Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The diet being dissolved, the king returned to Stockholm, where, at a masquerade in the opera-house, on the night of the 16th of March, he was shot with a pistol by an assassin, named Ankerstroem : and, having lived in great pain till the 29th of that month, he expired.

This assassination was committed in consequence of a conspiracy among some of the discontented nobles ; so that the Swedish aristocracy has prevented Gustavus from attemping to restore that of France : and it has become difficult to decide whether aristocrats or democrats be the most dangerous enemies to regal power. The chief conspirators are said to have been baron Pechlin, counts Horn and Ribbing. Baron Bielke, the king's secretary, another conspirator, prevented the torture by taking poison. It is fingular that the very court of Gurtavus III. was composed of his enemies; while, conscious of the dishonour which he had brought upon the aristocracy of his country, his prudence might have directed a different pmcedure. He was a prince of distinguished abilities: the plata of the revolution of 1772, which rendered him absolute, was laid at Paris, where he was when his father died; but he executed it with great art, and decided resolution. As the nobles, whoin he cruthed, were supported by Russia, to whicha power they sacrificed the interests of their country, the despo. tism of Gustavus was a desperate, but the only, remedy; and he was rather beloved by his people. Yet neitlier he, nor the Danish kings, while the national voice could alone enable them to overcome the aristocracy, have had the generosity to raise the third estate, by a free representation, to its proper weight, though a measure of founder and more durable policy, and more advantageous to the industry and importance of their states, and of course to the wealth and power of the monarch, than that ruinous despotism which tramples on all ranks; which, by desolating the kingdom, at length subdues it to foreign power, and extinguishes the line of princes, who perish by the very wounds which they have inflicted,

The regency is, by the king's will, the authority of which may however well be disputed by some future diet, invested in his brother, the duke of Sudermania, and a council; and is to continue till the prince, now fourteen years of age, snall have attained the age of eighteen. It is probable that the attempts of the nobles to regain their influence may much disturb the regency, especially if they follow the ancient example of the English barons, and interest the people at large in their claims.

DENMARK. Count Schimmelman, minister of state, finances, and commerce, has the merit of accomplishing the abolition of the save

trade

trade among the subjects of Denmark. His plan was approved by the king on the 22d of February last, and is to be gradual. The disinterekedness of this minister; who possesses large estates in the Danish Welt India islands, recommends his exertions to the greater praise.

A scheme for defrayinr the national debt has been suggested and followed. One million has already been discharged.

ITALY. The pope continues to threaten dreadful anathemas against those French clergy who have taken the civic oath; and to solicit the catholic counts, and even the Greek herctics of Ruí. fia, for allistance in the recovery of Avignon.

SPA Í N. The sudden dismistion of count Florida Blanca from the ofa fice of prime minister, originates in causes not disclosed. It is imagined that the court found this step necessary, to appeale the public murmur at some late measures, particularly the edict concerning strangers, which contributed to impose further fetters on commerce, and which has since been repealed. On the 28th of February the minister was removed; and coune d'Aranda, an old statesman; a warm friend of the queen and nobility of France, holds his employments till some other arrangement can be formed. The superintendency over all the departments of the Spanish government is velted in the council of state, of which his catholic majesty has declared himself president, and the count d'Aranda senior member. Such are the terms of the Gazette, which are not a little fingular.

PORTUGAL

On the 10th of March the prince of Brazil, as presumptive heir to thecrown, published an edict, declaring that as his mo. ther, from her unhappy fituation, was incapable of managing the affairs of government, he would place his signature to public papers, till the return of her health ; and that no other change should be made in the forms.

The queen is difordered by religious melancholy; and Dr. Willis has been called to cure another sovereigni a fingular phenomenon in history!

PRUSSI A.' . The Prusian monarch has made preparations, and will doubt. less affift the king of Hungary in the war against France.

GER

GERMANY. Most of the late transactions of this empire, as relating to the affairs of France, are referved for a latter article, under which they will appear more clear and connected. After much irresolution the late emperor seemed at length refolved on war, when he died of a pleuretic fever on the first of March, after an illness of four days. One of the last actions of his reign was a declaration against the freedom of the press, restricting all works on government to a large size, that they might be confined to a few readers,

It is little doubted that his fon Francis, now king of Hun. gary and Bohemia, will be chosen er peror at the election in the beginning of July. Meanwhile the politics of the court of Vienna continue unchanged; and Francis seems even a more violent'enemy to the French revolution than his father. Attached to his uncle's example, he is fond of war; but his constitution is faid to be weak, and his abilities have not been tried.

AUSTRIAN NETHERLANDS. These fair provinces are little satisfied with the Austrian government, but are kept in awe by a numerous soldiery, The aristocracy, jealous of the people whose rights they tram. pled on during the late insurrection, are beginning at length to conciliate measures with the sovereign. Some politicians think it probable that the advance of a French army may oca calion a commotion of the people.

FRANCE. The dubious and undecided conduct of the emperor, and the refuge and protection found in the German empire by the emigrant princes, excited France to vigorous resolutions, and the celebrated manifesto, addressed to all states and nations, made its appearance. In this production, which does honour to the pen of M. Condorcet, the motives are detailed which induce France to hostilities, not offensive, in violation of her recent conftitution, as some fuperficial observers might infer, but in mere and necessary defence against the unbearable in fults, and warlike preparations, of the refugees in the adjacent countries of Germany; infults which, if passed in silence, might have degraded the new order of affairs in the eye: even of the French nation; and preparations, which requiring continuous exertions and expenditure to guard against, occafioned all the inconveniences of war. It was to be apprehended that sufpence might have given rise to timidity, and distrust; and in the disputes of nations the most vigorous defence is exerted in striking the first blow.

pence

The forcible measures pursued had the effect of intimidating the German princes; and the emigrants were constrained to an ignominious dispersion from the frontiers. But the protection of the emperor, and of the Pruffian king, afforded them afylums more remote and less obtrusive....

Irresolution seemed to preside in the councils of the emperor, a monarch more eminent for the mild virtues of peace than for the exertions of war. He had acknowledged the national fag, he had declared that he regarded the king of the French as abfolutely free, while the league of Pilnitz, (which, as is now avowed by the court of Vienna, was not only intended to secure Germany from such a revolution as France had experienced, but even to extinguish the dreaded source) and the protection afforded to the emigrants, were infallible proofs that the emperor could not be regarded as a friend.

In this state of affairs the assembly deliberated on the report of the diplomatic committee, which tended to prove that France had nothing to dread from the league which was formed. The emperor's conduct was represented as only calculated to intimidate France into a consent to a congress, which should revive her constitution, or rather destroy it. From a war he could gain nothing, but must weaken his military strength, and exhaust his treasury. The alliance with the house of Austria was reproba ted; and it was asserted that, since the treaty of 1756, France had made many facrifices in support of that house, sacrifices repaid by the present insults. The emperor had protected the emigrants ; had formed a league against France; had sent circular letters to the European powers, persuading them to unite against the attempts of reason and liberty. .

Among the numerous important consequences of the French revolution, must be placed the total change of European politics, to which it has led. Previous to this singular event there was what is called a balance of power; and to preserve this, if two or more states formed an alliance, an opposite league was sure to appear. At present there seems a general alliance in Europe against one nation. The scheme of politics has become so new, that the routine of cabinets and ministers affords no precedents. If the inimical powers were to dismem. ber France, and the more enterprising to have the largest share, what would become of the balance of power, and of the liberties of Europe, those pretexts of constant wars for three centuries? The passions of kings must render them inimical to this revolution; but what country can have a real interest in

op: oppofing it? What would be our feelings if the European monarchs were to guarantee the English constitution, and to declare that no improvements should be made ? Yet this last event is not improbable, among the wonders which have followed the French revolution, which has been succeeded by fina gularities in most countries : in England it has caused a reconciliation between the stock and branches of the royal family; in the Austrian Netherlands it has forced the hierarchy and aristocracy to an agreement with the sovereign against the people.

The national assembly, though inclined to war, permitted a further trial of negotiation; but decreed that the emigrant princes should have no claim to the regency, as the time allotted for their return was expired. Soon after the king was required to notify to the emperor, that if he did not declare before the first day of May, his intention to live in amity with the French nation, and to renounce all treaties against its independence and safety, his silence should be interpreted as a declaration of war. .

Frelh and ungrounded suspicions were raised that the king meditated a second fight; but Louis quieted these apprehen. fions by the most solemn assurances of his attachment to the conftitution.

Towards the middle of February, the imperial ambaslador at Paris delivered an answer from his court to the French requi. fition. It bore that the orders fent to general Bender, to prepare for war, were only intended to defend the electorate of Treves, if invaded : that it was true that the treaty of Pilnitz obliged the emperor and the Prussian monarch to support the cause of Louis against his rebellious oppressors, but that his avengers were disarmed by his being left at perfect freedom. Many expressions were added, full of the old Austrian pride, reflecting on the French nation as rebels, and pointing out the rea publicans and jacobins as objects of horror. In Thort, the papal bulls against the doctrines of the reformed seem to have afforded the model for this fingular refcript, so unworthy of the moderation of a cabinet, or the dignity of a monarch. The Prussian minister also fent a letter avowing the same principles. . While we thus freely censure the conduct of those powers who oppose the new system, it may be asserted that nothing debafes the constitution of France more, in the eyes of indifferent spectators, than those clubs which interfere with the legislation and government; and those deities of the galleries in the senate, who are so ready to applaud or to condemn. The national assembly ought to be regarded App. VOL. IV. NEW ARR.

R :

as

« AnteriorContinuar »