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Halily and the regularity of their inftructions. When the papers of thefe fhips are found in strict order, no farther examination can be legally enforced; and it is confequently the authority of the govern- ment, in whofe name thefe documents have been drawn up and if fued, that procures for the belligerent power the required fecurity.
But a neutral government, in efcorting by the armed fhips of the ftate, the commercial fhips of the fubject, thereby alone holds out to the belligerent powers a more authentic and pofitive pledge than that which is furnished by the do cuments with which these ships are furnished. Nor can a neutral government, without incurring difhonour and difgrace, admit, in this refpect, the least doubt or fufpicion, which must be as injurious to that government as they would be unjuft on the part of those who should entertain or manifeft them.
And if it were to be admitted as a principle, that the convoys granted by a fovereign do not fecure fhips of his fubjects from being vifited by the state fhips or privateers of foreigners, it would follow that the moft formidable fquadron fhould not have the right of relieving from a fearch the fhips intrufted to its protection, if that fearch was exacted by the most pitiful priva
But it cannot be reafonably fuppofed that the English government, which has uniformly, and on the moft juft grounds, thewn a marked jealouly for the honour of its flag, and who in the maritime wars, in which it has taken no part, has nevertheless afferted with vigour the rights of neutrality, would ever confent, fhould fuch circumftances ocVOL. XLII.
cur, to an humiliating vexation of that nature; and the king of Denmark reposes too much confidence in the equity and loyalty of his Britannic majefty to harbour a fufpicion that it is his intention to ar rogate a right which, under fimilar circumftances, he would not grant to any other independent power.
It leems fufficient to apply to the fact in queftion, the natural refult of thefe obfervations, in order to make it evident, that the captain of the king's frigate, by repulfing a violence which he had no right to expect, has done no more than his duty; and that it was on the part of the English frigates, that a violation of the rights of a neutral fovereign, and of a power friendly to his Britannic majesty, has been committed.
The king had hefitated to fignify any formal complaint on this head, as long as he regarded it as a mifconception which might have been done away by amicable explanations between the refpective commanders of the naval force which the two governments kept up in the Mediterranean; but feeing himfelf, much to his regret, difappointed in that hope, he has only to infift on the reparation that is due to him, and which the juftice and the friendship of his Britannic majefty feem juftly to be called upon to fecure to him. (Signed)
foreign affairs, has had the honour to lay before the king the note which he received yesterday from count Wedel Jarlberg, envoy extraordinary and minifter plenipotentiary from the king of Denmark.
It was with the greatest furprife and concern that his majefty received the firft accounts of the tranfaction to which that note relates. Studioufly defiring to main tain always with the court of Co. penhagen thofe relations of friendhip and alliance which had fo long fubfifted between Great Britain and Denmark, his majefty has, during the whole courfe of his reign, given repeated proofs of thefe difpofitions, which he had flattered himfelf were reciprocally enter tained by the government of his Danish majefty. And notwithftanding the expreffions made ufe of in count Wedel's note, his majesty cannot even yet perfuade himself that it is really by the orders of the king of Denmark, that this ftate of harmony and peace has been thus fuddenly disturbed, or that a Danish officer can have acted conformably to his inftructions, in actually commencing hoftilities against this country, by a wanton and unprovoked attack upon a Britifh fhip of war, bearing his majefty's flag, and navigating the British feas.
The impreffions which fuch an event has naturally excited in his majefty's breaft have received additional force from the perufal of a note, in which fatisfaction and reparation are claimed as due to the aggreflors from thofe who have fuftained this infult and injury.
His majefty, allowing for the difficulty in which all neutral nations were placed by the unprecedented conduct and peculiar character of
his enemy, has, on many occafions, during the prefent war forborne to affert his rights, and to claim from the Danish government the impartial difcharge of the duties of that neutrality which it profeffed a difpofition to maintain. But the deliberate and open aggreffion which he has now fuftained cannot be paffed over in a fimilar manner. The lives of his brave seamen have been facrificed, the honour of his flag has been infulted, almoft in fight of his own coafts; and thefe proceedings are fupported by calling in queftion thofe indifputable rights, founded on the cleareft principles of the law of nations, from which his majesty never can depart, and the temperate exercife of which is indifpenfably neceffary to the maintenance of the deareft interefts of his empire.
reports to his majefty rendered full The underfigned has, in all his juftice to the perfonal difpofitions which he has uniformly found on the part of count Wedel, to remove all grounds of mifunderstanding between the two countries. to urge him to represent this matter He cannot, therefore, now forbear to his court in its true light, to do away thofe falfe impreffions, under which (if at all) a conduct fo inauthorised, and to confult the intejurious to his majefty can have been refts of both countries, but efpecially thofe of Denmark, by bearing his teftimony to the difpofitions with which his majefty's government is animated; and by recom mending to his court, with all that of the occafion both juftifies and earneftnefs which the importance requires, that thefe difpofitions may, in fo critical a conjuncture, find an adequate return; and that a speedy and
ever inconfiderable it may be, well
Extract from the official Note tranf the figning of this note, unlefs, in
the interval, the Danish govern-
and fatisfactory answer may be given to the demand which his majefty has directed to be made in his name at Copenhagen, both of reparation for what is paft, and of fecurity against the repetition of these outrages.
In order to give the greater weight to his majefly's reprefentations on this fubject, and to afford at the fame time the means of fuch explanations respecting it, as may avert the neceflity of thofe extremities to which his majefty looks with the greatest reluctance, his majefty has charged lord Whitworth with a fpecial miffion to the court of Denmark, and that minifter will immediately fail for his deftination.
That court cannot but fee in this determination a new proof of the king's defire to conciliate the prefervation of peace with the maintenance of the fundamental rights and interefts of his empire. (Signed) July 30, 1800.
August 21, 1800. HE English minifter fupports eftablished in the first note, and fays, that if the principle be once admitted, that a Danish frigate may legally guarantee from all fearch fix merchant-fhips, it follows naturally that that fame power, or any other power whatever, may, by means of the fmallest fhip of war, extend the fame protection to all the commerce of the enemy, in all parts of the world; it will only be neceffary to find in the whole circle of the univerfe a fingle neutral state, how
jefty has conflantly defired, and ftill defires, to live in terms of friendfhip and alliance. The underfigned, therefore, has the honour to repeat to the count de Bernftorff, that he is enjoined to quit Copenhagen with the king's miffion in a week, unless a fatisfactory reply be given before the expiration of that term.
He requests the count de Bernftorff to accept the affurances of his moft diftinguished confideration. R 2
Extract from the Reply of Count Bernforff. Auguft 26. If lord Whitworth thinks to deftroy the force of the arguments developed in that note (note to Mr. Merry, of the 19th April) by the reflection, that, by the right of guaranteeing from fearch merchantmen, under the convoy of a fhip of war, the least powerful neutral ftate would acquire the faculty of covering with impunity, with its flag, an illicit commerce-the underfigned entreats him to oblerve, that the government which thould degrade itfelf to the point of lending its flag to fuch a fraud, would by that conduct pafs the bounds of neutrality, and would in confequence authorize the belligerent power, to the prejudice of which the fraud had been committed, to adopt measures which ordinary circumstances would not admit. The ftate which neglects its duties expofes itfelf, without doubt, to the rifk of lofing its rights; but the fufpicion of degrading conduct would be as injurious to the government which thould not deferve it, as it would be little honourable to the government which fhould advance it without foundation; but this caufe cannot exift between Denmark and Great Britain. The English government is not ignorant, without doubt, that the Danith officers who command convoys are perfonally refponfible that the cargoes of the fhips belonging to thofe Convoys do not contain articles prohibited by the laws of nations, or by the treaties fubfifting between Denmark and the belligerent powers; and it is eafy to feel that there must be incomparably more difficulty in eluding the vigilance of
the officers than the researches of thole who pretend to exercife on these fhips a right, as odious in its principle, as delufive in its effect. The eflential difference between the principles of the two courts introducing into this difcuffion particular difficulties, there does not appear to be a more proper mean of removing them than by having recourfe to the mediation of a third power; and the king hesitates the lefs in propofing to his Britannic majefty the mediation of the emperor of Ruffia, as that monarch, the friend and ally of both fovereigns, will certainly have nothing more at heart than to conciliate them, and to prevent a fatal mifunderstanding. The underfigned does not doubt that lord Whitworth will fee in the propofition a new proof of the moderation of the king, and of his defire to preferve the friendship of his Britannic majefty. The king would the more regret feeing him quit Copenhagen, becaufe his majefty had confidered his miffion as a pledge of the conciliatory intentions of the court of London, and because he had flattered himself that his perfonal difpofitions would contribute to the accelerating an accommodation for which he has offered him, and ftill offers him, the greatest facility.
Reply of Lord Whitworuh.
August 27. Lord Whitworth requests the count de Bernstorff to oblerve, that if he does not animadvert upon the arguments he has made ufe of upon this occafion, it is because he thinks he fall render a much more effential fervice to his court, as well as
to that of Copenhagen, by abftaining from all that might remove them from the object which both ought to have equally at heart. With refpect to the mediation which the count de Bernstorff propofes as the most proper means of doing away the difficulties of this difcuffion, the undersigned thinks he can reply with certainty, that, in fpite of the apparent mifunderftanding which may have exifted between the two courts, there is no fovereign in Europe to whom the king would refer himfelf, with refpect to his deareft interefts, with more confidence, than the emperor of Ruffia; no one is more ready than the underfigned to do juftice to the loyalty and zeal of that fovereign for the good caufe. But he believes that, in a fimilar cafe, it would be useless to recur even to that intervention, however refpectable it may be; and that the court of Denmark, introducing into the difcuffion the fame franknefs as the court of London, and the same defire of preventing fpeedily all objects of fatal mifunderstanding, will find out the means of effecting this object without difficulty.
nifh frigate la Freya and fome Eng-
Art. I. The question, with regard to the right of fearching neutral fhips, failing under convoy, fhall be referred to a future difcuffion.
II. The Danish frigate la Freya, and the veffels which were under her convoy, fhall be inftantly releafed, and the faid frigate fhall find, in the ports of his Britannic majefty, every thing neceffary for her repair, according to the ufage followed among friendly and allied powers.
Preliminary Convention between the
HEIR Danish and Britannic
III. To prevent fimilar rencounters from breeding difputes of a fimilar nature, his Danish majefty fhall fufpend his convoys till the ulterior explanation upon this point fhall have given rife to a definitive treaty.
equal defire, by a friendly accommodation, to prevent any difagree able confequences from following the difference which has ariten between the crowns, from the refult of the rencounter between the Da
IV. If it fhould come to pafs, however, that any rencounters of the fame kind fhould take place before the inftructions to prevent them fhall have had their effect, they fhall not be productive of any
rangement of whatever may refult from them fhall be confidered as comprehended in the object of the prefent convention.
V. This convention foall be rati from fied in three weeks, to be counted R 3