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own strength, and being torn by dissensions, the Poles were unable to face their Russian opponents with success. The patriotic party was unfortunate in the campaign of 1792. After several victories the Russians advanced upon Warsaw and King Stanislaus, who was easily discouraged, joined the Confederation of Targowice, denounced the Constitution of the 3rd of May, and subscribed on the 25th of August 1792 to all the conditions which the Empress of Russia prescribed. An armistice was declared, and in consequence of its stipulations the Polish Army was reduced. In virtue of the Convention of Petersburg of the 23rd of January 1793, concluded between Prussia and Russia, the Prussian troops entered Poland and spread throughout the country, following Russia's example. Proclamations of the Courts of Berlin and St. Petersburg were published, by which these States took possession of those districts of the country which their troops had occupied. The adoption by Poland of the principles of 1789 and the propagation of the democratic principles of the French by the Poles were given as reasons for the second partition of Poland. ...
The partitioning Powers renounced once more all rights and claims to the territories of the Republic, and bound themselves to recognise, and even to guarantee, if desired, the Constitution which the Polish Diet would draw up with the free consent of the Polish nation.
Notwithstanding the reiterated promises of respecting the integrity of the much-reduced country, the third partition took place in 1795.
From the very beginning Prussia, Austria, and Russia treated Poland as a corpus vile, and cut it up like a cake, without any regard to the claims, the rights, and the protests of the Poles themselves. Although history only mentions three partitions, there were in reality seven. There were those of 1772, 1793, and 1795, already referred to; and these were followed by arbitrary redistributions of the Polish territories in 1807, 1809, and 1815. In none of these were the inhabitants consulted or even considered. The Congress of Vienna established the independence of Cracow, but Austria-Hungary, asserting that she considered herself 'threatened' by the existence of that tiny State, seized it in 1846.
While Prussia, Austria, and Russia, considering that might was right, had divided Poland amongst themselves, regardless of the passionate protests of the inhabitants, England had remained a spectator, but not a passive one, of the tragedy. She viewed the action of the Allies with strong disapproval, but although she gave frank expression to her sentiments, she did not actively interfere. After all, no English interests were involved in the partition. It was not her business to intervene. Besides, she could not successfully have opposed single-handed the joint action of the three powerful partner States, especially as France, under the weak Louis the Fifteenth, held aloof. However, English statesmen refused to consider as valid the five partitions which took place before and during the Napoleonic era.
The Treaty of Chaumont of 1814 created the Concert of Europe. At the Congress of Vienna of 1815 the frontiers of Europe were fixed by general consent. As Prussia, Austria, and Russia refused to recreate an independent Poland, England's opposition would have broken up the Concert, and might have led to further wars. Unable to prevent the injustice done to Poland by her opposition, and anxious to maintain the unity of the Powers and the peace of the world, England consented at last to consider the partition of Poland as a fait accompli, and formally recognised it, especially as the Treaty of Vienna assured the Poles of just and fair treatment under representative institutions. Article 1 of the Treaty of Vienna stated expressly :
Les Polonais, sujets respectifs de la Russie, de l'Autriche et de la Prusse, obtiendront une représentation et des institutions nationales réglées d'après le mode d'existence politique que chacun des gouvernements auxquels ils appartiennent jugera utile et convenable de leur accorder.
By signing the Treaty of Vienna, England recognised not explicitly, but merely implicitly, the partition of Poland, and she did so unwillingly and under protest. Lord Castlereagh stated in a Circular Note addressed to Russia, Prussia, and Austria that it had always been England's desire that an independent Poland, possessing a dynasty of its own, should be established, which, separating Austria, Russia, and Prussia, should act as a buffer State between them ; that, failing its creation, the Poles should be reconciled to being dominated by foreigners, by just and liberal treatment which alone would make them satisfied. His Note, which is most remarkable for its far-sightedness, wisdom, force, and restraint, was worded as follows:
The Undersigned, His Britannic Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Plenipotentiary to the Congress of Vienna, in desiring the present Note concerning the affairs of Poland may be entered on the Protocol, has no intention to revive controversy or to impede the progress of the arrangements now in contemplation. His only object is to avail himself of this occasion of temperately recording, by the express orders of his Court, the sentiments of the British Government upon a European question of the utmost magnitude and influence.
The Undersigned has had occasion in the course of the discussions at Vienna, for reasons that need not now be gone into, repeatedly and earnestly to oppose himself, on the part of his Court, to the erection of a Polish kingdom in union with and making a part of the Imperial Crown of Russia.
The desire of his Court to see an independent Power, more or less considerable in extent, established in Poland under a distinct Dynasty, and as an intermediate State between the three great Monarchies, has uniformly been avowed, and if the. Undersigned has not been directed to press such a measure, it has only arisen from a disinclination to excite, under all the apparent obstacles to such an arrangement, expectations which might prove an unavailing source of discontent among the Poles.
The Emperor of Russia continuing, as it is declared, still to adhere to his purpose of erecting that part of the Duchy of Warsaw which is to fall under His Imperial Majesty's dominion, together with his other Polish provinces, either in whole or in part, into a kingdom under the Russian sceptre; and their Austrian and Prussian Majesties, the Sovereigns most immediately interested, having ceased to oppose themselves to such an arrangement—the Undersigned adhering, nevertheless, to all his former representations on this subject has only sincerely to hope that none of those evils may result from this measure to the tranquillity of the North, and to the general equilibrium of Europe, which it has been his painful duty to anticipate. But in order to obviate as far as possible such consequences, it is of essential importance to establish the public tranquillity throughout the territories which formerly constituted the kingdom of Poland, upon some solid and liberal basis of common interest, by applying to all, however various may be their political institutions, a congenial and conciliatory system of administration.
Experience has proved that it is not by counteracting all their habits and usages as a people that either the happiness of the Poles, or the peace of that important portion of Europe, can be preserved. A fruitless attempt, too long persevered in, by institutions foreign to their manner and sentiments to make them forget their existence, and even language, as a people, has been sufficiently tried and failed. It has only tended to excite a sentiment of discontent and self-degradation, and can never operate otherwise than to provoke commotion and to awaken them to a recollection of past misfortunes.
The Undersigned, for these reasons, and in cordial concurrence with the general sentiments which he has had the satisfaction to observe the respective Cabinets entertained on this subject, ardently desires that the illustrious Monarchs to whom the destinies of the Polish nation are confided, may be induced, before they depart from Vienna, to take an engagement with each other to treat as Poles, under whatever form of political institution they may think fit to govern them, the portions of that nation that may be placed under their respective sovereignties. The knowledge of such a determination will best tend to conciliate the general sentiment to their rule, and to do honour to the several Sovereigns in the eyes of their Polish subjects. This course will consequently afford the surest prospect of their living peaceably and contentedly under their respective Governments. ...
This despatch was sent on January 12, 1815, a century ago. The warnings were not heeded and the past century has been filled with sorrow for the Poles and with risings and revolutions, as Lord Castlereagh clearly foretold.
In their reply, the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian representatives promised to act in accordance with England's views. However, soon after the overthrow of Napoleon, reaction set in. The promises made to the peoples at the Congress of Vienna, and the claims of the nationalities, were disregarded. Representative government was either not established, or, where established, was destroyed. Under the guidance of Prince Metternich, the evil genius of Austria, an era of petty tyranny and of persecution began. An example will show how the Poles were treated. On May 15, 1815, King Frederick William the Third of Prussia, on taking possession of the Polish territories which fell to him under the Treaty of Vienna, addressed the following proclamation to the inhabitants :
Inhabitants of the Kingdom of Poland! In again taking possession of the district of the former dukedom of Warsaw, which originally belonged to Prussia, I wish to define your position. You also have a Fatherland, and you receive proof of my appreciation for your attachment to me. You will be incorporated in the Prussian Monarchy, but you need not abandon your nationality. You will take part in the constitution which I intend granting to my faithful subjects, and you will receive a provincial constitution similar to that which the other provinces of my State will receive. Your religion shall be respected, and the clergy