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By benefiting from Polish helplessness, Austria and Prussia annexed more territory than was foreseen in the partition treaty of St. Petersburg (5 August 1772) and the cession treaties, which Poland was compelled to sign in September 1773. Only Russia adhered to the treaty frontiers and refused to recognise Austrian and Prussian usurpation. In practice, Russia left the determination of the frontiers between Poland, Austria and Prussia to negotiations between those states, and limited her role to unofficially urging the Poles towards compromise. The pro-Prussian Panin also moderated the stand represented by Catherine II, who felt offended by the Austrian and Prussian rejection of her suggestions, and explained to her that Frederick II had carried out his usurpation only for the sake of maintaining an equilibrium between the acquisitions of all three partitioning powers. Upon the basis of Prussian, Russian, Austrian, Polish and French diplomatic correspondence preserved in archives or published, the author presented the course of events in the years 1775-1776. The point of departure is composed of fears and rumours relating to a further expansion of Prussian and Austrian usurpation; the negotiations impasse lasted throughout almost the whole of 1775, when Frederick the Great grew convinced that both German powers would retain their acquisitions. The breakthrough took place in the middle of November 1775, when upon the initiative of Chancellor Kaunitz Austria, striving towards improved relations with Russia, decided to propose returning certain terrains. The latter were sufficiently large for the Polish negotiators, whom Stackelberg persuaded to agree (5 January 1776). Poland regained the town of Kazimierz and 120 sq. m. between the Vistula and the Bug. Frederick the Great who declared that he would return his supra-treaty acquisitions as long as Austria would do the same now had to follow the Austrian example. Nonetheless, he tried to return as a little as possible. He also counted on the fact that his brother, Henry, already on his way to St. Petersburg, would be capable of gaining favourable conditions, and thus for a long time refused to commence negotiations with Poland. The mission conducted by Prince Henry succeeded owing to the fact that both he and Frederick the Great had become indispensable for Catherine II in her quest for finding a wife for her recently widowed son. Hence the proposals devised by Panin and addressed to Prince Henry were only slightly beneficial for Poland, while in the course of the negotiations conducted in Warsaw since the end of April, the Prussian side reduced her concessions even further. Austria did not come to Poland's assistance, and Stackelberg, hampered by the attitude of his superiors, demonstrated only weak support for the Polish negotiators whom he persuaded to agree to the Prussian conditions. The Polish negotiators resisted for long, but ultimately, on 22 August 1776, they were forced to sign a convention which restored to Poland only one-fifth of the Prussian usurped acquisition.
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