revanchisme or vice-versa. The apprehension which Daltaban shared with Devlet Giray was probably at the time also felt in Istanbul but Daltaban's intentions were adjudged to be dangerously inopportune in a period of internal crisis. (In July 1703 the discontented army forced Mustafa II to abdicate in favour of his brother who became Ahmed III.) Nevertheless, the demands which he had proposed, being common political ground at the Porte, were formally made of the Russian envoy, Petr A. Tolstoi by the next grand vizier, Râmî Mehmed Pasha. The delimitation of the frontier was carried out later, but only partially.

Though lacking in adroitness, Rafał Leszczyński had accurately observed Turkey's internal difficulties and the disquiet of its rulers at the growing power of the tsar. It was certainly the case that his right, acquired under the treaty of 1700, to keep a permanent diplomatic representative at Istanbul raised Russia to the rank of a first class European power.

From the first year of his appointment, 1702, Tolstoi, a diplomat of great shrewdness and cunning, showed himself capable of influencing as well as observing the course of events on the Bosphorus. He kept in close touch with Dositheus, the Russophile Patriarch of Jerusalem and Dositheus in turn with the leaders of the aggrieved Orthodox Christian communities of Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Moldavia and Wallachia. It was on Tolstoi's recommendation that in 1702 Savva Raguzinskii-Vladislavic (ca 1670-1738), a merchant and a native of Herzegovina, was formally appointed Peter I's adviser on Balkan affairs. In this capacity he indicated to the tsar the strategic value of Montenegro where discontent at Ottoman rule was rife. Religion and politics soon coalesced. The year 1702 also saw the publication, presumably at the order of Tsar Peter, of the text of prayers of supplication to be said daily for the victory of the warriors renowned in Christ over the evil-doers and for the liberation of the Christians groaning under their yoke. In 1696 it had been reported that 'the Greeks' were hoping to see the tsar enthroned in Constantinople. Two years later an obscure German polymath saw in the growing power of Russia the promise of the Eastern Empire for the tsar and the see of Constantinople for his Patriarch. It was widely believed, and not least by Tsar Peter himself that in the event of a Russian invasion of Ottoman possessions in the Balkans the local Christians would rise in arms against their oppressors. A possibility of this kind had already been envisaged in the reigns of Ivan IV and Feodor Ivanovich. According to a Venetian bailo reporting in 1576 the Turks feared Muscovy because its Grand Duke was a member of the Greek Church, like the peoples of Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia, the Morea and Greece who were 'devotissimi' to his name and 'prontissimi' to free themselves by force from Turkish slavery and submit themselves to his dominion. A similar report was sent to Rome in 1594 by the bishop of Lesina with the addition that the tsar was pretending to the Empire of Constantine.

The expectations of a Russian crusade were fully justified by subsequent developments whose origins go back into the seventeenth century. In 1697 the hospodar (1688-1710) of Wallachia, Constantin Brancovan, offered Tsar Peter the assistance of his own subjects as well as of the Moldavians, Serbs, Bulgarians, Macedonians and Albanians: they would be in the forefront of the struggle and would fight like lions for their countries and nations. But at that point the tsar, with the construction of the Azov fleet in mind, was more interested in finding inhabitants of the Slavonic lands who had naval skills and with whom it would be possible to communicate in Russian.

The prospect of Tsar Peter's intervention actually alarmed some of the Greeks in Constantinople, they did not look forward to being liberated by a tyrant given to clipping the beards of his subjects and making them wear Western clothes. The sale in Wallachia of icons made by peasant craftsmen from the village of Palekha in Russia caused disquiet to the Turkish authorities; in 1708 they forbade the trade in these 'appliances for infidels' which they regarded as instruments of propaganda. But there was more to fear from the Russians than an influx of icons into the Balkans.

The French ambassador in Istanbul from 1699, Charles de Ferriol (1652-1722), was eager to involve Turkey in the northern war on the side of Charles XII in order to bring about his victory, whereupon he would be free to act against the Emperor in the West. Ferriol pointed out more than once to Turkish officials in 1706 and 1707 that the tsar was intriguing with 'the Greeks' in Constantinople, Wallachia and Moldavia and with his other co-religionists who were also subjects of the sultan, that he had a powerful fleet at Azov, was 'oppressing' Sweden and had 'subjugated' Poland, all of which pointed to Turkey's being in danger of a Russian attack by land and sea. The officials at the Foreign Department in Moscow unwittingly seconded the French alarmist by instructing Tolstoi at the end of 1707 to inform the Porte that the tsar had 100,000 troops in Poland, twice as much as their actual number. Even though the Russians soon withdrew before the advancing Swedes their presence in Poland-Lithuania could only have enhanced the uneasiness felt by the Turks who had no taste for another war with Muscovy - just as the Russians neither wanted nor were ready to fight the Turks - but did not close their eyes to the danger of a collision.

Whereas the elder Leszczyński had seen in Turkey no more than a useful counterpoise to Muscovy, Stanisław the anti-king, once crowned, marked out the Ottomans as well as the Tatars as natural allies both for himself and for Charles XII. If the Turks were successfully to avenge themselves on the Muscovites, the position of the tsar as protector of the Republic would be weakened and with it that of his protégé, Augustus II. Asking the Turks to unleash the Tatars against the Russians, as Stanisław did in 1707 and 1708, was a dangerous and desperate expedient; more constructive were his efforts, dating from 1707, to draw the attention of Charles XII to the value of Turkey as a possible ally against Russia. A visit paid to Charles's headquarters in 1707 by a representative of the sultan sent, it seems, at Leszczyński's prompting, brought no concrete results but the first contact had been made between the two parties whom the consequences of the battle of Poltava were to bring face to face.

On 28 June 1709 Peter I defeated Charles XII, on 1 July the remainder of the Swedish army surrendered at Perevolochna, the king sought refuge in Turkey. Soon afterwards Russians troops swept into the Republic.

'Twas after dread Pultowa's day
When fortune left the royal Swede,
Around a slaughter'd army lay,
No more to combat and to bleed.
The power and glory of the war,
Faithless as their vain votaries, men,
Had passed to the triumphant Czar
And Moscow's walls were safe again.

In December Peter I made his entry into Moscow through seven triumphal arches. Some of the emblemata and Latin inscriptions displayed on this occasion divulged the political intentions of the tsar with a precision and clarity that seem to have been reckless at a time when most of Europe feared that he might grow excessively powerful. One of the inscriptions ominously called him European, Asian, Turkish and Swedish Emperor. The theme of three emblemata appears to have been what today we would call 'economic expansion': a ship in full sail furrowing the sea stood for 'Commerciorum felicitas', a female figure seated amid all manner of merchandise - for 'Abundantia populi'. The intention to connect the Baltic to the Black Sea by means of a canal linking the Volga with the Don was summed up in the words 'Maria canalium nexu unita'. The same two seas were further shown as 'Fortalitiis clausa', a premature and extravagant claim, relating presumably to Narva - since neither Viborg nor Riga had yet been taken - and Kerch which guarded only the entrance to the Sea of Azov. Military skills were represented separately and included a tribute to the Art of Siege - 'Virtus militaris obsidionalis' - as demonstrated in the storming in the spring of 1709 of the stronghold of the Cossack hetmans, Baturin, and in the putting to the sword of its garrison. For the Poles there was as little comfort as for the Cossacks. Livonia - 'In provinciam redacta et securior reddita' - was shown as a nymph prostrate before a warrior and protected by his shield without any clear reference to Poland's claim to that province. A further canvas inscribed 'Curlandia Domino restituta' showed a nymph being conducted by one warrior, presumably the tsar, towards another, presumably Augustus II - but the continuing presence of Russian troops in Courland belied this description. Yet another allegory showed Victory handing a palm to Poland, a female figure sitting on the ground. The caption read 'Polonia victoriae particeps nunc liberata'. In Poland these words would have provoked hollow laughter.

The declared reluctance of a generally reliable eyewitness, 'Otwinowski', to sicken the reader of his history of Poland under Augustus II with descriptions of the atrocities perpetrated over a period of one and a half years by the Russian troops and their commanders and of the way in which they pillaged large numbers of manor houses, quickly gives way to the chronicler's urge to record the events of those years, 1709 and 1710: 'Anyone can guess what a people so rapacious by nature, stupid and greedy would do, especially when they had been puffed up by a victory as splendid as that of Poltava.' Not forgetting the excesses of Augustus II's Saxon soldiers, Otwinowski on reflection blames the German commanding officers for the misdeeds of the Russians because left to themselves they were 'more considerate'. At Michaelmas 1709 the wretched common people wept when the Muscovites snatched the last remaining sheaves of corn from their barns and dismantled their huts for use as firewood. In December the inhabitants of the region of Koniecpol (on the river Pilica) endured cudgellings and other physical injuries; manors were stripped not only of provisions for men and horses but also of anything made of iron such as horseshoes and shoe-nails as well as of hides, sheepskins, tallow, wax and tar, without any regard to the tariffs laid down for the collection of military dues. In sum 'the Republic was in those days in a miserable condition, more in the sway of the protector, the Tsar of Muscovy, than of the king'.

Charles XII for his part was undaunted by his defeat. Encamped by permission of the Porte on a site close to Bendery at the northern tip of the eyalet of Silistria and assisted by a small team of competent officials, he turned from war to diplomacy. From the start the king made it clear to his hosts that friendship with Sweden entailed the preservation of the rights and liberties of the Polish Republic as a way of preventing the tsar from usurping and appropriating some of its provinces. The Porte's wish to be rid of its awesome and expensive guest, the difficulty of sending him home while Russian troops were still deployed in Poland and the fear of Tsar Peter's intentions gave Charles XII's representatives in Istanbul ample scope for manoeuvre. Luckily for them one of the generally recognized weaknesses of the Ottoman system of government was its susceptibility to extraneous influence all too easily obtained by a combination of intrigue and bribery. The ambassadors of France were traditionally past masters at this game. As the interest of Louis XIV demanded the intervention on the side of the Hungarian rebels against the Emperor of either Turkey or Russia, depending on which of the two won the upper hand, the French diplomats paid ever closer attention to the relations between the sultan and the tsar. In addition the various agents of Charles XII - Martin Neugebauer (envoy 1709-11), Stanisław Poniatowski (envoy 1710-11), J. A. Meijerfelt, Thomas Funck (envoy 1711-13), C. A. von Grothusen, 'the king's favourite' (at first without status, envoy in 1714) - and of Stanisław Leszczyński as well as the Cossack hetman in exile, Filip Orlik (or Fylyp Orlyk, 1672-1742), acted in liaison with the French ambassador, Ferriol. Using official channels or private contacts, they bombarded the Turks with the same message: stop the tsar before it is too late. It was probably about this time that Charles XII sent the sultan a portrait of the tsar engraved in Amsterdam and bearing the caption 'Petrus Primus Graecorum Monarcha'. Some of these propagandists, so different in their origins and background, were merely carrying out official instructions, others were engaged in a personal vendetta, all had a powerful local ally in the khan of the Crimean Tatars. Acting in concert they set to whipping up the Russophobia already prevalent on the Bosphorus to a point at which the Turks would translate emotion into action. Within a year these efforts neutralized the vigorous opposition put up by Tolstoi and were rewarded with success: in November 1710 the Porte declared war on Muscovy. In July 1711 the Turks, assisted by the Tatars, took the Russians by surprise, surrounded them and pressed them into a narrow space on the river Pruth in Moldavia but missed the chance of obliging the tsar to make peace (on 23 July) with Sweden as well as with Turkey. Disappointed at the failure of the grand vizier, Baltaçi Mehmed Pasha, to make the most of the Turkish victory, the Russophobes now had to concentrate their efforts on rekindling the war with Muscovy. In this new phase of their campaign the propagandists appear to have been directed by Ferriol's successor, Pierre Puchot, marquis Des Alleurs: Sutton describes Poniatowski, Grothusen and Funck as being beyond all decorum in the French interest. The particulars relating to the most prominent lobbyists deserve special mention on account of their background or the degree of their influence.

Martin Neugebauer (1670-1758) was a native of Gdansk and a graduate of the university of Leipzig. His Russophobia sprang not from fear but from his personal experiences in Russia and the grudge which he bore Tsar Peter and his intimates. Appointed tutor to the tsarevich Aleksei Petrovich in 1701, Neugebauer soon found himself out of his element. The pupil disliked his teacher, the Russian members of the tsarevich's retinue regarded Neugebauer as a pedantic and self-important climber. In 1702, after an incident occasioned by the tsarevich's lack of table manners had turned into a brawl, Neugebauer was dismissed but did not leave Russia, under official pressure, until 1704. By this time he had already in secret supplied the Swedish field chancellery with some anti-Russian propaganda material which appeared in print in the form of an anonymous pamphlet entitled Schreiben eines vornehmen deutschen Officiris. A volunteer in the service of Charles XII from 1705, Neugebauer was employed as adviser on Russian affairs. If he had anything to do with the shaping of Charles XII's strategy for an invasion of Russia his advice would probably have tended to stress the internal weakness of Muscovy due to the unpopularity of the tsar and the possibility of his being removed and replaced by the tsarevich. But Neugebauer's proper métier was Russophobia which he expressed in some further writings. In these he depicted the Russians as uncouth barbarians and their ruler as a cruel tyrant. He gave details, true or imaginary, of ill-treatment suffered in Tsar Peter's service by foreigners from western Europe, mostly military men: arbitrary imprisonment, physical punishment (including two executions), public humiliation, denial of promotion, stoppages of pay. The Swedish authorities expected these revelations to deter westerners from seeking their fortune in Russia and thereby strengthening the tsar's war machine. Whether this moral embargo had the desired effect will never be known but the work of Neugebauer's poison pen brought forth commissioned rebuttals, including one from Baron Heinrich von Huyssen, Neugebauer's successor as tutor to the tsarevich. Ironically, the baron's experience was to confirm the validity of one of Neugebauer's charges: the tsar praised Huyssen's pamphlet and promised him one thousand roubles which he never paid. After the battle of Poltava Neugebauer followed Charles XII to Ochakov whence the king sent him as his envoy to Istanbul. From July 1710 his work was supervised by Stanisław Poniatowski who speaks disparagingly of Neugebauer the diplomat; nevertheless he must have been useful in Turkey as a source of first hand and unfavourable information about Russia. In May 1711 Neugebauer left Istanbul for Bremen where he was appointed a member of the administrative council. Clearly a man of parts he was promoted to the royal council in 1720 and in 1728 was made a baron and royal chancellor in Pomerania.

Stanisław Poniatowski (1676-1762) rose to prominence from complete obscurity unaided by any advantages other than his innate gifts - courage, charm, stamina joined to a nimble mind - and a marriage of convenience but of brief duration to a rich and elderly widow of good social standing. In the 1690s he fought against the Turks with the Imperialists as a volunteer under the command of his first patron M. S. Sapieha (d. 1709); after Poltava he escorted the wounded Charles XII to safety. Wishing evidently to be regarded as a professional soldier and diplomat he abstains in his fragmentary reminiscences from any comments of a personal or emotional nature so that his attitude towards the Russians and their tsar can only be guessed. It would therefore be incorrect to describe Poniatowski as the first of a long line of Polish émigré politicians intriguing in a foreign capital against Russia with the intention of saving Poland. As Charles XII's personal and later official envoy in Istanbul between 1710 and 1713 he judged correctly the delicacy of his situation and discharged his duties with dash and aplomb in equal proportion. Ruthless in the pursuit of his aims, he elbowed out of the way his colleague Neugebauer and obtained the dismissal of the grand vizier Çorlulu Ali Pasha whom he accused of ignoring the allegedly aggressive intentions of the Russians. He took part in the Pruth campaign as the representative of Charles XII but being regarded as an obstacle to peace was compelled to leave the Turkish camp and return to Bendery. By what means he succeeded in gaining the entrée into the seraglio and exercising his influence in that nest of intrigue remains a mystery. Poniatowski was the despair of Tolstoi who having first failed to persuade the Porte to remove him from Istanbul and next to bribe him, tried to have him poisoned by one of his own servants. Poniatowski had a high opinion of his personal attainments and later claimed credit for having prevailed on the Porte to declare was on the tsar merely by the force of his arguments without spending vast sume on bribery as the Russians had done (conveniently forgetting the bribes that he himself had dispensed to get rid of Ali Pasha).

The memorandum written by Poniatowski for the grand vizier in February 1711 in rather shaky French, alarmist in tone and riddled with half-truths, probably contains arguments which he put forward again and again: Turkey and Sweden, being neighbours of Muscovy, must act in unison, especially in view of the threat posed to both powers by the aggrandisement of Muscovy. The tsar's ambition to become Emperor of the Greeks is evident in his efforts to compel his country to provide him with a numerous and well organized army. He makes no mystery of his intentions and declares loudly that when he has finished the war with Sweden he will begin one with Turkey, being sure that some Christian princes and several provinces under the dominion of the Grand Signior will join him the moment he appears on Turkish territory. The steps he has taken in that direction are obvious, one of them being his association with King Augustus whom he has brought back to Poland despite his abdication. The tsar has assured Augustus that he will help him to become absolute ruler of Poland in return for the cession to Russia of the provinces adjacent to the territories of the Grand Signior such as Podolia, the right-bank Ukraine and Volhynia, as well as half of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Augustus has made a secret treaty of alliance with the tsar against any party that might be hostile to him as king. The positions taken up by the Russians in Poland close to the Ottoman border make it clear that the Porte cannot trust any of the Christian powers to keep the peace and in order to prevent its enemies from uniting must destroy its dangerous neighbour. To this end the Porte should avail itself of the opportunity of making an alliance with Sweden.

Charles de Ferriol, French ambassador to the Porte from 1699, was well qualified for his post. As a young man he had spent a few years in Poland. Evidently high-spirited he was involved in a gaming-house brawl with a member of the Krasinski family (possibly Jan Dobrogost, starost of Warsaw) and made the acquaintance of the future grand hetman, Sieniawski. Between 1675 and 1686 he was active in Transylvania as French diplomatic agent with the Hungarian insurgents against the Emperor and also as a combatant in the ranks of their Turkish supporters. In 1696 he was detailed to serve in a semi-official capacity under the commander of the Turkish army in Hungary and once more took part in the fighting with the Imperialists. As ambassador he tried to organize a Turkish diversion in Hungary against the Emperor but having failed to persuade the war-weary Turks to accept his plans he worked for a rapprochement between France and Russia, likewise to no purpose. His increasingly erratic conduct, frequently giving offence to the Turkish authorities and even to his own staff, betrayed the signs of a progressive mental illness, but he retained enough authority to be able to play a leading part in the propaganda campaign in favour of checking the progress of the tsar. Dismissed by Louis XIV about the time of the battle of Poltava he nevertheless refused to hand over his duties to his successor, Des Alleurs, and did not leave Istanbul until just after the battle of the Pruth. Neither Ferriol's penchant for young slave girls nor the scandal surrounding the abduction to France in 1706, at his orders, of his personal and political enemy, the Armenian Patriarch Avédik (d. 1711), appears to have harmed his reputation.

Ferriol's successor, Des Alleurs, too began his public career as a soldier but by the time he was promoted lieutenant-general in 1704 he had already left active service for diplomacy. From 1697 to 1701 he served as envoy extraordinary to the Elector of Brandenburg, next, like Ferriol, he gained experience of Hungarian insurrectionist warfare and politics, acting first as unofficial adviser to Francis II Rákóczi and later as chargé d'affaires in Transylvania. Appointed ambassador to the Porte in 1709 but active only from November 1710, he was not, in the months before the battle of the Pruth unswervingly loyal to the cause of Charles XII and Leszczyński but, according to his British counterpart, Sir Robert Sutton, 'kept several irons in the fire', his principal aim being to weaken the strategic position of the tsar by helping the Turks to come to an accommodation with King Augustus. A year later, however, he felt able to assure the sultan that Charles XII at the head of an army would be welcomed in Poland as a liberator from the tyranny of the Muscovites and their adherents. In 1713 Des Alleurs asked to be recalled because of his advancing years but was not relieved until 1716. In 1714, after peace had been made (in March, at Rastatt) between the Emperor and France, Louis XIV, wishing to avoid any involvement in a Turkish war, instructed Des Alleurs now to promote the interests of Augustus II and the Republic. By doing so the ambassador contributed not a little to the conclusion in April of the same year of the agreement between the Porte and Poland, negotiated by Stanisław Chometowski. Saint-Simon describes Des Alleurs as brave, astute and highly intelligent, with a winsome manner and an air of sincerity and self-confidence. According to his own testimony he made himself well liked by the ambassadors of Poland, Muscovy, the Swedes and the resident of the Emperor.

Another prominent Russophobe who fitted perfectly into the pressure group at Istanbul was the Ukrainian separatist Filip Orlik, by ancestry a szlachcic - his father fell in the battle of Khotin in 1673 - and a member of the Eastern Church. Having been reared at the Kiev Academy (originally Collegium Kijoviense-Mohileanum) on a curriculum of Jesuit learning of the Polish variety adapted to the needs of an Orthodox constituency, he was able to express himself with equal ease in Polish and in Latin. In 1695 he honoured Mazepa with a panegyric published in Vilno and entitled Alcides Rossiyski tryumfalnym lawrem koronowany (The Russian Hercules crowned with a triumphal laurel). From about 1702, as secretary general of the chancellery of the Cossack hetman, he became one of Mazepa's closest collaborators; in May 1710, upon the death of Mazepa, he was acclaimed hetman by the Cossack leaders who had followed the old hetman into exile in Turkey. Doomed by political and geographical circumstances to an unending and fruitless quest for trustworthy allies and a benevolent liege lord for a future autonomous and united Ukraine, he nevertheless came closer to reviving the lost cause of Ukrainian separatism than any of his predecessors since Doroshenko (hetman 1666-1676). In 1710 it seemed as if the desired protector might be Charles XII, in 1712, having earlier made an agreement with the Turks which proved unsatisfactory, Orlik turned for support to Augustus II.

The principal aim of Orlik's political activity was to save the Ukrainian Cossacks from total subjugation by the tsars. As a propagandist he did his utmost to intensify Russophobia where it was latent and to arouse it where it had not yet developed. His proclamation of March 1711 addressed to 'the glorious and valiant citizens of Little Russia' purported to disclose the contents of a confidential document said to betray the sinister intentions of the Russian government towards the Ukrainian and other Cossacks and reveal the imperialistic ambitions of the tsar. The supposed memorandum recommends that while the Swedish war lasts Russia should remain on friendly terms with the Ottoman Empire but, looking further ahead, argues that the only way to wage a successful war against Turkey and the Crimea is to turn the whole of Ukraine, including the slobodskaia Ukraina (the region of Khar'kov and the areas to the south of Kursk and Voronezh) and the lands of the Don Cossacks, into a province of Muscovy. All the Cossacks and the native inhabitants should be deported and replaced with garrisons of German and Swedish prisoners of war. Frontier places within southern Poland should be similarly treated. Once this was done the Tatars will have been deprived of their protective barrier in Ukraine and the way will lie open for a lightning Russian invasion of the Crimea. The intended offensive against Turkey would presumably be launched from the Crimean peninsula. From there the Russians should explore the coast of the Black Sea in order to find a port more convenient than Azov. Finally Taman and Temruk at the mouth of the river Kuban opposite the straits of Kerch should be captured and garrisoned. This latter point, according to Orlik, should serve as a warning not so much to Ukraine as to Turkey, Persia, China, India and the countries which lie close to the Baltic Sea (presumably England and the Netherlands). The device of spreading alarm by disclosing Russia's long-term military and political goals was later to be developed to the full in the so-called 'Testament of Peter the Great'. The vocabulary and style of Orlik's proclamation show a strong Polish influence but the documentary material used - forged or genuine - was in all probability supplied by Charles XII's field chancellery.

Orlik's 'Déduction des droits de l'Ukraine', the draft of a tract intended for publication and written in 1712 or 1713 is a plea, addressed principally to a western European audience, for the right of Ukraine, defined as the territory of the Cossack nation, to a separate and independent existence. Ukrainian national consciousness and a strong sense of injury receive here, perhaps for the first time, a rational expression couched in the vocabulary of practical politics. Orlik virtually admits that, presented in historical terms, his case is not a strong one: Khmel 'nyts'kyi's 'independent principality' had in fact been in the thrall of Muscovy. In considering the hetmanate of Ivan Briukhovets'kyi the propagandist shifts his ground to the law of nations and natural law: Briukhovets'kyi had no authority to make concessions (in 1668) which in Orlik's view amounted to the renunciation of the prerogative vested in the 'Estates' of an independent and sovereign principality to elect its own ruler. A downtrodden people is always justified in resisting oppression, and, when the opportunity arises, to resume the exercise of its ancient rights. The political terminology used in the 'Exposition' - 'principality', 'duke' or 'prince', 'Estates' - gives the impression that there is no essential difference between Ukraine and any Western principality. The draft includes a summary of the missing agreement concluded in 1708 between Charles XII and Mazepa as 'prince légitime' of Ukraine. Although not overtly directed against Russia, the 'Exposition' is unmistakably Russophobe in tone, it speaks of enslavement by Muscovy and declares that it is in the interest of all European powers that Ukraine be eventually handed over to its 'duke', Orlik, who asserts that he was freely elected and proclaimed hetman by the 'Estates' of Ukraine. The powers, again in their own interest, should guard against the consequences of the subjugation of a weak nation by a strong one on the mere pretext of convenience. The law of nations requires that, in extreme circumstances they should come to the assistance of the victims of oppression. It is just and appropriate to the duties of the Christian religion and of humanity to restore, by international action, the independence of principalities that suffer oppression under the pretext of an alliance. Orlik concludes by linking the cause of Ukraine to the principles of the balance of power and the liberty of Europe, implying that they are endangered by the actions of Tsar Peter. The logic and spirit of the case made by Orlik, possibly with the help of a jurist from the staff of Des Alleurs or Charles XII, foreshadow the ideology of nineteenth-century nationalism.

The virtual leader of the war party at the Porte was Devlet Giray, reappointed khan in December 1707 in succession to Kaplan Giray (1707). His motives were transparent: only the repulse of Muscovy from the vicinity of the Crimea and from Azov could bring back the prospect of taking and ransoming or selling Russian captives and regaining the tsar's annual tribute said to be worth 40,000 or even 60,000 ducats. Without Devlet's constant spurring of the Turks to action the subsequent efforts of the Russophobe Poles and their associates in Istanbul would have been fruitless; it was he who persistently secured the removal from the sultan's entourage of any advocates of an accommodation with the tsar. Once Charles XII was established at Bendery (1710), not far from the Buçak, the khan could not wait to spearhead the Swedish king's advance into Poland where, it was expected, he would be joined by an army coming from Swedish Pomerania and by the adherents of Leszczyński; together they would assail Augustus II in Poland or in Saxony, and the tsar wherever he might be. It was the Tatar raid on the left-bank Ukraine in 1710 that broke the peace between Turkey and Russia. On the Pruth it was Devlet Giray together with Poniatowski who pleaded with the Turks to reap the fruits of their victory by capturing and bringing low the tsar. When it became obvious after the event that they had missed a unique opportunity, the khan's credit and influence with the sultan grew apace. His record and opinions made him the natural link between the Porte and the foreign anti-Russian lobby. His comparative mildness in the treatment of Christian captives and the official protection he had extended to the Jesuit mission in the Crimea may also have made a good impression among the Poles.

In 1713, after the conclusion of the final peace treaty between Russia and Turkey, one of its architects (probably Petr P. Shafirov, the vice-chancellor or under-secretary for foreign affairs), went out of his way to pay tribute to the 'sharp intellects' of those whom he rightly considered to have been his invisible opponents: the French envoy - presumably Des Alleurs - with his secretaries and translators, Leszczyński and his 'hetmans' - the palatine of Kiev Józef Potocki (1673-1751, appointed grand hetman of Poland by Stanisław) and possibly Orlik - further Poniatowski and 'Kryspin' (either J. H. Kryszpin-Kirszensztein, 1673-1736, vice-hetman of Lithuania or his brother Kazimierz, d. 1730, grand straznik or praefectus vigiliarum, commander of the watch, of Lithuania, both appointed by Stanisław), some of the ministers of Charles XII and the khan of the Tatars. Such praise naturally also brought credit to the Russian side for having coped so well with its formidable adversaries.

The cooperation between Devlet Giray and the 'malcontent' followers of Leszczyński had its precedent in the mid-seventeenth century and was, as it had been then, made possible by the desire of the Tatars to adjust the balance of power in the steppe. But it was illusory to hope, as the 'malcontents' and the Ukrainian separatists evidently did, that for their sakes the Tatars would either change their martial habits and impose on their hordes a measure of discipline that would protect the lives and dwellings of the civil population in the right-bank Ukraine from abduction, pillage and arson or keep out of the Right Bank altogether and infest Muscovy itself. They did not do things by halves. Early in 1711 a combined force of Tatars, 'malcontent' Poles, and Cossacks tried unsuccessfully to oust the Russians from the Polish fortress of Biała Cerkiew (Belaia Tserkov) on the right bank of the Dnieper; untold violence was done by the Buçak Tatars to the local population. At the same time another force of Tatars, presumably Crimean and Nogay, put at 40,000, raided the region of Khar'kov on the Left Bank. In the spring of 1713 the Crimean, Nogay and Buçak Tatars made a four-pronged raid on the right-bank Ukraine, Podolia, the Left Bank and the region of the middle Oskol (a tributary of the Severskii Donets). Here villages and hamlets were laid waste and many captives abducted but the Buçak Tatars were repulsed by the Russians. It was possibly no coincidence that shortly afterwards peace negotiations between the Turks and the Russians were resumed.

It is most unlikely that but for the sustained propaganda campaign conducted by the foreign pressure group the Turkish reaction to the state of affairs in Poland would have been quite so prompt and so firm as it turned out to be. As early as June 1710 the grand vizier Nûmân Pasha, prompted by Józef Potocki, had been demanding the evacuation of the Russian troops from Poland: they were committing excesses and outrages and their insolence had obliged some of the inhabitants to leave the country. By November the Turks were showing 'jealousy' and dislike of the presence of large numbers of Muscovite soldiers on their confines and particularly in the frontier provinces of Poland. The new grand vizier, Baltaçi Mehmed Pasha, seemed to doubt whether they would ever leave unless they were driven out. Also in November Tolstoi reported that the intrigues of Des Alleurs, Neugebauer and Poniatowski had already pushed the Porte towards a break with Russia; they had told the Turks that if they did not make an alliance with the Swedes and the Hungarian insurgents, once the war of the Spanish Succession was over, the tsar, having secured Augustus II's position in Poland and allied himself with the Republic, the Emperor and Venice, would be able to drive the Turks from Europe and deprive them of the possession of the Eastern Empire. As the crisis mounted its Polish aspect grew in importance and rose to the level of a casus belli for both sides. Early in December the sultan informed his pashas that according to information in his possession the ultimate evil intention of the tsar after occupying Poland was to subjugate the lands of the faithful. Somewhat later the grand vizier imparted to Sutton a whole series of complaints against the Russians, all of which, whether justified or not, arose from the fear of the growing power of the tsar and the suspicion of his ambitious designs. He had already reduced the Swedes to a low condition, it would be the turn of the Turks next. He had promised himself to be one day master of Constantinople, had said that he hoped to be buried in the church of St Sophia, had renewed the truce with Turkey but had no intention of observing it and was only playing for time, had assembled a vast fleet at Azov and had built three new fortresses. (In point of fact it was the sultan who had confirmed the truce early in 1710 but Peter I had indeed built three forts: two - Cherepakhinskaia and Pavlovskaia at Taganrog, and one - Novobogorditskaia - on the left bank of the Dnieper, just above the rapids.) The Russians had occupied a good part of Poland and especially that which bordered on the Turkish dominions and were fortifying Kamenets Podolski and Khotin (which was not the case). They had also committed various violations of the frontier with Turkey and attacked the Tatars.

As far as the Russians were concerned, if the Turks, by whatever means, succeeded in ousting them from Poland, their place would be taken by the Swedes under Charles XII who would wish to substitute Leszczyński for Augustus II and establish his own protectorate over the Republic. Worst of all, the Russian armies operating against Sweden in the north would be taken in the rear. Conversely, for the Turks the Russian military presence in Poland was a threat, real or imaginary, depending on the true nature of the intentions of the tsar. As early as October 1710, at Bendery, Abdi Pasha, the seraskier of Silistria, had told an envoy sent by Sieniawski: 'It is a cold friendship with you [people] when you are keeping the Muscovites within your boundaries' ... 'they will make slaves of you and certainly lead you by the nose'. The King of Sweden was not an enemy of the Republic and it should be not in league with Muscovy. In 1712 and 1713 it was the official Turkish view that in the subjugation of Poland lay the whole stress of the evil Muscovite intentions against the Ottoman Empire and that the Turks had gone to war because they could not allow the tsar to enter Poland and do there as he pleased, clearly for fear that worse might follow: as early as May 1711 Sutton had noted that 'nothing would so distress these people as the Muscovites coming down with good strength into the Black Sea'.

On the other hand the prospect of a Swedish protectorate over the Republic did not seem to alarm the Turks. In the early days of the crisis they favoured neither Augustus II nor Stanisław and would have preferred a new royal election; later they did not wholly trust the Polish adherents of Charles XII or their king but were willing enough to allow them, in the event of an ultimate Russian defeat, to rule over the 'wanton' Republic in the expectation of reaping a reward for the support they were giving to the party of Leszczyński. The offer of such recompense in the form of the fortress of Kamenets with or without the province of Podolia and the payment of an annual tribute appear to have come from the Stanislavites themselves. It is doubtful whether these promises were made, as the Russians maintained, with the approval of Charles XII, for in that case he could no longer pretend to be the guardian of the Republic's integrity. The Turks were prudent enough never officially to react to such private overtures but made no secret of their claims to right-bank Ukraine. If in the end these prizes turned out not to be in the gift of Leszczyński they could be demanded of Augustus II. But Augustus had to be treated with caution because any resentment on his part might provoke a war which the Ottomans would not be able to sustain if the Emperor and Venice joined the Muscovites and the Poles. So whereas it is true to say with Feldman that the Porte went to war in defence of Polish independence which was threatened by Muscovy, it is not the case that they did so in defence of the Republic's territorial integrity or felt under any obligation to refrain from making a breach in the antemurale Christianitatis. Its key fortress, Kamenets, had fallen into disrepair and was in need of a papal subsidy which was granted in 1714 in the sum of 10,000 scudi.

But interference in Poland which the one party would not desist from and the other would not tolerate was not more than the occasion for the war of 1711. The deeper cause was the Russian threat to the security of the Crimea and of the Black Sea and for this reason the principal Turkish war aims were the recovery of Azov and the razing of the Russian fortresses. Even if Tsar Peter had been able to allay these fears by convincing the Turks that he had no hostile intentions towards the Ottoman Empire, the war which neither side wanted could not have been avoided, for contrary to all appearance the battle of Poltava had been only a partial and not a decisive victory for the Russians. Charles XII's escape to Turkey, his remarkable rally and success in seizing the initiative in the South had obliged the tsar to protect his southern front by occupying larger areas of the Republic - parts of White Russia, Volhynia, Podolia - than would have been necessary for the purposes of the Pomeranian campaign alone. This in turn was seen by the Turks as an act of provocation.

Whereas the Polish factor in the events leading up to the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war is obvious, its connexion with the Russian débâcle on the Pruth is less perceptible. The spoliation of the countryside by the Russian troops on their southward march exasperated the local population and gave rise to active as well as passive resistance. There are grounds for suspecting that both landlords and peasants in Volhynia hid the produce which the Russians wanted to buy or, as was more frequently the case, to seize for their magazines and this may have been the reason for which the troops did not have enough food or forage in the last, decisive, phase of the campaign. Another reason was the plague of locusts which in the late summer of 1711 visited not only Moldavia but also Podolia and forestalled the Russians. But it would appear that they themselves, including Tsar Peter blamed the inefficiency of their commissariat rather than the hostility of the civilian population for the shortfall in supplies. They did, however, bear the Poles a grudge for failing to take part in the Turkish war.

Before its outbreak the attitude towards Turkey of the two rival camps in the Republic, that of Stanisław Leszczyński and that of Augustus II was in essence one and the same, each party wanting for its own ends to win the friendship and support of the Ottomans. In return the one offered them the prospect of a favourable reception in Poland of Charles XII, the other a stance of almost friendly neutrality. Fear of the tsar and suspicion of his intentions were the reasons for these particular leanings. From January 1710 Peter I was repeatedly calling on Augustus II to meet him in Poland without delay to discuss joint military action against the Turks. The king tarried and by March was letting it be known in Istanbul that he was seeking an understanding with the Porte whence the conclusion could properly be drawn that he would not go to war against the sultan. Yet after Turkey had declared war on Russia in November 1710 the tsar had every right to demand that the Poles come to his aid. The Russo-Polish treaty of 1686 which provided for joint defensive action against Turkey had just been confirmed by the Sejm, as had the Russo-Polish treaty of alliance against Sweden of 1704. The entente between Charles XII and the Turks further strengthened the case for joint action against Turkey. But so intense were the anti-Russian feelings aroused in Poland-Lithuania by the brutal conduct of the tsar's generals and of his troops, and so great was the material damage caused by them that Russo-Polish military cooperation was out of the question. At a meeting held at Jaworów in late April and early May 1711 Sieniawski, the grand hetman of Poland, made this quite clear: the Polish army was not ready for action because it had been deprived of supplies by the 'auxiliary' (Russian) armies. His Polish colleagues were similarly unhelpful. The odd man out was the grand hetman of Lithuania, L.K. Pociej (1664-1730). In February he had reported in the same sense as Sieniawski but was said later in secret to have promised the tsar a part of the Lithuanian army for the Turkish campaign. In the end, however, he sent his entire force into the Ukraine as a precaution against an incursion by the adherents of Leszczyński. (Eventually Pociej was to affirm that he had advised the tsar against the Moldavian campaign.) There were also sound military reasons for which the hetmans did not wish to lead their armies into Moldavia. Anyone who knew anything about Sobieski's fruitless Moldavian expedition of 1686 would be wary of setting out on another campaign in an uncharted territory often visited by drought and of counting on the support of the Christian hospodars who had proved to be slippery allies. At a further top-level meeting at Jarosław in June at which both King Augustus and the tsar were present it was agreed that the king would propose to the council of the senate that the Republic, in accordance with its obligations, enter the war with Turkey and that to this end between eight and ten thousand Polish troops, principally horse, would be transferred to the Russian army (the strength of the Polish cavalry at that time was put at just over 38,000). But the king knew that he was drawing a dud cheque because at a meeting held on the previous day the eighteen senators assembled at Jarosław, after condemning the Tatar raids into Ukraine as a breach of the peace of Karlowitz had pronounced in favour of a defensive war with Turkey, in other words had declared their country's neutrality.

The question whether or not to go to the assistance of the tsar had put the senators in a quandary. If he were to be defeated the Swedish party would raise its head and the augmented power of Turkey would endanger the Republic. On the other hand, by entering the war the Republic would be breaking the treaty of Karlowitz and exposing itself to the consequences of its own military weakness. The tsar had of late cold-shouldered the Poles and had given evasive or temporizing replies to Marcjan Wołłowicz who had been sent to Moscow by the King and the Republic to take up, among other points, the question of the handing over of the places held by the Russians and claimed by the Poles - Elbing, Livonia with Riga and forts in the right-bank Ukraine. Recently a number of senators had sent a deputation to the tsar to renew these requests but were referred to his envoy, Georgii F. Dolgorukii, and he sent them away empty-handed. In the circumstances the senators did not wish to enter into fresh engagements with the tsar: outstanding matters had not been settled so no arrangements could be made for the future.

King Augustus further undertook to do what was necessary to bring Russia into a revived Holy League against Turkey. The agreement signed by the chancellor (foreign secretary) Gavriil I. Golovkin for the tsar and for the king by Flemming and Geheimrat Georg Wilhelm von Werthern (neither of whom was an office-holder of the Republic), also contains the self-accusatory article (no. 14), already mentioned, which denied that the tsar intended to lay claim to the Eastern Empire or to dismember the Republic, a suspicion which had given rise to not a little 'jalousie' at other courts and could do much harm to the interests of the northern allies. The matter, the article further declared, had been discussed in good faith and His Tsarish Majesty had once more denied for the present and for the future both intentions attributed to him (particularly, as has just been seen, by Poniatowski). It would be pleasing to His Majesty if His Polish Majesty were to take all possible steps to allay such suspicions wherever they might arise.

Supposing that the Polish cavalry units which Tsar Peter had demanded had taken part in the Moldavian campaign, would they have saved him from defeat, suffered the same fate as the Russians, or brought him victory? There can be no firm answer to these questions. It appears that the tsar reproved Pociej for his absence but the anecdote according to which in a conversation with Elzbieta Sieniawska the tsar blamed her husband's tardiness for his own defeat and failure to reach Constantinople does not ring true because Peter knew full well that Sieniawski was not going to stir. According to a more credible version of the same story the tsar bore Sieniawski a grudge for having refused to let him have any Polish troops although he could have done so. His disappointment rankled and in time he openly blamed the Poles for having let him down in 1711. In July Augustus II sent the tsar his best wishes for the successful outcome of his campaign. He would not have been human if in his heart of hearts he had not wished his over-powerful ally that which actually occurred or worse. On the following day Peter I wrote to inform the king of the setback he had suffered and the peace he had made on the Pruth. At the end of the year the seraskier of Bender, Ismail Pasha, thanked Sieniawski for not having taken part in the war and in the subsequent years of 1713-1714 in the negotiations with the Porte the loyalist Polish side claimed credit for the Republic's attitude of benevolent neutrality.

In the same year of 1711, at the time of the Russo-Turkish war, the prayers of supplication on behalf of the Balkan Christians (first published in 1702) were reprinted but were not to be answered until the following century. The revolt which broke out in 1711 in Montenegro and was not suppressed until 1714 proved to be of no greater strategic value to the Russians than Tsar Peter's secret understanding with the hospodars of Wallachia and Moldavia. Brancovan was no Balkan Khmel'nyts'kyi and did not live up to his brave words but was nevertheless beheaded by the Turks for high treason and intelligence with the Muscovites, Demetrios Kantemir merely defected to the tsar. Both had also had secret dealings with Sieniawski whom they assured that their true desire was to put themselves under the protection of the Republic in return for seats in the senate and noble status for their boyars. Although the war did not liberate the oppressed Christians, the appearance of a Russian tsar so close to the Danube and his continued interest in the fate of his co-religionists restored the flagging morale of the rayahs and stemmed the trend towards apostasy to Islam where it had been most marked, in Serbia and Albania. It is not out of the question that this tendency, parallel as it was to the progress of the Union in Poland-Lithuania, caused some concern to Tsar Peter as the self-appointed guardian of the Orthodox faith.

The treaty, carelessly drafted and hastily concluded after the battle of the Pruth initially satisfied both sides: it saved the tsar from captivity and gave the appearance of granting substantial concessions to his enemies by virtually restoring the state of affairs that had obtained in Ukraine and at the mouth of the Don before the peace of 1681. Not only did Peter I lose the fortress and port of Azov (with Taganrog), he was also to take his hands off Ukraine and Poland. The treaty did not bring comfort to Charles XII; the Turks had fought and won their own battle, with their eyes fixed on the Black Sea and scant regard for what might happen on the Baltic after the tsar and what remained of his army had been allowed to go free. It was reported that when Peter I arrived in Poland he mocked at the Turks for having caught a bird in their snare and allowed him to escape but at the time his plight had been no laughing matter. The tsar was in a state of shock and ready to make the most humiliating concessions. His instructions to his plenipotentiaries were to restore to the Turks all their conquests (though preferably after destroying the fortifications recently built by him). If the Turks were to put forward demands on behalf of the Swedes, Livonia was to be handed back and also the rest of the Baltic lands, by degrees, except Ingria (with St Petersburg). In case of refusal Pskov was to be given up and, if necessary, other provinces as well. Stanisław Leszczyński could be proclaimed King of Poland. But the sultan was to be accommodated by all possible means so that he did not show excessive zeal on behalf of the Swedes. As a last resort any terms were to be accepted, barring captivity. But it did not come to that. Possibly the grand vizier Baltaçi Mehmed Pasha wished to avoid the embarrassment of having yet another monarch on his hands and believed that the conditions he had dictated to the tsar were harsh enough. But by the end of the year the Turkish ministers, many of whom were new to their posts, as well as the Russian plenipotentiaries, came to realize that the instrument of peace was defective and, with conflicting aims in view, pressed for its revision. The Turks were now paying particular attention to three points that in one way or another affected their own and the Russians' relations with Poland, demanding that the left-bank Ukraine or part of it be made their dependency, that the Muscovite troops move out of Poland and that the Russians detach themselves from their alliance with the King and the Republic, thereby depriving Augustus II of their support.

Sir Robert Sutton noted the Porte's 'exceeding tender care for the preservation of Poland' which was now seen as a possible sphere of Turkish influence or at least as a security zone, an antemurale no longer of the Cross but of the Crescent. The inexecution of the treaty by the tsar - his failure to deliver up Azov and to withdraw his hand from the Poles and the Cossacks - made the Turks doubt his good faith and persuaded them that it would be just to resume hostilities but war-weariness weakened the courage of their convictions. The Russians being for the same reasons no less pacifically inclined came closer to complying with the terms of the original treaty. In January 1712 they laid claim only to the left-bank Ukraine with Kiev, stated that their troops had left Podolia and the surrounding area, that those in Polish Prussia would do so in April and that henceforth they would not enter, or take up quarters in, Poland unless the Poles declared war on the tsar or joined Charles XII against him. Azov and Taganrog would be handed over and the other fortresses razed.

In all these negotiations and renegotiations between the Porte and Russia the central practical preoccupation was the presence on Turkish territory of the King of Sweden. How could Charles XII return home by way of Poland, accompanied by an escort (to be made up principally of the notoriously unreliable Tatars), proper to his standing and numerous enough for his safety, without becoming the rallying point of a Polish insurrection in favour of Leszczyński? But meanwhile the main difficulty that stood in the way of the repatriation of the Swedish king was the continuing presence of the Russian troops in Poland-Lithuania. Their task was twofold: to stand by for action against Sweden in Pomerania and to support the rule of the tsar's protégé, Augustus II, against all comers, especially Leszczyński. The grand vizier Yûsuf Pasha, like his predecessor Nûmân Pasha, did not know enough geography to visualize the whereabouts of these troops or their destination and this uncertainty did not help matters. The reports received from time to time in Istanbul of the excesses of the Russians in Poland kept alive the misgivings of the Turks and prevented the conclusion of a definitive agreement. The members of the Divan were divided into those who would have preferred to see the Republic regain its full independence but, failing that, were willing to come to an understanding with Augustus II, and those who under the influence of the Russophobe pressure group were inclined to entertain fanciful proposals for intervention in Poland on behalf of King Stanisław. Despite an aversion of the military to a 'northern' campaign, many high officials considered the renewal of a state of war with Russia to be necessary so long as there were Russian troops in Poland. An Imperial declaration was made in this sense at the end of November 1712 but was not followed by military action.

The presence of Russian units in Polish Prussia and Greater Poland did not threaten the security of Turkey, being connected rather with the campaign in Pomerania. The provisioning of the Russian and Saxon troops operating there depended on the setting up during the spring and summer months of supply stores in northern Poland. Tsar Peter insisted on the adequate stocking of these magazines even at the risk of provoking a revolt of the local szlachta, driven to extremes by the enforced delivery of supplies, and an intervention by the Turks. His envoy in Poland, G.F. Dolgorukii, rightly discounted the latter eventuality, believing that the Porte's chief concern was to be rid of Charles XII. The misery and anger caused in Poland did not even serve any useful purpose because, to Peter's disappointment, the Pomeranian campaign of 1712-13 produced few positive results.

In Istanbul the mood kept changing. By March 1713 the Turks were giving their full attention to the possibility of an agreement with Augustus II and were again negotiating with the Russians. The agreement with Augustus was to comprise the confirmation of the treaty of Karlowitz, the pardon and restoration of the adherents of Leszczyński to their estates and dignities and the promise of a free and secure passage for the King of Sweden's troops through central Poland, whereupon the presence of the Russian troops there would become a separate though still vital issue. This new attitude, conciliatory, but still accompanied by bluster, was soon to be justified by the course of events. The surrender in May of Tönning in Holstein to the northern allies by the Swedish commander Magnus Stenbock, ruled out an irruption of the Swedes into Poland from Pomerania for a rendez-vous with Charles XII. If the Swedish king were to invade Poland from Bendery he could not do a great deal of mischief because his popularity and that of his protégé among the szlachta was dwindling. It was also clear that he lacked the military strength to attack Russia. Both Charles and Stanisław had by now become a total liability to the Porte and lost their value as a safeguard against Russian predominance in Poland. As a result of a direct approach to this issue, in the peace treaty between Turkey and Russia signed at Adrianople on 16 June 1713, the article concerning Poland once more heads the list of conditions: the tsar will withdraw his troops from Poland within two months, none shall remain there on the pretext of no longer being in the tsar's service, the tsar will not interfere in the government of the affairs of Poland and in future will not send his troops back into Poland under any pretext whatever but will entirely withdraw his hand from the Republic, reinforcements for the Russian army in Pomerania will not cross Poland. The troops withdrawn from Pomerania will pass through Poland once only. These stipulations were as clear as they were difficult to enforce without yet again going to war with Russia which the Turks had no wish to do. Troop movements could no more be prevented than they could be watched and the provision in the same article that in exceptional circumstances the tsar might enter Poland to hinder the evil designs of his enemies, although worded with evident care, left room for controversy.

Article 3 is charged with hidden meaning. Two statements, one that the tsar shall withdraw his hand from the right bank of the Dnieper to the south of Kiev, including the Sich (the headquarters of the Zaporozhian Cossacks destroyed by the Russians in 1709), the other that neither the Tatars nor those Cossacks who were under the rule of the Sublime Porte must break or endanger the peace, imply that the Zaporozh'e which under the Russo-Polish treaty of 1686 had been vaguely designated as a condominium, now owed allegiance to the Porte. The lack of any reference to the suzerainty of the Republic over the Right Bank of the Dnieper suggests that the Turks did not recognize it even though at the time of the negotiations leading up to the peace treaty of 1712 they told Shafirov that they clearly understood that the right-bank Ukraine would not go to Russia but to the Republic in accordance with the treaty of Karlowitz. The purpose of article 8 was likewise to bring back peace to the Black Sea steppes by ensuring that the Tatars and the Cossacks, whether those of the Left Bank or of the Zaporozh'e did not harrass one another or carry off one another's kin or livestock or attack the possessions of one another's suzerains.

The arrangements for the repatriation of Charles XII were left to the discretion of the Turks. In the end that question became an academic one as Charles, having lost credit with the Turks, rode to Stralsund through the Empire in October-November 1714 with only two companions. The retrocession to Turkey of Azov, although counterbalanced by the demilitarization of the triangle formed by the site of Taganrog, Cherkassk and Azov made the Sea of Azov once more a Turko-Tatar lake and blocked the prospect of the tsar's gaining access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean beyond. It also achieved the parallel Turkish aim of weakening Russia's position between the lower Don and the Lower Volga by laying that area open to the inroads of the Crimean and other Tatars. These attacks, carried out in flagrant violation of the peace treaty, became an annual event between 1713 and 1725 even though the line of fortifications between Tsaritsyn and Panshin Gorodok, begun in 1718 was finished in 1721.

Article 9 extends the area covered by the treaty as far as the habitat of the Kalmyks. The Russians must not become involved in any act of aggression by the Kalmyks against the Crimean Tatars and their allies, for their part the Tatars must not, under the pretext of having been attacked by the Kalmyks, do harm to the Muscovites and their lands.

The Kalmyks, a Mongol and Buddhist people, had migrated in the first half of the seventeenth century from Dzungaria to the steppes lying to the east and the west of the lower Volga. Their chief, Aiuka khan (1647-1724) claimed descent from Genghis khan and had received his title from the Dalai Lama about 1690. A habitual trimmer, he divided his disloyalty between the Porte, the tsar and the Manchus. As a pensioner and frequently an auxiliary of Tsar Peter, Aiuka seems to have done more harm in his service than in plotting against him: Aiuka's punitive expeditions between 1705 and 1711 against the tsar's internal enemies have been described as a disaster for south-east ethnic Russia. The Turks rejected his proposal for an alliance under their auspices of the nomadic peoples living to the south-east of ethnic Russia - the Bashkirs, Kazakhs, Kumyks and Kalmyks - to check the advance of Muscovy. But the notion is a vivid reminder of the ancient origins of the struggle for the mastery of the southern steppe and epitomizes the persistent hostility of its peoples towards the northern conqueror bent on the dominance of the Heartland.

The arbitrariness and cruelty of the rule of the sultans precluded any rational system of government in the Ottoman Empire and gave scope to palace intrigue, personal rivalries, favouritism and corruption on a colossal scale. Men in positions of power were at least as easily won over by presents and bribes as by logical argument; never certain of their future they made the most of such opportunities for enrichment as came their way. Agas, pashas, effendis or viziers were dismissed by the Padishah in the twinkling of his eye like so many hired servants. A grand vizier who may have been pressed to receive the seals of office could afterwards by way of punishment for any misdeeds, real or imaginary, be banished, beheaded or strangled like a chicken. The effect of this régime on Turkey's dealings with foreign powers was harmful in the extreme; inconsistency, self-contradiction, indecision and openness to extraneous influence can be observed at every turn. Augustus II's personal envoy, F.J. Goltz compared the Ottoman court to 'a sea driven by all manner of winds, where one wave destroys another'. The ambassador of the King and the Republic, Stanisław Chometowski (1673-1728), palatine of Masovia, complained that amid such abrupt changes he did not know what to do, for 'one day you win over and bribe a man and the next day he is overthrown and replaced by some stupid fellow, arrogant and ignorant'. Yet despite these shortcomings and the confusion which they created, the Porte can be seen in its relations with Russia and Poland to have pursued - often through the actions of Ahmed III - certain basic objects. Some of these were revanchist and backward looking in character, consisting essentially in the return as far as possible to the state of affairs that had obtained before the peace treaty of 1700 or even that of 1681 with Russia or the treaty of Karlowitz of 1699 with Poland, others concerned questions of the hour that arose from the battles of Poltava (1709) and of the Pruth (1711) - the peaceful repatriation of Charles XII and the preservation and neutralization of Poland. Not all of these aims were achieved and not many of them in full but the Turks had good reason to be pleased at the outcome of the war and state of war of 1711-1713 which cost the Russians an army, a fleet and their earlier territorial gains. Both parties, however, could not but have felt relief at having extricated themselves from their 'Polish' entanglements. The Ottomans were now free to turn their still considerable energies to the recovery of the Morea and the tsar was able to throw all the military might at his command into the war with Sweden in Pomerania. In his own words 'Grievous as it is to be deprived of the places where so much labour and treasure has been expended, this loss has greatly strengthened the other front which is incomparably more profitable'. The southern fleet of ten ships of between 22 and 62 guns and six smaller craft was sacrificed, together with Azov, admittedly never developed as a commercial port. All the vessels were burnt except four - two men of war and two snows which were sold to the Ottomans after they had refused the ships passage to St Petersburg. The cost of the fleet in human lives, man-hours and raw materials has never been counted; Peter I cut his losses with the sure hand of a tycoon who plays only for the highest stakes. From the start of the second round of peace negotiations he wanted the matter settled as quickly as possible: in December 1711 he was instructing Admiral Fedor M. Apraksin whose task it was to hand over Azov to do his best to prevent the Turks from going to war again and to have everything ready by January.

This tendency to treat Azov and the new naval base at Taganrog as a bunch of sour grapes became common to Peter's entourage. According to Vice-Admiral Cornelius Cruys the Russians thought that they could in a short time retake these places (as eventually they did in consequence of the war of 1735-39). The Russians drew a distinction between the places bordering on the Baltic and those bordering upon 'barbarous nations'. In the former, wrote Whitworth's secretary, L. Weisbrod, from Moscow, 'if they can keep the sea ports, they have there a trade ready established which could be carried on with more and more profit, whereas on the other side it is uncertain whether they could open themselves one in the Black Sea by force or persuasion'. Six months later, in March 1712, Whitworth himself reported from St Petersburg that the tsar was still making light of the loss of Azov and Taganrog - he had nothing to fear on that side. The first place now exposed was Kiev 'whither the march was long, the countries desert, the passages difficult and the situation of the place so advantageous and so well covered by two fortresses that his troops could very easily put a stop to the enemy who might in their turn be exposed to the hardships he had experienced in Moldavia'. He went on to make some revealing remarks about the tsar and the Ukrainian Cossacks, 'a nation for whom he has no kindness, in whose welfare he thinks his empire little concerned, the extent of their privileges being so great that their riches scarce add anything to the treasury and their undisciplined troops as little to the common strength'. He cared as little for the Don Cossacks: '... if their settlements should be weakened by [Tatar] depredations he looked upon it rather as a punishment for their former rebellions and a security for their future'. Whitworth understood the power politics of the steppe well enough to surmise that the Cossacks were more likely to seek the friendship of the Tatars than of the Russians but was not privy to the intentions of their leader, the khan.

In November 1712 Devlet Giray was still in the good graces of the sultan but by February of the following year he had fallen out of favour and was, with good reason, suspected of intelligence with Augustus II, though not, apparently, with the tsar. In point of fact the unregenerate double dealer had earlier, in 1712, informed Peter I that he was willing to abandon the cause of Charles XII, renounce Turkish suzerainty and put himself under Russian protection. In fairness to Devlet Giray it has to be recalled that towards the end of 1710 he had warned the sultan that if he did not declare war on Russia the Crimean Tatars would - in desperation, as it were - give themselves up to the tsar. Earlier still, in 1702, the Buçak and Nogay Tatars had gone further and offered their allegiance to Tsar Peter. It is not known whether the overture of 1712 was made in earnest and if so, on what conditions, or whether it was merely a tactical device; in any case, after the tsar had once more made peace with the sultan, the khan let his offer lapse. As to Devlet's intelligence with Augustus, he at the very least entertained the offer of money made to him by the loyalist grand hetman, Sieniawski in recompense for kidnapping Charles XII on his way through Poland to Swedish Pomerania and handing him over. In contemplating such acts of treachery the khan was probably actuated as much by the twists and turns in the Turks' handling of their relations with the Russians and the Poles as by their underlying unwillingness to fight a 'northern' war, by the failure of the Swedes to enter Poland from Pomerania and, perhaps decisively, by the diminishing support of the Crimean notables for his own aggressive schemes. It is also possible that the khan's volte-face was no more than a change from the overt Russophobia of Charles XII, Leszczyński and Poniatowski to its covert variety which infected Augustus II and the loyalists around him. The twice and future khan (he returned briefly for the last time in 1716) may well have reached the conclusion that at that point there was something to be gained from an association with Augustus II who looked as if he might break with the tsar. Although Devlet Giray's disloyalty would have provided enough ground for his dismissal it seems that the fundamental reason for his deposition in March 1713 was his implacable hostility towards Russia. But his successor (1713-1716) and brother or half-brother, Kaplan Giray, though less truculent, did not deviate from the course set by Devlet. He renewed his predecessor's demand that the payments by the tsar of Russia to the Crimean khan of an annual tribute or pension be renewed and guaranteed in the final peace settlement between the Porte and Russia but the claim was merely noted in article 10 of the peace treaty of June 1713. Kaplan Giray also advocated the acquisition by Turkey from the Republic of a part of the right-bank Ukraine under any new agreement to be made with Augustus II. In support of the Porte's demand to this effect in March 1714 he sent into the right-bank Ukraine a raiding party made up of Tatars and of those Cossacks who had sought his protection. Generally speaking the khans behaved as if they felt threatened by a danger that was common to themselves and to their secular prey and quarry, the Poles, even though they would have been unable to define this menace as the south-westward drive of the Muscovites towards the edge of the Heartland. During the crisis of the Polish succession Kaplan Giray was reported to have said in January 1734: 'It is in my best interests to bring low the might of Russia and to uphold Poland' and about a year later: 'Once that nation has been subjugated the security of the Ottoman Empire will inevitably be disturbed from the direction of the Danube by the Germans as much as by the Muscovites and even by the Poles themselves.'

The acquisition of a part of the Right Bank would have been useful to the Porte inasmuch as from there it would have been possible to keep a look-out for the appearance of any Russian troops in the neighbouring areas of Podolia and Volhynia. In the end, however, the Turks found it more convenient to declare that Ukraine was after all only a piece of land which might be more trouble to them than it was worth. On 22 April 1714 the Porte, and on behalf of the King and the Republic their ambassador, Chometowski, agreed to abide by that article of the treaty of Adrianople of the previous year between the Porte and the tsar - article 1 - which dealt with the withdrawal of Russian troops from Poland and the arrangements for the repatriation of Charles XII. This modest instrument was the outcome of intermittent negotiations over a period of two years and marked a turning point in the relations between the Republic under the rule of Augustus II and the Porte. Henceforth neither party had anything to fear from the other. Admittedly Turcophobia still pervaded some of the despatches from Major-General F. J. Goltz (d. 1717), Augustus II's resident in Constantinople, written at a time when the outcome of Chometowski's negotiations for a new treaty between the Republic and the Grand Signior hung in the balance. Goltz was unable to predict whether the Ottomans would invade Poland or the Morea or make terms, as proved to be the case. Goltz feared the power of the Turks, was deeply suspicious of their intentions and disgusted at their contempt for justice and reason. But his dire warnings of an impending Islamic onslaught were also calculated to strengthen the position of King Augustus in the Republic as its legitimate ruler and to justify the presence there of Saxon troops.

The Turks and the Poles remained at arm's length but, inflamed with Russophobia: 'the power of the tsar was to be feared', Kaplan Giray set about intriguing for a Turko-Tatar-Swedish alliance with Augustus II against Peter I. The khan's proposal was rejected and Chometowski believed that the whole affair was a ploy intended to hoodwink the Venetians who feared a Turkish attack.

In 1732 a book was published under the title Poselstwo wielkie Stanisława Chomentowskiego (sic) ... (The Grand Embassy of Stanisław Chomentowski...). The author was Fr Franciszek Gosciecki, S.J. (1668-1729), the sometime chaplain to Chometowski's mission. The work, an acccount in verse of the travels and labours of the embassy, abounds in descriptions of the private and public mores of the Ottomans so vivid and informative that it may be compared to the Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

After the conclusion of the peace of Adrianople the Porte no longer allowed the tsar to have a permanent diplomatic representative in Istanbul. Nevertheless, Peter I did his best, through the agency of the Dutch ambassador, Jacob Colyer, to egg on the Turks against the Venetians. The war which began with the Turkish invasion of the Morea in June 1715 diverted the attention of the Turks from events in the North as, to an even greater extent, did Austria's entry into the war in the following year.

In the course of his negotiations Chometowski had warned the Turks that the Republic could neither guarantee that the Russians would not enter Poland again nor undertake to drive them out if they did so, implying no doubt that in order to achieve that end, Turkey would have to go to war with Russia. But once normal relations with the Republic had been restored and the Turks had become engrossed in the war with Venice and Austria, an Ottoman show of military force in response to the presence of Russian troops in Poland-Lithuania, however desirable, was more difficult to mount. The Turks had explained to Chometowski the reason for which they attached so much importance to Poland's being clear of Russian troops: their proximity might cause unrest among the members of the Greek Church living in the borderlands of the Ottoman Empire. The Russian military presence therefore aroused apprehension principally when detected in the areas lying near the Turkish border - Volhynia, Podolia and right-bank Ukraine. Russian troop movements in the northern regions of the Republic caused rather less alarm among the Turks.

In any case the Russians withdrew from Poland-Lithuania (Courland excepted) into Livonia in the summer of 1714. About a year later the Poles rejected a request from the Russians to allow some of their troops to cross Polish territory on the way to Pomerania on the grounds that this would call forth objections from the Turks. In July two regiments were withdrawn from Courland (to Livonia) but by August the Russians were expected to march in, either on their way to Pomerania or in order to take measures against the growing disorder in the Republic. In Lithuania, it was suspected, they might support the grand hetman of the Duchy, Pociej, of whom it was said that he intended to dethrone King Augustus and unite Lithuania with Russia. In Poland, it was thought, the tsar might intervene in the approaching clash between the szlachta and the king's Saxon troops which in growing numbers were taking up quarters in the countryside and garrisoning some of the towns. By October the Russian contingent in Courland had been reinforced, 5000 men had entered Lithuania and large number of infantry under the command of Field Marshal B.P. Sheremetev and some dragoon regiments under General R.Kh. Baur had been stationed on the middle and lower Vistula, making a total of about 30,000. The official Polish reaction to these developments was equivocal: on the one hand the Poles protested to the Russians at the damage and injury done by their troops and again invoked the pacts with the Porte, on the other they first explained to the Turks that the presence of the Russians was made necessary by the appearance of Swedish partisans and later assured the Porte that the Russians were bound for Pomerania and that no violation of the treaty of 1713 had occurred. On 26 November 1715 at Tarnogród (about half way between Lublin and Przemyśl) the szlachta formed a confederacy in defence of their persons and liberties from the excesses of the Saxon soldiery. Some contingents of King Augustus's Saxons had already entered the Republic in the summer of 1713, ostensibly as a precaution against an attack by the Turks.

Some of the Russian troops under Sheremetev did march to Pomerania but were sent back because the operations against Stralsund had already been successfully completed. By January 1716 it was clear that the Russians would winter in Royal Prussia and Greater Poland and would not be leaving soon, though some would again be moved to Pomerania. In March 1716 the papal nuncio, Girolamo Grimaldi, reported that the szlachta were reduced to such misery (by the exactions of the foreign troops) that it was not to be hoped that they would rally to the defence of Christianity - in other words join Venice and Austria in the war with the Turks - with the necessary speed and efficiency. Indeed the contrary was the case, the confederates lost no time in asking the Turks for help and felt sure that it would be forthcoming in return for the cession of Podolia with the fortress of Kamenets. This belief was not without foundation; the Turks came to fear that the Russian mediation between the king and the confederates, in progress since May 1716, would result in the imposition on the Republic of a régime of absolutum dominium which by reason of its aggressive nature would be contrary to the interests of the Porte: the king might become an oppressive neighbour. In the summer of 1716 the Turks gave the confederates to understand that they would not suffer the Poles to be downtrodden and ruined: if more Russian troops were to enter Poland they would come to the aid of the Republic and drive out its enemies without seeking any recompense, from sheer friendship. Later they hinted at the possibility of invading Poland in the event of the confederates' being ousted by the Russians from the fortress of Belaia Tserkov in the right-bank Ukraine. The Tatars went to greater lengths. They had been making annual incursions into Russian territory since 1713, in 1715 they had raided regions as far apart as Khar'kov, Izium and Tsaritsyn and also the town of Astrakhan. In 1716 during the last brief rule of Devlet Giray they got into touch with the confederates, professed their readiness to act against the enemies of the Republic and were reported in July 1716 to have penetrated as far as the vicinity of Kiev. It is possible that this foray was carried out at the same time as the other Tatar raids on places in the region of Kursk and several localities beyond Tambov, to the west of the upper reaches of the Don. Tsar Peter's protests against these breaches of the treaty of 1713 apparently made little impression on the Porte as so far from apologies being tendered further incursions followed at the orders of the new khan (1717-1724), Saadet Giray, reputed to be energetic and no less hostile towards Russia than his predecessors. It is hard to imagine that all these raids were carried out without, at the very least, the tacit consent of the Porte, ever resentful of at the colonization of the steppe by the Russians. In August 1716 it was rumoured that the Tatars were advancing towards Khotin (in Moldavia, by the Polish frontier) and would come to the aid of the confederates but by the end of September, after the victory of the Imperialists over the Turks at Peterwardein (Petrovaradin) this was no longer thought possible. The official explanation given by King Augustus of the presence of the Russians in Poland - the appearance of Swedish partisans - saved the Turks any embarrassment that they may have felt at their own inaction. A further explanation of an unspecified nature (probably to the effect that the Russians were in Poland to keep the peace), was given in October in a letter from the Russian envoy, Georgii F. Dolgorukii, to the 'seraskier of Khotin' who in his reply requested that Russia fulfil its obligations under the treaty of 1713 and send no further contingents. Tied down though they were by the war with the Emperor, the Turks kept a close watch on developments in Poland and made their proximity felt without, however, overstepping the mark. At an unspecified time, probably in the early months of 1717 the two emissaries sent to Poland, one by the Tatar khan, the other by the 'Pasha of Khotin', in an interview with Dolgorukii told him in abusive language that the tsar, contrary to his treaties with the Porte, was keeping some of his troops in Poland; if he did not withdraw them at once this would be regarded as a breach of the peace. Thereupon the tsar explained in a letter the reasons for the presence of his troops in the Republic and assured the Porte that he wished the peace between the two countries to be preserved, witness his rejection of the Emperor's proposals to join him against the Turks. Moreover, he was trying to undo the understanding against Turkey between the Emperor, Venice and Poland. However, if the Turks chose to regard his entry into Poland as a breach of the peace, the tsar was ready to receive them. The khan was reprimanded for having acted without orders from the Porte (and so no doubt was the Pasha), he as well as the military commander on the border were ordered to keep on good terms with the Muscovites.

Nevertheless in March 1717 there was talk in Warsaw of the likelihood of a Turkish inquiry into the presence of Russian troops in the Republic and in May 1718 it was reported from St Petersburg that a Turkish emissary had asked what the Russians were doing in Ukraine and requested a confirmation of the treaty of 1711 (sic). Later in the same year a Turkish as well as a Tatar envoy arrived in Poland. The Turk, Kozbekçi Mustafa Ağa, had been instructed to confirm his country's friendship with the King and the Republic and to ensure that nothing should occur that might be contrary to their treaties with the Porte. The Porte, the Ağa declared, would abide by the terms of such treaties and regard the Republic's enemies as its own enemies and its friends as friends. The Turkish army, he stated (perhaps making a virtue of necessity), had kept away from the Polish border. The Poles for their part considered the fortifications erected by the Turks at Khotin (opposite Kamenets) to be prejudicial to the Republic's rights as well as contrary to the peace of Karlowitz and demanded that the matter be put right. It is possible that this rebuff was intended chiefly to satisfy the amour propre of the Polish notables, for the envoy of the khan of the Crimean Tatars was given a rather friendlier reception. He found it regrettable that his predecessor, likewise sent to ascertain the presence of Russian troops in Poland, had been misled as to their number. He himself had now seen the Russians close to Warsaw with his own eyes and the only question was what they were doing in Poland and whether they were there with the consent of the King and the Republic? For when a friend was stricken, one wanted to know with what sickness and whether one could be of help to him. The Republic was indeed sick, replied the bishop of Cuiavia, K. S. Szaniawski (1668-1732), but a new remedy was being prepared by doctors who applied treatment from a distance. The reference was to the treaty of defensive alliance which the representatives of George I, Augustus II and the Emperor Charles VI were about to conclude in Vienna and which is discussed separately. The envoy informed the senators and ministers of state that he was ready to act in accordance with the wishes of the King and the Republic. To his offer of military help made before his departure in January 1719 the Poles replied that it was not needed on the Republic's territory but might be requested by way of a diversion as a last resort. In April it was reported that the Turks were merely watching the Muscovites and would not accredit one J. Lomaca as Polish consul. In August the tsar complained that Lomaca was inciting the Porte against him. At no point was there any suggestion that the Turks might attack or threaten to attack Russia on account of the presence of her troops in Poland. Whether from weakness or from the belief that Russia was not now as dangerous an enemy as Austria, the Porte was no longer willing to go to the brink of war to keep the Republic clear of Russian troops. The Poles themselves evidently disliked the very prospect of Turkish troops or Tatar raiders entering their country to deliver them from the Russians.

The disgrace of Charles XII after the kalabalik or affray of Bendery (in which Devlet Giray led an assault on the king's quarters) and his removal to Demotika at the orders of the sultan in March 1713 put an end to the work of the pressure group which had so successfully stirred up Russophobia on the Bosphorus. But the dread of Russia or rather of its formidable ruler being partly a reaction to Tsar Peter's imperialistic demeanour and partly the product of Swedish propaganda, the emergence of Russophobia in north-western Europe was not long delayed. By about 1715 it was the tsar's conquests on the Baltic rather than the Swedish privateers that were believed to threaten the trade of English and Dutch merchants. The ship-men of the northern margin of the Heartland - to use or abuse once more Mackinder's terminology - were growing uneasy at the intrusion of the 'great organizer' from the North into the Baltic, the source of the necessaries of navigation which they could not 'get so good nor in so great a quantity from any other parts'. Plausible arguments for checking the tsar were advanced by anonymous propagandists some of whom it is easy to identify as diplomats or other officials in the service of Charles XII - K. Gyllenborg, D. N. von Höpken, J. Palmqvist, J.F. Preis, M. Wellingk - residing in different places but apparently working as a team. The Mémoire d'une personne intéressée .. au commerce de la Mer Baltique (1716) pointed to the harmful consequences of the tsar's being allowed to wield arbitrary power in Poland: since then he has carried fire and sword wherever he wanted to, without anyone daring to stop him. The Lettre d'un ami à Petersbourg à un ami à Amsterdam spoke in 1716 or earlier of the apprehension felt in commercial circles: if the tsar became the undisturbed possessor of some ports in the Baltic his first concern would be to render the trade plied by foreigners in his lands superfluous or at least to make it languish. So great was the danger that if the Turcophobe Cosimo II de' Medici were living he would turn Russophobe and say with justice to the politicians and merchants of today: 'Col tempo sarete coglionati tutti dal Tamerlano Mosco'. Similarly Charles XII's envoy in London, Gyllenborg, in a pamphlet entitled The Northern Crisis or Impartial Reflections on the Policies of the Czar and published anonymously in London in 1716 referred to 'the Czar's designs to carry on alone all the Northern trade and of getting all that from Turkey and Persia into his hands' as well. This would happen if the tsar succeeded in making St Petersburg into an entrepôt, a staple for trade with both East and West.

From the beginning of the century until about 1716 military conflicts in Europe - the war of the Spanish Succession, the northern war, the Russo-Turkish war - though not without effect upon one another - had remained local in character, none involved all the great European powers at once. By contrast the Northern Crisis brought about a temporary fusion of these areas of conflict. In 1716 after the surrender of the Swedish fortress of Wismar to the Danes, the northern league consisting of Russia, Prussia, Denmark, Hanover and Saxony broke up. Tsar Peter moved his troops from Wismar to the adjacent Duchy of Mecklenburg. The quartering of some 30,000 Russians in a western corner of the Baltic caused as much apprehension and indignation in the West as the presence of Russian troops in Poland had aroused in Istanbul. Nor were these feelings allayed when by May 1717 the bulk but by no means all of these troops had moved to Poland - to Royal Prussia and Greater Poland.

At the same time Charles VI was faced with the appearance on Imperial territory of a Slav intruder unpredictable in his intentions at a critical juncture. The Emperor had been at war with Turkey since April 1715, in 1718-19, at a time when in the West the tsar was suspected of evil designs with regard to Gdansk, the Austrian possessions in Italy were attacked by Spain at the instigation of the Emperor's principal adversary, the all-powerful minister of Philip V, Giulio Alberoni. No mere clumsy and muddle-headed projector à la Flemming, Alberoni, appointed cardinal in 1717 thanks to Stuart influence, was nevertheless a reckless gambler and within a few years was to overreach himself. The long arm of this master of diplomatic intrigue extended as far as Turkey where he supported the aims of the exiled Prince of Transylvania, Francis II Rákóczi (1676-1738), a sworn enemy of the Emperor and in the good graces of Tsar Peter. Alberoni's opposite number and secret partner in the North was G.H. Goertz von Schlitz, Charles XII's 'grand vizier' from 1716. Had these two schemers, the gardener's son from Piacenza and the German baron succeeded in their designs, a separate peace between Charles XII and Peter I would have been followed by an alliance uniting Sweden, Russia and Spain against the Emperor, and by an attack on England leading to the restoration of the Stuarts. Alberoni calculated that even if Austria were to make peace with Turkey (as proved to be the case, on 21 July 1718, at Passarowitz) his northern project could still be realized to the advantage of Spain and of the parts of Italy subject to Austria. The 'archduke' would have his hands full. But Alberoni was uttering these words before the news could have reached him of the destruction of the Spanish fleet in a 'preventive strike' by Admiral George Byng at Cape Passarro on 11 August 1718. About the same time the tsar broke off his contact with Alberoni and (in relation to the northern project) his tentative dealings with the Jacobites. Alberoni's downfall followed in December 1719; in January 1720 Philip V made peace in accordance with the terms of the alliance of August 1718 between France, Great Britain and the Emperor known as the Quadruple even though the fourth partner, the United Provinces did not formally join it and the fifth, Spain, did so only later in the year. Charles XII was killed in action on 11 December 1718; on 12 March 1719 Goertz was beheaded, not least for having 'betrayed the interests of his king'. The Hispano-Nordic cum Jacobite league was never formed and to that extent the Northern Crisis was over but the Swedish provinces of Livonia, Estonia, Ingria, Karelia and Finland were still in the hands of the tsar and as far as Great Britain and Hanover were concerned the Balance of the North had therefore to be redressed. This, it was believed in London, could be achieved by forcing the tsar back into his proper bounds under pressure to be brought to bear on him from the south as well as from the west. Turkey was to play the part in which it had been cast earlier by Charles XII, by carrying out a diplomatic or military diversion against Russia. This intention once more brought the two realms of Augustus II, Saxony and Poland-Lithuania, close to the centre of the political and strategic scene.

The 'cause commune' for the sake of which in February 1717 Augustus II (through a third party) announced to George I his readiness to enter into 'concerts' was described by Flemming a few months later as relating to events in the Empire as well as to the pacification of the North. In both these theatres the protagonist, if not the villain of the drama, was the tsar but considering that the Emperor was at war with the Turk and that Poland-Lithuania was the neighbour of both belligerents, Flemming's geographical definition seems somewhat narrow. In London, the seat of the Levant Company, the political horizon was wider, the English partners of the court of Dresden realized from the start that any action taken against the tsar, in order to be successful, must have its parallel in the South-East. As early as September 1717 the Seigneur of Saint Saphorin (François Louis de Pesmes, 1668-1737), from October 1716 the personal representative in Vienna of George I (and from March 1718 also of the British government with the character of resident) reported that he was working for an entente with Poland and for peace with Turkey. This was as much as saying that he was engaged in undermining the tsar. In the same month of September 1717 Sir Robert Sutton was stopped by his superiors on his way home from Istanbul and ordered to Vienna to act as mediator in the future peace negotiations between the Emperor and the Porte. In 1712 in Istanbul he had, by mediating between Russia and Turkey, together with the Dutch ambassador, Colyer, brought about an agreement without which hostilities would have been resumed. No one was better informed than Sutton about the triangular relations between the Porte, Russia and Poland in all their complexity. The Russians, in appreciation of his expertise, had presented him with 6000 ducats and a sable cloak. At the very beginning of his new mission Sutton asked Saint Saphorin whether he should take up the subject of the presence of Russian troops in Poland. He received a positive reply but when he raised the matter with the Turks in due course in July 1718 he learnt that the tsar was now their friend and that they were hoping for his support in case peace with the Emperor was not made. Charles VI for his part had not forgiven Augustus II and the Republic for their neutrality in the Turkish war. He accordingly ignored the king's plea for the inclusion in the peace treaty of the provision in the earlier treaties between the Porte and Russia as well as in the treaty between Turkey and Poland-Lithuania against the entry of Russian troops into the Republic and Russian interference in its internal affairs. But Sutton expected that when peace had been made (as it very soon was, on 21 July) it would not be difficult to reawaken the Turks' jealousy of, and resentment against, the tsar. Saint Saphorin hoped that Sutton would be able to make the Turks understand how dangerous the Russians were to them with their designs against the Ottoman Empire, how important it was to oblige them to abide by the terms of their treaty with the Turks in respect of Poland. For as long as they were dominant in Poland they would always be able to attack the Porte with ease.

Abraham Stanyan, the British ambassador in Istanbul, acting on advice received from Saint Saphorin spared no effort to revive the dormant Russophobia of the Turks, telling them that the tsar was a dangerous man who was acting in bad faith and, as the opportunity arose, pointing to the presence of Russian troops in Poland as proof of his wickedness. But some Turks were convinced that the tsar would never again venture into Moldavia from Poland, having in advance cursed any of his successors who might try to do so. Stanyan's representations did have some effect, for in November 1718 the grand vizier formally asked the Russians through their homeward bound messenger to observe the treaty 'of the Pruth' and later repeated his request. In March 1719 he informed Stanyan that the Russian troops were leaving the territory of the Republic and the ambassador pretended to believe that this was due to the grand vizier's interposition. The grand vizier in question, Dâmâd Ibrahim Pasha (1718-1730), was considered to be prepotent but avaricious and prudent and therefore pacifically inclined.

The Turks must at some point have learnt that negotiations were afoot regarding the marriage between an Austrian archduchess and Frederick Augustus (1696-1763), Electoral Prince of Saxony, the son and heir of Augustus II. This was yet another intrigue of Flemming's who brought the proposal to Vienna in November 1717. For once Flemming's machinations were rewarded with success. In January 1719 Charles VI agreed to the marriage of his niece, the archduchess Maria Josepha, to the Electoral Prince and the wedding took place in August of the same year. The Turks could not but view the tying of such a dynastic knot between the Emperor, Saxony and Poland as a threat to their security, the germ of some new Holy League.

When Tsar Peter's envoy, A.I. Dashkov (d. 1733) arrived in Istanbul in July 1719 it was to play on these apprehensions by conjuring up the spectre of the subversion of the republican institutions of Poland-Lithuania and their replacement with an absolute monarchy, hereditary in the House of Wettin and allied to the Habsburgs. According to Dashkov the only way to ward off this evil prospect was to help the right-minded Poles to overthrow Augustus and elect in his place Francis Rákóczi who, as it happened, had arrived in Turkey from France in October 1717. The tsar hoped that the Porte would not object to his sending more of his troops into Poland for this purpose. This was imperative, no infringement of the treaties with the Porte was intended. The grand vizier replied that the Porte would not act in favour of Rákóczi, implying that he would not be allowed to leave Turkey. But in September when Dashkov asked point-blank for help to depose Augustus II and replace him with Rákóczi, Dâmâd Ibrahim relented: the Porte would allow Rákóczi to go to Poland if the tsar started a movement there in the Prince's favour. In October the grand vizier was clearly well-disposed towards the Russians; he professed himself satisfied with Dashkov's justification of the continuing presence of some of the tsar's troops in Courland: they were there to prevent the Emperor's army from entering Poland to make Augustus II an absolute ruler in accordance with the matrimonial convention allegedly entered into by the two monarchs on the occasion of the marriage of Maria Josepha to Frederick Augustus.

Dashkov had served in Poland in 1702 as Russian resident with the vice-hetman of Lithuania, M. S. Wiśniowiecki (1680-1744) and again between 1708 and 1716 as resident, successively with the grand hetman of Poland, Adam Sieniawski and with King Augustus. The knowledge of Polish affairs thus acquired must have stood him in good stead in Istanbul, he also made skilful use of his slush fund. In his endeavours to persuade the Turks of the justice of his principal's cause he was assisted by the French ambassador at the Porte, active since 1717, Jean Louis d'Usson, marquis de Bonnac (1672-1738). It was Bonnac's next but one successor, Villeneuve, who was to remark of the Turks in 1731 that 'at birth they learn that they must hate the Germans and the Russians, and that is the limit of their knowledge'. The truth contained in this quip was equally valid in 1719. Bonnac was engaged in assuaging the Russophobia and stirring up the Austrophobia of the Ottomans and in so doing was helping to invalidate those clauses of the Russo-Turkish treaties of 1711-13 which bore relation to Poland. But of engendering Russophilia in Istanbul there could be no question; Bonnac never succeeded in infecting the Turks with his own admiration of, and confidence in, Peter I.

In November 1719 Stanyan reported increased jalousie among the Turks at the aspirations of the tsar. Although the grand vizier had not written to Peter I in protest against the presence of his troops in Courland, he had declared to Dashkov that he expected the treaty 'of the Pruth' to be observed in that respect. In all probability Stanyan's assessment of the situation as he saw it in 1722 was already valid in 1719: the Turks were 'jaloux' enough of the power of the tsar, yet the Porte feared the discipline of his troops and knew that a defeat at his hands could be followed by total revolution in their country. In the circumstances nothing came of Stanyan's efforts to provoke a breach between Russia and Turkey and, if possible, to promote the conclusion of a defensive alliance between Turkey and Sweden in parallel to the treaty of Vienna of 1719. He was crossed at every step by Dashkov and Bonnac, moreover the Austrians, so feared by the Turks, were extremely cautious in their handling of the delicate subject of the relations between the Porte and Russia in so far as they affected Poland. The Emperor's resident, Joseph von Dierling, was instructed to cooperate with Stanyan but without showing his cards and to refrain from declaring himself in speech or writing against the tsar. His task was to prevent the conclusion of a Russo-Turkish treaty and to make it clear to the Porte that the Emperor would never countenance an invasion of Poland by Russian troops and the oppression by them of that country.

Dashkov's stock rose or fell according to the mood that prevailed at the Porte at any given time, at one point his subsistence allowance was reduced and he was asked to go home but in the end he succeeded in combining with the Ottomans to deliver a powerful and well-aimed counterstroke at the makers of the treaty of Vienna. The weapon forged for this purpose was the Russo-Turkish treaty of permanent peace and friendship concluded on 16 November 1720. The new agreement proclaimed aims deceptively similar to those of the treaty of Vienna of 1719 - the preservation of the Republic and its archaic system of government - but with the significant omission of any reference to maintaining the reigning monarch on the throne. The tsar now acquired the right to foil any suspect manoeuvres of third parties by means of military action without fear of hindrance by the Porte. The article concerning the presence of Russian troops in Poland (article 2, corresponding to article 1 of the treaty of 1713) allowed the tsar to enter Poland at the head of an army if other foreign troops had invaded the Republic with the aim of turning it into an absolute and hereditary monarchy or of abolishing its ancient laws and liberties or of detaching a part of its territory. Once His Tsarish Majesty had prevented this from happening and averted the attendant confusion and disequilibrium without doing any harm to Poland and its political institutions, he was bound to withdraw together with his troops. By what means the Porte was to discover beforehand the evil intentions of the intruders is not stated. It is possible that as the article twice refers to the right of hereditary succession being introduced by force of arms, the signatories apprehended a royal election vivente rege - the pre-election of the Electoral Prince of Saxony in his father's lifetime under the protection of foreign troops. It is certain that Tsar Peter had it in mind, when the opportunity occurred or a pretext could be found, to prompt the Poles to dethrone Augustus II and to put Rákóczi in his place. An entente between Turkey and Russia was potentially dangerous. James Scott, the British envoy in Warsaw, believed that if these two powers came to an understanding they could place on the Polish throne anyone they pleased. Noteworthy as the provisions of article 2 are, an omission from that part of its text which was copied from article 1 of the treaty of 1713 is even more significant. The deletion of the phrase 'and shall not intermeddle in the management of the affairs of the Poles' at once reveals the tsar's intentions and shows him up as the self-appointed protector of the Republic and its disorderly system of government. The permission given to the tsar to enter Poland-Lithuania was not quite the reversal of the prohibition contained in the treaties of 1711, 1712 and 1713 that it seems to be as it was to apply only in clearly defined circumstances. These circumstances did not in the end occur but it will be seen that this did not prevent the Russians from invoking the treaty of 1720 in the crisis of 1733-34. Had things turned out differently in the last five years of the reign of Peter I, had Augustus II with Austrian help attempted to secure the Polish succession for his son, the treaty of 1720 could have worked in favour of the Turks who would have preferred to see on the Polish throne their friend Rákóczi rather than a Saxon despot. As to Tsar Peter's marching and counter-marching his troops across Poland, after 1713 the Turks, however strongly they may have objected to this practice, had neither the will nor the ability to prevent it. The only weapon at their disposal against Russia was an incursion by the Tatars but, to be effective, such a raid would have had to be on a larger scale and longer in range than the forays already mentioned. At the time of the conclusion of the treaty of 1720 the Russian troops had already pulled out of Poland-Lithuania under the pressure that had been brought to bear on the tsar by the treaty of Vienna entered into in 1719 by the Russophobes on the Thames, the Danube, the Elbe and the Vistula. But no one could be sure that the Russians would not return. Tsar Peter was no less feared on the Bosphorus than he had been twenty years earlier; his death (in 1725) was greeted with rejoicing.

But in 1722 Tsar Peter was still very much alive and the Ottomans now found that having halted his progress towards the Black Sea they were unable to prevent him from putting into effect the last stage of the grand design. His seaborne expedition to the south-western shore of the Caspian was a bold attempt to gain access for a Russia now supreme in the Baltic, to the trade route to Persia and India. Rebellion and civil war in Persia provided the opportunity for foreign intervention. As the Russian army advanced the Turks reacted by concentrating their troops near the Persian border. In 1723 they seized Tiflis and moved towards Azerbaijan whereupon Russia and Persia made an alliance sealed by the cession of the south-western coastal regions on the Caspian to the tsar. The prospect of Russian predominance in Persia alarmed the Turks who accused the Russians of having broken the peace treaty of 1720 and at the end of 1723 threatened them with war.

In the spring of that year the Russians, evidently alarmed, turned for help to the Poles. In May Dolgorukii declared in a memorandum that in the best interests of Christendom it was necessary to oppose the schemes of the Porte to gain control over Persia by using the rebel leader Mir Vais (in point of fact his son, Mahmud) as their instrument. The Poles found the zeal of the Russians commendable but asked for more information. Later, in an interview with Dolgorukii, Flemming alluded to the ambitions of the tsar with regard to the Empire, to the general suspicion aroused by his intentions in the Caspian and again asked for more information. In the interim Dolgorukii wanted the Poles to write to the Porte in the sense that its association with 'Mir Vais' could not but give great umbrage to all Christians. Flemming doubted the good effect of such a letter. Dolgorukii clearly would not take No for an answer and later proposed an alliance against Turkey. The Poles may have derived some little satisfaction from having put Dolgorukii in his place and having apparently ignored his proposal. No mention was made on this occasion of the defensive alliance against the Turks and Tatars which formed part of the Russo-Polish treaty of 1686. In retrospect in Polish eyes the conclusion of that treaty which had been dictated by the overriding claims of the war with Turkey must have taken on the appearance of a grave error of political judgment.

The final episode in this series occurred after an interval of about ten years. Its unfolding shows that while, after 1720, the Turks never intended to hold the door into the Republic open for the Russians to march in, they were neither able nor willing to turn them out when they did so, as was the case in 1733. In the interregnum which followed the death of Augustus II (on 1 February) Russian troops entered Lithuania and stood ready to enforce the election to the vacant throne of none other than the former Electoral Prince, now Elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus. His rival was the former anti-king Stanisław Leszczyński, once more the protégé of France, this time as father of Maria, consort of Louis XV since 1725. Stanisław was acclaimed king on 12 September by a vast body of szlachta. On 5 October a much smaller gathering of voters favourable to Austria and Russia (joined in an alliance since 1726) elected Frederic Augustus. In the same month France allied with Savoy-Sardinia and Spain declared war on Charles VI; the Franco-Spanish invasion of Germany and Italy prevented the Imperialists from fighting this war of the Polish succession in Poland. Similarly France gave no direct help to the supporters of Leszczyński. Stanisław fled to Gdansk before the advancing Russians who besieged the city and took it at the end of March 1734. The quasi-king found sanctuary in Königsberg before abdicating and returning to France. A year earlier the Elector had been crowned King of Poland in a poorly attended ceremony.

The nature of the reaction of the Turks to the developments in Poland during 1733 may be gauged from the utterances addressed by the grand vizier Ali Pasha to the Russian envoy Ivan I. Nepliuev. The Porte did not accept Nepliuev's argument that Russian troops had entered the Republic in accordance with the provisions of the treaty of 1720 and indeed took the opposite view, namely that the Russians intended to establish in the Republic a hereditary and absolute monarchy and that this constituted a breach of the treaty. Russia should not interfere in Poland's internal affairs (the omission of this phrase from the text in 1720 notwithstanding). Stanisław had been elected lawfully, the Republic's neighbours should promote a peaceful settlement of the differences among the Poles. The Turks also objected to Leszczyński's friendship with them being branded by the Russian envoy in Warsaw as discreditable. But corruption was stronger than policy: for a large sum of money Nepliuev bought from Ali Pasha an undertaking on behalf of the Porte to prohibit the Tatars from committing any hostile acts against Russia, a measure that might have been taken in any event. In 1734 the Turkish position remained the same, the Turks made it clear to Nepliuev that they knew what had happened in Poland - freedom had been trampled on, the country had been laid waste by the Russian troops, the treaty of 1720 had been broken. But Nepliuev in his reports maintained from the beginning that whatever the grand vizier might say, so long as Turkey was at war with Persia as was the case between 1730 and 1735 she would not attack Russia on account of her proceeding in Poland. Nepliuev was right. All that Ali Pasha could bring himself to do was to despatch two letters of protest, one to the Russian chancellor (foreign secretary), Gavriil I. Golovkin, the other to Prince Eugène of Savoy, the principal political figure in Vienna. In acting thus Ali Pasha was yielding to pressure from members of the Divan who had been listening to the pleadings of the French ambassador, Louis Sauveur, marquis de Villeneuve, and to Kaplan Giray khan. But further than that the grand vizier would not go, he had pocketed a fat bribe from Villeneuve only to inform him eventually that he could do nothing to help France without a formal alliance between the two countries. Kaplan Giray had complained of the aggressive and dishonourable behaviour of the Russians not only in Poland but also in the Caucasus. Instead of helping the Turks in the war with Persia they had occupied Kabarda and (in 1733) on Chechen territory had killed many Tatars who were heading for Daghestan with orders to stir up the local tribes there against Persia.

The marriage of Maria Leszczyńska to the King of France and the alliance of 1726 between Russia and Austria (both of which countries had recently fought Turkey and were likely to do so again) had opened a period in which attempts were made to revive the anti-Russian bloc of the years 1710-1714. Some of the veterans of those days were ready to return to the political arena under the patronage of France: Leszczyński, Kaplan Giray and the Ukrainian separatist leader Filip Orlik who was now joined by his son Grzegorz (or Hryhor, 1702-1759). All were animated by the same spirit of Russophobia and their programmes remained unchanged: to put an end to Russian interference in the domestic affairs of Poland-Lithuania and to liberate and unite Ukraine. But with nothing to put in the place of the energy and prestige of Charles XII and without sufficient influence at the Porte they were unable to make an effective return as a pressure group. Not that the inclination was lacking. The views expressed in Villeneuve's entourage closely resemble those which had been peculiar to the Russophobe lobby some twenty years earlier: Sweden should be helped to recover the conquests of Peter the Great, for otherwise France cannot benefit from the Franco-Swedish alliance. The Dutch and the English will be glad to join in underhand for the sake of their Baltic trade. So long as Russia has Livonia she will be able to come to the aid of the Emperor against France (through Prussia?). There was also talk of returning Kiev and Smolensk to Poland and ousting Russia from the shore of the Caspian. An outsider, the renegade comte Alexandre de Bonneval alias Ahmed Pasha, acting as diplomatic adviser to the Porte, advocated caution because of the unpreparedness of the Turkish army but breathed pure Russophobia: Russia had 'dismembered' Sweden, she was preparing the entire enslavement of Poland and having brought down that barrier to Peter the Great's ambition would resume in the East the work which he had prematurely begun. In going to the rescue of Poland, Turkey would be doing no more than providing for her own security and defending its 'indispensable rampart' - an inversion of the purpose of the antemurale Christianitatis as embarrasing to the Franks as the conversion to Islam (in 1729) of Bonneval himself.

Possibly in consequence of this ambiguous piece of advice or of the absence of a positive response from Paris to the offer of an alliance or because of the reverses suffered in Persia by the seraskier Topal Osman Pasha, the help given by the Turks to the Poles did not go beyond allowing the transit through Ottoman territory of men and arms destined for the adherents of Leszczyński and giving some of them sanctuary.

While the Turks shrank from action on behalf of Poland, the Crimean Tatars, being rather more sensitive to the consequences of the southward expansion of Russia never left its confines in peace for long. Each year between 1723 and 1728 and again in 1731, 1732 and 1734 the Tatars, often assisted by Turks from Azov and other places, raided repeatedly the region of Poltava, Bakhmut and the territories of the Don Cossacks and the habitat of the Kalmyks on the lower Volga. With the appointment of Kaplan Giray as khan for the third time (1730-1736) the Tatars entered on a phase of intensified activity. Kaplan Giray helped to save from the hands of rebels the new sultan (1730-1754), Mahmud I, and this enhanced the deliverer's standing with the Porte. In October 1730 he informed Villeneuve of his desire to act in concert with Louis XV who, he believed, must wish for the reestablishment of his father-in-law on the Polish throne. In the years 1731 and 1732 a secret correspondence was kept up between Chambord, the residence of Stanisław in France, the Crimea and manor houses in the right-bank Ukraine and in Podolia in anticipation of the death of Augustus II. Grzegorz Orlik, mentioned above, acted as intermediary between Louis XV and Kaplan Giray in 1732 and again in 1734. By August 1733, with the aid of French subsidies, Kaplan Giray had put in readiness two groups of his warriors, one close to the left-bank Ukraine, the other further to the east within striking distance of the Caucasus but the sultan did not allow him to take the field thus keeping the promise given by Ali Pasha on behalf of the Porte to Nepliuev. In 1734 the khan assembled some of his troops near Bendery and later moved a part of this force to Khotin, not far from the Polish border, probably in order to show his support for the adherents of Leszczyński who were about to form a confederacy (at Dzików, on 9 November 1734).

In Paris the notion of a league with the enemies of Christendom had proved unacceptable to Louis XV's first minister, André Hercule, cardinal de Fleury. Other, more worldly considerations, also played their part. Fleury resented being obliged to support the claims of Stanisław and had no desire to involve France for an indefinite period in the tangled affairs of the Near East. France did finally make a formal declaration in favour of Turkey in which Louis XV recognized the justice of the Porte's exertions for the observance of the treaty of the Pruth (sic) and the liberty and tranquillity of Poland but by that time Gdansk had already fallen to the Russians.

The Tatars stayed on the offensive, admittedly not on their own initiative but at the orders of the sultan. In 1733, it will be recalled, they had crossed the region of Kabarda and Daghestan which the Russians regarded as lying within their boundaries; in 1735 the sultan ordered the Crimeans under Kaplan Giray to Daghestan to take the people of that province under the protection of the Porte. The khan reached his destination in October, no military encounter occurred but the Russians saw in this expedition an attempt to seize the places on the western shore of the Caspian which they had earlier in the year retroceded to Persia and accused the Tatars of having violated the frontier. In retaliation a Russian force attacked Perekop at the northern tip of the Crimean peninsula, a land to be regarded according to the beholder's taste as a nest of robbers and slave-hunters or as a bastion of resistance to the southward advance of the invader from the North. The Russo-Turkish war of 1735-1739 (which Austria entered in 1737) had broken out.

Its origins can be traced to the recent conflict between Russia and the Porte over the Polish succession. As Vandal has observed, the rivalry between Stanisław and Augustus III was the first link in the chain of events which progressed at a slow pace from the shores of the Baltic to those of the Bosphorus. Leszczyński had been defeated by the league between Austria and Russia, his defeat cemented the alliance between the two courts and allowed them to return with advantage to their schemes against Turkey. Vandal has condemned both France and Turkey for their lack of resolution and mutual confidence. Evidently assuming that the Turks and Tatars could have defeated the Russians in 1733 or 1734 he has blamed his own country and Turkey for having allowed the collapse of a common cause and lost what was perhaps the only opportunity in the eighteenth century of saving Poland.

In 1739 the French acted as mediators between Turkey and Russia. They considered the possibility of obtaining the inclusion in the peace treaty between the two powers of the phrase omitted from the treaty of 1720, prohibiting Russian interference in the internal affairs of the Poles. They decided, however, not to press the point, in all probability because the phrase in question contradicted a generally recognized state of affairs.

The fear of the growing power of Peter I, felt not only on the Bosphorus but throughout Europe, proved to have been fully justified. The opposite was true of the hopes, associated with Russophobia, notably those in the camp of Stanisław Leszczyński, of being protected or saved by the Turks and Tatars. Fear or hostile apprehension was an emotional bond of varying strength but not a foundation for an effective alliance. It is true that for a brief period, 1710 to 1714 or perhaps to 1718, Poland-Lithuania fell partly within the Ottoman sphere of influence. To this exceptional situation, created largely by the sojourn of Charles XII on Ottoman territory, the Republic owed a measure of relief from the physical and moral pressure exerted on it by the tsar. This relief, given free of charge but not without hints at payment to be exacted in due course, was only temporary. It ceased when the Porte's fear of the tsar was superseded by the spectre of a possible alliance between Austria, Saxony and a Poland-Lithuania turned by force into an absolute monarchy. But so long as the Republic remained unreformed it did not inspire fear in any of its neighbours. Hence the intermittent solicitude shown by some of them for the preservation of the Republic's, or more properly the szlachta's ancient institutions, rights and privileges. The political paralysis with which the Republic was stricken was already accounted an asset: 'Polonia confusione regitur' was the saying. But the Turks were not to be deceived by this piece of sophistry and some Turkish notables would taunt the Poles with the ineffectiveness of their system of government. In 1711 some emissaries carrying official letters addressed to the Republic asked pointedly where it was to be found? In 1714 the grand vizier, Ali Pasha, asked Chometowski 'What is the Republic?' And further, whether it was true that unanimity was required in the election of a king? On hearing that this was so he declared that he could not understand how it was possible to achieve unanimity in a disorderly gathering of individuals as stubborn as the Polish ambassador? It is understandable that men who asked such questions and made such comments would not, when it came to the point, exert themselves to save the Republic.

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