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Ukrainian Memoirs; Autobiographies, Notes, Diaries

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.,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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Ukrainian Historiography at the Beginning of the National Renaissance

 p67  The Ukrainian Past in Foreign Historiography of the XVIII Century

Ukrainian historiography at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century found some measure of support in the works of foreign historians devoted to the Ukraine. The Russian government, aiming to completely abolish the autonomy of the Hetman State, Zaporozhe, and Slobozhanshchyna began to pay more attention to the history, the legal foundation of the social structure, the administrative structure, and the statistical and economic data concerning provinces where  p68 Empire Status was to be introduced. This stimulated the writing of a great many historical and descriptive works dealing with the newly acquired provinces, as for instance, Topograficheskoe opisanie Chernigovskago Namestnichestva (Topographical Description of the Chernihiv Vicegerency) by O. Shafonsky (1786) or Topograficheskoe opisanie Khar'kovskago Namestnichestva s istoricheskim preduvedomleniem byvshykh v sei strane s drevneishikh vremen peremenakh (Topographical Description of Kharkiv Vicegerency with Historical Information about this Country's Changes since Earliest Times), Moscow, 1788. On the other hand, the incorporation of Galician Ukraine into Austria evoked interest in these lands among Austrian scholars, to which the works of Engel and others bear the best witness.

From the Russian works dealing with the Ukraine, it is necessary to mention Istoriya o kozakakh zaporozhskikh (or in full: A History of Zaporozhian Cossacks, their Origin and their Present Condition) which was compiled in the second part of the eighteenth century by Prince S. Myshetsky. The author, an officer in the Russian army, lived for four years in Zaporozhe in the 1740's and left a most interesting account of the system and the life of Zaporozhe. This work was published in the Moscow Chteniya, 1847, vol. VI, and separately, Moscow, 1847, and was reprinted in the Zapiski Obshchestva istorii i drevnostei, Odessa, 1851.​43

The Pole, Stanislaw Zarulski, a captain in the Russian army, wrote Opisanie o Maloi Rossii i Ukraine (A Description of Little Russia and the Ukraine) which was published in the Moscow Chteniya, 1848, No. 8.

Gerhard Friedrich Miller (1705‑1789), a Russian historian of German descent​44 began to work on the history of the Ukraine while studying sources of Russian history. He published two  p69 articles "O nachale i proiskhozhdenii kozakov" (The Beginning and Origin of the Cossacks) and "Izvestiya o kozakakh zaporozhskikh" (News of the Zaporozhian Cossacks) in Sochinenya k pol'ze i uveseleniyu sluzhashchiya (Works for Use and Amusement), 1760, vol. IV‑V. However, even more extensive material was found among his unpublished papers which were edited later by O. Bodyansky in the Moscow Chteniya: 1) "Zapiska o malorossiiskom narode i zaporozhtsakh," (A Note about the Little Russian People and the Zaporozhians), 1846, No. 3; 2) "Sokraschennoe uvedomlenie o Maloi Rossii," (A Short Report on Little Russia), geographical survey, 1846, No. 4; 3) "Razsuzhdenie o zaporozhtsakh i kratkaya vypiska o malorossiiskom narode i zaporozhtsakh," (A Treatise on the Zaporozhians and a Brief Note on the Little Russian People and the Zaporozhians), ibid.; 4) "Raznye materialy do istorii Zaporozh'ya otnosyashchiesya," (Various Materials Relating to the History of Zaporozhe), 1847, No. 6. M. Hrushevsky believed that most of these studies were undertaken at the direction of the Russian government.

In the German historiography of the last decades of the eighteenth century there are several works based on Polish and Ukrainian sources.

To this group belongs Geschichte der ukrainischen und saporogischen Kosaken, (Leipzig, 1789) by Carl Hammersdorfer. The pamphlet by Händlowich "Ausführliche und wahrhafte Schilderung der saporoger Kosaken," (Pappenheim in Francken, 1789) was based, as V. Shchurat proved, on an article by H. I. Poletyka in a Viennese calendar (see hereinafter). However, the most important works in German are those by Engel.

The Austro-Hungarian historian, Johann Christian Engel (1770‑1814), born in Transylvania, a pupil of Schlötzer in Göttingen, wrote some works, three of which deal directly with Ukrainian history:

1. Commentario de republica militari seu comparatio Lacedaemoniorum, Gretensium et Cosaccorum, Göttingen, 1790.

2. Geschichte von Halitsch und Wladimir bis 1772, verbunden mit einer Auseinandersetzung der österreichisch-ungarischen  p70 Besitzrechte auf dieses Königreich; nach russischen und polnischen Jahrbüchern bearbeitet, 2 part, Vienna, 1792‑93.

3. Geschichte der Ukraine und der ukrainischen Kosaken, wie auch des Königreichs Halitsch-Wladimir, Halle, 1796.​45

A French work, J. B. Scherer's Annales de la Petite Russie ou histoire des Cosaques de l'Ukraine ou de la Petite-Russie, des Cosaques Saporogues (Paris, 1788, vol. I‑II) is based on the Kratkoe opisanie Malorossii.​46

Among later works on the Ukraine the following foreign historians — T. Czacki's O nazwisku Ukrainy i początku kozaków, Nowy Pamiętnik, Warsaw, 1801 (Russian translation in Uley, 1811); Ch. L. Lesur, Histoire des Cosaques précédée d'une introduction ou coup d'oeil sur les peuples qui ont habité les pays des Cosaques avant l'invasion des Tartares, Paris, 1813‑14; and Gretzmüllern, Die ukrainischen Kosaken und ihre Unterwerfung an Russland, Hormayer's Arkhiv, 1814 — should also be noted.

All the above works use sources on which Ukrainian historiographers at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries also relied in their studies of Ukrainian history.​47

The Author's or the Editor's Notes:

43 See also N. Polons'ka‑Vasylenko, "Istoryky Zaporizhzhya XVIII st.," Yubileynyi Zbirnyk VUAN na poshanu akad. D. Bahaliya, Kiev, 1927; N. Polons'ka‑Vasylenko "Do istoriohrafii Zaporizhzhya XVIII st.," Pratsi L'vivs'koho Derzhavnoho Universitetu im. I. Franka, 1940, v. I.

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44 See: S. H. Cross, The Contributions of Gerhard Friedrich Müller to Russian Historiography, Harvard, 1916.

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45 See: B. Krupnytsky, Johann Christian von Engel und die Geschichte der Ukraine, Berlin, 1931; B. Krupnytsky, "J. Chr. Engels Geschichte der Ukraine," Abhandlungen des Ukr. Wiss. Institutes in Berlin, Bd. III, Berlin, 1931; B. Krupnytsky, " 'Istoriya Ukrayiny y ukrayins'kikh kozakiv' Y. Kh. Engelya ta 'Istoriya Rusiv'," Ukrayina, ch. 3, Paris, 1950, pp162‑166.

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46 D. Doroshenko, "Shererovy 'Annales de la Petite Russie' a jejich misto v ukrajínské historiografii," Sbornik věnovaný J. Bidlovi, Prague, 1928, pp351‑358; O. Ohloblyn, " 'Annales de la Petite Russie' Sherera y 'Istoriya Rusov'," Naukovyi Zbirnyk Ukrayins'koho Vil'noho Universitetu, vol. V, Munich, 1948, pp87‑94.

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47 D. Doroshenko "Die Ukraine und ihre Geschichte im Lichte der westeuropäischen Literatur des XVIII und der ersten Hälfte des XIX Jhs.," Abhandlungen des Ukr. Wiss. Instituts in Berlin, v. I, Berlin, 1927; E. Borschak, L'Ukraine dans la littérature de l'Europe occidentale, 1935 (Reprint from Monde Slave, 1933‑1935).

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Page updated: 23 Jun 22