Sejm gotowy i władza typu Straży (z badań nad percepcją społeczną reformy ustroju państwa w czasach Sejmu Wielkiego)
MetadataShow full item record
By the middle of January 1789 the concept of the ready Seym (always ready to be convened in definite circumstances and consisting of the same members elected every two years) had been put forward by the leaders of the Puławy party (Ignacy Potocki, Stanisław Kostka Potocki) in the Seym and presented in S. K. Potocki' s work “The Remarks” on General “Improvement of the National Government” (published anonymously). This idea was connected with the abolition of the Permanent Council (a kind of government under Russia's protectorate) and thus with the liberation from Russia's supremacy. As a result, this concept became associated with a reform aiming at regaining independence and received wide support from the gentry including Members of Parliament. This should be regarded as a great political success of the Puławy party. It must also be pointed out that the idea of the ready Seym was promoted by the Potockis at the expense of the concept of the permanent Seym (combining legislative and executive powers and permanently in session), a concept which was very popular with the gentry at that time. It was a compromise: the Seym which was currently in session was to become the permanent Seym after the abolition of the Permanent Council (which happened on 19th January 1789): however, in the future after the proposed reform it was to become the ready Seym. Reaching this compromise should also be considered a great achievement of the Puławy party. By promoting the idea of the ready Seym and making it popular with the gentry the Puławy party laid a solid foundation for the constitutional reform of the Commonwealth during the Great Seym (1788-1792). The concept of the ready Seym was supported by the king and was first included in “The principles concerning improvement of the form of government” (December 1789) and next in the Third of May Constitution (1791). By associating in the middle of January 1789 the proposal of creating the Guardians of Law (a kind of government), as well as the ready Seym, with the abolition of the Permanent Council and a reform aiming at regaining independence the Puławy party considerably contributed to making the Guardians popular with the gently and parliamentarians. According to the Puławy party the Guardians of Law were supposed to be a supervising body, not a decision-making one; the real executive power was to be exercised by the collegiate governing bodies in the form of the Commissions of War, Police, Finance and Education, directly elected by the Seym and subordinated to it. As a result the Puławy party could also count on getting support from the wide circles of the landed gently. However, they did not manage to include the provision concerning the supervisoly only role of the Guardians in the final version of the constitution. Instead, the concept of the Guardians, which was made popular with the gently by the Puławy party, was used in the king's version of the constitution, according to which the Guardians were to be a decision-making body and such a provision was included in the Third of May Constitution. The Guardians of Law became a supreme power for the whole administration, in fact a kind of government, however, the sovereignty of the Seym was strongly emphasized at the same time. It should be pointed out that the Royal party gained the advantage at the expense of the Puławy party. The king's success and the social approval of this provision resulted from a kind of compromise between the king and the gently parliamentary formation, significant changes in the mentality of the gently and general reformatory consequences connected with the functioning of the Seym in session as the permanent Seym which combined legislative and executive powers.