In 1813, a sally being made by the French garrison on an advanceguard of the Russians under Benckendorff, the citizens of Breda again made themselves masters of the town.
"ALEXANDER BENCKENDORFF, COUNT (1849-1917), Russian diplomat, was born in 1849.
In this way Count Benckendorff received his initiation into the spirit of an Anglo-Russian rapprochement even before it actually resulted in an Entente.
Count Benckendorff had an important share in bringing about this change.
At a very critical moment, when the Kaiser had actually mesmerized Nicholas II into the conclusion of a secret and personal convention at Bjdrko, which purported to aim at a defensive agreement, but would have led by necessity to the disruption of the FrancoRussian Alliance and to the vassalage of Russia in a continental league against England, Count Benckendorff was invited to Copenhagen and had an opportunity of serving as a confidential intermediary between Russia and Great Britain.
The Kaiser was exceedingly angry and gave vent to his feelings in a letter to "Nicky:" "Like brigands in a wood he has sent Benckendorff - your Ambassador - to Copenhagen on a clandestine mission to your mother, with the instructions to win her over to influence you for a policy against me.
Tsar Nicholas's reply to this letter shows in what esteem Count Benckendorff was held by his sovereign: - "Benckendorff went by my permission as my mother invited him to come as a friend of the Danish family.
Benckendorff is a loyal subject and a real gentleman.
Benckendorff in London was excellently placed to keep up and to develop this policy.
Unpleasant retreats had to be effected twice, before the Kaiser "in shining armour:" the first time after Aehrenthal's annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the second after the blocking of the Serbian advance towards the Adriatic. Benckendorff was one of those who knew how to abide his time, and he did not lose heart.