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recently displayed considerable magnanimity. Her unqualified rejection of all terms of peace (during an administration confessedly pacific), in which her ally should not be included, must have left on the mind of the Russian monarch a very favourable impression of the counsels then prevalent in his Majesty's cabinet. Sweden, with more zeal than prudence, had ventured to become a principal in the war. The fall of Prussia paved the way for an attack on Swedish Pomerania; and, unless England furnished speedily a numerous and well appointed army of auxiliaries, all that was left to hope for, was an unmolested retreat across the waves of the Baltic. We shall never appreciate rightly the character of the expedition against Copenhagen, unless we recollect that it was contemporary with the siege and evacuation of Stralsund and Rugen; and that the forces employed in the spoliation of a neutral state might have averted that of an ally— actually perpetrating at the same time, and at no great distance.
In the midst of so much error and so much disaster, Denmark had remained unmolested,-protected by the firm but temperate politics of her court; by the attachment of her inhabitants to the family of the sovereign, and to their own national independence; by the rigid observance of a strict neutrality; and by the moral turpitude attached to a profligate aggression. But mere innocence has always been a feeble barrier against unprincipled power;-and the precautions of this state betrayed, without mitigating, her alarm for that portion of her territory expos ed to invasion. From the general policy of the ruler of France, every thing was to be apprehended: The open country of Holstein opposed no barrier: Its fertility and riches invited and facilitated the entrance of that army which had long hovered on its frontiers; and as it was uncertain how long it might continue to respect them, the Crown Prince, draining the rest of his dominions of their forces, had for three years kept the flower of the Danish youth assembled on the borders of Holstein, to defend the only quarter in which aggression was then conceived to be possible. Still it was apprehended, that, in the extensive plains of Holstein, numbers would assert their usual superiority: Jutland, however, protected by its poverty and its mountains, was deemed capable of a successful defence; and, whilst the fleet of Denmark was decidedly superior to any which France could bring out against her, the security of the Scandinavian isles was never supposed to be doubtful. The cooperation of the English fleets, indeed, was tacitly counted on, in any system of defence which an eventual aggression might render necessary.
Such was the posture of affairs, when a fleet, commanded by
I i 2
Admiral Gambier, and filled with English troops, left the shores of Great Britain. The writer of this article, who happened ac cidentally to be at Copenhagen when the account of this event arrived, witnessed the most unequivocal proofs of the sensations it excited amongst all classes in that capital. The sentiment of common danger had obliterated the national animosity which usu ally subsisted between the Swedes and Danes. It was universally supposed that the English army was destined to cooperate with the former, in the defence of Stralsund, and in reconquering the rest of Swedish Pomerania and all that was feared was, that it would arrive too late. The illusion was however dissipated by the arrival of Mr Jackson at Copenhagen, as plenipotentiary on the part of his Britannic Majesty, on the 1st August 1807.
Mr Jackson (as might have been confidently predicted) totally failed in convincing the Crown Prince that it was incumbent on him to deprive his own kingdoms and capital, during a period cri tical beyond example, of a naval defence provided at an enormous expense, considering the limited revenue of Denmark, in order to add to the naval power or the security of Great Britain. Posterity will not, from this circumstance, judge unfavourably of the persuasive talents of Mr Jackson: but a much more powerful negociator was at hand. Lord Cathcart, with an army of 28,000 men disembarked at Wybeck, on the 16th August. On the 18th, Copenhagen was invested. The mortar batteries,' says Lord Gambier, which had been erected by the army in the se • veral positions they had taken round Copenhagen, together with the bomb-vessels, which were placed in convenient situations, began the bombardment on the morning of the 2d September, with such power and effect, that in a short time the town was set on fire, and, by the repeated discharges of our artillery, was kept in flames, in different places, till the evening of the 5th; when a considerable part of it being consumed, and the conflagration arrived at a great height, threatening the speedy destruction of the whole city, the general commanding the garrison sent out a flag of truce.
The result of this transaction was,
that the conquerors conveyed to England 16 ships of the line, 13 frigates and 6 brigs.
Such, on the largest calculation, is the amount of our gain by this unprecedented operation ;-against which, we have obvious ly to set off, 1st, the expense attending the expedition itself, which probably amounted to the prime cost of an equal number of new vessels of the same dimensions; 2d, The implacable ani mosity of the whole Darish nation towards this country,-devoting them, with all the resources of Denmark, to the service Bonaparte; 3d, The resentment expressed and acted upon
ever since by the Emperor of Russia, which has cemented, if it did not dictate, his alliance with the ruler of France. Lastly, and above all, the wreck of that high national character, and consequent influence, which Great Britain had hitherto enjoyed amongst the nations of Europe.
Whoever has had an opportunity of comparing the people of England with those of the Continent, must have remarked, that, with a sense of honour equally acute, the former possess far more rigid notions of morality and justice. Honesty, and scrupulous fidelity, are necessary in extended commerce; and naturally infuse themselves into the general conduct of a commercial people. The noble and dignified sentiments which actuate the mind of the Sovereign, are universally acknowledged. The eminent persons who direct his councils, are all men of strict moral rectitude. in private life. We are bound, therefore, to conclude, that the demand of the navy of a neutral power, and the destruction of his capital, in order to enforce that demand, is either consonant to political justice and established maxims, or else that it was urged by a danger so vast and imminent, as to justify the grossest violation of general principles. We propose to consider the arguments which have been advanced in support of this last and only rational proposition; and we may begin with a short view of the reasoning of the author before us.
It has been the policy of Bonaparte, to attack England through the medium of her commerce. For that purpose, the possession of Holstein was of the utmost importance, by enabling him to exclude British manufactures and colonial produce from Toningen, the only considerable depot then open to them on the Continent. This being obviously his interest, it is manifest that he would not have continued to respect the neutrality of Denmark; but, having possessed himself of Holstein, would have had no difficulty in passing into Zealand; and the possession of the Danish fleet would unavoidably lead to that of Sweden and Russia also. Besides, the Danes did not mean to defend themselves ;otherwise, the fortifications of Rendsburgh and Gluckstadt would have been strengthened and augmented. On these arguments, and we really can discover no others in the work, it seems enough to say, that though the Danes did not consider themselves adequate to the defence of Holstein, if attacked by such a force as France could bring against it, they did undoubtedly rely upon being able to defend their islands, until attacked by a naval force equal to their own.
It would be uncandid, however, to judge of this extraordinary measure by the reasonings of this anonymous writer. therefore, have recourse to the declarations of his Majesty's mi
nisters. In that published on the 25th September 1807, the late measures in the Baltic are thus accounted for. His Majesty •had received the most positive information of the determination of the present ruler of France, to occupy with a military force the territory of Holstein, for the purpose of excluding Great Britain from her accustomed channels of communication with the Continent; of inducing or compelling the Court of Denmark to close the passage of the Sound against the British commerce and navigation; and of availing himself of the aid of the Danish marine, for the invasion of Great Britain and Ireland: ' and further, Holstein once occupied, Zealand would be at the mercy of France, and the navy of Denmark at her disposal. ' Now, though it cannot well be denied, that, ever since the occupation of Hanover, Bonaparte might have taken possession of Holstein, it by no means follows that he had the same power over the Danish marine. Yet of the three objects specified in the declaration, the last only, namely, the invasion of the British isles, can be pretended to have been prevented by the Danish expedition, since England is now completely excluded from the ports of Denmark, and all the seamen and naval means of that country are at the disposal of the enemy.
But, in the declaration against Russia, dated 18th December 1807, in accounting for the expedition against Copenhagen, no allusion whatever is made to the positive information detailed in the first. Here it is said, His Majesty feels himself under no obligation to offer any atonement or apology to the Emperor of Russia for the expedition against Copenhagen. It is not for those who were parties to the secret arrangements of Tilsit, to • demand satisfaction for a measure to which those arrangements gave rise, and by which one of the objects has been happily defeated. Again: His Majesty was prepared to employ, for the advancement of the common objects of the war, those forces, which, after the peace of Tilsit, he was under the necessity of employing, to disconcert a combination directed against his own immediate interests and security. It thus appears, that it was not in consequence of Bonaparte's determination to occupy Holstein, that the expedition took place; but of secret articles of the treaty of Tilsit, by which a combination was formed hostile to Great Britain. Be it so. Ministry wished it then at that time to be understood, that previously to the sailing of Lord Gambier on the 26th July, they were in possession of the secret articles of the treaty of Tilsit, concluded on the 8th, though it has since been distinctly admitted in both Houses of Parliament, that information of the signing of the treaty did not reach the British government till the
8th of August. But if they were at any time in possession of such articles, their conduct in not producing them is altogether inexplicable. The simple production of the articles involved no disclosure of the sources of intelligence: and is it possible for a moment to suppose that ministers were in possession of a document which completely justified their measures—would have silenced the clamours of opposition, and effaced a stigma on the national character-and that they yet, without any imaginable motive, preferred to suppress it? Besides, if, previously to the sailing of Lord Gambier, ministers knew, (for we apprehend there are none who think that a vague surmise or conjecture would justify such a proceeding as this),-if they knew, we say, that the Emperor of Russia was a principal in a combination for placing the naval means of Denmark at the disposal of France, and for excluding us from the Sound, how shall we account for the forbearance that was observed towards Russia herself,-for the policy that spared her fleets in the Baltic and the Mediterranean, her merchant ships in our ports, and her commerce in every quarter? How shall we account for the hopes long afterwards held out by Mr Canning and Lord Levison Gower, of the adjustment of a commercial treaty with that monarch? Or how shall we account for the manner in which the supposed combination is alluded to in the Right Honourable Secretary's private letter of the 28th September, in which it is mentioned, not as the result of secret articles actually ratified by his Imperial Majesty, but under the vague designation of a plan brought forward at the conferences of Tilsit?' It is not in this manner that formal stipulations are usually characterized; and indeed, in point of fact, we believe it is now universally admitted, that the secret articles of Tilsit related exclusively to arrangements eventually to take place in the south of Europe; and that the hostile combination in the Baltic would never have been more than a plan of Bonaparte, if the attack on Copenhagen had not united Russia and Denmark in a zealous and cordial cooperation in his hostile designs.
It has indeed been contended, and from high authority, that ministers never had any occasion to produce proof of their assertions; that the facts which justify the seizure of the Danish fleet were public and notorious :-the power and animosity of France; the weakness and hostile disposition of Denmark; and the importance of her navy towards the success of any plan which the enemy may adopt for the invasion of these realms, These circumstances, it has been said, make out a case of necessity; and the measure adopted was one of self-preservation, the first law of nature. Of all the links in this chain of ratiocination,