Age of Liberty - Hats and Caps

Hats and Caps

See also: Hats' Russian War

The policy of the Hats party was a return to the traditional alliance between France and Sweden. When Sweden descended to a position of a second-rate power the alliance with the French became too costly a luxury. Horn had clearly perceived this and his cautious neutrality was, therefore, the soundest statesmanship. But the politicians who had ousted Horn thought differently. To them, prosperity without glory was a worthless possession. They aimed at restoring Sweden to her former position as a great power. France, naturally, hailed with satisfaction the rise of a faction which was content to be her armour bearer in the north and the golden streams which flowed from Versailles to Stockholm during the next two generations were the political life-blood of the Hat party.

The first blunder of the Hats was the hasty and ill-advised war with Russia. The European complications consequent upon the almost simultaneous deaths of Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor and Empress Anne of Russia seemed to favour the Hats' adventurous schemes. Despite the frantic protests of the Caps, a project for the invasion of Russian Finland was rushed through the premature Riksdag of 1740. On July 20, 1741 war was formally declared against Russia; a month later the Diet was dissolved and the lantmarskalk set off to Finland to take command of the army. The first blow was not struck till six months after the declaration of war; and it was struck by the enemy, who routed the Swedes at Lappeenranta and captured that frontier fortress. Nothing else was done on either side for six months more; and then the Swedish generals made a "tacit truce" with the Russians through the mediation of the French ambassador at Saint Petersburg. By the time that the "tacit truce" had come to an end the Swedish forces were so demoralized that the mere rumour of a hostile attack made them retire panic-stricken to Helsinki; and before the end of the year all Finland was in the hands of the Russians. The fleet, disabled by an epidemic, was, throughout the war, little more than a floating hospital.

To face the Riksdag with such a war as this upon their consciences was a trial from which the Hats naturally shrank; but to do them justice, they showed themselves better parliamentary than military strategists. A motion for an inquiry into the conduct of the war was skillfully evaded by obtaining precedence for the succession question. Queen Ulrike Eleonora of Sweden had lately died childless and King Frederick was old; and negotiations were thus opened with the new Russian empress, Elizabeth of Russia, who agreed to restore the greater part of Finland if her cousin, Adolph Frederick of Holstein, were elected successor to the Swedish crown. The Hats eagerly caught at the opportunity of recovering the lost lands and their own prestige along with it. By the Treaty of Åbo 7 May 1743 the terms of the empress were accepted and only that small part of Finland which lay beyond the Kymi River was retained by Russia. In March 1751 the old King Frederick died. His slender prerogatives had gradually dwindled down to vanishing point.

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Other articles related to "hats and caps, caps, hats, hat":

Age Of Liberty - Hats and Caps - Arvid Horn
... everything to perpetuate an inglorious peace and derisively nicknamed his adherents "Night-caps" (a term subsequently softened into "Caps"), themselves adopting the sobriquet "Hats ... The Hats carried everything before them, and the aged Horn was finally compelled to retire from a scene where, for three and thirty years, he had played a ...
Military History Of Sweden - The Age of Liberty - Hats and Caps
... The policy of the Hats was a return to the traditional alliance between France and Sweden ... from Versailles to Stockholm during the next two generations were the political life-blood of the Hat party ... The first blunder of the Hats was the hasty and ill-advised war with Russia ...

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