The epic of the squadron Senyavin
The British fleet operated in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Baltic seas. Thus, Dmitry Nikolaevich Senyavin’s squadron of the 9 battleships and the 1 frigate, after concluding the Slobodzia truce 12 (August 24) 1807, with the Turks went from the Mediterranean to the Baltic Sea, and the war found Russian ships in Lisbon (they took refuge in the port in early November from due to storms). The situation was extremely difficult: the French army of Junot invaded Portugal - the Portuguese squadron left Lisbon, taking away the Portuguese prince regent, the royal family and the government to Brazil (then the colony of Portugal); the British blocked the city from the sea. The British admiral had 13 battleships, 11 frigates and 5 small ships. By the end of November 1807, the Portuguese territory was fully occupied by French troops. General Junot received the title of Duke d'Abrantes and entered Lisbon. Russian squadron was between two fires. Both forces had the opportunity to destroy the Russian squadron. The order of Alexander I obliged Senyavin to conform with the interests of Napoleon, at the same time the Russian emperor did not want to enter into open war with England. And France would have been beneficial if the Russians had fought a direct battle with the British.
Senyavin asked the king for instructions, but did not wait for them. Napoleon wanted the Russian admiral from now on to receive orders not from Russia, but from France, from the Russian ambassador in Paris, Count Tolstoy, who would simply send Senyavin instructions from the French emperor. At the beginning of 1808, Dubachevsky, who was a Russian representative in Lisbon, received instructions that are mandatory for all Russian military personnel. They said that the actions of the military should correspond to the friendly disposition in which Russia now resides with France. 1 March 1808 was followed by an even clearer imperial decree by three commanders of the Russian Naval Forces who were in foreign lands, including D. Senyavin. It talked about the provision of naval forces outside Russia to the French emperor for harming the enemy. The French were notified of this order.
The beginning of the Spaniards people's war against the dominion of France sharply worsened the position of General Junot and his army in Portugal. In addition, the British saw in Lisbon and Portugal generally a long-awaited springboard for the landing of significant landings on the Iberian Peninsula. It is clear that the Russian squadron could not make a breakthrough in the struggle of France and England for the peninsula. But the symbol of the joint struggle of the two powers against Britain was important. The guerrilla war in Spain began to flare up, reports from the Austrian military preparations were coming from Vienna. There was the possibility that after seeing the fact of the present military alliance of Russia and France, Vienna would refrain from the war with Napoleon. Therefore, the pressure on Senyavin from the Duke d'Abrantes intensified day by day. But Senyavin still did not want to destroy his squadron in order to produce a political demonstration acceptable to the French emperor. I must say that Admiral Senyavin was extremely hostile toward the Treaty of Tilsit and the sudden "friendship" between Russia and France. He continued to ignore the proposals of Napoleon and Junot. He was convinced that Napoleon’s union with Alexander was a short-lived construction, and refused to help the French emperor and Junot. It is clear that he tried to do it in a diplomatic manner, finding pretexts for the squadron inaction.
In July 1808, Junot ordered Senyavin several times to land forces to fight the British landing forces, and to send the fleet to attack the weakened British fleet (part of the ships covered the landing). Senyavin rejected all these proposals. He refused to land Russian sailors for the defense of Lisbon. On August 4, Junot withdrew almost all forces from the capital of Portugal and went to Torres Vedras. On August 9, 1808, a battle took place near Vemieiro, and the French troops were completely defeated. Junot after a battle in which he lost more than 4 thousand people, returned to Lisbon. On August 12, the division admiral General Kellerman came to the Russian admiral, he notified Senyavin of the planned armistice between Junot and the commander in chief of the British forces. But the negotiations were unsuccessful. On August 13, Senyavin received a letter from Junot, which suggested joining the entire squadron crew with the French forces (a similar proposal was made earlier) and preventing the British from occupying Lisbon and the forts. Senyavin again refused, emphasizing that he had no authority to fight with the Portuguese and Spaniards who had joined the British. On August 16, Senyavin received the last letter of the French general, in which he provided the Russian admiral with direct contact with the British about the fate of the Russian squadron. The British occupied Lisbon.
The British were aware of the disputes between Senyavin and the French, and already in July they entered into intercourse with the admiral. They wanted to encourage Senyavin to go to their side and deliver a heavy blow to the Russian-French alliance. Even if Alexander subsequently disavowed Senyavin's actions, the opinion on the Iberian Peninsula would still be confirmed that the Russians were enemies, not the allies of the French emperor. On July 16, Admiral Senyavin received “through a certain Portuguese” a letter from the British admiral with a proposal to send representatives for negotiations. On July 18, representatives from the Russian squadron headed towards the British — collegiate councilor Zass and flag officer Makarov — returned to their squadron. They reported that the British were notifying Senyavin of hostile actions that had begun on the part of the French against Russia and about the detention in the French ports of all Russian ships that had gone there. And also began the peace negotiations between Russia and Sweden and England. But Senyavin refused to enter into direct negotiations.
After the departure of the French forces, they had to think about the problem, as if the British military did not declare the squadron their military booty, and the Russian admiral with all the crews of the ships were prisoners of war. After all, England at that moment formally was in a state of war with the Russian Empire. Senyavin informed the British that during the ten months of their stay in Lisbon, the Russians constantly refused to take part in hostile actions against the British. The squadron occupied a neutral position. In addition, the Russian admiral Senyavin told Cotton that after the withdrawal of the French invaders, the capital of Portugal returned to the legal possession of the Portuguese government, and Petersburg was not at war with Lisbon, so he considers himself and his squadron to be in a neutral port. It was a skillful diplomatic move. After all, British troops landed in Portugal, solemnly announcing to all of Europe that their goal was to liberate the country from Napoleonic seizure and return it to its legitimate government, which fled from the invaders to Brazil. Legally, the position of the Russian admiral was thus very strong and obligatory for the British.
After some deliberation, the commander of the British squadron, Cotton, said that he had ordered British flags to be hung on the forts and that he did not consider the city a neutral port. The moment was critical: British troops strengthened their presence in the city, their fleet approached the Russian squadron. Strength was on the side of the British. At the same time, Cotton realized that Senyavin would not agree to unconditional surrender and a bloody battle was ahead. Cotton went to the negotiations and, after quite persistent disputes, recognized the need to sign a special convention with Senyavin. 4 September it was signed. The British command accepted the condition of Senyavin: the Russian squadron was not considered captured, it was sent to England and was to be there until peace was concluded between London and St. Petersburg. After peace was concluded, the ships could return to Russia with the same crew and with all their possessions. Senyavin even insisted on the clause on which he himself and all his officers, sailors and soldiers (marines) could immediately return to Russia without any conditions, that is, they had the right to return to their homeland even now to take part in military actions against Great Britain.
It is clear that Cotton agreed to such conditions not only because of the reluctance of losses, but also for political reasons. In relations between Russia and England, a new turn could soon take place (and it did), and it was foolish to annoy Petersburg with the sinking of the Russian squadron.
31 August (12 September) 1808 of the year Senyavin with his squadron, consisting of seven battleships and one frigate, departed from Lisbon to Portsmouth. Two ships - "Raphael" and "Yaroslav" were with such damage that they had to be left in the Portuguese capital for repair. The British promised to return them. September 27 squadron arrived in Portsmouth. The British Admiralty considered that Cotton made a mistake and tried to revise the convention. Two battleships in Lisbon were captured, despite Senyavin’s protests. Not wanting to release Russian officers, sailors and soldiers to Russia immediately (as they should according to the agreement of Cotton-Senyavin), the British first detained the whole month until the winter of 1808-1809 came and the Russian ports became inaccessible until the opening of spring navigation. Then the British Admiralty began to express concern about whether the Swedes, who were in the war with Russia, would not remove the Russian military from the British transports. In addition, the Admiralty insisted that the Russian landing should take place in Arkhangelsk. The Russian admiral stood on the fact that it occurred in one of the ports of the Baltic Sea. British officials fed Russian crews disgusting. Only 12 June 1809, the inventory of ships and property was completed. 31 July 1809, the Russian crews were finally transferred to the British transport ship 21 and on August 5 sailed from Portsmouth. 9 September 1809 of the year the court arrived in Riga, and people were able to go to the Russian coast.
Officers and sailors commended the skills of the commander. But Alexander I thought differently. The talented naval commander Senyavin, who participated in the squadron campaign FF Ushakov in the Mediterranean, successfully fought with the French in 1805, 10-11 in May 1807, defeated the Turkish fleet in Dardanelles, and 19 in June 1807 in Athos battles on the numerical superiority of the enemy, fell into disgrace. The British ships will return in 1813 year.
Dmitry Nikolaevich Senyavin.
17 May 1809, the English squadron of battleships 3, 4 1 frigates and brigs attacked the Russian squad captain 1-rank Bychevskogo composed 5 battleships, frigates and 1 2 corvettes in Trieste, but were rebuffed, he has receded.
On the Baltic Sea, the British fleet worked together with the Swedish Navy in the areas of Revel, Porkkala-Udd, Baltic Harbor, Vyborg, and others. British ships raided coastal districts, sabotage and shelling of coastal targets. Their privateers attacked merchant ships in the Baltic and North Seas. The British tried to damage the Russian economy.
The Russian command took serious measures to strengthen the defense of St. Petersburg from the sea. 15 batteries with 120 guns were built in the capital. The fairway to the north of the island of Kotlin was blocked with a barrier of stone and wood - a common barrier. Was prepared for the defense of Kronstadt. The squadron of Admiral Pyotr Ivanovich Khanykov based in the Baltic harbor (9 battleships, 7 frigates, 13 small ships) could not withstand the British-Swedish Navy. The ships were in poor condition and could not lead active operations. In general, the British fleet could not provide significant assistance to Sweden. The outcome of the war was decided by the actions of the Russian ground forces. After the defeat of Sweden, the British took the ships from the Baltic. In 1810 - 1811 there was no fighting between Britain and Russia.
Opposition in the East
The British have launched vigorous activity against Russia in Turkey and Persia. The British have long been afraid of the penetration of Russians in the South and East. The Russians could have mastered the approaches to India. Of particular concern to London was the fact of the voluntary accession of part of Georgia and a number of Azerbaijani khanates to Russia in the 1801-1806 years. In 1809, the British government entered into a treaty with the Iranian Shah, the British pledged to facilitate the annexation of Transcaucasia to Persia. But the actions of the Shah's troops were not successful, and Iran began to seek peace. Under pressure from British agent Jones, negotiations were thwarted. Soon the mission of Malcolm arrived in Persia, which transferred 12 guns and 7 thousand guns to the Persians. In 1810, the Iranian army attempted to launch an offensive, but was defeated in Armenia.
The British took on Persia more seriously: the reorganization of the Persian army began, the English squadron was sent to the Persian Gulf, in 1811, the 32 guns and 12 thousand guns were transferred to the Iranians. A small cannon and gun factory was built in Tabriz. But this did not help Persia. At the end of 1811, the Russian troops inflicted a new defeat on the Shah's troops and captured Akhalkalaki.
At the beginning of 1812, London sent its ambassador to Iran, who signed a new Anglo-Iranian treaty. The British allocated money to strengthen the Iranian army. British instructor officers arrived in the country to prepare the Shah's army for the invasion of the Transcaucasus. True, in June 1812, London pretended to be ready to promote peace between Persia and Russia. But on the conditions of the withdrawal of Russian forces from territories that previously belonged to Iran. The Iranians tried to confirm their rights by force and began fighting. The best units of the Iranian army were completely crushed by Aslanduz by General Kotliarevsky. Shah artillery was also captured. Then the Russian troops captured the fortress Lenkoran. As a result, the British attempt to oust Russia from the Transcaucasus failed. In 1813, the Persian Shah agreed to the Gulistan Peace Treaty.
At the same time, the British played against Russia and in the Ottoman Empire. Here the tasks of the British were similar to the French. They wanted to oust Russia from the Balkans and prevent the Russians from seizing Istanbul and the straits. The British prevented the conclusion of peace between Turkey and Russia. Repeatedly British and French ambassadors spoke in Istanbul with demarches aimed at continuing the war. However, here the success of Russian weapons brought Russia victory. The Turks signed a peace treaty in Bucharest.
Union of Russia and Britain
Failing to succeed in the confrontation with the Russian Empire, British diplomacy went to peace negotiations when it became clear that the war between Russia and France was inevitable. The threat of Napoleon was a high priority for London. True, there was the possibility of peace between Paris and London. In April, 1812, the French emperor turned to the British government with an official peace proposal. Napoleon agreed to recognize the domination of the British in the colonies, but in return asked to recognize the dominance of France in Europe. British troops were to leave Spain and Portugal. But the British did not go for it.
6 (18) July 1812, in the Swedish city of Örebro, a peace treaty was signed between Russia and England and at the same time between Great Britain and Sweden. The agreements ended the Anglo-Russian and Anglo-Swedish wars and entered into alliances against the French Empire. Orebro world became the basis for creating the 6 of the anti-French coalition in 1813. 4 (16) August Russian ports were open to English ships. It was the success of Russian diplomacy. But the agreement affected the outcome of the 1812 war of the year little. Petersburg’s hopes of practical help from London, including financial assistance, did not materialize. The British government sold 50 to thousands of incomplete guns in Russia, and the British participated in the 1812 war of the year. London hoped for a protracted war between France and Russia, which would exhaust both empires. Such a war made England the mistress of the situation in Europe.