大兴再度打造“草根”明星

The nobles rose in a body and quitted the Assembly; but Gustavus continued his speech to the three remaining Orders. He declared it necessary, for the salvation of the country, for him to assume almost despotic powers, and he called on the three Estates to support him in punishing the traitorous nobles, promising to secure the liberties of the country as soon as this was accomplished. Not only the three Orders, but the public at large zealously supported him. Stockholm was in a state of high excitement. Gustavus surrounded the houses of the chief nobility with his brave Dalecarlians; secured twenty-five of the principal nobles, including the Counts Brah, Fersen, Horne, and others, who were consigned to the castle. He had already arrested nine of the leaders of the insurrection in the army in Finland, and these officers were[353] now also confined in the castle; others had escaped and fled to their patroness in St. Petersburg. To intimidate the king, nearly all the officers of the army, the fleet, and the civil department threw up their commissions and appointments, believing that they should thus completely paralyse his proceedings. But Gustavus remained undaunted. He filled up the vacancies, as well as he could, from the other Orders of the State; he brought the nobles and officers to trial, and numbers of them were condemned to capital punishment, for treason and abandonment of their sworn duties. Some few examples were made; the rest, after a short confinement, were liberated, and they hastened to their estates in the country. But it was found there, as everywhere else, that rank confers no monopoly of talent. The three other Orders warmly supported Gustavus, and he remodelled the Diet, excluding from it almost all the most powerful nobles, and giving greater preponderance to the other three Orders. In return for this, these Orders sanctioned an act called the Act of Safety, which conferred on the king the same power which is attached to the British Crown, namely, that of making peace or war. They granted him liberal supplies, and he quickly raised an army of fifty thousand men. As he considered the reduction of the restless and lawless power of Russia was equally essential to Britain, Holland, and Prussia, as to Sweden, Gustavus called on them to second his efforts. But Pitt would do nothing more than guarantee the neutrality of Denmark; and even this guarantee he permitted to become nugatory, by allowing the Danish fleet to give protection to the Russian fleet in the Baltic. A second Russian squadron, commanded by Dessein, a French admiral, descended from Archangel, entered the Baltic, menaced Gothenburg, and by the aid of the Danish ships was enabled to join the other Russian fleet at Cronstadt.

On the 15th of April a message was sent down to both Houses from the king, in conformity with his pledge to the new Ministry, with regard to Mr. Burke's plan of economical reform, which it proposed should be a measure of effectual retrenchment, and to include his Majesty's own Civil List. Lord Shelburne, in communicating it to the Lords, assured the House that this was no mere ministerial message, but was the genuine language of the king himself, proceeding from the heart. Burke, in the Commons, used more exuberant terms of eulogy, declaring that "it was the best of messages to the best of people from the best of kings!" Early in May he moved for leave to bring in his Bill on the subject, and then most of the promised wonders of reform and retrenchment vanished. The duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster and the principality of Wales were at once cut out of his scheme of reform. The plan of supplying the Royal Household by contract was abandoned; the Ordnance Office, in the hands of the Duke of Richmond, was not to be touched, nor the Treasurer of the Household's office; and some[291] other of the royal establishments, which were mere sinecures, were left. But he succeeded in lopping off the third Secretaryship of State, which had been created for the American colonies, and was useless now they were gone; the Lords of Trade and Plantations; the Lords of Police in Scotland; the principal officers of the Great Wardrobe, Jewel Office, Treasurer of the Chamber, Cofferer of the Household, six Clerks of the Board of Green Clothin all, about a dozen offices were swept away. The Pension List was vigorously revised. No pension was to exceed three hundred pounds a year, and not more than six hundred pounds was to be granted in pensions in any one year; the names of the persons to whom they were granted were to be laid before Parliament within twenty days after the beginning of each session, until the amount in the Pension List should reach ninety thousand pounds. The Secret Service money was, at the same time, limited; and a solemn oath was to be administered to the Secretaries of State regarding its proper employment. It may be imagined what were the consternation and the disgust of the large class which had been revelling on these misappropriated funds of the nation. Burke, in a letter, describes feelingly the gauntlet he had to run in proceeding with his reform. "I was loaded," he says, "with hatred for everything withheld, and with obloquy for everything given." What, however, brought unjust odium on him, but just reproach on the Cabinet, was, that Lord Rockingham made haste, before the Bill was passed, to grant enormous pensions to his supporters and colleagues, Lord Ashburton and Colonel Barr. The latter ardent patriot, who, whilst Burke's Bill was in consideration, said it did not go far enough in reform, now willingly pocketed three thousand two hundred pounds a year, as a pension, besides the salary of his office. In the House of Lords, Thurlow again attacked the Bill, supported by Lords Mansfield and Loughborough; but it passed, and Burke immediately gave an illustrious proof of his disinterestedness, by bringing in a Bill for regulating and reducing the enormous emoluments of his own office, the Paymastership of the Forces.

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