Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/760

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738
SPRENGTPORTEN, J. M.—SPRINGBUCK

institution. Irritable and suspicious like his brother he also came to the conclusion that his services had not been adequately appreciated, and the flattering way in which he was welcomed by the Russian court during a visit to St Petersburg in 1779 still further incensed him against the purely imaginary ingratitude of his own sovereign. For the next two years he was in the French service, returning to Finland in 1781. It was now that he first conceived the plan of separating the grand duchy from Sweden and erecting it into an independent state under the protection of Russia. During the riksdag of 1786 he openly opposed Gustavus III., at the same time engaging in a secret and treasonable correspondence with the Russian ministers with the view of inducing them to assist the Finns by force of arms. In the following year, at the invitation of Catherine II., he formally entered the Russian service. When the Russo-Swedish War of 1788-90 began, Sprengtporten received the command of a Russian army corps directed against Finland. He took no direct part in the Anjala conspiracy (see Sweden: History), but urged Catherine to support it more energetically. His own negotiations with his fellow countrymen, especially after Gustavus III. had brought the Finlanders back to their allegiance, failed utterly. Nor was he able to serve Russia very effectively in the field for he was seriously wounded at the battle of Parosalmi (1790). At the end of the war, indeed, his position was somewhat precarious, as the High Court of Finland condemned him as a traitor, while Catherine regarded him as an incompetent impostor who could not perform his promises. For the next five years, therefore (1793-1798), he thought it expedient to quit Russia and live at Toplitz in Bohemia. He was re-employed by the emperor Paul who, in 1800, sent him to negotiate with Napoleon concerning the Maltese Order and the interchange of prisoners. After Paul's death Sprengtporten was again in disgrace for seven years, but was consulted in 1808 on the eve of the outbreak of hostilities with France. On the 1st of December 1808 he was appointed the first Russian governor-general of Finland with the title of count, but was so unpopular that he had to resign his post the following year. The last ten years of his life were lived in retirement.

See Finska Tidskrift (Helsingfors, 1877-1889); and Svenska Letteratursällskapets i Finland förhandlingar (Helsingfors, 1887).(R. N. B.)

SPRENGTPORTEN, JAKOB MAGNUS (1727-1786), Swedish soldier and politician. In his twelfth year he chose the profession of arms, and served his country with distinction. The few and miserable triumphs of Sweden during the Seven Years War were due almost entirely to young Sprengtporten, and he emerged from it with a lieutenant-colonelcy, a pension of £20, and the reputation of being the smartest officer in the service. Sprengtporten, above all things a man of action, had too hearty a contempt for “Hats” and “Caps” to belong to either. He regarded the monstrous system of misrule for which they were primarily responsible with indignation, made no secret of his sentiments, and soon gathered round him a band of young officers of strong royalist proclivities, whom he formed into a club, the so-called Svenska Botten (Sweden's groundwork). The club was suppressed by the dominant “Caps,” who also sought to ruin Sprengtporten financially by inciting his tenants in Finland to bring actions against him for alleged extortion, not in the ordinary courts but in the riksdag itself, where Sprengtporten's political adversaries would be his judges. The enraged Finnish colonel thereupon approached Gustavus III. with the project of a revolution against their common enemies, the “Caps.” It was to begin in Finland where Sprengtporten's regiment, the Nyland dragoons, was stationed. He undertook to seize the impregnable fortress of Sveaborg by a coup de main. The submission of the whole grand duchy would be the natural consequence of such a success, and, Finland once secured, Sprengtporten proposed at the head of his Finns to embark for Sweden, meet the king and his friends near Stockholm, and surprise the capital by a night attack. This plan, subsequently enlarged by a suggestion of a fellow plotter, J. K. Toll (q.v.), was warmly approved of by the king. On the 22nd of July 1772 Sprengtporten left Stockholm. On the 9th of August he reached Helsingfors. On the 16th he persuaded the fortress of Sveaborg to submit to him. Helsingfors followed the example of Sveaborg. A week later all Finland lay at the feet of the intrepid colonel of the Borgå dragoons. By the 23rd of August Sprengtporten was ready to re-embark for Stockholm with 780 men, but contrary winds kept him back, and in the meantime Gustavus III. himself had carried out his revolution unaided. On his return to Sweden, however, Sprengtporten was received with the greatest distinction and made a lieutenant-general and colonel of the guards. He was also appointed the president of a commission for strengthening the defences of Finland. But Sprengtporten was still dissatisfied. He could never forgive Gustavus for having forestalled the revolution, and his morbidly irritable and suspicious temper saw slights and insults in the most innocent conjunctures. His first quarrel with Gustavus happened in 1774 when he refused to accept the post of commander-in-chief in Finland on the eve of threatened war with Russia. The king good-naturedly overlooked his outrageous insolence on this occasion, but the inevitable rupture was only postponed. A most trumpery affair brought matters to a head. Sprengtporten had insulted the guards by giving precedence over them at a court-martial to some officers of his own dragoons. The guards complained to the king, who, after consulting with the senate, mildly remonstrated with Sprengtporten by letter. Sprengtporten thereupon tendered his resignation as colonel of the guard, and at a personal interview with Gustavus was so violent and insolent that anything like agreement between them became impossible. Sprengtporten was haunted by the fixed idea that the jeunesse dorée of the court was in league with his old enemies to traduce and supplant him, and not all the forbearance of the king could open his eyes. He received a pension of £2400 a year on his retirement and was allowed the extraordinary privilege of a guard of honour as long as he lived. Nevertheless, to the end of his career, he continued to harass and annoy his long-suffering benefactor with fresh impertinences.

See R. N. Bain, Gustavus III. and his Contemporaries, vol. i.

(London, 1895); C. Julin, Gustavus III. och J. M. Sprengtporten,

sv. Hist. Tid. (Stockholm, 1903).(R. N. B.)

SPRING (from “to spring,” “to leap or jump up,” “burst out,” O. Eng., springan, a common Teut. word, cf. Ger. springen, possibly allied to Gr. σπέρχεσθαι, to move rapidly), primarily the act of springing or leaping. The word is hence applied in various senses: to the season of the year in which plant life begins to bud and shoot; to a source of water springing or welling up from below the surface of the earth and flowing away as a stream or standing in a pool (see Water Supply); or to an elastic or resilient body or contrivance for receiving and imparting mechanical power. The most common form in which springs in this last sense are made is that of a spiral coil of wire or narrow band of steel. There are many uses to which they are put, e.g. for communicating motion, as in a clock or watch (qq.v.), or for relieving concussion, as in the case of carriages (q.v.).

SPRINGBUCK, or Springbok (Antidorcas euchore), an aberrant South African gazelle inhabiting the country south of the Zambezi, but ranging north-westwards to Mossamedes. In the more settled parts of Cape Colony, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State it now only exists within the enclosures of the large farms, and can hardly be said to be any longer truly wild. Both sexes carry lyrate horns; the shoulder-height of an adult male is about 30 in., and an average pari of horns measures 14 in. along the curve; in the female the horns are more slender. The general colour above is reddish fawn, separated from the white of the under-parts by a dark band on the flanks. Along the middle of the hinder half of the back is a line of long erectile white hairs, forming the "fan," continued down over the rump; in repose this is concealed by the surrounding hair, but is conspicuously displayed when the animal takes the great leaps from which it derives its popular name. The periodical migrations of springbuck are well known, and though the treks are