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The Cossack Chroniclers

This webpage reproduces a section of


Survey of Ukrainian Historiography
by Dmytro Doroshenko

published by
The Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences
in the U. S., Inc.,
1957

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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The Ukrainian Past in Foreign Historiography of the XVIII Century

 p59  Ukrainian Memoirs;
Autobiographies, Notes, Diaries

Ukrainian memoirs began to be written at a very early date. The autobiographical note by Prince Volodymyr Monomakh in his Pouchenie (Advice) written toward the end of his life (he died in 1125) may be regarded as one of the first of these. Abbot Daniel's Palomnyk (Pilgrim) also has an autobiographical character. Born in the Chernihiv region, this abbot visited Palestine in 1106‑1108 and left a very valuable account of his experiences there.

Of the later memoirs the following are the most important: 1. The Dnevnyk (diary) of Fedor Yevlashevsky, zemskii podsudok from Novgorod, which covers the period 1564‑1604 and gives interesting data on the internal relations in both the Ukraine and Byelorussia in the second part of the sixteenth century (published in the Kievskaya Starina, 1884); 2. Notes by Bohdan Balyka-Bozho, the Kiev mayor, on the siege of Moscow in 1612 (published in the Kievskaya Starina, 1882); 3. Diariush albo spisok diev pravdivykh v spravi pomnozhenya i obyasnenya viry pravoslavnoy golosheny (Journal or List of True Events Concerning the Expansion and Propagation of the Orthodox Faith), by the abbot of Berestya, Athanasius Fylypovych (killed by the Poles in 1648), which extends over the period 1638‑1648 and includes an account of the author's journey to Moscow in  p60 1638 to beg a donation from Tsar Michael; telling also of the fight against the Poles in the defense of the rights of the Orthodox faith (published in Russkaya Istoricheskaya Biblioteka, v. IV). This diary is supplemented by a story of the "death in 1648 of the late Father A. Fylypovych of blessed memory, as related and written down by his followers."

However, most important for Ukrainian historiography are the memoirs by Samiylo Zorka, Mykola Khanenko, Yakiv Markovych, and other distinguished Ukrainians of the Hetman era.

Samiylo Zorka, "the old secretary" of Bohdan Khmelnytsky, was the one who delivered a splendid, moving oration, recorded by the chronicler Velychko, at the funeral of the Great Hetman. Zorka also kept a diary which has not been preserved and we know only those pages from it quoted by Velychko. This is what we learn about Zorka himself from Velychko:

[. . .] Samoil Zorka from Volynia . . . remained Khmelnytsky's secretary throughout the entire Cossack war against the Poles. He was well informed of all events and happenings and recorded them in his diary which was in the possession of my friend, the clerk Sylvester Bykhovets'. His father, Ioan Bykhovets', who was secretary to the Hetmans at Chyhyryn, copied this diary for his own use. Having received it from my friend [. . .] I copied in an abbreviated form the most essential passages relating to Khmelnytsky's triumphs and included them in my work. However, in Zorka's diary there was also Khmelnytsky's correspondence with foreign kings and rulers, which (it was very valuable) I left uncopied because, being overburdened with secretarial duties, I lacked time to do it.​38 [. . .]

Mykola Khanenko came from the family of Hetman Mykhaylo Khanenko. [. . .] He was born in 1693. Mykola Khanenko was a student at Kiev Academy where he met Yakiv Markovych, later the author of Memoirs. In 1710 he entered military service, and from 1717 he was employed in the General Chancellery. In 1721 he had risen to the post of the senior secretary of the Chancellery; he was a close associate of Hetman Ivan Skoropadsky and later of Hetman Polubotok. In 1723 together with Polubotok he went to St. Petersburg, was arrested and spent two years in  p61 prison, returning to the Ukraine only after his release in 1726. Here he became the justice of the Starodub regiment, then in 1741 he became the Cornet General. Khanenko died in Hlukhiv in 1760.

That Khanenko was a highly cultured man is obvious from the written advice he gave to his son, Vasyl', before sending him to study at foreign universities.

Apart from the Official Journal of the General Chancellery, Khanenko also kept a private Dnevnik (diary) wherein he recorded all kinds of personal and family events, as well as political views. This diary is an excellent source for the study of the social, economic, and cultural life in the Hetman Ukraine for over a quarter of a century.

Diariush (Journal), dating from 1722, was published by O. Bodyansky, with a valuable preface, in the Moscow Chteniya, 1858, I, and also separately.

A part of Dnevnik (1732‑33), edited by Archbishop Filaret Humilevsky, was published in Chernigovskaya eparkhial'nyya izvestiya (Chernihiv Diocesan News), 1865.

A complete Dnevnik, of 1727‑1753, (edited by Lazarevsky) appeared in Kievskaya Starina (1883‑1884), and also separately (Kiev, 1884).

A supplement to Dnevnik (1719‑1721) and Partikulyarnyi Zhurnal (A Special Journal) of 1754 were printed in Kievskaya Starina, 1896, VII‑IX (ed. A. Titov).​39

A close contemporary and schoolfellow of Khanenko was Yakiv Andriyevych Markovych (1696‑1770). He was the son of the Lubny colonel Andriy, whose sister Nastya was married to Hetman Ivan Skoropadsky. Markovych was a student at the Kiev Academy where he was a favorite of Teofan Prokopovych. He married Polubotok's daughter, Olena, and owned the village of Svarkov near Hlukhiv. In spite of these excellent family connections, Markovych had no brilliant career. In 1721 he was appointed colonel of the Lubny regiment, deputizing for his father who was visiting St. Petersburg. In 1725‑1727 he took  p62 part in the Sulak campaign in the Caucasus, and in 1739 he was in the campaign against Khotyn. In 1732 he was a candidate for the general bunchuzhnyi,​a but failed to win this post and remained "the staff companion." In 1741 Markovych was in St. Petersburg to greet the Empress Elizabeth, and not until 1762 did he receive the nominal rank of general treasurer.

A man of wide education and broad cultural interests, Markovych symbolized the Ukrainian Cossack starshyna, who sought favors at Moscow in order to strengthen their own position. From his diary he emerges as an exemplary head of the family, energetic and very active in the affairs of his own estate. His Dnevni Zapysky (Daily Notations) are richer in detail than the diaries of Khanenko, providing an unusual wealth of comment on political, economic, and cultural affairs as well as on meteorology (weather conditions were noted down daily).

The accounts of the Sulak campaign in 1725‑27, the Khotyn campaign in 1739, and data on Hetman Apostol are of special historical interest.

The manuscript of the Dnevni Zapysky begins with Khronika (Chronicle) (1452‑1715) written by Markovych's father-in‑law, Pavlo Polubotok, which is followed by the diary itself extending from 1717 to 1767. Some pages in the year 1723 are torn out, probably because they contained the humiliating experiences of Hetman Polubotok. The manuscript consisted of ten volumes.​40 [. . .]

Dnevni Zapysky were edited for the first time by the author's grandson, Oleksander Markovych, under the title Dnevnye Zapiski malorossiiskago podskarbiya Yakova Markovycha (Daily Notes of the Little Russian Treasurer, Yakiv Markovych), Moscow, 1859, 2 vols. This edition covered a complete diary (1717‑1767) but appeared in condensed form in Russian translation. A scholarly edition was published by Lazarevsky in Kievskaya Starina, titled Dnevnik general'nago podskarbiya Yakova Markovicha (The Diary of the General Treasurer, Yakiv Markovych),  p63 vol. I, Kiev, 1893, vol. II, Kiev, 1895, vol. III, Kiev, 1897. These three volumes include the diary's text from 1717‑1734. A continuation of this edition was undertaken by the Shevchenko Scientific Society in Lviv, under the direction of V. Modzalevsky. Dnevnyk Yakova Markovycha, 1735‑1740 (The Diary of Yakiv Markovych, 1735‑1740) was published as the XXIInd vol. of Zherela do istoriyi Ukrayiny-Rusy (Sources of the History of the Ukraine‑Rus′), Kiev-Lviv, 1913. This effort was not sustained, and therefore the scholarly edition of Markovych's diary ended with the year 1740.

Apart from these Ukrainian memoirs, there exist also extracts from memoirs in foreign languages which were written by Ukrainians and which are directly relevant to Ukrainian history. Thus a diary kept by the Hetman's son, Petro Danylovych Apostol, was written during 1725‑1727 in French, when he was held as a hostage in St. Petersburg before the election of his father as Hetman. Petro Apostol, apart from French, knew German and Italian. Excerpts from his diary were printed by Lazarevsky in Kievskaya Starina, 1894, XI. Later, a Russian translation of the complete diary was published in Kievskaya Starina, 1895, VII‑VIII. Apostol's diary contains some interesting details on social and political life during the reign of Catherine I.

Hetman Pylyp Orlyk left a most valuable diary, written in Polish, during his wanderings in emigration, when he tried to create an interest in the Ukrainian cause in European courts.​41 His diary covers the period from 1720 to 1732 and has the title Diariusz podrózny, który w Imię Troycy Przenajświętszey zaczął się w roku 1720 miesiąca Oktobra dnia 10 (A Travel Journal, Begun in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity in the Year 1720, in the Month of October, on the Tenth Day), and its motto is Iesus et Maria sint mihi in via. Quod felix, faustum fortunatumque sit.

The diary begins with the Hetman's departure from Stockholm in October, 1720, and narrates the journey through Brunswick,  p64 Thuringia, Prague, Breslau, Kraków, Moldavia, Galats, Filipopol to Salonika where Orlyk lived in most unhappy circumstances for twelve years. The diary ends after an account of the unsuccess­ful trip by the Hetman's son, Hryhoriy, to the Crimea in 1732, where he intended to persuade the Khan to start a war with Russia. Apart from personal adventures and impressions of foreign lands, Orlyk notes in his diary all the political events relating to the Ukraine, his own activities and diplomatic correspondence, meetings with various statesmen and diplomats, and his general reflections on life and history.

From his diary, this unhappy Ukrainian Hetman emerges as a fervent patriot, devoted to the idea of reestablishment of an independent Ukrainian state. [. . .]

The first news of Orlyk's diary was given by the Polish writer, F. Rawita-Gawroński, in the article "Filip Orlik, nieuznany hetman kozacki," (Philip Orlyk, an unacknowledged Cossack Hetman) in Biblioteka Warszawska, 1899, III, and reprinted in book form in Szkice historyczne (Historical Sketches), Lviv, 1900. On the basis of Rawita-Gawroński's discovery, a short article on that subject by V. Horlenko appeared in Otbleski (Reflections), St. Petersburg, 1905. Alfred Jensen gave Orlyk's diary a fuller treatment in his article "Dnevnyk Orlyka" (The Diary of Orlyk), ZNTSH, Lviv, 1917, vol. CXXIII‑CXXIV.​42

 p65  In addition to private diaries, official records from the time of the Hetman State in the Ukraine have also been preserved. Among these are first of all the so‑called Diariushi or Zhurnaly (Journals) kept in the General Chancellery during the reign of Ivan Skoropadsky and Danylo Apostol. They recorded all the events at the Hetman's court and gave the contents of the most important correspondence handled by the Chancellery.

It is interesting that as early as the second half of the seventeenth century special journals devoted to current events in Western Europe were kept in the General Chancellery. Thus, for instance, in 1692 Secretary Samiylo Punverytsky (Polverynsky) kept a record of Western European political and military events. Ukrainian Hetmans had their agents in Poland who in their turn had correspondents in all parts of Europe. On the basis of these reports special "reyestryky" (registers) were composed which are mentioned by Velychko. In one such report, dated 1679, which is preserved in the Archives of the Kiev Archeographic Commission, detailed information is furnished on current happenings in France, Alsatia, Lotharingia, Austria, Holland, Sweden, and Poland. Some of these reports were published in the Arkhiv Yugo-Zapadnoi Rossii (The Archives of South-West Russia), part 3, vol. II, Nos. 84, 155, 218. From the Diariushi (Journals) of the times of Skoropadsky and Apostol which, according to Lazarevsky, were used for administrative purposes and kept by senior secretaries of the Chancellery, the following have so far been published:

1. The chief of these is by the well-known memoir writer, Mykola Khanenko, who wrote it in the first half of 1722. It is entitled Diariush ili zhurnal (or in full: Diary, Journal, or Everyday Record of Events and Ceremonies Which Took Place at the Court of His Illustrious Grace, Yoann Skoropadsky, Hetman of the Zaporozhian Host on Both Banks of the Dnieper, in the Service of the most Illustrious Imperial Majesty, and also  p66 of Affairs Conducted Through the Military Chancellery, Begun in 1722 and Completed in the Same Year by the Senior Secretary of the Chancellery, Mykola Khanenko). This Diariush, prefaced and edited by O. Bodyansky, was published in the Moscow Chteniya, 1858, I, part 5. The most interesting parts of this Diariush are those dealing with the old Hetman's visit to Moscow, his death after his return, and his funeral in the Hamaliyivsky Monastery.

2. Diariush (Journal) for the second part of 1722 and for 1723 was kept by the secretaries Pylyp Borzakovsky and Ladynsky. It was published by O. Lazarevsky in Chteniya obshchestva Nestora letopistsa, Kiev, 1896, XII, part 3, under the title Dnevnik getmanskoi kantselyarii 1722‑1723 g. (The Diary of the Hetman Chancellery 1722‑1723).

3. Diariush (Journal) for the period of Hetman Apostol's visit to Moscow (January 9–September 6, 1728) was published in Sudiyenko's Mater'yaly dlya otechestvennoi istorii, vol. I, Kiev, 1853.

The journals for the periods 1727‑1731 and 1750 have not been published and are preserved in the Library of Kiev University.

Apart from the prefaces to the above editions by Lazarevsky and Bodyansky, a short account of the journals may be found in I. Dzhydzhora's "Do istoryi heneral'noyi viyśkovoyi kantselyariyi," (On the History of the General Military Chancellery), ZNTSH, vol. CVII.

Ukrainian memoir writers of the eighteenth century also deserve mention.

Vasyl' Hryhorovych-Barsky (1701‑1747), member of a well-known Kiev family, the brother of a famous Kiev architect, Ivan Hryhorovych-Barsky (1713‑1785), roamed across the Orthodox East for twenty years. His travel notes were first published by V. Ruban in 1778. The best edition, containing reproductions of drawings, is that by N. Barsukov: Stranstvovaniya Vasiliya Grigorovicha-Barskago po svyatym mestam Vostoka, 1723‑1747 (The Wanderings of Vasyl' Hryhorovych-Barsky to the Holy Places of the East), St. Petersburg, 1885‑87, 4 vols. Very interesting  p67 letters of Hryhorovych-Barsky to his brother Ivan were edited by O. Lazarevsky, Russkii Arkhiv, 1874, No. 9, and were reprinted in Barsukov's book.

The memoirs of Hryhoriy Vynsky (born in Pochep in 1752, and educated in Kiev) written around 1810 and entitled Moe vremya (My Times) reflect the impressions gathered in St. Petersburg and in the Province of Muscovy by an enlightened Ukrainian. Vynsky was struck by the crude behavior of the Russian nobles (dvoryanstvo) and their cruel treatment of the serfs. At every step he felt the superiority of his own "Little Russian education." Vynsky's memoirs were published in Russkii Arkhiv, 1877, No. I; the second (separate) edition was published in 1915 in Petrograd.

The memoirs of Illya Tymkovsky (1777‑1853) describe social and school life in Pereyaslav and Kiev at the end of the eighteenth century. The author was born in Pereyaslav in a gentry Cossack family and was a student at Pereyaslav Kolegiya (college) and the Kiev Academy. He became a professor at Kharkiv University and later the Director of the Novhorod Siversky Gymnasium. Tymkovsky's memoirs were printed in Moskvityanin, 1852, Nos. 17‑20, and reprinted in Russkii Arkhiv, 1874, No. 6. A useful article on Tymkovsky is N. Shugurov's "Il'ya Fyodorovich Timkovsky," Kievskaya Starina, 1891, VIII‑X.


The Author's or the Editor's Notes:

38 Part I, p54 of publication mentioned in footnote 28.

[decorative delimiter]

39 See O. Ohloblyn, Khanenky, Kiel, s. a. (1949).

[decorative delimiter]

40 The original of Markovych's Dnevni Zapysky is in custody of the Manuscripts Department of the Library of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR in Kiev.

[decorative delimiter]

41 See: B. Krupnytsky, Het'man Pylyp Orlyk. Ohlyad yoho politychnoi diyal'nosty, Warsaw, 1938.

[decorative delimiter]

42 The material of Dnevnyk was used in a short article by F. Holiychuk, "Fylyp Orlyk v Halychnyi," Naukovyi Zbirnyk, prysvyachenyi M. Hrushevs'komu, Lviv, 1906.

The original of Diariush of Hetman Pylyp Orlyk in five volumes, years 1725‑1732, is in custody of the Archives of the French Foreign Ministry in Paris. The Ukrainian historian, Elie Borschak, discovered it there in 1920. See I. Borshchak, "Orlikiana," Khliborobs'ka Ukrayina, no. IV, Vienna, 1923, pp342‑351; also UkrayinaIII, Paris, 1950, p147. The diary has been preserved almost fully. Earlier researchers used an incomplete copy of Diariush which has been in the custody of the Czartoryski's Museum in Kraków.

The Ukrainian Scientific Institute in Warsaw had begun to publish the Diariush and succeeded in publishing one volume edited by I. Tokarzhevsky-Karashevych: Diyariy Hetmana Pylypa Orlyka, vol. I, Warsaw, 1936. The printing of volume II was interrupted by World War II.

According to certain sources, P. Orlyk wrote his diary while still living in the Ukraine, and later in emigration in Bendery, and also after that in the 1730's up to 1739. However these parts of Orlyk's Diariush have not been preserved. See Elie Borschak, "L'Hetman Orlyk à Salonique, 1723‑1724," Revue des Études Slaves, v. XXVII, pp52‑60, and I. Borschak, "Het'man Orlyk u Soluni (1723‑1724)," UkrayinaV, 1951, p357.


Thayer's Note:

a Doroshenko, History of the Ukraine, p348.


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