The Daily Courant, The Flying-Post, The London Gazette, The Post-Boy, The Post-Man and others.
Reports about Mazepa even reached America. One of the oldest contemporary American newspapers, New England's The Boston News-Letter, reporting on the Great Northern War, mentioned Mazepa several times. In the edition of January 29, 1705, The Boston News-Letter copying the London semi-weekly, The Post-Man of August 15,1704, reported verbatim: "...the Cossacks commanded by famous Mazepa, consisting of 19,000 Choice men with a Train of Artillery of 36 Pieces of Cannon have join'd King Augustus near Jaworow." (In fact, Mazepa did not join him, he only sent 10,000 men.)
Mazepa's support of the Polish King in 1704 aroused public interest in the Hetman also in the German press. Many German newspapers reported about Mazepa's military operations in 1704, to mention only a few: the Hamburg weekly, Historische Remarques, of July 20, 1704, No. 31, and the Leipzig Die Europaeishche Fama of 1704 published Mazepa's biography, (Vol. XXV, pp. 57—60), and in the second edition published his picture on the first page. The Viennese newspapers, such as the Wienerisches Diarium and the Posttaeglicher Mercurius, often included news of the Hetman's activities. The Wienerisches Diarium of February 2, 1704, for example, reported about a conference between Peter I and Mazepa, when the latter presented the Tsar with an expensive sabre. The same paper of March 16, 1706, referred to Mazepa as a "Feldmarschall".
The Post-taeglicher Mercurius quite often deemed the Hetman news-worthy. In the edition of April 4, 1704, the Post-taeglicher Mercurius stated: "Moscow, February 11, ...Yesterday His Excellency Sir Hermann (Ivan) Mazeppa, General or Commander-in-Chief of the Cossacks, who are under His Tsarist Majesty, after having many conferences with His Excellency, Sir Governor Count Mainschifoff (Menshikov) and other Ministers, left for Barudin (Baturyn) the Ukraine, in order to make preparations for an early campaign in Poland."
Mazepa as well as the officer-corps (starshyna) intended to maintain and defend their rights. Mazepa considered himself a faithful vassal of the Tsar, who in turn was obliged to guarantee and honor the basic provisions of the agreement reached in Pereyaslav.
Despite the Tsar's favors, there were serious indications that Peter I wanted to abolish the autonomy of the Ukraine and oust Mazepa from office. In addition, the Tsar refused the Hetman's request for military aid against a possible Swedish attack. In fact, the Tsar expressed his refusal: "...I can give you neither ten thousand nor even ten men. Defend yourself as best as you can." However, many of Mazepa's regiments were engaged in the Tsar's service elsewhere and the remaining troops were insufficient for the defense of the Ukraine. The Tsar's refusal to defend his faithful vassal meant that Peter violated the Agreement of Pereyaslav — the basis of loyalty to him. Consequently, this agreement was no longer binding, because this contractual arrangement had been an act of mutual obligation. If the vassal, who was loyal, faithful and obedient to his lord, "had good reason to believe that his lord was breaking his obligations," argues Subtelny, "he had the right — the famous jus resistendi — to rise against him to protect his interests. Thus, in theory, the lord as well as the vassal could be guilty of disloyalty. Throughout Europe, the contractual principle rested on the prevailing cornerstone of legal and moral authority — custom. The German Schwahenspiegel, one of the primary sources for customary law in East Central Europe, provided a concise summary of the principle: 'We should serve our sovereigns because they protect us, but if they will no longer defend us, then we owe them no more service.'" Mazepa was not the only one who tried to protect the rights and privileges of his country. For example, Johann Reinhold Patkul from Livonia rebelled against the Swedish King (1697); the Transylvanian Prince Ferenc Rakoczi II led an uprising against the Habsburgs (1703—1711); Stanislaw Leszczynski, representing the republican traditions of Poland, aided by the Swedes, fought against the autocratically minded Polish King Augustus II; Demetrius Kantemir, Hospodar of Moldavia, a vassal of the Porte, aided by the Tsar, rebelled against the Sultan (1711). Yet none of them was branded as "traitor", but Mazepa was.
Since the Tsar refused military aid against the Swedish invasion, Mazepa had no alternative but to negotiate for Swedish protection in order to avoid his land being invaded and plundered by the Swedes. In fact, Mazepa himself, justifying this alliance, said: "God himself and the whole world will know necessity has forced us to this since we, a free and unconquered nation, seek the means to preserve ourselves." The secret alliance with the Swedish King was concluded some time between February 11 and June 17, 1708. Although the original document was not preserved, the terms of the Mazepa — Charles XII — Stanislaw Leszczynski alliance were mentioned by an anonymous Swedish major in his memoirs, which were added to Gustave Adlerfelt's Histoire Militaire de Charles XII, roi de Suede.
The Alliance of 1708 raised the controversial question as to whether or not Mazepa invited the Swedish King into the Ukraine and failed to give the help expected by him. For that Mazepa is blamed by some historians even today.
In fact, as the English envoy at the Swedish Field Headquarters, Captain James Jefferyes, remarked in his report of September 18, 1708, Charles XII "turned his march to the right, with intention, as is supposed, to make an incursion into Ukraine... The invasion of this country will not only fournish His Maj:ty provision for his army, but give him occasion of bringing Gen:ll Mazeppa, who commands the ennemyes Cossacks, and who has his estate in this country, to some reason." Furthermore, Jefferyes mentioned in his reliable report of October 7, 1708, that the Swedish king sent a messenger to Mazepa at his residence in Baturyn to indicate his desire for winter quarters in Ukraine.
Thus the Swedes had hope, wrote Jeffereyes, ,,of coming into a country flowing with milk and honey; that Count Lewenhaupt will soon reinforce our army with the addition of 11 or 12:m men and that General Mazeppa will declare for us." Moreover, Mazepa'a positive reply to Charles XII's request was taken for granted.
Mazepa did not expect the Swedes to enter the Ukraine, and when he learned that the Swedish King entered it, he angrily remarked to his chancellor, Philip Orlyk: "... It is the devil, who sends him here. He is going to ruin all my plans and bring in his wake the Russian troops. Now our Ukraine will be devastated and lost."
Mazepa's alliance with the Swedish King in 1708, when the fate of the Tsar and Russia itself seemed to hang in question, not only provided rich material for the press, but was a sensation in diplomatic circles. For example, in his dispatch of November 10, 1708, the Prussian envoy in Moscow, Georg Johann von Kayserling devoted a great deal of attention to Mazepa's alliance with Charles XII. The Austrian envoy Otto Pleyer in his report of November 16, 1708, also wrote at length about this event.
English diplomats also commented on this matter. Captain James Jeffereyes, was one of the first diplomats, who in his report of October 28, 1708, affirmed that "this now certain that Gen:ll Mazeppa has declar'd for the Swedish party, yesterday he payd his first visit to His Maj:ty who gave him a gracious reception." Another English envoy, Charles Lord Whitworth, first in his report of November 21, 1708 briefly indicated that "the revolt of General Mazeppa to the King of Sweden" might change the outcome of the war. On November 28, 1708, Whitworth wrote at length and in considerable detail to the British Secretary of State, explaining why Mazepa had taken the Swedish monarch's side. On December 26, 1708, the English envoy in Vienna, Sir Philip Meadows (or Medows, 1626—1717) also sent a relatively long report to Secretary of State, Charles Spencer III.
Although England did not participate in the Great Northern War, the English Government carefully observed its development through its diplomatic corps. Several diplomats had urged their government to prevent Russian occupation of Estonia and Livonia since this would "lay our nation and Navy at his (the Tsar's) discretion."