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58 APPENDIX. A.those which urged Mr. Phelps to send his vessels thither, Sir Joseph Banks again stepped forward in behalf of his favorite Icelanders, and through his kind and benevolent exertions an order in council was issued, strictly forbidding all acts of hostilities against the poor and defenceless colonies of the Danish dominions, and permitting them to trade with the parent country unmolested by British cruisers. Such conduct on our part could not but give ample satisfaction to Count Tramp, whose own words upon this subject are, "the peculiar favor which Iceland and its concerns have met with here, and the manner in which His British Majesty's ministers have interested themselves in its welfare, and above all the security obtained for the future, has entirely obliterated all bitterness from my heart." In another letter to me he says, when speaking of the proclamation declaring the island to be neutral and the inhabitants placed upon a footing with other friendly strangers, "I apprehend that the people of Iceland with the greatest anxiousness expect the news from England, which, being now so consoling and in every respect so comforting, I should feel myself wanting in duty if I did not forward it as speedily as possible." It may not be improper to insert in this place a copy of the above-mentioned proclamation:
Court at the Queens Palace, February 7,1810,
THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY,
"Whereas it has been humbly represented to his Majesty, that the islands of Ferroe and Iceland, and also certain settlements on the coast of Greenland, parts of the dominions of Denmark, have, since the commencement of the war between Great Britain and Denmark, been deprived of all intercourse with Denmark, and the inhabitants of those islands and settlements are, in consequence of the want of their accustomed supplies, reduced to extreme misery, being without many of the necessaries and of most of the conveniences of life.
"His Majesty, being moved by compassion for the sufferings of these defenceless people, has, by and with the advice of his privy council, thought fit to declare his royal will and pleasure, and it is hereby declared and ordered, that the said islands of Ferroe and Iceland, and the settlements on the coast of Greenland, and the inhabitants thereof, and the property therein, shall be exempted from the attack and hostility of His Majesty's forces and subjects, and that the ships belonging to the inhabitants of such islands and settlements, and all goods being of the growth, produce, or manufacture, of the said islands or settlements, on board the ships belonging to such inhabitants, engaged in a direct trade between such islands and settlements respectively and the ports of London or Leith, shall not be liable to seizure and confiscation as prize.
"His Majesty is further pleased to order, with the advice aforesaid, that the people of all the said islands and settlements be considered, when resident in His Majesty's dominions, as stranger friends, under the safeguard of His Majesty's royal peace, and entitled to the protection of the laws of the realm, and in no case treated as alien enemies.
u His Majesty is further pleased to order, with the advice aforesaid, that the ships of the united kingdom, navigated according to law, be permitted to repair to the said islands and settlements, and to trade with the inhabitants thereof.
"And His Majesty is further pleased to order, with the advice aforesaid, that all His Majesty's cruisers and all other his subjects be inhibited from committing any acts of depredation or violence against the persons, ships, and goods of any of the inhabitants of the said islands and settlements, and against any property in the said islands and settlements respectively.
"And the right honorable the lords commissioners of His Majesty's treasury, His Majesty's principal secretaries of state, the lords commissioners of the admiralty, and the judge of the high court of admiralty, and the judges of the courts of vice-admiralty, are to take the necessary measures herein, as to them shall respectively appertain."
Hence then it appears that a mercantile speculation the most unfortunate, and a revolution the most singular in its nature, have been the means of placing the island in a greater state of security than formerly; and a way has thus been opened for bettering the condition of its inhabitants, provided the Danish government has compassion enough upon the most injured of its subjects to permit the humane intentions of his British Majesty's ministers to be carried into effect. Should this not be the case (and such seems more than probable, from the late decrees of that country, strictly prohibiting, on pain of death, all intercourse with the British), then will the state of the natives be more wretched than ever; unless, which I sincerely flatter myself will be the case, England should no longer hesitate about the adoption of a step to which every native Icelander looks forward as the greatest blessing that can befal his country, and which to England herself would, I am persuaded, be productive of various signal advantages, the taking possession of Iceland and holding it among her dependencies. Iceland, thus freed from the yoke of an inefficient but presumptuous ty