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[267] and Copenhagen.1 Through the explanations of the
Chap. XII.} 1779
king of Prussia, every displeasure was removed from the mind of Vergennes, and his answer to the Russian note drew from Count Panin the remark to the French minister at Petersburg: ‘Once more I give you my word that we have no engagement with England whatever.’2

The oppressed maritime powers continued to lay their complaints before the empress of Russia; so that the study of neutral rights occupied her mind till she came to consider herself singled out to take the lead in their defence, and could with difficulty be withheld from sending to England very disagreeable remonstrances on the subject. The extraordinary prosperity of the Russians confirmed them in their notions of their own greatness and power.

When, in the middle of July, Harris presented the Spanish declaration of war against England to Count Panin, he replied ministerially: ‘Great Britain has by its own haughty conduct brought down all its misfortunes on itself; they are now at their height; you must consent to any concessions to obtain peace; and you can expect neither assistance from your friends nor forbearance from your enemies.’ In subsequent conversations Panin ever held the same language and advanced the same opinions.

Count Panin,’ wrote Harris, ‘receives every idea from his Prussian Majesty and adopts it without reflection;’ and the indefatigable envoy, giving up all hope of reclaiming him, undertook to circumvent him through the influence of Prince Potemkin,

1 Frederic to Goltz, 17 and 24 April, 1779.

2 Corberon to Vergennes, 28 May, 1779.

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