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empire of prejudice fhall be diffolved in thofe delightful climates; when the human intellect, once more restored to its natural vigour, fhall affume its rights; and when Freedom herself fhall perhaps erect her banner in thofe devoted territories where Defpotifm now only waves her blafting wand. Should fuch a period ever take place, the Eaft will

once more become the feat of fcience, of arts, and of politeness; and the northern regions will have reflected back to its fource that knowledge, and thofe communications, in an improved state, which emanated from that station where man first appeared in the character of a social, civilized, and rational being.

CHA P. V.

Remarks on the general State of Europe, in 1792. Affairs of SWEDEN. RetroJpect to the Revolution of 1772. Difcontents of the Nobility and others. Im- 7 prudence of Gufiavus III. Diets. Diet at Gefle. Confpiracy formed. The King receives an anonymous Leiter. Afinated at a Masquerade. Affaffin detected. Several of the Nobility arrested. Confeffion of Akarftrom. His Trial and Punishment. Sentence on the other Confpirators. Death and Charaler of the King. Wife conduct of the Regent. POLAND. Reflections on the combination of Defpots. Defenceless State of Poland. Perfidy of the Neighbouring States. Negligence of the King. Unjuft proceedings of Ruffia. Refolves of the Diet. Declaration of Ruffia. The Country invaded. Bafe conduct of Pruffia. Engagements between the Ruffians and Poles. Retreat of Prince Poniatowski. Cruelty of the Ruffians. General Engagement, and defeat of the Poles. Submiffion of Poland. Proteft of the Patriots.

HE clouds which had been

Tcollecting for fome time in the political horizon burst in the commencement of the year 1792 into a formidable and deftructive ftorm, and the wild and ferocious conteft which we forefaw between the felAfhness of defpotifm, and the unbridled exceffes of popular frenzy, deluged with blood the fairest plains of Europe.

Sweden, from the circumftances of its government, and the mifconduct of its monarch, was not likely to preferve, for any length of time, its internal tranquillity. The caufe of the public difcontents may very properly be traced up to the farous revolution in 1772; but to explain that, as well as the fubfequent events, a ftill further retrofoect will perhaps be necefiary

Few of the nations of Europe

have difplayed more fpirit and ener gy of character than the Swedes. The reclaiming of their liberty, under the juftly celebrated Gustavus Vafa, was a noble exertion, and confidering the darkness and general ignorance of the age in which it was effected, it was a wonderful event. Under the conduct of Guftavus Adolphus, Sweden stood forth as the bulwark of the proteftant caufe; and even under the frantic and falfe heroifm of Charles XII. the nation was refpected, while the wild projects of its king were held up as the mark for cenfure or for ridicule.

Under the different viciffitudes of fortune wich its military le ders experienced, the freedom of the nation ftill remained unviolated. Du

fing the military frenzy which prevailed under Charles XII. it may indeed be faid to have fuffered a momentary eclipfe, but that monarch expiated by his blood the injury he had done to his country; and on the acceffion of his fifter, Ulrica Eleanora, and her husband the prince of Heffe, a better order was established by a folemn compact between the fovereigns and the people.

The fecret hiftory of the late govei nment of France is not yet known with precifion; the memorials of its crimes and its machinations appear to have perished with their authors. Thus far however is fufficiently known, that from the period in which this ambitious court was disappointed in its project of univerfal dominion by the power of its arms, it applied itself with equal affiduity to the milder, but perhaps more certain means of intrigue and corruption. The traveller who retained his cloak against the fuder efforts of the storm, relinquished it to the gentle influence of warmth and funfhine. France conquered by negociation more than fhe could by her prowefs. Spain, Auftria, Naples, Rome, Sweden, Denmark, Turkey, even Portugal and Sardinia, with most of the fmaller ftates of Europe, were, from time to time, entirely under the direction of the cabinet of Versailles. The machinery acted with apparent automotion, but the fprings and directing forces were in the hands of the minifters of Louis.

It is generally believed that the late Swedish revolution was planned in the closet of Verfailles. Guftavus III. it is well known, refided there for fome months previous to his acceffion to the throne, and innumerable circumftances ferve to

prove that he acted on a preconcerta ed plan. The measure, in the views of France, had a deeper aim than the immature judgment of the young king led him to fufpect. While the only object appeared to be to make Guftavus abfolute; the, real intention was to render him the dependant and the penfioner of France, to detach him from his own people, the more firmly to bind him to a foreign intereft.

The circumftances of perfidy with which the revolution of 1772 was accompanied, were not likely to leave a favourable impreffion, with refpect to the character of the king, on the minds of the people, and par ticularly of the nobility. While he externally courted popularity, he was aiming to destroy whatever was popular in the state. While he made profeffions the most flattering, difclaimed the title of king, and af fected to call himself only the first citizen of the republic, he was meditating the downfall of all that wore even the guife of freedom. While with his lips he pronounced the fo4 lemn oath by which he bound himfelf to maintain inviolate the conftitution of 1720, his heart muft, have been internally confcious of the intended perjury. The revolution left many difcontented fpirits among perfons of the first rank and character in the nation: and baron Pechlin, a nobleman of great worth and popularity, was among the most ftrenuous of its opponents.

Defpotic power is often not lefs difficult to maintain than to acquire. Aftanding army was the only inftrument by which Guftavus could preferve his ufurped authority; and yet to levy exorbitant taxes would not, in fuch a fituation, have been a prudent meafure. The intrigues of France were, therefore, triumphant G 2

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on this occafion, he became of neceffity the penfioner of that court, and the connexion was not diffolved till the finances of France became unable to fupport the detail of the public expences, and till the wife and upright administration of Neckar di

rected the attention of the late monarch from foreign projects to internal economy and improvement.

Bereft of this refource, it is generally believed that the neceffitous king looked anxiously round for a fource to fupply his preffing wants, and it is as generally believed that his exertions in favour of the Otto man cause in the late war were very amply rewarded. Of the nature of the connexion which afterwards took place between Guftavus and the court of Peterburgh but little is known. It is probable that he was the dupe of that infatiable power, whofe views might be diftantly directed to the poffeffion of Sweden, when he had fufficiently exhaufted his force in the abfurd crufade in which under her influence he was about to engage.

In the mean time the Swedish nation had beheld the blood and treafure of the country fquandered away in quarrels, in which they could not poffibly have the moft diftant interest. They beheld fomething still more alarming. They beheld their king,. under the influence of an infiduous court, upon the point of raifing his ftandard in the public defence of the cause of defpotifm, and faw him degraded to be a captain of banditti, marching to plunder the treafures and crush the rifing liberties of France.

It was in the diets particularly that the high fpirit of the Swedish nobility was manifested, and the very first of thefe which met after the revolution, manifefted that the feeds of diffention had taken deep

root in the minds even of those who fwayed the higheft offices of the state. In this diet, which met in 1778, the king attempted to re eftabh the ancient claffes among the Swedish nobles, viz. the high nobility, the equeftrian order, and the gentry. Each class was to vote feparately, and as every question was to be dec'ded by the majority of the claffes, that is by the union of any two; the king attered himself that a majority in the fuperior claffes would be easily obtained, and that in this manner the people would be abused. with the fhew of reprefentation, while the fubftantial power remained in his own hands. In this expectation however the views of the foveregn were difappointed. The higherorders, who felt more and more their own confequence, proved untractable; and the lower houfe who faw themfelves degraded by this arrangement. entered into a state of implacable oppofition. A motion by Mr. Hummelkein to afcertain and limit the royal prerogative put a fudden termination to the diet. The registers, &c. were fealed up, and have ever fince remained unopened in the royal clofet.

The diet which affembled in 1786, was not more fatisfactory to the views of Gustavus. Most of the measures propofed by the king (the main object of which, it must be confeiled, was to replenish his exhaufted treafury) were rejected; and to obtain one point, the establishment of granaries under his infpection, he was obliged to relinquish a prerogative which was attached to the crown by the old conftitution from the reign of Guftavus Adolphus, that when the orders of the diet fhould be divided on any queftion, the determination fhould be referred to the king. This diet broke up with unequivocal fymptoms

Lymptoms of diffatisfaction, and with mutual recriminations between the king and its leading members.

It is not furprising that after fuch experience of their refractory conduct, the king should have been averse to the affembling of the lates at the commencement of the late war. The revolt of the army at Frederick adt, and the urgent want of fupplies compelled him however to affemble a diet again in 1789. The difcontents which had prevailed in the former fefions feemed to increase in this. Some popular laws were notwithstanding paffed; in particular the privileges which the nobility had before exclufively enjoyed, were by a law of this diet extended to all fettled inhabitan 6 of the kingdom. This circumftance, and the attention which was paid by the king to the inferior orders ol citizens probably enabled him, with the concurrence of the people, when the difputes increafed, to imprifon the leaders of the deaffected nobles, among whom were the barons Degeer, Maclean, Stiernhold, counts Horn, Ferfen, and Brahe, &c. The vicemarshal colonel Liljekorn obferved a very guarded conduct, but was generally confidered as ill affected to the measures of the court. Several young gentlemen of fpirit, among whom were counts Ribbing, Delagardie and Stenbock refigned their places; the ladies deferted the drawing rooms and affemblies; the plices of public amufement were clofed for want of a refort of company. the end a kind of compromife took place. The prifoners were fet at liberty, and the king obtained his object with refpect to fupplies, &c. and concluded the diet by abolishing the power of the fenate, which was a further ftep to arbitrary power and extremely obnoxious to the nobility.

In

Averfe as Guftavus muft neceffarily have been rendered to these affemblies, his neceffities in the beginning of 1792 compelled him once more to fammon a diet; but every precaution was employed to render it as little injurious as poffible to his " ufurped authority. The proclamation for affembling the diet was iffed only three weeks previous to its meeting, fo that the elections were made in hafte, and the patriotic party had no time to make any arrangements with respect to their choice of reprefentatives. Instead of affembling in the capital, the ftates were ordered to meet at Geffle, a folitary fituation on the Bothnic gulf, and 70 miles from Stockholm. The diet during the whole of its deliberations was furrounded by mercenary troops. Thus the expectations of the public were completely fruftrated. No reform was effected, nor was any cenfure paffed upon the king for the manifeft infraction of both the old and new conftitutions, in entering into war without the confent of the ftates. In his great object, however, Guftavus found himfe'f in fome meafure difappointed; the diet were still too parmonious to fatisfy either his necefities or his wifhes, and he was oblig. i to reft contented with only a part of his demand. The diet was diffolved on the 24th of February, 1792.

Though the diffatisfaction which the conduct of Guftavus had excited was thus prevented from burting into an open flame, till the evil was not eradicated, and the fword of faction impended over his devoted head. Not only the nobles, but the people were averfe to the crufade againit France. The country was already fufficiently exhaufted of its population and its industry; the finances were miferably deranged; immenfe loans G 3

had

had been negociated; and the people fuffered equally from oppreffive taxes, and a depreciated paper currency. Perhaps private and perfonal offences might co-operate with public grievances to arm against Guftavus that formidable confpiracy which was planned even under his roof, and might haften the catastrophe which we have now to record. Immediately on the diffolution of the diet at Geffle, his majetty returned to Stockholm, where he probably flattered himself that his addrefs and affability would diffipate the chagrin which his conduct at Gefle had produced. On the 16th of March, as he was preparing to attend a masquerade at the operahoufe, he received the following anonymous letter:

"SIRE,

"Deign to listen to the advice of a man who neither being attached to your fervice, nor defirous of your favour, flatters not your crimes, but is defirous of adverting the danger with which your life is menaced.

"Be affured, that a plot is formed to affaffinate you. Those who have entered into it, are furious at being foiled laft week, by the balls being countermanded. They have refolved to execute their scheme this day. Remain at home, avoid balls during the prefent year: thus the fanaticifm of criminality will be fuffered to evaporate, Avoid the road to

Haga (the king's country refidence); in fine, be upon your guard for at leaft a month.

"Do not endeavour to difcover the author of this letter; the damnable project against your life is come to his knowledge by accident; be aflured, however, that he has not any intereft whatever in forewarning you of your intended fate.

"If your mercenary troops had made ufe of any violence against the citizens at Gefle, the author of this letter would have fought against you fword in hand; but deteits affaflination."

The king, on reading the note, it is faid, was obferved to turn pale. He, however, affected to hear it with contempt, and to confider it as an infult to his courage, to attempt to deter him from enjoying his evening's entertainment. It was farther remarked that it was late before he entered the ball room; but after some time he fat down in a box with the compte D'Effen, and obferved that he was not deceived in his contempt for the letter, fince had there been any defign against his life, no time could be more favourable than that moment. He then mingled, without apprehenfion, among the crowd; and just as he was preparing to retire in company with the Pruffian ambaffador, he was furrounded by feveral perfons in masks, one of whom fired a pistol at the back of the king, and lodged the contents in his body. A fcene of dreadful confufion immediately enfued. The confpirators amidst the general tumult and alarm, had time to retire to other parts of the room, but one of them had previously dropped his pistols and a dagger close by the wounded king. A general order was given to all the company to unmask, and the doors were immediately clofed, but no perfon appeared with any particular diftinguishing marks of guilt. The king was immediately. conveyed to his apartment, and the furgeon, after extracting a ball and fome flugs, gay favourable hopes of his majelly's recovery.

The 17th was a day of apprehenfion and terror. The Swedish guards were all under arms; patroles and

pickets

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