THE SCANDINAVIAN NORTH. (1559-1660.)
By W. F. REDDAWAY, M.A.
Rivalry between the Danish and Swedish States . 560
Denmark in the sixteenth century . 561
Frederick II and the Constitution . 562
The Northern Seven Years' War . 563
The Schleswig-Holstein question .563
Christian IV. His accession and majority . 564
His character. His interest in Norway . 565
Relations of Christian IV with Sweden . 566
Failure of Christian IV as a reformer. 567
Oxenstierna as the successor of Gustavus . 568
The "Form of Government" of 1634. The Regeucy .560
Oxenstierna and the Regency. Finance . 570
War between Denmark and Sweden . 571
Peace of Brömsehro. Denmark humiliated. 572
Decline and death of Christian IV . 573
Personal changes in Denmark and Sweden . 574
Christina as Queen . 575
Difficulties and abdication of Christina. Charles X . 576
The "Reduction" . 577
Domestic and foreign policy of Charles X . 578
The Swedish attack on Poland .579
Weakness of Poland. Active diplomacy of Charles X .580
Charles X invades Poland . 581
Charles X in Prussia and Poland . 582
Joint campaign of Charles X and Rakoczy . 583
War between Denmark and Sweden . 584
Charles X in Denmark . 585
Peace of Roeskilde. Triumph of Charles X . 586
Second Danish War of Charles X . 587
Charles X opposed by Denmark and other Powers . 588
Dutch intervention in Denmark. Sweden seeks peace .589
Death of Charles X. Internal struggle in Sweden . 590
The settlement of the North .591
THE SCANDINAVIAN NORTH. (1559-1660.)
THE century of Scandinavian history which closes with the great settlement of the North in 1660 was a time of perpetual rivalry between the Danish and Swedish States. While Gustavus Vasa lived, his free and warlike peasants were probably a match for the hated "Jutes." But after his death in 1560, Sweden had to endure half-a-century of domestic and foreign strife, while Denmark was enjoying tolerable government and almost unbroken peace. It is therefore not surprising that in the War of Kalmar (1611-3) even the youthful genius of Gustavus Adolphus proved inadequate to the task of vanquishing the Danes, and that for fully two-thirds of his reign he was regarded by Europe as a less powerful sovereign than his rival Christian IV. The collapse of the Danish intervention in Germany, however, in conjunction with the Swedish triumphs over the Poles and the forces of Empire and League, showed that the Scandinavian balance had turned, and in three several wars between 1643 and 1660 the successors of Gustavus trampled upon Christian and his son. War brought to Sweden, empire; to Denmark, reform ; and the harvesting of these gains at the close of our period forms an epoch in the history of the North.
The story of Sweden to 1630 and the share of Denmark in the Thirty Years' War have been dealt with in previous chapters. It remains to indicate the chief domestic forces and events which conditioned the foreign policy of Denmark from 1559 to 1660, and to sketch the history of the three Scandinavian kingdoms during the thirty years which followed the entry of Gustavus into Germany in 1630.
The Danish throne, upon which Frederick II succeeded his father Christian III in 1559, was that of an empire wide in extent but somewhat heterogeneous and unstable in character. The waters of the Sound, flanked by Copenhagen and Malmö, the two chief cities of the realm, formed the centre of Denmark in the sixteenth century. On the one side lay Scania and other provinces which now form the coast of southern Sweden, but which were then the home of a sturdy Danish
The geographical situation of Denmark marked her out for close relations with Sweden and Germany, the only nations whose frontiers marched with hers. To her Scandinavian neighbour she was a perpetual menace. Save for a single narrow outlet towards the North Sea at the point at which Göteborg now stands, Sweden found herself cut off from western and central Europe by a Power superior to herself in renown, in resources, and in population, with Germany close at hand as a recruiting-ground and with the memory of the Kalmar Union to inspire Danish Kings with dreams of Scandinavian hegemony. The Danes moreover had not yet learned that Sweden, although vulnerable at many points, could by her vastness and poverty maintain her freedom so long as her King and people were at one. The years 1611-60 were therefore for Scandinavia still a time of discord, to which a succession of four bloody wars failed to put an end.
With Germany, on the other hand, Denmark grew more and more intimate. The contrast between the two nations, due to their separate historical development and political independence, was being diminished by influences which in the case of Denmark affected every class of the population. The Danish Kings were of German origin and made German marriages ; the language of their Court and Chancery was German ; the nobles imitated the social and political pretensions of their German peers ; Danish commerce was largely in German hands ; and the Danish Reformation had been introduced and nourished from Germany. Danish policy had at this time no dearer aims than to rival or to repress the commercial aristocracies of Lübeck and Hamburg, and to secure the permanent union of Schleswig and Holstein with the Crown. As the Swedish power grew, it became clear that in Germany alone could Denmark find scope for the territorial ambition of her Kings.
The social and constitutional condition of the Danes under Frederick II, however, gave little promise of political advance. The King himself "drank hard and had a great power over all who did so, which was a great people." The men of Jutland were noteworthy for the ferocity with which they pursued the trade of wrecking ships.
Whatever claim to distinction Denmark possessed she owed to a few individuals, among whom the theologian Nils Hemmingsen and the astronomer Tycho Brahe were the chief. The Crown, which alone could frame a policy for the State, was in great measure a separate power. The Kings, it is true, inherited carefully limited claims upon the revenues and services of sections of the nation, but they also possessed independent resources and interests which were not necessarily advantageous to the Danish State. A monarch, whose office was elective and who must therefore purchase it by conceding some of its rights to the nobles, was none the less the proprietor of an income which included the profits of the Sound, then the most productive custom-house in Europe. The fleet, moreover, consisted literally of "King's ships," while his independent position as ruler of Norway and as part-ruler of Schleswig-Holstein made it possible for the King to enlist an army over which Denmark had no control. But the real rulers of the Danish people were the nobles, a caste now some 800 or 900 strong, whose privileges had been swollen by centuries of consistent self-seeking. They had secured, not only a monopoly of fiefs and offices under the Crown and that immunity from taxation which formed the badge of their rank, but also the right to nominate and in great measure to control the local judges and agents of administration. Thus fortified against the Crown, they had broken in upon the exclusive trading rights of the burghers, while Frederick II, himself an aristocrat in feeling, permitted them to acquire the lands of the peasants. This arrogant aristocracy was ruining the State. The nobles despised or evaded the military service which alone could in some measure compensate the country for their usurpations. The remonstrances of the Kings were futile. In the Rigsraad, or Council of the Realm, the nobles possessed a corporation of great officers which, though nominated by the Crown, could always impede and usually frustrate royal efforts towards reform.
The Danish sovereigns moreover could not imitate the Swedish Vasa by appealing in the last resort to a free people, for popular freedom had almost disappeared. Christian III had reached the throne by trampling upon the insurgent burghers and peasants. " Bonde " (peasant), a title honoured in Sweden, was becoming in Denmark synonymous with " thrall." Servitude, it is true, was often voluntary in origin ; for, since the burden of taxation fell upon those who were independent and not noble, the yeomen sought to become tenant-farmers, and the tenant-farmers labourers. After 1570 the peasants find no place in the Diets. Nor was the Danish Church better able to arrest the advance of the pretensions of the nobility. Despoiled and humiliated at the Reformation, she shared the feelings and impotence of a people whose ignorance and bigotry she only too faithfully reflected. A priest might purchase a living by taking to wife the cast-off mistress of a noble patron, or, where the parishioners retained the right of appointment, by marrying
These abuses, however, roused neither Frederick II nor his successor upon the throne to undertake a resolute campaign against the nobles. From 1559 to 1570 the energy of the young King was taxed to the full by foreign affairs. His reign began with a joint expedition of the rulers of Schleswig-Holstein against the district of Ditmarschen, where in 1500 a community of free fenmen had repulsed a similar invasion with a great slaughter of nobles. In 1559, however, their brave defence, in which women played a part, was unavailing against the genius of John Rantzau ; and the remnants of their tribe were forced to swear fealty to Frederick and his uncles.
In 1563 the latent antagonism between Denmark and Sweden broke out in the Northern Seven Years' War. Frederick was the aggressor, but his failure to lead his troops to Stockholm quenched his ardour for strife. For eighteen years after the Peace of 1570 Denmark had leisure to recover from the war, while the King hunted and drank, occasionally rousing himself to take measures for safeguarding the strict Lutheranism of his dominions or for exploiting the Sound Dues. Above all, however, he effected a measure of settlement in the question of Schleswig-Holstein, which for more than four centuries intermittently distracted Danish statesmen, before it became one of European significance.
Since 1386, when the Counts of Holstein compelled the King of Denmark to acknowledge them as hereditary Dukes of Schleswig, this question had passed through several phases. For nearly sixty years the sworn undertaking of King Waldemar, that Schleswig should never again be united with Denmark, had prevailed. In 1448, however, Chris tian of Oldenburg, a nephew of the sole ruler of Schleswig-Holstein, was, through his uncle's exertions, elected to the Danish throne. Twelve years later he inherited the duchy and county, and became the ruler of both Schleswig and Holstein on swearing that their constitutions and their union should be undisturbed. Schleswig-Holstein (Holstein was now a duchy) thus became an independent possession of the Danish royal House, and in 1533 joined Denmark in a federal alliance so intimate as to be not inappropriately called a union. In 1544, however, Christian III of Denmark and his two brothers partitioned it like a German estate, choosing in turn one of three portions. Three ducal lines, named from their chief fortresses Sonderburg, Hadersleben, and Gottorp, came thus to rule territories scattered over both duchies ; while common rights and a common debt bore witness to the unity of the whole. For Holstein the three brothers did joint homage to the Emperor, but the younger two resisted the attempt of the eldest, Christian III, to make good the feudal claims of the Danish Crown over Schleswig.
Such was the tangled problem which descended to Frederick II from his father Christian III. Thanks to the vigilance of Rantzau, he managed to take part in the Ditmarschen campaign, and so prevented the conquered district from being appropriated by one or both of his uncles. Five years later, in acknowledgment of the right of John his younger brother to a share in the estate of their father, one-third of the royal or Sonderburg portion was assigned to him. At this point, however, the fatal policy of partition was checked by the remonstrance of the Estates of Schleswig-Holstein. John, though endowed with lands and title, was excluded from a share in the government, which, so far as affairs common to the whole of the two duchies were concerned, was to be earned on by the King and the two Dukes in annual rotation. The protracted dispute with regard to the feudal claims of the Danish Crown over Schleswig was mitigated if not terminated in 1579, when the three rulers consented each to serve the Danish Crown with 40 horse and 80 foot in wars to the making of which they were privy. Next year the line of Hadersleben came to an end. Fresh disputes arose, but from 1580 to 1586 there were but two ruling Dukes in Schleswig-Holstein. In 1588 each of these was represented by several sons, but the Estates made good their right of election and chose Christian IV and Philip to be ruling Dukes. Thenceforward the existence of the House of Gottorp in Holstein implied that Denmark's immediate neighbour was a Power whose lot was closely, but not of necessity beneficially, interwoven with her own.
In 1588 Frederick died. His heir Christian IV was not quite eleven years of age, and it therefore fell to the Rigsraad to provide for a regency. Fully convinced of the superior advantages of their own government, they determined that the King should remain a minor until his twentieth birthday, and that the administration should be delegated to four aged officers of State. For eight years, therefore, the country was ruled by a moderate aristocracy, chastened by the sense of the dawning power of the young monarch. Although Denmark neglected to profit by the Russo-Swedish war and the temporary paralysis to which Sweden was subjected by the accession of Sigismund, the Danish nation was not ungrateful for the prolongation of peace.
Christian IV, whose birth, heralded according to general belief by voices of another world, had thrown the nation into a fever of delight, attained to his majority in 1596; and the event was hailed by an outburst of national enthusiasm. Three royal dynasties had passed away since an heir to the King of Denmark had been born within the land. Of this remembrance Christian IV enjoyed the benefit during a reign of sixty years, and five centuries of Danish history must be scanned to find a sovereign who was his peer in the reverence and affection of his subjects and of their posterity. He lived in the midst of his people and toiled restlessly in their service : he brought his country to the greatest political prominence that it has reached since the Middle Ages ;
His character was as full of contradictions as his career. He was refined in taste and foul in speech, industrious and frivolous, grasping and extravagant, pious and dissolute. Even in that profligate age his " stark rouses " and other breaches of the moral law astonished travellers from all Europe. Yet he hazarded his life to attend divine service when in the grip of disease, and he lived in full assurance that at Rotenburg Christ had appeared to him. His popular habits concealed, but did not banish, the deep-lying aristocratic prejudices which as a Duke of Holstein he shared with the magnates of northern Germany. He danced at peasant weddings, scaled a tottering church-steeple to see to its repairs, and rose at daybreak to work as foreman on the royal wharf; but he was also the King who enlarged the hunting-grounds of the Crown, who viewed with equanimity the monstrous privileges of the nobles, who set his face against Diets, who admired the Spanish monarchy, and who could never understand that burgher corporations might have rights. He seems in truth to have been the victim of a feverish energy which banished all power of reflexion. Alike in peace and in war, he took much upon himself, but in neither field of government could he formulate a policy, organise an administration, or even communicate to his fellow-labourers a spark of his own zeal. Denmark paid dear for his blunders ; but in the hour of peril he showed activity and courage which in some measure redeemed them.
At his accession to full power in 1596 Christian was a youth of nineteen, masterful, adventurous, and enamoured of the sea. All his chief passions he was able to gratify in Norway, a land which the royal House may almost be said to have now discovered anew. In 1591 he made the first of more than a score of voyages thither, and amid scenes of revelry entered on a lifelong endeavour for the welfare of the Norwegian people. Unhampered there by an indigenous caste of nobles, he chastised tyrannical officials, established silver and copper mines, and founded a series of towns, of which the chief, Christiania, bears his name. His belief in the potential wealth of Norway heightened his sensitiveness to the claims of Charles IX of Sweden upon districts in the extreme north, and helped to precipitate the War of Kalmar in 1611.
War with Sweden, however, ensued only after a long struggle in Denmark. From the accession of Charles IX in 1599, Christian felt acutely that, with so violent an anti-Jute on the throne at Stockholm,
It may not unreasonably be supposed that the ruin of his designs on the Crown of Sweden threw Christian with heightened zest into that policy of aggrandisement in Germany which, in spite of the opposition of the Raad, led to his participation in the Thirty Years' War. The ambition of the King of Denmark to intervene in the settlement of the Empire at least contributed to the maintenance of peace in Scandinavia.
The rivalry between Christian and Gustavus, accentuated by the arrogant claim of the master of the Sound to control the Baltic, revealed itself in many acts of diplomatic and commercial unfriendliness 4 but in 1624 peace was formally prolonged at a meeting on the border of the two kingdoms. So long as the forces of the Counter-reformation triumphed, moreover, Denmark and Sweden were forced by their common danger into a reluctant and jealous entente. Thirty years of peace between the Scandinavian kingdoms followed the War of Kalmar.
This period, 1613-43, in which Denmark for the last time essayed to play the part of a Great Power, revealed but did not remedy the flaws in her constitution. The chief of these were still the irresponsible ascendancy of the nobles and the half-independent position of the King as a foreign potentate. This position, which had enabled Christian to force the War of Kalmar upon the Danes, by declaring that he would in
Nor can it be said that Christian's administrative labours, laudable as they were, remedied the chief disease of the Danish body politic. Minor administrative duties, indeed, he performed with so much zeal as to see that his pigs were fed with green-meat in the dog-days. He built castles and towns, founded colleges, organised commercial companies, developed posts, promoted manufactures, invited useful immigrants into the kingdom, and sought profit in regions as far distant as Greenland and Ceylon. This prolonged and well-meant activity meant something to the towns, much to the peasants on the Crown estates, most of all perhaps in the fulness of time to the monarchy itself. But, where constructive legislation was essential, there Christian's abilities proved inadequate. He tried in vain to reform the government of the towns, and to secure the emancipation of the peasants from feudal dependence. Heavy taxes pressed upon the commons of Denmark and Norway for many years without bringing compensation in the shape of a formidable standing army, while all foreign nations were estranged by the spoliation of their merchants in the Sound. Towards Sweden, although the Raad consistently advocated a policy of friendship,
Christian showed in many ways an ill-will which Axel Oxenstierna was of all men the least likely to condone. The descent of the Swedish hosts upon Denmark in 1643 was thus provoked by her King. It found her isolated and unprepared ; it left her humiliated and dismembered.
The fall of Gustavus Adolphus at Lützen (1632) had left the Swedish Government face to face with two great problems. The German war had never excited the enthusiasm of the people at large, and the Swedish Constitution was still undefined. Forty-two years had passed by since Sweden had enjoyed more than glimpses of peace, and in such a period no class could escape from grave sacrifices of blood and treasure. The nobles resented the weakening of their cherished privilege, for, as was said with justice, "this they thought to be freedom, to give nothing to the Crown." The peasants showed their discontent by struggling more and more frequently to evade the conscription, on several occasions even by revolt. None but a King, and no King save another Gustavus, could hope to inspire the nation with a spirit of sacrifice adequate to the task which it had undertaken.
Nor was it entirely clear upon whom power ought now to devolve. Christina, the only child of Gustavus, was not yet six years of age. Some of the Swedes, the more readily that the Polish Vasa stoutly maintained their title by right of birth, were still disposed to regard the throne as elective. The Queen-Mother, the hysterical Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg, and the Count Palatine John Casimir, the brother-in-law and Minister of Gustavus, presented embarrassing claims to influence the Government. The new method of administration by " colleges " or boards could show hardly any other title to existence than the will of the late King, while, as a corporate body, the Had, or Council of High Officials and Statesmen, possessed only an ill-defined authority.
At this crisis, intensified as it was by a desperate war, Sweden was saved by the reputation and ability of the Chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna. Without leaving Germany, where he watched over the war and the Swedish provinces, he piloted the ship of state through the shoals. Thanks to his counsel, the Diet of 1633 authorised the Rad to govern the realm in the name of Queen Christina ; and in 1634 a constitution drawn up by him was accepted by both Râd and Diet. The " Form of Government" of 1634 is a great national memorial of Gustavus as a constitutional statesman. Invoking his authority, prefaced by words supposed to be his, it aims with success at making permanent his principles of administration and his administrative machine. It serves also as a measure of the swift progress of Sweden from the almost patriarchal government of Charles IX to a fixed and elaborate constitution which served as a pattern to other lands. Attributing the past sufferings of the realm to disputed successions, religious disunion, and the lack of an organised government which might supplement and modulate the exercise of royal power, the Form proceeds to remedy the last of these defects. The
King, it is clearly enunciated, is and must be the supreme governor. The business of the realm is, however, too great for him to transact alone ; and he therefore appoints helpers in accordance with the law and the needs of the land and his own good pleasure. These helpers are the officials, from the five great officers of State and their colleagues in the Râd down to the National Huntsman, who already existed and whose status and competence now receive the definition and sanction of the law. Henceforward, whenever necessary, the Steward, Marshal, Admiral, Chancellor, and Treasurer were empowered collectively to supply the place of the King. Save that the number 25 was suggested as its normal complement, no attempt was made to deprive the Râd of the elasticity desirable in a body whose great functions were to advise the King, to provide him with confidential envoys, and to influence the Diet on his behalf. In sharp contrast with the freedom conceded to the central power, the five "colleges'" which shared the burden of administration were carefully circumscribed. These were, first, the High Court with its branches at Stockholm, Âbo, Dorpat, and Jonköping, which was competent to deal with all ordinary cases at law, then the War Office, the Admiralty, the Chancery, through which diplomatic correspondence passed and in which all official documents were drawn up, and lastly the Treasury. No member of a "college" might exercise individually the authority which belonged to the "college" as a whole, and no " college " might encroach upon the domain of another. Sweden thus gained a true civil service, of which every member was a pillar of the State as well as a servant of the King. Nobles by birth, they acquired from their calling the corporate feeling of a bureaucracy.
For twelve years from the death of Gustavus, Axel Oxenstierna, though not unopposed in the Râd, controlled the foreign and domestic policy of Sweden. From 1636, when he quitted Germany, to the close of 1644, when the minority of Queen Christina ceased, his chancellorship was in reality kingship. He was surrounded and supported by nobles of the new generation whom Gustavus had inspired and trained for service in peace and war. His own brother was Steward and his cousin Treasurer, while in Jacob de La Gardie, Karl Karlsson Gyllenhielm, Klas Fleming, and Per Brahe he possessed colleagues as able in administration as their contemporaries John Bauer and Leonard Torstensson in strategy. Sweden was fortunate moreover in enlisting the services of the Walloon, Louis de Geer, who made his adopted country eminent in the manufacture of munitions of war.
In its main features a continuation of the foregoing reign, the policy of the Regency was not untinged by the opinions of the Chancellor. While he pressed forward the war and the work of developing the country and promoting education, Oxenstierna showed himself less eager than Gustavus to meet the people face to face, but perhaps more eager to advance religious toleration and freedom of trade within the realm.
Again the Church defeated an attempt of the State to reduce it to order by the establishment of a General Consistory Court. The greatest difficulty, however, was the financial. The strain upon the Swedish treasury was doubled when in 1635 Wladislav of Poland exacted the retrocession of the Prussian provinces with their lucrative customs-dues as the price of the prolongation of the Truce. In spite of a rigorous scrutiny of the receipts and so much attention to the customs that their yield increased fourfold in thirteen years, Sweden could not escape a deficit. An honourable peace was for the time being out of reach, and Oxenstierna was determined not to abandon Germany with dishonour.
Under these circumstances the Regency was compelled to resort to measures which left a deep impress upon Swedish history. They accepted subsidies from France, admonished their generals to make the war support itself, and in 1638 won the consent of the Râd to a,jralsek'6p, or sale of noble rights, to the extent of 200,000 crowns. The Jrälseköp of 1638 formed a precedent adopted in moderation by the Regency and followed to the verge of bankruptcy by Queen Christina. The whole administration was at this time based upon the produce or rents of the Crown estates. To sell these estates or rents, which nobles alone had the right of purchasing, was to endow the buyer either with the land itself or with an income from moneys hitherto paid to the Crown by what had been practically a body of yeomen owning their homes and farms on condition of making fixed payments. The effects of the fralsekop were both to divert the revenue of the kingdom into private pockets and to place at the mercy of the nobles a class which had hitherto enjoyed immunity from feudal servitude. From this time forward the latent antagonism between nobles and commoners was intensified, and the cry for a "Reduction," i.e. a resumption of these royal grants, grew louder year by year.
From 1641 onwards, peace negotiations between Sweden and the Emperor were on foot. In 1643 Oxenstierna felt emboldened to express in action his long-standing beliefs that the true ambition of Sweden should be to dominate the North, and that her mortal enemy was Denmark. Throughout his reign Christian IV had shown towards his neighbour a spirit which made it easy for Oxenstierna to lay before the Râd a formidable list of his offences. He had incited the Poles to attack Sweden, aided the widow of Gustavus to insult Sweden by flight, schemed to plant his brother upon the throne of the Tsars, struck heavy blows at Swedish commerce by high-handed action in the Sound, and posed as a mediator in Germany in order to rob the Swedes of the fruits of victory. " We find," wrote the Chancellor, " that Denmark is not less inimical to us than Austria, and the worse enemy because she is the nearer." In face of this manifest hostility it was perhaps unnecessary to seek further ground for war and for the Râd to allege that the Danish armaments were menacing Sweden and that Christian was in reality the aggressor.
On May 25,1643, the order was sent to Torstensson to lead his army into Denmark. He received the Chancellor's letter in Moravia, exactly four months later, and for six weeks more, until he had reached Havel-berg on the Elbe, he kept its contents secret even from his staff. In November the Danish resident at Stockholm warned Christian that the augmented courtesy of the Swedes meant mischief afoot. So late as December 12, however, the King continued to scoff at the suggestion of war and to refuse to burden the land with costly and unnecessary armaments. On that very day Torstensson marched into Holstein. Duke Frederick of Gottorp purchased neutrality by opening his gates, and Jutland lay almost defenceless. Before the end of January, 1644, the Swedes were masters of the mainland, and waited only for the freezing of the Little Belt to attack Fyen. Their plan of campaign was to conquer Scania and Jutland at the same time, and then with help from the Dutch to transport both the victorious armies to the intermediate islands. In February, Gustav Horn crossed the eastern frontier of Denmark, but on the shores of the Sound he was checked by the stubborn defence of Malmo. In the west, Torstensson's hopes of a bridge of ice had been disappointed. The fate of Denmark depended upon the command of the sea.
At this crisis, despite his 67 years, Christian saved the State. From the moment of Torstensson's inroad he had worked with all the energy of his younger days to organise the defence of the islands. Indeed, he even dared to take the offensive by attacking Göteborg. The plan was too bold ; but in May the fleet created and directed by him entered the North Sea, encountered the squadron of 32 ships which Louis de Geer had enlisted in Holland, and compelled it to return. Soon afterwards, however, Klas Fleming with the royal navy of Sweden sailed from Elfsnabben, the naval base near Stockholm, towards the Little Belt. On his way he captured Femern, the southernmost of the Danish islands, but was confronted off its coast by the King in almost equal force. Although four encounters brought no decisive issue, the desperate naval struggle of Kolberg Heath (July 1, 1644), did more than many victories to enhance Christian's fame. Blinded in one eye and suffering from more than a score of wounds, he fought on until nightfall and infused something of his own courage into his men. After the battle the Swedes were penned in the fiord of Kiel, where Klas Fleming was mortally wounded by a cannon-ball from the land. Christian's thoughts travelled as far as the capture of Elfsnabben ; but, during the night of August 1, Wrangel, Fleming's successor, extricated the Swedish fleet.
Isolated, save for the presence in Holstein of Gallas, the sluggish Imperialist general, and hampered by the Raad, which now as always clamoured for peace, Christian was henceforward impotent to stay the flood of disaster. In October, Wrangel and de Geer joined forces and secured the command of the sea by destroying fifteen Danish
During the next three years (1645-8), while the Swedes were securing the fruits of their labours in Germany, Christian in the evening of his life was forced to reap the troubles which he had freely sown. The war had impoverished Denmark without giving her consolidation. Norway indeed, under the able and ambitious Viceroy Hannibal Sehested, had made some progress towards a separate national existence, and this was attested by a military force of its own. But the national peril had not roused the Danish nobles to any display of patriotism ; and the King was now clamouring for the repayment of a million thalers that he had lent to the sorely taxed commonwealth. While the Crown, and therefore the nation, was weaker than before the war, Denmark remained in perilous international isolation. The Swedish power established itself on the lower Elbe and Weser, in the ports of Western Pomerania, and, by means of alliance with the House of Gottorp, in Holstein itself. To the Dutch, Christian paid dear for his former extortions and for his intriguings with Spain. Their natural and consistent aim was to secure free access to the Baltic, which they styled "the mother of merchants," and which accounted for more than one-half of the tonnage of their ships which were engaged in foreign trade. During the negotiations at Brömsebro they had given diplomatic support to Sweden ; and de With had dealt the " lord of the Baltic " the most painful blow that he ever received by sailing unchallenged through the Sound. At the Peace of Christianopel
(August, 1645) Christian made concessions to them which reduced the revenue from the Dues to an inconsiderable remnant; yet in the same year they renewed their alliance with Sweden for a term of forty years.
In the hope of securing one ally among the Protestant Powers, Christian despatched his son-in-law, Korfits Ulfeld, on a mission to the Hague (December, 1646). The chief result of seven months' costly diplomacy was to demonstrate and embitter the domestic strife which now surrounded the Danish throne. Four years after the death of his Queen in 1611, Christian had made a morganatic marriage with Christina Munk, who bore him two sons and eight daughters. One of the latter became the bride of Hannibal Sehested ; another, the King's beautiful and accomplished favourite, Leonora Christina, was married to Korfits Ulfeld. These two sons-in-law were jealous rivals for power; but their rivalry was overshadowed by the feud between the relatives of Christina Munk, who had been dismissed for infidelity in 1630, and a third group of the King's children, the offspring of her maid Vibeke Kruse. This domestic struggle, complicated by the claims of the noble caste to which Christina Munk belonged, ended with the triumph of Ulfeld over all competitors for power and with the humiliation of the monarchy.
Spurred on both by the obvious needs of the State and by an avarice which grew with age and misfortune, the King had striven to commute the antiquated knight-service of the nobles into a tax, and to farm out the fiefs of the Crown to the highest bidder. To overcome the opposition of the nobles, he made concessions both in central and local government. Henceforward when a vacancy occurred in the Raad the remaining members might nominate six or eight nobles from whom the King was to choose a successor. Commissioners appointed by the nobles were to replace the direct control of the Crown over the local officials. In 1647, however, the death of his heir, the profligate " Elected Prince " Christian, compelled the King to surrender all his hopes in order to secure the succession for his second son Frederick. In February, 1648, before the Diet had met to make the election, he died, broken by trouble.
The events which followed the death of Christian IV gave new proof that Denmark had lost the balance of her constitution. The peasants were no longer free, and the monarchy now became a shadow. For some months the realm was governed by the four great officers of State, with Ulfeld at their head ; and the Raad claimed that the nobles alone possessed the right to elect a King. Before they acquiesced in the accession of Frederick they succeeded in destroying the few remnants of royal independence in order to safeguard aristocratic privilege. The King-elect acknowledged the supremacy of their power and bound himself not to make war or alliance, and not to call out the land forces or arm the fleet or even quit the country without their consent. Frederick III, though well-educated and well-meaning, thus
For three years indeed Ulfeld rather than Frederick was the chief man in the State, while the inevitable struggle between their consorts distracted the Court. Early in 1649 Ulfeld embarked on a second and more fruitful mission to the Hague. He conceded to the Dutch freedom from the Sound Dues in return for an annual composition of 120,000 thalers, a bargain which pleased neither nation and which was revoked in 1653. To the disgust of the Swedes, however, he secured a treaty of defensive alliance with their allies in the Netherlands. On his return to Denmark he found himself accused of peculation and of conspiring to poison the King. The latter charge broke down ; but, to escape the former, which had just proved fatal to the career of Hannibal Sehested, he fled to Holland with his wife and treasure. Soon, however, he took up his abode in Sweden and became the open enemy of Frederick III. His flight in July, 1651, marked the fall of the children of Christina Munk from power. A caste rather than a single family thenceforward wielded an aristocratic tyranny in Denmark. Nevertheless, it was as an ill-organised and unwarlike State that, as will be narrated below, she in 1657 once more came into conflict with Sweden.
The period from 1645 to 1648, from the humiliation of Denmark by the Peace of Brömsebro to the establishment of the Swedish power in Germany by the Peace of Westphalia, marks the gradual decline of Oxenstierna's supremacy in Sweden. In 1645 he received the thanks of the Queen and became Count of Södra More ; but in 1648 little save humiliation and reproach fell to his share. The daughter of Gustavus Adolphus, it was clear, would tolerate no preceptor. Once more the personal characteristics of a monarch became of the first importance in Swedish history.
In some respects unique, Christina shared largely in the common heritage of the Vasa. Like her royal ancestors, she was strong in body and keen in brain, ardent, restless, and autocratic. In courage she was excelled by none of them. Her education had been that of her House. At eighteen she read Thucydides and Polybius in Greek, and wrote and spoke Latin, French, and German ; at twenty-three she conferred daily with Descartes. Besides her sex, however, there was much that was unprecedented in her succession. From the moment of her birth, unlike almost all of her predecessors, she had been the destined heir to the throne. Her early training was such as to deepen at every stage her sense of isolation. An only child, she lost her father before her sixth birthday, and before her twelfth the aunt Catharine,
Like Elizabeth of England, Christina was constantly importuned to provide for the welfare of the State by marriage. The Elector of Brandenburg, as the nominee of Gustavus Adolphus, was first spoken of, and Count Magnus de La Gardie enjoyed the obvious favour of the Queen ; but her cousin and playmate Charles Gustavus soon became her expectant lover and the choice of the people. Marriage, however, she regarded as a repulsive servitude and she resolved never to endure it. In 1649 she wrung from the Had and the Diet a reluctant acknowledgment of Charles Gustavus as her eventual successor upon the throne ; and next year, in spite of the opposition of Oxenstierna, his male descendants were placed in the line of succession.
Administrative routine in a Government of which the monarch was still the centre filled Christina with disgust. Her zeal for learning, illustrated by her patronage of Grotius, Salmasius, and Descartes, as well as of the Swedish men of science Stiernhöök and Stiernhielm, found expression in educational reform. But this service to the State was far outweighed by her neglect of affairs, and especially by her financial incompetence. Simple in diet and in dress, she set no bounds to the flood of her liberality. In ten years she doubled the number of noble families and endowed them with grants of estates so lavish that the Crown had no more to give.
The recklessness of the Queen strengthened a movement which had been gathering strength since the fralsekop of 1638, and which found open expression at the Diet of 1650. Led by Professor Terserus and Nils Nilsson, the Mayor of Stockholm, the Commons demanded a Reduction, or resumption of part of the alienated estates and revenues of the Crown. The Diet was prolonged to the unprecedented duration of four months ; and for a moment civil war seemed to be at hand. The Commons, however, assured of the Queen's sympathy with their defence of their freedom, contented themselves with presenting to her a written
Amid extravagant festivities, however, Christina was crowned in October, 1650. In February, 1654, she informed the Râd of her irrevocable determination to abdicate. In the meantime she had received further proofs of the toilsomeness and unpopularity of her rule, and had found a new and potent motive for laying it down. In December, 1651, a rhymed pamphlet was discovered which attacked the government of the Queen and called upon Charles Gustavus to overthrow it. The author, Arnold Messenius, suffered death; but investigation showed that he had been but the imprudent spokesman of the Opposition. Charles Gustavus cleared himself to the Queen's satisfaction, and by her command the matter was hushed up. In 1652 she met the Diet, which in face of the threatening attitude of Poland and Denmark did not refuse to vote three years' conscription and augmented taxes.
The grievances of the peasants against the nobles, heightened as they were by the negligence and extravagance of the Queen, seemed none the less to threaten revolution. The ferment of the nation could not but increase Christina's distaste for her crown. So early as 1648 she had spoken privately of abdicating, and three years later she published her design. Her subsequent hesitation was now brought to an end, as seems probable, by her eagerness for full reception into the Church of Rome. Accomplished and sympathetic foreigners, Chanut, Bourdelot, the French physician whom she believed to have saved her life, disguised Jesuits, above all, since 1652, the Spanish ambassador Pimentelli, had prepared the way for a conversion which it was impossible for a Swedish monarch to complete. Having secured a substantial appanage, Christina formally put off the trappings of sovereignty in June, 1654. A few days later she was rejoicing in the hope that she had quitted Sweden for ever.
The abdication of Christina signified neither the extinction of the Vasa dynasty in Sweden nor a breach in its long sequence of distinguished monarchs. Charles X Gustavus, who succeeded her, was the grandson of Charles IX and the grandsire of Charles XII, and proved himself not unworthy to be named with them or even with the great Gustavus. A Wittelsbach by descent on the father's side, he belonged in thought and character to the land which had sheltered the Count Palatine,. John Casimir, his father, and in which he himself was born and bred. With France, Germany, and Denmark he was already well acquainted. He had learned strategy from Torstensson and diplomacy from Oxen-stierna, while at Leipzig and in Öland he had gained experience of administration. His kinship to the royal House had made him from infancy the centre of party strife ; and it was in war that he had sought
His conduct towards Axel Oxenstierna, who had been the most steadfast political opponent both of John Casimir and of his son, gave early proof of his magnanimity. With filial reverence, the King at once turned to him for help ; and when, in August, 1654, the aged Chancellor died, he appointed his son Erik in his stead. His statesmanship was next tested by the need of transforming a bankrupt and divided nation, fringed by provinces which it had conquered but not assimilated, into a State able and willing to seize, in the face of many enemies, the present opportunity of expansion. For reasons to be mentioned immediately, King and Râd decided in 1654 in favour of a Polish war. It remained for the Diet of 1655 not only to endorse their decision, but also, at the expense of the recently aggrandised nobles, to restore the balance of the constitution and the revenue of the Crown.
The demand of the Commons for some "Reduction" gained irresistible force from the mere contemplation of the national impotence. When the navy was short of provisions, and the King's horses without hay, it was clear that some of the estates which formed the only source of such supplies must be resumed by the Crown. But, while the peasants fiercely insisted upon a sweeping measure of confiscation, the great nobles, whose united force could almost defy coercion, were loath to disgorge more than a small fraction of their gains at the price of a secure title to the remainder. Charles solved the problem by proposing, with the consent of the Râd, a reduction large enough to give the State a revenue and not too large for a firm and tactful monarch to carry into effect. Those estates which were termed "indispensable," because the maintenance of a definite part of the Administration was specifically charged upon them, were to be resumed in their entirety. Of the remaining alienations one-fourth was to be surrendered. The great nobles succeeded, however, in limiting the latter provision to the estates which they had acquired since the death of Gustavus Adolphus, and in confining their immediate sacrifice to an annual payment in money. A special " college " or department of Government, under the active presidency of Herman Fleming, immediately began to investigate the title to lands and to " reduce " the appropriate fraction to the full ownership of the Crown. Although the subsequent turmoil made it impossible to complete the work, the Crown thus regained nearly three thousand homesteads.
The remainder of his short reign proved that Charles lacked neither interest nor skill in administration. He was a keen-eyed overseer of the land, and kept an open ear for the complaints of his people. In six years he convoked the Estates five times, and again and again
Outside the peninsula the King's first duty, besides furthering the political advantage of Sweden by means of a suitable marriage, was to bring to an end the war which Bremen had been waging with some success against Christina in defence of its ancient rights as a free city of the Empire. His marriage in October, 1654, with Hedwig Eleonora, the second daughter of the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, was a bid for security against the hostility of Denmark, particularly near Elbe and Weser.
The affair of Bremen showed clearly the new international position of Sweden. The revolt of the citizens against a foreign master won the sympathy of their fellow Germans, while France was hopeful that the new monarch, as heir of the House of Zweibrücken, would march from Bremen to the Rhine, and make, valid his claims to Jülich-Cleves by joining her in a common campaign against the Habsburgs. Charles was content, however, with the submission of the city, which relieved Sweden from a burdensome struggle and permitted her to sweep into her own ranks the mercenaries of northern Germany.
From the Diet of 1655 onwards, however, the history of the reign is mainly that of the Polish war, and of the wars with Russia and Denmark consequent upon it. The decision of King and people to attack Poland signally illustrates their mind and character, and the strength and weakness of Sweden. Justification for hostilities was indeed not far to seek. Since 1592 the two countries had been involved in a dynastic struggle interrupted only by truces. The last of these, arranged at Altmark in 1629 for six years and prolonged at Stuhmsdorf in 1635 for twenty-six years more, had now almost run its course. In 1648 Oxenstierna had striven earnestly to convert it into a definite treaty ; but the Polish Vasa still refused to recognise their rivals as lawful sovereigns of Sweden.
France wished to establish a firm peace between two dynasties, each of which might do her good service against the Habsburgs ; but both in 1651 and 1652 a congress held at Lübeck failed to accomplish her desire. Jeopardised by the revolt of the Cossacks, but no longer menaced by the host which Sweden had so long maintained in Germany, the Poles adhered to their outrageous demands that their rivals should evacuate Livonia and pay compensation for the throne which Sigismund
It would be idle to pretend, however, that the momentous declaration of war in 1655 was made with the sole purpose of defending Sweden against an eventual Polish attack. The questions which Charles and the Had set themselves to answer were in fact first, Is war desirable ? and second, If so, with whom ? For many reasons it might seem expedient that Sweden should not lightly abandon what has been styled her most lucrative industry ; and these reasons were powerfully reinforced by the aims and predilections of the King. Eminent though he was in diplomacy and administration, Charles was at heart a soldier, scorning to loosen by compromise knots which might be cut by the sword, threatening like some new Alaric that he would march to Italy with his Goths, excelling and delighting in war. By war alone could an army like that to which Sweden owed her new empire be kept together and paid ; while without war it seemed impossible to free the land from the turbulence of the disbanded soldiery and the burning strife between nobles and commons. Charles, as his own best general, might well hope that war would bring popularity to himself and power to his Crown. If these hopes overcame the half-hearted arguments that war meant fresh expenditure at a time when Sweden already owed two millions, and fresh exertion when sixty years of strife had strained her powers, there was much to indicate Poland, rather than Denmark, which some preferred, as the most profitable field of battle. Poland was not, like Russia, a land too barren to nourish the invaders. In Prussia, with its Baltic coast-line and rich customs-dues, she offered a great prize. And by victory in Poland it might now be possible to end at a blow the two great conflicts which had embarrassed Sweden for generations. Those Baltic provinces, "the magazine of Sweden," which constituted her heritage from the Knights of the Sword, might be made secure after a century of armed contention, and the dynastic schism might at last be healed by the triumph of Charles X.
At this juncture, moreover, the Republic seemed so defenceless as to warrant the assertion that it was the duty of the Swedes to intervene in Poland to prevent their Baltic transmarine possessions from being outflanked by the conquests of the Tsar. The military successes of Wladislav IV (1632-48) had in no wise turned back the current which was bearing Poland towards anarchy. The nobles continued to
To facilitate his immediate enterprise of profiting by the chaos in Poland and of anticipating the Tsar, Charles spared no effort of statecraft. Sweden and her monarch, as the affair of Bremen had taught them, were at this time suspect in Europe. The (unauthorised) declaration of Schlippenbach, her envoy at Berlin, that in the modern world a convenient opportunity of injuring a neighbour and annexing territory must take the place of dreams and prophecy as indicating the Divine Will, was not unnaturally held to express the principles of Swedish policy. Wrangel, the veteran of the Thirty Years1 War, whose motto ran, " He who takes has," was not unsupported in the Rad when he advocated the political maxim, " Let us seek profit as best we can." Yet on every side, in Holland, Denmark, Russia, Transylvania, and Courland, among the Cossacks and the discontented Poles, above all in Brandenburg and England, Charles sought by diplomatic means to win security, countenance, or alliance in his adventure. The event showed that it was possible to secure some armed assistance from the Great Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg and from George Rakoczy II, Prince of Transylvania, but only at the price of territorial concessions which were bound to estrange the Poles.
The immediate plan of Charles X was to isolate and conquer the Polish province of West Prussia. His great design as developed by events seems to have been to incorporate with Sweden the whole southeastern coast-line of the Baltic and to buttress his empire with dependent principalities carved out of Poland, if necessary by the sword. It might well be questioned, however, whether such a scheme contained even the possibility of success. Dunbar, a Scottish merchant of Danzig, anticipated, in November, 1655, the verdict of posterity upon the Polish adventure of Charles X. " Any wise man," he wrote, " may see that,
The Swedes, however, once more proved their devotion to their Kings. In June, 1655, Charles succeeded in overcoming the aversion of the peasants and priests of his Diet to the burden of a fresh war. By land and sea, in Sweden, Finland, Livonia, and Germany, nearly 50,000 troops had already been mustered. In July, undeterred by the offers and remonstrances of peace-envoys from the Polish Estates, the King set out for Poland from his capital, which he never saw again.
More complete success than that of the first campaign could hardly have been hoped for. Using Swedish Pomerania as a base, Arvid Wittenberg, escorted by the exile Radziejowski and followed by King Charles, hastened towards Warsaw. The capital with all its stores surrendered unconditionally, and soon the whole of Great Poland was in Swedish hands. John Casimir indeed had shown fight ; but with scarcely 5000 men he could not hope to check the invaders. Soon he was a fugitive in Silesia ; and the time seemed to have come for Charles to turn against Prussia. Electing, however, first to secure Little Poland, he marched southward and in October reduced Cracow, the ancient capital of the Republic. The Poles, indeed, looked with indifference upon what they regarded as a mere dynastic contest. A martial aristocracy, they might well turn with relief from their feeble and frivolous sovereign to the royal soldier who promised to respect their rights. In little more than three months, and at the cost of one battle, the western half of the territory of John Casimir had changed masters. Many nobles and soldiers, John Sobieski among them, did homage to Charles and received fiefs at his hands. The Protestants, headed by Prince Radzivil, gave him willing support; and the Catholics at least preferred him to the Tsar. Under the stress of the Russian invasion the Lithuanians formally surrendered themselves to the King and Crown of Sweden. He exercised the rights of sovereignty, and summoned the Polish Diet to meet at Warsaw.
The war was, however, by no means a simple duel between the Vasa rivals. While Russians, Cossacks, and Tatars struggled in the east and south, and Charles reduced the south-west to submission, the Great Elector, who held the duchy of East Prussia under the Polish Crown, was endeavouring to cross the Swedish plan by snatching West Prussia from the conflagration. He was cowed, however, by the speed and energy of the King, who marched from end to end of Poland, took Thorn and Elbing, the keys of the duchy, and encircled the Elector in his Prussian capital. Early in January, 1656, Frederick William
In the moment of seeming triumph, however, his position was exhibiting defects due to its foundation in military force and to the complex character of the war. Proud and Catholic Poland seemed to itself contaminated by the presence of the heretic sovereign of a despised race, who in spite of his promise to maintain the Polish liberties seemed to pose as a conqueror. In the earlier stages of the enterprise the famous Swedish discipline had been maintained ; and the hanging corpses of some five hundred mercenaries had marked Wittenberg's route. But as the campaign widened Charles could neither pay his men nor adequately control detachments habituated to the license of the Thirty Years' War, Their extortion and outrage kindled the national spirit of the people, and soon religion lent its aid. Towards the close of the year 1655 the successful defence of the monastery of Czenstochowa, "the Loretto of Poland," convinced devout patriots that God was on their side. The Prior did not scruple to assert that seventy monks, five nobles, and one hundred and sixty rustic soldiers had miraculously foiled an army more than forty times as great. Confederations of Polish nobles were formed for the defence of " the King, the faith, and freedom," and many isolated parties of Swedish soldiers were put to the sword. John Casimir soon returned to Polish soil and solemnly consecrated his kingdom to the Blessed Virgin.
Charles strove in vain to crush the national rising by a swift march southward in the depth of winter. Having despatched de La Gardie to observe the Russians, he quitted the neighbourhood of Danzig, and three weeks later routed Czarniecki at Golombo far beyond Warsaw (February 7, 1656). Before the end of the month he was preparing to besiege Lemberg, having reached Jaroslav, distant some 570 miles in a direct line from his starting-point. He escaped from destruction, however, only by a wonderful retreat on Warsaw, after more than two months of futile heroism in the face of danger and hardship of every kind. Thence he sped to besiege Danzig ; and in June, 1656, John Casimir regained his capital. Charles had proved himself a pupil of Torstensson and a forerunner of Charles XII, but he had failed to conquer Poland.
At the same moment the Tsar began a campaign in the Baltic Provinces, where Magnus de La Gardie with a few heroic troops strove to defend the lands which his father had won for Sweden. The Russian invasion, moreover, seemed to be but the prelude to a general storm provoked by Swedish aggression. The exhortations of Pope Alexander VII,
Having thus raised his army to a strength of 18,000, Charles marched on Warsaw, which was held by John Casimir and Czarniecki with at least 50,000 Poles and Tatars. Overruling the Elector, he insisted on battle, and after two days of manuvring won a complete victory and captured the city. This brilliant feat raised the prestige of the Swedish arms still higher and checked for a moment the growth of the hostile coalition. But it was far from conquering Poland or inducing John Casimir to come to terms. The Elector refused to advance south of Warsaw ; and Danzig was relieved by the Dutch fleet. With Poland unconquered, Ingria and Livonia overrun, the Baltic commanded by unfriendly ships, and Sweden hourly expecting to be invaded, Charles was forced to sacrifice some portion of his design. In September Erik Oxenstierna negotiated the Treaty of Elbing with the Dutch, by which Sweden granted them the position of the most favoured nation ; and in November, after the untimely death of his Chancellor, the King made the momentous Treaty of Labiau, in order to buy off Brandenburg and so to secure West Prussia. The Elector was now to receive the full and perpetual sovereignty over East Prussia, Charles thus consenting that the Baltic coast from Memel to the eastern outlet of the Vistula should remain outside his Empire. A new alliance made in December with Rakdczy promised to deluge southern Poland with a horde of Transyl-vanians and Cossacks, besides perhaps serving as a check on the Emperor.
The joint campaign of Charles and Rakdczy in 1657 devastated Poland but led to no decisive success. The King, whose strategy depended upon striking heavy blows with matchless speed, wearied of a land whose vastness mocked at speed and in which he could seldom close with his opponent. At the same time the diplomacy against which he had been running a race reached its goal. In spite of the sudden death of the Emperor, an Austrian force took the field against him ; and, on June 1,1657, Denmark declared war. Aware as he was of the insufficient training of the Danes in arms, Charles hesitated for a moment between his new foes. But he could hardly hope that Frederick William, already a rebel against the Polish Crown, would now venture to oppose the
Habsburgs also. He therefore resolved to retain the advantages of attack and to make Denmark pay for whatever loss he might incur in Livonia and Prussia.
In their enterprise of 1657 the Danes were far more united than during the two wars of Christian IV with Sweden. A few of the elder members of the Raad, it is true, urged that the army was undisciplined and the treasury unfilled. But the majority joined the younger nobles in clamouring for war ; and, in February, 1657, the Diet at Odense voted a war-tax of three million thalers. Frederick III clutched at war as the only hope of recovering the lost prerogative of the Crown, together with the provinces sacrificed to Sweden in 1645. He was urged on by half Europe-by Poland, Russia, Spain, the House of Austria, and above all by the Dutch. In 1656 the recapture of the Polish capital deterred him from declaring war ; but now both Tsar and Habsburg were in the field and it seemed that his neighbour was hopelessly entangled in Poland. An army of 34,000 men was therefore mustered. Marshal Anders Bilde easily reconquered Bremen and Verden, while Frederick lay in wait in the Baltic to cut off Charles as he fled across the sea to Sweden.
Charles had, however, no thought of such a flight. Committing the defence of the peninsula to Per Brahe and the peasants, and leaving the Polish and Russian wars to smoulder on, he resolved to tread in the footsteps of Torstensson and to crush the Danes by an irresistible attack on land. At the head of some 6000 tattered veterans he accomplished another prodigious march-from Brecz in the heart of Poland to Stettin. There he was reinforced by Wrangel, while the exile Korfits Ulfeld came to contribute his influence and diplomatic skill to the overthrow of Frederick's throne. The horses died by hundreds ; but within eight weeks from the declaration of war 13,000 Swedes crossed the frontier of Holstein (July, 1657). The Duke of Holstein-Gottorp placed no obstacle in the path of his son-in-law, and Hamburg, the steadfast foe of the Danish monarchy, supplied the invaders with every necessary. The Danes were expelled from Bremen, and the fall of Itzehoe drove them from Holstein. Some were forced into the Swedish ranks, others fled by sea to Jutland, or by land to Frederiksodde, their new fortress on the shores of the Little Belt. Soon the 6000 defenders of Frederiksodde formed the sole important barrier against the Swedish power on the mainland.
By matchless daring, speed, and skill, Charles had delivered Sweden proper from anything more dangerous than frontier warfare, and had established a claim to receive compensation in Denmark for his losses in the East. He could not, however, hope to partition a State with which the House of Austria, the Poles, and the Dutch were in alliance unless foreign mediation should be averted and unless his small army should continue to enjoy swift and unqualified success. The conquest of Jutland must be followed and completed by that of Fyen, which would in its turn prepare the way for the decisive struggle in Zealand. In
At this crisis, while fencing with the mediation of France and England, Charles learned that at Wehlau the Elector Frederick William, deserted as he complained by the Swedish King, had sold his alliance to Poland. The Swedes might soon be imprisoned in Jutland by a combined force of Austrians, Poles, and Brandenburgers ; and, even if they cut their way through, they possessed no bridge to Sweden. This peril was averted by a mixture of daring and good fortune which made the winter campaign of 1657-8 for ever memorable.
On the night of Sunday, October 24, Wrangel with some 4000 men surprised and stormed Frederiksodde, where Marshal Bilde was mortally wounded and more than 3000 of his troops laid down their arms. The mainland was now subdued and the new-born unity of the Danes shattered, but for three months the Swedes remained unable to cross the Little Belt. At the end of January, 1658, however, they astounded Europe by marching over the ice in face of a hostile force and swiftly conquering Fyen. The daring of this exploit was by no means limited to a crossing during which two squadrons of horse and the carriages of the King and of the French ambassador were swallowed up. By landing in Fyen Charles committed his person and his army to an island of no great size, situated in a sea which the enemy commanded.
The unwonted cold, however, continued ; and, on hearing that the triple alliance of his foes had despatched against him a force greater than his own, the King thought for a moment of retracing his steps in order to strike, with the support of France and England, at the Habs-burgs. But the pledge of his young quartermaster-general, Erik Dahlberg, to guide the army safely across the Great Belt turned the scale. Despite the remonstrances of Wrangel and Ulfeld, Charles resolved to tempt fortune a second time and to seek Frederick in his capital. Led by Dahlberg, the Swedes quitted Fyen on the night of February 4, and during a whole week passed from island to island, conquering each in turn. Taasinge, Langeland, Laaland, Falster, and finally Zealand formed the successive stations on a march which was accomplished almost without loss and which placed Copenhagen at the mercy of the invader. Danish peace commissioners were already on their way to Charles ; and neither the severity of his demands nor his choice of the traitor Ulfeld to urge them warranted the Danes in breaking off negotiations. Before the close of February, 1658, the ring of Sweden's foes was broken by a treaty with Denmark at Roeskilde.
The terms of the Treaty of Roeskilde supplemented those of the Treaty of 1645 and completed the expulsion of the Danish power
A submission which humbled Denmark in the dust was followed by a singular display of friendship between the two monarchs. After three days of royal festivity at Frederiksborg, Charles crossed the Sound and passed in triumph through his new provinces to Göteborg, whither he had summoned a committee of the Swedish Estates. Wrangel and the army remained on Danish soil. Two marches and a skirmish comprised within a fortnight seemed to have endowed Sweden with her natural frontier, and with the opportunity of peace. The reopening of social strife seemed to assure the impotence of Denmark. The arrangements by which the south of Scandinavia became Swedish found their strongest guarantee moreover in the approval of the Dutch and English, who congratulated themselves that henceforward " the power over that narrow entry into the Baltic, being balanced betwixt two emulous Crowns, will be an effectual preventive of any new exactions or usurpations in the Sound.1'
South and east of the Baltic, the prospects of Sweden had also grown brighter. The Elector of Brandenburg, who had based his latest change of side on a pardonable miscalculation, was already penitent. The Tsar, repulsed from Nöteborg, Keksholm, and Riga, and menaced by the alliance of the House of Austria with the Poles, had grown weary of the struggle for an outlet towards the west. If Charles would abandon Prussia, the remnants of the coalition would not lightly assail his undivided power. And none but a soldier could doubt that in peace alone could Sweden regain social harmony and assimilate to her national life her acquisitions of the preceding fifteen years.
During the spring of 1658, therefore, the destiny of his country lay in the keeping of Charles X. Historical research has not yet fully elucidated the origin of an event which confounded all Europe and blighted the promise of a fair future for Sweden. In February, as has been shown, the concord of Scandinavia seemed assured. In July its foundations were shattered by the hand of Charles ; and the catastrophe of his brief reign had begun.
Ostensibly at least, the second Danish War of Charles X arose out of the diplomatic sequel to the treaty which concluded the first. As was inevitable when systems of policy were to be reversed and provinces
Then, on June 28, he wrote to his commissioners with his own hand that if Denmark would assent to this they should complete the negotiations forthwith. Thus to renounce the Dutch alliance was, however, too hard for the Danes, and they frankly confessed it. Frederick despatched Owe Juel to negotiate with Charles in person, but the die was already cast. On July 1 the Swedish commissioners were instructed that, even if the Danes should yield, pretexts for prolonging the discussion must be found. Apart from the need of succouring his brother Adolphus John in Prussia, the problem of 1655 was pressing upon Charles with a weight that his recent conquests had only served to increase. Sweden seemed still unable either to disarm in safety or to maintain her armaments without using them. The election of Leopold to the Empire cleared the political horizon of Europe and rendered a Swedish campaign in Brandenburg, Prussia, or Poland even more hazardous than before. If Charles sought employment for his troops, aggrandisement for his State, and a "free back" when his face should again be turned towards the east, he could satisfy all his needs in no other way than by renewing the strife with Denmark.
The idea was realised with the speed and secrecy which distinguish " the Swedish Napoleon.1' On July 7, at Gottorp, he secured the concurrence of the Râd. Eleven days later he directed Wrangel to complete the operations of the last campaign by attacking Copenhagen, Kronborg, and Christiania in turn. Again, as in 1655, the Swedish plan was to efface a State by the exertions of a small army, and again the first movements promised success. On August 7, when Charles completed the voyage from Kiel to Korsör and prepared to march across Zealand, Copenhagen seemed to be a helpless and panic-striken town. Four days later, however, the Swedish army found the suburbs aflame and the walls
But he was now confronted by other forces. In a struggle with Denmark alone Charles had little to fear. Although 30,000 Austrians, Brandenburgers, and Poles, under Montecuculi, the Elector Frederick William and Czarniecki were invading Jutland; and, although the disaffected Danes succeeded in expelling their conquerors from Trondhjem and Bornholm, he would still in all likelihood have triumphed by military force on land. Early in September the great fortress of Kronborg had fallen. As lord of the Sound Charles might well have starved Copenhagen into surrender, and his plan of dethroning Frederick, driving the nobles from the land, and uniting on his own head the three crowns of Scandinavia, might soon have been accomplished. Such an issue, however, was injurious not only to the neighbouring States, who dreaded Sweden, but also to the French, who wished Charles to turn his arms against the Habsburgs, and above all to the sea Powers, who though mutually antagonistic were resolved that no single janitor should again possess the keys of the Baltic. While the Dutch, who hoped to make Denmark their tool, feared for their trade with Danzig and Russia, the ideal of Charles encroached upon England "as giving the Swede the sole and entire possession of the chief materials, as masts, deals, pitch, tar, copper, iron, etc., needful for the apparel and equipage of our ships, too great a treasure to be entrusted in one hand." " Not a grain of Denmark," therefore, became substantially an ultimatum to Charles from two States, either of which if unchecked by the other could frustrate all that the Swedes might attempt outside their own peninsula. While England was paralysed by the death of Cromwell, 35 war-ships under Opdam forced the Sound, joined the Danish fleet, relieved Copenhagen (October 29, 1658) and drove the flag of Sweden from the sea. This vindication of the international interest in the Baltic ruined Charles1 first campaign ; and the so-called Concert of the Hague (May 11, 1659), by which the Dutch joined the French and English in an agreement to dictate terms to the combatants, doomed his whole enterprise to failure. The Western Powers resolved to restore peace in the North on the conditions laid down at Roeskilde and to veto the sealing of the Baltic against the fleets of non-riparian States.
This potent intervention, unwelcome even to the Danes, dwarfed all else in the war. It availed little that in December, 1658, Charles made a three years' truce with the Tsar, that his lieutenants broke the series of reverses in the east, or that the Swedish power was extended over new Danish islands. Western policy reduced the importance, though it could not dim the fame, of the valour with which the men of Copenhagen
At this crisis, while his provinces from the Düna to the Weser were being torn from his grasp, Charles sought earnestly for peace. Negotiations for converting the truce with Russia into a peace had been set on foot in May. From the Poles Charles now demanded only that the King should renounce his claim to Sweden and the Republic their claim to Livonia, and that in Prussia the status quo ante bettum should be restored. Suzerainty over Courland, whose Duke the Swedes had abducted a year before, was also to be demanded, but not inflexibly. After much negotiation, the monastery of Oliva near Danzig had been agreed on as the place of discussion ; and the danger of an Imperial candidature for their throne made the Poles more than ordinarily compliant. Early in the new year peace with Poland was in sight.
In the west, distrustful of Denmark, Charles insisted that the three Powers of the Concert should guarantee the peace, and that southern Norway at least should remain his. To support his demands, which still embraced also the fief of Trondhjem, he despatched the aged Field-Marshal Lars Kagg on a winter expedition up the eastern shore of the Cattegat. " Horsemen have frozen to death in the saddle and sentinels at their posts," wrote Kagg, "but not a man has been heard to murmur." The last effort of Charles X, however, like that of Charles XII, failed before the walls of Hald, the border fortress upon which its sovereign now conferred the style of Frederikshald.
While still hopeful of conquering southern Norway and of recovering Fyen, Charles met the Diet at Göteborg. There he was seized with fever, which, though for a month it failed to arrest his labours, then became dangerous and soon proved mortal. His last acts were to appoint a Regency for his son, and to exhort its members to make peace and to observe the law of Sweden. In the night of February 12-13, 1660, he died, little more than thirty-seven years old. Despite grave errors of policy he had in less than six years raised Sweden from decadence to the zenith of her power.
The death of Charles X exposed his country to internal dangers even greater than any due to her foreign foes. During his brief reign his firm hand had repressed that conflict between the noble and non-noble Estates which Christina had inflamed and in which a deep-lying antagonism of interest was revealed. But his will showed traces of that early distrust of the oligarchy which had inspired his protest to Christina, praying " that God might keep him from living to see the day when, after the death of her Majesty, he should be in the hands of those lords.'" Dreading, it would seem, the reactionary Regency of the Eâd, he had designated his untrained and emotional Queen, Hedwig Eleonora, as president with two votes. To his brother, the detested Adolphus John, he gave the second place and the office of Marshal, while his brother-in-law Magnus de La Gardie became Chancellor, and the Treasury was entrusted to Herman Fleming, the soul of the Reduction. These dispositions immediately divided the Diet into two hostile camps. The three non-noble Estates, the priests, burghers, and peasants, urged the acceptance of the will, while the Nobles, greater and lesser alike, declared that it violated the law of Sweden. In deference to the unfinished wars and to the threat that no member of the Râd would hold office if Adolphus John were in the Government, the three Estates consented that the confirmation of the will should be deferred (February 16,1660). The guidance of affairs was therefore left to the great officers of State, who found a skilful leader in Per Brahe, the richest noble in Sweden, and Steward (RiJtsdrots) for nearly twenty years.
Towards the close of April, 1660, before the Regency was ten weeks old, peace, of which the Swedish forces in Prussia stood in desperate need, was arranged with the Poles at Oliva. In the provisions of the treaty, the forward policy in Livonia inaugurated by Erik XIV, and the Lutheran and national Swedish revolution of 1593-9, at last found complete vindication. On behalf of the Polish Vasa, now a dying race, John Casimir renounced all claim to the Crown of Sweden. At the same time, by a pact in which the Emperor and the Elector of Brandenburg joined, the possession of West Prussia was confirmed to the Republic, and that of Livonia to Sweden ; while in East Prussia the Elector was emancipated from vassalage to any Power.
Denmark, meanwhile, though suffering acutely from the state of war, allowed the hope of recovering Scania to interfere with progress towards peace. Immediately after receiving the news of the death of Charles X, the ambassadors of the Western Powers at Copenhagen had returned with vigour to their work of mediation. Having extorted from the Swedish envoys an admission that they desired peace, they hastened to Frederick sanguine of success. His reluctance was at length overcome by the action of the Dutch, who made a treaty with Sweden and used their command of the sea to immobilise the forces of Denmark and her allies. Towards the close of March the conferences began ; but a
Where mediation failed, however, direct negotiation between the combatants proved more successful. On June 6, 1660, accelerated by the news from Oliva, by the restoration of Frederick's relative Charles II, and above all by the state of the Swedish finances, a treaty of peace between Denmark and Sweden was signed at Copenhagen. This abiding settlement between the two Scandinavian Powers conformed to the wishes of the Concert. Frederick recovered Trondhjem and Bornholm, the latter by purchasing eighteen great estates in Scania for the Swedish Crown. The terms established at Roeskilde were confirmed; but the closing of the Baltic to foreign war-ships was abandoned.
Peace with the Tsar, on the other hand, which Charles X had endeavoured to negotiate, was by no means yet assured. It was always difficult to conclude a treaty with a Power which, though it had begun to turn towards the West for tacticians, in diplomacy was still barbarian. In the spring of 1660, moreover, the Tsar's refusal to surrender an inch of his conquests broke up the conference. For a moment it seemed probable that there would at last be realised that union of Sweden and Poland to curb their dangerous neighbour which was advocated by the Polish Queen. Ill-paid and mutinous as were the armies of the Republic, the conclusion of peace at Oliva had brought them victory in Lithuania and in the Ukraine. By joining her forces to theirs, Sweden might bring the Tsar to his knees in one campaign. Despite the ruin of the finances, some of the Râd shared the martial ardour of Wrangel, a soldier who held that every knot should be cut by the sword. Some were influenced by the argument that foreign war alone could save the State from a war of revolution, while others held that the hint of a hostile alliance would bring Russia to terms. At the close of the year cautious overtures were made to Poland, and in Sweden and Livonia troops were mustered for a new campaign.
With an armed nation at their back, yet chastened by the fear that the Poles might themselves make peace, the Swedes brought their new negotiation at Kardis to a successful issue. In June, 1661, the Tsar consented to surrender his conquests, and the settlement of 1617 was in substance re-established. The great war kindled by the revolt of the Cossacks in 1648, after flaming up in a conflagration which remoulded northern Europe, had now dwindled into a smouldering feud between Poland and the Tsar. Denmark, with alien fortresses almost within sight of her capital, was preparing to avenge her mutilation upon her nobles. For the first time in the seventeenth century, Sweden was at peace with all the world.