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Opera House at Stockholm, and expired after lingering a fortnight in torment. The opening of the chest at Upsal in which his papers were deposited, with the injunction that they should remain untouched for fifty years, may perhaps disclose some curious facts connected with the fate of this versatile monarch; meanwhile, as it is at all times both interesting and instructive to observe the deportment in critical emergencies of those who have played important parts in the transactions of the world, we subjoin the striking scene which ensued on the night the king was wounded, as given by Mr. Brown from a Swedish manuscript, wbich he considers authentic.
The king's surgeons having examined the wound, and the direction in which the pistol had been fired, saw at once how small was the chance of their royal patient's recovery. During this operation, which was excruciatingly painful, the king displayed that intense fortitude which few mortals ever possessed in a higher degree. As the surgeon applied his probe, the king thought his hand shook; suppressing the sense of pain, he said with a firm voice,“ Do not suffer your sorrow to åffect
your hand! Remember, sir, it is not possible I can survive if the balls are not extracted.” The surgeon paused a moment, as if to collect all his courage, and extracted a ball and some slugs. On his way from his palace to the Opera House a few hours before, Gustavus stepped lightly down the broad flights of granite stairs to the vestibule below. He was now carried slowly back, stretched on a litter borne on the shoulders of grepadiers, whose slightest motion gave him inexpressible pain-like the palace itself, the grand stair-case is of stupendous dimensions. The massive balustrades are composed of polished marble; the broad steps of hewn granite, and the ornaments of colossal proportions finely drawn and executed, are in strict conformity to the vast and beautiful outline of this grand edifice. The king's unwieldy statecoach, with a triple row of guards on either side, might, apparently, have ascended. Although the portals were closed as soon as the king had entered, and none but courtiers and soldiers admitted, and, even those not without selection, the whole of the colossal stairs' were, crowded to excess. Not a few of the ministers were clad in state dresses, and most of the courtiers and household officers still had on the fanciful robes worn at the fatal masquerade. This great diversity of splendid costume, the melancholy state of the king, stretched on the bier, lying on his side, his pale face resting on his right hand, his features expressive of pain subdued by fortitude, the varied countenances of the surrounding throng, wherein grief, consternation and dismay were forcibly depicted; the blaze of the numerous torches and flambeaux borne aloft by the military; the glitter of burnished helmets, embroidered and spangled robes, mixed with the flashes of drawn sabres and fixed bayonets; the strong and condensed light thrown on the king's figure, countenance, litter and surrounding group; the deep dark masses of shade that seemed to flitter high above, and far below the principal group, and the occasional illumination of the vast and magnificent outline of the structure, formed, on the whole, a spectacle more
grand, grand, impressive and picturesque than any state or theatrical pro cession, in the arrangement of which the tasteful Gustavus had ever been engaged. In the midst of excruciating agonies his eyes lost not their brilliancy, and his finely expressive features displayed the triumph of fortitude over pain. Terrible and sudden as was this disaster, it did not deprive him of self-possession; he seemed more affected by the tears that trickled down the hard yet softened features of the veterans who had fought by his side, than by the wound which too probably would soon end his life. As the bearers of the royal litter ascended from flight to flight he raised his head, evidently to obtain a better view of the grand spectacle of which he formed the principal and central object. When he arrived at the grand gallery level with the state apartments, he made a sign with his hand that the bearers should halt, and looking wistfully around him, he said to Baron Armfelt, (who wept and sobbed aloud,)“ How strange it is I should rush upon my fate after the recent warnings I had received ! my mind foreboded evil; I went reluctantly, impelled, as it were, by an invisible hand !-I am fully persuaded when a man's hour is come, it is in vain he strives to elude it!" After a short pause he continued, “ Perhaps my hour is not yet arrived. I would willingly live, but am not afraid to die. If I survive, I may yet trip down these flights of steps again, and if I die—why then, enclosed in my coffin, my next descent will be on my road to the mausoleum in the Ridderholm church.” '- vol. ii.
168. In the character of Ankarstrom, and in his conduct during his last moments, a striking similarity may be traced to the wretched Bellingham; the same fanatical satisfaction at the perpetration of the crime, the same presumptuous confidence of pardon from the Almighty. That, as Mr. Brown observes, this dreadful selfdelusion is by no means peculiar to Sweden is sufficiently clear, as well from the case to which we have adverted, as from other in'stances of more recent date, where criminals, condemned for the worst of crimes, have exhibited, in their last moments, a most disgusting mixture of hardened guilt and contident security.
With the explanation given of it by Mr. Brown we comprehend why, as he says, 'the gallows saves many a soul,' should be a common expression; but that many instances should occur in Sweden of honest and respectable persons' committing crimes with a view to place themselves in a predicament where they may fairly be entitled to the aid of clergy, and thereby ensure their future salvation, can only be credited by those who believe, with Sir John Sinclair, that the inhabitants of a certain salubrious valley in Norway frequently quit it from a premature apprehension of the pains and penalties attendant on longevity.
On the death of the king, bis brother the Duke of Sudermania succeeded as regent. Economy, according to Mr. Brown, now took the place of profusion, and a stop was put to the strong measures adopted by Gustavus to check the revolutionary spirit so rapidly gaining ground. The moderation, however, displayed in the new councils does not appear to have reconciled the parties which dow predominated in Sweden; nor is it surprising, when we examine them, that the late king should have considered that no ordinary means were likely to be effectual in obtaining that object.
'In the year 1792 there were two parties in Sweden actively at work. The one was composed of General Baron Armfelt and his partizans, whose object it was to throw Sweden into the arms of Russia; the other consisted of men more formidable by their talent than numbers, who conceived that Sweden was too poor a country to maintain a monarchical government and a large standing army. They were for adopting a government similar to that adopted in the United States, and to endeavour to do without a king or hereditary nobles. A gentleman named Thorild wrote a work entitled “ The Liberty of Reason developed to the Regent of the Swedish Nation." The author addressed it to the regent, and called upon him to remove the shackles imposed by kings and regents on human freedom, and dwelt with enthusiasm on the happiness Sweden might enjoy under a virtuous and frugal republican system. This happened on the 21st December; in the evening the pamphlet was suppressed, and the author taken into custody.'
This proceeding, as might be expected, excited a considerable ferment in the town, and we find the regent, in spite of the gentleness and moderation of his councils, threatened with the fate of his brother. The next day the cause was heard. « Thorild conducted his own defence, and this with so much spirit and eloquence,' says Mr. Brown, that the spectators caught the enthusiasm inspired by his bold sentiments; and certain passages of his speech'(which, we conclude, were those indicating resistance to all legitimate authority)' were loudly applauded. It ended in his release, and his being escorted home by a large concourse of citizens, shouting liberty for ever, Thorild for ever.'
Of the military and paval details of this reign, as given by Mr. -Brown, we cannot say much, for in truth there is nothing to be said. From a work entitled Scandinavian Letters,' published in 1796, which we have long known and which we believe to be authentic, he has extracted upwards of twenty pages containing the details of the naval campaign of 1790; these are peculiarly interesting, as the chief sufferers on the Russian side were Englishmen in the service of the empress; and more daring intrepidity, and unavailing gallantry have never been displayed than by the Captains Marshall and Denvison on this occasion.
We have already remarked on the licence in which Mr. Brown indulges in speaking of public characters. Excepting that “ingenious, tasteful, and scientific nobleman the Chevalier Edlercrantz,' who, as a soi-disant poet, philosopher, playwright, and inspector, would hardly venture to offend a brother savant, and the VOL. XIX. NO. XXXVIII.
corpulent, convivial, equestrian knight Sir Levett Hanson, quondam chamberlain to the Duke of Modena, and grand cross and distributor of the Order of St. Joachim, than whom no one could conduct hinself in a more gentlemanly manner,' we do not recollect another of whom this fastidious person speaks in terms of tolerable respect. Even the integrity of Mr. Pitt's political principles, and the wisdom of Sir William Scott's decisions, are called in question by him in no very measured terms; and we are not therefore surprised at the indecent manner in which he has vented his spleen at the appointment of Mr. Thornton as English minister at Stockholm, or at the scurrilous language in which he assails De Coninck, a very respectable banker at Copenhagen.
As neither of these gentlemen had, as far as we know, written on the Northern Courts, and cannot therefore have interfered with Mr. Brown's literary labours, their names are marked with obloquy purely to gratify some malevolent feeling. Those who have preceded him as authors are comparatively fair game for criticism. Let us see how he has executed the act of duty which was imposed upon him by gratitude,' as he tells us in his preface.
Next to Whitelock's Journal,' says Mr. Brown, the best work extant is the Rev. Mr. Coxe's.' As, however, he was before described though not a servile man still as a flatterer of kings,' and as sundry errors are remarked in his book, we naturally trembled for those of whom no such favourable mention was likely to be made.
Of these the first victim is Mr. Joseph Acerbi. · His work is made up of plagiarisms, of original falsehoods, and sheer nonsense.' This, it must be confessed, is rather a tranchant style of criticism, and though it may be true, for aught we know, it is amusing to hear a plagiarist so roughly handled by the author of the Northern Courts.'
Next come Sir John Carr and his Northern Summer.' Sir John, it seems, is less malignant than Mr. Acerbi; but, alas ! his errors are seated in his-head! and we can comprehend therefore, without any reference to the system of Gall or Spurzheim, that they must have had a very prejudicial effect upon his powers of composition.
Sir Robert Ker Porter is dismissed in a very few 'words. An unlucky inclination to report favourably of the unfortunate Gustavus has spoilt all, and he is convicted of a want of liberality towards Swedish artists, and a servility of mind highly disreputable.'
With Dr. Thomson, the next culprit, there seems to be more conformity of opinion than with the rest of those who have gone before Mr. Brown as writers on Sweden. In the outset, ' a partiality on the part of the doctor in exalting the picturesque beauty of his favourite city (Edinburgh) at the expense of Stockholm,' very
nearly nearly involves him in disgrace-but he finally escapes with sundry corrections and friendly admonitions.
Not so Mr. J. T. James, the last on the list, for whom is reserved the whole measure of Mr. Brown's indignation, and who is accused, under various forms,'of, hauteur and illiberality; of a want of candour and self-cultivation in his remarks upon the people and artists of Sweden; and a predisposition to see every thing that he found there in an unfavourable light.'
As this involves a charge against our countrymen in general, with whom (as Mr. Brown assures us) the practice of writing and speaking to the prejudice of those foreign countries they have visited, and thereby rendering the English name unpopular abroad, is too prevalent, we are anxious, by shewing how totally unfounded are the attacks made upon the entertaining and well-informed traveller whom he has selected for the prime object of his criticism, to repel the accusation. Mr. James, it appears, is taxed with a want of liberality, for venturing to describe the higher orders of Sweden as cold and ceremonious; the artists as still capable of improvement; and the style of architecture and decoration which prevails in the capital, as for the most part in bad taste. Now though we believe that all who have read ihe book will be ready to acknowledge the tone of good humour and unaffected candour which prevail through out, we shall let Mr. James speak for himself in answer to the first part of the accusation.
• But a Swede is never in extremes : even these traits are not deeply marked, and if we review the more favourable side of his character, we. shall find in him an undaunted spirit of perseverance, and an honest love of freedom, to which the feelings of every one does homage; and I may truly affirm that no traveller passes from these shores but he quits them with regret, and ever afterwards takes the strongest interest in whatever tidings he may hear which concern the welfare of the nation. In the higher classes the mind is necessarily tempered by the grace and fashion of society, and there are many whom private sentiments of respect would lead me at all times to acknowledge with warm expressions of gratitude, and to recall with peculiar pleasure, many a happy hour I have spent at Stockholm.'-p. 141.
Mr. Brown tells us with some degree of self-satisfaction that he associated in Sweden - with persons of as great rank and consequence as Mr. James. Of this common-place vulgarity there are abundant symptoms in his volumes. Lord Erskine and the author of the “ Northern Courts" had a serious conversation on this subject.'—vol. ii. p. 300. And another conversation (which we doubt not was equally serious) is stated to have taken place between Mr. Brown and the Chevalier Edlercrantz. But because Mr. James has the good taste to make no parade of these matters, nor to give, according to Mr. Brown's fashion, the titles at full length of all his