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Zierkowski-Lenoir, Ludwik

Zierkowski-Lenoir, Ludwik, 1803-1860, served in the army of the Congress Kingdom of Poland, attaining the rank of lieutenant before emigrating to France after the failure of the Polish uprising. In France he enrolled in the politically left-wing Polish Democratic Society in 1835, one of the many organizations seeking ways to restore and independent Polish state. By 1839 his personal convictions led him to join the conservative Hôtel Lambert organization headed by Prince Adam Czartoryski.

Despite some early doubts concerning his loyalties, Zwierkowski soon gained the confidence of the organization's leadership and received assignment as a field agent in the growing network of Czartoryski's diplomatic activities. Late in 1841, Zwierkowski established a permanent agency in Belgrade, subordinate to the Constantinople agency headed by Michal Czajkowski. In the guise of a French teacher under the pseudonym Lenoir, Zwierkowski's chief mission was to influence the Serbian government along the lines of Czartoryski's diplomacy: cooperation with the Ottoman government for the time being, while developing inner resources for future independence. While in Belgrade Lenoir witnessed the Serbian uprising of 1842 which established a new government and a new ruler, Alexander Karageorgevic. Despite his success in laying the foundation which strengthened the Hôtel Lambert's influence in Serbia prior to 1848, political problems and a growing personal fear for his position soon rendered Lenoir ineffective there. In 1843 Czartoryski replaced Lenoir with Frantisek Zach. Lenoir then undertook brief missions to Bosnia, establishing contact with the Bosnian Fransican order, and then to Circassia, where he was met with suspicion and suffered a life-threatening wound. He returned to Constantinople in 1846.

After the outbreak of the Vienna revolution, Zach's resignation as agent led Czartoryski to name Lenoir as his replacement to Belgrade, where he arrived in July. Although he remained as agent in the Balkans until 1850, Lenoir's second sojourn in Serbia was no more successful than his first. Work and events soon overwhelmed him and the entire organization. Lenoir's role included the charge to try to keep Serbia in adherance to Hôtel Lambert's policies of working with the Ottoman government while simultaneously cooperationg with the south Slavs under Austrian control, looking toward future unification under the Habsburgs. The unsettled political conditions, the growth of nationalism and political rivalries rendered such schemes impractical. As events moved forward elsewhere, Lenoir found himself attempting to implement compromises between the south Slavs, Hungarians and Italians against the Habsburgs; encouraging the establishment of a Hôtel Lambert agency in Budapest to forestall a Hungarian alliance with the Polish left-wing; advocating some sort of federation for the Hungarian crown lands; as well as seeking closer cooperation between the Croats and Serbs. Although some of these ideas at first seemed promising, they were, in fact, born of desperation, trying to retain some control and influence in a chaotic situation. With the loss of French support for the Hôtel Lambert's Balkan policies by 1849, Czartoryski's influence soon waned. Russian pressure forced Lenoir to leave the area in 1850.

Zwierkowski-Lenoir then returned to Paris, serving as Czartoryski's secretary, where he would use his intimate knowledge of south Slav affairs to good effect. After the outbreak of the Crimean War Zwierkowski again travelled east as a Hôtel Lambert agent. His activities included attempts to effect a compromise with Polish democratic elements active in the Ottoman Empire which were seeking western support for Polish independence. He achieved some success in helping to wrest Ottoman recognition of Circassian independence. After his return to Paris Zwierkowski took up the study of Sanskrit, later retiring to Geneva where he died.

Robert Berry


Berry, Robert A. "Czartoryski and the Balkan Policies of the Hotel Lambert, 1832-1847." Ph.D. dissertation. Indiana, 1974.

Hahn, Hans Henning Aussenpolitik in der Emigration; Die Exildiplomatie Adam Jerzy Czartoryskis 1830-1840 Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1978.

Handelsman, Marceli Adam Czartoryski 3 vols. Warsaw: Towarzystwo Naukowe Warszawskie, 1948-1950.

Kukiel, Marian Czartoryski and European Unity 1770-1861 Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955.

Skowronek, Jerzy Polityka Balkanska Hotelu Lambert (1833-1856) Warsaw: Warsaw University Press, 1976.

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