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men their feelings of hereditary respect, and their accustomed habits of loyalty, as that the separation of a sovereign from his people can be made without a pang. Nero himself was regretted by the rabble and the soldiery; and to his army in general, Gustavus had been a kind and indulgent master. Nor can it be said that either his character, or even the kind of misconduct of which he had been guilty, was by any means calculated to alienate the esteem of men so frugal, so pious, and so fond of military renown, as the lower order of Swedes. And, granting that the King of the Goths and Vandals was himself unworthy or incompetent to reign, what had his children done, whose tender age rendered them susceptible of any impression which might be given them, and whose education was in the hands of their granduncle and their country? He who seeks for a solution of these difficulties in the
supposed intrigues and influence of France and Russia, will still be at a loss to discover why the Prince of Augustenburg was, in the first instance, elected as successor to the crowi, who was certainly not a creature of either, or why two great foreign powers should be anxious to get rid of so ample a field for intrigue as would have been offered by a minority in Sweden. For ourselves, indeed, we have always been inclined to deprecate that superstitious weakness which affects to trace the power and malice of our enemy in transactions over which he could have little controul, or in results often unfavourable to his interests. To the open violence of France Sweden is inaccessible, and when we reflect that the same ministry who dethroned Gustavus have, by no means, shewn themselves the passive tools of Buonaparte, we must recur, apparently, to other springs of action than French intrigue, to account for what has taken place. Such an explanation, however, will not be found in the present cautious and partial manifesto. Little is contained in its pages which has not already appeared, if we except some insinuations which are not proved, against the personal courage of the king, and some unimportant anecdotes of his manner of spelling Napoleon, and his belief in Jung's interpretation of the Apocalypse. Contemporary facts, indeed, are always collected at a disadvantage, and official collections are, for obvious reasons, of all others, the least satisfactory. It is sufficiently plain, however, from what is said, or rather what is not said, in the present statement, that though a more prudent conduct might, doubtless, have preserved his crown, yet the misfortunes of Gustavus the IV th must have originated in causes anterior to and independent of those acts of misconduct which are here so formally adduced to justify his deposition. From the death of Charles' the XIIth to the accession of Gus
tavus the IIld, the constitution of Sweden had been, in fact, if not in form, an oligarchy, distinguished by the appropriate errors of that frugal and peaceable, but feeble and obnoxious, system of government, a system whose effect it is to promote the tranquillity of its subjects without engaging their affections; whose sin is distrust, and whose punishment is insecurity; and which, of all others, presents the fairest tield for the intrigues and influence of ambitious neighbours. To this influence, indeed, the poverty of Sweden has at all times rendered her peculiarly liable. The national wealth (in its whole result inconsiderable) is more equally divided there than in the other continental kingdoms; there are no great capitalists, no lords of overwhelming estates ; and this very circumstance, which contributes, in a material degree, to the internal happiness of the country, yet, since the great Swedish families have been taught to imitate the vices of France, or the enormous expenditure of the Russian grandees, has, from their want of adequate means, inevitably rendered them embarrassed and corrupt.
There have never been wanting in Sweden a Russian and a French party under the direction, and almost avowedly in the
of one or other of the rival cabinets; but at no period was this abuse more visible or more detested by the nation than at the accession of Gustavus the IIId. The revolution which followed was called for by the general voice of the people and soldiery, and, but for two errors, it might have been as beneficial to Sweden as its accomplishment was easy and bloodless. The first and most striking of these was granting the supplies for the life of the monarch instead of from year to year. The second was not making ministers responsible for the actions of the sovereign. The consequences of the one are obvious ; those of the other were, first, to produce an unfortunate and meddling activity in the monarch which deranged, by officious interference, every department in turn; and, secondly, to make, not the monarch judge of his minister's conduct, but the ministers critics on that of their master. It had been the fault of the former constitution to deprive the king of his tribunitian veto, and of that controul over all public measures without which monarchy is but a name, and which, in all limited monarchies, is the best and most popular check to the aristocracy; but though the king had been nothing in the old constitution, it was not wise to make himn every thing in the new. Gustavus had heard how Louis the XIVth
Seul, sans ministres, à l'exemple des Dieux,
Faisait tout par soi même, voyait tout par ses yeux. He had heard the praises of Peter and of Frederic, in the one of whom such exertions had been necessary, and in the other had been so tempered with prudence as to be harmless, and, like the va
well-meaning projector, Joseph the Ild, would be at once his own secretary, his own treasurer, his own chancellor, and his own su- , perintendant of the dock-yards. In consequence, he himself bore the blame of whatever went amiss ; but, as he did not like this responsibility, he soon got rid, as far as lay in his power, of those diets to which he still was nominally answerable. These assemblies were rarely convened; were called together under the influence of drawn swords and lighted matches, and were exhorted to confine their deliberations to subjects proposed by the crown. The people soon saw that the king had only broken the power
of the senate to seize on it himself; they found, to their cost, that the vaunted activity of the new governinent required heavier taxes and greater sacrifices than the old; and their affection for the monarch's person died away as his person becanie identified with his administration. Nor did Gustavus, though passionately fond of popularity, proceed in a manner which was likely long to maintain him in the hearts of his subjects. He was always acting some stage part or other, and aiming at the praise bestowed on different illustrious characters without considering the varieties of circumstances and situation. He would be a Charles the XIIth, without military talent or rational objects of warfare ; a Louis the XIV th, amid a frugal, poor, and thoughtful people; a Peter the Ist, in a country where not foreign refinements, but national resources, were wanting; a Christina, and still maintain his kingdom. He rambled over Europe, an unpopular measure always in a sovereign, and while he fancied hiinself imitating the Czar, brought home only the fopperies of France and Italy; Solomon's apes and peacocks, omitting the gold and silver and ivory! He established an opera where the public care little for music, and which, far from maintaining itself, became a heavy burthen on the civil list. He had an institution for the arts, a gallery, a porcelain manufactory, praiseworthy in themselves, no doubt, but for all of which fresh severities were necessary in the collection of taxes; and the galas of Drotningholm, which vainly attempted to rival Versailles or Czarscovzelo, served only to increase his debts and disgust his subjects. He engaged in a needless expedition against Russia, and a still more absurd one against France, and fell, at last, a victim to that dark spirit which even then began to walk forth for the desolation of Europe, regretted by few but the musicians and dancing girls, to whom he had, indeed, been a bountiful patron.
The minority of his son was, like most other minorities, a series of temporizing policy, which was, however, of considerable use in quieting the ininds of men, and restoring, in part, the national finances; and though the regent Duke of Sudermania was accused by Russia and England of too great partiality to France,
his administration was well adapted to conciliate and repair. a fate too common to royal children, where the understanding is stimulated to a rapid precocity, which never receives the mellowing touches of experience, the young king displayed at an early age the promise of talents which his after life did not realize; and in his negociations for a marriage with the Russian princess, he appeared as a boy to more advantage than when manly feelings were more expected. The firmness which he then displayed was, unfortunately, too nearly akin to the obstinacy of his subsequent character, and, in the disputes which followed with his diet, soine traits were visible of the spirit of which he has since had reason to repent.
A fondness for show, a ridiculous attention to dress, and an attempt to revive, in the nineteenth century, the tournaments of the middle ages, were the first foibles exhibited in his character. Gustavus piqued himself on being the restorer of chivalry; the yacht which carried him between Sweden and Finland bore the name of the illustrious Amadis; the jousts at Drotningholm were observed with a solemnity which Lord Herbert of Cherbury would have perhaps admired; and when other follies had succeeded to riding in the lists, that the memory of such exploits might not be lost, the lacquered hauberks and silken hacquetons of the knight of the amaranth were suspended in the public armoury opposite to the massy cuirasses and buff coats of Gustavus Vasa and Gustavus Adolphus, the plain blue uniform of Charles the XIIth, and the Saxon, Danish, Polish, Russian, and Austrian banners acquired by those great men in far different battles from those of knight-errantry. The new national costume which had occupied the last years of his father's life was, indeed, discontinued, but the same invasion of the provinces of taylors and bootmakers was evinced and justified by the alledged necessity of counteracting the diffusion of French fashions and the republican confusion of ranks. The soldiers' dresses were regulated with the nicest care, and an ordinance was issued that noblemen should always wear blue velvet pantaloons. Such fopperies, harmless as they were, had a natural tendency to expose him to the contempt of his people ; nor did he possess, in any degree, that popular manner and insinuating address which preserved to his father the affection of even those who had ceased to respect him. Haughty, passionate, and piquing himself upon the inflexibility of his character, he had taken, in many respects, Charles the XIIth for his model; but it was in his failings only that he was able to resemble him.
It has been the never-failing punishment of the allies of France to contract some leaven of her debasing principles, her selfish and yoluptuous manners; and the praise which we have given to the
piety of the lower order of Swedes, is unfortunately to be reversed in speaking of their nobility, their merchants, and their army. The outward neglect of religion, the notoriety of prostitution among the middling and higher classes, and those other features of depravity delineated, though too coarsely, by Acerbi, left the public feeling but ill prepared for the amendment which his successor endeavoured to effect, whose pious zeal was unfortunately too little modified by temper and knowledge of the world not to give, in some instances, cause of discontent, and in others of ridicule. The minds of men were, in truth, exacerbated ; every thing displeased them, and this feeling was so evident to the king himself, that we may, perhaps, attribute his long and ill advised ramble through Germany in a great measure to the coldness with which he knew himself to be regarded at home. Certain it is, his letters to his ministry during that interval of absence, by no means breathe a parental or contented spirit, while the minute accuracy with which he expected the journal of his travels to be inserted in the Gazette, betrays either a jealousy of disadvantageous reports or a very whimsical vanity. But there was another circumstance which, more than all the rest, indisposed the Swedes to think favourably of their sovereign, nor must our readers be revolted if we attribute much real weight to the clandestine efforts of scandal, or descend to retail to them some portion of the gossip of so idle a town as Stockholm. Whatever may be the credit we attach to tales so improbable, the fact of their open circulation in good society was, in itself, a circumstance of dangerous moment, Though some may make light of libels,' (observes the judicious Selden,) they may serve to shew us how the wind sits. We learn how the wind sits by flinging a straw into the air, which we could not by casting up a stone. But the importance of libels is not to be estimated only as a sign of the times, nor, though at first perhaps rather symptoms than causes of unpopularity, do they fail to become, of themselves, substantial and efficient mischief. The rumours which are at first only believed because a sovereign is unpopular, have, nevertheless, a tendency to swell the general discontent; and if the effect of the opinion now alluded to did not materially contribute to produce the King of Sweden's fall, it was certainly one main cause why his unoffending son was involved in it.
Few men were more disposed to dissipation of all kinds than Gustavus the Third; but his constitution was naturally far froin vigorous, and the indulgencies of a neglected youth had undermined in a great measure whatever share of force he originally possessed. An opinion prevailed very generally in Stockholm, that he was unable to give an heir to the crown of Sweden ; and the ill-will which the people bore to his mother, the princess Ulrica of Prussia, gave