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extreme want of various articles that were on board. Such being the case, the British colors were displayed, and the licence produced, but to no purpose*; and Mr. Savigniac, unwilling to proceed to extremities, was upon the point of returning to England, when the natives expressed so strongly their anxiety for the landing of the goods, that, in order to bring the government to a sense of its duty and interest, he thought proper to release Captain Jackson from the clause in the charter-party which prevented him from making prizes in Iceland, and to commence hostilities, by taking possession of a Danish brig, which had just arrived from Norway with provisions. The officers of
* Upon the subject of permitting a commercial intercourse, Count Tramp remarks, that, " the existing laws of the country strongly prohibiting all trade with foreign nations, it was the duty of the officers in whose hands he had, at that time, during his absence to Copenhagen, left the management of public affairs, to refuse this application."—It may be so 5 but, surely, a nation which had conducted itself with so much lenity and forbearance as ours had done towards this island, might have expected to have received a better return for its kind offices.
the government now seeing their real situation, and fearing lest farther acts of a similar nature should be committed, found themselves under the necessity of concluding a convention, permitting a mercantile connection to be opened between the inhabitants of Reikevig and Mr. Savigniac, a measure that in reality was but of little importance, as the natives were still intimidated by the threats of those in power, and dared not purchase of the English; so that every thing went on, as before, through the hands of the Danish factors, who bought only just enough for their own immediate use. How hard this was, will immediately be seen, when it is known that of all the various articles on board the Clarence two only were on any terms to be procured in Iceland, salt and grain, the latter of which was entirely monopolized by government, and not to be purchased at a lower rate than twenty-two dollars per barrel, a price that virtually amounted to a prohibition, as it rendered it quite out of the reach of many even of the higher classes of the inhabitants. Mr. Savigniac, on the contrary, offered his at considerably less than half this price, but still no purchasers* were to be found, nor could he procure even tallow or any other kind of Icelandic produce in exchange for it; so, entirely foiled in his expectations, he was under the necessity of determining to remain himself in the country, and take care of his valuable
* It is but fair to remark, that the time of year, in some measure, prevented so ready a sale of the cargo as Mr. Savigniac seems to have expected, though Count Tramp attributes the failure to a different cause, and asserts that the ship was loaded with luxuries instead of necessaries.—To use his words, "this little town (Reikevig) was now overstocked with luxuries of all descriptions, that could not but find a slow and tardy sale, at a season of the year when the commerce could only be carried on with the inhabitants of the town, and its immediate vicinity 5 for it is only in the month of June that a degree of communication, intercourse, and barter between the more distant towns and parts of the country begins to take place in Iceland. Of real necessaries, on the contrary, such as the country wanted, and for which there was at that time in particular a demand, only a very inconsiderable quantity was imported, so that, partly owing to these causes, and partly to extravagant sacrifices and expences, and to rash and imprudent speculations and general mismanagements, it was not long before it was reported that this new establishment turned out a losing concern. "— Count Tramp's Narrative.
charge, hoping for more favorable times, while Mr. Jorgensen returned to England with the Clarence in ballast, having previously restored the Danish brig to her owners.
The governor, Count Tramp, who had been absent at Copenhagen during these transactions, was apprised of them on his return to Iceland on the 6th of June, I809, and he observes, upon the subject, in his statement, that, "mortified as he felt at a convention of this kind, concluded with an armament unauthorised to enforce it; yet, nevertheless, acknowledging the sacredness of contracts, he had no idea of curtailing in any respect the rights thereby granted to British subjects, though Mr. Savigniac himself, by acting contrary to the convention, had long since given him sufficient cause to have dissolved it."—In the early part of the same month, Captain Nott, of his majesty's sloop of war the Rover, arrived in the country, and an opportunity was thus offered to Count Tramp, as well to prove the sincerity of his intentions, as to render the most essential service possible to Iceland, by fixing all matters in dispute upon a permanent basis with an officer whom he looked upon as no less qualified to enter into an agreement than able to enforce the observance of it *.
On the l6th of June a convention was accordingly concluded between Captain Nott and Count Tramp, by which it was stipulated that British subjects should have a free trade on the island during the war, but that they should be subject at the same time to Danish laws. The governor proceeds in his
* The feelings of the governor I cannot express better than in his own words, "I must beg leave to remark that, from the existing warlike relations, I did not view with indifference the arrival of an armed force belonging to his British Majesty, with the objects of which in these parts I was unacquainted, and the peaceable proceedings of which no convention secured. My duty, therefore, imposed upon me to take every possible means of precaution; but, having been assured that Captain Nott was far from intending any hostility against the country, I could not but wish, under the existing circumstances, that a compact entered into with a man acting under public authority should establish a firm and understood relation between the inhabitants of Iceland and those British subjects who were settled there already, or who might come hereafter for the purposes of trade."
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