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very material communicated in the present volume. It is enough to observe, that the forces of Sweden in 1808, might, with British assistance, have been competent to defend Finland, (even after the treacherous surrender of Sweaborg,) had not the king changed his plan so often, and directed his attention to so many objects at once.

This continued vacillation did not proceed from imbecillity; those who knew him best might bear witness to his penetration, his acuteness, bis industry, and his knowledge of business : but it was rather the fault of the temper than of the head-it was a jealousy of all advice and remonstrance, an impatience to have his orders executed as soon as given, and a want of consideration for the necessities and feelings of those whom he employed, which made him issue commands, of which, if he had taken time for retlection, he had sufficient understanding to see the impossibility. Such a character, under a monarchy properly limited, and where the controul, and not the origin of measures resides with the sovereign, might have been rendered exceedingly valuable; but this was unhappily not the case in Sweden. The year 1808 passed away in a series of misfortunes which exhausted the patience, and shook the confidence of all descriptions of people, who beheld Finland lost, and Stockholm itself menaced at the same time from Norway and from Russia. The troops of the latter power were rapidly advancing towards Aland and Stockholm, and a partition of the whole Swedish monarchy, which should leave the river Motala a boundary between the conquerors, was now confidently spoken of as an event not only probable, but almost certain; while the measures which Gustavus pursued to prepare his subjects for resistance, were of a kind which certainly had an immediate tendency to extinguish all remaining attachment to his person, and to accelerate those events, for which the minds of men were even then preparing. A conscription on the French system was for the first time proposed in Sweden; a measure odious in itself, ayd contrary alike to the letter and spirit of the law. The ministers remonstrated, that without the sanction of the diet, such a step was perfectly illegal ; but a fatal clause, wbich had been inserted in the new constitution, to raise men and money at discretion in case of great necessity, encouraged the king to proceed, not only in the levy of 30,000 men between 19 and 25 years of age, (an enormous drain on a population of two millions and a half,) but in a war tax nearly amounting to twelve times the sum which had been granted by the diet last assembled. For these measures after all, or something like them, the necessity was so urgent, that, had a diet been called; had peace been demonstrated to be impracticable; or lastly, had the king possessed either personal popularity, or an undoubted title to the crown, little doubt can be entertained but the Swedes would have endured their bur

then,

then. Unfortunately all these motives for cheerful obedience were wanting, negotiation had been never tried, and peace therefore was generally supposed attainable, but for the obstinacy of the king. The system of defence was obviously bad, and both soldiers and peasantry grudged those efforts and sufferings, which they could hardly hope would terminate in the preservation of their country. The train, however, of that explosion which burled the king from his throne, was supplied by his own conduct to his guards. One of their battalions had misbehaved in Finland, and Gustavus disgraced the whole body, wherever stationed, to the bottom of the army list. A great number of officers, many of whom the king was at this very time decorating with different orders, as the acknowledgment of meritorious services, were by this step injured and affronted past forgiveness; and the manner in which the western army and the new trained militia were allowed to remain without pay, without clothing, or what is of almost equal consequence to the soldier's allegiance, without employment, united the whole body in an uniform feeling of disaffection.

The good genius of Gustavus still made an effort for his safety, in suggesting a plan to his ministers which, though the present writer taxes it with evident impolicy, if not treachery, appears to have been at least the most honest method of compelling the king to a change of system. It was proposed that all the officers of state should at once throw up their situations, that they should protest in form against the measures of the government, and call on the king to assemble a diet without loss of time. Had this step been taken sooner, and immediately after his return from Germany, it would probably have produced the desired effect, even with his impracticable temper, or it would at last have amply justified any subsequent measures of resistance, which his obstinacy should have rendered necessary. But the monient for such a step was now no inore, the frontiers were actually in possession of hostile armies, and the civil war, which would probably have followed, must have ended in the great object of their common alarm, the conquest and partition of Sweden. About the beyiming of the year 1809, many conferences had been held arnong the leading nobility, and some of the richer merchants of Stockholm, as to the best method of effecting a revolution; but amid the variety of plans which were suggested, there was none which did not at first appear too violent; and it was apparent, from the slowness and irresolution of their proceedings, that they were in truth unwilling conspirators. Justice demands this avowal at our hands; and it is also barely doing them justice to recollect that every means of conciliation, and of private entreaty appears to have been first attempted, before thie idea of a revolution was entertained, that whatever were the

rectitude

rectitude of the king's principles, his measures were such as left the country no chance for escaping the chains of Russia, and that the invaders were at that period so confident of success, that Alópeus, the Russian minister, was already appointed governor of Stockholm. The different plans meantime of revolution were a matter of open and fearless conversation in the city, and various parties formed, who suggested the contiding of the regency to the queen during the minority of her son, or the election of Prince Charles as protector. The first was known to be approved by Russia, but it involved the necessity of a minor sovereign in times which required no coinmon talents and experience; and what made still more impression on the minds of men, the perpetuation of a royal branch which they considered as spurious. The second had not the same objections, and was therefore adopted, but while these coffee-house discussions were proceeding, the time for action slipt away; and after various disputes, and fears and difficulties, a letter was dispatched to the confederates in the western army, that all plans of a conspiracy were abandoned. The officers, however, on the staff of that army were most of them of the number of those guards who had been lately offended, and the soldiers themselves had suffered so greatly from want of clothing and pay, that they were in a state completely ripe for mutiny. Under the command of a popular lieutenant-colonel, they immediately began their march for Stockholm, at which place, when the first tidings of their rising were brought, the conspirators appear to have abandoned all intention of persevering. The conduct of Gustavus on receiving the news was, though violent, apparently the best he could pursue; he sent to seize the silver in the bank, pleading that he might as well take it as leave it for the rebels, and prepared to set out the following morning to join the army of Scania, where, as no pains had been taken to prepare it for revolt, there is little doubt his authority would have been acknowledged. His ministers, however, for they were his own ministers, who were, as we have already observed, the foremost in the plot, were awakened to the necessity of immediate decisiou: and that very measure about which they had so long hesitated as dangerous or impracticable, was now begun and finished in the course of half an hour, without a drop of blood being spilt, or any person but the king and a very few military officers being subjected to even a temporary contivement. Nor when we compare the simple deposition of Gustavus the Third, the arrangements which were made for his maintenance, and the permission sought and obtained for his unmolested residence in a foreign country, with the far different measure which had been dealt to the Emperor Paul, and the unhappy and virtuous Louis the Sixteenth, can we fail to draw conclusions highly favourable, if not to the con

spirators

sitive mercy

spirators themselves, at least to the people of which they were a part, and to that national spirit and feeling, with which they were forced to comply.

In the uprightness of his private character, and the obstinate errors of his public policy, Gustavus indeed nearly resembled our own James the Second; and those who may not perhaps allow that an equal necessity existed for altering the dynasty of Sweden, to that which was felt and acknowledged by England in 1888, must yet acknowledge, that in the moderation, the wisdom, the po

with which the measure was carried into effect, a strong family resemblance may be traced to the conduct of that nation, whom the Swedes most resemble in language and in personal appearance.

One very remarkable feature in this and the other appeals to the public, drawn up by the Swedish revolutionary government, is their perfect silence respecting that which has been by the rest of Europe assigned as the ostensible reason of their conduct, and which had it been true, would have most completely justified the appointment of a regent;-we mean the insanity of Gustavus. Was this in delicacy to his supposed uncle the present king, the partaker in the same blood and the same infirmities ? Was it because, however it might justify a regency, it could not vindicate an alteration of dynasty ? Or is it not rather a mark that no certain or satisfactory evidence could be given to prove an alienation of mind; that in fact those who associated with the king were most convinced of his talents—talents, not competent perhaps for times like those in which his lot had fallen; but sufficient, had they been accompanied with a milder temper, and a jealousy of advice less pertinacious, to have made him as popular and as happy as he was undoubtedly well disposed and honourable. As it is, Gustavus has carried with him into his exile, a comforter, and a support which few unfortunate monarchs have possessed in an equal degree, the recollection of a reign past, in mistaken, indeed, but sincere, endeavours to fulfil the duties of his office, and a strong and deeply planted spirit of religion, which, tinctured as it may have been by absurdity or fanaticism, is not the less powerful or praise-worthy; a piety of that ardent and genuine tone, which supported of old the martyr at the stake, and the soldier in the battle, and which, however obloquy or misfortune on earth pursue the steps of its possessor, must still support him with a courage superior to that of earthly growth, inasmuch as its hopes are always near, and its reward perpetually present.

But with all our respect for Gustavus, (a respect not to be diminished by the uncertainty of his birth, and greatly increased by his firmness under misfortune,) we prefer assuredly the happiness of a

brave

brave nation, to the interests of any individual, however meritorious; we are far from denying that the circumstances here shortly mentioned were a sufficient justification to those who are now at the head of Sweden, for the manner in which their power was obtained; and we ardently wish, a wish in which the exiled Gustavus himself would perhaps sincerely join, that reipublica Gothicæ bene vortat! That the revolution may end well however, much yet remains to be done; many abuses to be remedied, and some, which from the rank of those who carried it into effect, are perhaps least likely to be trenched upon. If the nobles, whose plan the present structure may be considered, are really actuated by sufficient patriotism to abolish their own oppressive rights, and submit to bear an equal portion of the burthens of their country; if the new dynasty be able, as is its obvious interest, to support itself against the aristocracy, by a close alliance with the three other estates; and if, now that diets are necessary and frequent, the deputies of the peasants rise into more consideration, and are selected from a higher rank of individuals than those who at present till the office;-freedom, and its consequent prosperity may again set Sweden at the head of the north. But if the people find that the fair words of their superiors have only ended in a return to the old hateful oligarchy; that the new monarchs are to be but as tools in the hands of the senate; and that the promised reformation has never proceeded beyond its preparatory revolution; the evil days of the North are even now hardly begun; a disputed succession and a civil war, or the far worse evils of a revolution after the jacobin school, may find a soil ready prepared for their reception, till barbarism and tyranny again return to the seats whence the just Gustavus expelled them; and that subjection to Russia, which is the great object of their present alarm, is sought for by their posterity, as a more tolerable misery than the chains which their own hands have forged.

Of the book itself which has suggested these reflections, we have already expressed our opinion :--the translation is modest, unaffected, and apparently faithful; but there are a good many errors of the

press, and the names of places and persons are often lamentably mispelt; the province of Upland is called A pland; Major Afvedson, Arvudson, and several other Swedish officers are introduced under aliases, which their friends in England can hardly recognize : these are of no great consequence, but might be easily avoided. A portrait of Gustavus is given, taken during his residence at Gripsholm, and the Appendix gives, more fully than we have yet seen elsewhere, his conversation with Marshal Brune and Sir John Moore.

ART.

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