WORONZOW, Count Simon (1744-1832), Russian diplomat. ALS to George John, 2nd Earl Spencer. 1798

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WORONZOW, Count Simon (1744-1832), Russian diplomat. Autograph letter signed to ‘My Lord’[George John, 2nd Earl Spencer, First Lord of the Admiralty], 2 sides 4to, with integral blank, Richmond, 10th July 1798, in French, with translation into English written in pencil on the integral inside blank, thanking him for his letter informing him of the promotion of Lieutenant Michael Halliday as commander of the Woolwich, who Woronzow has recommended in profuse terms. He reports (translated) that ‘old Admiral Makazoff wrote me on the 21st of last month from Copenhagen, that he arrived there 2 days before, that he is occupied in providing himself with water, that the pilots have not arrived, but that if they do not arrive in 2 days, he will not wait for them and will leave without them, directing his course to the Nore’.

Count Woronzow resided in Britain from 1785 until his death in 1832, occupying the position of Russian ambassador to Great Britain between1785-1806. He was elevated to the rank of ambassador extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary in 1796, at an important time when Britain’s Navy was heavily involved in the French Revolution. Woronzow played an important diplomatic role in supporting the British Navy with assistance from the Imperial Russian Navy, a role which was rekindled following Nelson’s action at the Battle of the Nile in August 1798 (a few weeks after this letter was written). The French defeat opened the door to the formation of a Second Coalition in Europe, which Russia promptly signed up to, followed by England in 1799. Vice-Admiral Mikhail Makarov (Makazoff) had operated in conjunction with the British in the North Sea during the First Coalition (1793-1797).

 Michael Halliday (1757-1829) was born in St Petersburg where his father practiced as a physician. He entered the Royal Navy in 1782, and later obtained a Lieutenancy on a Russian first-rate. Upon the outbreak of war with the French he returned to service in the Royal Navy, saw action at sea, and as this letter testifies was promoted as Commander of the Woolwich in 1798, a 44 gun fifth rate, armed en flûte.

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