In this article Maurycy Mochnacki’s martyrological and messianic declarations in the Preface to the Uprising of the Polish Nation in 1830–1831 are examined in the context of the martyrological discourse in the literature of the Great Emigration. Such an affirmation may appear puzzling given Mochnacki’s rejection of martyrological interpretations of Poland’s history or messianic readings of his political philosophy, let alone his reputation of being radically opposed to Adam Mickiewicz’s idea of the sacrifi cial victimhood of the Polish nation. In this study the ideological and rhetorical aspects of their statements are compared and analysed. There can be little doubt that in the Preface Mochnacki’s phrasing is steeped in patriotic pathos which seems to be at odds with the tone of his other writings. This article claims that it was a tactical move on his part: he chose the familiar martyrological loci merely as a means to enlist the readers’ support for his own pragmatic programme of restoring Poland’s independence. A general conclusion to be drawn from this apparent inconsistency is that already at that stage (The Uprising was published in Paris in 1834) the logosphere of the Great Emigration had become so dominated by the martyrological discourse that Mochnacki could not afford to ignore it.