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and enterprizing. The people over whom he reigned had indeed loft all political confequence and all internal harmony fince the fatal reign of king Charles the Twelfth ; but previously to that period they had figured among the moft envied powers of Europe, and had twice in a manner given laws to the moft eminent of their neighbours. The imbecility that fucceeded upon the death of that celebrated monarch, had for half a century rendered them a prey to their ambitious and intriguing rivals. There were in the diet, fays the royal hiftorian of Pruffia, a French party and a Ruffian party; but there was not an individual among them that fupported the party of the nation. The prefent fovereign had endeavoured to remedy this inconvenience; he had counteracted an ariftocracy which could never have been productive of benefit to his people; and he had not thought proper to diffeminate principles of impartial liberty, as the most effectual balance to this dangerous inconvenience. He had found it neceffary to employ the artificial influence of France in oppoition to the grafping ambition of the emprefs of Ruffia, but he was too enlightened and too proud to fubmit implicitly to the dictates of either. For fix years from the revolution of 1772, affifted by the judicious and moderate counfel of count Charles Scheffer the governor of his youth, and baron Lilljenerantz minifter of the finances, he had reigned with great tranquillity; but the diets of 1778 and 1786 had enabled the higher orders of the ftate to recover a thare of their authority, while the intrigues of Ruffia were daily be coming more formidable to the prince on the throne.
Such were the circumftances that induced Guftavus the Third to meditate aproject of hoftilities against Ruffia. It can fcarcely be doubted that he was encouraged in thefe views by the king of Pruffia; and he was himself exceedingly anxious to engage the court of Denmark, which was equally expofed to the oppreffive tyranny of Ruffia, and which, though narrow in its extent of dominions, was of fome maritime importance, to make a common cause with him in the prefent crifis. Ac tuated by motives of this fort, he vifited the court of Copenhagen in the clofe of the year 1787, and again in the fpring of 1788. He hoped to perfuade the prince royal, his near relation, of promifing hopes, and whofe early youth might be expected to render him fufceptible of projects of ambition and independence; and he exerted for this purpofe his eloquence, and those attractive and amiable manners by which he is peculiarly diftinguished. But the gold of Ruffia, as it should feem, and the finifter counfels of the corrupt courtiers of the prince, prevailed over the powers of his understanding. Guttavus fuffered not merely from his hoftility, but from the ambiguity of his defigns, and departed with a perfuafion that he might depend, if not upon his active fupport, at leaft upon his ftrict neutrality.
The conduct of the king of Sweden at this time with the court of Ruffia was fuch, as we must either afcribe to the mott perfect frankness and candour, or to an unprecedented neglect of the established rules of policy. He profeffed to enter into the war as the ally of the grand fignior, and his proceedings were precifely fuch as might have been
expected from a decifive preference of the interefts of that prince to his own. His preparations were commenced in the clofe of the year 1787; and it was on the ninth of June 1788 that the duke of Sudermania, brother to the king, fet fail with twelve fhips of the line from the port of Carlfcroon; at the fame time that a number of troops rendezvoused at Stockholm feemed only to wait for a favourable wind to tranfport them to the frontiers of Finland. It was in this fituation that count Rafomoufski, ambassador from the czarina to the court of Stockholm, delivered an official note to the Swedish adminiftration on the eighteenth of June, demanding an expla nation refpecting thefe warlike preparations. It will not be eafy to understand the tranfactions that followed upon this note, without recollecting the nature of the Ruffian amhaffador's fituation in the court of Guftavus. He was not confidered here fimply as what his title imported, the reprefentative of his miftrefs, to tranfact with the fervants of the king or to communicate intelligence to her adminiftration. He was regarded as the head of a party in Sweden, as a vifible centre of cabal and intrigue, and the animating foul of a body of men, who, inftigated by the monarchy that delegated him, had frequently fhaken the throne of Sweden to its foundation. The Ruffian party in that country had fuffered a temporary defeat from the decifive conduct of Guitavus in the commencement of his reign; but they had fince recovered the blow, and their machinations became every day more formidable. In this light the expreffions of count Rafomoufski in the ftate paper we have mentioned will appear exceptionable, where he
"declares, to the adminiftration of the king, as well as to all perfons of the Swedish nation poffeffing any share in its government, that the czarina entertained difpofitions towards them the moft entirely pacific, and took a fincere intereft in the preservation of their tranquillity."
The mind of the king had proba hly been previously irritated by the intrigues of the Ruffian minister; and he accordingly conceived the warmeft refentment against the language of this note. He declared he could no longer regard count Rafomoufski as the reprefentative of a friendly power, and infifted that he fhould immediately quit the court and territories of Sweden. In a note addreffed to the diplematical corps in explanation of this proceeding, and dated on the twenty-third, Guftavus obferves, that he had remarked with aftonishment the language that for fome months past had been held by the Ruffian ambaffador. He had endeavoured to tranquillife his own alarms on this fubject; he had wifhed not to fuffer himself to credit the efforts made by count Rafomoufski, to plunge the nation once more into the errors that had feduced them in a period of anarchy, and to diffufe anew that fpirit of difcord which the king had happily exerted himfelf to extinguish. But the note of the eighteenth of June had diffipated thefe doubts. He there faw the ambaffador trampling on all the eftablished practices of independent nations. Appointed to declare the fentiments of his mafters, an envoy could addrefs himself to the monarch alone. Every other authority was foreign to him; every other witne's fuperfluous. Such was the law, fuch the proceeding of every court in Europe, which had
in no inftance been violated but for captious purposes, as were thofe that had formerly been pursued by Ruffia in the court of Stockholm.
It was natural in a misunderstanding of fo peculiar a nature as that of Petersburgh and Sweden, where the controverfy feemed in many refpects to affume the character of perfonality, that the fovereigns fhould employ expreffions of more harfhnefs and invective than are ufual in fimilar fituations. The emprefs of Ruffia by way of reprifal thought proper to order the envoy of Sweden to quit her territories, and she also explained her conduct in a circular note to the ambaffadors refident at Petersburgh. It is unneceffary to transcribe all the farcaftic and unufual expreffions interfperfed in this paper. Among other allegations fhe obferves, that the king, befide being restrained by that good faith which ought more deeply to be impressed in the hearts of fovereigns than of other men, was forbidden by his folemn engagements to his people to undertake any war without first affembling, confulting and obtaining the confent of his fubjects. She adds, that he had been obliged to imitate the conduct of Gustavus towards the Ruffian ambaffador, but with this difference; that her conduct had been characterised by fincerity and candour, while that of the king of Sweden was full of artifice, duplicity and falfehood.
An incident at this time occurred, which will by different perfons be regarded either as an unpardonable inftance of neglect on the part of the Swedes refpecting an advantage which fortune feemed to have thrown into their hands, or as a fresh example of that fincerity and plain dealing for which the nation has been
fo eminently illuftrious. In the fhort interval between the requifition of count Rafomoufski and the determination of Guftavus, the duke of Sudermania, who had for fome time been cruifing with the Swedish fleet in the Baltic, fell in with the fquadron of vice admiral Deffen, which was proceeding from Cronftadt to Elfineur, and confifted of four ships of the line, three of them of one hundred guns each, and four frigates. The Swedish commander, instead of improving this opportunity to ftrike a fatal blow at the Ruffian navy, amufed himself with demanding the falute from admiral Deffen; and that officer with admirable prefence of mind replied, that, though by the ftipulation of treaties there could be no question of falute between Swedish and Ruffian ships, yet he was willing to pay a perfonal compliment to the duke of Sudermania.
The king of Sweden quitted the port of Stockholm on the twentyfourth of June, and arrived with his army in Finland on the fecond of July. Troops had for fome time been collecting on the frontiers of both countries, and hoftilities are faid to have commenced feveral days before the arrival of the king, both parties warmly contending that they had not been the firft in offenfive attack. In the mean time the Ruffians poffeffed the greateft advantages upon this fuppofition, as they had in former treaties been the party to ftrip the other of their territories, and had taken care to fecure the ftrongeft paffes to themselves, while the frontiers of Sweden were left entirely defenceless. Soon after the appearance of Guftavus two Ruffian frigates were taken and brought into the port of Sweabourg, while the Swedish troops took poffeffion of
the pass of Pytis, and formed the blockade of Nyflot.
No fooner had the king landed his army than he directed his chargé des affaires at the court of Peterfburgh, to communicate to the czarina the terms upon which he was willing to confent to the prefervation of peace. In this paper he demanded in the first place the exemplary punishment of count Rafomoufski for the illicit means he had employed in troubling the tranquillity of Sweden, and for having dared to intrude himself into the domestic concerns of an independent king dom. He expected that the emprefs fhould cede to him all that part of Finland and Carelia, together with the diftrict of Kexholm, which had been wrefted from Sweden by the treaties of Nystadt and Abo, to indemnify him for the expence of his preparations. He required the czarina to accept the mediation of Sweden by authorizing him to offer to the Turks the ceffion of the Crimea and the regulation of the limits upon the footing of the treaty of Cainargi; or, if that did not prove acceptable to the divan, upon the footing on which they had stood previously to the war of 1768. He demanded for the fecurity of his mediation, that the Ruffians fhould difarm their fleet, and recal their veffels from the Baltic and their troops from the newly acquired provinces, while the king of Sweden fhould be permitted to remain in arms till the conclufion of peace: and he added, that he would not depart in a fingle point from these propofitions.
Guftavus did not expect an answer to demands of this nature; and the only effect they produced on the court of Ruffia was to ac
celerate a manifefto, dated on the eleventh, and which only deferves to be mentioned, for the language in which it defcribes the Swedish revolution of 1772. At that time the king, we are told, violently overturned the form of government of Sweden, the fecure bafis of the power of the fenate and the liberty of the people; and took into his own hands an abfolute and uncontrolable power. Such language,
though in part juftly defcriptive of the event, would fcarcely have been held by any foreign ftate, but for the purpofe of exciting his fubjects to difaffection.
The principal action of the campaign was the naval battle off Hoogland, in the gulph of Finland. One of the peculiarities of the conduct of Sweden upon this occafion was their not fuffering the Ruffian fleet to fail for the Archipelago, and taking advantage of its abfence to attempt a blow againft the heart of the empire. In this proceeding there feems to be fomething of the hafte and precipitation, which have frequently characterised the actions of Guftavus, and have fometimes been productive of fucofs and fometimes of misfortune. He might have found it difficult to furprife the vigilance of the czarina, and he was conftitutionally averse to the patience and referve which fuch a plan of conduct must have required. He was defirous of effectually affifting his fouthern ally; and he be lieved, it may be, that he should more completely humble the defpotiím of Ruffia, by deftroying its grand fleet, than by fuffering it to purfue its courfe and reap new laurels in the Archipelago.
Admiral Greig failed from the port of Cronstadt on the fourth of
July, and on the feventeenth he fell in with the fleet which the duke of Sudermania commanded, having under him to affilt with his counfels admiral count Wrangel. The engagement which enfued, and which lafted five hours, was fought with confiderable fill and obftinacy on both fides. The forces were nearly equal, the Ruffian fleet confifting of feventeen fhips of the line, and the Swedish of fifteen, of an inferior weight of metal, but reinforced by five frigates, one of forty-four and the reft of forty guns each, which occafionally ranged themselves in the line of battle. There were leffer frigates and fmall veffels on each fide. In the engagement the Ruffians captured the Prince Guftavus of fixtyeight guns carrying a flag; and the Swedes took a Ruffian feventy-four, and reduced another ship of the line to fo difabled a state that it could not be repaired. The fleet of both parties in general fuffered confiderably in the battle.
While the fleet of the king was employed in this manner, the monarch in perfon advanced to befiege the fortrefs of Fredericfham. On the nineteenth his forces encamped within a few miles of the place, and in the following night their advanced guard was attacked by a select party of the garrifon, whom they drove back in diforder. A few days afterwards a detachment of fix thou fand men was embarked at Sweabourg with orders to attack the fortrefs in the rear, while the king fhould advance against it in front. They were detained feveral days by contrary winds. At length on the firft of Auguft two cannon fhot, the appointed fignal of the difembarkation, were heard, and Guftavus fent forward a party towards the walls
of the fort. It was then found, that the fignal proceeded from the Ruffians, and that the troops were not difembarked. The Swedes however made good their retreat. On the next day the landing was effected, the governor of the fort caufed the fuburbs to be burned, and every thing feemed ready for an immediate ftorm.
The king of Sweden had undoubtedly promifed himself, that, in the prefent unprovided ftate of the Ruffian frontier, the flower of the emprefs's army being marched to the moft diftant part of her dominions, he fhould obtain the moft decifive advantages in a fingle campaign. But thefe expectations were fuddenly reverfed. Instead of finding himself in poffeffion of the Ruffian frontier, his own dominions were invaded on a fide where he leaft expected an enemy, his army was rendered inactive and useless, and his crown was expofed to the moft imminent danger.
Repeated difficulties had been made in the Swedish army refpecting the prerogative of the king to commence hoftilities against Ruffia, it being exprefsly provided by an article in the conftitution, that he fhould not undertake an offenfive war without having obtained the confent of the ftates. From this confideration several Swedish officers had refigned their commiflions im mediately upon entering the province of Finland. In the mean time the flame of difaffection and difcontent perpetually increased; and, when the king iffued his command for the troops to advance agains the fortrefs of Fredericfham, he encountered an unexpected and invincible resistance. Several officers at first remonitrated with him, that