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obscure rumors that had recently reached his ears. On his arrival at Warsaw, it was reported to him that his intended bride was married, and he found the Poles longing for an opportunity to shake off the yoke of Russia, and to rid themselves of grievances experienced since the first partition of Poland.
He now betook himself to a secluded and retired life, partly to indulge his melancholy, and partly to avoid suspicion; for the generals of the empress Catharine were become jealous of all popular characters, and the fame of Kosciusko had already reverberated from the shores of the Atlantic, and began to be pronounced with rapture by a nation which panted for a liberator!
At length an opportunity of advancement presented itself, and he instantly left his retreat. A new diet actuated by a spirit of national independence, was anxious to lessen the influence of foreigners, in Poland; and, to effect this, wished to encourage such of the natives as displayed a love of country, united with a knowledge of the art of war. As no Pole was more prominent in respect to both qualifications, Kosciusko was now promoted to the rank of majorgeneral.
But this very assembly, overawed by the presence of foreign troops, and menaced by a Russian envoy, was obliged, reluctantly and indignantly, to ratify the bondage of their country by a second partition of Poland. The pretext for this,--and when is arbitrary power deficient in pretext?—was the new constitution of 1791, by which the vassalage of the peasants was to be mitigated. In the year 1794, baron d’Ingelstrohm, acting with the authority of a master, demanded the restoration of the servile code of 1772, and actually ordered every vestige of that of 1791 to be erased from the records of the senate. Humiliating compliance only increased the extent of Russian interference, and the empress now required that the national army should be reduced to 16,000 men, a body insufficient to maintain the independence of Poland proper under her new limits. This imperious demand produced a new civil war in Po. land, the event of which was for some time uncertain.
Meanwhile Kosciusko had already taken the field, in support of tlie new constitution; for he served as general of division under count Poniatowski. During a whole campaign, he distinguished himself, as usual, by an union of courage and good conduct. The king, who had been placed on the throne for the express purpose of serving the interests of Russia, was an accomplished scholar, but weak, vacillating, and fickle. The menaces of the court of St. Petersburgh prevailed, and, instead of taking the field in person, and placing himself at the head of his countrymen, he soon proved himself unworthy of that crown which was beset by the legions and intrigues of Russia. On learning the fatal intelligence of this servile compliance, general Kosciusko resigned his commission, and re- , tired to Germany. . But new events speedily fixed his attention once more on his native country, now likely again to become a theatre of war and
bloodshed, of ruin and desolation. The politicians of Europe waited for the effects likely to be produced, by the new and insolent order for disbanding the troops; and it was generally supposed, that the Poles would be once more obliged to submit. But they were mistaken, for Madalinski refused to obey an illegal command; on the contrary, hastily summoning all the troops within the extent of his jurisdiction, he passed the Vistula, and attacked a body of Prussians: for the conquest was tripartite, and the courts of Vienna and Berlin were nearly as active in respect to the partition, although not quite so ferocious as the Russians themselves.
No sooner had the news of this insurrection been communicated to Kosciusko, who still kept up a constant intercourse with the insurgents, than he suddenly quitted his retreat at Leipsic, where he had taken refuge, and advanced rapidly with several officers in his
fairs, he instantly entered Poland, and soon received a deputation from a body of respectable Poles, who had secretly assembled at Warsaw, and chosen him generalissimo. Accompanied by a chosen hand, in 1794 he made a sudden irruption into the palatinate of Cracovia, in which but few of the enemy had as yet appeared; and, entering the capital at the precise moment when a feeble garrison had been driven out, he instantly replaced it in its former station, and obliged the victors, in their turn, to betake themselves to flight.
He now published a formula, which was constantly designated in Poland, by the term of an •Act of Insurrection;' and, having fallen in with Madalinski, who had been obliged to fly before a superior corps of Russians, they immediately turned on the pursuers; and, with a body of light and indisciplined troops, actually conquered a superior number of veterans: but the latter only fought for pay and booty; the former were actuated by far different motives -patriotism, indignation, and revenge!
Meanwhile the Warsovians, actuated by similar principles, and inflamed still more by the presence, the rapacity, the cruelty, and the injustice of a foreign force, determined on joining in the insurrection. No sooner did intelligence of this disposition arrive in the Polish camp, by means of numerous emmissaries whom the love of country had attached to the common cause, than Kosciusko determined to repair thither. He accordingly set out at the head of a motly assemblage, incompletely armed, and but badly disciplined, with the view of giving battle to the finest troops in Europe, all of whom were provided with muskets and bayonets; while most had seen service, either in the wars of Poland or of Turkey; and, in addition to a regular supply of provisions, they possessed a formidable train of artillery.
While in full march towards the capital, this raw and inexperienced body of recruits fell in with a large detachment of Russians; but Kosciusko was at their head, and, disdaining the thought of retreat, they commenced action, making the onset with such dreadful impetuosity, that the invaders, unable to withstand the shock,
broke and fled in all directions. On learning the happy news, the citizens of Warsaw, faithful to their vows, instantly flew to arms; and the Russian garrison, endangered by this defeat of their countrymen, were under the necessity of retreating.
The gallant Pole, on entering Warsaw, found king Stanislaus Augustus, who had been abandoned by his allies, in a state of despondence. Instead of triumphing on a feeble, and a fallen monarch, he raised him from the dust, and ordered that his majesty should be treated with all the deference due to his exalted rank. The policy of this conduct is, perhaps, less worthy of commendation than its heroism. His duplicity, timidity, and irresolution, had rendered this prince not only despised, but hated by his subjects. He readily declared himself, indeed, at the head of the confederation, and, for a time, sanctioned the insurrection by the thin and transparent veil of legitimacy, which he threw over the ranks of his embattled countrymen. On this, as on all other occasions, his majesty was entirely passive; for, adopting a cunning, but odious, neutrality, he prepared, as usual, to abandon thie vanquished, and declare himself on the side of the victor. An opportunity but too soon presented itself!
Kosciusko now beheld multitudes joining his standard; he calcu. lated on an army of 70.000 men, and he was in hopes to be able to excite a universal insurrection among the whole body of peasants.
In this situation of affairs, the general has been loudly censured for not summoning a national diet, declaring bondage at an end, and converting all Poland into one great camp, in which every one of an age capable of bearing arms should assemble. But, unhap. pily, many of the nobles of his own party possessed multitudes of slaves, whom they considered as no less their property than their horses, their hawks, and their dogs; and such is the effect of vassallage, that, rather than give liberty io their bondsmen, they themselves were willing to bow the neck beneath the iron yoke of Rus. sia.
Meanwhile, Prussia, which had hitherto temporised, began to act with decision and effect. While one body of the troops of that nation seized on Cracovia, another marched against Warsaw; and it was expected that a sanguinary combat would take place between Kosciusko and Frederick William. But Kosciusko now, for the first time, acted on the defensive; and the Prussian army was doom. ed to be overcome by raw troops, and a general unknown in the annals of European warfare. This accordingly took place, for after a long and hopeless siege the assailants were obliged to retreat; happy at being able to reach the frontiers of Silesia.
But Suwarrow, now advanced at the head of a body of veterans, breathing revenge, and denouncing slaughter. To prevent a mea ditated junction with the troops under general Fersen, Kosciusko attacked the latter, who were far superior to him, both in skill and numbers. A bloody and decisive engagement now ensued, and,
y and deciar superiore'a! Fersen, kent
after a conflict of five hours, the Poles at length gave way. Kosciusko, after a variety of charges, and risking his life a thousand times, received a deep and dangerous wound; and, being both unable and unwilling to leave the field, he at length found himself surrounded and a prisoner. Such was the change of circumstances, that the victor of yesterday was obliged to submit to those he had so recently vanquished, and that too, with such fearful odds against him.
Meanwhile, the generals Suwarrow and Fersen, having effected the meditated junction, and Kosciusko being now strictly guarded and confined, all Poland, from this moment, appertained to the victors. A ferocious general immediately marched against Warsaw, which was garrisoned by a body of gallant Poles, the only remaining hope and consolation of their unhappy country. But it was fated, that the army which had sacked İsmailoff, and destroyed its garrison of 20,000 men, should repeat the same scene in the capital of Poland. The Russians marched to the assault, and made themselves masters of the works.
The Polish chiefs, Kosciusko, Polocki, &c. were sent under a strong military escort to Petersburgh, and thrown into dungeons; and the unhappy monarch himself was ordered to repair, first to Grodno and then to Petersburgh, where he soon ended his days, without exciting, after the high hopes, on very slender grounds, conceived of him in the commencement of his reign, the slightest emotion of either esteem or regret.*
A third and final partition of the unfortunate kingdom of Poland, after a short interval, took place, conformably to a new convention, (signed at Petersburgh, October 24, 1795,) between the crown of Russia and Prussia, to which Austria afterwards acceded; and the very name of Poland was, from this time, blotted out from the map of Europe. Such were the exploits performed on the eastern side of christendom, by the high and very dear allies of England, jointly engaged with her in a confederacy, which had for its professed object the restoration of religion, and social order, and regular government-exploits which infinitely exceeded, in atrocity and barbarism, any crimes which, surrounded as she was with enemies, and irritated by every species of provocation, had been, in the very crisis of her revolution, perpetrated by the atheists and anarchists of France.
In the mean time, Kosciusko was confined in the dungeon of a fort in the vicinity of the capital of Russia, by Catharine II. who, by a judicious distribution of a few pensions and medals among the literuti of Europe, had contrived to obtain a high reputation for clemency at a cheap rate. The death of that princess, whose real character has never been sufficiently developed, at length freed this noble Pole from his fetters; and the magnanimity of her son, which
* Stanislaus Poniatowski, late king of Poland, and grand duke of Li. thuania, died at Petersburgh, Feb. 12, 1798.
has never been duly appreciated, conferred on him his liberty, to which he generously added an income, sufficient to supply all his wants. Nay, the new emperor did more; he visited his illustrious prisoner, and was himself the harbinger of his own generous intentions:
But Kosciusko had no longer any country in Europe; he therefore resolved to repair to his adopted one in America. Having taken a passage from St. Petersburgh to London, on his arrival in the capital of England, the house where he resided was completely surrounded by an admiring multitude; and persons of rank, of all parties and descriptions, were eager to pay their respects to the hero. The whig club voted him a sword, and sent a deputation to announce the intelligence.
His reception in America was of the most brilliant kind; for, on his arrival there, he was joyfully received both by the government and the people. But the state of his wounds, and indeed his declining health, prohibited a long sojourn in the transatlantic continent. The situation of Europe, too, was such as to afford hopes of better times for his unfortunate country.
After a short stay, during which he obtained possession of the grants of land formerly assigned to him by congress for his servi. ces in the revolutionary war, Kosciusko re-embarked, and landed in France,—which he had left a monarchy, and now found a republic! He was received with every possible attention by the directory; and as the climate agreed with him, he soon after settled in that country. But, Russia having declared war against France, by a rare instance of magnanimity, he resigned the pension of the emperor, and lived long enough to see the autocrat crouch under the sword of Bonaparte. He also beheld his enemy Suwarrow die in disgrace, amidst the scorn and indignation of mankind,—who, by this time, had forgotten his exploits, and only remembered his enormities.
When Bonaparte became first consul, and then sovereign, it was hoped he would extend a protecting hand to Poland; but this was not the case, and no mention of that unhappy country is made in the treaty of Amiens, although the interests of the Ottoman Porte are strictly guarded and provided for by an express article.
At length, on the renewal of the continental war, it was expected that Bonaparte would have achieved the liberation of Poland; and, had he been in earnest on this subject, he might have obtained far more real glory than he had hitherto enjoyed. His grand project for the invasion of Russia; his bold scheme, which led him to encounter all the horrors of a polar winter; his energetic, but useless, march to Moscow,—would have been then unnecessary. In this case, his army would have remained entire; his reputation would have been enhanced; the tranquillity of Europe would have been strengthened by re-creating a new and independent kingdom; and the crown of France would have been firmly fixed on his head; while the sceptre of Charlemagne must have been transferred to a