HC Deb 16 February 1808 vol 10 cc620-40

No.1.—Dispatch from visc. Howick to Ch. Stuart esq. his majesty's of St. Petersburgh, dated Downing Street, Oct. 28th, 1806.

Sir; The accounts of the unfortunate opening of the Prussian campaign have been received here. The most powerful and the most immediate succours are become indispensable for the support of that government, and if the Russian armies should not yet have moved, you will use the most pressing instances to the court of St. Petersburgh, to give orders for their advancing without a moment's delay.


No.II.—Dispatch from visc. Howick to the hon. Henry Pierrepoint, his majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at the court of Stockholm, dated Downing Street, Oct. 28th, 1806.

Sir, The melancholy accounts of the first events of the war between Prussia and France, and of the unfortunate Battle of the 14th inst. have been received here. The effect of these disasters would indeed be most fatal, if it should induce the neighbouring powers from a despair of maintaining a successful resistance to the power of France, to endeavour to purchase their security by submission; a policy which the history of all countries that have pursued it, has proved never yet to have been effectual to its purpose.—The common danger which is now become so much more imminent than at any former period, has animated his majesty with an increased conviction of the necessity of using his most powerful efforts to avert it; and you will continue, in pursuance of your former Instructions, to urge the court of Stockolm to the most effectual application of all its forces in aid of the continental war, winch its own security as well as the general interest now so imperiously requires.


No.III.—Extract of a Dispatch from viscount Howick to Chas. Stuart esq. dated Downing Street, Nov. 4th, 1806.

It is indeed a matter of the deepest regret that the war between Prussia and France should have commenced under such circumstances as to preclude the co-operation and assistance of those powers who might have been disposed to join against he common enemy. Under the present uncertainty, whether the disastrous events which have attended the commencement of hostilities may not have compelled Prussia to submit to such terms as the French may impose, nothing can be added to your former Instructions; but you will continue to give the most positive assurances to the court of St. Petersburgh of the steady determination of his majesty to resist, to the utmost of his power, all pretensions injurious to the honour of his crown, and inconsistent with the general interests of Europe. The increase of the danger will animate his majesty to increased exertions for the sake of the common cause, and dispose him more than ever, to cultivate the good understanding which so happily subsists between the king and the emperor of Russia, and which presents the only hope for the preservation of the liberties of mankind.

No. IV.—Extracts of a Dispatch from Charles Stuart esq. to visct. Howick, dated St. Petersbusgh, Nov. 4th, 1806.—Received Dec. 1st.

General Budberg in the course of the conversation which took place this day, represented to me the inconvenience and the difficulty of impelling the payment of the troops stationed beyond the frontiers, as highly unfavourable to the efforts of this country, and told me that he had already consulted with the minister of finance respecting the possibility of raising a Russian loan in England to a considerable amount. His exc. requested me to state if I thought his majesty's government would be disposed to encourage and facilitate the undertaking? I replied, that although G. Britain had sufficiently proved a desire to forward every measure connected with the common cause, it was impossible for me to give a satisfactory answer, unless I knew the amount of the security, and terms upon which it is proposed to raise the sum required. Baron Budberg assured me he had hitherto so little considered the subject, that it was impossible to reply to these questions, though he begged I would mention the wish as expressed on his part, to the king's government; observing, when I mentioned the circumstances respecting the former Austrian Loan, that the present proposition differed widely from that of the court of Vienna, because it is not the intention of the emperor to demand a subsidy.

No. V.—Note from Baron Nicolay, Chargé d'Affaires from his majesty the emperor of Russia at this court, to viscount Howick, dated 5th Nov. 1806.

Baron Nicolay presents respects to lord Howick, and has the honour to transmit to to his exc. a copy of a dispatch which he has just received from his court. He acquits himself at the same time, of the order which it contains, to inform his exc. the secretary of state, "that his majesty the emperor, not having made any prohibition with regard to the commercial relations between Russia and France, each individual of the Russian nation has the right of freighting vessels for the port of France, and of importing its merchandize."—Baron Nicolay flatters himself that this new declaration, if indeed it were still necessary after the frequent communications which he has already had the honour to make to his exc. upon the same subject, will contribute to accelerate the restitution of the Russian property detained here, on account of which baron Nicolay has had the honour of addressing himself to lord Howick on the 22nd ult. He embraces this opportunity to intreat his exc. to be so good as to enable him to return an answer to his court, upon the different subjects, which he had the honour to submit to lord Howick at the same time, and particularly upon that which relates to the imperial gymnasium at Volhvnia, and he is anxious to renew to his lordship the secretary of state the assurance of his most high consideration. London, 24th October (5th November,) 1806.

(Inclosure referred to in No. V.)

Sir; In pursuance of what I wrote to you on the 11th instant, respecting the claims of the merchants Glouhoff, Kelmund and company, it will be necessary for me to speak further to you on a subject, upon which I have just received instructions, and relative to which you also will equally have to explain yourself to the English government, for the purpose of removing every pretext which could be resorted to for the purpose of retarding the decision of those proceedings. The court of admiralty in London, requiring that the Russian merchants should give some proof of the trade with France having been allowed them, during the rupture between the two countries, you will represent to the British government, that his majesty the emperor not having made any prohibition with regard to this point, each individual of the Russian nation has the right of freighting vessels for the ports of France, and of importing its merchandize, especially as during the whole course of the late events the commercial relations between the two powers have not been interrupted, which is proved by the residence of the respective agents and consuls. I am, &c. A. DE BUDBERG.

No. VI.—Note from viscount Howick to baron Nicolay, dated Downing Street, Nov. 10th, 1806.

The undersigned lost no time in referring to the king's advocate the several representations made by baron Nicolay, with respect to the Russian vessels trading to the enemy's ports, which had been detained and brought into the ports of G. Britain. The answers were only received this morning, and are transmitted herewith.—The undersigned has already, in his personal interview with baron Nicolay, explained to him the principle upon which these vessels have been detained.—By the general law of nations, all commercial intercourse between belligerent states is interdicted by the very nature and existence of war; and the property of persons engaged in such a trade is liable to confiscation, unless they have the express licence and permission of their own sovereign to cary it on. This rule has been applied hitherto by the British government equally to its own subjects, and to those of its ally, presuming that Russia would do the same; and it being uncertain whether any or what permission had been granted to the subjects of Russia to catty on a trade with the enemy, Russian ships coining from the enemy's ports have been detained by the British cruizers.—It appearing, however, from the baron de Nicolay's note of the 6th instant, that the subjects of Russia are excepted from the operation of this general principle, by the declaration, that his imperial majesty had not thought proper to interdict the commercial relations subsisting ,between Russia and France, and considered his subjects as authorized, under this permission, to freight vessels for the ports of France, and to bring back merchandize in return, immediate orders will be given for the release of all Russian ships which have been brought into the British ports, and which appear to have been freighted with articles of an innocent nature.—All articles of a contrary description, and particularly naval stores, the British government feels confident that it could never be the intention of the emperor of Russia to suffer his subjects, in the present war, to transport to the ports of France. In a war in which those two powers are engaged as allies, it never could be wise or just for either to, suffer the enemy to be supplied with those means of offence which could only be directed against their common interests.—The undersigned, therefore, at the same time that he is commanded to express his majesty's readiness to afford all reasonable facilities to the subjects of Russia, in carrying on a trade with the enemy in innocent articles, (so long as such trade shall be continued to be sanctioned by his imperial majesty), is also instructed to request, that an express interdiction may be issued by the Russian government, against sending naval stores to the ports of the enemy, as by furnishing such supplies, the greatest injury must necessarily be occasioned to the common cause in which the two powers are so happily united.—With respect to the particular cases represented in baron Nicolay's notes of the 22 of October, the undersigned refers hint to the accompanying report from the king's advocate. The undersigned, &c. HOWICK.

No. VII.—Extract of a Dispatch from Charles Stuart, esq. to viscount Howick, dated St. Petersburgh, November 19th, 1806.

I have not ceased to press general Budberg to communicate to me, such details respecting the loan which it is proposed to be raised in England on account of the Russian government, as may enable his majesty's ministers early to decide whether it would be possible to comply with the wishes of the court of St. Peteraburgh. In a conversation which took place yesterday his exc. informed me that he had spoken with the minister of finance, and it is calculated that six, or if possible seven millions sterling will be the amount of the sum which they desire to raise by this method; that the capital shall bear an interest of five per cent. secured in whatever manner may be deemed most eligible, though he said that the Russian customs will, he hopes, be deemed an adequate security in case the proposition should be encouraged in England.—His exc. did not state the term or the mode of repayment, but said, he would very shortly send a messenger to England with further particulars, and suggested that some person versed in financial affairs should ,be authorized to settle the further details with this government. Though the amount of the sum may perhaps appear considerable, I must observe that the customs offer full security for the regular payment of the interest.

No. 8.—Extract of a dispatch from Charles Stuart, esq. to visc. Howick, dated St. Petersburgh, Nov. 28th 1806. —Received Jan. 2d, 1807.

General Budberg lately told me that his imperial majesty had expressly directed him to urge the expediency of partial expeditions on the coast of France and Holland, for the purpose of distracting the attention of the enemy, and impeding the march of the French reserves.

No. 9.—Dispatch from Charles Stuart, esq. to vista Howick, dated St. Petersburgh, Nov. 28th, 1806.—Received Jan. 2d, 1807.

My lord, I have the honour to inclose a copy of a note I received yesterday from general Budberg, upon the subject of the loan which this government purposes to raise in England, together with a copy of the answer which I thought the most suitable, as the determination which may be adopted by his majesty's ministers can be no way biassed by mere civil assurances on my part.—In addition to the particulars communicated in my dispatch, No. 55. I have since learned that to insure the repayment of the money at the cud of twenty years, a Caisse d'Amortissement or sinking fund will be established, and an adequate branch of the Revenue will be set apart to accumulate as soon as the two governments shall have arranged every difficulty.—General Budberg appears desirous that this matter shall be brought to an early conclusion, and has repeatedly assured me that the remittance of specie rather than bills will be a great convenience to the Russian court. I am, &c. CH. STUART.

(First Inclosure referred to in No. 9.)

The very critical state to which the disasters of Prussia have reduced the affairs of the good cause, far from abating the energy with which his imperial majesty is resolved to maintain it, has caused him to take the resolution of employing all his efforts to check and repel that torrent, the progress of which will meet with no further obstacle on the continent, but in the power of Russia. The extraordinary expences which the vigorous, measures in which his imperial majesty is engaged for the support of the present war, will impose upon him, requiring sums which cannot at this moment be drawn from the resources of Russia with that promptitude which circumstances demand, his imperial majesty has charged the undersigned to propose to his Britannick majesty's government, by means of his minister plenipotentiary, that a loan should be opened in England upon the following basis: 1st. The sum to be borrowed is six millions of pounds sterling. 2d. Of this stun one third shall delivered in gold, either in bullionor coined; another third in silver, either in bullion or coined; and the other in hills of exchange. 3d. If the British government will not undertake to convey this gold and silver to the ports of Russia, the remittance of them may be made in England to Messieurs Harman and company, bankers, accredited by the court of Russia. 4th. The account of the loan shall be kept in pounds sterling; the payment of the capital, as well as of the interest, shall he made in the same money. 5th. The term of the loan shall be fixed at twenty years, at the same time agreeing that Russia, during the first twelve years, shall have to repay as much of the capital as the balance of her commerce amid the state of her revenue will enable her to discharge; and that during the last eight years, the remainder of the capital shall be reimbursed in equal portions. 6th. The interest of the sums which shall have been delivered in virtue of the loan, shall be at five per cent. per annum, and until the said loan shall have been filled up and compleated, three or four periods in the year shall be fixed upon for the payment of the interest.—It would be very desirable that the imperial treasury should receive on account of this loan an advance of one million of pounds sterling, either coined or in bullion, which may be sent as soon as possible, and before the navigation is shut up.—The undersigned, in acquitting himself of the duty with which he is charged to Mr. Stuart, flatters himself, that aware as he is of the magnitude of the interests which are to be decided by the efforts of his imperial majesty, he will appreciate the importance of the propositions just communicated to him, and that his acknowleged zeal for the interests of the good cause, and for the principles upon which the strict alliance of the two courts chiefly rests, will lead him on this occasion to concur in the views of the emperor, by making known, as soon as possible, to his government, the proposals contained in the present communication. He seizes this occasion, &c.


(Second Inclosure referred to in No. 9)

The repeated proofs of his Britannia majesty's attachment to that cause which protects the liberties of Europe, are sufficiently notorious, to remove all doubt as to his sincere desire to concur in and even to anticipate the wishes of his only ally in the glorious struggle which the two powers continue to maintain.—The sentiments, expressed in the note of his excellency general Budberg, are perfectly analogous to the invariable principles of the British government, and unless there exist serious considerations with which the undersigned is unacquainted, he has only to perform the duty of reporting them to his government, in order to ensure a favourable result to the desires announced on the part of his imperial majesty. The undersigned, &c.


No. 10.—Extract of a Dispatch from visc. Howick to the marq. of Douglas, his majesty's ambassador at the court of St. Petersburgh, dated Downing street, Dec. 4th, 1806.

This dispatch I hope will find your lordship safely arrived at St. Petersburgh, and enjoying good health after the fatigues of so long a journey at so bad a season.—Mr. Stuart's dispatches to No. 47 inclusive, with the exception of No. 43, which has not yet been received, have been laid before the majesty has seen with great satisfaction the resolution expressed by the cabinet of St. Petersburgh, in consequence of the accounts which lead been received there, of the unfortunate battle of the 14th Oct. It is by such a spirit alone that the affairs of Europe can be retrieved, and your lordship will not fail to express in the most emphatic manner, the entire concurrence of his majesty in the generous sentiments entertained by his imperial ally—These assurances I have already given to Mr. Nicolay, who has made a confidential communication to me, of the contents of the dispatches received from his court, of the same date as Mr. Stuart's.—Among other things he is instructed to invite this government to a frank and explicit communication of its views with respect to the present crisis. To this I could only answer generally, there being at this moment no question of any particular military operation, that the same opinion is entertained here as at St. Petersburgh, of the necessity of combined exertions to resist the increasing danger, and of a full and unreserved confidence on all points connected with the interests of the common cause.

No. 11.—Extract of a dispatch from Charles Stuart, esq. to visc. Howick, dated St. Petersburgh, 18th December 1806.—Received Jan. 22d, 1807.

At court this morning his imperial majesty urged in the strongest terms the expediency of a diversion on the enemy in the north of Europe, by a powerful expedition to the coasts of France or Holland.

No. 12.—Extract of a dispatch from Charles Stuart, esq. to visc. Howick, dated St. Petersburgh, 2d Jun. 1807. —Received Feb. 6th.

I did not fail to press on general Budberg, the sentiments of his majesty's government: I can however only draw from that minister a repetition of the language I formerly detailed on this subject, accompanied by a complaint that the whole of the enemy's forces are directed against Russia at a moment when Great Britain does not shrew any disposition to diminish the danger, by a diversion against France and Holland.

No. 13.—Extract of a dispatch from visc. Howick to the marq. of Douglas, dated Downing Street, 13th Jan. 1807.

With respect to the Joan proposed to be raised here for the use of Russia, upon which I gave your lordship reason to expect further details, I have nothing very satisfactory to state to you. The information sent to M. Nicolay with a view to the accomplishment of this object is very insufficient, at least he professes to have received nothing more than the mere copy of the note sent to me by Mr. Stuart.—It must be obvious that this paper could not furnish that minister with the authority which was necessary in so complicated and difficult a business. In fact M. Nicolay has met with so many difficulties in his communications with the monied interest in the city, that he has found no other resource than that of applying for the guarantee of this government, without which it is stated that no loan can be raised for the use of Russia, except upon terms extremely disadvantageous to that country.—To this proposition, which is not even hinted at in the Russian note, your lordship will at once see the obvious and insurmountable objections. It is impossible that his majesty's government should make itself responsible for so large a sum as six millions, the annual taxation for the interest of which, combined with any adequate sinking fund, if it should ultimately fall on this country, would amount to little Jess than 500,000l. sterling. The examples of the Austrian loans are too recent to allow any one to doubt that a loan thus secured, must in effect be considered as a subsidy; and would be so regarded by parliament were such a proposition brought forward there. —It may indeed be said that the resources of Russia are greater than those of Austria, and her credit, from the punctuality with which former loans have been discharged, better established. But here we must remark the difference between a loan negotiated with individuals, and one borrowed, (for such would be the effect of the proposed guarantee) from another state. In the one case the hope of raising future supplies in the same way must depend on the faith which is observed in the engagements entered into respecting them. Where the debt is to fall on another power, in the event of any interruption of friendship between the two governments, and still more in the possibility, (I trust very improbable case) of an actual rupture between them, the desire of distressing an enemy may be felt more strongly than the obligations of good faith; at the same time that the violation of that principle is not so certainly pro- ductive of future disadvantage.—An individual who has no object but pecuniary profit will not again trust to promises which have been broken; but it may not unreasonably be presumed that as a government does not contract engagements of this nature, without having some political interest of its own involved in them, the recurrence of a similar interest may induce it no overlook the failure of former engagements. In addition to all this, on a general principle of national policy, it would not be wise, whatever may be our reliance on the honour, the good faith, and the steady friendship of Russia, to implicate ourselves in an arrangement, which if our present good understanding should at any tune cease, might enable that power in a moment of great difficulty to throw upon us the additional burthen of so large an annual taxation, as that which I have already stated. —I have dwelt so much at length on the reasons which must operate conclusively against a compliance with this request, in order that your lordship may be fully apprized of the propriety of the determination which has been adopted, and of the necessity of its been steadily adhered to. Every facility that can be given to any use Russia can make of her own credit, in this the only remaining money market in Europe, will be afforded. In the negotiation of the loan formerly raised by that power in Holland, similar difficulties were experienced, and they are understood to have been obviated by obtaining the security, for which a large price was paid, of merchants of well established credit, such as Alexander Hope and Co. of Amsterdam, and others. There seems to be no reason why a similar expedient should not be resorted to now, and if the terms should be worse than is to be wished, this is an evil which must be submitted to; nor is it reasonable that, in order to avoid this difficulty, the finances of this country should, after fourteen years of unparalleled exertion, be subjected to so great an additional burthen.—The pecuniary embarrassments of the moment, are the unavoidable result of the present unfortunate state of public affars, and even this country itself, great as its credit and its resources are, is not altogether exempt front them.—In the course of the discussions which have taken place on this subject, it has been suggested that an additional facility might be afforded by some arrangement for better securing to the creditors the receipt of the interest in England; and an idea has occurred, that by a suppression of the customs on British merchandize imported into Russia, and the imposition of an equivalent export duty here, this might be effected; a separate account being kept of the duties so raised, and their strict application carefully provided for, by paying over the whole of them as fast us they are collected, into the hands of commissioners or trustees, who might be compelled by law faithfully to apply the whole to those purposes only, to which it would be so appropriated. Though it does not seem probable that the present plan of raising a loan will be pursued much farther, it may be useful to make some enquiry upon this subject, with a view to any future demands of the same nature, and to throw out the idea to M. Budberg, as one which has been suggested by an extreme desire to find some mode of facilitating the object which is in view, without subjecting this country to sacrifices which cannot, in justice, be expected from her. Your lordship will therefore endeavour to obtain the most accurate information of the amount and sources of the Russian revenue, of the made of its collection, of the amount of public debt to which it is pledged, and on what branches of the revenue the payment of such debt and the interest is secured, and particularly of the possibility of any such transfer of duties as that which I have above suggested.—The arrangement which I announced to your lordship in my last dispatch for the immediate transmission of 500,000l. in specie, on account of the late subsidy, has been completed. The necessary declarations were this morning exchanged between M. de Nicolay and me; and the money will be immediately shipped for Gottenburg, on board the Quebec frigate. It is to be expected that Russia may make some complaints of what may perhaps be considered as an unwillingness on the part of this government to come to her assistance. M. de Nicolay indeed, in a conversation this morning with lord Grenville and myself, thew out some hints to this effect, and even asked if it was no longer the intention of this country to make common cause with Russia? To this the answer is obvious and easy. A refusal to comply with a request unreasonable in itself and injurious to this country, ought not to give rise to any such suspicion.—Your ldp. will find no difficulty in producing abundant proofs from the king's past conduct; and you will repeat, in the strongest manner, fresh assurances of his majesty's earnest de- sire to contribute to the utmost of his power to the support of an ally, with whom, whether in peace or war, the king finds his own interest so closely connected; but it is not to be supposed that so great and powerful an empire as Russia can fail to find in its own resources, abundant means for its own defence. Should an inability to do this be avowed, it would leave little hope of success in a war, the whole burthen of which must then rest upon England.—His maj. has at no time shown a backwardness to second the efforts of the continental powers; but the case is not now of an auxiliary force which this government is endeavouring to draw out for purposes of offence, and the expences of which are to be defrayed at a great distance from the resources of the power which furnishes it. —Russia, attacked on her own frontiers, is become a principal in the war, and his maj. will be ready to afford her all the succour, which in that chaarcter, she can justly claim, and which the common interests may require.—But in looking forward to a protracted contest, for which the successes, and above all the inveterate enmity of the French government, must oblige this country to provide, his majesty fells it incumbent on him to preserve as much as possible, the resources to be derived from the tried affections of his people. HOWICK.

No. 14.—Extract of a Dispatch from C. Stuart, esq. to visc. Howick, dated St. Petersburg, Jan. 14th, 1807.—Received Feb. 27.

I must not conceal from your lordship that the apparent silence of his majesty's government respecting a military diversion on the coast of France, has not produced a favourable effect on the opinion either of the ministers or the public of this country.

No. 15.—Extract of a Dispatch from the marg. of Douglas, to visc. flowick, dated St. Petersburgh, Jan.26th 1807.

Before I conclude, I must inform your lordship that baron Budberg complained of the situation in which Russia was now placed, being left to combat alone against France, without either support on one side or diversion on the other.

No. 16.—Extract of a dispatch from the marq. of Douglas to visc. Howick, dated St. Petersburgh, Feb. 4th, 1807.

During this interview general Budberg seized every occasion of complaining of the Russians being left without military assistance on the part of Great Britain. An attack on any part of the coast of France, or even the alarm of an attack promulgated with confidence, would tend to relieve Russia from the concentrated forces of the French army.—Was any measure of this kind to be adopted I am persuaded I should no longer hear any arguments against the ulterior guarantee; not that I omitted to remind the general that after what had been done in Italy, and what was ready to be done at Constantinople, Great Britain could never be considered as a negative co-adjutor whether in reference to the common cause or in reference to her immediate friends and allies.

No. 17.—Extract of a Dispatch from the marq. of Douglas to visc. Howick, dated St. Petersburgh, Feb. 8th, 1807.

His excellency said, that the court of Petersburgh being now abandoned to her own resources, was entitled to expect some efforts which may divert the attention of the French government, before they consent to enter into any engagement which is likely to create future differences with that power upon a subject not immediately interesting to Russia.

No. 18.—Extract of a Dispatch from the marq. of Douglas to visc. Howick, dated St. Petersburgh, Feb. 15th, 1807.—Received March 8th.

I cannot sufficiently express the extreme anxiety felt here that some expedition should be undertaken by G. Britain to divert the general concentration of the French troops from the banks of the Vistula.

No. 19.—Extract of a Note from gen. Budberg to the marq. of Douglas, dated Feb.1st, 1807.—Transmitted by the marq. of Douglas and received March 8th.

The undersigned has already had occasion to observe to the ambassador the marquis of Douglas and Clydesdale, that partial and separate expeditions cannot influence the general operations in an impressive manner, and that a vague assurance, such as, "We shall soon see what England will do," cannot be sufficiently satisfactory in circumstances so imminently critical as the present. The emperor is therefore desirous, that the British government should make known to him with the greatest possible detail, the plans which it may have hi view, in order to effect a powerful diversion upon one or any of the points of the coasts subject to the enemy; and that in general it should communicate to his ministry, such views and projects, the execution of which it may judge capable of contributing to the success of the common cause. His imperial majesty thinks himself the more justified in expressing this wish, as at all times he has prescribed it as a duty to his cabinet to communicate to that of his majesty the king of Great Britain, every thing that might interest it upon this subject, and as, in point of fact, the British government has been regularly informed of all the measures which, in the course of events, have been adopted by Russia, and has been acquainted with the forces which she has employed on such points where their presence has been judged useful to the interests of the allied courts.

No. 20.—Extract of a Dispatch from visc. Howick to the marq. of Douglas, dated Downing Street, Feb. 20th 1807.

With respect to military diversions, your exc. must at once have been prepared to state to the Russian government the extreme difficulty of any maritime operations at the present season. The difficulty and danger indeed at all seasons of landing in a country such as France, where the means exist of collecting, in a short time, a much larger force than any that can be sent from this country, and from whence there can be no secure retreat, must be sufficiently apparent. All that can at present be said therefore on this head is, that if a favourable opportunity should arise, his majesty will be desirous of exerting his utmost efforts to distress the enemy upon any point which may present an advantageous opening to assist the general operations of the war.

No. 21.—Extract of a Dispatch from visc. Howick to the marq. of Douglas, dated, Downing Street, March 7th 1807.

I have nothing to add to my former dispatches (to which I beg leave to refer your excellency) with respect to the renewal of the commercial treaty, the proposal of military diversions by this country, and the suggestion of further pecuniary assistance.

No. 22.—Extract of a Dispatch from visc. Howick to the marq. of Douglas, dated Downing Street, March 10th 1807.

The messenger Vick, with your excellency's dispatches, arrived on Sunday last, and I have it in command from the king to lose no time in expressing to your excellency the lively satisfaction with which his majesty has received the account of the battle of the 8th ultimo. Your excellency will take the earliest opportunity of offer- ing to the emperor, the king's congratulations on an event so glorious to the Russian arms, and so advantageous to the cause in which the two sovereigns are engaged.—It is painful to me to pass from this to a less pleasing topic; but I am under the necessity of expressing to your excellency the increased disappointment and regret which his majesty has experienced in learning that so many unforeseen objections are still urged against the renewal of the commercial treaty. The proposed extension of this treaty for two years, upon the conditions annexed to this proposal, is by no means satisfactory; nor does there seem to be any good reason for not coming to a definitive arrangement, which his majesty is willing to conclude without any alteration in the terms of the present treaty. Had any new proposal been made on the part of his majesty, there might have been some pretence for delay; but in a case where the interests of the two countries are so well understood, and in which experience has proved the advantage to both, of the treaty which is now about to expire, his majesty feels himself entitled, upon all the grounds of mutual interest and friendship, to renew his instances with his august ally, for an immediate compliance with so equitable a proposal. Though your excellency will urge this in the strongest terms, you will however consent to the offered extension for two years, it being understood that the advantages at present enjoyed by the British commerce are to suffer no diminution, rather than allow the treaty to expire. I cannot, however, dismiss this subject without some remark upon the manner in which this concession, as it is termed, on the part of Russia, is made to depend upon an immediate assurance of a powerful military diversion being made by this country. The insinuation conveyed in this part of the baron de Budberg's note, is so little justified by the former conduct of this government, that it cannot be passed over without notice. It is unnecessary to state the obvious tendency of such language to produce mutual discontent, and excite adverse pretensions, destructive of the harmony and confidence which ought to prevail between the two governments. In renewing your representations, therefore, upon the necessity of a speedy conclusion of this treaty, which your excellency will remark is no less advantageous to Russia than to England, you will protest against any attempt to make use of it in this manner, either as an inducement or a threat, with respect to measures with which it is wholly unconnected, and which must depend upon considerations, of a totally different nature. —I have already explained to your excellency the difficulties which have hitherto prevented any attempt at military diversions. A more favourable, season is now approaching; and you may assure the Russian minister, that this government is sedulously employed in preparing the means of still more active co-operation.—I hope soon to be able to communicate to your excellency something more specific on this subject; but the Russian government must be aware how much the force of which his majesty can dispose for continential operations is necessarily limited, both by the extent of his naval exertions and the necessary support of his distant colonies; and how much the difficulty of employing it advantageously is increased by the present situation of the north of Germany, where his majesty can neither look to the junction of his army with that of any ally, to any established magazines to enable to advance, nor to the possession of any considerable fortress to secure its retreat.

No. 23.—Dispatch from visc. Howick to Alex. Straton, esq. his majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at the court of Sweden, dated Downing Street, March 10th, 1807.

Sir; Your dispatches have been received and laid before the king.—Though the king of Sweden does not appear to have renewed with you the question of an additional subsidy, that subject has been pressed upon me in repeated conversations by M. Rehausens.—From the communication which that minister has made to me of the instructions he has received from his court, a good deal of dissatisfaction appears to be felt there at our supposed backwardness in assisting the exertions which the king of Sweden is willing to make.—There certainly is no ground for such an imputation. In the instructions of your predecessor you will find that he was uniformly directed to state the importance which his majesty attached to the undertaking of offensive operations on the side of Pomerania, and that he was even authorized to give assurances of pecuniary assistance from the moment the Swedish troops should have passed their own frontier: But it was added, that before any thing could be conclusively arranged, it was necessary that his Swedish majesty should communicate generally to this government his plan of operations, and more particularly the amount of force which it might be in his power to employ.—M. de Rehausen has urged the impossibility of stating in detail all the measures which it may be necessary to arrange with a view to a future campaign. No such thing however was required, The information asked for, was only what was necessary to enable his majesty to judge of the general expediency of the measures proposed, with respect to which it is evident that no satisfactory opinion could be formed without a knowledge of the force destined to execute them, and of the time when it would be ready to act. Even further details, when they could be conveniently communicated, his majesty, considering how largely lie is expected to contribute his support, would have a right to expect; and such communication would be obviously necessary to enable his majesty to direct any efforts, which on his side he might have an opportunity of making, to the advancement of the common objects of the two powers.—In order to come to a right understanding upon this point, you will, with as little delay as possible after the receipt of this dispatch, request an audience of his Swedish majesty. You will state the sincere pleasure with which his majesty has seen the king of Sweden's steady resistance to the common enemy. You will repeat the opinion already expressed on the part of this government, that a diversion by a Swedish force on the side of Pomerania, would be at the present moment of the utmost importance, and with a view to bringing the discussion to a point, you will request particular information on the three following heads:—1. What is the amount of force which the king of Sweden could employ, exclusive of the garrison of Stralsund? In addition to which information, it is desirable to know, where it is now stationed, and how soon it could be ready to act? 2. Whether any, and what addition of British troops would be required? 3. What amount of subsidy the king of Sweden would demand in proportion to the number of troops employed? Should the Swedish government be willing to enter into this discussion, you will state upon the two first points, that it does not appear to his majesty that any effectual operation could be undertaken without a force amounting at the very least to twenty-five thousand men.—From M. de Rehausen's statements to me, it appears that the chief deficiency of the Swedish army is in cavalry. This is certainly the description of force which his majesty could best spare from his own army. If a brigade of dragoons would enable his Swedish majesty to bring into the field a force of the amount above stated, you may state that this proportion of cavalry might probably be furnished from hence.—With regard to the last point, viz. that of subsidy, you will state that his majesty will be disposed to contribute to the support of the proposed operation, by a subsidy regulated according to the proportion of that which was given to Austria in 1805; but that this proportion cannot be exceeded, except as to a sum usually furnished as a "premiere mise en campagne," which, as soon as the measures in contemplation shall be conclusively agreed upon, may be advanced to the amount of two, or at most three, months subsidy.—Having communicated these proposals to the king of Sweden, you will request his majesty to authorise his ministers to enter upon the immediate discussion of them; and to prevent the loss of time, you will suggest the expediency of sending to this country sonic confidential military officer, fully instructed upon all the points above-mentioned, who might assist Mr. de Rehausen in giving the necessary explanations, and in bringing this business to a prompt termination.—I know it is unnecessary for me to recommend to you the utmost diligence in the execution of these instructions, and in obtaining and transmitting to me the most accurate information respecting the present state and disposition of the Swedish government, and the condition and numbers of its army.


No. 24,—Extract of a Dispatch from lord Hutchinson addressed to visc. Howick, dated Memel, March 9th, 1807.—Received April 18th, by Mr. Secretary Canning.

I have been repeatedly pressed by the Prussian government, with whom the Russians have also co-operated, to write to your lordship on the subject of a diversion to be made by the British troops, which might occupy the French essentially, and force them to withdraw a part of their troops from this quarter. M. de Zastrow made me yesterday a formal proposition. —Marshal Mortier now blockades Stralsund with about twenty thousand men; it is therefore proposed that the British and Swedish troops should in conjunction force them to raise that blockade, and moving on the left bank of the Oder, threaten the communications in the rear of the French army. They might besiege Stettin which is a large place with a small garrison, and in a bad state of defence; were it taken, the communication with Berlin; the Elbe, and the rest of Germany would be at once open.—If the French remain in Poland, a considerable force acting in this manner on their rear would create the most serious embarrassments, and probably three them to evacuate Poland, or at least oblige them to detach such a number of troops as would soon leave them inferior to the allies.—Should even the French occupy the line of the Oder, this diversion would be of the greatest importance, as the Russians would in that case probably march with the greater Part of their army into Silesia.—This proposed operation would be attended with little danger, as the British Army would always have a retreat upon Stralsund open to them, and from thence into the Island of Rugen, from whence they might he re-embarked. Stralsund in summer, is, I believe, a very strong place. —I have informed Monsieur de Zastrow that I would undoubtedly make the proposition; that I was convinced the British government meant to make a strong diversion in favour of the allies, and was empowered to give them the strongest assurances on that subject; but that I could not exactly pledge myself as to the quarter in which it would be made. The one now proposed appeared to me to be highly advantageous, and only attended with the ordinary risques of war, as in every event the retreat of the troops employed in that service would not be an hazardous one.—Your lordship will probably receive a communication on this subject from baron Jacobi; lord Douglas has also, I understand, written to you on the subject from Petersburgh.

No. 25.—Extract of a Dispatch from the marq. of Douglas, dated Saint Petersburgh, March 19th, 1807, addressed to visc. Howick.—Received by Mr. Secretary Canning, April —

There is reason to suppose that it has been forcibly put to the emperor by some people here, little partial to England, that Russia is abandoned by her friends; that the whole contest is left to her, and that that even her intimate ally, G. Britain, neglects to support her at a crisis when any reverse of fortune might endanger the empire itself.—It is the more painful to me that such insinuations should appear, for a moment, to be justified by fact, because I know how little they are deserved, and how different they are from those feelings that both actuate, the government and the country at large. It is for his majesty's government to decide what are the objects of their present policy, and what are the means most likely to secure those objects: but I should neglect my duty if I did not observe, that should no effort be made this spring by the British troops, it is more than probable that the above observations will recur in full vigour to his imperial majesty's mind; if so, I need not point out what will be the probable result. England, I am aware may secure herself; but I am convinced that his majesty's government feels to much for the honour of the country, and the future happiness of Europe, to compromise for partial views a prospect of general and permanent welfare.

No. 26 —Extract of a Dispatch from the marquis of Douglas, dated Saint Petersburgh 22nd March (3rd April,) 1807, addressed to viscount Howick.—Received by Mr. Sec. Canning, May 13th.

The activity of England I have frequently expatiated upon; but I must not conceal from your lordship that this court, alive to the embarrassments that surround her, is determined, in spite of every argument, to consider no act as directed towards their particular support, that does not, by occupying a part of the French forces, relieve her from their concentrated attacks.

No. 27.— Extract of a Dispatch from the marquis of Douglas, dated Saint Petersburgh, April 27th, 1807; addressed to visc. Howick.—Received by Mr. Sec. Canning, June 1st.

I am thoroughly convinced of the sincere and honourable intentions of the emperor; and yet as it is impossible that I should be deaf to the murmurs that surround me, to the expectations of thousands, to the intrigues of a few, all more or less beginning to seek the same object; so I cannot without some jealousy look to the possible consequences. Should any diversion however take place on the part of G. Britain, or assisted by her troops, there is a great probability that in that case the emperor, from a point of honour, would consider himself bound to act with all possible energy.

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