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Title: Secret Diplomatic History of The Eighteenth Century
Author: Marx, Karl, 1818-1883
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Secret Diplomatic History of The Eighteenth Century" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *

_Demy 8vo, pp._ 656, xvi. 10_s._ 6_d._


Letters written 1853-1856 dealing with the events of the Crimean War.



                         OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.

     "With all Marx's faults and his extravagant abuse of high political
     personages, one cannot but admire the man's strength of mind, the
     courage of his opinions, and his scorn and contempt for everything
     small, petty, and mean. Although many and great changes have taken
     place since these papers appeared, they are still valuable not only
     for the elucidation of the past, but also for throwing a clearer
     light upon the present as also upon the future."--_Westminster

     "All that Marx's hand set itself to do, it did with all its might,
     and in this volume, as in the rest of his work, we see the
     indefatigable energy, the wonderful grasp of detail, and the keen
     and marvellous foresight of a master mind."--_Justice._

     "A very masterly analysis of the condition, political, economic and
     social, of the Turkish Empire, which is as true to-day as when it
     was written."--_Daily Chronicle._

     "The letters contain an enormous amount of well-digested
     information, and display great critical acumen, amounting in some
     cases almost to prevision. The biographical interest of the volume
     is also pronounced, for prominent men of that period are dissected
     and analysed with a vigour and freedom which are as refreshing to
     readers as they would be disconcerting to their subjects were they
     alive. A perusal of the book must greatly tend to a clearer
     perception of the later Eastern issues, which are now engaging the
     attention and testing the diplomatic talents of the ambassadors at
     Constantinople."--_Liverpool Post._


       *       *       *       *       *




Edited by his Daughter ELEANOR MARX AVELING

[Illustration: Logo]


       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


In the Preface to "The Eastern Question," by Karl Marx, published in
1897, the Editors, Eleanor Marx Aveling and Edward Aveling, referred to
two series of papers entitled "The Story of the Life of Lord
Palmerston," and "Secret Diplomatic History of the Eighteenth Century,"
which they promised to publish at an early date.

Mrs. Aveling did not live long enough to see these papers through the
press, but she left them in such a forward state, and we have had so
many inquiries about them since, that we venture to issue them without
Mrs. Aveling's final revision in two shilling pamphlets.


Secret Diplomatic History of the Eighteenth Century



"PETERSBURG, _17th August, 1736_.[1]

" ... I heartily wish ... that the Turks could be brought to condescend
to make the first step, for this Court seems resolved to hearken to
nothing till that is done, to mortify the Porte, that has on all
occasions spoken of the Russians with the greatest contempt, which the
Czarina and her present Ministers cannot bear. Instead of being obliged
to Sir Everard Fawkner and Mr. Thalman (the former the British, the
latter the Dutch Ambassador at Constantinople), for informing them of
the good dispositions of the Turks, Count Oestermann will not be
persuaded that the Porte is sincere, and seemed very much surprised that
they had written to them (the Russian Cabinet) without order of the King
and the States-General, or without being desired by the Grand Vizier,
and that their letter had not been concerted with the Emperor's Minister
at Constantinople.... I have shown Count Biron and Count Oestermann the
two letters the Grand Vizier has written to the King, and at the same
time told these gentlemen that as there was in them several hard
reflections on this Court, I should not have communicated them if they
had not been so desirous to see them. Count Biron said that was nothing,
for they were used to be treated in this manner by the Turks. I desired
their Excellencies not to let the Porte know that they had seen these
letters, which would sooner aggravate matters than contribute to make
them up...."


"ST. PETERSBURG, _1st (12th) March, 1765_.

"Most Secret.[2]

" ... Yesterday M. Panin[3] and the Vice-Chancellor, together with M.
Osten, the Danish Minister, signed a treaty of alliance between this
Court and that of Copenhagen. By one of the articles, a war with Turkey
is made a _casus foederis_; and whenever that event happens, Denmark
binds herself to pay Russia a subsidy of 500,000 roubles per annum, by
quarterly payments. Denmark also, by a most secret article, promises to
disengage herself from all French connections, demanding only a limited
time to endeavour to obtain the arrears due to her by the Court of
France. At all events, she is immediately to enter into all the views of
Russia in Sweden, and to act entirely, though not openly, with her in
that kingdom. Either I am deceived or M. Gross[4] has misunderstood his
instructions, when he told your lordship that Russia intended to stop
short, and leave all the burden of Sweden upon England. However desirous
this Court may be that we should pay a large proportion of every
pecuniary engagement, yet, I am assured, she will always choose to take
the lead at Stockholm. Her design, her ardent wish, is to make a common
cause with England and Denmark, for the total annihilation of the French
interest there. This certainly cannot be done without a considerable
expense; but Russia, at present, does not seem unreasonable enough to
expect that WE SHOULD PAY THE WHOLE. It has been hinted to me that
£1,500 per annum, on our part, would be sufficient to support our
interest, and absolutely prevent the French from ever getting at
Stockholm again.

"The Swedes, highly sensible of, and very much mortified at, the
dependent situation they have been in for many years, are extremely
jealous of every Power that intermeddles in their affairs, and
particularly so of their neighbours the Russians. This is the reason
assigned to me for this Court's desiring that we and they should act
upon SEPARATE bottoms, still preserving between our respective Ministers
a confidence without reserve. That our first care should be, not to
establish a faction under the name of a Russian or of an English
faction; but, as even the wisest men are imposed upon by a mere name, to
endeavour to have OUR friends distinguished as the friends of liberty
and independence. At present we have a superiority, and the generality
of the nation is persuaded how very ruinous their French connections
have been, and, if continued, how very destructive they will be of their
true interests. M. Panin does by no means desire that the smallest
change should be made in the constitution of Sweden.[5] He wishes that
the royal authority might be preserved without being augmented, and that
the privileges of the people should be continued without violation. He
was not, however, without his fears of the ambitious and intriguing
spirit of the Queen, but the great ministerial vigilance of Count
Oestermann has now entirely quieted his apprehensions on that head.

"By this new alliance with Denmark, and by the success in Sweden, which
this Court has no doubt of, if properly seconded, M. Panin will, in some
measure, have brought to bear his grand scheme of uniting the Powers of
the North.[6] Nothing, then, will be wanted to render it entirely
perfect, but the conclusion of a treaty alliance with Great Britain. I
am persuaded this Court desires it most ardently. The Empress has
expressed herself more than once, in terms that marked it strongly. Her
ambition is to form, by such an union, a certain counterpoise to the
family compact,[7] and to disappoint, as much as possible, all the views
of the Courts of Vienna and Versailles, against which she is irritated
with uncommon resentment. I am not, however, to conceal from your
lordship that we can have no hope of any such alliance, unless we agree,
by some secret article, to pay a subsidy in case of a Turkish war, for
no money will be desired from us, except upon an emergency of that
nature. I flatter myself I have persuaded this Court of the
unreasonableness of expecting any subsidy in time of peace, and that an
alliance upon an equal footing will be more safe and more honourable for
both nations. I can assure your lordship that a Turkish war's being a
_casus foederis_, inserted either in the body of the treaty or in a
secret article, will be a _sine quâ non_ in every negotiation we may
have to open with this Court. The obstinacy of M. Panin upon that point
is owing to the accident I am going to mention. When the treaty between
the Emperor and the King of Prussia was in agitation, the Count
Bestoucheff, who is a mortal enemy to the latter, proposed the Turkish
clause, persuaded that the King of Prussia would never submit to it, and
flattering himself with the hopes of blowing up that negotiation by his
refusal. But this old politician, it seemed, was mistaken in his
conjecture, for his Majesty immediately consented to the proposal on
condition that Russia should make no alliance with any other Power but
on the same terms.[8] This is the real fact, and to confirm it, a few
days since, Count Solme, the Prussian Minister, came to visit me, and
told me that if this Court had any intention of concluding an alliance
with ours without such a clause, he had orders to oppose it in the
strongest manner. Hints have been given me that if Great Britain were
less inflexible in that article, Russia will be less inflexible in the
article of export duties in the Treaty of Commerce, which M. Gross told
your lordship this Court would never depart from. I was assured at the
same time, by a person in the highest degree of confidence with M.
Panin, that if we entered upon the Treaty of Alliance the Treaty of
Commerce would go on with it _passibus æquis_; that then the latter
would be entirely taken out of the hands of the College of Trade, where
so many cavils and altercations had been made, and would be settled only
between the Minister and myself, and that he was sure it would be
concluded to our satisfaction, provided the Turkish clause was admitted
into the Treaty of Alliance. I was told, also, that in case the
Spaniards attacked Portugal, we might have 15,000 Russians in our pay to
send upon that service. I must entreat your lordship on no account to
mention to M. Gross the secret article of the Danish Treaty.... That
gentleman, I am afraid, is no well-wisher to England."[9]


"Petersburg, 16 (27 August), 1782.


" ... On my arrival here I found the Court very different from what it
had been described to me. So far from any partiality to England, its
bearings were entirely French. The King of Prussia (then in possession
of the Empress' ear) was exerting his influence against us. Count Panin
assisted him powerfully; Lacy and Corberon, the Bourbon Ministers, were
artful and intriguing; Prince Potemkin had been wrought upon by them;
and the whole tribe which surrounded the Empress--the Schuwaloffs,
Stroganoffs, and Chernicheffs--were what they still are, _garçons
perruquiers de Paris_. Events seconded their endeavours. The assistance
the French affected to afford Russia in settling its disputes with the
Porte, and the two Courts being immediately after united as mediators at
the Peace of Teschen, contributed not a little to reconcile them to each
other. I was, therefore, not surprised that all my negotiations with
Count Panin, _from February, 1778, to July, 1779_, should be
unsuccessful, as he meant to prevent, not to promote, an alliance. It
was in vain we made concessions to obtain it. He ever started fresh
difficulties; had ever fresh obstacles ready. A very serious evil
resulted, in the meanwhile, from my apparent confidence in him. He
availed himself of it to convey in his reports to the Empress, not the
language I employed, and the sentiments I actually expressed, but the
language and sentiments he wished I should employ and express. He was
equally careful to conceal her opinions and feelings from me; and while
he described England to her as obstinate, and overbearing, and reserved,
he described the Empress to me as displeased, disgusted, and indifferent
to our concerns; and he was so convinced that, by this double
misrepresentation, he had shut up every avenue of success that, at the
time when I presented to him the Spanish declaration, he ventured to say
to me, ministerially, '_That Great Britain had, by its own haughty
conduct, brought down all its misfortunes on itself; that they were now
at their height; that we must consent to any concession to obtain peace;
and that we could expect neither assistance from our friends nor
forbearance from our enemies._' I had temper enough not to give way to
my feelings on this occasion.... I applied, without loss of time, to
Prince Potemkin, and, by his means, the Empress _condescended_ to see me
alone at Peterhoff. I was so fortunate in this interview, as not only to
efface all bad impressions she had against us, but by stating in its
true light, our situation, and THE INSEPARABLE INTERESTS OF GREAT
BRITAIN AND RUSSIA, to raise in her mind a decided resolution to assist
us. _This resolution she declared to me in express words._ When this
transpired--and Count Panin was the first who knew it--he became my
implacable and inveterate enemy. He not only thwarted by falsehoods and
by a most undue exertion of his influence my public negotiations, but
employed every means the lowest and most vindictive malice could suggest
to depreciate and injure me personally; and from the very infamous
accusations with which he charged me, had I been prone to fear, I might
have apprehended the most infamous attacks at his hands. This relentless
persecution still continues; it has outlived his Ministry.
_Notwithstanding the positive assurances I had received from the Empress
herself_, he found means, first to stagger, and afterwards to alter her
resolutions. He was, indeed, very officiously assisted by his Prussian
Majesty, who, at the time, was as much bent on oversetting our interest
as he now seems eager to restore it. I was not, however, disheartened by
this first disappointment, and, by redoubling my efforts, _I have twice
more, during the course of my mission, brought the Empress to the verge_
(!) _of standing forth our professed friend_, and, each time, my
_expectations were grounded on assurances from her own mouth_. The first
was when _our enemies conjured up the armed_ neutrality;[10] the other
WHEN MINORCA WAS OFFERED HER. Although, on the first of these occasions,
I found the same opposition from the same quarter I had experienced
before, yet I am compelled to say that the principal cause of my failure
was attributable to the very awkward manner in which we replied to the
famous neutral declaration of February, 1780. As I well knew from what
quarter the blow would come, I was prepared to parry it. _My opinion
was: 'If England feels itself strong enough to do without Russia, let it
reject at once these new-fangled doctrines; but if its situation is such
as to want assistance, let it yield to the necessity of the hour,
recognise them as far as they relate to_ RUSSIA ALONE, _and by a
well-timed act of complaisance insure itself a powerful friend._'[11] My
opinion was _not_ received; an ambiguous and trimming answer was given;
_we seemed equally afraid to accept or dismiss them. I was instructed
secretly to oppose, but avowedly to acquiesce in them_, and some
unguarded expressions of one of its then confidential servants, made use
of in speaking to Mr. Simolin, in direct contradiction to the temperate
and cordial language that Minister had heard from Lord Stormont,
_irritated_ the Empress to the last degree, and completed the _dislike_
and _bad opinion_ she entertained of that Administration.[12] Our
enemies took advantage of these _circumstances_.... I SUGGESTED THE IDEA
OF GIVING UP MINORCA TO THE EMPRESS, _because, as it was evident to me
we should at the peace be compelled to make sacrifices, it seemed to me
wiser to make them to our friends than to our enemies_. THE IDEA WAS
ADOPTED AT HOME IN ITS WHOLE EXTENT,[13] _and nothing could be more
perfectly calculated to the meridian of this Court than the judicious
instructions I received on this occasion from Lord Stormont. Why_ this
project failed I am still at a loss to learn. _I never knew the Empress
incline so strongly to any one measure as she did to this, before I had
my full powers to treat, nor was I ever more astonished than when I
found her shrink from her purpose when they arrived._ I imputed it at
the same time, in my own mind, to the _rooted aversion she had for our
Ministry_, and her _total want of confidence in them_; but I since am
more strongly disposed to believe that she consulted the Emperor (of
Austria) on the subject, and that he not only prevailed on her to
decline the offer, but betrayed the secret to France, and that it thus
became public. I cannot otherwise account for this rapid _change of
sentiment in the Empress_, particularly as _Prince Potemkin_ (whatever
he might be in other transactions) was certainly in this _cordial and
sincere_ in his support, and both from what I saw at the time, and from
what has since come to my knowledge, _had its success at heart as much
as myself_. You will observe, my lord, that _the idea of bringing the
Empress forward as a friendly mediatrix went hand-in-hand with the
proposed cession of Minorca_. As this idea has given rise to what has
since followed, and involved us in all the dilemmas of the present
mediation, it will be necessary for me to explain what my views then
were, and to exculpate myself from the blame of having placed my Court
in so embarrassing a situation, _my wish and intention was that she
should be sole mediatrix without an adjoint_; if you have perused what
passed between her and me, in December, 1780, your lordship will readily
perceive how very potent reasons I had to imagine she would be a
friendly and even a partial one.[14] I knew, indeed, she was unequal to
the task; but I knew, too, how greatly _her vanity_ would be flattered
by this distinction, and was well aware that when once engaged she would
persist, and be inevitably involved in our quarrel, particularly when it
should appear (and appear it would) that we had _gratified_ her with
Minorca. The annexing to the mediation the other (Austrian) Imperial
Court entirely overthrew this plan. It not only afforded her a pretence
for not keeping her word, but piqued and mortified her; and it was under
this impression that she made over the whole business to the colleague
we had given her, and ordered her Minister at Vienna to subscribe
implicitly to whatever the Court proposed. Hence all the evils which
have since arisen, and hence those we at this moment experience. I
myself could never be brought to believe that the Court of Vienna, as
long as Prince Kaunitz directs its measures, can mean England any good
or France any harm. It was not with that view that I endeavoured to
promote its influence here, but because _I found that of Prussia in
constant opposition to me_; and because I thought that if I could by any
means smite this, I should get rid of my greatest obstacle. I was
mistaken, and, by a singular fatality, the Courts of Vienna and Berlin
seem never to have agreed in anything but in the disposition to
prejudice us here by turns.[15] The proposal relative to Minorca was the
last attempt I made to induce the Empress to stand forth. I had
exhausted my strength and resources; the freedom with which I had spoken
in my last interview with her, though respectful, had _displeased_; and
_from this period to the removal of the late Administration_, I have
been reduced to act on the defensive.... I have had more difficulty in
preventing the Empress from doing harm than I ever had in attempting to
engage her to do us good. It was to prevent evil, that I inclined
strongly for the acceptation of _her single mediation between us and
Holland, when her Imperial Majesty first offered it_. The _extreme
dissatisfaction_ she expressed _at our refusal_ justified my opinion;
and I TOOK UPON ME, when it was proposed a second time, _to urge the
necessity of its being agreed to_ (ALTHOUGH I KNEW IT TO BE IN
believed, had we again declined it, the Empress would, in a _moment of
anger_, have joined the Dutch against us. As it is, _all has gone on
well_; our _judicious_ conduct has transferred to them the _ill-humour_
she originally was in with us, and she now is as partial to our cause as
she was before partial to theirs. _Since the new Ministry in England, my
road has been made smoother_; the great and new path struck out by _your
predecessor,[16] and which you, my lord, pursue_, has operated a most
advantageous change in our favour upon the Continent. Nothing, indeed,
but events which come home to her, will, I believe, ever induce her
Imperial Majesty to take an active part; but there is now a _strong glow
of friendship_ in our favour; she approves our measures; she _trusts_
our Ministry, and _she gives way to that predilection she certainly has
for our nation_. Our enemies know and feel this; it keeps them in awe.
This is a succinct but accurate sketch of what has passed at this Court
from the day of my arrival at Petersburg to the present hour. Several
inferences may be deduced from it.[17] That the Empress is led by her
passions, not by reason and argument; that her prejudices are very
strong, easily acquired, and, when once fixed, irremovable; while, on
the contrary, there is no sure road to her good opinion; that even when
obtained, it is subject to perpetual fluctuation, and liable to be
biassed by the most trifling incidents; that till she is fairly embarked
in a plan, no assurances can be depended on; but that when once fairly
embarked, she never retracts, and may be carried any length; that with
very bright parts, an elevated mind, an uncommon sagacity, she wants
_judgment_, _precision of idea_, _reflection_, _and_ L'ESPRIT DE
COMBINAISON(!!) That her Ministers are either ignorant of, or
indifferent to, the welfare of the State, and act from a passive
submission to her will, or from motives of party and private



     "There can scarcely exist a doubt concerning the real sentiments of
     the late Empress of Russia on the great points which have, within
     the last few years, convulsed the whole system of European
     politics. She certainly felt from the beginning the fatal tendency
     of the new principles, but was not, perhaps, displeased to see
     every European Power exhausting itself in a struggle which raised,
     in proportion to its violence, her own importance. It is more than
     probable that the state of the newly acquired provinces in Poland
     was likewise a point which had considerable influence over the
     political conduct of Catherine. The fatal effects resulting from an
     apprehension of revolt in the late seat of conquest seem to have
     been felt in a very great degree by the combined Powers, who in the
     early period of the Revolution were so near reinstating the regular
     Government in France. The same dread of revolt in Poland, which
     divided the attention of the combined Powers and hastened their
     retreat, deterred likewise the late Empress of Russia from entering
     on the great theatre of war, until a combination of circumstances
     rendered the progress of the French armies a more dangerous evil
     than any which could possibly result to the Russian Empire from
     active operations.... The last words which the Empress was known to
     utter were addressed to her Secretary when she dismissed him on the
     morning on which she was seized: 'Tell Prince' (Zuboff), she said,
     'to come to me at twelve, and to remind me of signing the Treaty of
     Alliance with England.'"

Having entered into ample considerations on the Emperor Paul's acts and
extravagances, the Rev. Mr. Pitt continues as follows:

     "When these considerations are impressed on the mind, the nature of
     the late secession from the coalition, and of the incalculable
     indignities offered to the Government of Great Britain, can alone
     be fairly estimated.... BUT THE TIES WHICH BIND HER (GREAT BRITAIN)
     these nations might almost brave the united world; divided, the
     strength and importance of each is FUNDAMENTALLY impaired. England
     has reason to regret with Russia that the imperial sceptre should
     be thus inconsistently wielded, but it is the sovereign of Russia
     alone who divides the Empires."

The reverend gentleman concludes his account by the words:

     "As far as human foresight can at this moment penetrate, the
     despair of an enraged individual seems a more probable means to
     terminate the present scene of oppression than any more systematic
     combination of measures to restore the throne of Russia to its
     dignity and importance."


[1] This letter relates to the war against Turkey, commenced by the
Empress Ann in 1735. The British diplomatist at St. Petersburg is
reporting about his endeavours to induce Russia to conclude peace with
the Turks. The passages omitted are irrelevant.

[2] England was at that time negotiating a commercial treaty with

[3] To this time it has remained among historians a point of
controversy, whether or not Panin was in the pay of Frederick II. of
Prussia, and whether he was so behind the back of Catherine, or at her
bidding. There can exist no doubt that Catherine II., in order to
identify foreign Courts with Russian Ministers, allowed Russian
Ministers ostensibly to identify themselves with foreign Courts. As to
Panin in particular, the question is, however, decided by an authentic
document which we believe has never been published. It proves that,
having once become the man of Frederick II., he was forced to remain so
at the risk of his honour, fortune and life.

[4] The Russian Minister at London.

[5] The oligarchic Constitution set up by the Senate after the death of
Charles XII.

[6] Thus we learn from Sir George Macartney that what is commonly known
as Lord Chatham's "grand conception of the Northern Alliance," was, in
fact, Panin's "grand scheme of uniting the Powers of the North." Chatham
was duped into fathering the Muscovite plan.

[7] The compact between the Bourbons of France and Spain concluded at
Paris on August, 1761.

[8] This was a subterfuge on the part of Frederick II. The manner in
which Frederick was forced into the arms of the Russian Alliance is
plainly told by M. Koch, the French professor of diplomacy and teacher
of Talleyrand. "Frederick II.," he says, "having been abandoned by the
Cabinet of London, could not but attach himself to Russia." (See his
_History of the Revolutions in Europe_.)

[9] Horace Walpole characterises his epoch by the words--"_It was the
mode of the times to be paid by one favour for receiving another._" At
all events, it will be seen from the text that such was the mode of
Russia in transacting business with England. The Earl of Sandwich, to
whom Sir George Macartney could dare to address the above despatch,
distinguished himself, ten years later, in 1775, as First Lord of the
Admiralty, in the North Administration, by the vehement opposition he
made to Lord Chatham's motion for an equitable _adjustment of the
American difficulties_. "He could not believe it (Chatham's motion) _the
production of a British peer_; it appeared to him rather _the work of
some American_." In 1777, we find Sandwich again blustering: "he would
hazard every drop of blood, as well as the last shilling of the national
treasure, rather than allow Great Britain to be defied, bullied, and
dictated to, by her disobedient and rebellious subjects." Foremost as
the Earl of Sandwich was in entangling England in war with her North
American colonies, with France, Spain, and Holland, we behold him
constantly accused in Parliament by Fox, Burke, Pitt, etc., "of keeping
the naval force inadequate to the defence of the country; of
intentionally opposing small English forces where he knew the enemy to
have concentrated large ones; of utter mismanagement of the service in
all its departments," etc. (See debates of the House of Commons of 11th
March, 1778; 31st March, 1778; February, 1779; Fox's motion of censure
on Lord Sandwich; 9th April, 1779, address to the King for the dismissal
of Lord Sandwich from his service, on account of misconduct in service;
7th February, 1782, Fox's motion that there had been gross mismanagement
in the administration of naval affairs during the year 1781.) On this
occasion Pitt imputed to Lord Sandwich "all our naval disasters and
disgraces." The ministerial majority against the motion amounted to only
22 in a House of 388. On the 22nd February, 1782, a similar motion
against Lord Sandwich was only negatived by a majority of 19 in a House
of 453. Such, indeed, was the character of the Earl of Sandwich's
Administration that more than thirty distinguished officers quitted the
naval service, or declared they could not act under the existing system.
In point of fact, during his whole tenure of office, serious
apprehensions were entertained of the consequences of the dissensions
then prevalent in the navy. Besides, the Earl of Sandwich was openly
accused, and, as far as circumstantial evidence goes, convicted of
PECULATION. (See debates of the House of Lords, 31st March, 1778; 9th
April, 1779, and _seq._) When the motion for his removal from office was
negatived on April 9th 1779, thirty-nine peers entered their protest.

[10] Sir James Harris affects to believe that Catherine II. was not the
author of, but a convert to, the armed neutrality of 1780. It is one of
the grand stratagems of the Court of St. Petersburg to give to its own
schemes the form of proposals suggested to and pressed on itself by
foreign Courts. Russian diplomacy delights in those _quæ pro quo_. Thus
the Court of Florida Bianca was made the responsible editor of the armed
neutrality, and, from a report that vain-glorious Spaniard addressed to
Carlos III., one may see how immensely he felt flattered at the idea of
having not only hatched the armed neutrality but allured Russia into
abetting it.

[11] This same Sir James Harris, perhaps more familiar to the reader
under the name of the Earl of Malmesbury, is extolled by English
historians as the man who prevented England from surrendering the right
of search in the Peace Negotiations of 1782-83.

[12] It might be inferred from this passage and similar ones occurring
in the text, that Catherine II. had caught a real Tartar in Lord North,
whose Administration Sir James Harris is pointing at. Any such delusion
will disappear before the simple statement that the first partition of
Poland took place under Lord North's Administration, without any protest
on his part. In 1773 Catherine's war against Turkey still continuing,
and her conflicts with Sweden growing serious, France made preparations
to send a powerful fleet into the Baltic. D'Aiguillon, the French
Minister of Foreign Affairs, communicated this plan to Lord Stormont,
the then English Ambassador at Paris. In a long conversation,
D'Aiguillon dwelt largely on the ambitious designs of Russia, and the
common interest that ought to blend France and England into a joint
resistance against them. In answer to this confidential communication,
he was informed by the English Ambassador that, "if France sent her
ships into the Baltic, they would instantly be followed by a British
fleet; that the presence of two fleets would have no more effect than a
neutrality; and however the British Court might desire to preserve the
harmony now subsisting between England and France, it was impossible to
foresee the contingencies that might arise from accidental collision."
In consequence of these representations, D'Aiguillon countermanded the
squadron at Brest, but gave new orders for the equipment of an armament
at Toulon. "On receiving intelligence of these renewed preparations, the
British Cabinet made instant and vigorous demonstrations of resistance;
Lord Stormont was ordered to declare that every argument used respecting
the Baltic applied equally to the Mediterranean. A memorial also was
presented to the French Minister, accompanied by a demand that it should
be laid before the King and Council. This produced the desired effect;
the armament was countermanded, the sailors disbanded, and the chances
of an extensive warfare avoided."

"_Lord North_," says the complacent writer from whom we have borrowed
the last lines, "_thus effectually served the cause of his ally_
(Catherine II.), _and facilitated the treaty of peace_ (of
Kutchuk-Kainardji) _between Russia and the Porte_." Catherine II.
rewarded Lord North's good services, first by withholding the aid she
had promised him in case of a war between England and the North American
Colonies, and in the second place, by conjuring up and leading the armed
neutrality against England. Lord North DARED NOT _repay, as he was
advised by Sir James Harris_, this treacherous breach of faith by giving
up to Russia, and to _Russia alone_, the maritime rights of Great
Britain. Hence the irritation in the nervous system of the Czarina; the
hysterical fancy she caught all at once of "entertaining a bad opinion"
of Lord North, of "disliking" him, of feeling a "rooted aversion"
against him, of being afflicted with "a total want of confidence," etc.
In order to give the Shelburne Administration a warning example, Sir
James Harris draws up a minute psychological picture of the feelings of
the Czarina, and the disgrace incurred by the North Administration, for
having wounded these same feelings. His prescription is very simple:
surrender to Russia, as our friend, everything for asking which we would
consider every other Power our enemy.

[13] It is then a fact that the English Government, not satisfied with
having made Russia a Baltic power, strove hard to make her a
Mediterranean power too. The offer of the surrender of Minorca appears
to have been made to Catherine II. at the end of 1779, or the beginning
of 1780, shortly after Lord Stormont's entrance into the North
Cabinet--the same Lord Stormont we have seen thwarting the French
attempts at resistance against Russia, and whom even Sir James Harris
cannot deny the merit of having written "_instructions perfectly
calculated to the meridian of the Court of St. Petersburg_." While Lord
North's Cabinet, at the suggestion of Sir James Harris, offered Minorca
to the _Muscovites_, the English Commoners and people were still
trembling for fear lest the _Hanoverians_ (?) should wrest out of their
hands "one of the keys of the Mediterranean." On the 26th of October,
1775, the King, in his opening speech, had informed Parliament, amongst
other things, that he had Sir James Graham's own words, when asked why
they should not have kept up some blockade pending the settlement of the
"plan," "_They did not take that responsibility upon themselves._" The
responsibility of executing their orders! The despatch we have quoted is
the only despatch read, except one of a later date. The despatch, said
to be sent on the 5th of April, in which "the Admiral is ordered to use
the _largest discretionary power_ in blockading the Russian ports in the
Black Sea," is not read, nor any replies from Admiral Dundas. The
Admiralty sent _Hanoverian_ troops to Gibraltar and Port Mahon
(Minorca), to replace such British regiments as should be drawn from
those garrisons for service in America. An amendment to the address was
proposed by Lord John Cavendish, strongly condemning "the confiding
_such important fortresses as Gibraltar and Port Mahon to foreigners_."
After very stormy debates, in which the measure of entrusting Gibraltar
and Minorca, "_the keys of the Mediterranean_," as they were called, to
_foreigners_, was furiously attacked; Lord North, acknowledging himself
the adviser of the measure, felt obliged to bring in a _bill of
indemnity_. However, these foreigners, these Hanoverians, were the
English King's own subjects. Having virtually surrendered Minorca to
Russia in 1780, Lord North was, of course, quite justified in treating,
on November 22, 1781, in the House of Commons, "with utter scorn the
insinuation that _Ministers were in the pay of France_."

Let us remark, _en passant_, that Lord North, one of the most base and
mischievous Ministers England can boast of, perfectly mastered the art
of keeping the House in perpetual laughter. So had Lord Sunderland. So
has Lord Palmerston.

[14] Lord North having been supplanted by the Rockingham Administration,
on March 27, 1782, the celebrated Fox forwarded peace proposals to
Holland through the mediation of the _Russian_ Minister. Now what were
the consequences of the _Russian mediation_ so much vaunted by this Sir
James Harris, the servile account keeper of the Czarina's sentiments,
humours, and feelings? While preliminary articles of peace had been
convened with France, Spain, and the American States, it was found
impossible to arrive at any such preliminary agreement with Holland.
Nothing but a simple cessation of hostilities was to be obtained from
it. So powerful proved the _Russian mediation_, that on the 2nd
September, 1783, just one day before the conclusion of _definitive
treaties_ with America, France, and Spain, Holland condescended to
accede to _preliminaries of peace_, and this not in consequence of the
_Russian mediation_, but through the influence of _France_.

[15] How much was England not prejudiced by the Courts of Vienna and
Paris thwarting the plan of the British Cabinet of ceding Minorca to
Russia, and by Frederick of Prussia's resistance against the great
Chatham's scheme of a Northern Alliance under Muscovite auspices.

[16] The predecessor is Fox. Sir James Harris establishes a complete
scale of British Administrations, according to the degree in which they
enjoyed the favour of his almighty Czarina. In spite of Lord Stormont,
the Earl of Sandwich, Lord North, and Sir James Harris himself; in spite
of the partition of Poland, the bullying of D'Aiguillon, the treaty of
Kutchuk-Kainardji, and the intended cession of Minorca--Lord North's
Administration is relegated to the bottom of the heavenly ladder; far
above it has climbed the Rockingham Administration, whose soul was Fox,
notorious for his subsequent intrigues with Catherine; but at the top we
behold the Shelburne Administration, whose Chancellor of the Exchequer
was the celebrated William Pitt. As to Lord Shelburne himself, Burke
exclaimed in the House of Commons, that "if he was not a Catalina or
Borgia in morals, it must not be ascribed to anything but his

[17] Sir James Harris forgets deducing the main inference, that the
Ambassador of England is the agent of Russia.

[18] In the 18th century, English diplomatists' despatches, bearing on
their front the sacramental inscription, "Private," are despatches to be
withheld from the King by the Minister to whom they are addressed. That
such was the case may be seen from Lord Mahon's _History of England_.

[19] "To be burnt after my death." Such are the words prefixed to the
manuscript by the gentleman whom it was addressed to.


The documents published in the first chapter extend from the reign of
the Empress Ann to the commencement of the reign of the Emperor Paul,
thus encompassing the greater part of the 18th century. At the end of
that century it had become, as stated by the Rev. Mr. Pitt, the openly
professed and orthodox dogma of English diplomacy, "_that the ties which
bind Great Britain to the Russian Empire are formed by nature, and

In perusing these documents, there is something that startles us even
more than their contents--viz., their form. All these letters are
"confidential," "private," "secret," "most secret"; but in spite of
secrecy, privacy, and confidence, the English statesmen converse among
each other about Russia and her rulers in a tone of awful reserve,
abject servility, and cynical submission, which would strike us even in
the public despatches of Russian statesmen. To conceal intrigues against
foreign nations secrecy is recurred to by Russian diplomatists. The same
method is adopted by English diplomatists freely to express their
devotion to a foreign Court. The secret despatches of Russian
diplomatists are fumigated with some equivocal perfume. It is one part
the _fumée de fausseté_, as the Duke of St. Simon has it, and the other
part that coquettish display of one's own superiority and cunning which
stamps upon the reports of the French Secret Police their indelible
character. Even the master despatches of Pozzo di Borgo are tainted with
this common blot of the _litérature de mauvais lieu_. In this point the
English secret despatches prove much superior. They do not affect
superiority but silliness. For instance, can there be anything more
silly than Mr. Rondeau informing Horace Walpole that he has betrayed to
the Russian Minister the letters addressed by the Turkish Grand Vizier
to the King of England, but that he had told "at the same time those
gentlemen that as there were several hard reflections on the Russian
Court he should not have communicated them, _if they had not been so
anxious to see them_," and then told their excellencies not to tell the
Porte that they had seen them (those letters)! At first view the infamy
of the act is drowned in the silliness of the man. Or, take Sir George
Macartney. Can there be anything more silly than his happiness that
Russia seemed "reasonable" enough not to expect that England "should pay
the WHOLE EXPENSES" for Russia's "choosing to take the lead at
Stockholm"; or his "flattering himself" that he had "persuaded the
Russian Court" not to be so "unreasonable" as to ask from England, in a
time of peace, subsidies for a time of war against Turkey (then the ally
of England); or his warning the Earl of Sandwich "not to mention" to the
Russian Ambassador at London the secrets mentioned to himself by the
Russian Chancellor at St. Petersburg? Or can there be anything more
silly than Sir James Harris confidentially whispering into the ear of
Lord Grantham that Catherine II. was devoid of "judgment, precision of
idea, reflection, and _l'esprit de combinaison_"?[20]

On the other hand, take the cool impudence with which Sir George
Macartney informs his minister that because the Swedes were extremely
jealous of, and mortified at, their dependence on Russia, England was
directed by the Court of St. Petersburg to do its work at Stockholm,
under the British colours of liberty and independence! Or Sir James
Harris advising England to surrender to Russia Minorca and the right of
search, and the monopoly of mediation in the affairs of the world--not
in order to gain any material advantage, or even a formal engagement on
the part of Russia, but only "a strong glow of friendship" from the
Empress, and the transfer to France of her "ill humour."

The secret Russian despatches proceed on the very plain line that
Russia knows herself to have no common interests whatever with other
nations, but that every nation must be persuaded separately to have
common interests with Russia to the exclusion of every other nation. The
English despatches, on the contrary, never dare so much as hint that
Russia has common interests with England, but only endeavour to convince
England that she has Russian interests. The English diplomatists
themselves tell us that this was the single argument they pleaded, when
placed face to face with Russian potentates.

If the English despatches we have laid before the public were addressed
to private friends, they would only brand with infamy the ambassadors
who wrote them. Secretly addressed as they are to the British Government
itself, they nail it for ever to the pillory of history; and,
instinctively, this seems to have been felt, even by Whig writers,
because none has dared to publish them.

The question naturally arises from which epoch this Russian character of
English diplomacy, become traditionary in the course of the 18th
century, does date its origin. To clear up this point we must go back to
the time of Peter the Great, which, consequently, will form the
principal subject of our researches. We propose to enter upon this task
by reprinting some English pamphlets, written at the time of Peter I.,
and which have either escaped the attention of modern historians, or
appeared to them to merit none. However, they will suffice for refuting
the prejudice common to Continental and English writers, that the
designs of Russia were not understood or suspected in England until at a
later, and too late, epoch; that the diplomatic relations between
England and Russia were but the natural offspring of the mutual material
interests of the two countries; and that, therefore, in accusing the
British statesmen of the 18th century of Russianism we should commit an
unpardonable hysteron-proteron. If we have shown by the English
despatches that, at the time of the Empress Ann, England already
betrayed her own allies to Russia, it will be seen from the pamphlets we
are now about to reprint that, even before the epoch of Ann, at the
very epoch of Russian ascendency in Europe, springing up at the time of
Peter I., the plans of Russia were understood, and the connivance of
British statesmen at these plans was denounced by English writers.

The first pamphlet we lay before the public is called _The Northern
Crisis_. It was printed in London in 1716, and relates to the intended
Dano-Anglo-Russian _invasion of Skana_ (Schonen).

During the year 1715 a northern alliance for the partition, not of
Sweden proper, but of what we may call the Swedish Empire, had been
concluded between Russia, Denmark, Poland, Prussia, and Hanover. That
partition forms the first grand act of modern diplomacy--the logical
premiss to the partition of Poland. The partition treaties relating to
Spain have engrossed the interest of posterity because they were the
forerunners of the War of Succession, and the partition of Poland drew
even a larger audience because its last act was played upon a
contemporary stage. However, it cannot be denied that it was the
partition of the Swedish Empire which inaugurated the modern era of
international policy. The partition treaty not even pretended to have a
pretext, save the misfortune of its intended victim. For the first time
in Europe the violation of all treaties was not only made, but
proclaimed the common basis of a new treaty. Poland herself, in the drag
of Russia, and personated by that commonplace of immorality, Augustus
II., Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, was pushed into the
foreground of the conspiracy, thus signing her own death-warrant, and
not even enjoying the privilege reserved by Polyphemus to Odysseus--to
be last eaten. Charles XII. predicted her fate in the manifesto flung
against King Augustus and the Czar, from his voluntary exile at Bender.
The manifesto is dated January 28, 1711.

The participation in this partition treaty threw England within the
orbit of Russia, towards whom, since the days of the "Glorious
Revolution," she had more and more gravitated. George I., as King of
England, was bound to a defensive alliance with Sweden by the treaty of
1700. Not only as King of England, but as Elector of Hanover, he was
one of the guarantees, and even of the direct parties to the treaty of
Travendal, which secured to Sweden what the partition treaty intended
stripping her of. Even his German electoral dignity he partly owed to
that treaty. However, as Elector of Hanover he declared war against
Sweden, which he waged as King of England.

In 1715 the confederates had divested Sweden of her German provinces,
and to effect that end introduced the Muscovite on the German soil. In
1716 they agreed to invade Sweden Proper--to attempt an armed descent
upon Schonen--the southern extremity of Sweden now constituting the
districts of Malmoe and Christianstadt. Consequently Peter of Russia
brought with him from Germany a Muscovite army, which was scattered over
Zealand, thence to be conveyed to Schonen, under the protection of the
English and Dutch fleets sent into the Baltic, on the false pretext of
protecting trade and navigation. Already in 1715, when Charles XII. was
besieged in Stralsund, eight English men-of-war, lent by England to
Hanover, and by Hanover to Denmark, had openly reinforced the Danish
navy, and even hoisted the Danish flag. In 1716 the British navy was
commanded by his Czarish Majesty in person.

Everything being ready for the invasion of Schonen, there arose a
difficulty from a side where it was least expected. Although the treaty
stipulated only for 30,000 Muscovites, Peter, in his magnanimity, had
landed 40,000 on Zealand; but now that he was to send them on the errand
to Schonen, he all at once discovered that out of the 40,000 he could
spare but 15,000. This declaration not only paralysed the military plan
of the confederates, it seemed to threaten the security of Denmark and
of Frederick IV., its king, as great part of the Muscovite army,
supported by the Russian fleet, occupied Copenhagen. One of the generals
of Frederick proposed suddenly to fall with the Danish cavalry upon the
Muscovites and to exterminate them, while the English men-of-war should
burn the Russian fleet. Averse to any perfidy which required some
greatness of will, some force of character, and some contempt of
personal danger, Frederick IV. rejected the bold proposal, and limited
himself to assuming an attitude of defence. He then wrote a begging
letter to the Czar, intimating that he had given up his Schonen fancy,
and requested the Czar to do the same and find his way home: a request
the latter could not but comply with. When Peter at last left Denmark
with his army, the Danish Court thought fit to communicate to the Courts
of Europe a public account of the incidents and transactions which had
frustrated the intended descent upon Schonen--and this document forms
the starting point of _The Northern Crisis_.

In a letter addressed to Baron Görtz, dated from London, January 23,
1717, by Count Gyllenborg, there occur some passages in which the
latter, the then Swedish ambassador at the Court of St. James's, seems
to profess himself the author of _The Northern Crisis_, the title of
which he does not, however, quote. Yet any idea of his having written
that powerful pamphlet will disappear before the slightest perusal of
the Count's authenticated writings, such as his letters to Görtz.


1.--_Preface_---- ... 'Tis (the present pamphlet) not fit for lawyers'
clerks, but it is highly convenient to be read by those who are proper
students in the laws of nations; 'twill be but lost time for any
stock-jobbing, trifling dealer in Exchange-Alley to look beyond the
preface on't, but every merchant in England (more especially those who
trade to the Baltic) will find his account in it. The Dutch (as the
courants and postboys have more than once told us) are about to mend
their hands, if they can, in several articles of trade with the Czar,
and they have been a long time about it to little purpose. Inasmuch as
they are such a frugal people, they are good examples for the imitation
of our traders; but if we can outdo them for once, in the means of
projecting a better and more expeditious footing to go upon, for the
emolument of us both, let us, for once, be wise enough to set the
example, and let them, for once, be our imitators. This little treatise
will show a pretty plain way how we may do it, as to our trade in the
Baltic, at this juncture. I desire no little _coffee-house politician_
to meddle with it; but to give him even a disrelish for my company. I
must let him know that he is not fit for mine. Those who are even
proficients in state science, will find in it matter highly fit to
employ all their powers of speculation, which they ever before past
negligently by, and thought (too cursorily) were not worth the
regarding. No outrageous party-man will find it at all for his purpose;
but every _honest Whig_ and every _honest Tory_ may each of them read
it, not only without either of their disgusts, but with the satisfaction
of them both.... 'Tis not fit, in fine, for a mad, hectoring,
Presbyterian Whig, or a raving, fretful, dissatisfied, Jacobite Tory."


"There being no doubt, but most courts will be surprised that the
descent upon Schonen has not been put into execution, notwithstanding
the great preparations made for that purpose; and that all his Czarish
Majesty's troops, who were in Germany, were transported to Zealand, not
without great trouble and danger, partly by his own gallies, and partly
by his Danish Majesty's and other vessels; and that the said descent is
deferred till another time. His Danish Majesty hath therefore, in order
to clear himself of all imputation and reproach, thought fit to order,
that the following true account of this affair should be given to all
impartial persons. Since the Swedes were entirely driven out of their
_German_ dominions, there was, according to all the rules of policy, and
reasons of war, no other way left, than vigorously to attack the still
obstinate King of Sweden, in the very heart of his country; thereby,
with God's assistance, to force him to a lasting, good and advantageous
peace for the allies. The King of Denmark and his Czarish Majesty were
both of this opinion, and did, in order to put so good a design in
execution, agree upon an interview, which at last (notwithstanding his
Danish Majesty's presence, upon the account of Norway's being invaded,
was most necessary in his own capital, and that the Muscovite
ambassador, M. Dolgorouky, had given quite other assurances) was held at
Ham and Horn, near Hamburgh, after his Danish Majesty had stayed there
six weeks for the Czar. In this conference it was, on the 3rd of June,
agreed between both their Majesties, after several debates, that the
descent upon Schonen should positively be undertaken this year, and
everything relating to the forwarding the same was entirely consented
to. Hereupon his Danish Majesty made all haste for his return to his
dominions, and gave orders to work day and night to get his fleet ready
to put to sea. The transport ships were also gathered from all parts of
his dominions, both with inexpressible charges and great prejudice to
his subjects' trade. Thus, his Majesty (as the Czar himself upon his
arrival at Copenhagen owned) did his utmost to provide all necessaries,
and to forward the descent, upon whose success everything depended. It
happened, however, in the meanwhile, and before the descent was agreed
upon in the conference at Ham and Horn, that his Danish Majesty was
obliged to secure his invaded and much oppressed kingdom of Norway, by
sending thither a considerable squadron out of his fleet, under the
command of Vice-Admiral Gabel, which squadron could not be recalled
before the enemy had left that kingdom, without endangering a great part
thereof; so that out of necessity the said Vice-Admiral was forced to
tarry there till the 12th of July, when his Danish Majesty sent him
express orders to return with all possible speed, wind and weather
permitting; but this blowing for some time contrary, he was
detained.... The Swedes were all the while powerful at sea, and his
Czarish Majesty himself did not think it advisable that the remainder of
the Danish, in conjunction with the men-of-war then at Copenhagen,
should go to convoy the Russian troops from Rostock, before the
above-mentioned squadron under Vice-Admiral Gabel was arrived. This
happening at last in the month of August, the confederate fleet put to
sea; and the transporting of the said troops hither to Zealand was put
in execution, though with a great deal of trouble and danger, but it
took up so much time that the descent could not be ready till September
following. Now, when all these preparations, as well for the descent as
the embarking the armies, were entirely ready, his Danish Majesty
assured himself that the descent should be made within a few days, at
farthest by the 21st of September. The Russian Generals and Ministers
first raised some difficulties to those of Denmark, and afterwards, on
the 17th September, declared in an appointed conference, that his
Czarish Majesty, considering the present situation of affairs, was of
opinion that neither forage nor provision could be had in Schonen, and
that consequently the descent was not advisable to be attempted this
year, but ought to be put off till next spring. It may easily be
imagined how much his Danish Majesty was surprised at this; especially
seeing the Czar, if he had altered his opinion, as to this design so
solemnly concerted, might have declared it sooner, and thereby saved his
Danish Majesty several tons of gold, spent upon the necessary
preparations. His Danish Majesty did, however, in a letter dated the
20th of September, amply represent to the Czar, that although the season
was very much advanced, the descent might, nevertheless, easily be
undertaken with such a superior force, as to get a footing in Schonen,
where being assured there had been a very plentiful harvest, he did not
doubt but subsistence might be found; besides, that having an open
communication with his own countries, it might easily be transported
from thence. His Danish Majesty alleged also several weighty reasons why
the descent was either to be made this year, or the thoughts of making
it next spring entirely be laid aside. _Nor did he alone make these
moving remonstrances to the Czar_; BUT HIS BRITISH MAJESTY'S MINISTER
RESIDING HERE, AS WELL AS ADMIRAL NORRIS, _seconded the same also in a
_endeavoured to bring the Czar into their opinion, and to persuade him
to go on with the descent_; but his Czarish Majesty declared by his
answer, that he would adhere to the resolution that he had once taken
concerning this delay of making the descent; but if his Danish Majesty
was resolved to venture on the descent, that he then, according to the
treaty made near Straelsund, would assist him only with the 15
battalions and 1,000 horse therein stipulated; that next spring he would
comply with everything else, and neither could or would declare himself
farther in this affair. Since then, his Danish Majesty could not,
without running so great a hazard, undertake so great a work alone with
his own army and the said 15 battalions; he desired, in another letter
of the 23rd September, his Czarish Majesty would be pleased to add 13
battalions of his troops, in which case his Danish Majesty would still
this year attempt the descent; but even this could not be obtained from
his Czarish Majesty, who absolutely refused it by his ambassador on the
24th ditto: whereupon his Danish Majesty, in his letter of the 26th,
declared to the Czar, that since things stood thus, he desired none of
his troops, but that they might be all speedily transported out of his
dominions; that so the transport, whose freight stood him in 40,000 rix
dollars per month, might be discharged, and his subjects eased of the
intolerable contributions they now underwent. This he could not do less
than agree to; and accordingly, all the Russian troops are already
embarked, and intend for certain to go from here with the first
favourable wind. It must be left to Providence and time, to discover
what may have induced the Czar to a resolution so prejudicial to the
Northern Alliance, and most advantageous to the common enemy.

If we would take a true survey of men, and lay them open in a proper
light to the eye of our intellects, _we must_ first _consider their
natures_ and then _their ends_; and by this method of examination,
though their conduct is, seemingly, full of intricate mazes and
perplexities, and winding round with infinite meanders of state-craft,
we shall be able to dive into the deepest recesses, make our way through
the most puzzling labyrinths, and at length come to the most abstruse
means of bringing about the master secrets of their minds, and to
unriddle their utmost mysteries.... The Czar ... is, by nature, of a
great and enterprising spirit, and of a genius thoroughly politic; and
as for his ends, the manner of his own Government, where he sways
arbitrary lord over the estates and honours of his people, must make
him, if all the policies in the world could by far-distant aims promise
him accession and accumulation of empire and wealth, be everlastingly
laying schemes for the achieving of both with the extremest cupidity and
ambition. Whatever ends an insatiate desire of opulency, and a boundless
thirst for dominion, can ever put him upon, to satisfy their craving and
voracious appetites, those must, most undoubtedly, be his.

The next questions we are to put to ourselves are these three:

1. By what means can he gain these ends?

2. How far from him, and in what place, can these ends be best obtained?

3. And by what time, using all proper methods and succeeding in them,
may he obtain these ends?

The possessions of the Czar were prodigious, vast in extent; the people
all at his nod, all his downright arrant slaves, and all the wealth of
the country his own at a word's command. But then the country, though
large in ground, was not quite so in produce. Every vassal had his gun,
and was to be a soldier upon call; but there was never a soldier among
them, nor a man that understood the calling; and though he had all their
wealth, they had no commerce of consequence, and little ready money; and
consequently his treasury, when he had amassed all he could, very bare
and empty. He was then but in an indifferent condition to satisfy those
two natural appetites, when he had neither wealth to support a
soldiery, nor a soldiery trained in the art of war. The first token this
Prince gave of an aspiring genius, and of an ambition that is noble and
necessary in a monarch who has a mind to flourish, was to believe none
of his subjects more wise than himself, or more fit to govern. He did
so, and looked upon his own proper person as the most fit to travel out
among the other realms of the world and study politics for the advancing
of his dominions. He then seldom pretended to any warlike dispositions
against those who were instructed in the science of arms; his military
dealings lay mostly with the Turks and Tartars, who, as they had numbers
as well as he, had them likewise composed, as well as his, of a rude,
uncultivated mob, and they appeared in the field like a raw,
undisciplined militia. In this his Christian neighbours liked him well,
insomuch as he was a kind of stay or stopgap to the infidels. But when
he came to look into the more polished parts of the Christian world, he
set out towards it, from the very threshold, like a natural-born
politician. He was not for learning the game by trying chances and
venturing losses in the field so soon; no, he went upon the maxim _that
it was, at that time of day, expedient and necessary for him to carry,
like Samson, his strength in his head, and not in his arms_. He had
then, he knew, but very few commodious places for commerce of his own,
and those all situated in the _White Sea_, too remote, frozen up the
most part of the year, and not at all fit for a fleet of men-of-war; but
he knew of many more commodious ones of his neighbours in the Baltic,
and within his reach whenever he could strengthen his hands to lay hold
of them. He had a longing eye towards them; but with prudence seemingly
turned his head another way, and secretly entertained the pleasant
thought that he should come at them all in good time. Not to give any
jealousy, he endeavours for no help from his neighbours to instruct his
men in arms. That was like asking a skilful person, one intended to
fight a duel with, to teach him first how to fence. _He went over to
Great Britain_, where he knew that potent kingdom could, as yet, have no
jealousies of his growth of power, and in the eye of which his vast
extent of nation lay neglected and unconsidered and overlooked, as I am
afraid it is to this very day. He was present at all our exercises,
looked into all our laws, inspected our military, civil, and
ecclesiastical regimen of affairs; yet this was the least he then
wanted; this was the slightest part of his errand. But by degrees, when
he grew familiar with our people, he visited our docks, pretending not
to have any prospect of profit, but only to take a huge delight (the
effect of curiosity only) to see our manner of building ships. He kept
his court, as one may say, in our shipyard, so industrious was he in
affording them his continual Czarish presence, and to his immortal glory
for art and industry be it spoken, that the great Czar, by stooping
often to the employ, could handle an axe with the best artificer of them
all; and the monarch having a good mathematical head of his own, grew in
some time a very expert royal shipwright. A ship or two for his
diversion made and sent him, and then two or three more, and after that
two or three more, would signify just nothing at all, if they were
granted to be sold to him by the _Maritime Powers_, that could, at will,
lord it over the sea. It would be a puny inconsiderable matter, and not
worth the regarding. Well, but then, over and above this, he had
artfully insinuated himself into the goodwill of many of our best
workmen, and won their hearts by his good-natured familiarities and
condescension among them. To turn this to his service, he offered many
very large premiums and advantages to go and settle in his country,
which they gladly accepted of. A little after he sends over some private
ministers and officers to negotiate for more workmen, for land officers,
and likewise for picked and chosen good seamen, who might be advanced
and promoted to offices by going there. Nay, even to this day, any
expert seaman that is upon our traffic to the port of Archangel, if he
has the least spark of ambition and any ardent desire to be in office,
he need but offer himself to the sea-service of the Czar, and he is a
lieutenant immediately. Over and above this, that Prince has even found
the way to take by force into his service out of our merchant ships as
many of their ablest seamen as he pleased, giving the masters the same
number of raw Muscovites in their place, whom they afterwards were
forced in their own defence to make fit for their own use. Neither is
this all; he had, during the last war, many hundreds of his subjects,
both noblemen and common sailors, on board _ours, the French and the
Dutch fleets_; and he has all along maintained, and still maintains
numbers of them in _ours and the Dutch yards_.

But seeing he looked all along upon all these endeavours towards
improving himself and his subjects as superfluous, whilst a seaport was
wanting, where he might build a fleet of his own, and from whence he
might himself export the products of his country, and import those of
others; and finding the King of Sweden possessed of the most convenient
ones, I mean Narva and Revel, which he knew that Prince never could nor
would amicably part with, he at last resolved to wrest them out of his
hands by force. His _Swedish_ Majesty's tender youth seemed the fittest
time for this enterprise, but even then he would not run the hazard
alone. He drew in other princes to divide the spoil with him. And the
_Kings of Denmark and Poland_ were weak enough to serve as instruments
to forward the great and ambitious views of the Czar. It is true, he met
with a mighty hard rub at his very first setting out; his whole army
being entirely defeated by a handful of Swedes at Narva. But it was his
good luck that his Swedish Majesty, instead of improving so great a
victory against him, turned immediately his arms against the King of
Poland, against whom he was personally piqued, and that so much the
more, inasmuch as he had taken that Prince for one of his best friends,
and was just upon the point of concluding with him the strictest
alliance when he unexpectedly invaded the Swedish Livonia, and besieged
Riga. This was, in all respects, what the Czar could most have wished
for; and foreseeing that the longer the war in Poland lasted, the more
time should he have both to retrieve his first loss, and to gain Narva,
he took care it should be spun out to as great a length as possible; for
which end he never sent the King of Poland succour enough to make him
too strong for the King of Sweden; who, on the other hand, though he
gained one signal victory after the other, yet never could subdue his
enemy as long as he received continual reinforcements from his
hereditary country. And had not his Swedish Majesty, contrary to most
people's expectations, marched directly into Saxony itself, and thereby
forced the King of Poland to peace, the Czar would have had leisure
enough in all conscience to bring his designs to greater maturity. This
peace was one of the greatest disappointments the Czar ever met with,
whereby he became singly engaged in the war. He had, however, the
comfort of having beforehand taken _Narva_, and laid a foundation to his
favourite town _Petersburg_, and to the seaport, the docks, and the vast
magazines there; all which works, to what perfection they are now
brought, let them tell who, with surprise, have seen them.

He (Peter) used all endeavours to bring matters to an accommodation. He
proffered very advantageous conditions; _Petersburg_ only, a trifle as
he pretended, which he had set his heart upon, he would retain; and even
for that he was willing some other way to give satisfaction. But the
King of Sweden was too well acquainted with the importance of that place
to leave it in the hands of an ambitious prince, and thereby to give him
an inlet into the Baltic. This was the only time since the defeat at
Narva that the Czar's arms had no other end than that of self-defence.
They might, perhaps, even have fallen short therein, had not the King of
Sweden (through whose persuasion is still a mystery), instead of
marching the shortest way to Novgorod and to Moscow, turned towards
Ukrain, where his army, after great losses and sufferings, was at last
entirely defeated at Pultowa. As this was a fatal period to the Swedish
successes, so how great a deliverance it was to the Muscovites, may be
gathered from the Czar's celebrating every year, with great solemnity,
the anniversary of that day, from which his ambitious thoughts began to
soar still higher. The whole of _Livonia_, _Estland_, and the best and
greatest part of _Finland_ was now what he demanded, after which,
though he might for the present condescend to give peace to the
remaining part of Sweden, he knew he could easily even add that to his
conquests whenever he pleased. The only obstacle he had to fear in these
his projects was from his northern neighbours; but as the _Maritime
Powers_, and even the neighbouring princes in Germany, were then so
intent upon their war against France, that they seemed entirely
neglectful of that of the North, so there remained only Denmark and
Poland to be jealous of. The former of these kingdoms had, ever since
King William, of glorious memory, compelled it to make peace with
Holstein and, consequently, with Sweden, enjoyed an uninterrupted
tranquillity, during which it had time, by a free trade and considerable
subsidies from the maritime powers to enrich itself, and was in a
condition, by joining itself to Sweden, as it was its interest to do, to
stop the Czar's progresses, and timely to prevent its own danger from
them. The other, I mean Poland, was now quietly under the government of
King Stanislaus, who, owing in a manner his crown to the King of Sweden,
could not, out of gratitude, as well as real concern for the interest of
his country, fail opposing the designs of a too aspiring neighbour. The
Czar was too cunning not to find out a remedy for all this: he
represented to the King of Denmark how low the King of Sweden was now
brought, and how fair an opportunity he had, during that Prince's long
absence, to clip entirely his wings, and to aggrandize himself at his
expense. In King Augustus he raised the long-hid resentment for the loss
of the Polish Crown, which he told him he might now recover without the
least difficulty. Thus both these Princes were immediately caught. The
Danes declared war against Sweden without so much as a tolerable
pretence, and made a descent upon Schonen, where they were soundly
beaten for their pains. King Augustus re-entered Poland, where
everything has ever since continued in the greatest disorder, and _that
in a great measure owing to Muscovite intrigues_. It happened, indeed,
that these new confederates, whom the Czar had only drawn in to serve
his ambition, became at first more necessary to his preservation than
he had thought; for the Turks having declared a war against him, they
hindered the Swedish arms from joining with them to attack him; but that
storm being soon over, through the Czar's wise behaviour and the avarice
and folly of the Grand Vizier, he then made the intended use both of
these his friends, as well as of them he afterwards, through hopes of
gain, persuaded into his alliance, which was to lay all the burthen and
hazard of the war upon them, in order entirely to weaken them, together
with Sweden, whilst _he was preparing himself to swallow the one after
the other_. He has put them on one difficult attempt after the other;
their armies have been considerably lessened by battles and long sieges,
whilst his own were either employed in easier conquests, and more
profitable to him, or kept at the vast expense of neutral princes--near
enough at hand to come up to demand a share of the booty without having
struck a blow in getting it. His behaviour has been as cunning at sea,
where his fleet has always kept out of harm's way and at a great
distance whenever there was any likelihood of an engagement between the
Danes and the Swedes. He hoped that when these two nations had ruined
one another's fleets, his might then ride master in the Baltic. All this
while he had taken care to make his men improve, by the example of
foreigners and under their command, in the art of war.... His fleets
will soon considerably outnumber the Swedish and the Danish ones joined
together. He need not fear their being a hindrance from his giving a
finishing stroke to this great and glorious undertaking. Which done,
_let us look to ourselves; he will then most certainly become our rival,
and as dangerous to us as he is now neglected_. We then may, perhaps,
though too late, call to mind what our own ministers and merchants have
told us of his designs of carrying on alone all the northern trade, and
of getting all that from Turkey and Persia into his hands through the
rivers which he is joining and making navigable from the Caspian, or the
Black Sea, to his Petersburg. _We shall then wonder at our blindness
that we did not suspect his designs_ when we heard the prodigious works
he has done at Petersburg and Revel; of which last place, the _Daily
Courant_, dated November 23, says:

     "HAGUE, _Nov. 17_.

     "The captains of the men-of-war of the States, who have been at
     Revel, advise that the Czar has put that port and the
     fortifications of the place into such a condition of defence that
     it may pass for one of the most considerable fortresses, not only
     of the Baltic, but even of Europe."

Leave we him now, as to his sea affairs, commerce and manufactures, and
other works both of his policy and power, and let us view him in regard
to his proceedings in this last campaign, especially as to that so much
talked of descent, he, in conjunction with his allies, was to make upon
Schonen, and we shall find that even therein he has acted with his usual
cunning. There is no doubt but the King of Denmark was the first that
proposed this descent. He found that nothing but a speedy end to a war
he had so rashly and unjustly begun, could save his country from ruin
and from the bold attempts of the King of Sweden, either against Norway,
or against Zealand and Copenhagen. To treat separately with that prince
was a thing he could not do, as foreseeing that he would not part with
an inch of ground to so unfair an enemy; and he was afraid that a
Congress for a general place, supposing the King of Sweden would consent
to it upon the terms proposed by his enemies, would draw the
negotiations out beyond what the situation of his affairs could bear. He
invites, therefore, all his confederates to make a home thrust at the
King of Sweden, by a descent into his country, where, having defeated
him, as by the superiority of the forces to be employed in that design
he hoped they should, they might force him to an immediate peace on such
terms as they themselves pleased. I don't know how far the rest of his
confederates came into that project; but neither the _Prussian_ nor the
_Hanoverian_ Court appeared _openly_ in that project, _and how far our
English fleet, under Sir John Norris, was to have forwarded it, I have
nothing to say, but leave others to judge out of the King of Denmark's
own declaration_: but the Czar came readily into it. He got thereby a
new pretence to carry the war one campaign more at other people's
expense; to march his troops into the Empire again, and to have them
quartered and maintained, first in Mecklenburg and then in Zealand. In
the meantime he had his eyes upon _Wismar_, and upon a Swedish island
called _Gotland_. If, by surprise, he could get the first out of the
hands of his confederates, he then had a good seaport, whither to
transport his troops when he pleased into _Germany_, without asking the
King of _Prussia's_ leave for a free passage through his territories;
and if, by a sudden descent, he could dislodge the _Swedes_ out of the
other, he then became master of the best port in the Baltic. He
miscarried, however, in both these projects; for Wismar was too well
guarded to be surprised; and he found his confederates would not give
him a helping hand towards conquering Gotland. After this he began to
look with another eye upon the descent to be made upon Schonen. He found
it equally contrary to his interest, whether it succeeded or not. For if
he did, and the King was thereby forced to a general peace, he knew his
interests therein would be least regarded; having already notice enough
of his confederates being ready to sacrifice them, provided they got
their own terms. If he did not succeed, then, besides the loss of the
flower of an army he had trained and disciplined with so much care, as
he very well foresaw that the English fleet would hinder the King of
Sweden from attempting anything against Denmark; so he justly feared the
whole shock would fall upon him, and he be thereby forced to surrender
all he had taken from Sweden. These considerations made him entirely
resolved not to make one of the descent; but he did not care to declare
it till as late as possible: first, that he might the longer have his
troops maintained at the Danish expense; secondly, that it might be too
late for the King of Denmark to demand the necessary troops from his
other confederates, and to make the descent without him; and, lastly,
that by putting the Dane to a vast expense in making necessary
preparations, he might still weaken him more, and, therefore, make him
now the more dependent on him, and hereafter a more easy prey.

Thus he very carefully dissembles his real thoughts, till just when the
descent was to be made, and then he, all of a sudden, refuses joining
it, and defers it till next spring, with this averment, _that he will
then be as good as his word_. But mark him, as some of our newspapers
tell us, under this restriction, _unless he can get an advantageous
peace of Sweden_. This passage, together with the common report we now
have of his treating a separate peace with the King of Sweden, is a new
instance of his cunning and policy. He has there two strings to his bow,
of which one must serve his turn. There is no doubt but the Czar knows
that an accommodation between him and the King of Sweden must be very
difficult to bring about. For as he, on the one side, should never
consent to part with those seaports, for the getting of which he began
this war, and which are absolutely necessary towards carrying on his
great and vast designs; so the King of Sweden would look upon it as
directly contrary to his interest to yield up these same seaports, if
possibly he could hinder it. But then again, the Czar is so well
acquainted with the great and heroic spirit of his Swedish Majesty, that
he does not question his yielding, rather in point of interest than
nicety of honour. From hence it is, he rightly judges, that his Swedish
Majesty must be less exasperated against him who, though he began an
unjust war, has very often paid dearly for it, and carried it on all
along through various successes than against some confederates; that
taking an opportunity of his Swedish Majesty's misfortunes, fell upon
him in an ungenerous manner, and made a partition treaty of his
provinces. The Czar, still more to accommodate himself to the genius of
his great enemy, unlike his confederates, who, upon all occasions,
spared no reflections and even very unbecoming ones (bullying memorials
and hectoring manifestoes), spoke all along with the utmost civility of
his brother Charles as he calls him, maintains him to be the greatest
general in Europe, and even publicly avers, he will more trust a word
from him than the greatest assurances, oaths, nay, even treaties with
his confederates. These kind of civilities may, perhaps, make a deeper
impression upon the noble mind of the King of Sweden, and he be
persuaded rather to sacrifice a real interest to a generous enemy, than
to gratify, in things of less moment, those by whom he has been ill, and
even inhumanly used. But if this should not succeed, the Czar is still a
gainer by having made his confederates uneasy at these his separate
negotiations; and as we find by the newspapers, the more solicitous to
keep him ready to their confederacy, which must cost them very large
proffers and promises. In the meantime he leaves the Dane and the Swede
securely bound up together in war, and weakening one another as fast as
they can, and he turns towards the Empire and views the Protestant
Princes there; and, under many specious pretences, not only marches and
counter-marches about their several territories his troops that came
back from Denmark, but makes also slowly advance towards Germany those
whom he has kept this great while in Poland, under pretence to help the
King against his dissatisfied subjects, whose commotions all the while
he was the greatest fomenter of. He considers the Emperor is in war with
the Turks, and therefore has found, by too successful experience, how
little his Imperial Majesty is able to show his authority in protecting
the members of the Empire. His troops remain in Mecklenburg,
notwithstanding their departure is highly insisted upon. His replies to
all the demands on that subject are filled with such reasons as if he
would give new laws to the Empire.

Now let us suppose that the King of Sweden should think it more
honourable to make a peace with the Czar, and to carry the force of his
resentment against his less generous enemies, what a stand will then the
princes of the empire, even those that unadvisedly drew in 40,000
Muscovites, to secure the tranquillity of that empire against 10,000 or
12,000 Swedes,--I say what stand will they be able to make against him
while the Emperor is already engaged in war with the Turks? and the
Poles, when they are once in peace among themselves (if after the
miseries of so long a war they are in a condition to undertake anything)
are by treaty obliged to join their aids against that common enemy of

Some will say I make great and sudden rises from very small beginnings.
My answer is, that I would have such an objector look back and reflect
why I show him, from such a speck of entity, at his first origin,
growing, through more improbable and almost insuperable difficulties, to
such a bulk as he has already attained to, and _whereby, as his
advocates, the Dutch themselves own, he is grown too formidable for the
repose, not only of his neighbours, but of Europe in general_.

But then, again, they will say he has no pretence either to make a peace
with the Swede separately from the Dane or to make war upon other
princes, some of whom he is bound in alliance with. Whoever thinks these
objections not answered must have considered the Czar neither as to his
nature or to his ends. The Dutch own further, _that he made war against
Sweden without any specious pretence_. He that made war without any
specious pretence may make a peace without any specious pretence, and
make a new war without any specious pretence for it too. His Imperial
Majesty (of Austria), like a wise Prince, when he was obliged to make
war with the Ottomans, made it, as in policy, he should, powerfully.
But, in the meantime, may not the Czar, who is a wise and potent Prince
too, follow the example upon the neighbouring Princes round him that are
Protestants? If he should, I tremble to speak it, it is not impossible,
but in this age of Christianity _the Protestant religion should, in a
great measure, be abolished_; and that among the Christians, the
_Greeks_ and _Romans_ may once more come to be the only Pretenders for
Universal Empire. The pure possibility carries with it warning enough
for the Maritime Powers, and all the other Protestant Princes, to
mediate a peace for Sweden, and strengthen his arms again, without which
no preparations can put them sufficiently upon their guard; and this
must be done early and betimes, _before the King of Sweden, either out
of despair or revenge, throws himself into the Czar's hands_. For 'tis a
certain maxim (which all Princes ought, and the Czar seems at this time
to observe too much for the repose of Christendom) that a wise man must
not stand for ceremony, and only _turn_ with opportunities. No, he must
even _run_ with them. For the Czar's part, I will venture to say so much
in his commendation, that he will hardly suffer himself to be overtaken
that way. He seems to act just as the tide serves. There is nothing
which contributes more to the making our undertakings prosperous than
the taking of times and opportunities; for time carrieth with it the
seasons of opportunities of business. If you let them slip, all your
designs are rendered unsuccessful.

In short, things seem now come to that _crisis_ that peace should as
soon as possible be procured to the Swede, with such advantageous
articles as are consistent with the nicety of his honour to accept, and
with the safety of the Protestant interest, that he should have offered
to him, which can be scarce less than all the possessions which he
formerly had in the Empire. As in all other things, so in politics, a
long-tried certainty must be preferred before an uncertainty, tho'
grounded on ever so probable suppositions. Now can there be anything
more certain, than that the provinces Sweden has had in the Empire, were
given to it to make it the nearer at hand and the better able to secure
the Protestant interest, which, together with the liberties of the
Empire it just then had saved? Can there be anything more certain than
that that kingdom has, by those means, upon all occasions, secured that
said interest now near fourscore years? Can there be anything more
certain than, as to his present Swedish Majesty, that I may use the
words of a letter her late Majesty, Queen Anne, wrote to him (Charles
XII.), and _in the time of a Whig Ministry too_, viz.: "That, as a true
Prince, hero and Christian, the chief end of his endeavours has been the
promotion of the fear of God among men: and that without insisting on
his own particular interest."

On the other hand, is it not very uncertain whether those princes, who,
by sharing among them the Swedish provinces in the Empire, are now going
to set up as protectors of the Protestant interests there, exclusive of
the Swedes, will be able to do it? _Denmark_ is already so low, and will
in all appearance be so much lower still before the end of the war,
that very little assistance can be expected from it in a great many
years. In _Saxony_, the prospect is but too dismal under a Popish
prince, so that there remain only the two illustrious houses of Hanover
and Brandenburg of all the Protestant princes, powerful enough to lead
the rest. Let us therefore only make a parallel between what now happens
in the Duchy of Mecklenburg, and what may happen to the Protestant
interest, and we shall soon find how we may be mistaken in our
reckoning. That said poor Duchy has been most miserably ruined by the
Muscovite troops, and it is still so; the Electors of Brandenburg and
Hanover are obliged, both as directors of the circle of Lower Saxony, as
neighbours, and Protestant Princes, to rescue a fellow state of the
Empire, and a Protestant country, from so cruel an oppression of a
foreign Power. But, pray, what have they done? The Elector of
Brandenburg, cautious lest the Muscovites might on one side invade his
electorate, and on the other side from Livonia and Poland, his kingdom
of Prussia; and the Elector of Hanover having the same wise caution as
to his hereditary countries, have not upon this, though very pressing
occasion, thought it for their interest, to use any other means than
representations. But pray with what success? The Muscovites are still in
Mecklenburg, and if at last they march out of it, it will be when the
country is so ruined that they cannot there subsist any longer.

It seems the King of Sweden should be restored to all that he has lost
on the side of the Czar; and this appears the _joint interest of both
the Maritime Powers_. This may they please to undertake: _Holland_,
because it is a maxim there "that the Czar grows too great, and must not
be suffered to settle in the Baltic, and that Sweden must not be
abandoned"; _Great Britain_, because, if the Czar compasses his vast and
prodigious views, he will, by the ruin and conquest of Sweden, become
our nearer and more dreadful neighbour. Besides, we are bound to it by a
treaty concluded in the year 1700, between King William and the present
King of Sweden, by virtue of which King William assisted the King of
Sweden, when in more powerful circumstances, with all that he desired,
with great sums of money, several hundred pieces of cloth, and
considerable quantities of gunpowder.

But _some Politicians (whom nothing can make jealous of the growing
strength and abilities of the Czar) though they are even foxes and
vulpones in the art, either will not see_ or _pretend they cannot see_
how the Czar can ever be able to make so great a progress in power as to
hurt us here in our island. To them it is easy to repeat the same answer
a hundred times over, if they would be so kind as to take it at last,
viz., _that what has been may be again_; and that they did not see how
he could reach the height of power, which he has already arrived at,
after, I must confess, a very incredible manner. Let those _incredulous_
people look narrowly into the _nature_ and the _ends_ and the _designs_
of this great monarch; they will find that they are laid very deep, and
that his plans carry in them a prodigious deal of prudence and
foresight, and his ends are at the long run brought about by a kind of
magic in policy; and will they not after that own that we ought to fear
everything from him? As he desires that the designs with which he
labours may not prove abortive, so he does not assign them a certain day
of their birth, but leaves them to the natural productions of fit times
and occasions, like those curious artists in China, who temper the mould
this day of which a vessel may be made a hundred years hence.

There is another sort of short-sighted politicians among us, who have
more of cunning court intrigue and immediate statecraft in them than of
true policy and concern for their country's interest. These gentlemen
pin entirely their faith upon other people's sleeves; ask as to
everything that is proposed to them, how it is liked at Court? what the
opinion of their party is concerning it? and if the contrary party is
for or against it? Hereby they rule their judgment, and it is enough for
their cunning leaders to brand anything with _Whiggism_ or _Jacobitism_,
for to make these people, without any further inquiry into the matter,
blindly espouse it or oppose it. This, it seems, is at present the case
of the subject we are upon. Anything said or written in favour of
Sweden and the King thereof, is immediately said to come from a
_Jacobite_ pen, and thus reviled and rejected, without being read or
considered. Nay, I have heard gentlemen go so far as to maintain
publicly, and with all the vehemence in the world, that the King of
Sweden was a Roman Catholic, and that the Czar was a good Protestant.
This, indeed, is one of the greatest misfortunes our country labours
under, and till we begin to see with our own eyes, and inquire ourselves
into the truth of things, we shall be led away, God knows whither, at
last. The serving of Sweden according to our treaties and real interest
has nothing to do with our party causes. Instead of seeking for and
taking hold of any pretence to undo Sweden, we ought openly to assist
it. Could our Protestant succession have a better friend or a bolder

I shall conclude this by thus shortly recapitulating what I have said.
That since the Czar has not only replied to the King of Denmark
entreating the contrary, but also answered our Admiral Norris, that he
would persist in his resolution to delay the descent upon Schonen, and
is said by other newspapers to resolve not to make it then, if he can
have peace with Sweden; every Prince, and we more particularly, ought to
be jealous of his having some such design as I mention in view, and
consult how to prevent them, and to clip, in time, his too aspiring
wings, which cannot be effectually done, first, without the Maritime
Powers please to begin to keep him in some check and awe, and 'tis to be
hoped a certain potent nation, that has helped him forward, can, in some
measure, bring him back, and may then speak to this great enterpriser in
the language of a countryman in Spain, who coming to an image enshrined,
the first making whereof he could well remember, and not finding all the
respectful usage he expected,--"You need not," quoth he, "be so proud,
for we have known you from a plum-tree." The next only way is to
restore, by a peace, to the King of Sweden what he has lost; that checks
his (the Czar's) power immediately, and on that side nothing else can. I
wish it may not at last be found true, that those who have been
fighting against that King have, in the main, been fighting against
themselves. If the Swede ever has his dominions again, and lowers the
high spirit of the Czar, still he may say by his neighbours, as an old
Greek hero did, whom his countrymen constantly sent into exile whenever
he had done them a service, but were forced to call him back to their
aid, whenever they wanted success. "These people," quoth he, "are always
using me like the palm-tree. They will be breaking my branches
continually, and yet, if there comes a storm, they run to me, and can't
find a better place for shelter." But if he has them not, I shall only
exclaim a phrase out of Terence's "Andria":

     "Hoccine credibile est aut memorabile
     Tanta vecordia innata cuiquam ut siet,
     Ut malis gaudeant?"

4. POSTSCRIPT.--I flatter myself that this little history is of that
curious nature, and on matters hitherto so unobserved, that I consider
it, with pride, as a valuable New Year's gift to the present world; and
that posterity will accept it, as the like, for many years after, and
read it over on that anniversary, and call it their _Warning Piece_. I
must have my _Exegi-Monumentum_ as well as others.


[20] Or, to follow this affectation of silliness into more recent times,
is there anything in diplomatic history that could match Lord
Palmerston's proposal made to Marshal Soult (in 1839), to storm the
Dardanelles, in order to afford the Sultan the support of the
Anglo-French fleet against Russia?


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 I. 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 new-fangled 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

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 the
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 III. 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_. 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
                  Total                171,136

     Export to Sweden                   57,555
     Import from Sweden                212,094
                  Total                269,649

During the same period the total

     Export of England amounted to   3,525,906
     Import                          3,482,586
                  Total              7,008,492

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 from Russia       197,270
                  Total       310,424

     Export to Sweden          24,101
     Import from Sweden       136,959
                  Total       161,060

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 subtracted from the other.

In 1730, the

     Export to Russia was          46,275
     Import from Russia           258,802
                  Total           305,077

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
                  Total              £576,265

while the general trade of England amounted to £26,361,760. Comparing
these figures with those of 1706, 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 Russia raw produce, the
Russian market, on its side, proved straitening for British
manufacturers, 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

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 1/45th. 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 simple 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 I., 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."[21]

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

     "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

     "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 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 Machiavelism 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. Colquhoun, the British Consul at Bucharest, suspects that England
has 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 Mieroslawski, in his last work on Poland, is not very far from
intimating that mercantile Machiavelism 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
will," 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
characterizes 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 18th 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 Theylls,
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.


[21] 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 _History of


     "_The Defensive Treaty concluded in the year 1700, between his late
     Majesty, King William, of ever-glorious memory, and his present
     Swedish Majesty, King Charles XII. Published at the earnest desire
     of several members of both Houses of Parliament._

     'Nec rumpite foedera pacis,
     Nec regnis præferte fidem.'
                                 --SILIUS, _Lip._ II.

"_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 conjunction 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 conveying 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 Straelsund, 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

"_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,
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 XIV._ '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 guarantee?

"_Query III._ How can we make the words in the 7th Article, _that in
assisting our injured Ally 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 11th 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 anyways 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 us,
or 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 be 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

"_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 conquest, 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

"_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 be 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 it 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

"_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 from 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

"_Query XIV._ If the preserving and securing our trade against the
Swedes has 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 II., 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 II., 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, 1st 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
articles 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 1660-1670, and in case either of them should
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 least, 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 friendship,
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

"_Query I._ Inasmuch 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 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 great seal of England to be put to these
presents, which were given at our palace of Kensington, 25th of
February, in the year of our Lord 1700, and in the 11th year of our
reign (Gulielmus Rex).[22]

"_Query._ How can any of us that declares himself for the late happy
revolution, 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?"


[22] The treaty was concluded at the Hague on the 6th and 16th January,
1700, and ratified by William III. on February 5th, 1700.


Before entering upon an analysis of the pamphlet headed, "_Truth is but
truth, as it is timed_," with which we shall conclude the _Introduction_
to the Diplomatic Revelations, some preliminary remarks on the general
history of Russian politics appear opportune.

The overwhelming influence of Russia has taken Europe at different
epochs by surprise, startled the peoples of the West, and been submitted
to as a fatality, or resisted only by convulsions. But alongside the
fascination exercised by Russia, there runs an ever-reviving scepticism,
dogging her like a shadow, growing with her growth, mingling shrill
notes of irony with the cries of agonising peoples, and mocking her very
grandeur as a histrionic attitude taken up to dazzle and to cheat. Other
empires have met with similar doubts in their infancy; Russia has become
a colossus without outliving them. She affords the only instance in
history of an immense empire, the very existence of whose power, even
after world-wide achievements, has never ceased to be treated like a
matter of faith rather than like a matter of fact. From the outset of
the eighteenth century to our days, no author, whether he intended to
exalt or to check Russia, thought it possible to dispense with first
proving her existence.

But whether we be spiritualists or materialists with respect to
Russia--whether we consider her power as a palpable fact, or as the mere
vision of the guilt-stricken consciences of the European peoples--the
question remains the same: "How did this power, or this phantom of a
power, contrive to assume such dimensions as to rouse on the one side
the passionate assertion, and on the other the angry denial of its
threatening the world with a rehearsal of Universal Monarchy?" At the
beginning of the eighteenth century Russia was regarded as a mushroom
creation extemporised by the genius of Peter the Great. Schloezer
thought it a discovery to have found out that she possessed a past; and
in modern times, writers, like Fallmerayer, unconsciously following in
the track beaten by Russian historians, have deliberately asserted that
the northern spectre which frightens the Europe of the nineteenth
century already overshadowed the Europe of the ninth century. With them
the policy of Russia begins with the first Ruriks, and has, with some
interruptions indeed, been systematically continued to the present hour.

Ancient maps of Russia are unfolded before us, displaying even larger
European dimensions than she can boast of now: her perpetual movement of
aggrandizement from the ninth to the eleventh century is anxiously
pointed out; we are shown Oleg launching 88,000 men against Byzantium,
fixing his shield as a trophy on the gate of that capital, and dictating
an ignominious treaty to the Lower Empire; Igor making it tributary;
Sviataslaff glorying, "the Greeks supply me with gold, costly stuffs,
rice, fruits and wine; Hungary furnishes cattle and horses; from Russia
I draw honey, wax, furs, and men"; Vladimir conquering the Crimea and
Livonia, extorting a daughter from the Greek Emperor, as Napoleon did
from the German Emperor, blending the military sway of a northern
conqueror with the theocratic despotism of the Porphyro-geniti, and
becoming at once the master of his subjects on earth, and their
protector in heaven.

Yet, in spite of the plausible parallelism suggested by these
reminiscences, the policy of the first Ruriks differs fundamentally from
that of modern Russia. It was nothing more nor less than the policy of
the German barbarians inundating Europe--the history of the modern
nations beginning only after the deluge has passed away. The Gothic
period of Russia in particular forms but a chapter of the Norman
conquests. As the empire of Charlemagne precedes the foundation of
modern France, Germany, and Italy, so the empire of the Ruriks precedes
the foundation of Poland, Lithuania, the Baltic Settlements, Turkey,
and Muscovy itself. The rapid movement of aggrandizement was not the
result of deep-laid schemes, but the natural offspring of the primitive
organization of Norman conquest--vassalship without fiefs, or fiefs
consisting only in tributes--the necessity of fresh conquests being kept
alive by the uninterrupted influx of new Varangian adventurers, panting
for glory and plunder. The chiefs, becoming anxious for repose, were
compelled by the Faithful Band to move on, and in Russian, as in French
Normandy, there arrived the moment when the chiefs despatched on new
predatory excursions their uncontrollable and insatiable
companions-in-arms with the single view to get rid of them. Warfare and
organization of conquest on the part of the first Ruriks differ in no
point from those of the Normans in the rest of Europe. If Slavonian
tribes were subjected not only by the sword, but also by mutual
convention, this singularity is due to the exceptional position of those
tribes, placed between a northern and eastern invasion, and embracing
the former as a protection from the latter. The same magic charm which
attracted other northern barbarians to the Rome of the West attracted
the Varangians to the Rome of the East. The very migration of the
Russian capital--Rurik fixing it at Novgorod, Oleg removing it to Kiev,
and Sviataslaff attempting to establish it in Bulgaria--proves beyond
doubt that the invader was only feeling his way, and considered Russia
as a mere halting-place from which to wander on in search of an empire
in the South. If modern Russia covets the possession of Constantinople
to establish her dominion over the world, the Ruriks were, on the
contrary, forced by the resistance of Byzantium, under Zimiskes,
definitively to establish their dominion in Russia.

It may be objected that victors and vanquished amalgamated more quickly
in Russia than in any other conquest of the northern barbarians, that
the chiefs soon commingled themselves with the Slavonians--as shown by
their marriages and their names. But then, it should be recollected that
the Faithful Band, which formed at once their guard and their privy
council, remained exclusively composed of Varangians; that Vladimir,
who marks the summit, and Yaroslav, who marks the commencing decline of
Gothic Russia, were seated on her throne by the arms of the Varangians.
If any Slavonian influence is to be acknowledged in this epoch, it is
that of Novgorod, a Slavonian State, the traditions, policy, and
tendencies of which were so antagonistic to those of modern Russia that
the one could found her existence only on the ruins of the other. Under
Yaroslav the supremacy of the Varangians is broken, but simultaneously
with it disappears the conquering tendency of the first period, and the
decline of Gothic Russia begins. The history of that decline, more still
than that of the conquest and formation, proves the exclusively Gothic
character of the Empire of the Ruriks.

The incongruous, unwieldy, and precocious Empire heaped together by the
Ruriks, like the other empires of similar growth, is broken up into
appanages, divided and subdivided among the descendants of the
conquerors, dilacerated by feudal wars, rent to pieces by the
intervention of foreign peoples. The paramount authority of the Grand
Prince vanishes before the rival claims of seventy princes of the blood.
The attempt of Andrew of Susdal at recomposing some large limbs of the
empire by the removal of the capital from Kiev to Vladimir proves
successful only in propagating the decomposition from the South to the
centre. Andrew's third successor resigns even the last shadow of
supremacy, the title of Grand Prince, and the merely nominal homage
still offered him. The appanages to the South and to the West become by
turns Lithuanian, Polish, Hungarian, Livonian, Swedish. Kiev itself, the
ancient capital, follows destinies of its own, after having dwindled
down from a seat of the Grand Princedom to the territory of a city.
Thus, the Russia of the Normans completely disappears from the stage,
and the few weak reminiscences in which it still outlived itself,
dissolve before the terrible apparition of Genghis Khan. The bloody mire
of Mongolian slavery, not the rude glory of the Norman epoch, forms the
cradle of Muscovy, and modern Russia is but a metamorphosis of Muscovy.

The Tartar yoke lasted from 1237 to 1462--more than two centuries; a
yoke not only crushing, but dishonouring and withering the very soul of
the people that fell its prey. The Mongol Tartars established a rule of
systematic terror, devastation and wholesale massacre forming its
institutions. Their numbers being scanty in proportion to their enormous
conquests, they wanted to magnify them by a halo of consternation, and
to thin, by wholesale slaughter, the populations which might rise in
their rear. In their creations of desert they were, besides, led by the
same economical principle which has depopulated the Highlands of
Scotland and the Campagna di Roma--the conversion of men into sheep, and
of fertile lands and populous abodes into pasturage.

The Tartar yoke had already lasted a hundred years before Muscovy
emerged from its obscurity. To entertain discord among the Russian
princes, and secure their servile submission, the Mongols had restored
the dignity of the Grand Princedom. The strife among the Russian princes
for this dignity was, as a modern author has it, "an abject strife--the
strife of slaves, whose chief weapon was calumny, and who were always
ready to denounce each other to their cruel rulers; wrangling for a
degraded throne, whence they could not move but with plundering,
parricidal hands--hands filled with gold and stained with gore; which
they dared not ascend without grovelling, nor retain but on their knees,
prostrate and trembling beneath the scimitar of a Tartar, always ready
to roll under his feet those servile crowns, and the heads by which they
were worn." It was in this infamous strife that the Moscow branch won at
last the race. In 1328 the crown of the Grand Princedom, wrested from
the branch of Tver by dint of denunciation and assassination, was picked
up at the feet of Usbeck Khan by Yury, the elder brother of Ivan Kalita.
Ivan I. Kalita, and Ivan III., surnamed the Great, personate Muscovy
rising by means of the Tartar yoke, and Muscovy getting an independent
power by the disappearance of the Tartar rule. The whole policy of
Muscovy, from its first entrance into the historical arena, is resumed
in the history of these two individuals.

The policy of Ivan Kalita was simply this: to play the abject tool of
the Khan, thus to borrow his power, and then to turn it round upon his
princely rivals and his own subjects. To attain this end, he had to
insinuate himself with the Tartars by dint of cynical adulation, by
frequent journeys to the Golden Horde, by humble prayers for the hand of
Mongol princesses, by a display of unbounded zeal for the Khan's
interest, by the unscrupulous execution of his orders, by atrocious
calumnies against his own kinsfolk, by blending in himself the
characters of the Tartar's hangman, sycophant, and slave-in-chief. He
perplexed the Khan by continuous revelations of secret plots. Whenever
the branch of Tver betrayed a velleité of national independence, he
hurried to the Horde to denounce it. Wherever he met with resistance, he
introduced the Tartar to trample it down. But it was not sufficient to
act a character; to make it acceptable, gold was required. Perpetual
bribery of the Khan and his grandees was the only sure foundation upon
which to raise his fabric of deception and usurpation. But how was the
slave to get the money wherewith to bribe the master? He persuaded the
Khan to instal him his tax-gatherer throughout all the Russian
appanages. Once invested with this function, he extorted money under
false pretences. The wealth accumulated by the dread held out of the
Tartar name, he used to corrupt the Tartars themselves. By a bribe he
induced the primate to transfer his episcopal seat from Vladimir to
Moscow, thus making the latter the capital of the empire, because the
religious capital, and coupling the power of the Church with that of his
throne. By a bribe he allured the Boyards of the rival princes into
treason against their chiefs, and attracted them to himself as their
centre. By the joint influence of the Mahometan Tartar, the Greek
Church, and the Boyards, he unites the princes holding appanages into a
crusade against the most dangerous of them--the prince of Tver; and then
having driven his recent allies by bold attempts at usurpation into
resistance against himself, into a war for the public good, he draws not
the sword but hurries to the Khan. By bribes and delusion again, he
seduces him into assassinating his kindred rivals under the most cruel
torments. It was the traditional policy of the Tartar to check the
Russian princes the one by the other, to feed their dissensions, to
cause their forces to equiponderate, and to allow none to consolidate
himself. Ivan Kalita converts the Khan into the tool by which he rids
himself of his most dangerous competitors, and weighs down every
obstacle to his own usurping march. He does not conquer the appanages,
but surreptitiously turns the rights of the Tartar conquest to his
exclusive profit. He secures the succession of his son through the same
means by which he had raised the Grand Princedom of Muscovy, that
strange compound of princedom and serfdom. During his whole reign he
swerves not once from the line of policy he had traced to himself;
clinging to it with a tenacious firmness, and executing it with
methodical boldness. Thus he becomes the founder of the Muscovite power,
and characteristically his people call him Kalita--that is, the purse,
because it was the purse and not the sword with which he cut his way.
The very period of his reign witnesses the sudden growth of the
Lithuanian power which dismembers the Russian appanages from the West,
while the Tartar squeezes them into one mass from the East. Ivan, while
he dared not repulse the one disgrace, seemed anxious to exaggerate the
other. He was not to be seduced from following up his ends by the
allurements of glory, the pangs of conscience, or the lassitude of
humiliation. His whole system may be expressed in a few words: the
machiavelism of the usurping slave. His own weakness--his slavery--he
turned into the mainspring of his strength.

The policy traced by Ivan I. Kalita is that of his successors; they had
only to enlarge the circle of its application. They followed it up
laboriously, gradually, inflexibly. From Ivan I. Kalita, we may,
therefore, pass at once to Ivan III., surnamed the Great.

At the commencement of his reign (1462-1505) Ivan III. was still a
tributary to the Tartars; his authority was still contested by the
princes holding appanages; Novgorod, the head of the Russian republics,
reigned over the north of Russia; Poland-Lithuania was striving for the
conquest of Muscovy; lastly, the Livonian knights were not yet disarmed.
At the end of his reign we behold Ivan III. seated on an independent
throne, at his side the daughter of the last emperor of Byzantium, at
his feet Kasan, and the remnant of the Golden Horde flocking to his
court; Novgorod and the other Russian republics enslaved--Lithuania
diminished, and its king a tool in Ivan's hands--the Livonian knights
vanquished. Astonished Europe, at the commencement of Ivan's reign,
hardly aware of the existence of Muscovy, hemmed in between the Tartar
and the Lithuanian, was dazzled by the sudden appearance of an immense
empire on its eastern confines, and Sultan Bajazet himself, before whom
Europe trembled, heard for the first time the haughty language of the
Muscovite. How, then, did Ivan accomplish these high deeds? Was he a
hero? The Russian historians themselves show him up a confessed coward.

Let us shortly survey his principal contests, in the sequence in which
he undertook and concluded them--his contests with the Tartars, with
Novgorod, with the princes holding appanages, and lastly with

Ivan rescued Muscovy from the Tartar yoke, not by one bold stroke, but
by the patient labour of about twenty years. He did not break the yoke,
but disengaged himself by stealth. Its overthrow, accordingly, has more
the look of the work of nature than the deed of man. When the Tartar
monster expired at last, Ivan appeared at its deathbed like a physician,
who prognosticated and speculated on death rather than like a warrior
who imparted it. The character of every people enlarges with its
enfranchisement from a foreign yoke; that of Muscovy in the hands of
Ivan seems to diminish. Compare only Spain in its struggles against the
Arabs with Muscovy in its struggles against the Tartars.

At the period of Ivan's accession to the throne, the Golden Horde had
long since been weakened, internally by fierce feuds, externally by the
separation from them of the Nogay Tartars, the eruption of Timour
Tamerlane, the rise of the Cossacks, and the hostility of the Crimean
Tartars. Muscovy, on the contrary, by steadily pursuing the policy
traced by Ivan Kalita, had grown to a mighty mass, crushed, but at the
same time compactly united by the Tartar chain. The Khans, as if struck
by a charm, had continued to remain instruments of Muscovite
aggrandizement and concentration. By calculation they had added to the
power of the Greek Church, which, in the hand of the Muscovite grand
princes, proved the deadliest weapon against them.

In rising against the Horde, the Muscovite had not to invent but only to
imitate the Tartars themselves. But Ivan did not rise. He humbly
acknowledged himself a slave of the Golden Horde. By bribing a Tartar
woman he seduced the Khan into commanding the withdrawal from Muscovy of
the Mongol residents. By similar and imperceptible and surreptitious
steps he duped the Khan into successive concessions, all ruinous to his
sway. He thus did not conquer, but filch strength. He does not drive,
but manoeuvre his enemy out of his strongholds. Still continuing to
prostrate himself before the Khan's envoys, and to proclaim himself his
tributary, he eludes the payment of the tribute under false pretences,
employing all the stratagems of a fugitive slave who dare not front his
owner, but only steal out of his reach. At last the Mongol awakes from
his torpor, and the hour of battle sounds. Ivan, trembling at the mere
semblance of an armed encounter, attempts to hide himself behind his own
fear, and to disarm the fury of his enemy by withdrawing the object upon
which to wreak his vengeance. He is only saved by the intervention of
the Crimean Tartars, his allies. Against a second invasion of the Horde,
he ostentatiously gathers together such disproportionate forces that the
mere rumour of their number parries the attack. At the third invasion,
from the midst of 200,000 men, he absconds a disgraced deserter.
Reluctantly dragged back, he attempts to haggle for conditions of
slavery, and at last, pouring into his army his own servile fear, he
involves it in a general and disorderly flight. Muscovy was then
anxiously awaiting its irretrievable doom, when it suddenly hears that
by an attack on their capital made by the Crimean Khan, the Golden Horde
has been forced to withdraw, and has, on its retreat, been destroyed by
the Cossacks and Nogay Tartars. Thus defeat was turned into success, and
Ivan had overthrown the Golden Horde, not by fighting it himself, but by
challenging it through a feigned desire of combat into offensive
movements, which exhausted its remnants of vitality and exposed it to
the fatal blows of the tribes of its own race whom he had managed to
turn into his allies. He caught one Tartar with another Tartar. As the
immense danger he had himself summoned proved unable to betray him into
one single trait of manhood, so his miraculous triumph did not infatuate
him even for one moment. With cautious circumspection he dared not
incorporate Kasan with Muscovy, but made it over to sovereigns belonging
to the family of Menghi-Ghirei, his Crimean ally, to hold it, as it
were, in trust for Muscovy. With the spoils of the vanquished Tartar, he
enchained the victorious Tartar. But if too prudent to assume, with the
eye-witnesses of his disgrace, the airs of a conqueror, this impostor
did fully understand how the downfall of the Tartar empire must dazzle
at a distance--with what halo of glory it would encircle him, and how it
would facilitate a magnificent entry among the European Powers.
Accordingly he assumed abroad the theatrical attitude of the conqueror,
and, indeed, succeeded in hiding under a mask of proud susceptibility
and irritable haughtiness the obtrusiveness of the Mongol serf, who
still remembered kissing the stirrup of the Khan's meanest envoy. He
aped in more subdued tone the voice of his old masters, which terrified
his soul. Some standing phrases of modern Russian diplomacy, such as the
magnanimity, the wounded dignity of the master, are borrowed from the
diplomatic instructions of Ivan III.

After the surrender of Kasan, he set out on a long-planned expedition
against Novgorod, the head of the Russian republics. If the overthrow of
the Tartar yoke was, in his eyes, the first condition of Muscovite
greatness, the overthrow of Russian freedom was the second. As the
republic of Viatka had declared itself neutral between Muscovy and the
Horde, and the republic of Tskof, with its twelve cities, had shown
symptoms of disaffection, Ivan flattered the latter and affected to
forget the former, meanwhile concentrating all his forces against
Novgorod the Great, with the doom of which he knew the fate of the rest
of the Russian republics to be sealed. By the prospect of sharing in
this rich booty, he drew after him the princes holding appanages, while
he inveigled the boyards by working upon their blind hatred of
Novgorodian democracy. Thus he contrived to march three armies upon
Novgorod and to overwhelm it by disproportionate force. But then, in
order not to keep his word to the princes, not to forfeit his immutable
"Vos non vobis," at the same time apprehensive, lest Novgorod should not
yet have become digestible from the want of preparatory treatment, he
thought fit to exhibit a sudden moderation; to content himself with a
ransom and the acknowledgment of his suzerainty; but into the act of
submission of the republic he smuggled some ambiguous words which made
him its supreme judge and legislator. Then he fomented the dissensions
between the patricians and plebeians raging as well in Novgorod as at
Florence. Of some complaints of the plebeians he took occasion to
introduce himself again into the city, to have its nobles, whom he knew
to be hostile to himself, sent to Moscow loaded with chains, and to
break the ancient law of the republic that "none of its citizens should
ever be tried or punished out of the limits of its own territory." From
that moment he became supreme arbiter. "Never," say the annalists,
"never since Rurik had such an event happened; never had the grand
princes of Kiev and Vladimir seen the Novgorodians come and submit to
them as their judges. Ivan alone could reduce Novgorod to that degree of
humiliation." Seven years were employed by Ivan to corrupt the republic
by the exercise of his judicial authority. Then, when he found its
strength worn out, he thought the moment ripe for declaring himself. To
doff his own mask of moderation, he wanted, on the part of Novgorod, a
breach of the peace. As he had simulated calm endurance, so he
simulated now a sudden burst of passion. Having bribed an envoy of the
republic to address him during a public audience with the name of
sovereign, he claimed, at once, all the rights of a despot--the
self-annihilation of the republic.


One feature characteristic of the Slavonic race must strike every
observer. Almost everywhere it confined itself to an inland country,
leaving the sea-borders to non-Slavonic tribes. Finno-Tartaric tribes
held the shores of the Black Sea, Lithuanians and Fins those of the
Baltic and White Sea. Wherever they touched the sea-board, as in the
Adriatic and part of the Baltic, the Slavonians had soon to submit to
foreign rule. The Russian people shared this common fate of the
Slavonian race. Their home, at the time they first appear in history,
was the country about the sources and upper course of the Volga and its
tributaries, the Dnieper, Don, and Northern Dwina. Nowhere did their
territory touch the sea except at the extremity of the Gulf of Finland.
Nor had they before Peter the Great proved able to conquer any maritime
outlet beside that of the White Sea, which, during three-fourths of the
year, is itself enchained and immovable. The spot where Petersburg now
stands had been for a thousand years past contested ground between Fins,
Swedes, and Russians. All the remaining extent of coast from Polangen,
near Memel, to Torrea, the whole coast of the Black Sea, from Akerman to
Redut Kaleh, has been conquered later on. And, as if to witness the
anti-maritime peculiarity of the Slavonic race, of all this line of
coast, no portion of the Baltic coast has really adopted Russian
nationality. Nor has the Circassian and Mingrelian east coast of the
Black Sea. It is only the coast of the White Sea, as far as it was worth
cultivating, some portion of the northern coast of the Black Sea, and
part of the coast of the Sea of Azof, that have really been peopled with
Russian inhabitants, who, however, despite the new circumstances in
which they are placed, still refrain from taking to the sea, and
obstinately stick to the land-lopers' traditions of their ancestors.

From the very outset, Peter the Great broke through all the traditions
of the Slavonic race. "It is water that Russia wants." These words he
addressed as a rebuke to Prince Cantemir are inscribed on the title-page
of his life. The conquest of the Sea of Azof was aimed at in his first
war with Turkey, the conquest of the Baltic in his war against Sweden,
the conquest of the Black Sea in his second war against the Porte, and
the conquest of the Caspian Sea in his fraudulent intervention in
Persia. For a system of local encroachment, land was sufficient; for a
system of universal aggression, water had become indispensable. It was
but by the conversion of Muscovy from a country wholly of land into a
sea-bordering empire, that the traditional limits of the Muscovite
policy could be superseded and merged into that bold synthesis which,
blending the encroaching method of the Mongol slave with the
world-conquering tendencies of the Mongol master, forms the life-spring
of modern Russian diplomacy.

It has been said that no great nation has ever existed, or been able to
exist, in such an inland position as that of the original empire of
Peter the Great; that none has ever submitted thus to see its coasts and
the mouths of its rivers torn away from it; that Russia could no more
leave the mouth of the Neva, the natural outlet for the produce of
Northern Russia, in the hands of the Swedes, than the mouths of the Don,
Dnieper, and Bug, and the Straits of Kertch, in the hands of nomadic and
plundering Tartars; that the Baltic provinces, from their very
geographical configuration, are naturally a corollary to whichever
nation holds the country behind them; that, in one word, Peter, in this
quarter, at least, but took hold of what was absolutely necessary for
the natural development of his country. From this point of view, Peter
the Great intended, by his war against Sweden, only rearing a Russian
Liverpool, and endowing it with its indispensable strip of coast.

But then, one great fact is slighted over, the _tour de force_ by which
he transferred the capital of the Empire from the inland centre to the
maritime extremity, the characteristic boldness with which he erected
the new capital on the first strip of Baltic coast he conquered, almost
within gunshot of the frontier, thus deliberately giving his dominions
an _eccentric centre_. To transfer the throne of the Czars from Moscow
to Petersburg was to place it in a position where it could not be safe,
even from insult, until the whole coast from Libau to Tornea was
subdued--a work not completed till 1809, by the conquest of Finland.
"St. Petersburg is the window from which Russia can overlook Europe,"
said Algarotti. It was from the first a defiance to the Europeans, an
incentive to further conquest to the Russians. The fortifications in our
own days of Russian Poland are only a further step in the execution of
the same idea. Modlin, Warsaw, Ivangorod, are more than citadels to keep
a rebellious country in check. They are the same menace to the west
which Petersburg, in its immediate bearing, was a hundred years ago to
the north. They are to transform Russia into Panslavonia, as the Baltic
provinces were to transform Muscovy into Russia.

Petersburg, the _eccentric centre_ of the empire, pointed at once to a
periphery still to be drawn.

It is, then, not the mere conquest of the Baltic provinces which
separates the policy of Peter the Great from that of his ancestors, but
it is the transfer of the capital which reveals the true meaning of his
Baltic conquests. Petersburg was not like Muscovy, the centre of a race,
but the seat of a government; not the slow work of a people, but the
instantaneous creation of a man; not the medium from which the
peculiarities of an inland people radiate, but the maritime extremity
where they are lost; not the traditionary nucleus of a national
development, but the deliberately chosen abode of a cosmopolitan
intrigue. By the transfer of the capital, Peter cut off the natural
ligaments which bound up the encroaching system of the old Muscovite
Czars with the natural abilities and aspirations of the great Russian
race. By planting his capital on the margin of a sea, he put to open
defiance the anti-maritime instincts of that race, and degraded it to a
mere weight in his political mechanism. Since the 16th century Muscovy
had made no important acquisitions but on the side of Siberia, and to
the 16th century the dubious conquests made towards the west and the
south were only brought about by direct agency on the east. By the
transfer of the capital, Peter proclaimed that he, on the contrary,
intended working on the east and the immediately neighbouring countries
through the agency of the west. If the agency through the east was
narrowly circumscribed by the stationary character and the limited
relations of Asiatic peoples, the agency through the west became at once
illimited and universal from the movable character and the all-sided
relations of Western Europe. The transfer of the capital denoted this
intended change of agency, which the conquest of the Baltic provinces
afforded the means of achieving, by securing at once to Russia the
supremacy among the neighbouring Northern States; by putting it into
immediate and constant contact with all points of Europe; by laying the
basis of a material bond with the maritime Powers, which by this
conquest became dependent on Russia for their naval stores; a dependence
not existing as long as Muscovy, the country that produced the great
bulk of the naval stores, had got no outlets of its own; while Sweden,
the Power that held these outlets, had not got the country lying behind

If the Muscovite Czars, who worked their encroachments by the agency
principally of the Tartar Khans, were obliged to _tartarize_ Muscovy,
Peter the Great, who resolved upon working through the agency of the
west, was obliged to _civilize_ Russia. In grasping upon the Baltic
provinces, he seized at once the tools necessary for this process. They
afforded him not only the diplomatists and the generals, the brains with
which to execute his system of political and military action on the
west, they yielded him, at the same time, a crop of bureaucrats,
schoolmasters, and drill-sergeants, who were to drill Russians into that
varnish of civilization that adapts them to the technical appliances of
the Western peoples, without imbuing them with their ideas.

Neither the Sea of Azof, nor the Black Sea, nor the Caspian Sea, could
open to Peter this direct passage to Europe. Besides, during his
lifetime still Taganrog, Azof, the Black Sea, with its new-formed
Russian fleets, ports, and dockyards, were again abandoned or given up
to the Turk. The Persian conquest, too, proved a premature enterprise.
Of the four wars which fill the military life of Peter the Great, his
first war, that against Turkey, the fruits of which were lost in a
second Turkish war, continued in one respect the traditionary struggle
with the Tartars. In another respect, it was but the prelude to the war
against Sweden, of which the second Turkish war forms an episode and the
Persian war an epilogue. Thus the war against Sweden, lasting during
twenty-one years, almost absorbs the military life of Peter the Great.
Whether we consider its purpose, its results, or its endurance, we may
justly call it _the_ war of Peter the Great. His whole creation hinges
upon the conquest of the Baltic coast.

Now, suppose we were altogether ignorant of the details of his
operations, military and diplomatic. The mere fact that the conversion
of Muscovy into Russia was brought about by its transformation from a
half-Asiatic inland country into the paramount maritime Power of the
Baltic, would it not enforce upon us the conclusion that England, the
greatest maritime Power of that epoch--a maritime Power lying, too, at
the very gates of the Baltic, where, since the middle of the 17th
century, she had maintained the attitude of supreme arbiter--that
England must have had her hand in this great change, that she must have
proved the main prop or the main impediment of the plans of Peter the
Great, that during the long protracted and deadly struggle between
Sweden and Russia she must have turned the balance, that if we do not
find her straining every nerve in order to save the Swede we may be sure
of her having employed all the means at her disposal for furthering the
Muscovite? And yet, in what is commonly called history, England does
hardly appear on the plan of this grand drama, and is represented as a
spectator rather than as an actor. Real history will show that the
Khans of the Golden Horde were no more instrumental in realizing the
plans of Ivan III. and his predecessors than the rulers of England were
in realizing the plans of Peter I. and his successors.

The pamphlets which we have reprinted, written as they were by English
contemporaries of Peter the Great, are far from concurring in the common
delusions of later historians. They emphatically denounce England as the
mightiest tool of Russia. The same position is taken up by the pamphlet
of which we shall now give a short analysis, and with which we shall
conclude the introduction to the diplomatic revelations. It is entitled,
"_Truth is but Truth as it is timed; or, our Ministry's present measures
against the Muscovite vindicated_, etc., etc. Humbly dedicated to the
House of C., London, 1719."

The former pamphlets we have reprinted, were written at, or shortly
after, the time when, to use the words of a modern admirer of Russia,
"Peter traversed the Baltic Sea as master at the head of the combined
squadrons of all the northern Powers, England included, which gloried in
sailing under his orders." In 1719, however, when _Truth is but Truth_
was published, the face of affairs seemed altogether changed. Charles
XII. was dead, and the English Government now pretended to side with
Sweden, and to wage war against Russia. There are other circumstances
connected with this anonymous pamphlet which claim particular notice. It
purports to be an extract from a relation, which, on his return from
Muscovy, in August, 1715, its author, by order of George I., drew up and
handed over to Viscount Townshend, then Secretary of State.

     "It happens," says he, "to be an advantage that at present I may
     own to have been the first so happy to foresee, or honest to
     forewarn our Court here, of the absolute necessity of our then
     breaking with the Czar, and shutting him out again of the Baltic."
     "My relation discovered his aim as to other States, and even to the
     German Empire, to which, although an inland Power, he had offered
     to annex Livonia as an Electorate, so that he could but be admitted
     as an elector. It drew attention to the Czar's then contemplated
     assumption of the title of Autocrator. Being head of the Greek
     Church he would be owned by the other potentates as head of the
     Greek Empire. I am not to say how reluctant we would be to
     acknowledge that title, since we have already made an ambassador
     treat him with the title of Imperial Majesty, which the Swede has
     never yet condescended to."

For some time attached to the British Embassy in Muscovy, our author, as
he states, was later on "_dismissed the service, because the Czar
desired it_," having made sure that

     "I had given our Court such light into his affairs as is contained
     in this paper; for which I beg leave to appeal to the King, and to
     vouch the Viscount Townshend, who heard his Majesty give that
     vindication." "And yet, notwithstanding all this, I have been for
     these five years past kept soliciting for a very long arrear still
     due, and whereof I contracted the greatest part in executing a
     commission for her late Majesty."

The anti-Muscovite attitude, suddenly assumed by the Stanhope Cabinet,
our author looks to in rather a sceptic mood.

     "I do not pretend to foreclose, by this paper, the Ministry of that
     applause due to them from the public, when they shall satisfy us as
     to what the motives were which made them, till but yesterday,
     straiten the Swede in everything, although then our ally as much as
     now; or strengthen, by all the ways they could, the Czar, although
     under no tie, but barely that of amity with Great Britain.... At
     the minute I write this I learn that the gentleman who brought the
     Muscovites, not yet three years ago, as a royal navy, not under our
     protection, on their first appearance in the Baltic, is again
     authorized by the persons now in power, to give the Czar a second
     meeting in these seas. For what reason or to what good end?"

The gentleman hinted at is Admiral Norris, whose Baltic campaign against
Peter I. seems, indeed, to be the original pattern upon which the recent
naval campaigns of Admirals Napier and Dundas were cut out.

The restoration to Sweden of the Baltic provinces is required by the
commercial as well as the political interest of Great Britain. Such is
the pith of our author's argument:

     "Trade is become the very life of our State; and what food is to
     life, naval stores are to a fleet. The whole trade we drive with
     all the other nations of the earth, at best, is but lucrative;
     this, of the north, is indispensably needful, and may not be
     improperly termed the _sacra embole_ of Great Britain, as being
     its chiefest foreign vent, for the support of all our trade, and
     our safety at home. As woollen manufactures and minerals are the
     staple commodities of Great Britain, so are likewise naval stores
     those of Muscovy, as also of all those very provinces in the Baltic
     which the Czar has so lately wrested from the crown of Sweden.
     Since those provinces have been in the Czar's possession, Pernan is
     entirely waste. At Revel we have not one British merchant left, and
     all the trade which was formerly at Narwa is now brought to
     Petersburg.... The Swede could never possibly engross the trade of
     our subjects, because those seaports in his hands were but so many
     thoroughfares from whence these commodities were uttered, the
     places of their produce or manufacture lying behind those ports, in
     the dominions of the Czar. But, if left to the Czar, these Baltic
     ports are no more thoroughfares, but peculiar magazines from the
     inland countries of the Czar's own dominions. Having already
     Archangel in the White Sea, to leave him but any seaport in the
     Baltic were to put no less in his hands than the _two keys of the
     general magazines of all the naval stores of Europe_; it being
     known that Danes, Swedes, Poles, and Prussians have but single and
     distinct branches of those commodities in their several dominions.
     If the Czar should thus engross 'the supply of what we cannot do
     without,' where then is our fleet? Or, indeed, where is the
     security for all our trade to any part of the earth besides?"

If, then, the interest of British commerce requires to exclude the Czar
from the Baltic, the interest of our State ought to be no less a spur to
quicken us to that attempt. By the interest of our State I would be
understood to mean neither the party measures of a Ministry, nor any
foreign motives of a Court, but precisely what is, and ever must be, the
immediate concern, either for the safety, ease, dignity, or emolument of
the Crown, as well as the common weal of Great Britain. With respect to
the Baltic, it has "from the earliest period of our naval power" always
been considered a fundamental interest of our State: first, to prevent
the rise there of any new maritime Power; and, secondly, to maintain the
balance of power between Denmark and Sweden.

     "One instance of the wisdom and foresight of our _then truly
     British statesmen_ is the peace at Stalboa, in the year 1617. James
     the First was the mediator of that treaty, by which the Muscovite
     was obliged to give up all the provinces which he then was
     possessed of in the Baltic, and to be barely an inland Power on
     this side of Europe."

The same policy of preventing a new maritime Power from starting in the
Baltic was acted upon by Sweden and Denmark.

     "Who knows not that the Emperor's attempt to get a seaport in
     Pomerania weighed no less with the great Gustavus than any other
     motive for carrying his arms even into the bowels of the house of
     Austria? What befel, at the times of Charles Gustavus, the crown of
     Poland itself, who, besides it being in those days by far the
     mightiest of any of the northern Powers, had then a long stretch of
     coast on, and some ports in, the Baltic? The Danes, though then in
     alliance with Poland, would never allow them, even for their
     assistance against the Swedes, to have a fleet in the Baltic, but
     destroyed the Polish ships wherever they could meet them."

As to the maintenance of the balance of power between the established
maritime States of the Baltic, the tradition of British policy is no
less clear. "When the Swedish power gave us some uneasiness there by
threatening to crush Denmark," the honour of our country was kept up by
retrieving the then inequality of the balance of power.

The Commonwealth of England sent in a squadron to the Baltic which
brought on the treaty of Roskild (1658), afterwards confirmed at
Copenhagen (1660). The fire of straw kindled by the Danes in the times
of King William III. was as speedily quenched by George Rock in the
treaty of Copenhagen.

Such was the hereditary British policy.

     "It never entered into the mind of the politicians of those times
     in order to bring the scale again to rights, to find out the happy
     _expedient of raising a third naval Power_ for framing a juster
     balance in the Baltic.... Who has taken this counsel against Tyre,
     the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers
     are the honourables of the earth? _Ego autem neminem nomino, quare
     irasci mihi nemo poterit, nisi qui ante de se noluerit confiteri._
     Posterity will be under some difficulty to believe that this could
     be the _work of any of the persons now in power_ ... that _we_ have
     opened; _St. Petersburg to the Czar solely at our own expense, and
     without any risk to him_...."

The safest line of policy would be to return to the treaty of Itolbowa,
and to suffer the Muscovite no longer "to nestle in the Baltic." Yet,
it may be said, that in "the present state of affairs" it would be
"difficult to retrieve the advantage we have lost by not curbing, when
it was more easy, the growth of the Muscovite power." A middle course
may be thought more convenient.

     "If we should find it consistent with the welfare of our State that
     the Muscovite have an inlet into the Baltic, as having, of all the
     princes of Europe, a country that can be made most beneficial to
     its prince, by uttering its produce to foreign markets. In this
     case, it were but reasonable to expect, on the other hand, that in
     return for our complying so far with his interest, for the
     improvement of his country, his Czarish Majesty, on his part,
     should demand nothing that may tend to the disturbance of another;
     and, therefore, contenting himself with ships of trade, should
     demand none of war."

     "We should thus preclude his hopes of being ever more than an
     inland Power," but "obviate every objection of using the Czar worse
     than any Sovereign Prince may expect. I shall not for this give an
     instance of a Republic of Genoa, or another in the Baltic itself,
     of the Duke of Courland; but will assign Poland and Prussia, who,
     though both now crowned heads, have ever contented themselves with
     the freedom of an open traffic, without insisting on a fleet. Or
     the treaty of Falczin, between the Turk and Muscovite, by which
     Peter was forced not only to restore Asoph, and to part with all
     his men-of-war in those parts, but also to content himself with the
     bare freedom of traffic in the Black Sea. Even an inlet in the
     Baltic for trade is much beyond what he could morally have promised
     himself not yet so long ago on the issue of his war with Sweden."

If the Czar refuse to agree to such "a healing temperament," we shall
have "nothing to regret but the time we lost to exert all the means that
Heaven has made us master of, to reduce him to a peace advantageous to
Great Britain." War would become inevitable. In that case

     "it ought no less to animate our Ministry to pursue their present
     measures, than fire with indignation the breast of every honest
     Briton that a Czar of Muscovy, who owes his naval skill to our
     instructions, and his grandeur to our forbearance, should so soon
     deny to Great Britain the terms which so few years ago he was fain
     to take up with from the Sublime Porte."

     "'Tis every way our interest to have the Swede restored to those
     provinces which the Muscovite has wrested from that crown in the
     Baltic. _Great Britain can no longer hold the balance in that
     sea_," since she "_has raised the Muscovite to be a maritime Power
     there_.... Had we performed the articles of our alliance made by
     King William with the crown of Sweden, that gallant nation would
     ever have been a bar strong enough against the Czar coming into the
     Baltic.... Time must confirm us, that the Muscovite's _expulsion
     from the Baltic_ is _now_ the principal end of our Ministry."

Butler & Tanner. The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London.

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