« AnteriorContinuar »
Of the hairbreadth escapes, though highly interesting, the wretched woman had during twelve days that she wandered amidst rocks and solitary glens, the bounds of this chapter will not allow me to speak. The officers of justice were close at her heels. They soon got on the scent, and never lost, though they could not come up with her. The nature of the country favoured her, as well as the humanity of its inhabitants. All abhorrence of Mrs. G. , the murderess, was drowned in pity for Mrs. G
sorrowing and repentant, a wanderer without a habitation. A reward of a hundred pounds was offered for her apprehension. More than fifty persons might have obtained it-probably, not fifty times a hundred pounds would have prevailed on any of them to do what he would have thought so barbarous and inhuman a deed.
She came to B, a small village, where the mother of her husband, a woman between seventy and eighty, resided. Some one told her that her daughter-in-law was there, and asked her what ..she would have done.
“ Dinna harm her," said the good woman, clasping her hands and raising her eyes to Heaven ; let her gang in peace-gin Heaven will give her time for repentance, I am sure I wunna refuse it to her.'
Mrs. G. at length got to a foreign country, where she now resides. The punishment to which the law would have sentenced her, had she been taken, would have been mild compared to that which conscience every day and every hour inflicts. She was saved in judgment, not in mercy-saved to suffer longer.
SOME ACCOUNT OF BERNADOTTE, CROWN PRINCE OF SWEDEN.
[From Dr. Thomas's Travels.]
A New Crown Prince was to be elected, and various candidates offered themselves. It is universally known that the choice fell upon Bernadotte, Prince of Ponte Corvo, who at that time had the command of a French army in the north of Germany, and who had begun his career as a private soldier in the French army. By what secret springs this election was conducted it was quite impossible to learn. But the nature of the choice, and the war with Great Britain, lead one strongly to suspect the all-powerful application of French influence. The Swedes all vehemently deny the existence of any such influence, and affirm that the election of Bernadotte was very much contrary to Bonaparte's wishes. But I do not believe that any one of those persons with whom I conversed on the subject, had any means of acquiring accurate information. The secret means employed were probably known only to a very small number of individuals, and Bernadotte's consummate prudence, for which he is very remarkable, will probably bury the real truth for ever in oblivion, unless some unforeseen change in the affairs of Europe should make it his interest to divulge the secret.
There can be no doubt that Bernadotte was very popular both in Hanover and at Hamburgh, and that his behaviour to the Swedes, when he was applied to about concluding a peace with the French Emperor, had made a powerful impression in his favour. His great abilities were generally known, and Sweden stood greatly in need of a prince of abilities to raise her from the state of extreme feebleness into which she had fallen. It is affirmed in Sweden, that a coolness had for some time existed between Bonaparte and the Prince of Ponte Corvo, in consequence of Bonaparte, upon some occasion or other, throwing up to him his original rank of a private soldier. Such a story is well suited to the impetuous rudeness which characterizes Bonaparte; but it does not agree with the mild temper and consummate prudence of Bernadotte. To judge from appearances, he has not a good opinion of his own countrymen, for not a single Frenchman is employed either in the Swedish army, or in any other situation, and all the applications which have been made to him by Frenchmen have been uniformly refused. It was he that brought about a peace between Great Britain and Sweden. The French Emperor was hurt at his conduct, and in consequence took possession of Swedish Pomerania. When the Russian war began last suimer with France, he went over to Obo, had a conference with the Emperor of Russia, and it is confidently asserted that he planned the campaign which proved ultimately so successful to Russia, and so disastrous to France. Yet all this while he has most carefully abstained from issuing any declaration, or involving Sweden in any active part against France. If Bonaparte prove, ultimately, successful, there can be little doubt that his conduct will admit of apology with Bonaparte, in consequence of the difficulty of his situation: while, on the other hand, if Britain and Russia prevail, he is gone far enough to secure the friendship of these two powers. Nothing, therefore, can be more skilful than the conduct which he has pursued. Indeed it may be questioned whether any other would not, in the present circumstances, have endangered his own situation, or the very existence of Sweden as a nation. Nothing would have been easier for him than to have induced Sweden to enter into an alliance with France. The Swedish nobility have all had a French education, and they have adopted a good deal of the manners and opinions of that volatile and unprincipled nation. The Swedes have been so long accustomed to an alliance with France, that it has become in some measure natural to the nation. They VOL. IIL New Series.
have imbibed the opinions, which Bonaparte has divulged with so much industry, respecting the danger of Great Britain holding the dominion of the sea, and the injury which British commerce and British manufactures do to other nations. These opinions I admit to be inconsistent with the knowledge of the first principles of commerce, and even of common sense, and show a most miserable ignorance of the real interests and real state of Europe. Yet I have heard them gravely maintained by some of the most sensible men in Sweden. If to all this we add the severe treatment which they have met with from the Russians, and the natural jealousy which every nation must have of a powerful and encroaching neighbour, we shall not be surprised that the great body of the Swedes in the present war take the part of the French, and are secretly hostile to Britain and Russia. When I was at Stockholm this appeared very strongly marked. When any news arrived of successes gained by the Russians, the faces of every one you met indicated disappointment and uneasiness. When news arrived of successes gained by the French, every person was in ecstacy: except from this the German and British merchants who reside in Sweden, and who constitute a small but respectable and wealthy body.
But had Bernadotte induced the Swedes to unite with France, the infallible consequence would have been, supposing Russia capable of standing her ground, that he would have been
attacked by Great Britain and Russia, two powers that could with the utmost ease have divided and conquered the whole kingdom. On the other hand, had he united with Russia, and declared war against France, the consequence would have been, supposing Bonaparte successful, that he would have been driven from the Swedish throne, and reduced again to a private station. We must admit, therefore, that no part of the conduct of Bernadotte has hitherto laid open his real intentions—if he has any other intentions than to preserve his situation, and be regulated in his alliances by circumstances.
As soon as Bernadotte was elected Crown Prince of Sweden, some of the Swedish bishops went over to Denmark, and made him sign a renunciation of the Roman Catholic religion, and an acknowledgment that he had embraced the Lutheran tenets. At the same time he was baptized by the name of Charles John, (Carl Johan.) When he landed in Sweden, he was met by a nobleman sent by the Diet to receive him. As soon as they met they embraced. By some accident the two stars with which they were decorated caught hold of each other, so that when they attempted to separate, they found themselves entangled. “ Monseigneur," said the nobleman, nous nous sommes attaché.” answered the Crown Prince without hesitation, "qu'il est pour
jamais.” Soon after his arrival in Sweden, he sent his wife and his whole family out of the country, except his eldest son, Prince Oscar, a boy about fourteen years of age. It is well known that at present the rest of his family is in France. This step occasioned a good deal of speculation in Sweden, and much anxiety to know the reason of a conduct apparently so unnatural. A nobleman one day said to him, that the Swedes had always been accustomed to hear a great deal concerning the royal family; that they would of course be very inquisitive about his family, and on that account he wanted to know from his Royal Highness what answer he should give if any person asked him about the family of the Crown Prince: «In that case," replied Bernadotte, "you may say that you know nothing of the matter."
The Crown Prince seems in fact to be really the King of Swes den. Charles XIII. never appears in public, and he is so old and infirm that he is not probably able to manage the affairs of the kingdom, were he even so inclined. The first care of the Crown Prince was to restore the army, which had been destroyed during the unfortunate wars of the late King, and to bring it again to a state of respectability. The French mode of levying troops by conscription, which the late king had in vain attempted to introduce, was resorted to. The Swedish army, at present, amounts to 50,000 men, besides the supplementary troops, who may be 30,000 more; but are chiefly boys, or young men under twenty. All the troops are dressed in French uniform, and the French tactics have been introduced into all the regiments. I saw a review of about 6,000 Swedish troops. The orders were given by the Crown Prince himself, and the skill of the troops, and the rapidity of their movements, seemed to me to be very great. Every Swedish soldier has a house and a piece of ground assigned to him, by the cultivation of which he supports himself when not in the field. When called out he is supported by government. By this contrivance the Swedish army costs the country much less than it otherwise would do. The men are kept from vice, and their health and hardihood is probably promoted. When they are collected for drill, the first thing they do every morning on assembling is to sing a hymn. This practice they follow likewise when they go into action. It is said to have originated with Gustavus Adolphus.
The Crown Prince seems to be very popular in Sweden; every body spoke well of him. When he passed by the ranks of the Swedish troops, he was received with huzzas. He is a middle aged man, with a dark complexion, an agreeable expressive countenance; but a little disfigured by the size of his not express himself intelligibly in Swedish. The person who has the charge of his horses is an Englishman, who has been with him these eight years.