Revelations of the Diplomatic History of the 18th Century
To understand a limited historical epoch, we must step beyond its limits and compare it with other historical epochs. To judge Governments and their acts, we must measure them by their own times and the conscience of their contemporaries. Nobody will condemn a British statesman of the 17th century for acting on a belief in witchcraft, if he find Bacon himself ranging demonology in the catalogue of science. On the other hand, if the Stanhopes, the Walpoles, the Townshends, etc., were suspected, opposed, and denounced in their own country, by their own contemporaries, as tools or accomplices of Russia, it will no longer do to shelter their policy behind the convenient screen of prejudice and ignorance common to their time. At the head of the historical evidence we have to sift, we place, therefore, long-forgotten English pamphlets printed at the very time of Peter 1. These preliminary pièces des procès we. shall, however, limit to three pamphlets, which, from three different points of view, illustrate the conduct of England towards Sweden: the first, the Northern Crisis (given in Chapter II.), revealing the general system of Russia, and the dangers accruing to England from the Russification of Sweden; the second, called The Defensive Treaty, judging the acts of England by the treaty of 1700; and the third, entitled Truth is but Truth, however it is Timed, proving that the newfangled schemes which magnified Russia into the paramount Power of the Baltic were in flagrant opposition to the traditionary policy England had pursued during the course of a whole century.
The pamphlet called The Defensive Treaty bears no date of publication. Yet, in one passage it states that, for reinforcing the Danish fleet, eight English men-of-war were left at Copenhagen “the year before last,” and in another passage alludes to the assembling of the confederate fleet for the Schonen expedition as having occurred “last summer.” As the former event took place in 1715, and the latter towards the end of the summer of 1716, it is evident that the pamphlet was written and published in the earlier part of the year 1717. The Defensive Treaty between England and Sweden, the single articles of which the pamphlet comments upon in the form of queries, was concluded in 1700 between William Ill and Charles XII, and was not to expire before 1719. Yet, during almost the whole of this period, we find England continually assisting Russia and waging war against Sweden, either by secret intrigue or open force, although the treaty was never rescinded nor war ever declared. This fact is, perhaps, even less strange than the conspiration de silence under which modern historians have succeeded in burying it, and among them historians by no means sparing of censure against the British Government of that time, for having, without any previous declaration of war, destroyed the Spanish fleet in the Sicilian waters. But then, at least, England was not bound to Spain by a defensive treaty. How, then, are we to explain this contrary treatment of similar cases? The piracy committed against Spain was one of the weapons which the Whig Ministers, seceding from the Cabinet in 1717, caught hold of to harass their remaining colleagues. When the latter stepped forward in 1718, and urged Parliament to declare war against Spain, Sir Robert Walpole rose from his seat in the Commons, and in a most virulent speech, denounced the late ministerial acts
“as contrary to the laws of nations, and a breach of solemn treaties.” “Giving sanction to them in the manner proposed,” he said, “could have no other view than to screen ministers, who were conscious of having done, something amiss, and who, having begun a war against Spain, would now make it the Parliament’s war.”
The treachery against Sweden and the connivance at the plans of Russia, never happening to afford the ostensible pretext for a family quarrel amongst the Whig rulers (they being rather unanimous on these points), never obtained the honours of historical criticism so lavishly spent upon the Spanish incident.
How apt modern historians generally are to receive their cue from the official tricksters themselves, is best shown by their reflections on the commercial interests of England with respect to Russia and Sweden. Nothing has been more exaggerated than the dimensions of the trade opened to Great Britain by the huge market of the Russia of Peter the Great, and his immediate successors. Statements bearing not the slightest touch of criticism, have been allowed to creep from one book-shelf to another, till they became at last historical household furniture, to be inherited by every successive historian, without even the beneficium inventarii. [benefit of inventory — an heir’s privilege of securing himself against unlimited liability for his ancestor by giving up within a year an inventory of his heritage or real estate, to the extent of which alone he was liable] Some incontrovertible statistical figures will suffice to blot out these hoary common-places.
|British Commerce from 1697-1700.|
|Export to Russia||£58,884|
|Import from Russia||£112,252|
|Export to Sweden||£57,555|
|Import from Sweden||£212,094|
|During the same period the total|
|Export of England amounted to||£3,525,906|
In 1716, after all the Swedish provinces in the Baltic, and on the Gulfs of Finland and Bothnia, had fallen into the hands of Peter I., the
|Export to Russia was||£113,154|
|Import front Russia||£197,270|
|Export to Sweden||£24,101|
|Import from Sweden||£136,959|
At the same time, the total of English exports and imports together reached about £10,000,000. It will be seen from these figures, when compared with those of 1697-1700, that the increase in the Russian trade is balanced by the decrease in the Swedish trade, and that what was added to the one was abstracted from the other. In 1730, the
|Export to Russia was||£46,275|
|Import from Russia||£258,802|
Fifteen years, then, after the consolidation in the meanwhile of the Muscovite settlement on the Baltic, the British trade with Russia had fallen off by £5,347. The general trade of England reaching in 1730 the sum of £16,329,001; the Russian trade amounted not yet to 1/53rd of its total value. Again, thirty years later, in 1760, the account between Great Britain and Russia stands thus:
|Import from Russia (in 1760)||£536,504|
|Export to Russia||£39,761|
while the general trade of England amounted to £26,361,760. Comparing these figures with those of 1716, we find that the total of the Russian commerce, after nearly half a century, has increased by the trifling sum of only £265,841. That England suffered positive loss by her new commercial relations with Russia under Peter I. and Catherine I, becomes evident on comparing, on the one side, the export and import figures, and on the other, the sums expended on the frequent naval expeditions to the Baltic which England undertook during the lifetime of Charles XII, in order to break down his resistance to Russia, and, after his death, on the professed necessity of checking the maritime encroachments of Russia.
Another glance at the statistical data given for the years 1697, 1700, 1716, 1730, and 1760, will show that the British export trade to Russia, was continually falling off, save in 1716, when Russia engrossed the whole Swedish trade on the eastern coast of the Baltic, and the Gulf of Bothnia, and had not yet. found the opportunity of subjecting it to her own regulations. From £58,884, at which the British exports to Russia stood during 1697-1700, when Russia was still precluded from the Baltic, they had sunk to £46,275 in 1730, and to £39,761 in 1760, showing a decrease of £19,123, or about 1/3rd of their original amount in 1700. If, then, since the absorption of the Swedish provinces by Russia, the British market proved expanding for Russian raw produce, the Russian market, on its side, proved straitening for British manufactures, a feature of that trade which could hardly recommend it at a time when the Balance of Trade doctrine ruled supreme. To trace the circumstances which produced the increase of the Anglo-Russian trade under Catherine II, would lead us too far from the period we are considering.
On the whole, then, we arrive at the following conclusions: during the first sixty years of the eighteenth century the total Anglo-Russian trade formed but a very diminutive fraction of the general trade of England, say less than ‘/,,th; its sudden increase during the earliest years of Peter’s sway over the Baltic did not at all affect the general balance of British trade, as it was a -ample transfer from its Swedish account to its Russian account. In the later times of Peter I., as well as under his immediate successors, Catherine I and Anne, the Anglo-Russian trade was positively declining; during the whole epoch, dating from the final settlement of Russia in the Baltic provinces, the export of British manufactures to Russia was continually falling off, so that at its end it stood one-third lower than at its beginning, when that trade was still confined to the port of Archangel; neither the contemporaries of Peter 1, nor the next British generation reaped any benefit from the advancement of Russia to the Baltic. In general the Baltic trade of Great Britain was at that time trifling in regard of the capital involved, but important in regard of its character. It afforded England the raw produce for its maritime stores. That from the latter point of view the Baltic was in safer keeping in the hands of Sweden than in those of Russia, was not only proved by the pamphlets we are reprinting, but fully understood by the British Ministers themselves. Stanhope writing, for instance, to Townshend on October 16th, 1716:
“It is certain that if the Czar be let alone three years, he will be absolute master in those seas.”
[In the year 1657, when the Courts of Denmark and Brandenburg intended engaging the Muscovites to fall upon Sweden, they instructed their Minister so to manage the affair that the Czar might by no means get any footing in the Baltic, because “they did not know what to do with so troublesome a neighbour.” — See Puffendorf’s Histoiy of Brandenburg.]
If, then, neither the navigation nor the general commerce of England was interested in the treacherous support given to Russia against Sweden, there existed, indeed, one small fraction of British merchants whose interests were identical with the Russian ones — the Russian Trade Company. It was this gentry that raised a cry against Sweden. See, for instance: “Several grievances of the English merchants in their trade into the dominions of the King of Sweden, whereby it does appear how dangerous it may be for the English nation to depend on Sweden only for the supply of the naval stores, when they might be amply furnished with the like stores from the dominions of the Emperor of Russia.” “The case of the merchants trading to Russia” (a petition to Parliament ), etc. It was they who in the years 1714, 1715, and 1716, regularly assembled twice a week before the opening of Parliament, to draw up in public meetings the complaints of the British merchantmen against Sweden. On this small fraction the ministers relied; they were even busy in getting up its demonstrations, as may be seen from the letters addressed by Count Gyllenborg to Baron Görtz, dated 4th of November and 4th of December, 1716 wanting, as they did, but the shadow of a pretext to drive their “mercenary Parliament,” as Gyllenborg calls it, where they liked. The influence of these British merchants trading to Russia was again exhibited in the year 1765, and our own times have witnessed the working for his interest, of a Russian merchant at the head of the Board of Trade, and of a Chancellor of the Exchequer in the interest of a cousin engaged in the Archangel trade.
The oligarchy which, after the “glorious revolution," usurped wealth and power at the cost of the mass of the British people, was, of course, forced to look out for allies, not only abroad, but also at home. The latter they found in what the French would call la haute bourgeoisie, as represented by the Bank of England, the money-lenders, state creditors, East India and other trading corporations, the great manufacturers, etc. How tenderly they managed the material interests of that class, may be learned from the whole of their domestic legislation — Bank Acts, Protectionist enactments, Poor Regulations, etc. As to their foreign policy, they wanted to give it the appearance at least of being altogether regulated by the mercantile interest, an appearance the more easily to be produced, as the exclusive interest of one or the other small fraction of that class would, of course, be always easily identified with this or that ministerial measure. The interested fraction then raised the commerce and navigation cry, which the nation stupidly re-echoed.
At that time, then, there devolved on -the Cabinet, at least, the onus of inventing mercantile pretexts, however futile, for their measures of foreign policy. In our own epoch, British Ministers have thrown this burden on foreign nations, leaving to the French, the Germans, etc-, the irksome task of discovering the secret and hidden mercantile springs of their actions. Lord Palmerston, for instance, takes a step apparently the most damaging to the material interests of Great Britain. Up starts a State philosopher, on the other side of the Atlantic, or of the Channel or in the heart of Germany, who puts his head to the rack to dig out the mysteries of the mercantile Machiavellism of “perfide Albion,” of which Palmerston is supposed the unscrupulous and unflinching executor. We will, en passant, show, by a few modern instances, what desperate shifts those foreigners have been driven to, who feel themselves obliged to interpret Palmerston’s acts by what they imagine to be the English commercial policy. In his valuable Histoire Politique et Sociale des Principautés Danubiennes, M. Elias Regnault, startled by the Russian conduct, before and during the years 1848-49, of Mr. Colqhoun, the British Consul at Bucharest, suspects that England had some secret material interest in keeping down the trade of the Principalities. The late Dr. Cunibert, private physician of old Milosh, in his most interesting account of the Russian intrigues in Servia, gives a curious relation of the manner in which Lord Palmerston, through the instrumentality of Colonel Hodges, betrayed Milosh to Russia by feigning to support him against her. Fully believing in the personal integrity of Hodges, and the patriotic zeal of Palmerston, Dr. Cunibert is found to go a step further than M. Elias Regnault. He suspects England of being interested in putting down Turkish commerce generally. General Microslawski, in his last work on Poland, is not very far from intimating that mercantile Machiavellism instigated England to sacrifice her own prestige in Asia Minor, by the surrender of Kars. As a last instance may serve the present lucubrations of the Paris papers, hunting after the secret springs of commercial jealousy, which induce Palmerston to oppose the cutting of the Isthmus of Suez canal.
To return to our subject. The mercantile pretext hit upon by the Townshends, Stanhopes, etc., for the hostile demonstrations against Sweden, was the following. Towards the end of 1713, Peter I had ordered all the hemp and other produce of his dominions, destined for export, to be carried to St. Petersburg instead of Archangel. Then the Swedish Regency, during the absence of Charles XII, and Charles XII himself, after his return from Bender, declared all the Baltic ports, occupied by the Russians, to be blockaded. Consequently, English ships, breaking through the blockade, were confiscated. The English Ministry then asserted that British merchantmen had the right of trading to those ports, according to Article XVII. of the Defensive ‘Treaty of 1700, by which English commerce, with the exception of contraband of war, was allowed to go on with ports of the enemy. The absurdity and falsehood of this pretext being fully exposed in the pamphlet we are about to reprint, we will only remark that the case had been more than once decided against commercial nations, not bound, like England, by treaty to defend the integrity of the Swedish Empire. In the year 1561, when the Russians took Narva, and laboured hard to establish their commerce there, the Hanse towns, chiefly Lübeck, tried to possess themselves of this .traffic. Eric XIV, then King of Sweden, resisted their pretensions. The city of Lübeck represented this resistance as altogether new, as they had carried on their commerce with the Russians time out of mind, and pleaded the common right of nations to navigate in the Baltic, provided their vessels carried no contraband of war. The King replied that he did not dispute the Hanse towns the liberty of trading with Russia, but only with Narva, which was no Russian port. In the year 1579 again, the Russians having broken the suspension of arms with Sweden, the Danes likewise claimed the navigation to Narva, by virtue of their treaty, but King John was as firm, in maintaining the contrary, as was his brother Eric.
In her open demonstrations of hostility against the King of Sweden, as well as in the false pretence on which they were founded, England seemed only to follow in the track of Holland, which declaring the confiscation of its ships to be piracy, had issued two proclamations against Sweden in 1714.
In one respect, the case of the States-General was the same as that of England. King William had concluded the Defensive Treaty as well for Holland as for England. Besides, Article XVI, in the Treaty of Commerce, concluded between Holland and Sweden, in 1703, expressly stipulated that no navigation ought to be allowed to the ports blocked up by either of the confederates. The then common Dutch cant that “there was no hindering traders from- carrying their merchandise where they wills” was the more impudent as, during the war, ending with the Peace of Ryswick, the Dutch Republic had declared all France to be blocked up, forbidden the neutral powers all trade with that kingdom, and caused all their ships that went there or came thence to be brought up without any regard to the nature of their cargoes.
In another respect, the situation of Holland was different from that of England. Fallen from its commercial and maritime grandeur, Holland had then already entered upon its epoch of decline. Like Genoa and Venice, when new roads of commerce had dispossessed them of their old mercantile supremacy, it was forced to lend out to other nations its capital, grown too large for the vessels of its own commerce. Its fatherland had begun to lie there where the best interest for its capital was paid. Russia, therefore, proved an immense market, less for the commerce, than for the outlay of capital and men. To this moment Holland has remained the banker of Russia. At the time of Peter, they supplied Russia with ships, officers, arms and money, so that his fleet, as a contemporary writer remarks, ought to have been called a Dutch, rather than a Muscovite one. They gloried in having sent the first European merchant ship to St. Petersburg, and returned the commercial privileges they had obtained from Peter, or hoped to obtain from him, by that fawning meanness which characterises their intercourse with japan. Here, then, was quite another solid foundation than in England for the Russianism of statesmen, whom Peter I had entrapped during his stay at Amsterdam and the Hague in 1697, whom he afterwards directed by his ambassadors, and with whom he renewed his personal influence during his renewed stay at Amsterdam in 1716-17. Yet, if the paramount influence England exercised over Holland during the first decennia of the eighteenth century be considered, there can remain no doubt that the proclamations against Sweden by the States-General would never have been issued, if not with the previous consent and at the instigation of England. The intimate connection between the English and Dutch Governments served more than once the former to put up precedents in the name of Holland, which they were resolved to act upon in the name of England. On the other hand, it is no less certain that the Dutch statesmen were employed by the Czar to influence the British ones. Thus Horace Walpole, the brother of the “Father of Corruption," the brother-in-law of the Minister, Townshend, and the British Ambassador at the Hague during 1715-16, was evidently inveigled into the Russian interest by his Dutch friends. Thus, as we shall see by-and-by, Theyls, the Secretary to the Dutch Embassy at Constantinople, at the most critical period of the deadly struggle between Charles XII. and Peter I., managed affairs at the same time for the Embassies of England and Holland at the Sublime Porte. This Theyls, in a print of his, openly claims it as a merit with his nation to have been the devoted and rewarded agent of Russian intrigue.
‘Nec rumpite foedera pacis,
Nec regnis praeferte fidem.’
Silius. Lib. II
[Neither break peace treaties, nor prefer allegiance to kingdoms]
“Article I. Establishes between the Kings of Sweden and England ‘a sincere and constant friendship for ever, a league and good correspondence, so that they shall never mutually or separately molest one another’s kingdoms, provinces, colonies, or subjects, wheresoever situated, nor shall they suffer or agree that this should be done by others, etc.’
“Article II. ‘Moreover, each of the Allies, his heirs and successors, shall be obliged to take care of, and promote, as much as in him lies, the profit and honour of the other, to detect and give notice to his other ally (as soon as it shall come to his own knowledge) of all imminent dangers, conspiracies, and hostile designs formed against him, to withstand them as much as possible, and to prevent them both by advice and assistance; and therefore it shall not be lawful for either of the Allies, either by themselves or any other whatsoever, to act, treat, or endeavour anything to the prejudice or loss of the other, his lands or dominions whatsoever or wheresoever, whether by land or sea; that one shall in no wise favour the other’s foes, either rebels or enemies, to the prejudice of his Ally,’ etc.
“Query I. How the words marked in italics agree with our present conduct, when our fleet acts in conduction with the enemies of Sweden, the Czar commands our fleet, our Admiral, enters into Councils of War, and is not only privy to all their designs, but together with our own Minister at Copenhagen (as the King of Denmark, has himself owned it in a public declaration), pushed on the Northern Confederates to an enterprise entirely destructive to our Ally Sweden, I mean the descent designed last summer upon Schonen?
“Query II. In what manner we also must explain that passage in the first article by which it is stipulated that one Ally shall not either by themselves or any other whatsoever, act, treat, or endeavour anything to the loss of the other’s lands and dominions; to justify in particular our leaving in the year 1715, even when the season was so far advanced as no longer to admit of our usual pretence of convoying and protecting our trade, which was then got already safe home, eight men-of-war in the Baltic, with orders to join in one line of battle with the Danes, whereby we made them so much superior in number to the Swedish fleet, that it could not come to the relief of Stralsund, and whereby we chiefly occasioned Sweden’s entirely losing its German Provinces, and even the extreme danger his Swedish Majesty ran, in his own person, in crossing the sea, before the surrender of the town.
“Article III. By a special defensive treaty, the Kings of Sweden and England mutually oblige themselves, ‘in a strict alliance, to defend one another mutually, as well as their kingdoms, territories, provinces, states, subjects, possessions, as their rights and liberties of navigation and commerce, as well in the Northern, Deucalidonian, Western, and Britannic Sea. commonly called the Channel, the Baltic, the Sound; as also of the. privileges and prerogatives of each of the Allies belonging to them, by virtue of treaties and agreements, as well as by received customs, the laws of nations, hereditary right, against any aggressors or invaders and molesters in Europe by sea or land, etc.’
“Query. It being by the law of nations an indisputable right and prerogative of any king or people, in case of a great necessity, or threatening ruin, to use all such means they themselves shall judge most necessary for their preservation; it having moreover been a constant prerogative and practice of the Swedes, for these several hundred years, in case of a war with their most dreadful enemies the Muscovites, to hinder all trade with them in the Baltic; and since it is also stipulated in this article that amongst other things, one Ally ought to defend the prerogatives belonging to the other, even by received customs, and the law of nations: how come we now, the King of Sweden stands more than ever in need of using that prerogative, not only to dispute it, but also to take thereof a pretence for an open hostility against him?
“Articles IV., V., VI., and VII, fix the strength of the auxiliary forces, England and Sweden are to send each other in case the territory of either of these powers should be invaded, or its navigation ‘molested or hindered’ in one of the seas enumerated in Article III. The invasion of the German provinces of Sweden is expressly included as a casus foederis.
“Article VIII. Stipulates that that Ally who is not attacked shall first act the part of a pacific mediator; but, the mediation having proved a failure, ‘the aforesaid forces shall be sent without delay; nor shall the confederates desist before the injured party shall be satisfied in all things.’
“Article IX. That Ally that requires the stipulated help, has to choose whether he will have the above-named army either all or any [part of it], either in soldiers, ships, ammunition. or money.’
“Article X. Ships and armies serve under ‘the command of him that required them.’
“Article XI. ‘But if it should happen that the above-mentioned forces should not be proportionable to the danger, as supposing that perhaps the aggressor should be assisted by the forces of some other confederates of his, then one of the Allies, after previous request, shall be obliged to help the other that is injured, with greater forces, such as he shall be able to raise with safety and convenience, both by sea and land....’
“Article XII. ‘It shall be lawful for either of the Allies and their subjects to bring their men-of-war into one another’s harbours, and to winter there.’ Peculiar negotiations about this point shall take place at Stockholm, but ‘in the meanwhile, the articles of treaty concluded at London, 1661, relating to the navigation and commerce shall remain, in their full force, as much as if they were inserted here word for word.’
“Article XIII. ‘... The subjects of either of the Allies ... shall no way, either by sea or land, serve them (the enemies of either of the Allies), either as mariners or soldiers, and therefore it shall be forbid them upon severe penalty.’
“Article XVI. ‘If it happens that either of the confederate kings ... should be engaged in a war against a common enemy, or be molested by any other neighbouring king ... in his own kingdoms or provinces ... to the hindering of which, he that requires help, may by the force of this treaty, himself be obliged to send help: then that Ally so molested, shall not be obliged to send the promised help...’
“Query I. Whether in our conscience we don’t think the King of Sweden most unjustly attacked by all his enemies; whether consequently we are not convinced that we owe him the assistance stipulated in these Articles; whether he has not demanded the same from us, and why it has hitherto been refused him?
“Query II. These articles, setting forth in the most expressing terms, in what manner Great Britain and Sweden ought to assist one another, can either of these two Allies take upon him to prescribe to the other who requires his assistance, a way of lending him it, not expressed in the treaty; and if that other Ally does not think it for his interest to accept of the same, but still insists upon the performance of the treaty, can he from thence take a pretence, not only to withhold the stipulated assistance, but also to use his Ally in a hostile way, and to join with his enemies against him;’ If this is not justifiable, as even common sense tells us it is not, how can the reason stand good, which we allege amongst others, for using the King of Sweden as we do, id est, that demanding a literal performance of his alliance with us, he would not accept the treaty of neutrality for his German provinces, which we proposed to him some years ago, a treaty which, not to mention its partiality in favour of the enemies of Sweden, and that it was calculated only for our own interest, and for to prevent all disturbance in the empire, whilst we were engaged in a war against France, the King of Sweden had so much less reason to rely upon, as he was to conclude it with those very enemies, that had every one of them broken several treaties in beginning the present war against him, and as it was to be guaranteed by those powers, who were also every one of them guarantees of the broken treaties, without having performed their guaranteed.
“Query III. How can we make the words in the 8th Article, that in assisting our injured Allv we shall not desist before he shall be satisfied in all things, agree with our endeavouring, to the contrary, to help the enemies of that Prince, though all unjust aggressors, not only to take one province after the other from him, but also to remain undisturbed possessors thereof, blaming all along the King of Sweden for not tamely submitting thereunto?
“Query IV. The treaty concluded in the year 1661, between Great Britain and Sweden, being in the 12th Article confirmed, and the said treaty forbidding expressly one of the confederates either himself or his subjects to lend or to sell to the other’s enemies, men-of-war or ships of defence; the 13th Article of this present treaty forbidding also expressly the subjects of either of the Allies to help any ways the enemies of the other, to the inconvenience and loss of such an Ally; should we not have accused the Swedes of the most notorious breach of this treaty, had they, during our late war with the French, lent them their own fleet, the better to execute any design of theirs against user had they, notwithstanding our representations to the contrary, suffered their subjects to furnish the French with ships of 50, 60, and 70 guns! Now, if we turn the tables, and remember upon how many occasions our fleet has of late been entirely subservient to the designs of the enemies of Sweden, even in most critical times, and that the Czar of Muscovy has actually above a dozen English-built ships in his fleet, will it not be very difficult for us to excuse in ourselves what we should most certainly have blamed, if done by others?
“Article XVII. The obligation shall not be so far extended, as that all friendship and mutual commerce with the enemies of that Ally (that requires the help) shall be taken away; for supposing that one of the confederates should send his auxiliaries, and should not he engaged in the war himself, it shall then be lawful for the subjects to trade and commerce with that enemy of that Ally that is engaged in the war, also directly and safely to merchandise with such enemies, for all goods not expressly forbid and called contraband, as in a special treaty of commerce hereafter shall be appointed.
“Query I. This Article being the only one out of twenty-two whose performance we have now occasion to insist upon from the Swedes, the question will be whether we ourselves, in regard to Sweden, have performed all the other articles as it was our part to do, and whether in demanding of the King of Sweden the executing of this Article, we have promised that we would also do our duty as to all the rest; if not, may not the Swedes say that we complain unjustly of the breach of one single Article, when we ourselves may perhaps be found guilty of having in the most material points, either not executed, or even acted against the whole treaty?
“Query II. Whether the liberty of commerce one Ally is, by virtue of this Article, to enjoy with the other’s enemies, ought to have no limitation at all, neither as to time nor place; in short, whether it ought even to be extended so far as to destroy the very end of this Treaty, which is the promoting the safety and security of one another’s kingdoms?
“Query III. Whether in case the French had in the late wars made themselves masters of Ireland or Scotland, and either in new-made seaports, or the old ones, endeavoured by trade still more firmly to establish themselves in their new conquests, we, in such a case, should have thought the Swedes our true allies and friends, had they insisted upon this Article to trade with the French in the said seaports taken from us, and to furnish them there with several necessaries of war, nay, even with armed ships, whereby the French might the easier have annoyed us here in England?
“Query IV. Whether, if we had gone about to hinder a trade, so prejudicial to us, and in order thereunto, brought up all Swedish ships going to the said seaports, we should not highly have exclaimed against the Swedes, had they taken from thence a pretence to join their fleet with the French, to occasion the losing of any of our dominions and even to encourage the invasion upon us, have their fleet at hand to promote the same?
“Query V. Whether upon an impartial examination, this would not have been a case exactly parallel to that we insist upon, as to a Free Trade to the seaports the Czar has taken from Sweden, and to our present behaviour, upon the King of Sweden’s hindering the same?
“Query VI. Whether we have not ever since Oliver Cromwell’s time, till 1710, in all our wars with France and Holland, without any urgent necessity at all, brought up and confiscated Swedish ships, though not going to any prohibited ports, and that to a far greater number and value, than all those the Swedes have now taken from us, and whether the Swedes have ever taken a pretence from thence, to join with our enemies, and to send whole squadrons of ships to their assistance?
“Query VII. Whether, if we inquire narrowly into the state of commerce, as it has been carried on for these many years, we shall not find that the trade of the above-mentioned places was not so very necessary to us, at least not so far as to be put into the balance with the preservation of a Protestant confederate nation, much less to give us a just reason to make war against that nation, which, though not declared, has done it more harm than the united efforts of all its enemies?
“Query VIII. Whether, if it happened two years ago, that this trade became something more necessary to us than formerly, it is not easily proved, that it was occasioned only by the Czar’s forcing us out of our old channel of trade to Archangel, and bringing us to Petersburg, and our complying therewith. So that all the inconveniences we laboured under upon that account, ought to have been laid to the Czar’s door, and not to the King of Sweden’s?
“Query IX. Whether the Czar did not in the very beginning of 1715 again permit us to trade our old way to Archangel, and whether our ministers had not notice thereof a great while before our fleet was sent that year to protect our trade to Petersburg, which by this alteration in the Czar’s resolution was become as unnecessary for us as before?
“Query X. Whether the King of Sweden had not declared, that if we would forbear trading to Petersburg, etc., which he looked upon as ruinous to his kingdom, he would in no manner disturb our trade, neither in the Baltic nor anywhere else; but that in case we would not give him this slight proof of our friendship, he should he excused if the innocent came to suffer with the guilty?
“Query XI. Whether, by our insisting upon the trade to the ports prohibited by the King of Sweden, which besides its being unnecessary to us, hardly makes one part in ten of that we carry on in the Baltic, we have not drawn upon us the hazards that our trade has run all this while, been ourselves the occasion of our great expenses in fitting out fleets for its protection, and by our joining with the enemies of Sweden, fully justified his Swedish Majesty’s resentment; had it ever gone so far as to seize and confiscate without distinction all our ships and effects, wheresoever he found them, either within or without his kingdoms?
“Query XII. If we were so tender of our trade to the northern ports in general, ought we not in policy rather to have considered the hazard that trade runs by the approaching ruin of Sweden, and by the Czar’s becoming the whole and sole master of the Baltic, and all the naval stores we want from thence? Have we not also suffered greater hardships and losses in the said trade from the Czar, than that amounting only to sixty odd thousand pounds (whereof, by the way, two parts in three may perhaps be disputable), which provoked us first to send twenty men-of-war in the Baltic with order to attack the Swedes wherever they met them? And yet, did not this very Czar, this very aspiring and dangerous prince, last summer command the whole confederate fleet, as it was called, of which our men-of-war made the most considerable part? ‘The first instance that ever was of a Foreign Potentate having the command given him of the English fleet, the bulwark of our nation; and did not our said men-of-war afterwards convey his” (the Czar’s) “transport ships and troops on board of them, in their return from Zealand, protecting them ]ram the Swedish fleet, which else would have made a considerable havoc amongst them.
“Query XIII. Suppose now, we had on the contrary taken hold of the great and many complaints our merchants have made, of the ill-usage they meet from the Czar, to have sent our fleet to show our resentment against that prince, to prevent his great and pernicious designs even to us, to assist Sweden pursuant to this Treaty, and effectually to restore the peace in the North, would not that have been more for our interest, more necessary, more honourable and just, and more according to our Treaty; and would not the several 100,000 pounds these our Northern expeditions have cost the nation, have been thus better employed?
“Query XIV. If the preserving and securing our trade against the Swedes, had been the only and real object of all our measures, as to the Northern affairs, how came we the year before the last to leave eight men-of-war in the Baltic and at Copenhagen, when we had no more trade there to protect, and how came Admiral Norris last summer, although he and the Dutch together made up the number of twenty-six men-of-war, and consequently were too strong for the Swedes, to attempt anything against our trade under their convoy; yet to lay above two whole months of the best season in the Sound, without convoying our and the Dutch merchantmen to the several ports they were bound for, whereby they were kept in the Baltic so late that their return could not but be very hazardous, as it even proved, both to them and our men-of-war themselves’, Will not the world be apt to think that the hopes of forcing the King of Sweden to an inglorious and disadvantageous peace, by which the Duchies of Bremen and Verden ought to be added to the Hanover dominions, or that some other such view, foreign, if not contrary, to the true and old interest of Great Britain, had then a greater influence upon all these our proceedings than the pretended care of our trade?
“Article XVIII. ‘For as much as it seems convenient for the preservation, of the liberty of navigation and commerce in the Baltic Sea, that a firm and exact friendship should be kept between the Kings of Sweden and Denmark and whereas the former Kings of Sweden and Denmark, did oblige themselves mutually, not only by the public Articles of Peace made in the camp of Copenhagen, on the 27th of May, 1660 and by the ratifications of the agreement interchanged on both sides, sacredly and inviolably to observe all and every one of the clauses comprehended in the said agreement, but also declared together to ... Charles If., King of Great Britain ... a little before the treaty concluded between England and Sweden in the year 1665, that they would stand sincerely ... to all ... of the Articles of the said peace ... whereupon Charles If., with the approbation and consent of both the forementioned Kings of Sweden and Denmark, took upon himself a little after the Treaty concluded between England and Sweden, lst March, 1665, to wit 9th October, 1665, guarantee of the same agreements... Whereas an instrument of peace between ... the Kings of Sweden and Denmark happened to be soon after these concluded at Lunden in Schonen, in 1679, which contains an express transaction, and repetition, and confirmation of the Treaties concluded at Roskild, Copenhagen, and Westphalia; therefore ... the King of Great Britain binds himself by the force of this Treaty... that if either of the Kings of Sweden and Denmark shall consent to the violation, either of all the agreements, or of one or more articles comprehended in them, and consequently if either of the Kings shall to the prejudice of the person, provinces, territories, islands, goods, dominions and rights of the other, which by the force of the agreements so often repeated, and made in the camp of Copenhagen, on the 27th of May, 1660, as also of those made in the ... peace at Lunden in Schonen, in 1679, were attributed to every one that was interested and comprehended in the words of the peace, should either by himself or by others, presume, or secretly design or attempt, or by open molestations, or by any injury, or by any violence of arms, attempt anything; that then the ... King of Great Britain ... shall first of all, by his interposition, perform all the offices of a friend and princely ally, which may serve towards the keeping inviolable all the frequently mentioned agreements, and of every article comprehended in them, and consequently towards the preservation of peace between both kings; that afterwards if the King who is the beginner of such prejudice, or any molestation or injury, contrary to all agreements, and contrary to any Article comprehended in them, shall refuse after being admonished ... then the King of Great Britain ... shall ... assist him that is injured, as by the present agreements between the Kings of Great Britain and Sweden, in such cases is determined and agreed.’
“Query. Does not this article expressly tell us, how to remedy the disturbances our trade in the Baltic might suffer, in case of a misunderstanding betwixt the Kings of Sweden and Denmark, by obliging both these Princes to keep all the Treaties of Peace, that have been concluded between them from 1660-79, and in case either of them in an hostile manner act against the said Treaties, by assisting the other, against the aggressor? How comes it then, that we don’t make use of so just a remedy against an evil we are so great sufferers by? Can anybody though ever so partial deny, but the King of Denmark, though seemingly a sincere friend to the King of Sweden,’ from the peace of Travendahl, till he went out of Saxony against the Muscovites, fell very unjustly upon him immediately after, taking ungenerously advantage of the fatal battle of Pultava Is not then the King of Denmark the violator of all the above-mentioned Treaties, and consequently the true author of the disturbances our trade meets with in the Baltic? Why in God’s name don’t we according to this article assist Sweden against him, and why do we on the contrary declare openly against the injured King of Sweden, send hectoring and threatening memorials to him, upon the least advantage he has over his enemies, as we did last summer upon his entering Norway, and even order our fleets to act openly against him in conjunction with the Danes?
“Article XIX. There shall be ‘stricter confederacy and union between the above-mentioned kings of Great Britain and Sweden, for the future, for the defence and preservation of the Protestant, Evangelic, and reformed religion.’
“Query I. How do we, according to this article, join with Sweden, to assert, protect, and preserve the Protestant religion? Don’t we suffer that nation, which has always been a bulwark to the said religion, most unmercifully to be torn to pieces? ... Don’t we ourselves give a helping hand towards its destruction? And why all this? Because our merchants have lost their ships to the value of sixty odd thousand pounds. For this loss and nothing else was the pretended reason why in the year 1715 we sent our fleet in the Baltic, at the expense of £200,000, and as to what our merchants have suffered since, suppose we attribute it to our threatening memorials as well as open hostilities against the King of Sweden, must we not even then own that that Prince’s resentment has been very moderate?
“Query II. How can other Princes, and especially our fellow Protestants, think us sincere, in what we have made them believe as to our zeal in spending millions of lives and money for to secure the Protestant interest only in one single branch of it, I mean the Protestant succession here, when they see that that succession has hardly taken place, before we only for sixty odd thousand pounds (for let us always remember, that this paltry sum was the first pretence for our quarrelling with Sweden), go about to undermine the very foundation of that interest in general, by helping as we do entirely to sacrifice Sweden, the old and sincere protector of the Protestants, to its neighbours, of which some are professed Papists, some worse, and some at best but lukewarm Protestants?
“Article XX. ‘Therefore that a reciprocal faith of the Allies and their perseverance in this agreement may appear ... both the fore-mentioned kings mutually oblige themselves and declare that ... they will not depart a tittle from the genuine- and common sense of all and every article of this treaty under any pretences of friend — ship, profit, former treaty, agreement and promise, or upon any colour whatsoever: but that they will most fully and readily either by themselves or Ministers, or subjects, put in execution whatsoever they have promised in this treaty ... without any hesitation, exception, or excuse....’
“Query I. In as much as this article sets forth that at the time of concluding of the treaty, we were under no engagement contrary to it, and that it were highly unjust, should we afterwards, and while this treaty is in force, which is eighteen years after the day it was signed, have entered into any such engagements, how can we justify to the world our late proceedings against the King of Sweden, which naturally seem the consequences of a treaty either of our own making with the enemies of that Prince, or of some Court or other that at present influences our measures?
“Query II. The words in this article... how in the name of honour, faith, and justice, do they agree with the little and pitiful pretences we now make use of, not only for not assisting Sweden, pursuant to this treaty, but even for going about so heartily as we do to destroy it?
“Article XXI. ‘This defensive treaty shall last for eighteen years, before the end of which the confederate kings may ... again treat.’
“Ratification of the abovesaid treaty. — We having seen and considered this treaty have approved and confirmed the same in all and every particular article and clause as by the present. We do approve the same for us, our heirs, and successors; assuring and promising, on our princely word, that we shall perform and observe sincerely and in good earnest all those things that are therein contained, for the better confirmation whereof we have ordered our grand seal of England to be put to these presents, which were given at our palace at Kensington, 25th of February, in the year of our Lord 1700, and in the 11th year of our reign (Gulielmus Rex).
[The Treaty was concluded at The Hague on the 6th and 16th of January, 1700 and ratified by William III, n February 5th, 1700]
“Query. How can anyone of us that declares himself for the late happy revolutions and that is a true and grateful lover of King William’s for ever-glorious memory ... yet bear with the least patience, that the said treaty should (that I may again use the words of the 20th article), be departed from, under any pretence of profit, or upon. any colour whatsoever, especially so insignificant and trifling a one, as that which has been made use of for two years together to employ our ships, our men, and our money, to accomplish the ruin of Sweden, that same Sweden whose defence and preservation this great and wise monarch of ours, has so solemnly promised, and which he always looked upon- to be of the utmost necessity for to secure the Protestant interest in Europe?”