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Mr. W. Hamilton to Sir Henry Bunbury, K.B. Foreign Office, November 15, 1815. Sir—I transmit to you, by the direction of the Secretary of State, the enclosed note from Mr. Colquhoun, the diplomatic agent for the Hanseatic Republics, giving a circumstantial account of the manner in which the Senate of Bremen had been forced by the Danish Government to quarter and support in that city a certain number of troops, commanded by the Prince of Hesse, but forming a part of the army under the Duke of Wellington, and also representing the little prospect there is of getting these expenses refunded; and I am to desire that you will lay this paper before Lord Bathurst, submitting to his lordship whether, in his opinion, the nature of this transaction is such as to justify the interference of this Government, by retaining from the subsidies that may be due to Denmark a sum of money equal to the claims of the city of Bremen. I am, &c., W. HAMILTON. PS. It is requested that the enclosure may be returned when done with. [Enclosure.] Note. James Street, Westminster, November 14, 1815. The Undersigned Diplomatic Agent for the Hanseatic Republics begs leave to state to his Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Foreign Department, on behalf and by virtue of instructions received from the Burgomasters and Senate of Bremen, that, on the 22nd day of July last, the Danish Minister Rosenkrantz addressed a letter from the Royal Department of Foreign Affairs at Copenhagen to the Senate of Bremen, stating— “That, by order of the King, his most gracious Sovereign, he had the honour to inform the Senate that, his Majesty having agreed with his Britannic Hanoverian Majesty's Government that a division of royal troops, consisting in all of 15,000 men, with about 5,000 cavalry, and a park of artillery, consisting of forty cannon, shall join his Britannic Majesty's Hanoverian army standing in the field, and that the said division, on its march to France, not being able to avoid the territory of Bremen, requested that the Senate would take measures that the troops, in their passage, should meet with accommodation and quarters, on the same footing and on the same terins as are granted to other friendly armies, promising, in the name of the Royal Danish Government, that the receipts delivered by the chief of the said royal army, his Highness the Prince of Hesse, should be settled by payment after the mode practised with respect to other friendly troops upon a march."
On receiving this letter, the Senate of Bremen despatched a letter by express to Prince Frederick of Hesse, Commander of the Danish forces, dated the 29th of July, stating that, since the receipt of the letter of the 22nd from the Danish [Government], Captain Ramling had notified to the quartering Committee of the City certain measures indicating an intention of assembling the whole of the Danish forces at Bremen, and to halt in the town till the arrival of orders expected from the Duke of Wellington.
The Senate protested against this measure, and stated to his Highness “the impossibility of giving shelter even for the shortest time to 15,000 infantry, and 5,000 cavalry, at the same time peremptorily refusing to accede to the proposition, and appealing to the Prince of Hesse for relief, inasmuch as the request of the Danish Captain Ramling could not be considered official, inasmuch as it was not in unison with the letter from the Danish Minister of State, which extended only to a passage through the eity. The Senate reminded the Prince of the long stay in Bremen of the troops in 1814, and of the extreme burden of maintaining them, for which the promised remuneration had not been made by the Danish Government."
The Senate, greatly alarmed in consequence of the new and unexpected burdens to which the Danish Government proposed a second time to subject them-a burden which, in consequence of the great losses their citizens had sustained by the enemy, they were totally unable to bear-addressed a letter, dated also on the 29th of July, to his Majesty the King of Denmark, repeating, in the strongest terms, the impossibility of supporting the troops, if they should halt in the city, and protesting a second time against the measure of billetting the soldiers for an indefinite time, and furnishing rations, as proposed by Captain Ramling, craving in the most emphatic terms the interposition of his Majesty that so severe a burden may be averted.
On the 11th of August, the Senate presented a memorial to the Prince of Hesse, in which, after alluding to a verbal promise made by his Highness, that the expense of the troops then quartered in the town and neighbourhood should be refunded at the same rate which was allowed in the Hanoverian territories; after showing that the two cases did not apply, and that, in consequence of the halting of the troops for so long a time, the actual erpenses incurred should be repaid, it was proposed, in order to show every disposition on the part of the Senate to act liberally, that his Highness the Prince of Hesse should declare in writing, that he will grant twelve schillings for the ration, and eight schillings, Hanoverian money, for the portion, and offer fair terms of payment; stating, at the same time, “ that upon the answer received would depend the further supply of rations to the troops."
A note dated the 19th of August, to the Prince of Hesse, contained the reiterated protest of the Senate against the stay of the Danish troops, and a claim of reimbursement for the expenses to the full amount. The Senate received from the Danish Minister Rosenkrantz an answer to the letter which had been addressed to the King, in which he states that it is his Majesty's constant will that eserything to be furnished to
his troops shall be paid in cash, and that, after the determination of the amount, the whole will be settled ; desiring, in the mean time, that the troops may be furnished with everything his Highness the Prince of Hesse may deem necessary, and that, besides full indemnification, his Royal Majesty will acknowledge the obligation." It further states " I am also authorized to state that the expenses incurred last year, by the stay of his Majesty's troops at Bremen, shall be refunded as soon as the amount of the same shall be fixed."
On the 21st of August, the Senate of Bremen addressed a letter to the Danish Minister, Count Rosenkrantz, accompanied by a statement of the expenses incurred by the troops, adding that the standard proposed is below the actual expenses, offering various reasons why, after all, the city will be losers. But, in order to remove every difficulty, sacrifices have been made, in order to facilitate the payment, in consequence of the urgent necessity of having the money which has been expended restored as soon as possible--beseeching his Excellency to accelerate as much as possible the payment of the money, and the total removal of the troops.
The statement transmitted evinces the very generous proposals of the Senate. It was only on the 22nd of September that the last division of the troops left the town and territory of Bremen, and even on the 21st of October, a part of the hospital remained ; and, in spite of the most urgent solicitations on the part of the Senate, the Danish Government has made no provision, either for the payment of the expenses incurred in respect to the troops in 1814, or the present year; and there is no prospect of any speedy reimbursement, unless such payment shall be retained from the subsidies granted by Great Britain to Denmark.
It appears from the public documents transmitted to the l'ndersigned by the Republic of Bremen, that the Senate was not only required to pay for the rations furnished to the troops, the sick in the hospitals, the provender for the cavalry, and even the military conveyances, but also for the table of his Highness and his officers, exhibiting the singular instance of an army marching without a military chest, trusting to the strong hand of power in extorting supplies from an innocent and unoffending friendly State, already exhausted by the late rapacity of the French, thereby imposing a most intolerable burden on a small community of about 15,000 inhabitants, while, at the same time, the Danish army were receiving a subsidy from the British Government, equal, at least, to the expense of sustaining the troops.
The Undersigned is authorized humbly to represent to his Britannic Majesty's Minister for Foreign Affairs that, as the troops in question were in the pay of Great Britain, and under the orders of Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington, thus virtually assuming the character and quality of a British army, such conduct on the part of the Danish Government, so derogatory to the usage of war, and so diametrically opposite to the line of conduct uniformly pursued by British armies and British commanders, it is humbly hoped would call for the interference of his Britannic Majesty's Government, for the purpose of obtaining that redress which the Government of Denmark appears so unwilling to grant; since, had it been really intended that the money should be immediately refunded, the Danish Minister would not have withheld from the proper authorities on the spot the power of liquidating the accounts, and of firing the suns to be repaid to the Republic of Bremen.
The subsequent conduct of this Government in paying no attention to the reiterated applications of the Senate but too plainly demonstrates a disposition to postpone the settlement and the payment of the money till an indefinite period, knowing that, when a Sovereign State is so disposed, no means exist on the part of a weaker State by which justice can be obtained. No answer has been received from the Danish Government to the repeated applications which have been made since the assurances