From Ernst Frederich von Walterstorff
London 31st May 1803
I will now according to my promise when I left St: Croix1 acquaint You of my safe arrival at Portsmouth the 27th. instant and write You a few lines about the present state of politics.
You may think of our surprize, Sir, when we learned from an English Brig of war in the Channel that England had declared war against France and that hostilities had actually commenced.2 Who can foretell what will be the result of this war and to what extent it will go? I do not conceive it possible that the continental powers, particularly, Austria, with regard to Italy can avoid getting into it. Many people think that no cordial peace can be established between England and France as long as Bonaparte lives and is at the head of the french Government, because the English Govt. is afraid of his ambition. I fear the war will be carried on with great animosity. The neutral powers will, I think, be respected by the English, at least untill England has formed some strong continental connections. Both parties are now courting Russia and everybody must be anxious to know what plan the Court of St. Petersbourg will adopt. I do not think that the tranquillity of Denmark will be affected, at least not for the present. Denmark is on the most friendly term with Russia and the Danish Minister enjoys the greatest consideration at Petersburg.3 I think however that the Neutral should act with the great prudence and circumspection and be very cautious in granting passes to Ships.
Give me leave, Sir, to introduce to Your acquaintance Mr Peterson,4 who is appointed Danish Consul General in america; he is a well informed man, without any kind of pretentions, and will, I hope, be approved of by the Government of the United States. It is a great loss to Your Government that you have not Mr King5 here in the present situation of affairs.
My best respects attend Mrs. Hamilton. Believe me to be with the greatest consideration and a very sincere attachment,
Dear Sir Your Most obedt. humble Servant
Major General Alexr. Hamilton
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
2. On May 14, 1803, Great Britain declared war on France because of a dispute between the two countries concerning the possession and occupation of the island of Malta. News of the war in Europe appeared in the New-York Evening Post on June 17, 1803.
3. Niels Rosenkrantz was the Danish Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at St. Petersburg from June 11, 1802, to February 17, 1804.
4. Peder Pedersen, a lawyer, became acting Danish consul in Tangiers in 1799. Later that year he was appointed consul at Tangiers and held that position until 1801. In 1802 he was appointed secretary at the consulate, and later in 1802 was given the title of consul and sent to Philadelphia, where he served as chargé d’affaires until 1831.