„Istorija“. Mokslo darbai. 97 tomas
Lilia Zabolotnaia. The Riddles, Myths and Facts concerning Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s Last Will and Testament
Spausdinti

2015, t. 97, Nr. 1, p. 5–25 / Vol. 97, No. 1, pp. 5–25, 2014
http://dx.doi.org/10.15823/istorija.2015.04

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The Institute of History of the Moldovan Academy of Sciences, Chişinău, Republic of Moldova, e-mail: Šis el.pašto adresas yra apsaugotas nuo Spam'o, jums reikia įjungti Javaskriptą, kad matytumėte tai

Abstract. The matter of Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s inheritance represents one of the most neglected questions in the scientific study-domain. Historians usually approach only its hereditary side, whilst writers perceive the theme in a fictional context.

According to the author, there is a number of terms and notions related to the topic that are often confused or used individually and are thus worthy of observance: 1) Maria (Lupu) Radziwill’s property derived from the dowry bestowed by her father Vasile Lupu; 2) weno (dota) – the dowry and the wedding gifts; 3) the Polish royals usufructuary bestowal on Polish land; 4) her spouse’s property.

Keywords: Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł, dowry, will, Vasile Lupu, Janusz Radziwiłł, Bogusław Radziwiłł, Moldova, Poland, Lithuania, Moldovan-Polish dynastic ties.

Anotacija. Marijos (Lupu) Radvilienės paveldėjimo klausimas yra vienas iš mažiausiai tirtų klausimų mokslinių tyrimų srityje. Istorikai paprastai šią temą nagrinėja tik paveldėto turto aspektu, o rašytojai ją interpretuoja grožinės literatūros kontekste.

Autorės manymu, šis klausimas yra susijęs su daugybe sąvokų ir terminų, kurie yra dažnai painiojami arba naudojami atsietai vienas nuo kito ir todėl yra verti dėmesio: 1) Marijos (Lupu) Radvilienės nuosavybė, susijusi su jos tėvo Vasilijaus Lupu jai paliktu kraičiu; 2) weno (dota) – kraitis ir vestuvių dovanos; 3) uzufrukto teise Lenkijos karalių suteiktos žemės; 4) jos sutuoktinio nuosavybė.

Esminiai žodžiai: Marija (Lupu) Radvilienė, kraitis, testamentas, Vasilijus Lupu, Jonušas Radvila, Boguslavas Radvila, Moldova, Lenkija, Lietuva, moldavų ir lenkų dinastiniai ryšiai.

Introduction: Addressing the question

Maria Lupu’s life and activeness have been largely neglected by historical studies. The fate and marriages of Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł and her sister Ruxandra, daughters of Vasile Lupu, have been long perceived merely as an engine of their father’s political schemes. Ruxandra’s life story has to some extent drawn the attention of chronicles [7, 188–189; 22, 177; 21, 122] and historians [45; 9; 32; 3; 23, 82–96; 8, 257–264; 39, 16–45]. By contrast, Maria’s biography has remained in the obscurity, despite her countless qualities (intelligence, sagacity and her linguistic abilities – she spoke several languages).

A major reestablishment of Maria Lupu Radziwiłł’s pursuits was made through the Polish and Romanian historical research addressing her husband’s political activities [10, 198, 206–218; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 38; 39, 27–42; 40, 16–45; 41, 115–121; 42, 43–50; 43, 97–110; 30, 138; 35, 399–401; 36, 289–308]. Maria’s success in raising the interest of the literary area was an important step forward in the matter [19; 34, cz. IV, II, 171; 4; 49; 50]. The article focuses on the review and the compilation of existing historical studies in the light of new documents discovered in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives [51], Vilnius University Library (Rare Books and Manuscripts Department) [52] and the Library of the Academy of Sciences (Manuscripts Department) [53].

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Fig. 1. Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł (unknown author after portrait Matthäus Merian (iunior). Dział Dokumentacji Wizualnej i Digitalizacji. Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie).

Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł was a legitimate child born in the legal marriage of Vasile Lupu and Tudosca, the daughter of the governor Costea Bucioc (Băcioc) [31, 347–348; 9, 153]. An engraving dating to the year 1639 (May 6/16), which features the completion of the Three Hierarchs Church, asserts that Vasile Lupu had three legitimate children from his first marriage. Next to the name of the great leader, lady Tudosca, daughter of Busuioc, and the children – Ioan Voievod, Maria and Ruxandra [1, 27] – are also mentioned.
Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł was married to the illustrious Prince Janusz Radziwiłł. The wedding took place in the Land of Moldova’s capital, Iaşi, on February 5, 1645. References and testimonials regarding Maria’s beauty [18, 134–135, 644] and intelligence (“fata învăţată” – educated girl) [5, 25] (fig. 1, 2) have been preserved.
On her honeymoon Maria Radziwiłł travelled to Italy, becoming the first Moldovan woman to visit Europe.
As a wedding gift, the King of Poland bequeathed to Maria property rights to Polish lands, in addition to numerous other gifts [35, 399–400; 24, 173]. Seeing that she was the wife of the great Lithuanian hetman Janusz Radziwiłł, Maria proved to be not only an actor in her husband’s and his daughter’s personal lives but also a prominent patroness and protector of orthodox churches and monasteries in Poland and Lithuania, namely Kėdainiai (Keydani), Sluck, Zabłódow [29, 17–19; 48, 273–276; 20, 335–336, 405], as well as Moldova [12, 32; 54].

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Fig. 2. Janusz Radziwiłł, husband of Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł (after engraving Leybowicz 1758).

20 letters bearing a “householding-administration” mark, comprising the period of Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s marriage and widowhood (mid-40s–end of 50s of the 17th century), were discovered in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives [55] and Vilnius University Library (Rare Books and Manuscripts Department) [56]. The uniqueness as well as historical value of the letters belonging to Maria Lupu reveal in their form, style and mostly content. A noteworthy fact regarding these letters is their authenticity (dating from the 17th century). Generally, the writings attributed to women have barely been kept, if at all. The letters are a clear evidence of Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s financial independency, especially regarding the management of the capital of churches and monasteries.

This article is predominantly focused on the contentions regarding Maria’s will. The value of Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s dowry brought from the Land of Moldova, her possessions in Poland (movable and immovable goods), the providence of her will as well as that of her husband are currently the subject of controversy (fig. 3).

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Fig. 3. Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł (after engraving Leybowicz 1758).

The matter of Maria Radziwiłł’s inheritance represents one of the most neglected questions in the historical study domain. Historians usually approach the issue on its patrimonial side solely, whereas writers address the theme in a fictitious context.

Maria Lupu Radziwiłł’s dowry

Several terms and notions related to the topic ought to be considered, since they are frequently confused or employed separately: 1) Maria Radziwill’s property derived from the dowry she was bestowed upon by her father Vasile Lupu; 2) Weno (dota) – the dowry and the wedding gifts; 3) Polish royals’ bestowal of usufructuary rights to Polish lands; 4) property of Maria’s spouse [44, 45–46].

The precise tenor of Maria Radziwill’s dowry remains unknown; however, according to the Polish historian Tadeusz Wasilewski, its value varied approximately between 600 000 and 2 000 000 zloty: 450 000 in capital and 150 000 in jewellery (both gold and silver). Additionally, the Moldovan royal lady was bestowed upon the property of 6 starosty (territorial units with independent administrative powers: Zabłódow, Bielicy, Orla, Lubcz) [57].

In the furtherance of the wedding gifts, the Polish king Wladisław IV granted Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł life estate in three of her husband’s (Janusz Radziwiłł’s) counties: Sejwy county, Grodziec sector, Bystrzyca, a part of the Lithuanian province, as well as ciwuństwa Retów na Żmudzi (March 3, 1645 in Warsaw [36, 292–293].
On September 20, 1645, 6 months after the wedding (sic ! – L. Z.), Janusz Radziwiłł accounted the amount of 600 000 zloty in the “oprawe/weno” [58; 66] to the benefit of Maria Lupu for the estates in Zabłódow and Bielicy. “Oprawe” or “reformację” were registered in Brzeszcze (Bzheshche – the Lithuanian region) in the nearest court of the town where the Kamienec residency (Lithuania) was established. This legal document granted Maria a sum of 450 000 zloty (capital); jewelleries, gold and silver worth 150 000 zloty; the total value was estimated at 600 000 zloty. In addition to the “oprawe”, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł was bestowed upon a life interest in the following domains: Orla in the Bielicy region in Podlesia and Lubcz nad Nemnem in the Nowogrodzic region [36, 293–294] (fig. 4).

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Fig. 4. Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł (after engraving M. Berson).

Later on, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł acquired from Wladisław IV actual ownership rights to two counties: Kazimierz (Dolny) situated in the Lubelski voievodship and Wilkija na Żmudzi. In 1649 Jan Kazimir (Ioan Cazimir) granted her the usufruct right to the Borisov county (in Belarus), resulting in the enjoyment of 6 counties belonging to her husband. Boroughs, such as Zabłódow, Bielicy, Orla, Lubicz, were registered in her name [35, 399–401].

Eventually, during the asset liquidation proceedings specifically, the Radziwiłł family had allegedly claimed that Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł would have waived 600 000 zloty accounted in “oprawy” to the benefit of her husband in exchange of the preservation of her ownership rights to the counties [36, 292–293].
After 7 years of marriage, in 1652, the Radziwiłł couple changed their residence to Kėdainiai (Keydani). In September of the same year, Janusz Radziwiłł built a monastery in the local town for two monks (cherntsow) who had settled in the dwelling, which ultimately grew into the construction of an orthodox church [36, 293]. The church was enlisted in the diocese of Vilnius Holy Spirit Monastery [37, 8]. The church and the monastery constituted a courtesy to his wife, indicating her allegiance to the orthodox religion. An important yet unmentioned fact is that most of the church supplies were essentially donations from Vasile Lupu. It was not indicated in Boguslaw Radziwiłł’s inventory as well as that of his daughter Ludwiga-Karolina Radziwiłł, despite the certainty of Maria’s dowry being stocklisted (seeing that it was part of Janusz Radziwiłł’s inventory too). Besides, the inventory contained various appurtenances of the Kėdainiai (Keydani) church patrimony, which plainly were not part of the Radziwiłł family fortune [27; 28, 21v-22].

The inventory of the Radziwiłł patrimony refers to orthodox icons, numerous church supplies (candlesticks, chandeliers), the Bible and other effects (see Annex 1) assuredly bestowed by Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł personally [59] or by her father. It is also known that Janusz Radziwiłł offered Maria the Saint Varvara relic, which he brought from St Sofia church in Kiev [24, 179, 279] (fig. 5).

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Annex 1. The fraction of the document: Regestr skarbnice albo rzeczy Radziwiłłowny koniuszanki WXL która posyła z Królewca. 1670, Królewic (56 stron), str. 21v-22 (Vilniaus universiteto biblioteka Rankraščių skyrius).

The terms regarding the family wealth (including Maria’s possessions) management are not explicit, but the sources of the era reveal Janusz Radziwiłł as the executive. Seeing that he was regularly involved in various political schemes entailing available liquidity, Janusz Radziwiłł was conceivably constraint to use his wife’s fortune to protect the family property.

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Fig. 5. Orthodox Church from Kėdainiai (Keydani) (a-b – after Kėdainiai Regional Museum; c-d – foto author).

The Moscow military operation constitutes a relevant example. In January 1654 Janusz Radziwiłł securitized 900 000 zloty for the benefit of Krzysztof Zwiartowski and his wife, mortgaged the Bielicy domain (which legally belonged to Maria) to warrant his debts before the departure to Moscow. In point of fact, the legal dispute regarding the property title of the Bielicy land lasted until the reign of King Jan III (Ioan al III-lea). The legal proceedings concerning Maria’s estate were denominated in historical literature as “Belsky trials” [36, 293].

Her husband’s demise. The combat for her property reinstatement

Janusz Radziwiłł died on December 31, 1655 in Tykocin due to severe injury in a battle [37, 51]. After Janusz Radziwiłł’s demise and during her entire life, Maria battled for what she believed to be entitled to, according to her husband’s will. Her husband’s entire fortune was placed under the custody of Bogusław Radziwiłł, including the inheritance of Anna-Maria (Maria’s step-daughter), who later married the latter [25, 8, 345]. Bogusław Radziwiłł inherited all Janusz’s Radziwiłł domains: Birże, Dubinki, Kiejdany, Słuck, Kopyl, Wiżuny, Newel, Siebież, Węgrów, Stara Wieś, stretching to Nowogródek, Troki (Trakai), Wilno (Vilnius), Vitebsk, Podalasie and Żmudzi voievodships [26, 12; 46, 6]. In Słuck solely, Janusz Radziwiłł had 32 country estates and 7 walled townships: Słuck, Kopyl, Romanow, Starobin, Piaseczna, Lenin and Lubań [48, 276].

Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł enjoyed a life interest in the Zabłódow estate situated in Grodziec and Bielicy regions (Lida), Orla estate from Bielicy in Podlasia and Lubcz nad Nemnem in the Nowogrodzic region, Kazimierz (Dolny) in the Lubelski and Wilkija na Żmudzi, Borisov (Belarussian region) voievodships. Zabłódow, Bielicy, Orla and Lubcz were enlisted as Maria’s property [35, 399–401].

Legally, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł appeared to be a very rich widow; however, merely in title, since she had little or no real ownership rights, such as unrestricted rights of disposal and administration of wealth (Bogusław Radziwiłł had allegedly hidden the will of her husband).

Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł continually wrote to Bogusław Radziwiłł, (until 1657 – [20, 408]) asking to be advised on the fate of her husband’s body and invoking her legal title (according to the inventory of her husband) to Janusz Radziwiłł’s fortune, hence, its recovery.

Bogusław Radziwiłł (fig. 6) refrained to answer her request under numerous pretexts, avoiding any encounter or discussion with Maria on the matter of her husband’s will, withal the retrocession of the property. In point of fact, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł did not hold any legal document proving her title to her husband’s fortune. The lack of all relevant documents regarding Janusz Radziwiłł’s estate proceedings is clearly regrettable, but the well-known reason for their endurance is Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s regular appeals. In addition to the share in the fortune, she also claimed the part of the dowry she received in Moldova, notably the property inherited from her father [1, 373–374, док. 91; 60], refusing movable goods acquired from her husband [36, 295–297]. The letter Mariei (Lupu) Radziwiłł wrote to Bogusław Radziwiłł on March 15, 1657 requesting the reimbursement of the so called “swego ubóstwa” (HER fortune – L. Z.) “hoping, that he will ensure that nothing is lost in the interval”, corroborates the above stated [35, 399–400]. The letter clearly exhibits her will to regain the jewellery, such as gold or money. Mariei (Lupu) Radziwiłł did not however mention the immovable property.

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Fig. 6. Bogusław Radziwiłł, husband of Anna Maria Radziwiłł (after engraving Leybowicz 1758).

Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł for numerous times appealed to royal assistance, to her relatives, even to courts. Personally involved in the matter, the Moldovan King had expressed his concerns in the letters addressed to Maria, where he also assured that the issue would have been promptly solved. In the letter addressed to Wincent Gąsiewski, dating November 9 (1597???), King Jan Kazimir seeks that the former undertakes a contract with Bogusław Radziwiłł, engaging him to respect his commitment to take care of the widow and the daughter of the deceased Janusz Radziwiłł [20, 405 (52)].

In the letter (preserved from September 25, 1658)addressed to “cneaghina” Maria Radziwiłłowna, King Jan Kazimir states the following: “Excellency, I greet you with profound respect! I wish you health and wellbeing, and that your issue with Radziwiłł’s fortune to be finally resolved... it is most unfortunate that things are not the way one wishes they would be... yet one does not lose hope that a compromise will be reached with the next Hearing. At this point, there is no other way. I wish you nevertheless all the best, may you stay in God’s good graces”. Written at Toruń, day: September 25 year 1658, His majesty, in the Kingdom of Poland IX and of Sweden X, Jan Kazimir; To: Her Excellency Maria Radziwill (OWA), Voievojanca Vileniska. Sincerely”[20, 406]. According to the context of the letter, one may conclude that Maria handled the problem individually, which speaks of her distinguished upbringing, intelligence and high social status. Not every woman was in the position to address the King on a personal matter and, what is more, have a return/answer from him. Additionally, this letter confirms Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s valiant character confirmed by the firm position she took in this battle for spousal inheritance. Acknowledging her rights, she was perfectly able to defend herself.
Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s attempt on the restitution of the inherited property from Janusz Radziwiłł’s infantry is endorsed by a document dating to 1656 (a year after her husband’s demise). She sent a letter to the Keydani staroste, pleading to “help her return the goods seized after her husband’s death, from Alexandru Judicki (Александр Юдицкiй – войскiй Речицiй, староста Ясвонскiй); she particularly pledged to regain the tents, as she received them from her father, “hospodar Valaşschi” ... “I have recently found out that Sir Judicki ... has taken the tents together with other things that I have lent to my husband... if this is true I hereby send you my personal seal for you to resend the letter in my name to the official registry (sic! Seemingly there were several of themL. Z.) and hence retrieve the goods. Regardless the burdensome task, I require for the tents to be absolutely retrieved. I have no knowledge of what is happening at Kiejdani and Wilko. September 17, 1656. Maria Radziwiłł” [47, 373–374, док. 91] (see Annexes 2 and 3).

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Annex 2. The fractions of the document: Археографический сборник документовъ относящихся къ исторiи Северозападной Руси (Вильнюс 1870), 373-374, док. 91 Vilniaus universiteto biblioteka Rankraščių skyrius, F4-(A231)18003, 18004).

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Annex 3. The fractions of the document: Археографический сборник документовъ относящихся къ исторiи Северозападной Руси (Вильнюс 1870), 373-374, док. 91 Vilniaus universiteto biblioteka Rankraščių skyrius, F4-(A231)18003, 18004).

The importance of this letter is justified by a number of accounts: firstly, it illustrates Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s persistence in the restitution of her bewildered husband’s fortune, which was under the most impossible circumstances, seeing that he lost the battle and subsequently the military and civil ammunition. Secondly, it presents Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł as the rightful owner (both legally and socially), by virtue of the Land of Moldova’s law, where men had no right of selling and/or buying the property comprising the wife’s dowry. In the letter she clearly emphasizes that some of her husband’s possessions were legally her property inherited from her father (the dowry from Moldova – L. Z.) and the goods were merely lent to her husband. In Moldova, if the husband’s property was confiscated for high treason, the wife’s property remained intact.
Otherwise, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł represents a royal demeanour as the widow of the great Lithuanian hetman, the Vilnius voivode. Her demand regarding the situation in Kedainiai (Keydani) and the Official Registry innuendo (the legal inventory of her possessions– a legal document – L. Z.) outline her proprietary legitimacy. The letter also confirms her linguistic capacities (she was fluent in Polish); her pen craft is another noteworthy point: she had a neat handwriting, kept the distance between the letters and coherently explained her demands. Nevertheless, she sometimes tangled the letters, which in fact proves that she kept her correspondence private (for the multiple languages she spoke) and did not call upon the scribes’ services. In addition, she used a personalized seal (sic! – L. Z.) portraying herself as “the lady of the house” responsible for the family property management, household operations and the domestic flow of income and losses.
Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł cared a lot for her step-daughter Anna-Maria but her financial hardship did not allow Maria to provide for her. Bogusław Radziwiłł confessed this information to the cupbearer (podczaszy upicki) Krzysztof Styszka. Anna-Maria was taken to Mitawa under the tutelage of princess Ludwiga-Karolina from Kurlanda, a relative of Bogusław Radziwill. Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł persistently prayed to the latter to help her find the hidden fortune of Janusz Radziwiłł and to recover her own share. Her requests remained unanswered.
Despite the legal dispute on inheritance, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł actively handled domestic affairs. In 1657, she successfully courted Katarzyna Sobieska, Janusz Radziwiłł’s sister, for Mihał Kazimir Radziwiłł, her husband’s cousin [35, 399–400].

In pursuit of her inheritance, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł constantly changed locations. She spent winters and springs in Wizunki, while during the rest of the year she stayed in Lubcz nad Nemnem. The lawsuit with Bogusław Radziwiłł was continuously delayed. At the Sejm hearing in April 1658, the issue was still not ironed out, and Bogusław Radziwiłł’s delegate considered the circumstances “propter minorem invidiam” (in Latin – because, almost as prominent, envy, criticism, curse) [35, 399–400].

Members of Janusz Radziwiłł’s family were all equally involved in the property restitution lawsuit. Paweł Sapieha, the Lithuanian hetman, alerted (April 2, 1658) Bogusław Radziwiłł that he would not reinforce his Stary Buchów fortress on the Belarusian lands, if the former did not return Maria her possessions [35, 399–400].

In 1658 Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł decided to assist the Sejm council in Warsaw unaccompanied, despite the persuasions of her brother-in-law Jerzy Karol Hlebowicz, seeing that her case had been adjourned for the next meeting of the Sejm. It is known that on May 22, 1659, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł did attend the Sejm sitting in Warsaw. During the same year she collateralized the Retów estate to the benefit of Paweł Sapieha in exchange of the Zabłódow domain usually employed by the infantry [35, 400; 36, 295–297]. After 4 years of vain requests addressed to Bogusław Radziwiłł and after the 1659 Sejm, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł went to Królewiec [61] to meet Bogusław Radziwill in person for the purpose of negotiating the terms of her husband’s will who once again cancelled it. Bogusław Radziwiłł’s alleged inability to meet Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł during all these years was branded as eminently ludicrous if not ridiculous.

It was as plain as daylight that Bogusław Radziwiłł intended to keep the entire fortune to himself with no design to give Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł a shred of it. Not the less, Bogusław Radziwiłł had never unequivocally declared his intention to never refund Maria. Moreover, he sent her letters, among which one from June 13, 1659: “Prince Bogusław Radziwiłł ... to Anna from Mohilă Radziwiłł(owa), widow of Janusz Radziwiłł”, full of care and compassion (formal expression for self-righteous and hypocritical – L. Z.), with the reference “Excellency, Pani Voievojanka Vilenska. My dearly and forever beloved sister” [20, 408]. He called her Anna of the Mohilă line [62; 67]. The names Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł as well Anna-Maria come across in the Polish sources of the period. The name Anna-Maria, the Voloh lady, is firstly remarked in the official inventories of the 7th roll (Wałek nr. 7), notably on a portrait of Mariei (Lupu) Radziwiłł (Anna Maryja hospodarówna wołoska druga żona księcia Janusza) [27; 28, 21v-22] (see Annex 4).

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Annex 4. The fraction of the document: Regestr skarbnice albo rzeczy Radziwiłłowny koniuszanki WXL która posyła z Królewca. 1670, Królewic (56 stron), str. 45 (Vilniaus universiteto biblioteka Rankraščių skyrius).

The following unravelling of the letter is of great historical importance: “... Firstly, I am grateful for you not burdening me ... I feel sorry and extremely distressed by your health troubles… May God be merciful with you...and haste your recovery ... and plentiful years of joy and prosperity... the thought of Your hardships and inconveniences is very hurtful... and I hope and pray to God for them to be settled promptly... and that the next Sejm session to put an end to it... I find somehow surprising that His Majesty the Vilna Voivode (JanuszRadziwiłł – L. Z.), holding so many possessions, required Yours to borrow... obliging you to request at the next Sejm the refund of what is rightfully yours... I would like to advise you on something... be prepared to present all the documents proving your legal property title [63; 68] ... and it would prove useful for you to send them these letters and remind them of the injustice you have been subject to... and as for the money belonging to you... I am honestly not in the position to return them to you... [64; 69]; and I very much hope God will soon spare us from this hardship... undeniably, God will look for You too... let us indulge in Lord’s good will” [20, 408].

The letter is very well structured and organised. Bogusław Radziwiłł addresses Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł with great respect, which is evident in the first lines; he particularly takes account of all her titles, emphasizing her high-up status (the widow of the State leader) and the family relationship – “sister”. For starters, he expresses his concerns regarding Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s health. Undeviatingly, he anon goes to the core essence of the question, counselling her on the appropriate proceedings, the documentation to be presented to the Sejm session and on the defence strategy. On the one hand, he clearly demonstrates understanding and compassion for the royal widow; on the other hand, he invokes the law, which was allegedly not on her side in the matter regarding the inheritance and he does not offer his support during the Sejm meetings. It is however contingent that all the documents Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł had presented could not be reinstated by the court or by the royal chancery. She received a confirmation of her property title from the King. It is highly possible that the issue in this matter revolved around Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s money and her part of the dowry.
In addition to the dowry brought from the Land of Moldova, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł held the legal ownership of her wedding gifts and of a share of the common wealth procured during the 10 years of marriage. Clearly, Bogusław Radziwiłł deliberately retained her fortune under the veil of Janusz Radziwiłł’s debts and Anna-Maria’s custody. Janusz Radziwiłł certainly mentioned Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł in his will, including her legally owned movable and immovable property. He could not disinherit her from her own fortune: he had neither the power nor the title to do so. However, his decision to leave the custody of his daughter to his brother is surprising. The documents of the period are a clear evidence of their (Maria’s and her step-daughter’s) close relation, largely corroborated by Maria’s last wish in her will, where she leaves all her possessions to her step-daughter. Not a single member of her Moldovan family was mentioned in the will (her sister Ruxandra, Ecaterina, her step-mother and Ştefănel, her step brother) (fig. 7).

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Fig. 7. Anna Maria Radziwiłł (after engraving Leybowicz 1758).

Presumably, Bogusław Radziwiłł was using Janusz Radziwiłł’s debts as leverage to justify his “extortion”, seeing that he had to first satisfy the deceased creditors as the legal royal heir. These letters confirm that Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł and Bogusław Radziwiłł had never met to discuss the terms of the testament.

The tragic end of Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł. The inheritance lawsuit of her beneficiaries

In 1659, disappointed and indisposed, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł left for Labiawie, where she met (for the last time – L. Z.) with Anna-Maria. Unfortunately, no letters, part of their correspondence, have been preserved. Despite being relatively feeble, Maria was very attached to her step-daughter and longed to see her. One may assume that it was during that last encounter that Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł pledged she would leave her the entire fortune (if resituated) to Anna-Maria.

After Anna-Maria’s visit, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł wrote to Bogusław Radziwiłł a rather resentful letter (September 13, 1659) closing it with the vow of “seeking every help to get justice”[35, 400].

Upon her return to Lithuania on November 20, 1659, in Liubecz, she drew up a rather unravelling testament containing two separate acts: the first one was specifically designed for the Orthodox monastery, the Ascension of the Virgin (Zaśińięcia), for 12 monks – 150 000 golden from Zabłudow estate. Consequently, she donated 100 000 ducats to two convents in Vilnius – one was for hermits and the other one for nuns, as well as for the schools attached to these religious institutions (thus becoming the guardian of these monasteries – L. Z.) [35, 400] (fig. 8).

01_08
Fig. 8. Portrait of Mary (Lupu) Radziwill (unknown author) (https://www.google.MariaRadziwill).

Shortly after drawing up the will, in 1660 (January 14/15) she passed away (wronged) in the city of Sluck. She was buried in St Trinity Church (located in the same city). Her legal heirs (but mostly her legatees) managed to redeem 471 000 zloty which were eventually granted to 13 convents, 7 churches, the “Slutskaya” school, the “Vilensky” pension and to 3 hospitals. The amount of 200 000 zloty was dispensed to Vilnius Holy Spirit Monastery. As for the remaining money, it was distributed to the legal heirs, the amounts varying from 400 000 to 100 zloty. She insured 600 zloty to cover the funeral costs, notably the ones incurring from the 40 day liturgy (сорокоуст). The second part of the will enunciates the division of 91 164 zloty. The sum of 37 436 zloty was equally divided between Anna-Maria, the step-daughter, and two of her nieces/granddaughters (nepoate) (Hlebowicz) [36, 305].

After Maria’s death, the lawsuit for her inheritance became fierier, generating a series of debates concerning her will.

Among the partisans of the legal battle for the dowry ownership, one may also count Maria’s closest relatives, such as her step-brother (on the paternal side), the voivode Stefaniţă and her sister Ruxandra, Timuş Hmelniţki’s widow. Ştefăniţă Lupu (1659–1661), Maria’s brother, was the first to submit his legal claims at Iaşi (May 23, 1660). Deducting from Andreiaş’ Ianovici instructions, the official proxy in Poland, it seems that Ştefăniţă submitted his claims as the legal owner of Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s dowry: “It is no secret, for His Majesty as well as for the Republic, that her Excellency, princess Maria Radziwiłł, the Vilna lady, wife of the Great Lithuanian Prince, was bestowed as life and bed companion to his Majesty, prince Radziwiłł (Janusz Radziwiłł – n. a.), and has brought a dowry in His Majesty’s house equal to the sum of four times a hundred and fifty thousand Polish zloty (150 000 – n. a.), in banknotes and jewellery, which is fully registered in his Majesty’s inventory, that one is ready to bring forward as a proof. And now that Our Good Lord has called her to leave this world for his Good gracious, His Majesty, as the legitimate heir, requests his equal share in the succession of the dowry of her Excellency, wife of the great Prince Radziwiłł, the Vilna voivode, as well as over her domains and estates. In order to prompt the demand, one requests that the letters from the correspondence with the King to be given to the inheritance executioners”[6, 268, doc. 175].

The King’s answer to Andreiash Ianovich’s solicitation was immediate. As for Shtefenitse’s inheritance right to his sister’s dowry, the royal decision was ambivalent: “they are both officially declared deceased. Nevertheless, conceding that the legitimacy of the acts in question is to be rebutted, the successors of prince Radziwiłł will be free to submit a claim at any point...providing they produce the rightful explanations in an appropriate court of law...except if His Majesty decided to confer the competence of the decision to another jurisdiction”. [6, 271, doc. 176].

The conspicuous thing about the inventory of the dowry is that it was conserved by Maria’s step-brother, who at the time was a minor (Shtefanel was born 1641–1644, the conclusion of the marriage in 1645 – sic! – L. Z.). Considering the multiple political events that attained the royal family (the persecution of Vasile Lupu’s family, for instance, and their subsequent exile), the inventory of Maria’s dowry was nevertheless preserved, yet it was peculiarly found in the chancery of a different lord. Additionally, Shtefanel claimed to be the sole legal heir without even mentioning his sister Ruxandra or his mother Ecaterina Cerchezoaica, who was still alive at the time (1660) (fig. 9).

01_09
Fig. 9. Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł (after engraving Leybowicz 1758).

Presumably, a copy of Maria’s dowry was sent to Poland, which was corroborated by numerous documents of the period. Particularly, the existence of a coffin belonging to the Movilesti, which contains certain documents (notably 34 skrzynia Mohiłów), was revealed in the inventories of Janusz Radziwiłł and Bogusław Radziwiłł, together with Maria Lupu’s portraits (carrying the inscription of the double name of Anna-Maria) and those of an unidentified lord from Moldova (Walek № 16 (48) Hospodar Wołoski (12); Szuflada 60 (62) (Obraz) Mołdawski woiewoda), of an unknown lady (Szuflada 57 (61 v) Obraz Alexandry Hospodarowny – perhaps Ruxandra? – L. Z.) and a painting of the horse Vasile Lupu gave as a wedding gift to Janusz Radziwiłł (Walek nr. 28 (51) Obraz konia siwego morikonc od Hospodara Woloskiego Xcia Januszowi dawane za które da 5000 talarow) [27; 28]. In view of the coffin’s content as well as its origins (notably the Potocki and Movilă family), one may safely conclude that it did not belong to his first wife Katarzyna Potocka.

Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s sister Ruxandra Hmelniţka also claimed a share in her dowry. In 1670, 10 years after Maria’s death, Ruxandra addressed a letter to the King of Poland, soliciting the restitution of a part of her sister’s dowry (like their step-brother, she was especially interested in the immovable property).

Conclusions. The legend and the truth behind Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’ s testament

On that account, the King explicitly stated that Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł bestowed the immovable property upon her step-daughter Anna-Maria [65] (Janusz Radziwiłł’s daughter from his marriage with Katarzyna Potocka) (see Annex 5).

01_an5
Annex 5. The fraction of the document: Lietuvos Valstybes Istorijos Archyvas, F. 1280 (Radivilos 1416–1939), A. 1, nr. 599, 76 v (Zablódow 1581-1824).

Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł’s inheritance affair raises important questions concerning the hefty awareness of Maria’s relatives (sister and half-brother) about the dowry’s content (banknotes, jewellery and their equivalent in money; the lands registered in her name as well as the domains belonging to her husband) and about the inheritance rights enforced by the kings of Poland.

The matter is of interest since Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł does not even mention her Moldovan relatives in the will. Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł outlived her spouse by 5 years. She spent the first years of her widowhood carefully administering Janusz Radziwiłł’s wealth as well as that of her own. At the end of her life, she actively corresponded with Bogusław Radziwiłł, the legal heir of the entire fortune of Janusz Radziwiłł and the guardian of Anna-Maria. Surprisingly enough, Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł was not appointed as the custodian of her step-daughter, despite the evidence of their close relation from the documents of the period.
Legal disputes regarding Maria’s estate lasted until the beginning of the 19th century (1823), the main reason behind the multiple legends and myths brought about in the matter. However, this is a different kettle of fish.

Sources and literature

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Comments

  1. Lietuvos valstybės istorijos archyvas (toliau – LVIA), f. 1280, Radivilos 1416–1939.
  2. Vilniaus universiteto biblioteka Rankraščių skyrius (toliau – VUB RS).
  3. Lietuvos Mokslų akademijos biblioteka (toliau – LMAB).
  4. A letter dating from July 17, 1644, asserting a donation made on behalf of Maria Lupu to Aron-Vodă monastery from Iaşi, has been preserved.
  5. LVIA, f. 1280, Radivilos 1416-1939.
  6. VUB RS, F-A 232-0001-00014; VUB RS, F4-A231-8003, 18004; VUB RS, F4-A205-15927, 15928 (0004).
  7. According to the estimations (rather exaggerated) made by the monks supporting Maria in her inheritance trial, she assigned 2 000 000 zloty.
  8. The legislation of the period was rather protective in respect of women’s ownership rights, especially regarding their dowry. Weno amounted to the double value of the dowry that the Polish nobleman (şleahtici) offered to his future wife.
  9. List Maryji Lupu do starosty Keydanów o pieriedache obrazow do Keydanskoy cerkvi. VUB RS, F4-A205-15927, 15928. <http://gluosnis.vu.lt/biblio/dshow?id=VUB01_366869>.
  10. The original from 1656. VUB RS, F4-A231-18003, 18004.
  11. Comonly known as Königsberg, nowadays Kaliningrad city (in Russia).
  12. It is no mistake. Vasile Lupu attained the original copy with the Movilă seal in 1648.
  13. The information is noteworthy seeing that Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł did not have in her possession a legal document proving the property transactions of her husband. Bogusław Radziwiłł, a highly instructed man, was very familiar with the legal terms.
  14. It is a reference to the riches from Maria’s dowry.
  15. See in LVIA, f. 1280, ap 1, № 599, 76 v (Zablódow 1581–1824).
  16. The legislation of the era was rather protective in respect of women’s ownership rights, especially regarding their dowry. Weno amounted to the double value of the dowry that the Polish nobleman (şleahtici) offered to his future wife.
  17. It is no mistake. Vasile Lupu obtained the original copy with the Movilă seal in 1648.
  18. The information is noteworthy seeing that Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł did not have in her possession a legal document proving the property transactions of her husband. Bogusław Radziwiłł, a highly instructed man, was highly familiar with the legal terms.
  19. It is a reference to the riches from Maria’s dowry.
  20. Lietuvos valstybės istorijos archyvas (toliau – LVIA), f. 1280, Radivilos 1416–1939.
  21. Vilniaus universiteto biblioteka Rankraščių skyrius (toliau – VUB RS).
  22. Lietuvos Mokslų akademijos biblioteka (toliau – LMAB).
  23. A letter dating from July 17, 1644, asserting a donation made on behalf of Maria Lupu to Aron-Vodă monastery from Iaşi, has been preserved.
  24. LVIA, f. 1280, Radivilos 1416-1939.
  25. VUB RS, F-A 232-0001-00014; VUB RS, F4-A231-8003, 18004; VUB RS, F4-A205-15927, 15928 (0004).
  26. According to the estimations (rather exaggerated) made by the monks supporting Maria in her inheritance trial, she assigned 2 000 000 zloty.
  27. The legislation of the period was rather protective in respect of women’s ownership rights, especially regarding their dowry. Weno amounted to the double value of the dowry that the Polish nobleman (şleahtici) offered to his future wife.
  28. List Maryji Lupu do starosty Keydanów o pieriedache obrazow do Keydanskoy cerkvi. VUB RS, F4-A205-15927, 15928. <http://gluosnis.vu.lt/biblio/dshow?id=VUB01_366869>.
  29. The original from 1656. VUB RS, F4-A231-18003, 18004.
  30. Comonly known as Königsberg, nowadays Kaliningrad city (in Russia).
  31. It is no mistake. Vasile Lupu attained the original copy with the Movilă seal in 1648.
  32. The information is noteworthy seeing that Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł did not have in her possession a legal document proving the property transactions of her husband. Bogusław Radziwiłł, a highly instructed man, was very familiar with the legal terms.
  33. It is a reference to the riches from Maria’s dowry.
  34. See in LVIA, f. 1280, ap 1, № 599, 76 v (Zablódow 1581–1824).
  35. The legislation of the era was rather protective in respect of women’s ownership rights, especially regarding their dowry. Weno amounted to the double value of the dowry that the Polish nobleman (şleahtici) offered to his future wife.
  36. It is no mistake. Vasile Lupu obtained the original copy with the Movilă seal in 1648.
  37. The information is noteworthy seeing that Maria (Lupu) Radziwiłł did not have in her possession a legal document proving the property transactions of her husband. Bogusław Radziwiłł, a highly instructed man, was highly familiar with the legal terms.
  38. It is a reference to the riches from Maria’s dowry.

Santrauka

Lilia Zabolotnaia. Mįslės, mitai ir faktai apie Marijos (Lupu) Radvilienės testamentą

Moldavijos mokslų akademijos Istorijos institutas, Kišiniovas, Moldavija, el. paštas: Šis el.pašto adresas yra apsaugotas nuo Spam'o, jums reikia įjungti Javaskriptą, kad matytumėte tai

Marijos (Lupu) Radvilienės paveldėjimo klausimas yra vienas iš mažiausiai tirtų klausimų mokslinių tyrimų srityje. Istorikai paprastai šią temą nagrinėja tik paveldėto turto aspektu, o rašytojai ją interpretuoja grožinės literatūros kontekste.

Autorės manymu, šis klausimas yra susijęs su daugybe sąvokų ir terminų, kurie yra dažnai painiojami arba naudojami atsietai vienas nuo kito ir todėl yra verti dėmesio: 1) Marijos (Lupu) Radvilienės nuosavybė, susijusi su jos tėvo Vasilijaus Lupu jai paliktu kraičiu; 2) weno (dota) – kraitis ir vestuvių dovanos; 3) uzufrukto teise Lenkijos karalių jai suteiktos žemės; 4) jos sutuoktinio nuosavybė.

Tikslus Marijos Radvilienės kraičio dydis yra nežinomas, tačiau remiantis laikmečio dokumentais, jo vertė siekė nuo 600 tūkst. iki 2 mln. zlotų: 450 tūkst. zlotų vertės kapitalo ir 150 tūkst. vertės brangenybių (aukso ir sidabro). Be to, moldavų karališkajai damai buvo paskirtos 6 valdos (teritoriniai vienetai, turintys nepriklausomas administracines teises, lenk. starosty): Zabluduvas, Bielyčia, Orlia, Lubenecas.

Po vyro mirties (Jonušas Radvila mirė 1655 m.) Marija siekė atgauti savo kraitį, kuris tuo metu buvo pavestas saugoti jos sutuoktinio pusbroliui Boguslavui Radvilai. Tačiau šis nuolat vengė gražinti Marijai jos kraitį, motyvuodamas daugybe teisinių priežasčių. Marija (Lupu) Radvilienė daugybę kartų ieškojo karaliaus paramos bei savo giminaičių pagalbos. Galiausiai Marija kreipėsi į teismą, tačiau nieko nelaimėjusi mirė 1660 metais. Vis dėl to ji paliko testamentą ir jos teisėtiems paveldėtojams (daugiausiai kraujo ryšiais su ja nesusijusiems turto gavėjams) pavyko susigrąžinti 471 tūkst. zlotų, kurie buvo perduoti 13 vienuolynų, 7 bažnyčioms, Slucko mokyklai, Vilniaus pensionui ir 3 ligoninėms. 200 tūkst. zlotų buvo paskirti Vilniaus Šv. Dvasios vienuolynui. Likusią dalį – nuo 400 tūkst. iki 100 zlotų – pasidalino jos paveldėtojai.

Prie teisinio mūšio dėl kraičio nuosavybės šalininkų galima priskaityti ir Marijos artimiausius giminaičius – jos įbrolį (iš tėvo pusės) vaivadą Stefanitą ir jos seserį Timofiejaus Chmelnickio našlę Ruksandrą.

Vis dėlto autorė daro išvadą, kad Marijos giminaičiai nebuvo įtraukti į testamentą. Ginčai dėl paveldėto Marijos turto tęsėsi iki XIX a. pradžios, dėl kurių šis klausimas ir tapo apipintas keletu legendų ir mitų.

Gauta / received 2015 04 18
Priimta / accepted 2015 04 28