TWO COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE ADMIRALTY TO MARGATE AGENT EDMUND COBB REGARDING SCANDINAVIAN VESSELS DURING THE NAPOLEONIC WAR. (1) :

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Printed letter with MS. insertions, 1803. 1 side + address with ‘Paid 1803’ stamp & seal. 24 x 20cm. FINE. (2) : A.L.S. 1805. 1 ½ sides + address, 1805 postmark & seal 25 x 20cm. Nr.FINE. Two communications from the Admiralty (but without sender’s details, just ‘London’), both addressed to the well-known Kent ships’ agents, shipowners and bankers, Edmund Cobb & Co. of Margate. The first is a printed document with MS. insertions, signed by Samuel Moss, Second Clerk (Marine Department) and dated 18 Aug. 1803, addressed to Edmund Cobb Esq., Margate : Sir, OFFICIAL intelligence has just been communicated to me, that the Ports Genoa & Spezzia (sic) will in future be considered, by the British Government, as in a state of Blockade ; you will therefore warn all Danish Vessels in your District not to proceed to those Ports until further notice. I am, Sir, Your most humble Servant, S. Moss." The date of this letter, 18th May 1803, was the day that the 14-month Treaty of Amiens which brought a brief period of peace with France and her allies, came to an end. The Royal Navy immediately blockaded enemy ports, including the Italian ports of Genoa and Spezia. The second document, an ALS by Charles H. Grice (of whom nothing has been found) is written in a beautiful copperplate hand, and dated London, 12th December 1805, addressed to Cobb & Co., Margate. "Gentlemen, I have herewith to acquaint you that the Lords of the Admiralty have appointed a Convoy to be ready to sail from the Downs on Sunday 22nd inst to touch Yarmouth Roads and from there to proceed to Gothenburg for the express purpose of taking under its protection all Swedish Ships that may be ready to take the benefit thereof. The Lords of the Admiralty have also given directions to afford all possible protection to Swedish Ships proceeding to the places appointed, and I request you will give immediate direction to the Swedish Captains in your port to take advantage of this Convoy as it is very uncertain if another will be granted this year. No specific Convoy will be granted for Swedish Ships bound to Portugal, but directions have been given to grant them every protection that Circumstances will admit of. I am with regard, Sir, Your most obt h St. Chas H. Grice." This letter, advising Edmund Cobb of a convoy bound for the Baltic, was written less than two months after the battle of Trafalgar, but Nelson’s great victory did not solve all of Britain’s problems and vital supplies for her navy were still required from the Baltic. Britain maintained a delicate balance of naval power and political diplomacy, checking any attempt by Denmark, Sweden and Russia to dominate the region. The situation became increasingly difficult from 1807 onwards. Two unusual and important documents relating to the Royal Navy’s protection of Scandinavian merchantmen, 1803 to 1805.


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