Russia and England are so geographically distant that it seemed that the two great powers could consist, if not in friendly, then in neutral relations. England participated in only one large-scale war with Russia - the Eastern (Crimean) War. However, the British secret war against Russia has been fought for centuries. London considered Russia to be its geopolitical enemy, and in every possible way tried to prevent the development of the Russian state, most often inciting neighboring nations against the Russians, acting through the hands of others. At the same time, the British tried to draw Russia into unnecessary wars, weakening it, forcing it to waste resources and energy, waste time.
The first contact of the English with the Russians took place around 1074, when the Smolensk prince, and later the Grand Duke of Kiev Vladimir Monomakh married the princess Gita, daughter of the last Anglo-Saxon king Harald II, who fell in battle with the Normans at Hastings. The grand dukes of Kiev went from Vladimir and Gita, and from them the grand dukes of Vladimir and Moscow. It must be said that during this period, the dynastic marriages of the Russian princes and princesses with representatives of the ruling houses of the leading European powers were not the exception, but the norm. In particular, Prince Vladimir, the baptist of Rus, married a representative of the Byzantine imperial family, Princess Anne. Svyatopolk was married to the daughter of the Polish king Boleslav I the Brave. Yaroslav the Wise married the daughter of the Swedish king Ingegerd. His sons: Izyaslav was married to the sister of the Polish king Casimir I - Gertrude, Svyatoslav - to the Austrian princess Ode, Vsevolod - married a Greek princess (allegedly the daughter of the Byzantine emperor Constantine IX Monomakh), Igor - married the German princess Kunigunda, Countess Orlamune de. The daughters of Yaroslav were given for European rulers: Elizabeth became the wife of the Norwegian king Harald the Severe; Anastasia was the wife of the King of Hungary András I; Anna Russkaya married the French king Henry I.
In 12-13 vv. the confrontation of Rome with Russia reached its peak. In 1221, Pope Honorius III sends a message to Uppsala bishop Thomas in which he strictly forbids all Catholics to sell to Russian and Finnish tribes weapon, iron, horses, even wood. The impious were threatened by excommunication. An interesting fact is that Thomas, by birth, was an Englishman from the Dominican Order. From 1220 to 1245, Thomas becomes the main organizer of the crusades against the Russians and Karelians. There is evidence that it was Thomas, and not Jarl Birger, who led the 1240 campaign of the year. Thus, it was the first swallow in the confrontation of Russia and England.
Diplomatic relations Russia and England established in the XVI century. In this century, English and Dutch seafarers undertook several sea expeditions, hoping to discover the North-Eastern (around Siberia) and North-Western (around Canada) passages, and go into the Pacific Ocean to Japan and China. At the beginning of 1553 in England, they created a merchant company, the Society of Merchants, Seekers of Countries and Possessions, Unknown and Unseen by Sea, especially for the opening of the Northern Route. In the same year, the company sent three ships: "Good Hope", "Edward Udalets" and "Good Hope". The commander of the first ship and the head of the expedition was G. Willoughby, the second ship was commanded by Chansler, the third was Durforth. The storm separated the ships, the crews of the two ships died during the wintering. And the ship of Chensler safely reached the mouth of the Dvina River, went to the Nikolsky Monastery.
Chansler arrived safely in Moscow, where he was well received by Tsar Ivan Vasilyevich. Diplomatic and trade relations were established between the two powers. In England, the Moscow company was established, Queen Mary gave her the right to monopolistic trade with Russia. This company existed in Britain until the 1917 year. At 1555, Chensler and two other representatives of the Moscow company again arrived in Moscow. Ivan IV was again merciful, and the British were awarded a diploma, which gave them the right to free trade, which allowed them to open several representative offices.
The Moscow company quickly became rich. She began with a capital in 6 thousand pounds, in 1564, her capital reached 40 thousand pounds sterling, and in 1585 year - 80 thousand pounds sterling. Sovereign Ivan Vasilyevich believed that trade with England was beneficial for Russia and patronized it. The boyars even called him “the Aglinsky Tsar”. In 1564, the king confirmed the former privileges, gave permission to buy houses in Vologda and Kholmogory. In 1569, the British were given the right to duty-free trade, the right to freely travel to Persia, permission to search for iron ore in Vychegda and build an ironworks. Iron was allowed to export abroad. In addition, the English merchants entered the oprichnina, independent of the land. In 1583, the British secured a ban on all other foreigners from trading in the North. Travel and trade in the northern lands were allowed only to the British. Tsar Fedor Ivanovich continued his father’s trade policy. For the Moscow company in the Russian North secured five marinas: Korelskoe harbor, pier on the Pechenga River, Varzuse River, r. Mezen and r. Noise
From the very beginning, the British tried to observe their interests, having great benefits from the northern trade with Russia, and at the same time prevent it from reaching the shores of the Baltic and Black Seas. In this case, they lost their monopoly, the Russians could develop their merchant fleet, and the path to other states was shortened. Back in 1569, Ivan the Terrible proposed England a political alliance directed against Poland, and asked Queen Elizabeth to allow shipbuilders, experienced sailors to come to Russia, and allow weapons and military materials to be exported to the Russian state. However, the British did not want such a union, answered evasively. The Russian tsar became angry and deprived the English of part of their privileges.
During the Great Embassy of Peter, the English king presented the Russian Tsar with a luxurious, high-speed 20-gun yacht. 7 January 1698, the yacht of Peter Alekseevich, escorted by three British ships, set sail for England. January 11 Peter and Menshikov were placed in the palace at Deptfort on the Thames near London. A few days later, Peter was visited by William III, and on January 23, the king received the Russian tsar. By order of the king, the famous artist Gottfried Kneller painted a portrait of the Russian Tsar. In London, Peter signed an agreement on the supply of tobacco to Russia. Up to this point, the "satanic potion" in Russia did not complain, and smokers were severely persecuted. Peter became a tobacco addict back in Russia, in Kuku, in the German Quarter. According to the contract, 10 thousand barrels of tobacco weighing 500 thousand pounds were to come to Russia from England, for each pound they took 4 pennies of duty. In addition, Peter hired many professionals, masters.
England and Holland had a treaty of alliance with Sweden, concluded in May 1698 of the year and renewed in January of 1700. Therefore, Sweden was an ally for the British and the Dutch. France also had an allied treaty with Sweden, concluded in July 1698 of the year. Sweden was then considered a traditional ally of France. That is why France and its enemies in the war for the Spanish inheritance - Holland and England, wanted to keep the Russian state from the war against Sweden. The English and Dutch ambassadors in Constantinople tried to thwart the conclusion of a peace agreement between the Russian state and the Ottoman Empire. In their reports, the Russian ambassador to Constantinople Ukrainians repeatedly complained about the opposition of the English, Dutch and French ambassadors, who in every way kept the Turkish side. Ukrainians wrote to Golovin that the English and Dutch ambassadors have a “heart of Tours”. The ambassador called them "hypocrites" and "accusers." However, the Western powers could not prevent the conclusion of a peace agreement between Russia and Turkey. Then the Ottoman Empire was a mighty and independent power, not yet fully stuck in the financial trap of the West. Turkey has just been entangled with a web of financial and economic strangulation invisible to the simple eye. In Porte they decided that it is in their interests to make peace.
England and Holland almost immediately entered the war on the side of their ally - Sweden, neutralizing the only power of the Northern Union (it included Russia, the Commonwealth, Denmark and Saxony), which had a strong fleet. When the 16th Danish army, led by King Frederick IV, invaded Holstein, capturing the fortress of Guzum and besieging Tonningen, England immediately reacted. First, King William III of England tried to diplomatically force Denmark to make peace with Sweden. At the same time, the Anglo-Dutch fleet, consisting of 10 English and 13 Dutch battleships, as well as a significant number of frigates and smaller ships, moved towards the Danish Straits. On June 26, 1700, the Allied fleet anchored north of Kroneborg, awaiting the arrival of the Swedish fleet. After connecting with the Swedes, the Allies became 59 ships of the line, against 29 Danish. The Anglo-Dutch-Swedish fleet shelled the Danish capital. But the fire was ineffective, since the Allied ships could not reach the optimal distance, the Danes installed booms, flooded the ships and fired from floating batteries. Then on August 4, under the cover of ship fire south of Kroneborg, a landing was led, led by the Swedish king Charles XII himself. The Swedes approached Copenhagen and Karl promised to completely destroy the Danish capital in case of resistance.
The Danes decided to capitulate. 7 (18) August 1700, the Travendale peace was concluded. Denmark refused an alliance with Russia and Saxony, recognized the sovereignty of Holstein and pledged to pay her in compensation for the military costs of 260 thousand Reichstailers. The Danes also pledged not to assist the opponents of Sweden. Karl XII was able to secure his rear and free up troops to transfer them to the Baltic against the Saxon-Polish and Russian army. Thus, England and Holland helped Sweden at the very beginning of the war to bring down the offensive outburst of the powers of the Northern Union and to seize the strategic initiative in the war. At the same time, it was possible to withdraw Denmark, which had a strong fleet, for nine years from the war. Poland and Russia did not have strong fleets in the Baltic.
Not reassured at the defeat of Denmark, the English king in September 1700 of the year, through his ambassador in The Hague, Sangopa offered his mediation in the peace negotiations between Sweden and Russia. In October 1700, the English king sent a letter to the Russian tsar, insisting on ending the war and accepting the mediation of England in making peace between the warring parties. By the time the English proposal reached Peter Alekseevich, the Russian army was defeated near Narva. Therefore, Peter agreed to peace negotiations. However, the peace negotiations were hindered by the ambition of Charles XII. The young Swedish monarch considered war his life vocation and planned to repeat the feat of Alexander of Macedon, he rejected the offer of London. As a result, the Northern War continued, and England took the position of friendly neutrality towards Sweden. In June, 1701, the Russian ambassador to The Hague, A. Matveyev, said that England and Holland want Sweden to win and are not inclined to recognize the interests of Russia.
However, the British were not going to break off trade relations with Russia. Trade with Russia was profitable for England. The volume of trade since the beginning of the war has seriously increased. Exports from Russia to England increased from 64,1 thousand pounds sterling to 223,4 thousand pounds sterling. Of the ships that came to Archangelsk annually to 100, half were English. The growth of trade was associated with war: both powers fought. England traditionally built a fleet of Russian materials. The British needed a ship pine for masts and a rai, hemp for ropes, flax for sails, pitch and tar. The halt in deliveries meant that the military and commercial ships of England would be left without a significant part of the rigging. And Russia bought materials for weapons and equipment of the army (ammunition, sulfur, lead, copper, cloth for the army, etc.). In addition, the growth of trade, increased cash flow.
In addition, the British complicated trade relations with Sweden. In 1703, the Swedish pitch company demanded that the British bought in Sweden tar and tar were transported on Swedish ships and at prices set by the Swedes. This requirement was unacceptable for the British. The English Parliament and the government tried to reorient themselves to their colonies, organizing the production of masted wood, tar, tar and hemp there. They even introduced cash prizes for the importation of these goods from the American colonies. In the colonies, laws were introduced on the protection of ship timber, as well as forests, where tar and tar were mined.
In 1703, the Extraordinary Envoy of the French King Louis XIV arrived in Moscow. The French monarch wanted to win over Russia. Ambassador de Blues was to ensure that Russia opposed Austria and made peace with Sweden through the mediation of France. At the same time, the Russian ambassador in Copenhagen, on behalf of the French king, made three proposals: to elect France as a mediator in concluding peace between Russia and Sweden; establish allied and friendly relations between Russia and France; withdraw all Russian trade from the hands of the British and the Dutch and pass it on to the French.
It is clear that the British have found out about this and decided to thwart the plans of the French monarch. At the end of 1704, Queen Enna’s Extraordinary Envoy (William died) Charles Vitworth was sent to Russia. He arrived in Moscow in February 1705 of the year. Whitworth was to gain trade privileges for England and collect intelligence information about Russia, its armed forces, economics, finance, etc. Whitworth collected information and transmitted to London. Already 25 March 1705, he gave the first information about the Russian fleet in the Sea of Azov. In the summer, he clarified and supplemented them. For more complete information, the English ambassador accompanied the Russian tsar in his campaigns. In September 1708, he gave a detailed report on the state of the Russian army, indicating the weakest point in the Russian defense system. According to him, the Swedish troops can strike the most sensitive blow by attacking Ingria and Petersburg. The English ambassador reported data on the Russian regiments that defended the area, which at the moment were half-strength and consisted mainly of recruits. He reported data on the Peter and Paul Fortress and gave a list of the ships of the Russian Baltic Fleet, indicating their deployment.
An interesting fact is that this report coincides with the Swedish attack on St. Petersburg. In the autumn of 1708, the 12-thousand Swedish corps under the command of General G. Liebecker moved from Vyborg to St. Petersburg. Swedish troops forced the Neva River near the confluence of the r. Tosno. However, Liebecker did not dare to storm Petersburg, rounded him from the south and went to the coast of the Gulf of Finland, then moved to the Koporsky Bay. At this time, Swedish troops were exposed by the Russian cavalry and the local population (self-defense units). The Swedes were forced to take ships and evacuate to Finland.
In the spring of 1705, Vitvort held talks with the head of the Ambassadorial Order, F. Golovin, and his secretary, P. Shafirov. Golovin made it clear to the British that if England mediated in peace negotiations, the British would be satisfied with the trading interests. Whitworth had no right to negotiate on this topic. At this point, London was advantageous for Russia and Sweden to continue the war. Relations between the British and the Swedes deteriorated, and the interests of England demanded that Sweden continue the war and could not help France.
Russia at that moment was trying to conclude a trade agreement with England and start trading through Petersburg and Narva. Pyotr Alekseevich repeatedly expressed his wish to the British Ambassador that the British ships would come not only to Arkhangelsk, but also to the new Russian ports on the Baltic Sea. The Russian Tsar promised particularly favorable conditions for the export of goods needed by England. But London stubbornly did not want to trade across the Baltic, citing the danger from the Swedish privateers. At the same time, the British were afraid that if they did not start trading through the Baltic ports, then other countries could seize most of the trade with Russia. Vitvort in his reports wrote about this threat. So, the first Dutch ship arrived in St. Petersburg in October 1703 of the year. The Dutch brought salt, wine and other goods. Peter generously rewarded the captain and the crew. In 1705, Denmark, with a special declaration of its envoy in the Swedish capital, expressed a strong desire to start trading through Narva and St. Petersburg. Denmark such trade was very profitable, as it received the opportunity to receive additional fees for the passage of ships through the Sound, the strait separating Sweden from the Danish island of Zeeland.
Therefore, the English Ambassador urged the government to decide on the start of British trade with Russia in the Baltic, pointing to the threat of Dutch and Danish competition. Vitvort pointed out that freight (freight charge) from St. Petersburg is twice as cheap as from Arkhangelsk. In addition, the duties in the Baltic ports, after their capture by the Russians, became half the duties that were under Swedish rule. The Englishman also pointed to the possibility of the development of English trade with Persia (mainly silk) through Russia. Vitvort pointed to the senselessness of the ban on the departure of British shipbuilders in Russia. In his opinion, this measure will not prevent the development of Russian shipbuilding, since England alone cannot prevent this process. Russia can send young people to study in Holland or France, they also put the ship masters.
26-year-old Peter I. A portrait of Kneller's brush was presented by Peter in 1698 to the English king.
To be continued ...