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Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia.

government to maintain. Upon these pretensions were grounded those of the armed neutrality of 1780. Upon that convention was avowedly raised the coalition of armed hostility in 1800. This last coalition is now become universal, it is with great regret we dare not venture to except America, and great Britain is the object of its vengeance*.

This coalition might have been prevented by a single act of public justice; the restitution of the Swedish convoy, and the repeal and punishment of those emissaries of discord, who were daily insulting, and by their fallacious reports calumniating the governments of the north. The emperor of Russia considered our attack upon Sweden as a wanton insult; especially, as we condemned that convoy on the principle of a resistance, said to have been made by its commodore, and saw with unmanly indifference, and without offering a word in his behalf, that unfortunate officer brought to the block for not having resisted! This transaction roused the indignation of Paul I. and succeeding events, equally trivial and unprofitable to Great Britain, as we shall explain in the second part of these sketches, blew that indignation into a flame of revenge.

Notwithstanding this state of things, had the British government, after the affair of the Frya frigate, sent out, instead of a contemptible menace to Copenhagen, a proposition worthy of the high and generous spirit of the British nation, and proportionate to the power and posture of Russia, we might not only have disarmed the enmity of the northern states, but we

That the British government should have drawn on itself the enmity of so many states without having acquired, or even sought for any kind of benefit, or advantage permanent, or temporary, is extremely singular; perhaps unexampled in the history of civilized nations. We can certainly not consider the having intercepted a few cargoes of rotten corn and Norway deal-boards going to France and Spain, as a national advantage; and the whole importance of our ridiculous treaties, which stipulate, what articles are, and what are not to be considered as contraband of war, is not worth to the state, six pounds of gunpowder. In these master-pieces of diplomatic absurdity, the principal chapters run as follow:

Iron-worked into arms is contraband-not worked into arms is fair trade.

Lead-cast into shot is contraband-not cast into shot is fair trade.

Copper-in plates 1-8th of an inch thick is contraband-in plates 3-10ths of an inch thick is fair trade.

Timber-formed by carpenters into ship-masts is contraband-naturally grown to the shape of ship-masts is fair trade.

Leather-made into soldiers boots and horse-saddles is contraband--not made inte boots and horse-saddles is fair trade!

With other less important articles, classically arranged with equal judgment and political sagacity. It is a curious presumption that the French should employ Danes and Swedes to make muskets, shot, and boots for them! It is more curious still that we should be so anxious to oblige our enemies to maintain manufactures of the utensils of war amongst themselves! yet the fact is, that out of this sort of miserable matters, haye always arisen our quarrels with the secondary maritime statės.

Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia.

could have secured their lasting friendship and permanent alliance, by the strongest ties of reciprocal national interests. If we had injured the weaker states, it was our duty, and it would have been our glory, to have granted them ample reparation. No concessions on our part, nor arrogance on theirs, could in anywise have affected the dignity of the British government, nor the honor of the nation, Nor could Russia have demanded any condition that was an equivalent for her friendship and certain co-operation*.

As it was not thought proper to enter into any discussion upon the claims of the neutral powers, prior to the battle of Copenhagen, that affair happily terminating in negociation, it was then the duty of the British government to have investigated, with particular attention, the nature of the convention of armed neutrality; whether it was built upon real national interests, or merely upon speculation; if all the parties entered voluntarily into that compact, or if some of the weaker powers acceded to it by compulsion; whether its leading principle was, or was not, a rooted enmity towards Great Britain; and then to have examined the real, or presumed causes of that enmity. We should have likewise calculated fairly and with intelligence, the influence and effects, which the powers of the Northern states, firmly organized under the immediate direction of Russia, and in conjunction with the power of France, could then, or at any future period, have upon the interests and safety of the British empire. These matters fully ascer tained and duly weighed, the relative positions of Great Britain and Russia would have been clearly seen, and measures adequate to exigent circumstances might then have been adopted.

With respect to the origin and nature of the northern neutralité armée, we believe the idea was conceived in that academy of perverted positions, the cabinet of Versailles; with an intention to arm the navies of Sweden, Denmark, and Holland, as a check upon the naval operations of Great Britain, and partly to prevent a confederacy between Russia and England, in time of maritime war.

The wretched figure which Great Britain made in the war that subsided in the truce of Aix-la-Chapelle, encourged the government of France to form the project of expelling the English from America and the East Indies. To facilitate the accomplishment of that object, the cabinet of Versailles

* At the period we refer to, the emperor was irritated, it is true; but a frank arrangement with Denmark, and the satisfaction we owed to Sweden, agreed to, would have instantaneously reconciled him. An accommodation offered, in the name of our revered sovereign, either direct, through the king of Sweden, or by the Prince Royal of Denmark would have raised his generous mind to ecstacy, and instead of a mosť formidable enemy, he would have again become our most valuable friend. We speak here from a knowledge of the fact. It is perhaps a pity that sovereigns cannot, now and then take one another by the hand, and eat their beef-steak together téte a téte unmasked. If monarchs were better acquainted with one another, much mischief might be prevented. Official mèn say no; that is because so many of them would not be wanted.

Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia.

thought it necessary to prevent the co-operation of a Russian fleet with the British navy. Consequently, already in 1754, the French ministry proposed to the senate of Stockholm, and to the Danish cabinet, a sort of armed naval convention, for, as they said, the protection of the trade of the states maritime, and to maintain the liberty of the Baltic. Little notice seemed to be taken of this proposal, until the events of the war began to promise an almost certain success to the efforts of France; then in 1758, the Swedish and Danish governments, in hope of gaining as we might lose, did enter into such a convention under the sanction of France and Prussia. But the brilliant exploits of the British navy in 1759, and succeeding campaigns, disconcerted their measures, and for a time suspended the effects.

The next disquisition that took place on the mercantile rights of neutral states, was brought forward by ourselves; not, in the spirit of ambitious France, for the empire of Asia and America; but on an affair more analogous to our system of moderate politics; to wit, some webs of Silesian lineh which our navy had captured, and which the British high court of admiralty had condemned, or detained, no doubt, as contraband of war. Our diplomatic tracasserie with Frederic II upon this national subject, ended in satisfying that prince for his cloth; and that circumstance created a precedent upon which was afterwards founded the avowed pretensions of the armed neutrality.

Having at the peace of 1763, ceded to France, our dearly acquired sources of maritime trade, and the strong holds which should have secured for ever, our naval superiority, that government, as might be expected, soon renewed its former project of confining the British empire, to the island of Great Britain. France possessing at that period but little influence at the court of Petersburgh, and still apprehensive of an alliance between England and Russia, to raise a sort of barrier between these two powers, the French ministry fawned on the Empress; intrigued with her favourites, and caressed her chamber-maids; they sung ballads, and wrote verses on the heroism and legislation of Frederic II; on the patriotism and maternal affections of Juliana Queen of Denmark, and with money, they (from 1772 to 1778) enabled the young king of Sweden to rebuild his decayed navy; all, as they said, to secure for these states, the liberty of the seas. Ous campaigns in 1778 and 1779, the accession of Spain and Holland to the French and American cause, with the retreat of the British fleet before d'Orviliers in our own seas, seemed again to crown the intrigues and perfidious treachery of the court of Versailles with ultimate success: all the governments of Europe were now convinced that Great Britain had finally lost America, and that our expulsion from India would be the certain consequence. The ruin of the British nation thus considered as inevitable, the spoils of our empire naturally became a general consideration; the famous convention of armed neutrality, was therefore drawn up, published, and in 1780 acceded to, by all the maritime powers; even by Prussia and Turkey.

Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia.

Thus, this armed neutrality, although its avowed pretention was the protection of maritime trade and indemnification for legal property seized, was, in fact a speculation, supported by the before-mentioned precedent, which we ourselves had established. States, especially commercial states, when once believed to be on the decline, like merchants, whose credit is suspected, must always look for a general run, or an attack to be made upon their property. Not to go farther back into history, witness Sweden at the death of Charles XII, Austria at the death of Charles VI, Great Britain on the success of the American rebellion, and France in the confusion of the revolution. To maintain the political independence of a nation, progression in power is as necessary, as gain in trade is to support the credit of a merchant. When either the state, or the merchant comes to apply to neighbours for assistance, the interest never fails to absorb the capital; and ruin is the necessary consequence.

The covenant of Petersburgh (or of 1800) was planned and acceded to, upon principles very different from those of the former conventions. When the late empress Catherine broke oft the commercial intercourse between Russia and the revolutionists in France, she signified her motives to the courts of Denmark and Sweden, for having adopted that measure, and invited those governments to follow her example, Her Majesty however observed, that, with the exception of France in its then state of rebellion, she continued to adhere to the principles of a free neutral trade. The declaration of the Empress, perhaps ill translated, or misconstrued by our diplomatic agents, was considered by the British government as a formal renunciation of all the principles and pretensions of the northern neutrality. On this presumption, and believing that we had Russia to second our proceedings, all neutral vessels, no matter with what they were loaded, nor to where they were bound, whether to France, Spain, Lisbon, or to Kamtchatka, were brought up and detained. The passports of the kings of

* In the long catalogues of information that were made up by our missionaries at the Northern courts and sent home, beans and pease shipt out for the negroes of St. Croix were inserted as gunpowder bound to Guadaloup; Stockfish for our Newcastle and Hull Greenland-men, as fire-arms for Dunkirk; Norway timber and wreck deals for Grangemouth and Aberdeen, as ship masts and crooked wood for Brest; some Jews who, to avoid being hanged, had run away from Hamburgh and went to Copenhagen, were represented as confidential agents sent from Buonaparte to negotiate with the Danish government; a certain minister was said to have contracted with them, to deliver 50,000 muskets every four months for the army of the Rhine! with other such trivial and fallacious nonsense. Neither Denmark nor Sweden have any saltpetre, these countries are therefore not the best markets for gun-powder; nor is there so much oak timber exported from the Baltic annually as would build to France half a dozen sloops. With respect to fire arms, there are made in Denmark and Norway from four to five thousand muskets annually; that quantity is no more than sufficient to supply the Danish army, as may easily be supposed; and we know to a certainty, that there were 40: 2000 muskets in store in the kingdom, that is, exclusive of the king's arsenals. It

Estimates of the Strength of France and Russia.

Sweden and Denmark were disregarded, the declarations of their officers turned into insulting ridicule, their armed ships were attacked and taken, and their ports ransacked. These vexations, for such they certainly were, did not however create in Denmark and Sweden any desire of fighting to be neutral. The power and attitude of Great Britain was at that time such, that all the nations of Europe were forced to admire her glory; the most mighty states wished for her friendship, and the weaker, although they had cause to complain of her conduct, courted her protection. In the British cabinet the governments of Denmark and Sweden could, however, find no quarter; their repeated approaches were repelled with scorn, and although the national interests and political independence of those two northern states, be as intimately connected with the prosperity of Great Britain as the safety of Ireland is dependent upon the power of England, the kings of Denmark and Sweden were driven to solicit the mediation of is a notorious fact, that had the Northern and Baltic trade been carried on to France, during the whole of the war, without interruption, it would not have advanced her cause to the amount of a single gunboat; nor would it have been detrimental to oursto the value of a longboat.

To these, mischief-making matters, were added others of a similar tendency; dissertations were written to shew that the Danish and Swedish governments were immediately concerned in every contraband cargo and other transactions that could in anywise favour or promote the cause of the enemies of Great Britain, and that if measures were not timely adopted to crush the mercantile spirit of the Danes, that enterprising nation would snatch away the commerce of both the Indies, and rise formidable to the maritime power of Great Britain herself;

Upon such like informations and apprehensions, were nourished our maritime quarrels, which paved the way for the legions of France to the Hague and Amsterdam; and which have now opened the cabinets of Copenhagen and Stockholm to the domi nion of Russia.

We do not pretend to say that no clandestine traffic was carried on by the neutral states with our enemies during the war; on the contrary, we know there was, and that respected houses in Great Britain and in our settlements abroad, were the principals concerned in it. We however deny that either the kings of Denmark or Sweden did, directly or indirectly, countenance any transaction on the part of their subjects that was not strictly conform to existing treaties, and to the long standing usage of neutrality; nor did they ever reclaim unfair or illegal property, knowing it to be such. To prevent illicit practices in trade is impossible; the connexions between merchants may be made so intricate, as to escape the precautions of the most upright magistrates. But when a minister, or other public agent at a foreign court has cause to suspect that any transaction, detrimental to the interests of his sovereign or his country, is in trame, or in agitation, it is his duty to lay the causes of his suspicion candidly before the minister of that court; the affair would then be examined into, and a satisfactory explanation might be expected; but to bewilder his own employers with denunciations, which cannot be substantiated, and to calumniate the government and sovereign of an independent state, for participating in, and conniving at transactions that never were thought of, is a conduct highly censurable. This sort of diplomacy has produced to Great Britain more mischief than the convention of armed neutrality.

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