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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.

CHAPTER XVI. THE REIGN OF VICTORIA (continued). [46]

Mr. Vandeleur, made judge of Queen's Bench 3,300

The remnant of the Beloochee forces were hunted for some weeks by flying columns. At length, Captain Roberts, at the head of one of them, captured the brother of Shere Mahommed and 1,000 of his followers. Another column was attacked by the Ameer himself; but his followers,[593] after the first round of fire, dispersed. The whole military force of the Ameers was now annihilated, and the conquest of Scinde was complete. "I think," said Sir Charles Napier, "I may venture to say that Scinde is now subdued. The Scindian population everywhere express their satisfaction at the change of masters." No doubt the change from Mohammedan to British rule was an advantage to the poor Hindoos; and if it be allowable to do evil that good may come, Lord Ellenborough was justified in the means he had adopted for supplanting the Ameers. There was little for our fleets in various quarters to do but to watch the coasts of Europe where France had dominions for any fugitive French vessel, for the ships of France rarely dared to show themselves out of port. In March, however, Captain William Hoste fell in with five French frigates, with six smaller vessels, carrying five hundred troops up the Adriatic, near the coast of Dalmatia, and with only four frigates he encountered and beat them. Captain Schomberg fell in with three French frigates and a sloop off Madagascar, seized one of them, and followed the[20] rest to the seaport of Tamatave, in the island of Madagascar, of which they had managed to recover possession. Schomberg boldly entered the port, captured all the vessels there, and again expelled the French from Tamatave. On the American coast our ships were compelled to watch for the protection of our merchantmen and our interests, in consequence of the French mania which was prevailing amongst the North Americans, and which was very soon to lead to open conflict with us.