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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 smail 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 force 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 be 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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HOUSE OF LOords. Thursday, February 18. ORDERS IN COUNCIL.] Lord Grenville alluding to the expressions contained in the Orders in Council, which stated amongst the reasons for issuing them, that the French Decree had been executed with increased rigour, said, that it was important the house should be in possession of the information on which this assertion was founded, particularly as a contrary statement was contained in the Note of the American plenipotentiaries, which was on the table, and as a contrary inference was to be deduced from those circumstances which were publicly known. He did not wish that any secret should be revealed, which it would be dangerous to disclose; but, merely that the substance of such information should be laid on the table, and which might be disclosed without any danger. He therefore moved for Copies or Extracts of all information received by government, previous to the 11th of Nov. 1807, shewing that the French government had begun to execute its Decree with increased rigour.

Council. He could not conceive, that there could be any danger in laying the substance of the information received by ministers upon the table.

The Duke of Montrose opposed the mo❤ tion, and observed, that it would prevent persons from giving information to 'government, if an example was given of laying information so obtained upon the table of the house.

Lord Hawkesbury said, it must be obvious, that it was scarcely possible there could be any information upon this subject received from any accredited person, or in any official shape. The information received by ministers, had satisfied them with respect to the increased rigour exercised by the French government; but it might be attended with serious inconvenience and danger to many persons, if information received through the medium of commercial houses, or various other sources, was to be laid on the table of that house. It was besides, he contended, a matter of notoriety from the answers of M. Regnier, which were mentioned in all the newspapers two or three days after the 18th day of Oct. that the French Decree was then executed with increased rigour.

Earl Grey was surprised to hear the noble secretary of state contend, that it must be obvious it was scarcely possible to have any accredited information upon this subject. He, on the contrary, thought, that it was precisely that subject on which if there was any neutral minister remaining, or any British minister at a neutral court, it was likely to receive information from accredited persons. He had never understood, that the increased rigour of the French government was a matter of notoriety previous to issuing the Orders in VOL. X.

Lord Erskine contended, that the objection of danger did not apply in this case, all that was desired being the date and substance of the information received. The term, increased rigour, implied that there had been not only a rigour, but afterwards an additional rigour, and he thought the house ought to be in possession of the substance of the information which had authorised the use of this term.

The Lord Chancellor contended, that communicating the date and substance, would in many instances ás effectually betray the source from which such information was derived, as if the names of the parties had been given, and might be productive of great danger to individuals, and prevent government from in future receiving important information.-The house then divided—

Contents. 27 Proxies 20-47
Non Contents 23 .....
Majority for ld. Grenville's motion—9,
List of the Majority.














St. Vincent,


St. John,









RESTITUTION OF THE DANISH FLEET.] Lord Sidmouth desired that the clerk should read the proclamation issued by two noble lords prior to the attack upon 2 T

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Copenhagen, and his majesty's Declaration. Both documents having been read accordingly, the noble lord said, that he rose to submit to their lordships the mo-tion of which he had already given notice. The purport of that motion referred to the eventual restoration of the vessels captured at Copenhagen to Denmark; he would say, the eventual restoration, for it was possible that circumstances might arise which would render such an arrangement impracticable. It was not impossible but that Denmark might fall as much under the power of France as any of the continental states, in which case no one would think of advising the restoration of the Danish navy; for to restore it to Denmark would be to place it at the disposal of France. In the proposition which he had to make, it was far from his intention to interfere with that incontrovertible prerogative of his majesty which placed at his disposal all captures; neither was it his intention to contravene any expressed opinion of that house. Their lordships, by their vote on the first day of the session, had recognized the justice of the measure which placed the navy of Denmark in the possession of this country, and they had sanctioned and corroborated that decision by their subsequent vote, that no further papers were necessary. He was not, he would repeat, disposed to contravene these determinations. He was only acting on the principles of his majesty's Declaration; on the principles of the Proclamation issued by the two noble lords who commanded the expedition against Copenhagen; and on the principles upon which ministers justified that expedition, when he endeavoured to persuade their lordships, that the honour, the character, and the interests of this country were involved in the eventual restoration of the Danish navy. Necessity and self-protection were the grounds upon which the seizure of the fleet of Denmark was justified. The rejection of an inadmissible offer was assigned as the reason for destroying the capital of a neutral state. We offered to take the fleet in deposit-an arrangement to which the court of Denmark could not possibly listen, without compromising its honour, and exposing itself to the resentment of France. To this principle, he conceived, we were in honour bound to adhere. The offer of restoring the Danish navy upon the re-establishment of peace, was even made a fortnight after the declaration of war by the Crown Prince. But it might

be argued, that that prince refused to ratify the capitulation, and that by so doing he had precluded himself from any advantages derivable from the proclamation of our commanders, or the summons previous to the commencement of the bombardment. It was certainly true, that that high-minded personage had refused to ratify the capitulation; but did it appear that he acted in any manner to impede it? We were, he would contend, bound to act upon that principle upon which we had set out, namely, that of taking the Danish navy in deposit. To this we were no less bound by honour and policy than by the strictest interpretation of the law of nations. He would, with the permission of their lordships, read to them an extract from the ablest writer on that important subject, and which, though an extract, had nothing he could assure them in it which was not warranted by the context... His lordship here read several passages from Grotius, De Jure Belli et Pacis, tending to support his argument. The conduct of the court of Denmark, he contended, could not be considered as hostile. The war began from

us. We left the Crown Prince no alternative but that of war.There was another reason which made him anxious that their lordships should adopt his motion at present. He had learned, that the Danish ships were ordered to be fitted out for the service of this country. He was anxious to prevent so precipitate and impolitic a measure. The ships, by what he had heard, were quite unqualified, or at least not qualified in the man- ! ner our ships were, for the wear and tear of our service. To render them so, would require an expence which could be applied, with far greater advantage, to the various ships now constructing, or under repair in our own dock-yards. But even if the Danish ships were in a state fit to proceed upon any service, he would still protest against their being employed. There was but one circumstance, the destruction of a great part of the navy of England, which would induce him to consent to our making any use of the Danish navy, with our present maritime superiority. We did not want ships. We had enough to contend with the united navies of the world. He could not perceive, therefore, . the policy of fitting out this new accession to our maritime strength; but he could anticipate some probable advantages from following another course: he could devise no system of policy more likely to conci

tion issued 'on the 16th of Aug. last by the commanders in chief of his majesty's forces by sea and land employed on that occasion, and renewed in their letter of the 1st of Sept. to the commander in chief of the land forces of his Danish majesty.' the

liate the Danes, and to draw them, by of Denmark, agreeably to the spirit of the degrees, into that close and friendly con-requisition referred to in the Proclamanection with us in which they were formerly united. It would also tend to bring back the emperor of Russia to his natural connection with this country-a connection which was dissolved no less by imperious necessity, than the rash and unwarrantable attack upon the Danish capital. He also looked, he confessed, with great expectations, to the impression which a resolution of such magnanimity, justice, and consistency would make upon the nations of the continent. He could not anticipate any act of ours which could be more likely to shake that enormous influence which France had acquired over the rest of Europe. It was by arming all the nations of the continent against us, by placing them in array, by exciting their feelings against what was called our tyranny and injustice, that that man, who now wielded all the force of those nations, expected to prevail against us. The destruction of this country was the great object of his ambition: compared with this, his victories at Lodi, at Austerlitz, at Friedland, and at Auerstadt, were nothing in his estimation: to accomplish this, all his great talents, his genius, and his policy, were unceasingly directed. What more effectual mode could there be of counteracting this design, than to render the instruments by which he proposed to effect it unavailing in his hands? As long as England should preserve her ancient honour, magnanimity, and disinteresteriness, it was not to be credited that the nations of the continent would zealously co-operate in any plan to destroy her. He would no longer detain their lordships. It was not, as he stated at the commencement of his speech, his intention to interfere in the smallest degree with the exercise of the royal prerogative, or to suggest any thing calculated to lower the country in the estimation of foreign powers. His wish was, not to bind the government to any measure inconsistent with the dignity of the nation, but simply that the Danish navy should be kept in salva custodia. His lordship concluded with moving the following resolution: «That it is highly important to the honour of this country, that, under present circumstances, no measures be taken with respect to the Ships of war now in the possession of his maj. in consequence of the Capitulation of Copenhagen, which may preclude the eventual restitution of them to the government

Lord Boringdon could not suppress anxiety he felt to enter his protest, as early as possible, against the resolution submitted to the house by the noble visc. He conceived that a proposition more novel in its principle, more unsuitable to the circumstances of the case, or the interest of the country, could hardly be submitted to the consideration of the house. The external enemies of the country had pledged themselves to obtain a restitution of those ships; but he now, for the first time, had the mortification of seeing within those walls, a noble peer rise up and support the arguments they had used, and in this respect aid their designs. It certainly was not within the walls of parliament that he had expected to have heard such arguments defended. It was not doing justice to the motion itself, to discuss it as if it were to be construed altogether literally, or as if the spirit of it would not go to the actual re-' storation of the Danish fleet; for if the house were to agree to such a resolution, it would be considered by all the world as an acknowledgment that we had acted unjustly, and a pledge that we would make a restitution as soon as it was compatible with our security. If we were now to give such an acknowledgment, it could not be supposed that foreign nations would not take advantage of it at the moment of negociation for a general peace, and it would then appear as if we had no right to refuse it. The noble viscount had considered this as a case per se, and that there was nothing like it in our history. He might, however, have remembered the case of the ships taken at Toulon last war, which were surrendered to us by Frenchmen in trust only, and which were promised to be restored to the king of France, The French government gave every harsh epithet to this transaction; they called it perfidy, treachery, and piracy; and at the commencement of the negociation for a peace, required that those ships should be restored to them. The British government, however, would never listen to such

* See page 221.



a proposal; and the French ceased to in- | nish minister appeared in all things to sist upon it. If, however, a resolution excuse or palliate all the injuries received similiar to that which was now proposed from France, but to exaggerate in the had heen adopted on that occasion in highest degree every complaint which parliament, the French government would Denmark could have against this counnever have receded from its claim, and try." Was this the conduct of a power those ships must have been restored to really and sincerely neutral, or was it to France. The noble viscount, however, be supposed that a feeble nation, which under whose auspices the treaty of Amiens had such dispositions towards the two was concluded (a treaty which, whatever countries, would resist the demands of might be now said against it, he always France after the treaty of Tilsit, and that thought and still did think, was proper under its fleet would be safe under its own prothe circumstances in which it was made)-tection? If the danger was then immithat noble lord himself did not think at nent, the necessity of guarding against it that time that there was any thing in jus- was apparent; and if the tice, morality, or the law of nations, which of precaution which were necessarily required that the Toulon fleet should be taken led to hostilities, England was not restored to France. There was another to be blamed. It was to those powers, case somewhat similar, which occurred in and to those circumstances which prothe beginning of the present war with duced the necessity, that what had hapSpain. When the four Spanish frigates pened was to be attributed. He therefore were taken previous to any declaration of most decidedly objected to the resolution. war, the French inveighed bitterly against proposed; first, because he thought it this act of piracy, as they called it, and would be acknowledging that we had done yet they never thought of making it a a wrong, when in fact we had done no condition of peace, that we should restore wrong; and, 2dly, instead of leading to a the ships and dollars taken upon that oc- peace, he thought it would shut the door casion; but if, in either of those cases, a to peace, by engaging ourselves, as a resolution had been passed in the British preliminary, to give up that which neither parliament similar to that which was now justice required, nor security permitted to proposed, there could be no doubt but they be given up. would have demanded it, and insisted upon it. Besides, ill consequences would follow from pledging the country to restore the ships to Denmark, or in other words, to France. He must contend, that the act of seizing them was not an act of the character that had been described, but that it was an act of necessity justified by all the circumstances of the case. Denmark had, for a considerable number of years, shewn a hostile disposition towards G. Britain, and at the same time a sort of predilection for France, or at least an absolute acquiescence in every thing which that power did. This was exemplified, in their making no remonstrance when a Danish general was taken prisoner on their own frontiers; by their with drawing their troops from the frontiers of Holstein, in obedience to the desire of France; by their submission to the Decree of Buonaparte, and in various other


If this predilection for France could be doubted by any noble lord, he should refer him to the very able dispatch of a noble earl (Grey) in answer to M. Rist, the Danish minister [p. 402]. That noble earl, in the strongest and best-selected terms, had complained, "that the Da

Lord Ellenborough differed entirely from the sentiments of the noble lord who spoke last, and found himself called upon to support the motion. As to the cases referred to by the noble lord, as bearing a near analogy to the present, he must say that he did not see that analogy. He had often heard it said, that there was nothing more dissimilar than a simile, and he thought the noble lord had given an instance of the truth of that saying, by the cases which he had quoted. The case of the Spanish frigates, taken at the beginning of the war, was as unlike it as any case could be, for we had against Spain, at that time, at least reasonable ground of war. He, for another reason, never approved of the seizure of those frigates. This coun try had so much encouraged that particular sort of trade by licences, that he thought it unjust to seize upon as a prey, that property which was probably coming home on the faith of our implied permission. As to the ships taken at Toulon, they were taken from a nation with whom we were at war; and although we were assisted in the capture by Frenchmen, who were adverse to the government then subsisting, yet there could be no pretence for

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