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of Count Tramp, and of the convention between Captain Nott and the latter.
Mr. Phelps, on hearing that such a convention had been entered into, remained several days without landing any part of his cargo, in the expectation that it would be delivered to him in an official manner, or would, at least, be posted up in different parts of Reikevig. No such thing, however, happened, but, on the contrary, the proclamation before alluded to was still regarded as continuing in force, nor was it ever, at any subsequent time, publicly repealed; so that in the month of June, a season of the year when by far the greater number of the natives make a journey to Reikevig for the sake of barter, scarcely an individual of this description was seen; all naturally dreading to expose themselves to the severe punishment threatened by such a proclamation, and knowing that, except from the English, nothing of what they wanted was to be procured.
Such then being the situation of Mr. Phelps' affairs, and the convention remaining unpublished as late as the 25th of the month, this gentleman felt that longer delay would be materially prejudicial to his interests, and that he must consequently be under the necessity of having recourse to measures, no more consonant to his inclination than to his feelings. He therefore gave orders to Captain Liston, the master of the Margaret and Anne, by virtue of the power granted him by his letter of marque, to seize the person of the governor, and detain him as his prisoner; directing him, also, immediately before he took such a step, to make a prize of the Orion, a brig belonging to Count Tramp, provided with a licence from the British government, which she had, according to Mr. Jorgensen, forfeited, by first carrying her cargo to Norway, and there disposing of it, and taking in another* for Iceland. Mr. Liston, in pursuance of these directions, landed twelve
* A part of this cargo, according to Count Tramp, consisting of goods to the value of six thousand rixdollars of Danish currency, was intended to have been distributed gratis among the distressed Icelanders, a circumstance of which I am persuaded Mr. Phelps and Mr. Jorgensen were ignorant, or they would not have allowed so benevolent a design to have been frustrated.
of his crew with arms, and, stationing them at the door of the governor's house, entered, together with Mr. Phelps, the room in which he was sitting with Mr. Koefoed, and made him his prisoner, without any resistance on his part: then locking the door of his office, to which he allowed the count to affix his own seal*, he conducted him under an armed escort on board the Margaret and Anne. The whole of this was done without any attempt at concealment in the most public time of the most public day of the week, a Sunday afternoon, after divine service, so that it affords the strongest evidence in favor of Mr. Jorgensen's assertion, that the transaction itself could not be displeasing to the natives, many of whom were loitering about the plain before the house, with their long poles in their hands spiked with iron, which they use for walking upon the snow, and which they might have now employed as offensive weapons; instead of which they looked on with the most perfect indifference, though they were in such
* This was shortly afterwards broken open, and all the papers subjected to examination.
numbers that one half of them could with ease have overpowered the invalids who were stationed to guard the door; for it is sufficiently known, that in time of war the crews of merchant-ships consist of such men only as are unfit for the service of his Majesty. Mr. Phelps, having taken this step, was aware that, as a British subject, he had it not in his power to establish or even to maintain in the island any form of government without the consent of his own; but he was at the same time fully sensible of the necessity of some regular authority being constituted, till more decisive measures could be taken for the welfare of the country; and it was therefore determined that Mr. Jorgensen, not being a subject of the crown of Great Britain, or responsible to it for his actions, should assume for the present the chief command. Conformably to such a determination, this gentleman immediately commenced the exercise of his power by issuing a proclamation*, which in the first
* The extracts from this as well as the two following proclamations published by Mr. Jorgensen I have thought it best to insert almost verbatim from Count article declares, that all Danish authority is dissolved in Iceland: in the fourth that arms and ammunition of all kinds are to be given up; in the sixth that the keys of private warehouses and shops, money, accounts and papers, belonging to, or concerning, the interests of the king of Denmark or Danish merchants, shall, likewise, be delivered*; in the second third and fifth articles, it orders
Tramp's statement of them, with many of his comments, that I might be the less liable to be accused of partiality; but I have printed literal translations of the originals in the Appendix B. (See Nos. 1, 2, and 5.) Nos. 3 and 4 are copies of other proclamations of less importance, and not noticed by Count Tramp.
♦.This was preparatory to the confiscation of all Danish property in the island; upon which subject I must beg leave to make use of Mr. Jorgensen's own words. "This," he observes, "was absolutely necessary, for, if such property had been permitted to have been taken away, the country would have been extremely impoverished, since all goods, property, and merchandize on the island belonged to the Danes, as well all that lay in the store-houses, as even what the poor peasant had in the field; for the lower classes were generally deeply in debt to the Danish factors. It was likewise just and. proper to detain all such property, whether public or private; for Iceland had certain funds