§ No. II—Extract of a dispatch from the right hon. lord Granville Leveson Gower to Mr. Secretary Canning, dated Saint Petersburgh, Sept. 2, 1807.—Received Sept. 19th.
§ I had the satisfaction of finding last night, that a considerable change had taken place in the tone and temper of general Budberg's conversation. Instead of that coldness and reserve which characterised the 198 replies of the Russian minister to the questions which I had thought it my duty to put to him in previous conferences, I found a very mild and conciliating manner, and an apparent anxiety to remove every difficulty in the way of a perfectly good understanding between the two countries. I regretted the reserve which had marked the conduct of the Russian government towards England; he answered that Russia had just grounds of complaint against England; he went into a long detail of the little attention that had been given to the repeated representations of the emperor of Russia, and I could not be surprised, he said, that in the first moment of misfortune arising from the want of co-operation, he should testify some degree of discontent. I replied, that we could not better serve the cause of Bonaparte, than by indulging in mutual recrimination on the past conduct of each government; that I wished our whole attention should be turned to the future, and that I was persuaded, if the emperor of Russia still entertained his former opinions of the danger to be apprehended from the preponderance of France, the cause of the independance of Europe was by no means desperate.
§ No. III.—Extract of a dispatch from the right hon. lord Granville Leveson Gower to Mr. Secretary Canning, dated St. Petersburgh, 2d Sept. 1807.—Received Sept. 19th.
§ As general Budberg carefully avoided every allusion to the late transactions at Copenhagen, during the interview which took place between us on Tuesday, I was somewhat surprised on the following morning to receive the note of which I have the honour to enclose a copy. In my answer, also inclosed, I have endeavoured to follow closely those among the reasons stated in your dispatches, which I conceive likely to prove the least offensive to this government, reserving other arguments for my first future conference with the minister.
§ (First inclosure referred to in No. 3.)
§ His majesty the emperor has just learned with the utmost surprise by accounts from his minister at Copenhagen, as well as by a dispatch from his Danish majesty's minister at this court, that Mr. Jackson, his Britannick majesty's Plenipotentiary, has made propositions as derogatery to as incompatible with the dignity of every independent power, and that, upon the refusal of the prince royal of Denmark to accede to a pretension so extraordinary, the English fleet has taken a posi- 199 tion which evidently announces intentions hostile towards Denmark. The ties of consanguinity and friendship which unite his imperial majesty with the king of Denmark not suffering him to view with indifference any danger which might menace the dominions or the independence of that sovereign, the undersigned has received commands to invite his excellency lord Granville Leveson Gower, to acquaint him with the motives which have induced the cabinet of St. James's to adopt proceedings so extraordinary against Denmark. The undersigned, &c.
§ (Signed) A. DE BUDBERG. (Second Inclosure, referred to in No. 3.) St. Petersburgh, 21st August (2d September) 1807.
§ Agreeably to the desire of his excellency general Budberg, the undersigned, ambassador of his Britannic majesty, losses no time in communicating to the Russian government the motives which led to the steps taken by the king's minister at the court of Denmark, and to the subsequent operations of the British forces against the island of Zealand.—The British ministry had been a long time in possession of positive data which left no doubt as to the intentions of the French government respecting the maritime means of Denmark; and the projects against England from that quarter, which were matured by the continental peace, certainly cannot have escaped the penetration of his majesty the emperor of Russia. The Danish fleet destined to cover a descent on the British coasts being therefore an object essential for the accomplishment of the views of France, the king found himself under the necessity of securing himself from so imminent a danger, by those precautions which were adopted with regret, however indispensable for the security of his empire. The ties of relationship which unite the two courts of London and of Copenhagen would have inspired the king with the desire of. avoiding such a painful extremity, and of respecting, as far as depended upon himself, the interests of Denmark; but his duty called equally for measures adapted to ward off danger which threatened not only the welfare of his people but the existence of his crown. The undersigned, having thus frankly replied to general Budberg's note, will with pleasure furnish a more detailed verbal explanation, should his excellency desire it; and he avails himself of the opportunity to repeat the assurances of his high 200 consideration. (Signed) G. L. GOWER, His excellency general de Budberg, &c.
§ No. IV.—Extract of a dispatch from Mr. Secretary Canning to the right hon. lord Granville Leveson Gower, dated September 27th 1807.
§ Sir Robert Wilson arrived here on Saturday the 19th with your excellency's dispatches of the 2d instant, which I have laid before the king.—Whatever may have been the motives or the causes of the change which your excellency represents to have taken place in the tone of the Russian councils, or whatever may he the probability of the continuance of the system now apparently adopted; his majesty hails with the most sincere satisfaction the return of those sentiments of friendship and confidence on the part of his august ally, from which his majesty on his part has never deviated, and the cultivation of which is more than ever necessary for their common interests.—Your excellency will lose no opportunity of expressing these sentiments to his imperial majesty and his minister.—For forbearance and moderation which your excellency has been all along instructed to employ in all your remonstrances with respect to transactions in which the personal character of his imperial majesty was so immediately concerned, and the reliance which you have not failed to express on the returning sense of what was due to his majesty's long experienced friendship and fidelity, accord perfectly with the language which you are now instructed to use, and make the whole of his majesty's conduct towards his imperial majesty uniform and consistent. And your excellency cannot too constants y impress upon the Russian minister the topic which you have so judiciously employed in your late conferences, that in the present state of the world, retrospect and recrimination are worse than useless; and that the establishment of future good understanding and the concert of measures to be taken with a view to future exertion, are alone the proper subjects of discussion between the two governments.—Your excellency did perfectly right in declining to consider the communication of general Budberg as sufficiently satisfactory to authorise your acceptance, on the part of his majesty, of the mediation of the emperor of Russia.—The points upon which the question of this acceptance turns, are, 1st, The frank communication of the articles of the Treaty of Tilsit, secret as well 201 as avowed. 2dly, A distinct explanation of the basis upon which France proposes to treat, and which appeared to his imperial majesty at Tilsit so just and honourable.—These are the conditions directly stipulated in my note to M. Alopeus, and without which an acceptance of any mediation by his majesty could be nothing else than a complete surrender of his honour and his interest into the hands of the mediator, if not of the enemy.—But to these are reasonably to be added, if not as conditions without which it would be impossible to consent to treat under the auspices of Russia, ac least as those which his majesty has a right to require from a friendly power, before he commits himself to its guidance in a question affecting the immediate safety and the future welfare of his dominions; 1st, A disclosure of the general views of policy of the emperor of Russia; and of any engagements into which he may have entered with resrect to the different powers in whose fortunes his majesty takes an interest; and 2dly, Some plain and decisive proof of the good understanding subsisting between his majesty and hi; august ally; such as shall satisfy, not his majesty only, but Europe and the world, of the impartiality with which his imperial majesty has undertaken, and proposes to administer, the duties of his office as mediator.—With respect to the first of the two points which I have stated as absolutely indispensable, general Budberg appears as yet to have gone no farther than to give a verbal assurance that there is not any article, among the secret articles of the Treaty of Tilsit, stipulating for the shutting of the Russian ports against Great Britain.—But it will immediately have occurred to your excellency that a distinction might probably be taken in M. de Budberg's mind between a stipulation for the immediate. and unconditional execution of a purpose, and the agreement to resort to it eventually, under circumstances which may not yet have occurred; and that, supposing the former only to be the sense of M. de Budberg's assurance, that assurance might be literally true, without in fact conveying any thing essentially satisfactory.—The inference to be drawn from this circumstance is, that the Russian minister should be called upon by your excellency in an official note, not for a simple disavowal only of way single article, but for the communication of the secret articles themselves, or at least of any agreement actual 202 or eventual, in which the interests of this country or its allies are in any degree concerned.—In the same formal Manner a communication should be required of the basis of peace proposed by France; upon which the Russian Minister does not appear to have offered any explanation.—The other two points are not so strictly connected with the question of mediation. But it is nevertheless perfectly reasonable that his majesty should require some ostensible proof of the good will of his august ally, to counteract the general impression which must have been created by late events, of a difference and disunion between them; before his majesty can with a good grace accept those offices at the emperor of Russia's hands, of which impartially should be the essential character. No proof could he selected, at once so easy for his imperial majesty to give, so grateful to his majesty to receive, so natural in the eyes of the world, and so little liable to exception on the part of France, as the renewal of the Treaty of Commerce.—With respect to the remaining point, which your excellency is instructed to urge—a communication on the part of the Russian government of its general views and policy for the future,—you will observe, that his imperial majesty himself annexed to his conditional acceptance of the mediation of the emperor of Austria, a similar demand of the communication of the general views of the court of Vienna respecting the future state of Europe.—In the treaty of Bartenstein, concluded between his imperial majesty and the king of Prussia, and offered by them to the acceptance of other powers as the basis of a co-operation for the purpose of producing a general pacific arrangement, a distinct and detailed exposition was entered into with respect not only to the powers intended to be comprehended as parties to the treaty, but to all the other powers of Europe in whose fate any one of the principal powers could be supposed to be interested.—These examples of what his imperial majesty has done, and what he has required, would sufficiently authorize his majesty's solicitude to obtain a similar explanation on the present occasion.—But there are other grounds for it in the very state and circumstances of Europe, as arising out of the Treaty of Tilsit, and the stipulations annexed to it; some of which stipulations are already carrying into execution in a way to excite his majesty's apprehensions, if not for his own interests, 203 for those of his allies.—Is it possible that his majesty should not think it essential to be informed whether the public article of the Treaty of Tilsit, which recognizes the French king of Naples, only as king of Naples, is, in effect, contradicted by a secret article, which adds to this title that of the two Sicilies? The movements in the Mediterranean, and the surrender of Corfu, naturally give rise to a variety of apprehensions, which it would be for the interest of both countries to quiet, or at least, to reduce within the bounds of truth.—Has not his majesty the right to require some explanation of the intentions of Russia with respect to Turkey; a power with whom his majesty finds himself at war, and left alone in the war, for no other than Russian interests, and from a quarrel espoused by his majesty for the sake of his ally?—These topics your excellency will urge in your conferences with M. de Budberg with all the earnestness which their importance requires, but at the same time carefully avoiding a strain of reproach; and even when you are obliged to confess the suspicion of engagements having been entered into such as his majesty cannot but disapprove, conducting your inquiry in such a manner as shall lead M. de Budberg to believe that his majesty is anxious rather to find the means of preventing or remedying the evil, than to discover the grounds of complaint againt Russia. Upon the whole, your excellency will collect from these instructions, that his majesty is as much desirous, as ever, to cultivate the friendship and alliance of the emperor of Russia; that he conceives the only chance of safety for what remains of Europe to depend upon the renewal of a good understanding between them; that his majesty has never, even under appearances the most unfavourable, altogether despaired of such a recurrence, on the part of the emperor, to the counsels which are best calculated for his own glory, and for the security of his own dominions, as it is now hoped has taken place; and that his majesty, upon such a change, is eager to forget all that has passed of a nature contradictory to those counsels, or inconsistent with them.
§ No. V.—Extract of a Dispatch from Mr. Secretary Canning to the Right Honourable Lord Granville Leveson Gower, dated Sept. 28, 1807.
§ Foreign Office, Sept. 28, 1807.
§ His majesty entirely approves of the answer returned by your excellency to 204 general Budberg's note on the subject of the operations at Copenhagen. I enclose to your excellency a copy of the Declaration which his majesty has caused to be published on that subject, in which your excellency will find the principles upon which his majesty has acted, clearly laid down; and in which the disposition of his majesty to limit the measures of hostility to which he has unfortunately found himself compelled to have recourse, is announced with that frankness and moderation which characterize his majesty's conduct. In conversing upon this subject with the Russian minister, your excellency, in addition to the arguments so correctly stated in your note, and to those with which his majesty's Declaration will furnish you, will not hesitate to appeal to the Russian government itself for reasons in justification of the measures to which his majesty has been under the necessity of resorting.—You will remind general Budberg, not as matter of reproach, but as matter of fact merely, that from the conclusion of the peace of Tilsit down to the hour at which your excellency's dispatches by sir Robert Wilson were received here, the British government were without one word of assurance as to the amicable intentions of Russia towards Great Britain. The offer of mediation, under all the circumstances which belonged to it, was calculated to excite any other feeling rather than that of confidence in the emperor's goodwill; and every account that was received here of the temper in which that proposal was made, and of the light in which it was viewed by the enemy, justified the belief that it was intended by Russia rather as preparatory to hostility consequent upon his majesty's refusal, than as likely to lead to a pacific result through his acceptance. In the mean time, the publication of the Prussian peace, and the concealment of the Russian, and the intelligence of the plan brought forward in tie conferences of Tilsit for a general confederacy againt this country, in which the navies of Denmark and Portugal were destined to co-operate (intelligence since confirmed by a frank and friendly communication from Portugal herself of such a proposal having been actually made to her by France, and enforced with threats of instant and destructive hostility in case of her declining to comply with it), these circumstances, coupled with the actual preparation for the reception of a large French force a t Hamburgh, formed together such a body 205 of evidence not only of the designs of Bonaparte, but of the connivance, if not of the participation, of Russia, that his majesty would have been wanting alike in what he owed to his own dignity and to the security of his dominions, if he had not taken the most effectual steps for breaking through the combination that was collecting round him: and it would have been idle, under such circumstances, to have waited the consent of Russia to measures calculated to repel a danger, of which Russia herself formed so large a part. It cannot be disguised, therefore, that the want of communication on the part of the Russian government has been in no small degree the cause of the very mischief which that government now laments. Confident its his majesty is in the justification of the vigorous and decisive steps to which the necessity of self-preservation obliged him to resort, he would yet more willingly have been spared the painful task of acting upon that necessity, had Russia been in a state to offer her guarantee of the neutrality of Denmark, instead of affording such strong ground of suspicion that she was prepared to countenance, if not to instigate, her hostility. But is useless as well as painful to dwell upon what might have been the course of events, if the emperor of Russia had not unwaringly delivered himself over to the counsels of France, at a moment when it was of all others the most essential that a good understanding should be kept up between Russia and Great Britain. Your excellency will therefore dwell on these topicks no longer than may be necessary to impress upon the mind of the Russian minister, the conviction that the supposed unfriendliness of Russia must of itself have prevented his majesty from communicating with his imperial majesty on the subject of Denmark, before he proceeded to those strong but necessary measures, the result of which has dispelled all apprehension of danger from that quarter. It remains, now, according to the principle wisely established in your excellency's late conferences general Budberg, to look forward to the probable consequences of what has taken place, and to endeavour to turn them to such account as may be most beneficial both to Russia and Great Britain, and to that cause which their reunion might yet afford a hope of conducting to a favourable issue. After the perusal of the papers which I inclose, your excellency will be fully informed of the 206 whole situation of affairs with respect to Denmark. His majesty is perfectly willing that the pacification with the court of Denmark should be wholly the work of the emperor of Russia: that it should originate in his imperial majesty's counsels be conducted under his auspices, and concluded under his guarantee. The situation of his imperial majesty, as the natural protector of the north, obviously points him out for such a task; which even France could not refuse to assign him, unless France were ripe for breaking with the court of Petersburgh. Denmark has unquestionably applied to the emperor of Russia for protection. How can that application be better answered than by the emperor of Russia's engaging to bring Great Britain to an arrangement upon such terms as are stated in the inclosed papers? And to such engagement on the part of the emperor of Russia, the emperor is beforehand assured of the consent of his majesty.
§ No. VI.—Extract of a Dispatch from the Right Honourable Lord Granville Leveson Gower to Mr. Secretary Canning, dated St. Petersburgh, Sept. 19, 1807. Received Oct. 7.
§ I have the honour to inform you, that on Tuesday last general Budberg gave up the portfeuille of the foreign affairs to count Soltykoff. I took an early opportunity after this notification of seeing count Soltykoff, and recapitulated to him what had passed in my last conference with general Budberg; I reminded him the promise made by his predecessor to bring under the immediate consideration of the emperor the points upon which I had been instructed to obtain an answer from this court, before I could signify the acceptance of his majesty to the proposed offer of mediation. I observed that the tardiness of this government upon this subject ill accorded with the anxiety expressed by his imperial majesty for the conclusion of peace between England and France. Count Soltykoff answered that he would on the following day take the emperor's orders with respect to the communication of the secret articles of the treaty of Tilsit; that without seeing his imperial majesty he could take upon himself to say that the Russian government was Well disposed to enter into a negotiation upon the treaty of commerce; and he repeated what I had heard before from general Budberg, that the Projet de Traite transmitted by M. Alopeus must in the 207 first instance be submitted to the consideration of the department which it peculiarly concerned. In the course of our conversation he gave me many general assurances of the amicable disposition of this court towards England, and of the satisfaction he should feel in contributing to the establishment of a footing of friendly snd confidential intercourse between our two governments. Count Soltykoff being in the country yesterday, my endeavours to see him were unavailing; but I this morning obtained a conference, when, after some expressions of regret, at his first communication with me being of an unpleasant nature, he told me, that he was authorized by the emperor to inform me, that his imperial majesty did not think proper to communicate the secret articles. It is not, he said, on account of their containing any stipulations prejudical to England; but having once determined that these articles should not be made public, the emperor sees no reason for receding from his determination.
§ No. VII.—Extract of a Dispatch from the Right Honourable Lord Granville Leveson Gower to Mr. Secretary Canning, dated Saint Petersburgh, 9 Sept, 1807. Received Oct. 7.
§ My last dispatches to you had scarcely left Petersburgh, when I received information that the emperor had named count Romanzow, minister for foreign affairs. This appointment was officially made known three days afterwards to the corps diplomatique by a circular note. I thought it my duty to lose no time in seeing count Romanzow; and the state of suspence in which I have been so long kept with respect to the negotiation of the renewal of the treaty of commerce, justified me in requesting an immediate conference with the new minister. After the usual compliments upon his appointment, I expressed to him the regret I felt at the extraordinary reserve of his court towards that of London, and my extreme disappointment at the refusal which had been signified to me by count Soltykoff to communicate to me the secret arrangements concluded at Tilsit. I observed that this refusal made it impossible for the king my master to avail himself of his imperial majesty's offer of mediation; for how, said I, could it be expected that his majesty would accept the mediation of a sovereign, between.whom and Bonaparte there was every appearance of intimate union and secret understanding, and from 208 whom his majesty had not been able to obtain any mark whatever of friendship and confidence? I added, that I was the more surprised at thin conduct, because, notwithstanding the grounds of dissatisfaction which the published articles of the treaty of Tilsit afforded to his majesty, such was his partiality towards his august ally, that he had been disposed to look upon them as forced upon his imperial majesty by the unfortunate circumstances of the moment; and I had, even since the knowledge of these public articles, been authorized to give fresh assurances of the desire of his majesty to renew the intimacy and confidence which had before subsisted between the two courts. Count Romanzow answered, that the emperor's friendship for his majesty had been proved by his anxiety that peace should be concluded between England and France, and that his impartiality had been manifested by his offer of mediation; impartiality being the necessary attribute of a mediator. After, giving the obvious answer to his novel mode of reasoning, I expressed my hope that the union of the two departments of commerce and foreign affairs in the same person would accelerate the negotiation of the treaty of commerce. Nearly a month had elapsed since the arrival here of a projet of a treaty transmitted by M. Alopeus, and yet I have not been able to obtain an answer whether the stipulations of that projet of a treaty were approved of here, or even whether the Russian government were disposed to enter at all into negotiations upon this subject, Count Romanzow assured me that he never heard of this projet but frotn sir Stephen Shairp; that since he had received the portefeuille of the foreign affairs, he had enquired for it, but it could not be found, and that he supposed it must be among the papers of the emperor. I proposed to send him a copy; which he declined to accept, saying, that he would, in the first instance, acquaint the emperor that I had requested an answer from this government upon the question of the renewal of the treaty. of commerce. I took this opportunity of observing to him that M. Alopeus had asked for this project; and that therefore, unless a perfect change had taken place in the friendly dispositions of this court, the 'emperor would certainly approve of our entering into negociation upon it, though it might happen that some of the provisions of it might possibly be considered here as not wholly free from 209 objection. He said, that he was happy to hear from sir Stephen Shairp, that the projet contained nothing contrary to the regulations prescribed in the manifesto of the 1st January, for that was a fundamental law of the country: and after boasting of the indulgence he had shewn to the English merchants in the execution of this act, he sheaved a wish to end our conference, by beginning a conversation on different subjects.
§ No. VIII.—Dispatch from the Right Hon. Lord Granville Leveson Gower to Mr. Secretary Canning, dated St. Petersburgh, 19th Sept. (Oct. 1.)1807.—Received Oct. 28th.
§ Sir, I had the honour, by the last messenger, to inform you of my having communicated to count Romanzow a copy of the capitulation of Copenhagen, accompanied by a short note, in which I expressed my hope that this capitulation might be followed by the re-establishment of Peace between Great Britain and Denmark. Six days after I received the enclosed note from the Russian minister. The pretensions set forth in this paper, and the tone in which they are urged, appear to me to be of a nature to call for an immediate answer. In my reply (of which I enclose a copy) I endeavoured to satisfy the Russian minister that his majesty's government had, in the communications which I had been authorized to make, shewn every reasonable mark of respect and consideration for his imperial majesty, notwithstanding his change of system and principles; but I thought it no less necessary to let the Russian minister clearly understand, that his majesty was not to be frightened out of the pursuit of such measures as he might judge expedient for the security of his empire, by any indirect menace or intimation of the displeasure of the emperor of Russia. At the same time that I sent this answer, I requested a conference with count Romanzow, with the view of extracting from him some explanation of the expression, "que l' empereur se doit à luimême comme aux interêts de son empire de ne pas s'y montrer insensible." Two days and a half passed without any notice being taken of this request of a conference. renewed my demand; when on the following day count Romanzow wrote that he intended passing two days at Gatschina, the palace of the empress mother, but that on his return on Wednesday he would receive me. I accordingly called upon him this day. Upon my entrance 210 he made many apologies for not having appointed an earlier day for our conference. I told him that my impatience proceeded from my wish to avoid all possible misunderstanding between our two courts; that I was sorry to observe, that in the note which he addressed to me, he had made use of certain expressions which would with great reason create considerable uneasiness in England; that he must be sufficiently well acquainted with the British government to know that whatever might be the wishes and views of this court, no more effectual mode could have been adopted to prevent their receiving that attention which had uniformly been given to the representations of this country, than the use of language which implied menace. I acknowledged that the very current reports of an embargo being about to be laid upon English ships in Russian ports, (which reports, I was sorry to observe, had originated with a person employed in the office for foreign affairs,) had perhaps the effect of making me attribute a more hostile sense to some parts of the note than what was really intended by his excellency; but that the knowledge of these reports would certainly reach England, and that it was now therefore, in the highest degree essential, that I should receive from him assurances that the emperor entertained no hostile intentions towards Great Britain. Count Romanzow answered, that I must be aware, how little worthy of credit were the frequent reports that had been raised at St. Petersburgh, of an embargo being to be laid upon English ships; and that he could assure me that the Russian government had not even thought of such a measure. But upon my construing his words into an assurance, that no embargo would take place, and expressing the satisfaction I should feel in transmitting such an assurance to my court, he replied, that he was not authorised to say any thing to me of the future intentions of his sovereign; that neither he nor the Danish minister had received any accounts from Kiel since the capture of Copenhagen, that the emperor, therefore, being as yet unacquainted with the sentiments or views of the prince royal of Denmark since that event, naturally waited for the communication of them before his imperial majesty could make up his own opinion upon the question. Count Romanzow then asked me, whether it was the intention of his majesty's government to restore the ships to the king of Denmark in the case of peace 211 being concluded with France. I observed, that hostilities having commenced, the possession of the Danish fleet had been obtained by force, and not by negociation; and that he would see, by the terms of the capitulation, that no such condition had been agreed to by the commanders of his majesty's forces; but that I had received no dispatches whatever from you since the news of the capture of Copenhagen had reached London. I have the honour, &c.
§ GRANVILLE LEVESON GOWER.
§ (First inclosure referred to in No. 8.)
§ The undersigned has had the honour to lay before the emperor, the note and the copy of the capitulation of Copenhagen, transmitted to him by his excellency lord G. L. Gower. His imperial majesty has viewed with infinite concern all the misfortunes which have overwhelmed a monarch, to whom he is attached by the ties of blood, and of those of a long friendship. When the British ministry conceived the design of despoiling Denmark of her fleet: when they dispatched for that purpose to the Baltic, a numerous land force and a considerable fleet: they gave no intimation of it to his imperial majesty. This silence, this extreme reserve, may serve as a proof, that the cabinet of St. James's were themselves persuaded, that what they were undertaking was directly contrary to the interests of Russia. So in fact it is, and the emperor owes it two himself, and to the interests of his empire, not to shew himself insensible to it. His majesty considers himself as guarantee of the security and of the tranquillity of the Baltic Sea; at what period have the tranquillity and the security of that sea been so molested as in this instance? The undersigned, having apprized his Britannic majesty's ambassador of the sentiments of the emperor his master, avails himself of this opportunity, &c. (Signed) COUNT NICHOLAS DR. ROMANZOFF. St. Petersburgh, Sept. 1, 1807.
§ (Second inclosure, referred to in No. 8.)
§ The undersigned, his Britannic majesty's ambassador, has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the note of yesterday's date, which the count de Romanzoff addressed to him. He will lose no time in transmitting it to his court, but the charges which it contains against the British government, impose on the undersigned the duty of requesting his excellency to submit without delay to his imperial majesty some observations, which may place in their true light the reciprocal proceedings 212 of both powers. Although the. celerity indispensible to the execution of the measure of precaution adopted with regard to Denmark, did not allow of any anterior communications, the note of the undersigned, dated the 2d September, so far from concealing the reasons which produced that expedition, declared them with frankness, and the explanation of them was repeated and accompanied with details in the highest degree satisfactory, at the first conference of the undersigned with the ministry of that day. The secret articles of the Treaty of Tilsit are moreover still unknown to the court of London; and the undersigned has vainly required a communication of those arrangements, the execution of which daily developes objects in no way conformable to the spirit of the ancient alliances, and absolutely prejudicial to those interests, the maintenance of which formerly constituted an essential part of the Russian system. Is it, then, for Russia to complain of secrecy, whilst that court absolutely refuses the only explanation which could have been satisfactory to the court of London, as to the intentions and the projects meditated with regard to her? This silence, this extreme reserve, may serve as proof that the cabinet of St. Petersburgh were themselves persuaded that their secret arrangements were directly contrary to the interests of Great Britain. As to the tranquillity of the Baltic, England has never recognized any exclusive rights, and whatever may have been the pretensions of Russia to the title of guarantee of the security of that sea, her silence at the period when every port from Lubeck to Memel was shut against the British flag; appears an open abandonment of those pretensions. (Signed) GRANVILLE LEVESON GOWER, 12 (24) September, 1807.
§ No. IX.—Extract of a Dispatch from Lord Granville Leveson Gower, to Mr. Secretary Canning, dated St. Petersburgh, October 29th, 1807.
§ Sir Robert Wilson arrived here on Saturday the 17th, and delivered to me your dispatches. The emperor having returned from the inspection of his army in Poland, only on Thursday last, and count Romanzow having for some days previous to that time been waiting at Gatschina the arrival of his imperial majesty, it was not till Saturday night that I succeeded in obtaining a conference with the Russian minister. My reports of the change of minis- 213 try here, and of the unfriendly tone which has marked the communication I have received from this government since that change, will have dissipated the hopes which the account of my last conversation with general Budberg and other representations had led his majesty's government to entertain of the future conduct of this court. I began my conference with count Romanzow, by saying, that I had received instructions which were written under an impression that there existed in this cabinet a disposition to renew its former footing of confidence with the English government; I explained to him fairly what had caused this impression, and added that though his majesty could regard the energy and resources of his own people as the only sure foundation of the safety and prosperity of his kingdom, yet that he was always inclined to avail himself of any opportunity which this court might afford for re-establishing that union and confidence which appeared advantageous to the mutual interests of both countries, and almost essential for the recovery of the independence of Europe, that the communications I had received from his excellency, and the conduct of this government since the portefeuille of foreign affairs had been committed to his hands, had so changed the state of things, that I almost doubted whether I should be justified in executing the instructions I had received; but that trusting that he would do justice to the persevering moderation of his majesty, I would state to him with frankness what was the nature of these instructions. His majesty's declaration, I observed, sufficiently explained to Europe, that the court of London had no views of aggrandizing or enriching itself at the expense of Denmark. For the security of the British dominions, his majesty had been forced to remove out of the reach of Fance the naval means of Denmark; but the object being accomplished, the English government were ready to forego any advantage that might be derived to Great Britain from the continuance of this war; and his majesty was ready to conceit with Russia the means of re-establishing he tranquillity of the north of Europe. That object could be obtained only by the restoration of the neutrality of Denmark, and that neutrality could be rendered real and permanent only through the means of Russia. The court of Petersburgh, I said, were even more interested than the court of London in the suc- 214 cess of this negociation. Count Romanzow answered, "How can Russia recommend to Denmark to submit to the affront she had received, and to endure with patience all her losses?" I replied, "If by the continuance of the war, Denmark could hope to recover her fleet, she might with reason be indisposed to listen to such advice; but when it was evident to every person who reflected for a moment on the actual state of things, that the court of Copenhagen, by the continuance of the war, could gain nothing but the entrance of a French army into the body of its territory, I could not but think that a friendly representation from a neutral power, of a danger which threatened the very existence of Denmark, might recall the Prince Royal to a more dispassionate consideration of the real interests of his country. "Count Romanzow repeated to me, that he did not see how the court of Petersburgh could interfere, but added, he could give me no positive answer to what I had represented to him, till he had made his report of my communication to his imperial majesty.
§ No. X.—Extract of a Dispatch from the Right Honourable Lord Granville Leveson Gower to Mr. Secretary Canning, dated Saint Petersburgh, Oct. 29.—Received Nov. 28th.
§ I have the honour to inclose a copy of an official note, which, in consequence of the instructions contained in your dispatch of the 27th Sept. I immediately addressed to count Romanzow, upon the question of the proffered mediation of Russia. It is now nearly ten days since I sent it, and have as yet received no answer.
§ (Inclosure referred to in No. 10.)
§ Notwithstanding his excellency the minister for foreign affairs has anounced his imperial majesty's determination not to make any confidential communication of the secret articles contained in the treaty of peace between Russia and France, a determination which the Russian minister has been apprised must render fruitless the offer of mediation proposed by the court of St. Petersburgh, the undersigned, his Britannic majesty's ambassador, cannot nevertheless entirely abandon his solicitations without requesting his excellency count Romanzow to furnish him with a statement of the reasons which may have produced this reserve. His excellency will see moreover, that discussion in which the destinies of so many nations are involved, and which have had for their 215 object the re-establishment of general tranquillity, cannot with propriety be terminated by an avowal purely verbal. The undersigned therefore hastens to communicate in an official shape to the imperial ministry, the wishes of his sovereign, and he cherishes the hope that the Russian government, agreeably to the desire uniformly testified by the British ministry to preserve the ancient relation of confidence between the courts of London and Saint Petersburgh, will no longer hesitate to furnish him with the communication he requires, accompanied by the specification of the principles of honour and equity which his imperial majesty had reason to be convinced the French government was desirous of establishing as the basis of a negotiation of peace between England and France. (Signed) G. L. LOWER. Oct. 11, (23) 1807.
§ No. XI.—Extract of a Dispatch from the Honourable Lord Granville Leveson Gower, to Mr. Secretary Canning, dated Saint Petersburgh, Nov. 4th, 1807.—Received Dec. 2.
§ St. Petersburgh, Nov. 4, 1807.
§ On Saturday morning, the. 31st ultimo, no notice having been taken by count Romanzow, either of my note of the 23d, or of my verbal overtures respecting Denmark, I requested of his excellency an early conference. On Monday I wrote a second, note to the Russian minister, in which I expressed my regret at being under the necessity of reminding him that I had two days before requested a conference. I yesterday afternoon received an answer, in which he informs me, that he is by order of the emperor going to Gatschina, and that he cannot, till his return to St. Petersburgh, mention the time when he can receive me. This detail of the difficulties I have experienced in obtaining him interview with count Romanzow will, I trust, acquit me in the opinion of his majesty of any dilatoriness in the execution of your instructions. I confess than I am at a loss to find any satisfactory explanation of this wish to avoid communication with me. I have been informed that some members of the council, who have been consulted in the present very critical state of affairs, had advised the emperor not to reject the present opportunity of re-establishing the tranquillity of the North of Europe; that their opinion has been adopted; and that a note has been written to general Savary, with a view of engaging the French government to con- 216 sent to the restoration of the neutrality of Denmark. The French general has remonstrated violently against this measure; and the Russian cabinet alarmed by the violence of his language, is undecided what answer to return to the overture received from England. But the fear of Bonaparte's displeasure will no doubt prevail.
§ No. XII—Extract of a Dispatch from the right honourable lord Granville Leveston Gower to Mr. Secretary Canning, dated Saint Petersburgh, 8th November, 1807.—Received Dec. 2.
§ I had the honour of apprizing you by the last messenger, of the difficulty I had experienced in obtaining a conference with count Romanzow. I yesterday wrote a letter to him, of which the inclosed is a copy, and I this morning received the inclosed note. The contents of this paper are so extremely important, that I will not detain sir Robert Wilson, by making any observations upon the unfounded assertions and misrepresentations with which it abounds. This violent measure has been produced by a peremptory demand (brought by the last messenger from Paris) of the immediate execution of all the secret articles of Tilsit: and the French mission have boasted, that, after some difficulties, they have gained a complete triumph, and have carried not only this act of hostility against England, but also every other point essential to the success of Bonaparte's views. I intend asking for passports to-morrow, and shall set out in the course of a few days. P. S.—I inclose a copy of a printed declaration, which has been sent by the Russian government to all the foreign ministers residing at this court.
§ (First Inclosure referred to in No. 12.)
§ The ambassador of his Britannic majesty has repeatedly signified for more than a week his desire to converse with his excellency the count Romanzow: his sollicitations have been hitherto fruitless, but the ambassador deems it his duty to renew once more his application, previous to announcing to his court the apparent determination of his excellency to avoid the customary communications. Oct. 26, (Nov. 7), 1807.
§ (Second inclosure, referred to in No. 12.)
§ The emperor, who in the course of the war which he has just terminated, had to complain of the conduct of England towards him, suppressed his just resentment in the consoling hope that the 217 peace he had so lately concluded would lead to a general peace. He had constituted himself mediator, he had subsequently offered his mediation in acquainting his Britannic majesty that his desire was to obtain for him an honourable peace.—England rejected his offices. It seemed as if her views were not to suffer the flames of war not to be extinguished, but to kindle them anew in the North by an event sudden and novel. The fleets and armies of his Britannic majesty came to perpetrate against Denmark, an act of which history furnishes no example. The emperor, who, to the knowledge of England was a guarantee of the tranquillity of the Baltic, which is a close sea; the emperor, who had been forewarned of nothing, did not conceal his resentment; and, in a second note delivered to lord Gower, informed England, that he did not intend to remain a quiet spectator of what had befallen a king, his relation and his friend. The emperor confesses, he did not foresee, that, after this declaration, England would make him the proposal of undertaking to convince Denmark, that it was her interest to submit to what had recently befallen her, and to render Russia guarantee, that Great Britain should possess in perfect security that which she had so lately wrested from Denmark. The Prince Royal of Denmark had not ratified the convention of Copenhagen. As to the second proposals which were made to him he has again represented to his imperial majesty how greatly he was irritated by this new procedure of the British ministry towards him. The emperor, penetrated with the confidence which the Prince Royal reposed in his friendship, having considered his own wrongs against England, having maturely examined his engagements with the powers of the North, engagements entered into by the empress Catharine and his majesty the late emperor, both of glorious memory, has resolved to fulfil them. His majesty has therefore ordered the undersigned to declare to his excellency, lord G. L. Gower, his Britannic majesty's ambassador, that his imperial, majesty breaks off all communication with England. His imperial majesty recalls the whole of his mission in that country, and will not allow that of his Britannic majesty to remain at his court. There snail henceforward be no relations between the two countries. The emperor declares that he annuls for ever every act heretofore concluded between 218 Great Britain and Russia, and especially the convention of 5-17 June 1801. He proclaims anew the principles of the Armed Neutrality, that monument of the wisdom of the empress Catharine, and pre-engages never to depart from that system. He demands from England complete satisfaction for his subjects on all their just claims for ships and merchandise seized or detained against the express tenor of the treaties concluded during his own reign. The emperor declares, that no arrangements shall take place between Russia and England until the latter shall have given satisfaction to Denmark. The emperor expects, that his Britannic majesty, instead of permitting his ministers, as has lately been the case, to scatter anew the seeds of war, listening, only to the dictates of his own feelings, would lend his assistance to the conclusion of a peace with his majesty the emperor of the French, which would extend the incalculable blessings of peace over the whole world. When the emperor shall be satisfied upon all the preceding points, and especially as to the peace between France and England, without which no part of Europe can promise itself real tranquillity, his imperial majesty will then readily renew with Great Britain the relations of friendship, which considering the dissatisfaction which the emperor so justly feels, he has, perhaps, already preserved too long. The undersigned, having thus fulfilled the orders of the emperor his master, requests his excellency the ambassador to lay the contents of this note, without delay, before the king his sovereign. (Signed) The Count NICOLAS ROMANZOW. St. Petershurgh, 27th Oct. (9th Nov.) 1807.