Sir James’s third year in the
command of the Baltic Fleet. Proceeds
to Gothenburg and Havre. Correspondence
with Mr. Foster, Admiral Krusenstjerna, and others. Swedes
shut their ports. Death of the Crown
Prince. Murder of Count Fersen. Restrictions
of the Swedish commerce. Sir James’s
judicious conduct in that and in several disputes. Election
of Bernadotte, and his entry into Sweden. Correspondence
on the subject. Sir James returns
to England, and receives the approbation of the
government and the nation.
We must now revert to the state of
affairs in the central continent of Europe, on which
the fate of Sweden so materially depended. Buonaparte,
having withdrawn the greatest part of his troops from
Spain, had planted his eagles at Vienna, and, after
the battles of Aspern and Wagram, had obliged the
Emperor of Austria to sue for peace, which was concluded
on the 14th October 1809; by this the whole sea-coast
had been ceded to France, and Prussia was recompensed
for her neutrality by the cession of a part of Galicia;
while Joseph Buonaparte was declared King of Spain,
and acknowledged as such by the Emperor of Austria,
who consented to the union of his daughter, the Arch-duchess
Maria Louisa, with Buonaparte, as soon as he had divorced
his wife Josephine, an event which took place in December.
Meanwhile, the ruler of France had
proclaimed himself mediator of Switzerland, and declared
that every port in Europe should be shut against British
commerce. Early in 1810 he began to unfold his
designs upon Holland, which, he gradually occupied
and annexed to France, obliging his brother Louis
to resign his throne. He subsequently took possession
of the mouths of the Scheldt, the Meuse, the Rhine,
the Weser, and the Elbe. Rome, Holland, Valais,
and the Hanse Towns, with a population of thirty-eight
millions, were added to France; while Hanover was
given to the kingdom of Westphalia.
That the politics of Sweden should
have undergone a change in consequence of the extraordinary
success of Buonaparte, can hardly excite surprise;
but another untoward circumstance took place, which
seemed to militate against a continuation of an alliance
with Great Britain, namely, the untimely death of
the Danish prince, who had been unanimously elected
to succeed Charles XIII, and who, having acted in
Sweden as Crown Prince since the 21st of January 1810,
had endeared himself to the nation as well by his
amiable disposition and the admirable regulations
he had made, as by his conduct in Norway, while opposed
to the Swedes, particularly in forbearing to attack
them from Norway, where he commanded a Danish army
during the revolution. It had been falsely and
unfortunately circulated that he had been poisoned
by Count Fersen, then Riks-Marskall (prime minister)
of Sweden. On the arrival of the remains of the
deceased prince at Stockholm, the Count fell a victim
to the indignation of the lawless and infuriated populace.
The following is an authentic account of that lamentable
21st June 1810.
All Stockholm was in an uproar!
At noon, the corpse of the lamented Crown Prince
entered the city by Horngatan, escorted by only
a company of dragoons, and preceded by several members
of the court, and finally by Riks-Marskall Fersen,
Fabian Fersen, and Doctor Rossi. On entering
the street, the mob began to insult the Riks-Marskall,
and soon after to throw stones and other missiles.
When the windows of his carriage were broken, the
mob gave a loud hurrah. The people now followed
the carriage into Nygatan, opposite the inn called
Bergstratska Husset, into which Count Fersen
jumped, already covered with blood, but followed
by the infuriated mob, who first tore off his
order riband and threw it into the street; then, having
stripped him naked, they threw him out of the
window into the street. Here the mob proceeded
to beat him with clubs, and trample on him, until
death put an end to his sufferings. In the
mean time, General-adjutant Silversparre and Aldercreuts
rode through the street, and in vain talked to
the people; they had no troops, and the assistance
came too late, being only in time to preserve
the lifeless body being torn to pieces.
The fury of the mob being now satiated,
and the soldiers having fired a few shots among
them, they began to disperse, but not before
many were killed and wounded, and it is believed that
the remainder of the suite which attended the
lamented Prince at his death would have shared
the same fate as Count Fersen, had the military
not arrived in time to save them. The body of
Count Fersen was with difficulty carried off on
a sledge. In the night the windows of Count
Ugglas and several others were broken, and it
was not until some days that tranquillity was restored.
Buonaparte had now sent peremptory
orders to enforce his commands that the port of Sweden
should be shut against British commerce, but it was
evident that these orders could never be carried into
effect, unless they had a superiority by sea.
The principal ports might, indeed, be nominally shut,
but Sweden could neither prevent the British navy from
entering her numerous unfortified harbours by her own
army, or support troops sufficient for the purpose
of defending them. It was therefore only necessary
to make a show of compliance, in order to satisfy the
despotic ruler of France, who had absurdly declared
Great Britain to be in a state of blockade.
It was under these delicate circumstances
that Sir James resumed the command of his Majesty’s
fleet in the Baltic, and having rehoisted his flag
on board the Victory on the 11th March 1810, he proceeded
to Hawke Roads, which is the outer roadstead to Gottenburg,
and was followed by Rear-admirals Reynolds, Dixon,
and Morris. Before leaving England, Sir James
had communicated with Lord Mulgrave, then first Lord
of the Admiralty, on the relative situation of the
two countries; and as it was the wish of his Majesty’s
ministers to avoid, as long as possible, committing
any hostile act against Sweden, they confided in the
tact of Sir James to pursue the course which he judged
most advantageous to the interests of commerce, and
at the same time to uphold the honour and naval superiority
of the nation. The Swedes had already a sufficient
knowledge of the British Admiral’s high character,
and our government could not have afforded them a more
decisive assurance of their desire to remain on amicable
terms with them than by sending Sir James with extraordinary
powers to act according to circumstances. On
the one hand, they knew that in all matters of a delicate
nature they could place the utmost reliance on his
word, and that they were treating with a person quite
incapable of deception or intrigue; on the other,
they were aware that if coercion became necessary,
he would act with decision, and baffle every evasive
The following correspondence with
Mr. Foster and others, with some occasional remarks,
will convey to the reader some idea of the important
and difficult situation in which Sir James was placed.
Victory, Hawke Road,
21st May 1810.
I have the honour to acquaint your
excellency of my arrival here with part of the
squadron under my command, and of my intention
to proceed into the Baltic as soon as the wind will
permit. It will afford me the highest satisfaction
to renew a correspondence from whence I derived
such great benefit during the time I was employed
upon this station last year; and although the
unfortunate exclusion of British ships from the ports
of Sweden will render it more difficult at this time,
I hope it will not be the means of entirely depriving
me of the honour of hearing from your excellency.
As I propose calling off Ystad, on my getting
into the Baltic, I shall detach a vessel to that
place for any letters you may have done me the honour
I have, &c.
The Victory arrived off Ystad on the
6th June, when Sir James received the following letter
from Mr. Foster:
Stockholm, 25th May
I hasten to reply to the letter which
you have done me the honour to write from Gottenburg,
and to return you my best thanks for the communication
of your arrival off the Swedish coast. It
is with great pleasure that I renew a correspondence
which, as you are kind enough to say, was of benefit
to you last year, and from which I certainly
derived most important assistance, and the highest
I am afraid, however, that the opportunities
of writing to you will be few. Ystad, from
its neighbourhood to Denmark, seems to be too
much exposed to observation, for this government to
wink at the correspondence passing that way.
It has been hinted to me, however, that it might
proceed without difficulty through the small
town of Soelvitzborg on the frontiers of Blekingen
and of Scania, and I write to Mr. Fenwick by
this day’s post to recommend his making
arrangements for the purpose.
Mr. Consul Smith has transmitted to
me a copy of an article in your printed instructions,
which he says you allowed him to make known at
Gothenburg, and which, if acted upon, will strike
at the coasting trade of this country in a manner
that I scarcely think was contemplated by Government.
Indeed it appears to me, particularly when I
consider the previous notice that has regularly
been given in Sweden, where measures have been
taken against his Majesty’s interests, that it
will be liable to the imputation of unfairness,
if acted upon immediately, vast quantities of
Swedish shipping, which was sent to sea in the
confidence of security from capture, being exposed
to its operation. I was in hopes that I should
have heard from you on the subject, and I cannot
but flatter myself that his Majesty’s Government
will have forwarded to me explanations respecting
The Danes have annoyed the Swedish
trade so considerably, that I understand strong
representations will be made on the subject at
Copenhagen, and possibly some retaliation may take
place from this side of the water, if they do
not cease their proceedings.
I trust you will have
the goodness to let me know if it is your
intention to order the
capture of Swedish ships of all kinds
which shall be proceeding
from one port of Sweden to another.
I am, &c.
Sir James had made known at Gothenburg
the article in his instructions referred to in Mr.
Foster’s letter, for the express purpose of giving
the Swedes timely notice of the step Government had
found it necessary to take; and being still in hopes
that the order would be rescinded, he had not given
directions to his squadron to act upon it, although
it appeared from a communication of the same date from
Mr. Foster that his recall was required by Buonaparte,
and that his stay at Stockholm could not exceed six
The following is Sir James’s reply to Mr. Foster:
Victory, off Ystad,
7th June 1810.
I had the honour to receive both your
letters, dated 25th ult., on my arrival at this
place yesterday evening, and I request you will
accept my best thanks for them. I was much surprised,
before I sailed from Hawke Road, to find from
Mr. Consul Smith that you had not received from
Government any communication relative to the
restrictions upon the trade of Sweden, having taken
it for granted, at the time I received instructions
upon the subject, that intimation of it would
have been made to you by the same conveyance.
I trust that you have before this received explanations
respecting it, and that they will prove as satisfactory
to the government of Sweden as the circumstances
I have hitherto acted on that part
of my instructions with the utmost moderation;
but, in conformity to these instructions, it will
not be in my power to desist in future from allowing
the cruisers to make captures of such Swedish
vessels as they fall in with, who are not provided
with licences from England. The depredations
by the Danish armed vessels have determined me to
give orders to his Majesty’s ships stationed
off Kioge Bay not to admit any vessels to enter
the Sound, which I have signified to our Government.
The place you have been pleased to
point out for the correspondence in future is
perfectly well adapted, more particularly from
its vicinity to Hano Bay, the rendezvous which
I have appointed for the trade, and where I propose
to proceed on receiving despatches which I daily
expect from Gothenburg: I shall therefore
hope to have the honour of hearing from you next
by way of Soelvitzborg.
The information I have received from
Mr. Fenwick of the lamented death of the Crown
Prince must have thrown this Government under
very considerable embarrassment, and possibly may
lead to some change in the politics of the country.
I request you will favour me with any
information you receive relative to the Russian
fleet, as it will in a great degree decide the
time when I may proceed towards the Gulf of Finland.
It is with great satisfaction I have the honour
to inform you that the numerous convoys that
have sailed from Gothenburg have all cleared
the Belt without loss, and the two homeward bound
convoys are, I hope, by this time far on their
way. The one under protection of the Edgar
and Saturn was off Romsoe last Sunday, and the
one which sailed more recently was yesterday off
I hope the time is yet very distant,
but I trust you will be pleased to signify to
me the proposed period of your leaving Sweden.
I will give directions for one of the ships under my
orders to convey you and suite to Yarmouth, or
any other port you prefer.
I have, &c.
The Author, then lieutenant of the
Victory, was despatched to Soelvitzborg, where he
made arrangements with the authorities for the correspondence
between the Admiral and Mr. Foster, and also for a
supply of fresh beef and vegetables for the fleet,
which occupied the Roads of Hano, where the convoys
assembled, the merchants having built store-houses
on the island of Hano, previously inhabited by a few
fishermen. The convoys at anchor there consisted
of ships under various neutral flags, which had licences
from Government. These entered St. Petersburg
and every port in the Baltic with British manufactures
or colonial produce, returning with timber, hemp, tallow,
&c. the produce of Russia and Prussia. As soon
as they had accumulated to about 500, and the wind
came fair, they sailed from Hano under convoy to the
Belt, where a strong force was always kept to protect
them from the attacks of the Danish gun-boats.
The tyrannical decrees of Buonaparte were thus rendered
null and void on this part of the Continent.
The following letter from Mr. Foster
to Sir James exhibits in strong terms the alarm excited
in Sweden by the communication of the Admiral, while
it points but the excellent policy of his not acting
under the circumstances upon his instructions.
Stockholm, 31st May
The situation in which this country
has been placed by the publication of your orders
to capture Swedish ships employed in the coasting
trade, has created such an alarm that even private
individuals are afraid to take their passage in
the packet boats, between Sweden and Stralsund,
without they have letters from me. Among
the rest a M. de Bon, a merchant of my acquaintance,
who is shortly to proceed to Germany in order to be
married to a young lady, the sister of a friend of
mine, has urged me to ask if your excellency
means to include the Stralsund packet-boat in
your general orders for capture, or if he can
safely hire a vessel to take him there. Any information
you can give me on the matter will be very agreeable
to me. Swedish subjects are of course free
from being made prisoners, as we are not declared
at war with Sweden; but my assertion of the fact
is not considered here of sufficient satisfaction
without a particular letter to the commanders
of his Majesty’s ships.
I beg you will let me
know if you can allow a young Swedish
officer to serve on
board any of the ships under your command,
as application has been
made to me on the subject.
Admiral Puke is directing all his attention
to the defence of Carlscrona; sailors and soldiers
have been sent there from hence, the latter belonging
to the Queen’s German regiment, in some
transports, which it is feared may be captured by some
of your cruisers. I had the honour to write
to you twice by the medium of this Government.
Mr. Jacobi will deliver
to you a letter which Mr. Millander, a
merchant of this place,
has requested I would forward to your
I have the honour to
The letter conveyed by Mr. Jacobi
respected his making a settlement in Gothland, which
might be of use to the Admiral. This, however,
became unnecessary, in consequence of the occupation
of Hano, where supplies were plentifully obtained.
Hano was also more convenient for convoys, and for
communicating with England, &c.
Several letters passed between the
Admiral and Mr. Foster on the same subject; at length
Rear-admiral Krusenstjerna was deputed to communicate
verbally what could not be committed to paper.
This officer pointed out the harbour of Matwick, only
a few leagues to the northward of Hano, as the situation
most suitable for the collection of convoys under
the circumstances. This, being surveyed, was found
to be safe and capacious. It was formed by a
number of small islands, while it was impossible for
any power, unless with a superior naval force, to
molest the ships in the harbour.
On the 6th of June directions to rescind
the orders to capture Swedish ships were given.
These reached Sir James in a week, after which things
went on smoothly and agreeably, no captures of any
consequence having been made during the time the order
was in force. Buonaparte, finding that his views
of restricting British commerce were frustrated, insisted
that the British minister should quit Stockholm; and
Mr. Foster, having only forty hours’ notice,
arrived at Gothenburg on the 14th June. Here
he wrote the following letters to Sir James, which
will show the state of affairs, and the propriety of
the steps the Admiral had hitherto taken.
Gothenburg, 14th June
I should have written from Stockholm
to inform you of my being obliged to quit that
capital; but the Swedish minister’s letters
to me, conveying the wish of the Government that I
should depart, gave me but forty hours to prepare
myself, and I had scarcely time for any other
occupation than that of getting ready during
so short a period. I left Stockholm on the morning
of the 8th inst. and arrived at Gothenburg this
evening. I am anxiously waiting to receive
orders from home, in order to take my departure.
The Swedish Government has now notified
in London its intention to shut the ports of
Sweden to his Majesty’s packet-boats; therefore,
I expect from day to day that an order will arrive
for their exclusion. Captain Honeyman of
his Majesty’s ship Ardent has been kind
enough to offer me a passage on board the Chanticleer,
if she can be detained a few days, and I shall very
willingly and thankfully accept of the offer.
Baron d’Engestroem considered
my departure, and the cessation of the correspondence
between England and Sweden, as a necessary consequence
of the treaties of peace lately concluded by
this country, and therefore as not likely to produce
any change in the present relations with Great
Britain; indeed they have both long been announced
as being to take place. The communication,
therefore, will still be winked at, as I have reason
to believe, by the Swedish Government, but it must
be done privately.
I have, &c. &c.
The next letter was dated Gothenburg,
16th June; and after reiterating the above and acknowledging
a despatch from Sir James, he adds,
I am sincerely rejoiced at the modifications
which have been made of your original instructions
how to act towards the Swedes, and I have great
satisfaction in telling you that, even previously
to my leaving Stockholm, your conversation with Mr.
Brinkman had been reported to the Swedish minister,
and the language you had held, and your moderate
conduct subsequently, in regard to their trade,
had made upon his mind the most favourable impressions.
Both he and the rest of the cabinet of Stockholm
seemed convinced that you had executed your orders
with as much mildness and consideration for this
country as could possibly be expected.
The following is Sir James’s reply to these
Victory, Hano Bay, 20th
I have received the honour of your
letters dated the 14th and 16th inst., informing
me of your sudden departure from Stockholm, of
which I had been previously apprised by Admiral Krusenstjerna.
However deeply I must regret being deprived at this
crisis of your important communications, I hope your
arrival in England will be the means of furnishing
Government with information relative to the state
of Sweden, of which they could not otherwise
have been in possession.
The instructions I have received, containing
the modifications upon the coasting trade of
this country, have given me infinite satisfaction;
and I am happy to find, from what you have been pleased
to mention on the subject, that the moderation with
which I have acted has been highly approved of
by the Swedish Government.
Having written my last courier to Captain
Honeyman, senior officer in Hawke Road, directing
him to appropriate one of the ships upon the
station to convey you and your suite to Yarmouth,
or any other port you desired, I trust he will be
able to accommodate you to your satisfaction.
With my best wishes
for your speedy and safe passage.
I have, &c. &c.
To his Excellency Augt.
Foster, &c. &c. &c.
The following farewell letter, written
by Mr. Foster to Sir James on leaving Sweden, gives
a more decided opinion on the state of Sweden than
has hitherto been offered. It concludes the correspondence.
The politics of Sweden have necessarily
undergone a great change. The death of the
Crown Prince has completed the disasters of the
nation, and such is its present state of weakness
and discouragement, that I cannot consider the Swedes
as having any longer a shadow of independence.
Their exposed local situation, will prevent their
taking any offensive measures of hostility against
us; the futility of any effort of the sort prevents
its being exacted from them by Buonaparte; but
I have recommended strongly to the merchants here,
who have British property, to place it under
neutral cover, and by no means to expose themselves
in any way through a want of proper precaution.
I have had the satisfaction to find they have attended
to my advice.
Give me leave, sir, to repeat my best
thanks for the communications you continued to
honour me with during my residence in Sweden,
and to assure you that I am, with great regard
Sir, &c. &c.
To his Excellency Admiral
Sir James Saumarez.
Some false reports having been circulated
that the cruisers under the orders of Sir James had
captured several Swedish ships bound to England and
other ports, from which the English flag was not excluded,
the Right Hon. Charles Yorke, then first Lord of the
Admiralty, wrote a private letter to Sir James accompanying
the modification of the order already alluded to,
and directing that any captures made under its operation
might be restored. To which communication Sir
James made the following reply:
Victory, 20th June 1810.
I have this morning received the honour
of your letter on the subject of the trade of
Sweden, in which you are pleased to observe that
the Marquess of Wellesley had communicated to you
that he had received information that some of
the ships under my orders have detained and captured
some ships from a Swedish port destined to the
port of London, to which I beg leave to state
that the information must have been incorrect, the
detention or capture of any vessel of that description
being contrary to the orders I have given to
the cruisers on this station, and no report having
been made to me of any having been detained.
I beg further to observe, that to every application
made to me by any of the merchants, I gave my decided
opinion that Swedish ships trading to England, or to
those countries where Swedish produce was admitted,
were not liable to detention, and that they would
not be molested by the cruisers under my orders.
Knowing the extreme distress that Sweden must
suffer from the interruption of her coasting trade,
I acted upon the instructions I received with
the utmost possible moderation, consistent with
the tenor of those instructions. They were
not acted upon until I had an opportunity of
communicating with the Consul at Gothenburg, and some
of the principal merchants, who appeared perfectly
satisfied with the indulgence I allowed to the
trade of Sweden under the existing circumstances,
and the same has been signified to me by the
Swedish Government, who have expressed themselves
satisfied with the mildness and consideration with
which I have uniformly acted to this country.
I shall therefore feel most sensibly, if any
unfavourable cases have been made by misstatements
upon any part of my conduct since I came upon this
station. There being no immediate appearance of
the Russian fleet putting to sea, I propose to
remain here some time longer, for the greater
facility of communicating with England, as well
as for accelerating the trade from this rendezvous.
I have the honour to
be, with great regard, &c.
To the Right Hon. C.
Everything being now adjusted to the
satisfaction of both Governments, the trade was carried
on by means of licences to the ports in Russia and
Prussia, while the Swedish coasters and packets met
with no interruption. The Swedes began to look
for a successor to the throne to fill the place of
the late lamented Crown Prince. The candidates
were the King of Denmark, the Prince of Oldenburg,
and the French General Bernadotte, the Prince of Ponte
Corvo. The last was proposed by Count Moerner,
to whom he had shown much kindness when a prisoner.
In order to secure his election he sent over a large
sum of money by means of the Swedish Stralsund packets,
which performed their voyage unmolested; and the first
intimation of this event was obtained by the author
about the 15th of August, when he met the waggons loaded
with specie on their route from Ystad to Stockholm.
Soon after which he was informed that Admiral Krusenstjerna
was to arrive at Carlsham on the 20th, and he accordingly
met him with Sir James’s assurance, that he
would be received on board the Victory and permitted
to depart after having made his communication to the
This will be best explained by Sir
James’s public despatches to the first Lord
of the Admiralty, of which the following is a copy.
Victory, Hano Bay, 21st
Admiral Krusenstjerna has done me the
honour this morning to come on board the Victory,
with a verbal communication which he has been
charged to make to me from the King of Sweden relative
to the election of an heir apparent to the throne.
After expressing to me the regard and confidence
of his Swedish Majesty for my services to Sweden,
Admiral Krusenstjerna signified to me that he
was desired by his Swedish Majesty to communicate
to me his Swedish Majesty’s intentions to maintain
the harmony and good understanding that subsist
between the respective nations, in which the
interest of Sweden is so particularly concerned.
In order to the maintenance of that harmony,
as well as for the existence of Sweden, it was indispensable
that the Government should be headed by a person who
was independent, and not liable to submit to the will
of others. He was directed to inform me
that of the four persons who have been proposed
to be successor to the throne of Sweden, the
Prince of Augustenburg had declined the acceptance
of that distinction, in favour of his Majesty
the King of Denmark, but who, from political
circumstances, was not considered eligible.
The Prince of Oldenburg had also been mentioned, but
insuperable objections also arose to prevent the
choice fixing upon his Serene Highness.
The Prince of Ponte Corvo, through the medium
of the Swedish minister at Paris, had offered himself
a candidate for the high situation, and was the person
recommended by the King of Sweden to the Diet
now assembled at Orebro, to be successor to the
late Crown Prince.
Admiral Krusenstjerna was also instructed
to signify to me that the Prince of Ponte Corvo,
in offering himself for this distinction, had
professed his firm intentions, as far as depended
on him, to maintain the relative situations between
England and Sweden, and that his proposing himself
was without the participation of Buonaparte.
He further mentioned that he was of all others
the person who would have the firmness to oppose
the intentions of Buonaparte, or his agents and ministers,
in the intercourse with other countries.
The Admiral was further directed to
signify to me that the King of Sweden earnestly
hoped that this communication would be acceptable
to the King, my august sovereign, and that it would
be considered as an additional proof of his earnest
wish to preserve the harmony and friendship that
have so long subsisted between the two nations.
I requested that Admiral Krusenstjerna
would put down in writing the substance of the
communication he had to make to me, which he
declined, being contrary to the instructions he had
received. I have, however, stated the particulars
of the whole communication, as nearly as I possibly
can from memory.
I have the honour to
To the Right Hon. C.
Yorke, &c. &c. &c.
The Swedish Government, aware that
objections would probably be made by the English ministers
to the election of a French general in the service
of Buonaparte, as successor to the throne of Sweden,
had so managed that the above communication should
not be made until too late for any remonstrance.
The following message from the King to the Diet had
been delivered, and their decision was expected before
Admiral Krusenstjerna could return to Orebro.
“His Royal Majesty Charles XIII,
King of Sweden, &c. Our most gracious proposition
and message to the Diet now assembled respecting the
election of a successor to the Crown of Sweden,”
Orebro, 10th August
At this crisis the States of Sweden
having met, and since the last Diet more than
three months having elapsed, every good Swede
must have reflected on his situation. After great
misfortunes and innumerable troubles, the kingdom
appeared to be a little calm. Three treaties
of peace which have taken place have unfortunately
diminished the territory of Sweden. A noble
Prince at the side of the throne, by his virtue, talents,
and abilities, promised new regulations and orders,
which the King and the people had already forwarded.
His manner of appointing the army gives an excellent
proof of the good choice made by our native country;
but a great national misfortune occurred, by
which our hopes were destroyed.
His Royal Majesty dwelt on that hope,
and overwhelmed with grief, his sorrowful heart
beheld Sweden’s last misfortune. The Crown
Prince, Carl August, is no more, and a cloud has overcast
the joyful and bright days of our native country.
With a heart rent by sorrow and affliction, his
Royal Majesty has assembled the Diet, on this
occasion to repair the loss. His Royal Majesty
sees on our side endless disputes and disturbances
throughout the realm. His Royal Majesty’s
years are far advanced, and he wishes to employ
his last days for his people’s repose.
He will be happy when he has seen his people unanimous,
and their swords sheathed, and the laws and constitution
kept sacred; then he will end his days happily, and
at the present time will give them a proof of his love
for his native country by proposing a successor
to the throne, whose talents, virtues, and abilities
are universally admitted.
With the utmost tenderness for the
welfare of his subjects, he now recommends a
prompt decision on the choice of an heir to the
Crown, and offers to the voice of his people, as his
choice, the Prince of Ponte Corvo, whose name
is brightened by his glorious deeds and laurels
of honour, and whose unparalleled services deservedly
obtained them. His renowned knowledge as
a statesman has astonished every body; his mildness
and compassion, even to an enemy, have gained him the
respect and affection of all ranks. Separated
from the misfortunes which have hitherto attended
Swedish warriors, we must judge of the Prince
with the most tender sensations, and with them
he will use the sword. Indeed, all the circumstances
have convinced his Royal Majesty, and having maturely
considered the nation’s public and secret
affairs, his Royal Majesty recommends him to
be elected as his heir.
According to this recommendation the
Prince of Ponte Corvo was elected on the 21st of August,
the very day on which the communication was made by
Admiral Krusenstjerna, but, as it was reported, not
without opposition by the friends of the son of the
deposed King, Gustavus the IVth, Adolphus, and it
was even said that had the numbers on each side been
counted the majority would have been in his favour.
After Sir James had sent off the despatch
of the 21st, he had another conference with the Swedish
Admiral, who then returned with Sir James’s
assurance that the conference should be faithfully
reported. On the 22nd he sent off another courier
with a despatch, of which the following is an extract:
Victory, Hano Bay, 22nd
Having heard the various motives assigned
by Admiral Krusenstjerna for the election of
the Prince of Ponte Corvo to be the successor
to the Crown of Sweden, I observed to him that I
extremely regretted that this communication had not
been made in time to enable me to obtain the
sentiments of my Government, previous to the
election taking place. That it was probable the
election of a general officer in the service of
the most inveterate enemy that England had to
oppose would be highly obnoxious to his Majesty’s
Government, and I earnestly urged him to entreat
the King of Sweden to delay the election until I could
receive a return to the letters I would immediately
send to England by an express. I repeatedly
pressed this point to Admiral Krusenstjerna,
who intimated that the election would be decided
before he could return to Orebro, as it was understood
to take place during the present week.
On his observing that Prince Ponte
Corvo was the only one of the four candidates
that could be accepted by Sweden, and requesting
me who, in my opinion, ought to be elected, I immediately
replied that I considered the son of the deposed monarch,
Gustavus Adolphus, was the person who naturally presented
himself as the most proper successor to the throne
of Sweden, and that the age and state of health
of the reigning monarch led to the expectation
that he would live until the Prince became of
age. He stated that the King at this time required
the aid and assistance of a military character, possessed
of strength of mind and energy to govern the country,
and who also would have the spirit to maintain
her in her foreign relations, and in resisting
the power of Russia and France, which he said
Bernadotte had faithfully promised to do.
Admiral Krusenstjerna expressed repeatedly
his confidence in my reporting the communication
in the most favourable terms to his Majesty’s
ministers, adding, that on this would greatly depend
the light in which it would be considered.
I uniformly replied, that was not in my power,
but that his Swedish Majesty might be assured
of my transmitting a faithful report of what he had
done me the honour to communicate.
In a Postscript to this letter, which
was addressed to the Right Hon. Charles Yorke, he
Lieutenant Ross of the Victory, who
went on shore with the Swedish Admiral, was requested
to inform me, that he had omitted to mention,
that the Prince of Ponte Corvo had promised to
invest all the property he possessed, said to amount
to eight millions sterling, in Sweden, as a pledge
of his intentions to maintain the country in
her foreign relations.
The next packet from England brought
the accounts of Sir James’s promotion to the
rank of Vice-admiral of the Red, and also the confirmation
of several appointments made by the Admiral on the
station. We may now mention the answer given
by Mr. Yorke to the two last despatches, although
dated on the 18th of September. After acknowledging
the receipt of them, communicating the election of
Bernadotte as successor to the Crown of Sweden, he
These interesting papers, which confirmed
accounts that had been previously received of
this extraordinary transaction, have been communicated
to the King’s ministers. I have at present
only to express to you my sense of the prudent and
proper manner in which you appear to have conducted
yourself on this occasion in your conversation
with the Swedish Admiral, and to acquaint you
that the earnest desire entertained by his Majesty’s
Government of preserving the relations of peace and
amity with Sweden, as long as possible, remains
About this time two untoward events
took place, which threatened a commencement of hostilities
between the two nations. The one was the attack
of the Hero’s boats on a Danish privateer lying
in the Swedish harbour of Marstrand, in which a midshipman
was killed, and others wounded; and the second was
the conduct of Captain Acklom, of the Ranger, in spiking
the guns of the Swedish armed schooner Celeritas.
On these, however, concessions were made on both sides;
Captain Newman, of the Hero, was wrong in attacking
an enemy’s vessel under the guns of a Swedish
fortress without apprising the Governor of his intention,
while the Governor was no less so in giving protection
to an enemy’s vessel which came there with the
avowed intention of attacking the Hero’s convoy.
Capt. Acklom, though not justified in his proceeding,
did it under the impression that she was affording
protection to an illicit trade, and to French vessels
fitting in neutral ports; while on the other hand
it was notorious that such trade was carried on.
To return to the correspondence.
The following letter was received from the Swedish
Orebro, 29th August
I have the honour to inform your excellency
of my arrival at this town on the 24th, and that
on the following day I was introduced to his
Majesty, who graciously permitted me to relate
the contents of the conference with your excellency,
which I had the honour to hold on the 21st.
His Majesty, of whose particular regard I have
been intrusted verbally to assure your excellency,
expressed to me even on this occasion his most
sincere wishes and his firm resolution to maintain,
as much as will depend on him, the moderate system
and good harmony which still subsist between
our respective nations.
The election of a successor to the
Swedish throne was executed on the 21st, three
days before my return. I do myself the honour
to enclose for your excellency’s information
a true copy of the act of election. The
obligation therein prescribed the successor to
turn over to the religion of this country, and to
resign all his foreign titles and employments,
will, I hope, serve as a proof to convince your
excellency that no French interest can have directed
or imposed upon the free choice of the representatives
of the nation. The Prince of Ponte Corvo is really;
in my private opinion, the only man who, at the head
of the Swedish Government, will be capable to
oppose the despotic influence of Buonaparte and
his agents, to maintain the independence, and
promote the true interest of the Swedish nation.
I have, &c. &c. &c.
The rest of the correspondence related
to the adjustment of the differences before mentioned.
Sir James was satisfied with the declaration on the
part of the Swedish Government that no protection
should be afforded to Danish and French armed vessels,
while on the other hand the Swedes were satisfied
with Sir James’s disapproval of the conduct
of Captains Newman and Acklom, requesting that no further
notice might be taken of these officers. In like
manner were adjusted the differences occasioned by
the legal capture of a vessel loaded with drugs and
medicines, and another with oil and tallow from St.
Petersburg; the former had been sent to England, but
was released, the latter was given up on security
being pledged for her cargo, which was eventually
repurchased by the owners: on all these occasions
the author was employed confidentially.
Sir James now rendered a great service
by prevailing on Government to allow the trade of
Sweden and Swedish Pomerania to remain unmolested,
on condition that French armed vessels should not be
fitted out at Stralsund and other ports on that coast;
he also granted licences for ships to import medicines
and grain into Sweden, without which the country must
have been reduced to great misery.
The Russian fleet, which consisted
of about eight sail of the line, made no disposition
of moving from Cronstadt; it was therefore unnecessary
for the fleet to proceed to the Gulf of Finland, and
Sir James directed the whole of his attention to the
protection of the commerce, in which he completely
succeeded by the judicious arrangements and the disposition
of the naval force under his command.
Towards the close of the season, and
in compliance with the wishes of the Admiralty, he
despatched three sail of the line to England, and
left Hano Bay in the Victory on the 10th of October,
only two days previously to the return of Admiral
Krusenstjerna, a circumstance much regretted by both.
On arriving in the Belt, with a convoy
of no less than a thousand sail homeward bound, it
was intimated that the French Prince of Ponte Corvo,
the newly elected successor to the throne, was at Nyborg,
and permission to cross the Belt was demanded and
obtained from the Admiral for his yacht to pass unmolested,
which he did on the 14th of October at the time this
immense fleet was at anchor off Sproe. A scene
so novel to a French general, and so interesting to
his Royal Highness under the present circumstances,
could not but make a deep impression, while it conveyed
some idea of the wealth and power of the British nation;
and he has subsequently told the author that it was
the most beautiful and wonderful sight he had ever
beheld, being one of which he had never formed an
idea. The day was very fine; the fleet was anchored
in a close compact body, with the Victory in the centre,
bearing the Admiral’s red flag at the fore, surrounded
by six ships of the line, and six frigates and sloops
disposed for the complete protection of the convoy.
The yacht, with a Swedish flag containing
the Crown Prince, passing within a mile of the Victory,
was distinctly seen, and escorted by some barges from
the men-of-war until past the whole of the ships; the
convoy soon after weighed anchor, when the Royal stranger
had the pleasure of seeing them all under sail and
proceeding to their destination, regardless of the
enemies who occupied the adjacent shores.
The Victory arrived at Gothenburg
on the 18th October, and thence despatched the large
convoy to England. On Sir James’s arrival
he received despatches informing him of the probability
of the Franco-Dutch fleet at the Scheldt attempting,
if they escaped the north sea fleet under Admiral
Pellew, to force their way into the Sound; at the
same time it was not yet certain that the Russian ships
at Archangel would not try to effect a passage into
the Baltic. Sir James therefore found it necessary
to concentrate his force in Hawke Roads, and felt
confident that he could still protect the trade, if
not prevent the superior fleet from entering the Sound,
An event now took place which occasioned
considerable embarrassment, namely the escape of the
deposed King of Sweden, Gustavus IV, (Adolphus) who
got on board the Tartarus, from Riga, and, after calling
at Matvick, came through the Belt and arrived at Gothenburg
before Sir James could have an answer from Government
as to his permission to go to England, which was his
avowed intention. Sir James, after paying his
respects to him, complied with his urgent request
to be sent in the Tartarus to England, and Sir James,
without waiting longer, ordered Captain Mainwaring
to take his Majesty to Yarmouth. The Swedes were
much pleased at this, as they dreaded the consequences
of his remaining long on board an English ship of war
at Gothenburg. His arrival and residence in England
need not be further referred to: the anxiety
of the Swedes on his account was soon relieved by
the intelligence that it was not the intention of
Government to interfere in his behalf, or with the
internal Government of Sweden.
The new Crown Prince arrived safely
at Stockholm, and contrary to the expectation of every
officer on board the fleet, excepting Sir James, gave
manifest proofs of his independence of French influence,
and of his intentions to cultivate the friendship
of Great Britain, although he could not be pleased
that the Swedish Government Stock, into which he had
placed so large a sum when at a high rate, fell again
to par, as it was before. It would appear, however,
that Buonaparte, who had given his sanction to the
advancement of Bernadotte with great reluctance, was
displeased at the beginning with his conduct, and he
consequently gave an order for the confiscation of
all British property in the Swedish harbours.
Notwithstanding the earliest information of this decree
was given by the Swedes, a considerable number of
shipping and merchandise came under it, and Sir James
having withdrawn his force from within the Baltic,
owing to the lateness of the season, it was no longer
in his power to rescue it in that quarter; but he
had still a sufficient force in Hawke Roads, and might,
had he been compelled to retaliate, have totally destroyed
the city of Gothenburg.
On this occasion the author was sent
to communicate with Count Rosen, the worthy governor
of that city, whose word and honour could be fully
depended on, and he received his solemn assurances
that it was not the intention of the Swedish Government
to act upon the declaration which it had been forced
to make, contrary to the wishes of the Swedish nation,
and particularly offensive to the Crown Prince.
He had represented to Government the incalculable
injury which the British Admiral, with the force still
at Hawke Roads, might do to the city and the commerce,
and recommended that every facility should be given
to the English merchants to cover and remove their
The following are the declarations
and explanation of them given by Count Rosen.
1st. The Swedish
Government declares war, it is true, against
Great Britain; but it
is not said that any measures of active
hostility are to be
had recourse to.
2nd. Should it be found that there
are any British merchant ships in Swedish ports
they are to be detained (no mention is made
of confiscation or even sequestration). It will
be recollected that the declaration of the 24th
April prohibited the entry of British vessels,
and we believe there are none in Swedish ports.
3rd. It is declared that there
is a sufficient quantity of colonial produce
now in Sweden for the internal consumption of the
country; no more shall be allowed to be imported, nor
shall any be exported from Sweden to the Continent;
but nothing is said of the trade with the islands
or with America, nor is it stated that a fresh
supply shall not be imported when the stock at
present on hand is consumed, and we apprehend that
it will be difficult to fix the precise quantity
necessary for the home consumption, without leaving
any surplus for exportation. It is understood
that the communication with England will be continued,
but it is necessary it should be done with caution,
and the Government recommends it should be weekly,
and that the mails and passengers should be landed
at a place to be pointed out.
Count Rosen assured the Admiral, both
through the author, Consul Smith, and others, that
he was instructed by the Swedish Government to inform
Sir James Saumarez that it was not their intention
to follow up the declaration by any act of hostility.
Having received these assurances,
Sir James, notwithstanding that the officers with
whom he was surrounded were of a different opinion,
conceived he could rely on the sincerity of the Swedes,
and determined that, at all events, he would not commit
the first hostile act. With his usual moderation
he therefore remained quiet at anchor until he had
given time to the merchants to do all that could be
done, and then prepared to leave Sweden without firing
a shot against her.
In the mean time Sir James received
the approbation of Government for his judicious, firm,
and moderate conduct, which was fully acknowledged
on all sides to have been hitherto the means of preserving
peace and good will between Sweden and England.
Mr. Yorke says in his last letter,
I embrace this opportunity of expressing
the high approbation of the Board, as well of
the steps you have taken for receiving and sending
to England the King of Sweden (Count Gottorp) as of
those for collecting such a force in Hawke Roads
for the purpose of checking the enemy.
Admiral Krusenstjerna concludes his
farewell letter to Sir James in the following words:
I am perfectly persuaded that my Royal
sovereign will enjoy the greatest satisfaction
in accepting the assurances your excellency has
been pleased to communicate, of his Britannic Majesty’s
intentions to preserve the harmony and good understanding
that exist between both nations, intentions which,
for the benefit and prosperity of both countries, it
has been an object of his Swedish Majesty’s
earnest wishes and most studious endeavours to
inspire in the British Government. The zealous
support which your excellency has been pleased to give
for promoting this great interest, entitles your
excellency to the GRATITUDE of the Swedish nation
and the most distinguished regard from its sovereign.
It is with sentiments of the most perfect esteem
and consideration that I have the honour to be, &c.
Sir James had now received accounts
from England that the enemy’s fleet in Holland
had moved up the Scheldt for the winter, and that
the Russians had abandoned their project of bringing
their ships from Archangel. Peace had been made
between Russia and the Porte, and their troops were
withdrawing towards Poland. The Victory sailed
from Gothenburg on the 28th of November, and on the
3rd December arrived safely in the Downs, whence Sir
James proceeded to London to receive the thanks of
his Majesty’s ministers and the nation for his
zealous, able, judicious, and temperate conduct, and
for the important services he had rendered to his
country during this eventful period.