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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 Buonaparte, having withdrawn the greatest part of his troops from Spain, had planted his eagles at Vienna, and, after the battles of Aspern and Wagram, had obliged the Emperor of Austria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 event.

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 manoeuvre.

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 to write.


The Victory arrived off Ystad on the 6th June, when Sir James received the following letter from Mr. Foster:

Stockholm, 25th May 1810.


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 satisfaction.

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 it.

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. A. FOSTER.

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 weeks.

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 will admit.

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 Dars Head.

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.


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 1810.


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 excellency.

I have the honour to be, &c. A. Foster.

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 1810.


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. AUGT. FOSTER.

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 letters:

Victory, Hano Bay, 20th June 1810.


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. JAMES SAUMAREZ.

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 and esteem,

Sir, &c. &c. A. Foster.

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. JAMES SAUMAREZ.

To the Right Hon. C. Yorke.

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 Admiral.

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 Au.


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 be, &c. JAMES SAUMAREZ.

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,” &c.

Orebro, 10th August 1810.

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 August 1810.


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 says,

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 says,

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 unalterable.

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 Admiral, dated

Orebro, 29th August 1810.


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. M.P. KRUSENSTJERNA.

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, to Copenhagen.

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 property.

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.