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Poland, in the Progress of Restoration, and at the Congress of Vienna.
SINCE the last partition of Poland in 1795, her independence has never been entirely annihilated. Until 1806 it survived in the legions of Dombrowski and Kniaziewicz, fighting for the French in Italy, Egypt, Germany, and St. Domingo, where no less than 30,000 Poles perished. To their valour Bonaparte bore witness, saying, that “ they fought like "devils;" but when they demanded to share in the benefit secured by treaties, he only answered, "that "the prayers of every friend of freedom were for "the brave Poles, but that time and destiny alone "could re-establish them." What he called destiny, they held to be the justice of their cause; and, confident in its ultimate success, fought on, to their war-cry, "Poland is not lost while we live*."
Fully sensible how important the Poles would prove to him as allies in the expedition of 1806,
* The first line of a Mazurka, composed for the legions, which subsequently became the most popular of their national airs.
against the united forces of Prussia and Russia, Napoleon would gladly have persuaded Kosciuszko, then living at Fontainebleau, and whose call would have sufficed to raise their whole population, to join him. But Kosciuszko, suspecting that the military despot would prove not less treacherous than hereditary ones, gave a decided refusal. The more sanguine amongst the patriots were less sceptical, and the event, in this instance, seemed to justify their faith, for the battle of Jena (1806) enabled them to re-enter their country after ten years of voluntary exile. Their welcome, and the eagerness with which all classes took arms, forced from a French grenadier the exclamation so strongly characterising the effects of a foreign rule in Poland :—" Great God! Is it "for this wretched country that the Poles sacrifice so many lives?" Kosciuszko's suspicions proved true. It had never been Napoleon's design to restore Poland. In a bulletin, bearing date the 1st of December, 1806, were these remarkable expressions:
"Shall the throne of Poland be re-established, " and shall that great nation, springing from the "tomb, resume its life and independence? God
only, in whose hands is the issue of all events, " can decide this political problem; but, truly, "there has never been one more important and "interesting."
This phrase," political problem," was a blunder, which did not pass unobserved by Russia, then in great anxiety at the conqueror's approach. Intent on
reversing all that his mother had done, Paul had already shown a disposition to restore the kingdom, and had caused the skeleton of Stanislaus to be crowned in its coffin-as he had before crowned that of his own father-when, after this last strange act, he was declared insane, and soon after strangled.
Moved by self-interest, rather than by a filial desire of vengeance, Alexander feigned an inclination to carry the scheme of Peter into effect; and whilst supporting Austria with his presence in 1805, he obtained, by intrigue, from her Polish subjects and from those of Prussia, an invitation to be their king, and actually bore that title for three days. His fear lest Napoleon, by wresting Galicia from Austria, should prepare the way for the restoration of the whole kingdom, induced this measure; his generosity increased, and he grew more and more lavish of promises and pity to the Poles, as it appeared more probable that Napoleon would attempt to humble Prussia and Austria, and stifle the coalition by their re-establishment. Sparing no pains to gain their love, to sow dissensions amongst them, and, lastly, to render them hostile towards the French, he sent for General Kniaziewicz, then living retired in Volhynia, to his head-quarters near Königsberg, to tell him that "the partition of Poland was a political "crime, to which, had he then been emperor, he "would never have consented, and which he now "felt himself bound in conscience to repair, as far
as lay in his power." He then offered to equip
some Polish legions to be under the command of Kniaziewicz *. At this time, however, the French had occupied Warsaw, and every Pole believed that a part at least of his country would again become independent, in which case the Polo-Russian legions would have been a protest of the Poles themselves against their own wishes. The general, therefore, remembering that" "Tis time to fear when tyrants seem "to kiss," declined the offer, saying that," he shud"dered at the bare idea of a fratricidal war." The treaty of Tilsit (the 7th of July, 1807,) put an end to hostilities, and 43,000 square miles of Polish territory, wrested from Prussia, were then erected into the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, under Frederick Augustus, king of Saxony †, in whose family the Polish throne had been declared hereditary, by the constitution of the 3rd of May, 1791. At the same time the city of Dantzic was declared free, and the district of Bialystock (3,200 square miles) was ceded to Alexander, who did not scruple to despoil his Prussian ally, and had further insisted that no part of Poland should recover its name. Thus was Poland dismembered for the fourth time; and if Alexander had condemned the former partitions, it was only because the whole of the kingdom did not fall to
The duchy of Warsaw answered Napoleon's pur
* Memoirs of Count Oginski.
+ He was the son of Augustus III., King of Poland.
poses. It equipped an army of 30,000 men, of which the greater part was employed against the independence of Spain. Prince Joseph Poniatowski could, in 1809, only bring 9000 men to oppose 30,000 Austrians under the Archduke Ferdinand; yet even these few repulsed their adversaries, and reconquered a considerable part of Galicia. Their further progress was, however, paralyzed by Alexander, who, apprehensive for his own interests, hastened with 48,000 men to give a feigned support to Napoleon.
By the treaty of Schönbrunn (October 14, 1809) the palatinates of Lublin, Podlachia, Sandomir, and Cracow (20,000 square miles), and one-half of the salt mines of Wieliczka, were addded to the duchy; Austria retaining the rest of Galicia, the province of Tarnopol (2600 square miles) excepted, which Alexander reclaimed for himself. In this fifth partition of Poland Napoleon was the less excusable, as Austria had offered to renounce the whole of Galicia in consideration of a trifling compensation in Illyria.
Since the treaty of Tilsit, the two great objectsthe partition of Turkey, and the prevention of the re-establishment of Poland-inseparably connected, had filled the mind of Alexander. Napoleon, on the other hand, hampered by Spanish affairs, and more than ever needing the emperor's co-operation against England, had, at the conference of Erfurt, made immense concessions to him, actually engaging not to move in favour of the Poles. The late additions to the