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ality and the regularity of their inftructions. When the papers of thefe fhips are found in ftrict order, no farther examination can be legally enforced; and it is confequently the authority of the government, 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 fhips 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 most formidable fquadron fhould not have the right of relieving from a search 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, fhewn 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 repofes too much confidence in the equity and loyalty of his Britannic majefty to harbour a fufpicion that it is his intention to arrogate 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 himself, 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) C. Bernstorff.
foreign affairs, has had the honour to lay before the king the note which he received yefterday 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 friendthip 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 state 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 again 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 discharge 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 pasfed over in a fimilar manner. lives of his brave seamen have been The facrificed, the honour of his flag has been infulted, almost 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 majesty rendered full The undersigned 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 misunderstanding between the two countries. to urge him to reprefent 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 inauthorifed, 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 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 thefe out
In order to give the greater weight to his majefty's reprefentations on this fubject, and to afford at the fame time the means of fuch explanations refpecting it, as may avert the neceflity of thofe extremities to which his majefty looks with the greateft 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.
Extract from the official Note tranf. mitted by Lord Whitworth to Count Bernstorff.
August 21, 1800. HE English minifter fupports the principles which had been established in the first note, and fays, that if the principle be once admitted, that a Danith 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 ship 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
ever inconfiderable it may be, well difpofed enough towards our enemies to lend them its flag, and to cover all their commerce, without running the leaft rifk; for when examination can no longer take place, fraud fears no difcovery. In the note which the count de Bernftorff has juft tranfmitted, the underfigned perceives with pain, that, far from withing to fatisfy the juft demand of the king his mafter, the Danish government ftill perfifts in lupporting, not only the principle upon which it founds its aggreffion, but also the right of defending it by means of arms. In this state of things, the underfigned has no other alternative than to perform ftrictly his duty, by infifling anew on the fatisfaction which the king his mafter requires, and by declaring to M. de Bernstorff, that, in fpite of his fincere defire to be the inftrument of the reconciliation of the two courts, he fhall be obliged to leave Copenhagen with all the English miffion in the fpace of a week, reckoning from the day of the figning of this note, unlefs, in the interval, the Danish government fhall adopt counfels more conformable to the interefts of the two countries, and, above all, to those of Denmark, with whom his majefty has conftantly defired, and still defires, to live in terms of friendfhip and alliance. The underfigned, therefore, has the honour to repeat to the count de Bernstorff, that he is enjoined to quit Copenhagen with the king's miffion in a week, unlefs 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
August 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 leaft powerful neutral ftate would acquire the faculty of covering with impunity, with its flag, an illicit commerce-the underfigned entreats him to obferve, that the government which fhould 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 of ficers who command convoys are perfonally refponfible that the cargoes of the fhips belonging to those 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 effential 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 misunderstanding. 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, because 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 essential 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 propoles 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.
Preliminary Convention between the Courts of Copenhagen and London, figned at Copenhagen, August 29,
HEIR Danish and Britannic
nifh frigate la Freya and fome Eng-
Art. I. The question, with regard to the right of fearching neutral fhips, failing under convoy, shall 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.
III. To prevent fimilar rencounters from breeding difputes of a fimilar nature, his Danifh majesty fhall fufpend his convoys till the ulterior explanation upon this point fhall have given rife to a definitive treaty.
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
Tajesties, animated with an ferious confequaces; and the ar
equal defire, by a friendly accom-
rangement of whatever may refult from them fhall be confidered as comprehended in the object of the prefent convention.
V. This convention fhall be rati、 fied in three weeks, to be counted R 3