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The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 30


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The conditions proposed by lord Cornwallis were, that Tippoo should cede one-half of his territories; that he should pay three crores and thirty lacs of rupees; that he should restore all the prisoners taken since the time of his father, Hyder Ali; and that two of his eldest sons should be given up as hostages for the faithful fulfilment of the articles. On the 26th the boys, who were only eight and ten years old, were surrendered, and part of the money sent in. Lord Cornwallis received the little princes very kindly, and presented each of them with a gold watch, with which they were delighted. When, however, they came to the surrender of the territory, and lord Cornwallis insisted that the dominions of the rajah of Droog should be part of these, Tippoo refused, and began to make preparations for resistance; but lord Cornwallis's active firmness soon compelled him to submit. He ordered the captive children to be sent away to Bangalore, and prepared to storm the town, for which both our soldiers and those of the nizam werj impatient. Tippoo gave way; and the surrender of territory according to the treaty was completed.

These acquisitions were more valuable for the defence which they afforded the English than for the direct income, which did not amount to more than half a million a-year sterling; but they included all Tippoo's dominions on the coast of Malabar, thus cutting off his mischievous communications with the French by sea. There was also a district surrounding Dindegul, and other districts on the western frontiers of the Carnatic, with the Baramah and the lower Ghauts. The Mahrattas received back their former territories as far as the river Toombuddra, and the nizam obtained the country stretching from the Kistna to the Pennar, with the forts of Gunjegottah and Cudapa. It would have been easy, at this time, to have stripped Tippoo of the whole of Mysore, but it was not deemed politic. We were far from having great faith in the continued fidelity of the Mahrattas, and it was deemed necessary not to remove the check which the existence of Tippoo's power, and his desire for revenge on the Mahrattas, presented. Besides, the finances of India were in a very embarrassed state, and the name of Indian war was most unpopular in England. With all the territory resigned to the Indian allies, lord Cornwallis could not avoid giving deep offence to the Mahrattas, who desired to obtain a regiment of British troops in pay. The ill-concealed jealousy betwixt them and the nizam made an outbreak betwixt these states very possible; and the moody resentment of Tippoo, who writhed under his humiliation, added greatly to the uncertainty of long-continued peace. On the other hand, the soldiers were highly discontented at not having had the opportunity of plundering the opulent city of Seringapatam; and, to soothe them, Cornwallis and general Meadows, the second in command, surrendered to them their shares of prize money, and Cornwallis ordered them, besides, six months' batta out of the money paid by Tippoo.

It was during lord Cornwallis's campaign in Mysore that lord Macartney made his celebrated embassy to China, to endeavour to induce the Chinese to open their ports to trade with England; but his lordship succeeded in very little beyond making the Chinese and their country better known in the work written by his secretary, afterwards Sir John Barrow.

Very important events had during this time been taking place in Europe. In the north, Russia, checked in its encroachments on Turkey for the present, turned its eyes on the inviting region of Poland. Poland, after neglecting its own internal improvement, and the raising of the condition of its people, so as to give them a real interest in the defence of the country, had suddenly set about establishing a new constitution, very much on the model of the French revolutionist one. So long ago as 1780, the chancellor, Andrew Zamoyski, had proposed to reform the Polish constitution on a wise and generous plan - To abolish many ancient abuses, and to free the " serfs " - that is, the mass of the labouring people, who continued much in the same state of thraldom and depression as the common people of Europe had been in the fourteenth century. These salutary and necessary reforms had been rejected by the nobles, who, whilst talking much of the rights of Poland, were a proud, riotous, and selfish race, ready to draw their swords on one another in the diet, but blindly refusing all liberty and moral training to the people at large. Had they granted these advantages to the people in time, neither Russia nor any combination of despots could have conquered the country. Nations are not deprived of their freedom if they are worthy to retain it.

In 1789 the diet began to plan reforms. They were then on friendly terms with both Russia and Prussia, and both these powers expressed themselves as quite satisfied to see the Poles attempting to improve their constitution. In 1790 Frederick William of Prussia made overtures for the cession of Thorn and Dantzic, which would throw open the navigation of the Vistula into the Baltic to him; and he offered to make over other territories in exchange. The diet refused this, making a decree that no portion of the kingdom should ever be alienated. This refusal lost them the friendship of the king of Prussia, and prepared him to unite with Russia on the first occasion for the suppression of Polish independence. The diet then declared the throne hereditary, and not elective, as hitherto; and Stanislaus Augustus, the king - that is, Poniatowski, the former lover and favourite of Catherine of Russia - was wholly agreeable to this. The diet proposed the elector of Saxony as Poniatowski's successor, the king having no children. It also admitted the burgher class into its body. As there was a strong party, however, in opposition to the popular party, the patriots met secretly, and not only pledged themselves to the new constitution, but to pass it en masse and at once, without canvassing the particular articles of it. The king, being privy to this, on the 3rd of May, 1791, entered the hall of the diet. The new constitution was read, passed by a majority, and signed by the king. Stanislaus then led the way to the cathedral, where he was followed by all the nuncios except twelve, and there both he and they swore to maintain this new constitution. The articles of this constitution were - That the religion of the state should be catholic, the king being always of that religion, but that there should be perfect toleration of other forms of Christian worship; that the throne should be secured to the elector of Saxony and his heirs; that there should be an upper and lower chamber of assembly; that the king should have a suspensive veto on the acts of the assembly from one diet to another; that he should have command of the army, but not the right to declare peace or war without the diet. The nobles were to retain their ancient rights and privileges, but the other classes were to become admissible to the army and the diet, and capable of being ennobled.

An unexpected difficulty was found in persuading the elector of Saxony to accept the crown; for, though both Russia and Prussia still professed friendship for Poland, he was too well aware of the designs of Russia on Poland to accept the dangerous post without much hesitation. At length, in the month of April, 1792, the elector gave his reluctant consent, but not without stipulating that they should give more power to the sovereign, and limit more that of the diet; that the right of determining peace and war should belong to the king, as well as the authority over the army. He objected to a number of things, evidently borrowed from the revolutionary French, as the oath taken to the nation, and the education of the heir by the diet, just as the national assembly had claimed the right to educate the dauphin.

But now Catherine of Russia had concluded her entanglements with Turkey. It was the August of 1791, and her eyes turned immediately on Poland, and she pretended to take great offence and alarm at the new constitution, as full of French and revolutionary principles, and therefore intolerable to any neighbouring state. These were her pretences, for she had no fear whatever of Poland. She knew that the Poles had neglected till too late to expand the principles of their government, and thereby to give to the great mass of the people a living and energising interest in it. She began to negotiate with Sweden, and Prussia, and Austria, to co-operate with her in her design against Poland. Prussia was easily led to adopt her ideas, for the king was like herself, greedy of his neighbour's dominions and had been repulsed by the Poles in grasping at Thorn and Dantzic.

Leopold of Austria was, by his connection with the royal party of France, through his sister, naturally ready to put down any influence from the French revolution in a neighbouring country; but he was indisposed to war, and too just and moderate for aggression. His death, on the 1st of March, 1792, removed this obstacle, and Francis, his successor, was found to be more accessible to the czarina's selfish arguments. Russia, Prussia, and Austria were all agreed on the plunder of Poland, whilst they still preserved the most hypocritical appearance of caring only for its unity and national interests. As for Gustavus III., of Sweden, brave and honest man as he was, he was of such chivalrous and, to a certain degree, insane character, that he was easily led on by the artful empress of Russia to lend himself to her designs, without being aware of them. He had declared himself the knight of Marie Antoinette, and had sworn to rescue her. He was avaricious of military glory, and, like his predecessor, Charles XII., he was desirous only of conducting some great and brilliant enterprise. Ho desired to lead an army against the French, now bursting out under the revolutionary general, Custine, on Germany, and, joining with the army of the emigrants, eighteen thousand in number, to beat back the democratic general, march into France, and restore the throne of Louis and Marie Antoinette. But he had no money; the empress of Russia, who wished him employed at a distance, and especially in keeping back the French democrats whilst she carved up Poland, offered him both money and arms. But the empress was relieved of the high-minded Gustavus in a manner which she had by no means contemplated. He fell, on the 16th of March, in his own capital, by the hand of an assassin.

Gustavus III. had, as we have formerly related, reduced his refractory nobles to obedience, and made a change in the constitution of Sweden, which rendered them his mortal enemies. Amongst these was one who did not belong to the higher nobility, but rather to the gentry, John James Ankerström. Ankerström was an officer in the army, and a member of the diet. When Gustavus, in 1789, suppressed the senate, and arrested many of the nobility, he was one who, in presence of the king, spoke violently against his proceedings. He was also accused of having spoken against the king previously, before an assembly of peasants, and had been, on that account, dismissed from the royal guards and confined in different fortresses, though the charges had not been proved against him. This had greatly embittered him, and he conceived the idea of murdering the king. At first, it would appear that he contemplated this deed alone, but afterwards had taken the counts Horn and Ribbing into his scheme. They tried first to seize the king at Geffia, when he convoked the diet in the present year. They were there prevented, and they next resolved to dispatch Gustavus at a masked ball in the theatre at Stockholm. Gustavus received various warnings of his danger, but he treated them with contempt, declaring that he could never believe any Swede capable of becoming an assassin. The very evening of the ball, whilst at supper, he received an anonymous letter, which strongly dissuaded him from going to the theatre, as there was a design to assassinate him. He showed the letter to several of his friends, who implored him to take the advice, and stay away. It was in vain; he treated the letter as a contemptible hoax, and went in a domino dress. But scarcely had he entered the ball, leaning on the arm of Count Ersen, the master of the horse, when count Horn, behind whom followed Ankerström, accosted the king, saying, " Good day, fair mask!" This was the signal - Ankerström discharged a pistol, which wounded the king mortally in the thigh and loins. Gustavus, with the greatest presence of mind, ordered all the doors to be instantly closed, and all present to be unmasked. This was done, but no discovery was made; in fact, Ankerström had already quitted the apartment. A pistol and dagger, however, were found on the floor, and these the maker, whose name was on them, identified as the same that he had recently sold to Ankerström. He was arrested and subjected to torture, when he declared himself the perpetrator of the deed; that he had been most unjustly treated, and was weary of his life; that, at first, he had no accomplices, but that afterwards he had, and that they had made several attempts besides the one which succeeded. In consequence of Ankerstrom's revelations, or from other causes, counts Horn and Ribbing, barons Pechlin, Ehrensvard, Hartsmandorf, Yon Engerström, and others, were arrested. Ankerström had an open trial, and then he denied that he had had any active accomplices, but merely that a number of persons knew of his design. He was condemned to a most barbarous death: to be publicly flogged on three successive days; to be exposed, in front of the senate house, to the people with an iron chain about his neck; to have his right hand cut off, then his head, and these three sections of his body to be distributed in various parts of the city. Ankerström, who was but thirty-three years of age, suffered the sentence with the utmost stoicism. Two of those accused as accomplices destroyed themselves in prison. The anonymous letter was traced to count Liljihorn, who was arrested, and confessed that he belonged to the conspiracy. He and counts Horn and Ribbing were banished for life; and others suffered imprisonment and confiscation of property. These severities belonged to the laws rather than to the chivalrous Gustavus. Though he continued to linger eleven days in great agony, he expressed no desire for vengeance on his assassins, but summoned around his dying bed not only his family and friends, bat all his court, without distinction of friend or foe, and reconciled himself to the most violent opponents of his measures, counts Fersen and Brake. Gustavus was in his forty-sixth year, and died on the 26th of March, 1792.

Catherine of Russia, thus rid of the only two monarchs who were likely to trouble her with scruples, hastened her grand design of absorbing Poland. She professed to be greatly scandalised and alarmed at the proceedings of the king, who had attended a great dinner given by the municipality of Warsaw on the anniversary of the passing of their new constitution, at which he had not only responded to the toast of his health by drinking to the nation and the municipality, thus sanctioning them as great powers, as the French had done, but had sate complacently amid the loud cries of " Long live liberty! Long live the nation, and our citizen king, the friend of the Rights of Man! " The Poles had certainly become enthusiastic imitators of the French; they had established clubs in imitation of the clubs of Paris, had sent a deputation to congratulate the French on their revolution, and had passed various decrees of a jacobin character. Whilst Catherine professed to be terrified at these proceedings, nothing could give her greater satisfaction; for they furnished her with the very pretexts that she wanted for marching into the country. Neither did she lack a sanction from the Poles themselves. There had always been violent parties in that kingdom; and, at this time, a number of nobles, who opposed the new constitution, sent a deputation with a memorial to the empress, at St.

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Pictures for The Reign of George III. - (Continued.) page 30

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