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Michał Kazimierz Ogiński

Prince Michał Kazimierz Ogiński (1730, Warsaw – 1800, Słonim or Warsaw) of Oginiec was a Polish noble, a political office holder and a military commander in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as a noted musician and composer.

He began his political career at the age of 18, when he became the Field Writer of Lithuania, a mid-level position in the administration of the State. In 1764 he became one of Russia's candidates for the Polish-Lithuanian throne. When Stanisław August Poniatowski was chosen instead, he was made Palatine of Vilnius. He later joined the anti-Russian Bar Confederation. Defeated by the Russian forces under Alexander Suvorov in the Battle of Stołowicze, he was forced into exile. However, in 1768 he was allowed to return and was nominated to the rank of the Grand Hetman of Lithuania, thus becoming one of two highest-ranking military commanders in the Polish-Lithuanian state. During the Great Sejm of 1788–1791, Ogiński was a member of the Patriotic Party. However, following the defeat of his faction in the Polish-Russian War of 1792, he resigned his post and retired to his family manor in Słonim.

Apart from his political and military career, he was a noted engineer and musician. He helped to establish the Pińsk-Volhynia road, the arsenal in Vilnius, and the Oginski Canal, which joined the watersheds of the Neman and Dnieper rivers (1765-1784). He also founded numerous factories and foundries in the lands belonging to his family. He was also a noted musician and composer, as well as a benefactor of artists. At his court in Słonim he held two theater groups (Italian and Polish), a printing house and orchestra. He also modified the design of the harp and wrote several musical compositions.

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