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The Great Northern War
Sunday, 18 March 2018
Johan Palmquist 23 June 1703
Topic: Diplomacy

On 23 June Palmquist reported that Nils Lillieroot had returned to the Hague, but was too fatigued to write himself.

News from the War of the Spanish Succession spoke of disaster having struck the Dutch commander Opdam during the battle of Ekeren. An official report from the Dutch camp suggested that Opdam had been captured, but news from Breda claimed that he had arrived there accompanied only by one man. The Dutch army had escaped, but the losses seemed to have been severe. The first reports arriving in the Hague had spoken of disaster, so the States General had been relieved to hear that the army had been saved. 

Some French privateers had reportedly captured one hundred Dutch fishing boats. 

The English had raided an island just off La Rochelle. 

Palmquist had through the envoy Friesendorff in Lüneburg received copies of Cardinal Radziejowski's letter to Charles XII, dated 2 June 1703 and the King's answer. Palmquist had sent a copy to Leijoncrona in London and promised he would make every effort to use these letters advantageously.

Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol.  229.


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:34 PM MEST
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Monday, 12 February 2018
Johan Palmquist 12 June 1703
Topic: Diplomacy

On 12 June Palmquist wrote that he had met with Heinsius. The Grand Pensionary told the Swedish envoy that he had spoken with the Russian ambassador abolut the Swedish complaints. The latter had said that the ships being built in Arkhangelsk were not for use in war, with the exception of the frigate. This vessel was however very small. One captain of infantry, who had served in the Russian army before, had been recruited. Heinsius told Palmquist that he knew the man and he was quite pitiful. Others had attempted to join, but they were of similar poor quality. The Russian ambassador had admitted that ships were being built at Nöteborg, but they were too small for use in the Baltic. Heinsius told Palmquist that it was important to keep the Czar from the Baltic and the North Sea. The Swedish envoy replied that he had received information from the Swedish Admiralty about a privateer equipped in Copenhagen, which had received a letter of marque from the Russian ambassador. Heinsius said the ship could be viewed as a pirate and its crew hanged as such a letter was invalid.


Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 229

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:34 PM CET
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Sunday, 4 February 2018
Johan Palmquist 9 June 1703
Topic: Diplomacy

In his next letter Palmquist returned to the issue of the Swedish actions in Poland. There was in the Netherlands great concern and the feeling was that England didn't do enough to stop the war. Palmquist had again emphasized that Danzig was in no danger as Charles XII only pursued the war against his enemies. The King saw no other way to reach a lasting peace than by forcing Augustus to abdicate. The Polish nation should unite with him for that purpose. 

Opdam (Jacob II van Wassenaer Obdam) had visited Palmquist the preceding evening and spoken about the problems the war in Poland caused the Dutch and their allies. It would be better, Opdam felt, if Charles left Poland and joined the War of the Spanish Succession. The Dutch were in a tough spot as their allies did not do their part, i.e. only wanted money. 

As for the Russian recruitment effort Palmquist had received more news and had made efforts to put a stop to any attempts by the Czar. Palmquist included a report from Arkhangelsk, which stated that the Russians were building ships and also possessed one vessel of 24 guns which William III had given to the Czar. They were reportedly also equipping privateers. 


Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 229

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 7:38 PM CET
Updated: Monday, 12 February 2018 9:35 PM CET
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Monday, 22 January 2018
More Johan Palmquist
Topic: Diplomacy

On 6 June 1703 the Swedish envoy Johan Palmqvist sent his next report from the Hague. In this letter he told the King that he had not spoken with Heinsius during the last few days, but the Grand Pensionary hade reportedly said to the Hannoverian diplomat Bothmer that news from Poland suggested that Charles XII could be planning an attack on Danzig. Heinsius had said that such a development would not please the English and the Dutch. Palmquist had strongly denied such rumours, saying that the attack on Thorn was solely aimed at the Saxon garrison.

The news from the War of the Spanish succession were few. Recent reports of a battle between the French and Dutch navies had not been confirmed.

Before finishing his letter Palmquist had a talk with Heinsius. The Grand Pensionary said that he had spoken to the Admiralty of Amsterdam as well as the mayor about the Russian recruiting efforts. The Czar certainly tried to hire both artisans and seamen, but the authorities would make sure than he remained unsuccessful. Heinsius had also directly expressed his concern over events in Poland and the risk of dragging Prussia into the war. The English and Dutch feared that the Prussian King would recall units he had lent them. Palmquist had replied that there was absolutely no risk to Danzig. Thorn had been attacked simply because of the Saxon garrison and there were no Saxons units in Danzig.


Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 229 

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 6:13 PM CET
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Sunday, 5 November 2017
Palmquist again
Topic: Diplomacy

On 2 June 1703 Palmquist sent his next report from The Hague. He had again met with the Grand Pensionary Heinsius. The Swedish had emphasized the importance of putting stop to all Russian recruitment in the Netherlands and to stop anyone from leaving for service in the Czar's navy. Heinsius promised to speak to both the Admiralty in Amsterdam as well as to mayor Nicolaes Witsen.

Palmquist next wrote on 6 June. He had again spoken to Heinsius, who had expressed concern about events in Poland. What if Charles XII after capturing Thorn (under siege) and Elbing would turn his attention to Danzig? It would not please the Dutch or the English, Heinsius said. Well, Palmquist had replied, Thorn was only under attack because Saxon forces were inside. Danzig would only be in danger if the Saxons took control of it, which seemed unlikely. They had also touched on the matter of the Russian recruitment. Heinsius assured Palmquist that he had spoken with both the Admiralty and particularly mith mayor Witsen. He had found that the Czar certainly tried to find good craftsmen, such as turners, carpenters and blacksmiths. Seamen had not been recruited and the Dutch authorities would make sure that none were. 


Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 229 


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:23 PM CET
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Sunday, 22 October 2017
Seamen for the Czar?
Topic: Diplomacy

On 30 May 1703 Johan Palmquist sent a long report to Charles XII and the usual copy to the Chancery in Stockholm. His predecessor Nils Lillieroot had just left the Hague, so Palmquist was on his own. 

Palmquist had met with the Grand Pensionary and had again asked about the rumoured Russian recruitment drive. Heinsius had replied that he had discussed the matter with the Admiralty of Amsterdam. As recruitment by foreign powers on Dutch soil usually was prohibited in time of war the Grand Pensionary had believed that such a ban had been issued for Amsterdam. However, this was apparently not the case. The Admiralty was consequently not aware of any such Russian recruitment effort, but deemed it unlikely to succeed as most of those who had returned from service in the Russian navy were very unhappy with their experiences. Some had been enticed by promises of higher rank, but these were few and not very capable. Palmquist had told Heinsius that the Czar's plan was to equip cruisers for service in the North Sea, where they were to disrupt the trade from the Baltic and try to divert merchants ships to Arkhangelsk. Heinsius promised to try and put a stop to any Russian recruitment effort.

Palmquist was not entirely satisfied with this, so he had written to a certain van de Lutt (of the Admiralty of Amsterdam?). Later in the volume there is a copy of the reply, dated Amsterdam 8 June. Van de Lutt writes that as far as he knew the Czar employed about 12 to 15 captains and some lieutenants. He did not know their names. The Czar had since one or two years been building ships of war at Arkhangel, but it was impossible to know the plan. Van de Lutt would attempt to find out and knew a man he believed could help. As for the rest the people in Amsterdam could not understand why the King of Sweden would amuse himself in Poland while Russians ruined Lvonia. 

Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Polonica, vol. 229

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:40 PM MEST
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Sunday, 15 October 2017
More Palmquist
Topic: Diplomacy

On 16 May 1703 (O.S.) Palmquist sent a a new report to Stockholm. It concerned two different issues. The first was the damages caused to the duchy of Zweibrücken by forces from the Electoral Palatinate.

The second had more bearing on the Great Northern War. Rumours hade reached Sweden that the Czar was attempting to recruit soldiers (or maybe rather naval personnel) in Amsterdam. Palmquist forwarded a copy of the letter he had sent to the Admiralty in Karlskrona. The matter had, Palmquist stated, been brought to the attention of the Grand Pensionary Anthonie Heinsius, who had replied that he knew nothing of this. Heinsius said that he considered it very unlikely, as any form of recruitment by a foreign power was strictly forbidden and consequently would be pointless to attempt. The Grand Pensionary had stated that he would nevertheless look into the matter and would put a stop to the effort if the rumour proved to be true. 

Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 329 

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:51 PM MEST
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Sunday, 8 October 2017
A peace proposal?
Topic: Diplomacy

On 2 May 1703 (O.S.) Johan Palmquist sent his first report to the Chancery in Stockholm. He acknowledged having received the printed account of the Saladen battle, which he promised to use when appropriate.

Palmquist also reported that a rumour suggested that he had brought a peace proposal from Paris. The rumour had grown quite strong after his arrival in The Hague. Palmquist had made every effort to explain that it was quite untrue and had received assistance from Anthonie Heinsius, the Grand Pensionary of Holland. Their effort appeared to have been successful, Palmquist wrote. As for the rest he referred to Lillieroot's dispatches.

In a hastily added PS Palmquist writes that accordingb to report which had arrived the same morning the fort near Bonn had been captured in an assault. This should refer to Fort Bourgogne, which was taken on 9 May (N. S.) by allied forces under the command of Menno van Coehoorn, the famous Dutch engineer.

Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 229 

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:43 PM MEST
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Sunday, 1 October 2017
Johan Palmquist arrives in the Hague
Topic: Diplomacy

On 27 March 1703 Johan Palmquist, previously Swedish envoy in Paris, arrived in the Hague where he was to relieve the very able and experienced Nils Lillieroot, who had been recalled to Stockholm to help fill the vacancies caused by the deaths of Bengt Oxenstierna and Samuel Åkerhielm. 

On the 28th Palmquist wrote to Charles XII. He had the preceeding day arrived in the Hague after travelling on some very bad roads. As Lillieroot had not yet left for Stockholm Palmquist would, he assured the King, take every opportunity to get useful information from his predecessor.

Little was otherwise to report, except that Palmquist had been received most courteously in Bruxelles by the Marquis Bedmar (Isidoro de la Cueva y Benavides, Governor of The Spanish Netherlands), the Field Marshal Boufflers (Louis-François de Boufflers) and Mr Quiros (Francisco Bernardo de Quiros). In Antwerp Palmquist had been received by Lieutenant General de Gacé (Charles Auguste de Goyon de Matignon) and at the the fort Lillo by a captain Palmquist calls "Wildschütt", who was in command of a small Dutch naval force stationed there. The captain had dined with Palmquist on his ship and sent him off with a salute of seven shots.

Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 229

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:20 PM MEST
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Monday, 19 June 2017
A Holstein surprise?
Topic: Diplomacy
In his dissertation” Karl XII och hans rådgivare” (1960), Gustaf Jonasson describes the circumstances surrounding the decision to send Swedish troops into Holstein in 1699. According to Jonasson it was made by Charles XII in mid-July without consulting his foreign policy advisors and was a result of the influence of the Duke of Holstein, who had arrived in Sweden at the beginning of the month. The King’s orders were dated 15 July, but Jonasson claims that the Chancery did not find out until 1 August. On that date Thomas Polus, Bengt Oxenstierna and Nils Gyldenstolpe held a meeting to discuss what the King had told them the same morning.

If Jonasson’s account is to be believed the logical conclusion seems to be that the Duke had convinced the King during the journey from Ystad to Stockholm and the two of them had then managed to keep the matter completely secret for more than two weeks. This seems rather unlikely. Thomas Polus had at the very least been in Ystad just before the Duke arrived and in an undated letter to Bengt Oxenstierna he writes: “The Duke will likely upon his arrival try to persuade the King to act vigorously”. Polus found this most disconcerting and adventurous.   

So perhaps Polus wasn’t aware of the decision when it was made, but he certainly seems to have feared it would come. Had Polus managed to postpone it until the King came back to Stockholm or was he just pretending to be uninformed as late as 1 August?

Source: Riksarkivet, Ericsbergsarkivet, Autografsamlingen

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:14 PM MEST
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