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Admiral. I then asked if his Royal Highness would permit me to speak my mind freely on the present situation of Denmark? to which he having acquiesced, I stated to him the sensation which was caused in England by such an unnatural alliance with, at the present moment, the furious enemy of England. His answer was, that when he made the alliance, it was for the protection of their trade, and that Denmark would never be the enemy of England, and that the Emperor of Russia was not the enemy of England when this treaty was formed—that he never would join Russia against England, and his declaration to that effect was the cause of the Emperor's (I think he said) sending away his Minister,—that Denmark was a trading nation, and had only to look to the protection of its lawful commerce. His Royal Highness then enlarged on the impossibility of Danish ships under convoy having on board any contraband trade; but to be subjected to be stopped, even a Danish fleet, by a pitiful privateer, and that she should search all the ships and take out of the fleet any vessels she might please, was what Denmark could not permit. To this my answer was simply, What occasion for convoy to fair trade? To which he answered, Did you find any thing in the convoy of the Freja? and that no Commander could tell what contraband goods might be in the convoy, &c. &c. and as to merchants, they would always sell what was most saleable; and as to swearing to property, I could get any thing sworn to which I pleased. I then said, Suppose that England, which she never will, was to consent to this freedcm and nonsense of navigation, I will tell your Royal Highness what the result would be—ruination to Denmark; for the present commerce of Denmark with the warring powers was half the neutral carrying trade, and any merchant in Copenhagen would tell you the same. If all this freedom was allowed, Denmark would not have more than the sixth part, for the State of Passenburgh was as good as the State of Denmark in that case; and it would soon be said, we will not be stopped in the Sound, our flag is our protection, and Denmark would lose a great source of her present revenue; and that the Baltic would soon change its name to the Russian Sea. He said, this was a delicate subject, to which I replied, That his Royal Highness had
permitted me to speak out. He then said, Pray answer me a question. For what is the British fleet come into the Baltic? My answer, To crush a most formidable and unprovoked coalition against Great Britain. He then went on to say, that his uncle (George III.) had been deceived, that it was a misunderstanding, and that nothing should ever make him take a part against Great Britain, for that it could not be his interest to see us crushed, nor, he trusted, ours to see him; to which I acquiesced. I then said, there could be no doubt of the hostility of Denmark, for if her fleet had been joined with Russia and Sweden, they would assuredly have gone into the North Sea, menaced the Court of England, and probably have joined the French if they had been able. His Royal Highness said his ships never should join any power against England, but it required not much argument to satisfy him he could not help it, by his treaty. In speaking of the pretended union of the Northern Powers, I could not help saying that his Royal Highness must be sensible that it was nonsense to talk of a mutual protection of trade with a Power who had none, and that he must be sensible that the Emperor of Russia would never have thought of offering to protect the trade of Denmark, if he had not had hostility against Great Britain. He said repeatedly, I have offered to-day, and do offer, my mediation between Great Britain and Russia. My answer was, A mediator must be at peace with both parties. You must settle your matter with Great Britain. At present you are leagued with our enemies, and are considered naturally as a part of the effective force to fight us. Talking much on this subject, his Royal Highness said, What must I do to make myself equal? Answer,—Sign an alliance with Great Britain, and join your fleet to ours. His Royal Highness then said, Russia will go to war with us, and my desire as a commercial nation is to be at peace with all the world. I told him, he knew the offer of Great Britain, either to join us or disarm. And pray, Lord Nelson, what do you call disarming? My answer was, that I was not authorized to give an opinion on the subject; but I considered it as not having on foot any force beyond the customary establishment. Question: And do you consider the guard-ships in the Sound as beyond that common establishment? Answer: I do not. Question: We have always had five sail of the line in the Cattegat and coast of Norway? Answer: I am not authorized to define what is exactly disarming, but I do not think such a force will be allowed. His Royal Highness: When all Europe is in such a dreadful state of confusion, it is absolutely necessary that States should be on their guard. Answer: Your Royal Highness knows the offers of England to keep 20 sail of the line in the Baltic. He then said, I am sure my intentions are very much misunderstood. To which I replied, that Sir Hyde Parker had authorized me to say that upon certain conditions his Royal Highness might have an opportunity of explaining his sentiments at the Court of London. I am not authorized to say on what conditions exactly. Question: But what do you think? Answer: First, a free entry of the British fleet into Copenhagen, and the free use of every thing we may want from it. Before I could get on, he replied quick, That you shall have with pleasure. The next is, whilst this explanation is going on, a total suspension of your treaties with Russia. These, I believe, are the foundation on which Sir Hyde Parker only can build other articles for his justification in suspending his orders, which are plain and positive. His Royal Highness then desired me to repeat what I had said, which having done, he thanked me for my open conversation; and I having made an apology if I had said any thing which he might think too strong, his Royal Highness very handsomely did the same, and we parted, he saying that he hoped we would cease from hostilities to-morrow, as on such an important occasion he must call a Council.''
On the 9th an armistice was agreed upon, and the terms transmitted to the Admiralty by the Hon. Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart. They were printed in the London Gazette of April 21st, and are in autograph in the Sidmouth Papers. The following was adressed by Lord Nelson to Lady Hamilton:
"April 9th, 1801. "My dearest Friend, you will perceive that I am become a negotiator, a bad one no doubt, but perhaps as upright a one as any England could send. Count Bernstorff has taken to his bed, and was not able (willing) to make me a visit. Yesterday he had sent off some vague notes to Sir Hyde Parker, and I sent him a message that I was ashamed of his conduct. Did he take Sir Hyde Parker for a fool, to play off his ministerial duplicity, for it would not suit a British Admiral, who came to treat with their hearts in their hands? My object is to make Denmark our friend by conciliation, now we have shewn we can beat them. In mercy spare. In my opinion, nations like individuals are to be won more by acts of kindness than cruelty. We could burn Copenhagen. Would that win an affection towards England? The Armistice has tied up Denmark, and let us loose against her Allies, for which I think Russia will go to war with her. If our Ministry do not approve of my humane conduct, I have begged they would allow me to retire, and under the shade of a chesnut-tree at BRONTE, where the din of war will not reach my ears, do I hope to solace myself, make my people happy and prosperous, and by giving my advice (if asked), enable his Sicilian Majesty, my bi nefactor, to be more than ever respected in the Mediterranean, and to have peace with all the Barbary States. This, my dear friend, you may write to the Queen, and tell Prince Castelcicala. I hope the King and Acton will take care of my estate. Yesterday I was shut up in a room in the palace half wet through—it was a hard task to make them, in plain terms, suspend the treaty of the famed confederacy against England. What will Paul say to all this? I am worn out, no words can express the horror of my situation. The Prince has been very kind in expressions towards me, and said the world would think my humane conduct, on the late melancholy occasion, placed me higher than all my victories, brilliant as they had been. I dined with the Prince, as did Colonel Stewart, Captains Foley and Fremantle."
"9 o'clock at night.
"Having concluded the Treaty of Armistice with Denmark, I got on board between six and seven, and found to my inexpressible satisfaction, all your truly kind and affectionate letters. Colonel Stewart is going home with the Armistice, and I have wrote to Mr. Addington, that if he does not approve of it, I beg to be superseded, and to be allowed to retire, for God knows I want rest, and a true friend to comfort me. I have scarcely time to turn round; all here hang on my shoulders; but I am trying to finish, and hope to be home next month. My health will not allow me to remain here all the summer. I hope, I assure you, to retire. Why should I fag my life out? I am not Commander-in-chief.1 None of my gallant Lieutenants are promoted, but I enjoy that reward, the approbation of such a friend as you and Sir William, which is all I require. I hope to get Sir Hyde to let me pass the Channel the moment the wind suits, for we are losing time, and I want to be home. With best regards to the Duke, Lord William, &c. &c.
"nelson And Bronte."
"Your friend was on shore to-day to receive the ratification of the treaty of armistice. I received, as a warrior, all the praises which could gratify the ambition of the vainest man, and the thanks of the nation from the King downwards for my humanity in saving the town from destruction. Nelson is a warrior, but will not be a butcher. I am sure, could you have seen the adoration and respect, you would have cried for joy."
Lord Nelson also wrote to Lord Minto, and Sir Brooke Boothby, Bart. To the former he says: "Before you condemn the Armistice, hear all the reasons: they are weighty and most important. Without it we should have gone no further this year, and with it not half so far as I wish." To the latter: "I but wish to finish Paul, and then retire for ever." Soon after this Lord Nelson heard of the death of the Emperor Paul, as on the 11th he wrote thus to Lady Hamilton:—
"April nth, 1801. "My dearest Friend,
"I have answered the King of Naples's letter, and have told him that in six weeks after the peace, I hope to be at his feet, for that it is my intention to go to Bronte. I can
1 He was appointed only April 21st.