The natural effect of this narrow and tyrannous rule was discontent, amounting often to disaffection.
On the second occasion, under the guidance of his eldest son, the crown prince Gustavus, afterwards Gustavus III., he succeeded in overthrowing the tyrannous "Cap" senate, but was unable to make any use of his victory.
The government was, of course, autocratic and even tyrannous, but it was organized on an elaborate system, army and civil service being administered by a series of boards, while the cities were governed by municipal commissioners responsible for public order and the upkeep of public works.
The constitution of the 3rd of May had scarce been signed when Felix Potocki, Severin Rzewuski and Xavier Branicki, three of the chief dignitaries of Poland, hastened to St Petersburg, and there entered into a secret convention with the empress, whereby she undertook to restore the old constitution by force of arms, but at the same time promised to respect the territorial integrity of the Republic. On the 14th of May 1792 the conspirators formed a confederation, consisting, in the first instance, of only ten other persons, at the little town of Targowica in the Ukraine, protesting against the constitution of the 3rd of May as tyrannous and revolutionary, and at the same time the new Russian minister at Warsaw presented a formal declaration of war to the king and the diet.