June 14th, 1771. Within four months of the arrival of Prince Henri and that first certainty from Russia, diligent Friedrich, upon whom the whole burden had been laid of drawing up a Plan, and bringing Austria to consent, is able to report to Petersburg, That Austria has dubieties, reluctances, which it is to be foreseen she will gradually get over; and that here meanwhile (June 14th, 1771) is my Plan of Partition,--the simplest conceivable: "That each choose (subject to future adjustments) what will best suit him; I, for my own part, will say, West-Preussen;--what Province will Czarish Majesty please to say?" Czarish Majesty, in answer, is exorbitantly liberal to herself; claims, not a Province, but four or five; will have Friedrich, if the Austrians attack her in consequence, to assist by declaring War on Austria; Czarish Majesty, in the reciprocal case, not to assist Friedrich at all, till her Turk War is done! "Impossible," thinks Friedrich; "surprisingly so, high Madam! But, to the delicate bridle-hand, you are a manageable entity."
It was with Kaunitz that Friedrich's real difficulties lay. Privately, in the course of this Summer, Kaunitz, by way of preparation for "mediating a Turk-Russian Peace," had concluded his "subsidy Treaty" with the Turk, ["6th July, 1771" (Preuss, iv. 31; Hermann; &c. &c.).]--Treaty never ratified, but the Piastres duly paid;--Treaty rendering Peace impossible, so long as Kaunitz had to do with mediating it. And indeed Kaunitz's tricks in that function of mediator, and also after it, were of the kind which Friedrich has some reason to call "infamous." "Your Majesty, as co-mediator, will join us, should the Russians make War?" said Kaunitz's Ambassador, one day, to Friedrich. "For certain, no!" answered Friedrich; and, on the contrary, remounted his Cavalry, to signify, "I will fight the other way, if needed!" which did at once bring Kaunitz to give up his mysterious Turk projects, and come into the Polish. After which, his exorbitant greed of territory there; his attempts to get Russia into a partitioning of Turkey as well,-- ("A slice of Turkey too, your Czarish Majesty and we?" hints he more than once),--gave Friedrich no end of trouble; and are singular to look at by the light there now is. Not for about a twelvemonth did Friedrich get his hard-mouthed Kaunitz brought into step at all; and to the last, perpetual vigilance and, by whip and bit, the adroitest charioteering was needed on him.
FEBRUARY 17th, 1772, Russia and Prussia, for their own part,-- Friedrich, in the circumstances, submitting to many things from his Czarina,--get their particular "Convention" (Bargain in regard to Poland) completed in all parts, "will take possession 4th June instant:" sign said Convention (February 17th);--and invite Austria to join, and state her claims. Which, in three weeks after, MARCH 4th, Austria does;--exorbitant abundantly; and NOT to be got very much reduced, though we try, for a series of months. Till at last:--
AUGUST 5th, 1772, Final Agreement between the Three Partitioning Powers: "These are our respective shares; we take possession on the 1st OF SEPTEMBER instant:"--and actual possession for Friedrich's share did, on the 13th of that month, ensue. A right glad Friedrich, as everybody, friend or enemy, may imagine him! Glad to have done with such a business,--had there been no other profit in it; which was far from being the case. One's clear belief, on studying these Books, is of two things: FIRST, that, as everybody admits, Friedrich had no real hand in starting the notion of Partitioning Poland;--but that he grasped at it with eagerness, as the one way of saving Europe from War: SECOND, what has been much less noticed, that, under any other hand, it would have led Europe to War;--and that to Friedrich is due the fact, that it got effected without such accompaniment. Friedrich's share of Territory is counted to be in all 9,465 English square miles; Austria's, 62,500; Russia's, 87,500, [Preuss, iv. 45.] between nine and ten times the amount of Friedrich's,--which latter, however, as an anciently Teutonic Country, and as filling up the always dangerous gap between his Ost-Preussen and him, has, under Prussian administration, proved much the most valuable of the Three; and, next to Silesia, is Friedrich's most important acquisition. SEPTEMBER 13th, 1772, it was at last entered upon,--through such waste-weltering confusions, and on terms never yet unquestionable.
Consent of Polish Diet was not had for a year more; but that is worth little record. Diet, for that object, got together 19th APRIL, 1773; recalcitrant enough, had not Russia understood the methods: "a common fund was raised [ON SE COTISA, says Friedrich] for bribing;" the Three Powers had each a representative General in Warsaw (Lentulus the Prussian personage), all three with forces to rear: Diet came down by degrees, and, in the course of five months (SEPTEMBER 18th, 1773), acquiesced in everything.
And so the matter is ended; and various men will long have various opinions upon it. I add only this one small Document from Maria Theresa's hand, which all hearts, and I suppose even Friedrich's had he ever read it, will pronounce to be very beautiful; homely, faithful, wholesome, well-becoming in a high and true Sovereign Woman.
THE EMPRESS-QUEEN TO PRINCE KAUNITZ (Undated: date must be Vienna, February, 1772).
"When all my lands were invaded, and I knew not where in the world I should find a place to be brought to bed in, I relied on my good right and the help of God. But in this thing, where not only public law cries to Heaven against us, but also all natural justice and sound reason, I must confess never in my life to have been in such trouble, and am ashamed to show my face. Let the Prince [Kaunitz] consider what an example we are giving to all the world, if, for a miserable piece of Poland, or of Moldavia or Wallachia, we throw our honor and reputation to the winds. I see well that I am alone, and no more in vigor; therefore I must, though to my very great sorrow, let things take their course." [
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