Page images
PDF
EPUB

burg, there is a most noble prospect. All these advantages, however, are counterbalanced in part by great inconveniences; no town is dirtier, worse paves, and in every respect les3 calculated for foot passengers ;-_except indeed Warsaw,'

Hamburgh, we are told, makes an appearance ill suited to its wealth. It is very uncleanly, and almost continually damp. The finest establi hment in the city is generally supposed to be the Orphan-house. Six hundred children are maintained in it, The boys are taught to read, write, and to cypher, with a littie drawing; the girls are instructed in reading, writing, spinning, needlework, and embroidery. If there be any thing exceptionable in this institution, it is that the orphans, who are brought up in it, have too much care taken of them, considering the class and condition for which they are designed ; and are too well educated for the sphere in which they are to move. From this charity, most of the Hambro' maid-servants are taken, who in general behave well; the boys are dispersed among the different manufactures. This foundation is entirely supported by voluntary contributions from the inhabitants.

Though, on a moderate calculation, there are at Hamburgh 12,000 indigent persons, no mendicants appear in the public streets. The senate furnishes them with employment, and compels them to work in houses appropriated for that purpose. No estimate can be formed of the exports of Hamburgh, the inhabitants observing the most inviolable secrecy on this head. The French consuls employed there since 1743 have in vain used their endeavours to discover it. A circumstance still more surprising is, that no person can say why this is kept a secret.

The present king of Denmark has not, for several years past, taken

any part in the administration of the state ; and his son discharges all the duties of royalty. The signature of the king, however, is necessary to all edicts and regulations, which is a sort of restraint put by the ministers on the inclinations of a young prince, whom they fear to see too soon their absolute master. The prince is much attached to military affairs, and his manners and conduct are marked by his prevailing inclination. He is, on the whole, more feared than beloved, though allowed by all to possess a feeling heart and a sound understanding. He is a man of business, and, notwithstanding his youth, free from dissipation. Every indication affords ground for believing that he will be worthy of the throne for which he is designed.

The Danish princesses have very engaging persons, and are exceedingly polite. One of them, who is mare ried to the prince of Augustenburg, is deemed a model of female grace and perfection.

In Sweden, it is absolutely necessary for travellers to take provisions with them.

After a journey of from so to 23 miles, it often happens that nothing can be procured but milk, bad beer, spirits, and bread which is several months old: this is the case even in some towns. Unless the cold weather be well set in, postillions must never be allowed to quit the highway for bye-roads.; since, for the sake of shortening the stage by about one quarter of a mile, and sometimes less, they will drive over lakes which are either not sufficiently frozen, or already begin to thaw; and, as the lakes are often covered with snow, the traveller finds himself in the middle of the water without being aware of his danger. Accidents of this sors happen so frequently in Sweden, that the persons annually drowned by imprudence are computed at 2000.

We shall extract, from the Second Volume, some details relating to the customs of Sweden, and the city of Stockholm.

• In general, when a person is invited to dinner, it is for the whole day, and to stay supper, which is the custom all over Sweden, even at Stockholm: but only in houses of the second rank. Grace before and after dinner, and a bow to the master of the house, are generally performed: the length of this ceremony, and the extreme gravity with which it is performed by the Swedes, would sometimes have excited our risibility, had not reflection come to our aid. At ceremonious diners, the healths are toasted out of an enormous tankard, filled with hock or champaign ; this tankard is handed about, 21] every one of the company drinks a few drops, observing some formalities, which must be learnt on the spot; he who commits any mistake is to drink a full tankard, by way of forfeit, which appeared to us somewhat severe. We saw this ceremony for the first tine at the table of the Bishop of Gothenburg, a well-informed and rery zmiable man, who is supposed to be the best preacher in Sweden, and who owes his preferment only to his own merit, being a farmer's wo.

" There are few towns in Europe so ill paved as Stockholm; which is the more to be regretted, as the king's gardens are the only walk soithin the town, and as, except in the warm season, they are darr and unhealthy.

The situation of Stockholm is very singular, and extremely picturesque ; it can be compared to that of no other town ; it presents, in different places, charming prospects, consisting of stoepies, hoses, rocks, trees, lakes, and of the castle, which discovers itself from all points of view. The harbour is beautiful, large, and safe, but difficult of access; so that to reach the open sex, or to work thence into Stockholm, often requires several days, on account of the passage lying between numberless rocks, which cannot be avoided but with the aid of winds from particular points of the compass.' « The Swedish mannfactures are yet very far from perfectio:)

. "The workmen are negligent, lazy, and without emulation. They sometimes begin their on Wednesday, but never before Tues. day; or, if they repair to their workshops, it is only to sleep them

count.

selves sober. Yet they exact very high wages ; and the more they earn, the more they drink: want of money alone brings them back to their work.'

The English at Gothenburg, for a long time, carried on a considerable trade with moss, which in that part of Sweden is produced in abundance : but it was not known what use they could make of it. At length, the Count of Ruuth, having discovered that they extracted from it colours for dyeing, resolved to disappoint the English, and enrich his own country with that branch of commerce. In consequence, he engaged the king to try experiments; which answered so well, that a manufacture of colours was established solely on the king's ac

The greatest part of the moss employed for this purpose is the lichen tartareus, which grows about Marstrand. When dry, it is placed under a large indented stone wheel; where, being ground sufficiently small, it is thrown into capacious vats, and mixed with chalk, urine, and other ingredients which compose the secret of the manufacture. Thus it continues standing for six months, during which time it is stirred every day. The materials insensibly thicken, and the humid particles evaporate. At first, the whole substance looks like mire, and then like the husks of grapes. When it has assumed the latter consistency, it is cut small, and dried in a spacious room. After having been dried and hardened, it is ground in mills, reduced to a very fine powder, and put into barrels. This dyeing material has several times been tried on woollens with great success; the most beautiful colours hitherto obtained are purple, grey, and prune de Monsieur.

The truncheon is still used in Sweden. It is made of bellmetal, and studded with golden crowns from one end to the other. In general, the king gives it on Mondays, at his levee, to one of his adjutants; no one under the rank of colonel receives it; and the temporary possessor of it is invested with a supreme power over every individual under government residing at Stockholm, not excepting even the Princes and Generals; in a word, he represents the king with regard to all military matters. When the king is in Stockholm, this office is usually held during the space of one week.

The mines of Sweden, which present such an extensive field to the curiosity of the naturalist, are here amply described ; and those who intend to visit them would find this work an intelligent and useful companion.

Upsala, well known by its famous university, is only a small town, containing about 4000 inhabitants, not including the students; whose number varies, as in all other universities : but who, on an ayerage, may be estimated at 500. If this

town

town were not interesting on many other accounts, it would merit the traveller's attention from the sole circumstance of having been the abode of those great luminaries, Linné and Bergmann. To honour the memory of the former, a house was erecting in 1791 in the king's gardens.

The Swedish revolution of 1772, for a most accurate and animated account of which we are indebted to a Mr. Sheridan, is no doubt fresh in the memory of our readers. The circumstances attending it are well known : but the following anecdote, which the present author records as authentic, is of less notoriety :

• The king of Sweden had communicated his project to no person whatever, except Lewis XV. The secret, however, transpired, found its way to England, and was imparted to the British minister at Stockholm. The surprize of Gustavus may be guessed. Yet, though this disappointment determined him to hasten by some days the execution, it did not prejudice the success, of his plan. The secret had taken vent in the following manner: Madame du Barry sa» the king of France very attentively read a dispatch; and, whether from mere curiosity, or at the instigation of the English ambassador, she took the letter from his majesty's pocket while he was asleep: The contents were made known to the British minister; and several persons at Stockholm had intimation of the design, and cren of the day fixed for its execution :--but, when on the preceding evening, they beheld Gustavus presiding at the rehearsal of a new opera u cleven at night, appearing cheerfui, and by no means pensive, they could not believe that the morrow was to be the day.'

In general, that prince, on the eve of any important operation, affected to give balls and theatrical representations, in which he seemed to take uncommon interest. It was natural for persons thence to imagine that he was engaged only in rejoicings and amusements.

As the late Gustavus III. was allowed to be one of the most extraordinary characters that ever filled a throne, we shall extract the following sketch of him :

'Gustavus joins to qualities which constitute the great king, those of the most amiable man. He has an inexhaustible fund of anecdotes on every subject. In his presence, seldom any trait is quoted which does not furnish him with a clue to another. All periods are present to his mind, and the history of all nations is familiar to him. He frequently has diverted himself with perplexing (with respect to their own country) persons who were accounted well-informed. In a word, it is difficult to be more seducing as a man of the world than he is. If we consider him as a monarch, we shall also pay to him a just tribute of praise and admiration. He is endowed with such qualities as stimulate to great actions, because they decide the suc

* See General Index to the Monthly Review.

He has great

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

cess of them. He is gifted by nature with a spontaneous eloquence,
and the talent of expre: ing at pic asure the sentiment which he would
excite in others :-powers which are the more formidable, as their
effect is certain in the possession of a sovereign; and he has never
employed them among the multitude without success.
personal courage, of which his campaigns in Finland cannot leave
any doubt : indeed, lie has deserved censure for having too much
exposed himself. His conduct towards the officers condemned by a
court martial, in 1790, is one of the most signal proofs of clemency
that a sovereign could afford. Among a very considerable number
of persons sentenced to die, five, who were more guilty than the rest,
could not seemingly escape the rigour of the laws; yet one, only,
paid with his head the forfeit of all; and even he would not have
suffered, if he had not too long delayed to solicit the king's mercy.
The least plausible pretexts were eagerly seized by the monarch to
save the guilty *.

• To the gift of eloquence, courage, and clemency, the king unites great ambition, an indefatigable activity, a strong love of fame, and what alone would prompt to encounter any thing, an extreme confidence in his FORTUNE. We perhaps err, but we think that the man who, to a crown, adds all these qualities, must attract the regard of the age in which he lives, and command the admiration of posterity.'

The author speaks highly of the Swedish national character. He thinks that, of all European nations, the Swedish is that which, on account of its manners, merits to be regarded as the first. The people are naturally good, virtuous, and attached to their religion, and to their sovereign. As a proof of this remark, our travellers mention that, in 1790, they met carriages laden with the knapsacks of soldiers who had been killed in Finland, and which were escorted by a certain number of peasants, changing at every stage. Thus the knapsacks were carried as far as Scansa, (that is to say, to the extremity of the kingdom,) in order to return to their relatives the effects of those who had fallen in battle.--Often, on the high road, our travellers left their carriage open for several hours, by day and night, without missing any thing. If the Swede is ever to be tempted by the property of another, that property must be brandy, of which he is passionately fond. The habit of drink

5* One of them, assuming the air of a lunatic, was confined as such at l'annviken. Some persons have really imagined that the king was the dupe of that artifice : but the following anecdote must undeceive them. His majesty having, one evening, ques:ioned us respecting our excursions in Stockholm, we told him that we had that day visited the house of lunatics.—" Have you seen K.?"We were not so indiscreet as to inquire for him ; we were satisfied with sering that part of the building which he inhabits.? -" Oh, you may well ilink that I do not believe in such a lunacy." -The king wanted only any plea for saving the man's life.'

« PreviousContinue »