Britain and the second and third partitions of Poland.
This comprehensive account of Anglo-Polish relations, 1788-95, re-examines official and popular British perspectives on the second partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, perpetrated by Russia and Prussia in 1793, and on the third. 1795. partition of Poland at Russian. Austrian, and Prussian hands, which completed a process begun in 1772. In 1793 and 1795 prominent Poles nurtured high hopes of British interference, which they assiduously, unavailingly, courted. Those dismemberments aroused widespread and genuine British interest and sympathy, and lent themselves, to a generally unrecognized degree, to partisan politicking in Britain. As well the little known pro-Polish remonstrances and activities of some British diplomats and private
individuals often served multiple interests--Poland's, and perhaps support for or opposition to war against Revolutionary France, Jacobinism, or domestic Parliamentary reform. In neither the second nor third partition, however, did Britain officially intervene, despite Poland's potential value to her as a trading partner, ally, and bulwark
against Russian expansion. Having, however, underestimated the extensive consequences for Britain of the Polish upheaval--critical alliances difficult to secure and maintain, moral uproar at home. even scarcity--William Pitt the Younger's ministry and the nation endured these in the 1790s as Poland disappeared from the map. The breadth of British popular support for the Polish cause then, additionally, presaged nineteenth century British Polonophilia and Russophobia.
Past Anglo-Polish relations, the intricacies of the conduct of contemporary British and Polish foreign policy and diplomacy, and of British 'public opinion' as expressed mainly in Parliament and the press are noted. The 1789 French Revolution,
the 1791 Ochakov affair and evolving Anglo-Russian relations, the First Coalition's French Revolutionary War (1792-7), Britain's foreign alliances and domestic politics, and Polish internal developments, in particular the 3 May 1791 Constitution, the confederation ofTargowica, and the 1794 Kosciuszko uprising, provide the context. A wide variety of primary and secondary sources, published and unpublished, in several languages, were consulted.