ANDREAS PETER, COUNT VON BERNSTORFF (1735-1797), Danish statesman, was born at Hanover on the 28th of August 17 3 5.
His career was determined by his uncle, Johann Hartwig Ernst Bernstorff, who early discerned the talents of his nephew and induced him to study in the German and Swiss universities and travel for some years in Italy, France, England and Holland, to prepare himself for a statesman's career.
In April 1773 Bernstorff was transferred to the position for which he was especially fitted, the ministry of foreign affairs, with which he combined the presidency of the German chancery (for Schleswig-Holstein).
His predecessor, Adolf Siegfried Osten, had been dismissed because he was not persona grata at St Petersburg, and Bernstorff's first official act was to conclude the negotiations which had long been pending with the grand-duke Paul as duke of Holstein-Gottorp. The result was the exchangetreaty of the 1st of June (May 21 O.S.) 1773, confirming the previous treaty of 1767 (see Bernstorff, H.
For this mischievous and immoral alliance, which bound Denmark to the wheels of the Russian empress's chariot and sought to interfere in the internal affairs of a neighbouring state, Bernstorff was scarcely responsible, for the preliminaries had been definitely settled in his uncle's time and he merely concluded them.
Starting from the hypothesis that Sweden was "DenmarkNorway's most active and irreconcilable enemy," Bernstorff logically included France, the secular ally of Sweden, among the hostile powers with whom an alliance was to be avoided, and drew near to Great Britain as the natural foe of France, especially during the American War of Independence, and this too despite the irritation occasioned in Denmark-Norway by Great Britain's masterful interpretation of the expression "contraband."
This league was very similar to one proposed by Bernstorff himself in September 1778 for enforcing the principle "a free ship makes the cargo free"; but as now presented by Russia, he rightly regarded it as directed exclusively against England.
This independence caused great wrath at St Petersburg, where Bernstorff was accused of disloyalty, and ultimately sacrificed to the resentment of the Russian government (13th of November 1780), the more readily as he already disagreed on many important points of domestic administration with the prime minister Haegh Guldberg.
The government, under the direction of such enlightened ministers as Bernstorff, Reventlow and others, held the mean between Struensee's extravagant cosmopolitanism and Guldberg's stiff conservatism.
In such noble projects of reform as the emancipation of the serfs (see Reventlow) Bernstorff took a leading part, and so closely did he associate himself with everything Danish, so popular did he become in the Danish capital, that a Swedish diplomatist expressed the opinion that henceforth Bernstorff could not be removed without danger.
As Bernstorff had predicted, Panin's neutrality project had resulted in a breach between Great Britain and Russia.
Bernstorff was bound by treaty to assist Russia in such a contingency, but he took care that the assistance so rendered should be as trifling as possible, to avoid offending Great Britain and Prussia.
Ill-disposed as Bernstorff was towards the Jacobins, he now condemned on principle any interference in the domestic affairs of France, and he was persuaded that Denmark's safest policy was to keep clear of every anti-French coalition.
Count Bernstorff was twice married, his wives being the two sisters of the writers Counts Christian and Friedrich Leopold zu Stolberg.
P. Bernstorff (Copenhagen, 1800); Aage Friis, A.
P. Bernstorff og 0.
JOHANN HARTWIG ERNST BERNSTORFF, COUNT VON (1712-1772), Danish statesman, who came of a very ancient Mecklenburg family, was the son of Joachim Engelke, Freiherr von Bernstorff, chamberlain to the elector of Hanover, and was born on the 13th of May 1712.
His maternal grandfather, Andreas Gottlieb Bernstorff (1640-1726), had been one of the ablest ministers of George I., and under his guidance Johann was very carefully educated, acquiring amongst other things that intimate knowledge of the leading European languages, especially French, which ever afterwards distinguished him.
Amidst all these perplexities Bernstorff approved himself a consummate statesman.
The coolness and firmness of Bernstorff saved the situation.
Bernstorff was one of the first to recognize the impotence of the French monarchy after the Seven Years' War, and in 1763 he considered it expedient to exchange the French for the Russian alliance, which was cemented by the treaty of the 28th of April (March i I) 1765.
For his part in this treaty Bernstorff was created count.
It is remarkable, however, that though Bernstorff ruled Denmark for twenty years he never learnt Danish.
Nine months later, on the 13th of September 1770, Bernstorff was dismissed as the result of Struensee's intrigues, and, rejecting the brilliant offers of Catherine II.
Bernstorff was not only one of the ablest but one of the noblest and most conscientious statesmen of his day.
Bernstorff, who aimed at steering clear of all foreign complications and preserving inviolable the neutrality of Denmark.
The same policy was victoriously pursued by his nephew and pupil Andreas Bernstorff, an even greater man than the elder Bernstorff, who controlled the foreign policy of Denmark from 1773 to 1778, and again from 1784 till his death in 1797.
The period of the younger Bernstorff synchronizes with the greater part of the Christian VII., 766 = long reign of Christian VII.
Bernstorff and the crown prince were the most zealous advocates of the peasantry in the council of state; but the honour of bringing the whole peasant question within the range of practical politics undoubtedly belongs to C. D.
Dictatorially presented as they were, these terms were liberal and even generous; and if a great statesman like Bernstorff had been at the head of affairs in Copenhagen, he would, no doubt, have accepted them, even if with a wry face.
Bernstorff irritated him by his grand airs of conscious superiority.
But though a Prussian intrigue was set up for the supersession of Bernstorff by Moltke, the latter, convinced that Bernstorff was the right man in the right place, supported him with unswerving loyalty.