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Full text of "History of Scandinavia, from the early times of the Norsemen and Vikings to the present day"

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professor of t^e Scanlimafaian fLanguagts anD iLifnaturr, 

Non forte ac temere humana negotia aguntur atque volvuntur. — Curtius. 




Entered aceordinfj to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, 

By the rev. PAUL C. SIN DING, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for 
the Southern Distriftt of New- York. 




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Although soon after my arrival in the city 
of New- York, about two years ago, learning by 
experience, what already long had been known 
to me, the great attention the enlightened popu- 
lation of the United States pay to science and 
the arts, and that they admit that unquestion- 
able truth, that the very best blessings are the 
intellectual, I was, however, soon . aware, that 
Scandinavian affairs were too little known in 
this country. Induced by that ardent patriotism 
peculiar to the Norsemen, I immediately re- 
solved, as far as it lay in my power, to throw 
some light upon this, here, almost terra incog- 
nita, and compose a brief History of Scandinavia, 
which once was the arbiter of the European 
sycjtem, and by which America, in reality, had 
been discovered as much as upwards of five 


centuries before Columbus reached St. Salvador 
or Guanahany; without therefore saying that 
the few traditions about the Western hemisphere, 
very likely existing in the time of Columbus, 
have eclipsed that splendor which never will 
cease to invest the name of this unexampled 

The value of history being too generally appre- 
ciated to require any comment, I submit, to the 
forbearing criticism of the American public, 
this my essay of making the Scandinavian 
countries, especially Denmark, my fatherland, 
better known in the United States than before has 
been the case. Notwithstanding this composition 
has been a " labor of love," it has, on account 
of the want of sufficient literary sources, and of 
a thorough familiarity with the English lan- 
guage, for the stiffness of which I have to ask a 
kind forbearance, by no means been a short and 
facile undertaking, but has occupied my whole 
days and evenings for a long space of time. Nev- 
ertheless, should the present work, which I only 
offer as an introduction, be found calculated to 
promote even a little interest here for the 
valuable history of the North, my desire and 
purposes will be fully realized, and the great 


difficulties under which I have lahored, richly- 

May the Great Ruler of the Universe, who 
has borne me in safety across the ocean, abun- 
dantly pour blessings down upon each country 
that loves Him and the power of the atoning 
blood of His son ; and allow me to express this 
wish especially 4br the kingdom of Denmark, 
where I have learned to prize knowledge above 
rubies, and left dear remembrances, never to be 


New- York, August 1st, 1858. 

My Dear Sir : 
The Scandinavian peninsulas — one hanging down from the mys- 
terious North, the other jutting forth from the central mass of 
civilized Europe, to meet its comrade — are emblematic (in their 
geographical position) of the twofold historic interest with which 
they are clothed. While the legendary period of other peoples 
occupies a place subordinate to their clearer history, Scandinavia 
calls up before us, witli equal power, the mist-robed Odin and the 
mail-clad Yasa. The strange adventures amid Northern seas, in a 
primitive age, are as prominent as the leadership of European poli- 
tics in an age of remarkable light. We oddly mingle the old and 
the new, the dim and the bright, when we turn to Scandinavia, as 
we do with no other land. This double character naturally lends 
peculiar attraction to its history. Yet, wdth all this attraction, the 
history of no part of Europe is less familiar to the general mind ; 
probably because the Scandinavian countries lie somewhat off from 
the world's great highways, and participate but moderately in 
the world's chief commerce. This should not be. The ignorance 
is a fault, especially among us of English descent, whose ancestral 
history is so intimately and variously associated with that of Den- 
mark, Sweden, and Norway. The Norsemen have left the memo- 
rials of their habitation on the coasts and islands of Scotland, 
where Runic inscriptions tell the story of their prowess, while 
through much of England the familiar names of towns and hamlets 
are purely Norse. These are the fruits of the wild adventures of the 
Vikings. A Danish dynasty once ruled our fatherland, and the Con- 
queror who founded the present succession of British monarchs, 
was himself of Scandinavian blood, transplanted to a more southern 


clime. The stalwart men, wlio could venture upon unknown, cold, 
and stormy seas, in their small barks, on lengthy voyages, until, 
passing the new-found shores of Iceland, they landed among the 
green leaves of the Viinland coast, deserve to be known and saluted 
by every succeeding age. 

And their posterity, still maintaining the best characteristics of 
the fathers, invite our regard and claim our encomiums. The names 
of Tegner, Hans Andersen, Fredericka Bremer, in literature ; of 
Clausen, Madvig, and Rafn, in theological, philological, and archae- 
ological research ; of Thorvaldsen in art, and of Ole Bull and Jenny 
Lind in music, are as household words in our American homes. 
Our merited regard for these well known worthies of our own day, 
must render keener our appetite for Scandinavian knowledge. This 
appetite amounts to a necessity, when we mark, that our ancestral 
history and mythology, and our composite philology, must be eluci- 
dated by the light of these chronicles and languages of the Norse- 

It is, therefore, full time that our Universities should have their 
chairs of Scandinavian literature, as a needful part of the apparatus 
for a thorough English education, to render more complete the ex- 
amination of the roots of our speech and race. While this want is 
felt, we may gladly hail any contribution to American literature, 
which tends to open this interesting field of research. In your vol- 
ume, my dear sir, I recognize such a pioneer, and rejoice to give it 
welcome. In it may many laggards in this lore find an introduc- 
tion to the old romantic legends of the Skalds, as well as to the 
more recent but no less romantic stories of the great and magnani- 
mous Gustavus Vasa, Gustavus Adolphus, and the brilliant comets, 
Tordenskjold and Charles the Twelfth. 


Professor of Greek Language and Literature in the 
University of the City of New-York. 


In the widest sense History must be considered the 
knowledge, the portraying, or the total sum of all that 
in nature, amongst men, and in the whole circle of 
experiences, there is, or comes to pass, was, or came to 
pass, and which accordingly only can be learnt through 
experience or instruction. History is, consequently, the 
opposite of Philosophy, which is the knowledge of all 
needful and universal truths, comprehensible only by 
the mere reason. But, nevertheless, if the cultivator 
of History is not guided by Philosophy, or the rules 
of reason, History will to liim be only a barren act of 
memory, without life or nourishment for the under- 
standing and heart ; in short. History will not be a 
science to him ; he will not clearly comprehend the 
consequences of events in their pragmatical connection. 
" It little concerns us to know," says Rollin, " that 
there were once such men as Dschengischan, Csesar, 


Alexander, Grustavus Adolphus, Napoleon, Washington, 
and so on, and that they lived in this or that period, 
or died in this or that day ; but it highly concerns us 
to know the steps by which they rose to the exalted 
pitch of grandeur we cannot but admire, what it was 
that constituted their glory and felicity, what were the 
causes of their declension and fall, and how in religious 
and moral respects they have influenced their own and 
af^r«iges ; all of which we cannot obtain but by Phi- 
losophy, or more properly, by the Philosophy of History, 
through which we ascertain the causes of things or 
their phenomena. History itself is immense in refer- 
ence to compass, circumference, and contents. A 
boundless ocean of facts and events lies behind us, 
while each day and each hour the stream of time is 
swelling in new and large billows of events, visions, and 
names ; all of which, seen in the light of truth and 
pragmatical connection, are of exceeding interest and 
use. And of such great interest and use is the His- 
tory of the Scandinavian Kingdoms, taken, as all His- 
tory must be, in due connection with the contempora- 
neous History of other lands. This History is that of 
a brave and interesting people, which, on a large scale, 
has influenced the world, and is yet so little known to 
the United States, where I, however, rejoice at seeing 


SO much interest paid to the culture of science. A 
talented young American wrote, last summer, an elo- 
quent article in the Journal of Commerce, inscribed ' 
" Scandinavian History — a Work Wanted," wherein he 
says : " There is a nation, even now extant, possess- 
ing as brave a History as that of the Romans, as 
poetic as that of the Greeks ; a nation that has con- 
trolled the World's History in many things, and at 
many times, and whose achievements in war and in 
letters, are worthy the most heroic age of Rome and the 
most finished period of Grreece ; a nation whose Philo- 
sophy outran their age, and anticipated results that 
have been slowly occurring ever since. This reference," 
he says, " can be true of but one people, and that 
people is the Norsemen, the dwellers in Scandinavia, 
who lived as heroes, lords, and conquerors ; who, sailing 
out of the ice and desolation in which they were born 
and nurtured, conquered England, Scotland and Ireland ; 
ravaged Brittany and Normandy ; discovered and colo- 
nized Iceland and Greenland ; and they can be said, 
with confidence, to have crossed the Atlantic in their 
crazy barks, and to have discovered this very conti- 
nent, before Columbus, to have anchored in Vineyard 
Sound, and left a monument behind them ; and where- 
soever they went, they went as lords and rulers. And 


then their religion," he continues — " what a wild, 
massive, manly mythology ! With nothing of the soft 
sentimentalities of more southern people, but continent 
of much that revelation has assured us to he true in 
doctrine — preaching ever the necessity of right, and 
doing right — of manliness, honesty and responsihility, 
rewards and punishments." And he thus concludes : 
" Is there not some one who will plunge in medias res, 
and, bringing order out of confusion, give us this so 
greatly desiderated History of Scandinavia ?" 

These eloquent words, a correspondence with the 
talented writer, and later, an interview with him, have 
inspired me, a native Dane, having completed my theo- 
logical studies at the University of Copenhagen, and 
penetrated with patriotic feelings, with a mind and 
courage to plunge in medias res, and to the best of my 
ability to do justice to that undeniably interesting sub- 
ject. I dare not hope at all for such a success as has 
crowned a Bancroft, Irving, and Prescott ; nevertheless 
I will plunge ifi medias res, and go fearlessly through 
all the difficulties which attend an explorer, flattering 
myself in hoping that the American public will bestow 
upon me their kind attention, and exercise forbear- 
ance with somewhat unidiomatic English. Jacta est 
alea, and I will commence by describing the state and 


condition of Denmark, in the most ancient times, until 
the Provincial Territories were united, and Christi- 
anity began to be promulgated by Ansgarius, a learned 
and pious monk from Westphalia, in Germany. 


The Origin of the People — Mythology and Public Worship — Language — 
Skalds or Bards — Eunes — The Warfaring Life of the People — Piracy 
— ^Duels — ^Foster-brother Covenant — State and Condition of the Female 
Sex — Means of getting a livelihood by — Victuals — Trade — Dwelling- 
places — ^Weapons — Funeral Solemnities — State Affairs — King — Peasants 
and Prefects — Slaves — Norse Expeditions — The Oldest Kings. 

The present inliatitants of Denmark, as well as of 
Norway and Sweden, are successors of the enormous 
Gothic tribe formerly dwelling round about the Black 
Sea and the Sea of Azov, to which district this tribe 
seems to have come from yet more eastern regions, 
afterwards wandering up to the northern coasts of the 
Baltic, whence the one branch of the Gothic tribe 
departed to the opposite tracts of Scandinavia, peopling 
and settling the southern part of Sweden, Skane, Hal- 
land, and Bleking, the Danish islands, together with the 
northern part of the Jutlandish peninsula, and likewise 
spreading itself over the greater part of Norway. 
The other branch of these ancient and distinguished 
Goths remained south of the Baltic, and oftentimes 


changing their dwellings, afterwards prevailed in Ger- 

A. D., many, scattering under the great European 

3"5- emigration over a great part of southern Europe, 

G-reece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France, making 

considerable conquests, and even often exacting tribute. 

A. D., Divided here into Ostro and Visi-Goths, they 

*9^- erected, under their chief leader, Theodorik, the 

Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy, and the Visigotliic in 

A. D., Spain under Astu/ph, and their influence and 
*23. that of their descendants have since been per- 
manent in Europe and the world. On the southern 
borders of Demuark, in the present Duchy of Holstein, 
dwelt the Saxons, belonging to the German Goths ; 
higher up in Schleswig and in the southern and western 
part of Jutland dwelt the Angles and Jutlanders, 
forming, in a certain way, an intermediate line between 
the Scandinavian and German Goths. But as a great 

A. D., number of Angles, Saxons, and Jutlanders, in the 
*-^^- middle of the fifth century, led by the brothers, 
Heng-ist and Horst, departed for England, founding 
there the Saxon Heptarchy, the more northern Goths 
settling in the regions which those had left, were after- 
wards the prevailing tribe in all Jutland and Schleswig. 
On the entrance of the Goths into Scandinavia, the 
land was inhabited by two reciprocally kindred nations, 
whose present names are Laplanders and Finns. Both 
of them had come from the east, but the Laplanders 
were forced by the Finns up to the remotest parts of 


Norway and Sweden, where remnants of them are yet 
to be found. The Finns themselves were, after a 
vahant resistance, pressed back by the Groths, whose 
desoetdants at present live in Finland, which now 
belongs to the Russian Empire. It is also possible that 
some Celtic tribes, the primitive inhabitants of the 
south and west of Europe, have lived in the Scandi- 
navian countries. The culture of the oldest dwellers of 
the north was at a very low ebb ; they lived dispersed, 
rambling about the immense and impenetrable forests, 
and on the coasts adjacent to the ocean and the 
numerous lakes, many of which are now transformed 
into moors and marshy land, or dried up altogether. 
Game from the forests, and fish from the sea and lakes, 
supplied the inhabitants with nutriment and hides and 
furs to protect their bodies against the severe climate ; 
and in such respects they were very well off, wanting 
nothmg fortune could supply. Their weapons and 
hunting-tools were stones, but often made with curious 
and admirable workmanship — ^the use of metals being 
yet unknown. 

Very interesting, deep, and instructive is the religion 
or the mythology of the Norsemen, wherein their char- 
acter and peculiar views of life have received a proper 
embodiment, containing much of the spirit of obedience, 
for which St. Paul praises the heathens that are without 
the law, but do by nature the things contained in the 
law, showing the work of the law written in their 


hearts. Their religion, better, perhaps, called their 
mythology, announced also clearly the important doc- 
trine of future responsibility — rewards and punishments. 
At all events, it was great, nervous, and poetie, and, 
in many respects, fit for facilitating the introduction of 
the higher light of Revelation, which first in the ninth 
century was brought to them. In the abyss of ages — 
thus read the old Sagas — all was without form and life, 
and darkness was upon the face of the deep, on which 
B. c, the warmth was continually operating, until 
''^- Ymer, a giant sprang forth. But Odin, a 
Scandinavian Deity, yet supposed to be a liistorical 
person, having come from Asgard on the river Don 
(Tanais) in southern Russia, killed Ymer and his whole 
offspring ; the bad and evil letters and Thyrsers (giants) 
were drowned in that stream of blood proceeding and 
flowing from Ymer's corpse, except one, who propagated 
the generation of Jetters or Thyrsers, and lived in con- 
tinual enmity with gods and men. Of Ymer's body — 
thus read the old Sagas — Odin moulded and framed the •* 
ordained and settled world with mountains, rivers, lakes, 
trees, and clouds ; and of the great ash-tree, Yggdrasill, 
whose topmost branches were said to dance eternally in 
the heavenly light, he movilded the first couple of men, 
Asknr and Embla, who resided in Midgard. The 
gods themselves live in Asgard, close by Upsala, in 
Sweden. Odin, superior to all the other gods, is father 
of gods and men, and rules the whole world, which he. 


by his wise and judicious eye, contemplates and views 
jfrom his high Hlidskjalf, his heavenly seat, his royal 
palace. The peculiar Grod of War and Thunder is Thor, 
a son of Odin, most ardently worsliipped by the warlike 
Norsemen, and kept long in memory even after the 
other gods were tin-own into oblivion. He being consi- 
dered the good principle, and chosen to bruise the head 
of all the evil principles, is incessantly fighting with 
the Jetters, slaying them with his hammer, the heavy 
Mjolnir. The brave having found an honorable death 
on the battle field were taken up to the mansion of the 
gods, and came to the splendid castle, Valhalla, radia- 
ting with shining shields and ghttering swords, and 
where Odin, Thor, Freia, Frigga, and the Nomas, 
with their irrevocable decrees, were assembled. Odin's 
maidens, the Valkyriers, were continually rushing 
through the ether, seeking in ail countries for the 
bravest heroes, whom they marked with their spear- 
point, when the hour of death had come. The departed 
heroes, called Einheriars, pass their time in Vallialla, 
having every day the pleasure of arming themselves, 
marshaling themselves in military order, fighting and 
knocking down one another ; but in the evening they 
get up again and return to Valhalla, where a fes- 
tival meal is prepared for them, consisting of the 
flesh of a boar, called Sahrimner, which, though 
butchered every day, returns* to life again, and the 
beautiful virgins, the Valkyriers, present to them the 


mead-horn, of which they drink till they are in a state 
of intoxication ; but the pleasures of love do not enter 
at all into the joys of this extraordinary Paradise. Odin 
sits by himself at a particular table. A different lot or 
fate fell to the cowards who feared the battle and 
dangers of war, and allowed themselves to be cut off 
by disease. Cast down to Helkeim (hell) they had to 
continue their hfe there, as silent, trembling shadows, 
without pleasure and exploits, and under the perpetual 
suffering of anguish, remorse, and famine. Odin him- 
self, Thor, and the keen Tyr, belonged to the Asatribe ; 
while Freia, the goddess of love, together with Njord 
and Frigga, disposing of tranquil occupations, hunting, 
fishing, favorable winds on the ocean, and plenteous 
years, weje ascribed to the gentle Vane-tribe. 

Nevertheless, the dominion of the Valhalla gods was 
not to last forever, but the power to be given to 
another god, who should judge men conformably to a 
higher law, not as they were brave or cowardly, but 
as they were good or evil, for the Edda of Snorro 
says: "The world shall be judged in righteousness." 
The Valhalla gods, however, were safe as long as 
Baldur, the wisest and most righteous of all gods, and 
protector of innocence, was living. But the cunning 
and designing Loke, the evil deity and the father of 
treachery, by birth half related to the gods, half to 
the Jetters, and father of Hela, the Fenriswolf, and 
the dreadful Midgards serpent, smuggling himself into 


the fellowship of the gods, so prevailed, by his crafti- 
ness, upon Baldur's own brother, as to kill him. Now 
nothing can avert the declension of the gods and the 
perdition of the world. The sun becomes eclipsed, the 
ocean overflows, and the Midgards serpent rises from the 
deep. Loke and Jetters confederated with the burning 
and consuming Surtur, rush now upon Valhalla, which, 
together with Niftheim (Helheim) perish in Ragnarok, 
the twilight of the gods. AH gods and Einheriars fall 
in the battle, and the whole world perishes. But a 
new earth rises from the ocean, and the Almighty God 
descends himself to judge men in righteousness. The 
honest and true get permission to enter into Gimle 
— Odin's gold-radiating palace — to live there in eternal 
joy with the Almighty, and in fellowship with the other 
gods, who had been purified through the flames. Gimle 
has no need of the sun, neither of the moon, for Odin 
gives it light himself. But the evil, perjurers, mur- 
derers, and seducers, could not enter into that society, 
but are cast down to Nastrond, the eternal fire, where 
they have to expiate their misdeeds crossing streams 
of yellow matter, and suffering great pain in the eternal 
flames prepared for them. 
^ The gods were worshiped partly in the open air, in 
groves, or places encompassed by a circle of big stones, 
partly in wooden temples, among which that in Upsala 
(Sweden) was famous. The public worship — the 
main point of which were sacrifices — was in general 



administered by the head of the family ; at the temples 
priests were appointed — sometimes, also, priestesses. In 
order to honor the gods several great annual feasts were 
established, among which Juel (Christmas) was most 
remarkable as the most joyous and festival season to 
the Norsemen. From all quarters of the country men 
and women then resorted to the temples, making large 
offerings ; friends and relatives presented one another 
with gifts, and many days were spent in feasts and gay 
compotations. In the spring there was a sacrificial 
offering, to ensure luck in war and in Viking expedi- 
tions (piracies) usually beginning at that season. With 
these barbarous people the number nine was supposed 
to have something in it of peculiar sanctity. Every 
ninth month, therefore, a sacrifice was offered up to 
the gods. The usual victims were horses, oxen, young 
swine, hawks, and cocks. From the entrails and the 
running blood the priests told the people their fortunes, 
and the flesh was prepared for a meal to the assembled 
sacrificers. Sometimes even men were offered — mostly 
slaves and prisoners of war — for the Norsemen, in their 
uncultivated state, were, to a certain extent, cannibals ; 
to which Dithmar, a reliable liistorian of the eleventh 
century, bears witness, telling that before Odin's arrival 
the goddess Hertha was, in Leira, in the island of 
Sjelland, (Zeeland,) worshiped with great solemnity; 
and that every ninth year, in the month of January, 
the Danes offered up to her ninety-nine men, and the 


same numter of horses, dogs, and cocks, in tlie firm 
assurance of thus obtaining her favor and protection. 

The different classes of Norsemen, being of the same 
extraction, had also the same language, except some 
provincialisms, idioms, and differences in pronuncia- 
tion, entirely inevitable vv^here the same language is 
spoken over extensive tracts and territories. Wliile 
thus the old Scandinavian language, in process of time, 
WSLS undergoing several alterations, it was in the remote 
Icelafid kept in its perfect purity, free fr-om all foreign 
idioms. The general appellation of the common lan- 
guage was Danish tongue, the Danes being a long time 
considered the main people, and through several cen- 
turies playing the most important parts in the North. 
The language improved by discourses in public meet- 
ings, and by the songs of Skalds or Bards ; and later, 
when the use of letters became customary, by a multi- 
tude of historical writings, particularly composed by the 
Icelanders skilled in old sayings, which were handed 
down to them from antiquity, a considerable number 
of which writings are yet left. The poets, generally 
called Skalds, who by their songs have immortalized 
ancftstral achievements and exploits, were seldom mis- 
sing in public meetings, drinking bouts, and other 
festival occasions. They stayed often at the royal courts 
and the manors of the Prefects, where they propagated, 
through their songs, achievements and exploits of Kings 
and Prefects to succeeding generations ; and being often, 


not only eye-witnesses themselves, but even partakers of 
the achievements they have glorified in their songs. 
Their poetic productions, a great number of which have 
been preserved uncorrupted down to our very days, 
are of importance for History. 

The Norsemen had some peculiar letters, consisting 
of sixteen marks or characters, called Runes, the origin 
of which ascends to the remotest antiquity. They 
were used not only by the Norsemen, but also by kin- 
dred tribes abroad. The signification of the word Rune 
(mystery) seems to allude to the fact that, originally, 
only a few have known the use of these marks, and that 
they mostly have been applied to secret tricks, witch- 
craft, and enchantments. There were both plain and 
artificial Runes, called Lonrunes, (the Scandinavian 
word L6n denoting secret,) with the latter of which 
a great superstition was connected, the priests believ- 
ing, by aid of them, to be able to haunt a place, to dull 
weapons, to stop thunder and hurricanes, to cure or 
occasion diseases, and so on ; and, when engraved on 
nails, wrists, rudders of ships, handles of swords, 
these Lonrunes were supposed able to bring a thing to a 
happy issue, or avert dangers. But the Runes were 
also used as communications in writing ; for instance, 
on being engraved on thin wooden tablets, which were 
sent away as letters, or on being used to record a series 
of kings, genealogical tables, and the like. "Worthy to 
be noted is also the use of Runes for inscriptions on 


stones, in order to preserve the remembrance of cele- 
brated men and their acliievements. To the most 
remarkable of such E,une-stones, to be found round 
about in the Scandinavian countries, belong the two 
Jellingstones in Southern Jutland, where it is sup- 
posed that the king, Gorm the Old, and his queen, 
Thyra Dannebod, have their sepulchre. 

The warlike mind, so strongly and clearly expressed 
in the Northern mythology, appears in all parts of the 
popular life. Tranquil occupations did not enjoy any 
reputation among the ancient Norsemen, while war and 
fighting were a sure way of acquiring an eminent 
name with contemporaries, glorious fame with succeeding 
generations, and means and riches in abundance. To 
eat bread in the sweat of the brow was considered 
inglorious. Life was of little value, and had to be 
risked at any cost for honor ; and an old warrior, when 
unable to wield his sword, often caused one of his 
friends to kill him, to avoid a natural death, which 
was an exclusion from the privileges of VaUialla. But, 
although frequent wars and mutual challenges were 
carried on in Scandinavia, the Norsemen often sailed to 
far-off regions to win honor and renown. Yet, however, 
not only desire for warfare allured the Norsemen from 
home, but much more, the necessity of procuring such 
necessaries of life and such enjoyments as they could 
not have in their own countries. In the spring, great 
crowds of new-raised men, fit to bear arms, usually 


went away from home, mercilessly plundering coasts 
and lands, wherever they made their appearance, and 
in the fall returning with rich spoil and prisoners of 
war, who thereupon became slaves. Such expeditions 
were called Vikmgefarter, and the partakers Vikings. 
Some made even such a life a business, and spent 
nearly all their time on the ocean as pirates, despising 
the easier country life, and speaking disdainfully of 
sleeping under a sooty ceiling, or sitting round a warm 
stove with old women. According to the character of 
the Norsemen, their disputes were nearly always settled 
by arms. " It was more honorable for men," say the 
old Sagas, " to fight by sword than to quarrel by 
tongue ;" and when, therefore, a quarrel arose, either 
on account of personal offences, or concerning inheri- 
tance and borders, then the sword was usually the 
judge. After challenging one another to a duel, they 
met on a place surrounded by a circle of big stones, or 
hedged in by wicker-work, or also on a small island, 
and if the challenged did not punctually make his 
appearance, he lost his reputation ; nobody would keep 
company with him, and sometimes even a high pole was 
erected, on which Runes were engraved, announcing 
his name and infamy. The challenged, however, was 
permitted to prevail upon another to fight instead of 
himself; but, in general, they were loth to do so, as it 
always set the principal in an unfavorable light. One 
murder became generally the cause of another ; for, 


although fines could be paid as atonement for a murder 
committed in an open and honest duel, the near rela- 
tives often requhed blood for blood ; a manner of 
thinking which a father, being offered money for a 
murder committed on his only son, properly expressed 
in answering : "I will not carry the corpse of my dearly 
beloved son in my pocket-book." And if a murder was 
committed cunningly and treacherously, then vengeance 
of blood was an unavoidable obligation, from which the 
sur\T.ving relatives could not withdraw without total loss 
of their reputation. Revengeful and inexorable as the 
Norsemen were in theh enmity, so faithful and self- 
denying they proved themselves in their friendship. 
Warriors valuing one another highly, often made a 
contract called. Foster-broiher Covenant, by which they, 
under the observance of different solemn ceremonies, 
mixed blood together, swearing allegiance, and binding 
themselves by a fearful oath to avenge the death of one 
another, by inflicting severe punishment upon the mur- 
derer. This covenant was now and then extended 
even so far as to promise not to outlive one another ; 
and the ancient History of Scandinavia sets forth many 
beautiful examples of such faithfulness and self-denying 
love. Though bloody and implacable in war, they were 
not strangers to the virtues of peace ; hospitality and 
kindness to strangers, which are the common virtues of 
rude nations, the dwellers of Scandinavia possessed in 
a very high degree, and appreciated liighly, and they 


entertained for each other the most kindly feelings of 
regard. Every traveler was received kindly, and the 
person of the guest considered holy ; and when a man 
entered into the house of his enemy, with whom he 
everywhere else would have to abide the issue of a 
bloody fight, he was, as long as he was his guest, safe 
from any outrage or mischief. On the whole, it was as 
if the Apostle's words had been known to the ancient 
Norsemen : "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for 
thereby some have entertained angels unawares." It 
is, therefore, very wrong, when some partial historians, 
as for instance Voltaire, set forth a few instances of bru- 
tality and barbarism among the Norsemen as character- 
istic of the manners and genius of the whole race. 

The respect, likewise, which the dwellers of Scandi- 
navia entertained for the female sex, was a striking 
feature in their character, and could not fail to human- 
ize their dispositions. The state and condition of the 
female sex in society at large, was better in the north 
than in most other countries where Christianity had not 
produced a salutary revolution. The daughters, brought 
up in their paternal home, and taught occupations per- 
taining to females, were permitted to partake in social 
enjo^TTients and public meetings. Even the females 
appreciated bravery and a manly mind ; the want of 
which with the males, was, in their opinion, not repa- 
rable from other excellencies. The father or sfuardian 


disposed, according to custom, of the hand of the 
unmarried girl, hut in reality she was, however, at her 
own disposal, being very seldom given in marriage 
against her own option. The wedding ceremony, per- 
formed under the observance of religious ceremonies, 
was attended with festivities during several days, 
whereafter the husband guided his wife to her new 
home, handing her the bunch of keys (Nogleknippet) as 
a sign of her duties as the mistress of the house. 
Monogamy was customary ; nevertheless the husband 
cohabited now and then with concubines, — a cause of 
frequent divorces and bloody fights. As for chastity 
and pure manners, the old sayings report well, and 
speak m high terms of the women of the north. 
They were true to their country, their husbands, their 
friends and their home, and their love did not cease on 
this side the grave. The science of healing, imperfect 
as it might be at that time, was mostly practiced by 
women, to whom, also, the peculiar gift to interpret 
dreams was ascribed ; which gift, according to the old 
sayings, Odin had sent down to all women from his 
splendid Hlidskjalf. 

The business of the Norsemen was hunting, fishing, 
and breeding of cattle, also a little agriculture. Pytheas, 
a merchant from Marseilles, in Southern France, who, 
about three hundred years before Christ, arrived in a 
country which he calls Thule, generally considered to 

have been Southern Norway, tells that the inhabitants 


understood how to till barley, and prepare a drink of 
honey, and that they did not, as in Southern Europe, 
thresh their grain in the open air, but binding it up into 
sheaves, carried it into large barns to be threshed. The 
most common food of the Norsemen was the flesh of 
wild and domestic animals, fish, and vegetables ; horse 
and swme flesh were considered the finest dishes ; beer 
and mead were their drinks. Trade was exercised by 
the keen northern navigators on far-off coasts, but their 
traffic was often turned into piracy, and the sword was 
substituted for gold and silver. Grain, honey, flour, 
salt and cloth w^ere brought from England. Oriental 
commodities came by land to Russia, from whence the 
Norsemen imported them, and the harbors of Northern 
Germany drew together commercial connections with 
Middle Europe. Scandinavia herself had only very few 
wares to export ;' nearly none but fish, fiu", and 
amber, which was found on the shores of the Baltic 
and on the western coast of Jutland. Coins were 
unknown, and payment was, therefore, made by pieces 
of gold and silver, or wares exchanged for wares. Of 
mechanical arts there were in ancient times only very 
few. Nevertheless, the art of ship-building, and dex- 
terity in hammering arms and ornaments were highly 
valued and exercised by free-born men, while plainer 
works and domestic services were made by slaves. The 
women were very skillful in weaving tapestry, and 
interweaving figures of men, animals, and landscapes. 


The dwellings of the Scandinavian people were made 
of timber, and the construction was plain, one room 
being both kitchen, bed-chamber, and sitting-room. In 
the middle of the room were the stove and the chimney, 
and to let out the smoke an opening was made in the 
ceiling, which also let in light to the room ; for windows 
were unknown. Nevertheless the rich and prominent 
families had more convenient dwellings : kitchen, parlor, 
bed-chamber, bathing-room, and often a handsome hall. 

The Norseman's dearest and most important property- 
were his arms. In ancient times they were plain and 
artless, and, like other implements, made of stones ; later, 
t,i copper ; for it was a long time before the Norsemen 
jearnt how to forge iron. Their aggressive weapons, fre- 
qaently mentioned in the old sayings, were clubs, stones, 
swords, battle-axes, slings, bows, arrows, and spears ; 
their defensive were shirts of mail, helms, and shields, 
adorned with figures of animals, as armorial ensigns, 
and so highly appreciated as to be hereditary. On the 
whole, for the young Norseman, whose education was, 
like the ancient Spartan's, exclusively calculated for a 
military life, the practice in using arms was necessary 
to make his body phable and hardy ; by the early and 
frequent exercises of which they also acquired an almost 
incomprehensible dexterity and muscular strength in 
using and wielding the sword. Braver men never lived ; 
truer men never drew the bow. They had courage, 
fortitude, sagacity, bodily strength, and perseverance ; 


they shrunk from no dangers, and they feared no hard- 
ships. " Odin is for us — who can be against us ?" was 
their watchword ; and the old Sagas say : " Here it was 
beautiful to live, heavy to die." Penetrated with a 
lively desire for acquiring honor and renown, the ancient 
Norsemen employed all their efforts to keep their famous 
ancestors in an unshaken memory ; and when an emi- 
nent chief had died, his relatives and friends decreed 
solemn funeral honors, called Gravol, (parentations,) by 
which a glorious mention was made of the actions of the 
deceased, and drmking cups of beer emptied in his 
honor, the present guests obliging themselves to honor 
his glorious and sacred memory by promising to perform 
some distinguished deed. To make such a vow, and 
empty such a cup of memory, which was called the 
Minnicup, was a duty indispensably incumbent on the 
son, before he could place himself in the chair of state 
of his celebrated father. 

In remotest antiquity the corpses were buried in the 
earth ; later, burnt, the ashes being stored up in urns — a 
custom ascribed to Odin. At a later period it became 
again customary to bury the corpses, and heap up 
gigantic hills, many of which are yet to be found. The 
corpses of more distinguished persons were, however, 
seldom buried in the bare earth, but in a vault (mauso- 
leum) surrounded with big stones ; and upon the vault 
was generally laid a tall stone, with an inscription — 
(Rune-stone.) According to the general opinion, that in 


the life to come the deceased would have to acquit him- 
self of the same office as here, the best decorations, and 
things which had belonged to his situation and office, 
were laid down in the sepulchre ; wherefore, also, in 
said sepulchres, frequently are found swords and other 
arms, different implements, finger-rings, bracelets, neck- 
laces of pearl and amber, and mosaic work, and the like 

Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were, in ancient 
times, divided into small portions, districts and pro- 
vinces, (Herreder, Sysler,) more of which by degrees 
were so united as to form small states, until at last all 
these single provinces made up three kingdoms, which for 
many centuries had mostly only one king. These ancient 
kings of Scandinavia were — thus record the old sayings — 
beloved and honored by their people, as fathers and 
friends. They did not expect their subjects to kneel to 
them when they came to ask a favor or advice, nor did 
their subjects ever prostrate themselves, like those of 
great monarchs of Asia or Egypt. Their power was 
limited, and their function, as written laws had not yet 
existed, was to settle disputes which might arise among 
the selfish and ignorant, to make laws and alter the old 
ones, by which the people and the influential men con- 
sented to be governed, and to lead their subjects in war. 
To offer sacrifices, and take a leading part in divine 
worship, was also often the king's business. For this 
the subjects gave their king large farms and lordships, a 


considerable part of the spoils of war, and the highest 
places at all feasts, and in the public deliberations — 
that is, in the assemblies or assizes (Thinge) — where 
they consulted together concerning pubhc affairs ; and 
they always addressed him with respect. Moreover, 
forests and unfilled tracts of land, and ornaments found 
in the earth, belonged to the king. AVlien a king died, 
the people convened to elect his successor ; but, though 
hehship was not fully entitled to ascend the throne, the 
eldest son of the deceased king was generally chosen, in 
order to avoid disputes. Upon the failure of the blood 
royal, the election was enthely free. The government 
seems, on the whole, to have been almost an absolute 
monarchy, of a mixed, hereditary, and elective nature. 

The peasantry was, m this early age, almost the 
only corporation of Scandinavia. By a peasant was 
understood, not alone a husbandman, an agricultor, but 
every free-born person who was possessed of real estates, 
with whatever office he else might be invested. Thus 
the peasantry constituted the people. But above the 
peasants ranked the chiefs or leaders, not on account of 
peculiar privileges, but of the greater credit and influ- 
ence they enjoyed, because they were in possession of 
larger property, and descended frorn distinguished 
families. From among such families the kings in 
general took earls (Jarler) to rule the conquered pro- 
vinces, and all the warriors and officers who constituted 
their court (Hird). The peasants and the chiefs const!- 


tated the Diet, and met at the assize (Thing), a place 
selected for this very purpose, and surrounded with holy- 
ash trees or with a circle of stones. Here they con- 
sulted concerning war and peace ; here the kings were 
elected ; here the laws were passed or annulled, and law- 
suits decided ; and without the consent of the Diet the 
king could not decide upon anything of consequence. 
The laws were few and simple, consisting mostly in 
customs ; the punishments were mild, and most crimes 
could be atoned for by paying a fine ; yet assassination, 
high-treason, arson, and burglary, were now and then 
punished, either by slavery, outlawry, or forfeiture of 
hfe. The slaves were divided into native Scandinavians 
and foreigners. In the many wars which the Norsemen 
waged with southern Europe, they made prisoners, who 
became slaves, if their relatives or friends could not pay 
for their liberation. Also, many slaves were made by 
trade. Their condition was miserable. The ancient 
Norsemen hardly acknowledged slaves to be men. A 
slave might be beaten, starved, and otherwise tormented, 
or be killed by his master's order, and the abuser 
might go unpunished. They could not buy, sell, nor 
inherit — not take oath, not marry — but were sold and 
bought as other wares. Slaves never carried arms, 
except when expressly armed for military service. One 
of the most toilsome but necessary labors of slaves, 
"was the preparation of corn or wheat. In those ages 
th^re were neither wind nor water mills, corn being 


beaten by slaves, or pounded, or ground in a hand-mill. 
There were, however, many slaveholders who never 
practised these cruelties, and the slaves of Scandinavia 
were, on the whole, treated with more humanity than 
in other parts of Europe. Slaves were even sometimes 
let out to serve other citizens, and in that case they 
were permitted to have a part of their wages, and the 
money thus earned was often saved to purchase the 
liberty of the slaves. A kind master granted, some- 
times, a faithful slave his liberty, whose children then 
could become citizens, and enjoy all civil privileges. Of 
course, the introduction of Christianity put a stop to 
many abuses of slavery, and the first Scandinavian 
Christians treated their slaves kindly, approving of St. 
Paul's words to the Athenians : " G-od made of one blood 
all nations of the earth, bond and free." 

Upon the whole, nothing is more horrible and affecting 
than such debasement of a fellow creature. The Greek 
poet. Homer, who lived about twelve hundred years 
before Christ, says truly: "Whatever day makes man 
a slave takes half his worth away." 

Of the great European Emigration the Norsemen were, 
properly speaking, not partakers, except as far as Jut- 
A. D., landers, Angles and Saxons, at about the same 
449- time, under the command of the two brothers, 
Hengist and Horst, set out for and conquered England, 
and erected the Saxon Heptarchy, the history of which 
is very obscure. The duration of the several kingdoms, 


till their union under Egbert, is almost all that a. d., 
can be noted with any approach to historical ^27. 
certainty. But it is beyond all question, that the 
Cimbri and Teutons, and later, the Goths and Longo- 
beards, and the other people mentioned, have emigrated 
from Scandinavia, except, perhaps, that some single 
crowds from the north might have joined the kindred 
tribes south of the Baltic. But after that great agita- 
tion, called the European Emigration, had subsided, an 
emigration from Scandinavia commenced in the seventh 
and eighth centuries, breaking out violently in the ninth 
and tenth centuries. The Normans (the Danes, Norwe- 
gians, and Swedes, commonly styled so in southern 
Europe,) had undoubtedly formerly made frequent expe- 
ditions (Vikingefarter) to near and far-off regions ; but 
now their expeditions begaij to be made in greater num- 
bers, intending not only to obtain booty, but even 
possessions and dwellings abroad. The union of the 
proviQcial territories under one king, both in Denmark 
and Norway, and the introduction of Christianity, and 
the change of manners and customs connected therewith, 
had made many dissatisfied with their native country. 
This, together with a strong desire for a warfaring life, 
induced numerous crowds from all regions of the North 
to go away to seek a new home ; and the southern 
lands, which by the dissolution of Charlemagne's a. d., 
empire, were enervated and entirely defenceless, ^^^ 
were a tempting bait for the Normans. Their expedi- 


tions extended from the Baltic straight down to the 
coasts of Africa, and to the innermost parts of the Medi- 
terranean sea, wliich had so often formerly resounded 
with the strife of Latin arms. Nor were their enter- 
prises confined to these coasts. They descended all along 
the shores of Portugal and Western France, and there- 
after along the largest rivers of Europe — Elbe, Rhine, 
Scheldt, Seine, Loire, Garonne, and Rhone. They dared, 
on their small flat-bottomed vessels, to make irruption 
into the inland parts of the countries, spreading terror 
and causing the most terrible havoc wheresoever they 
went. The flourishing cities of Holland and G-ermany, 
Nimvegen, Liege, Bonn, Cologne, and Aachen, were con- 
sumed by their fire, and they went over the entire 
dreadful drama of warlike glory. Finally Arnulf, the 
German Emperor, put a stop to their invasions and 
A. D., cruelties, after having completely defeated them 
^91- nesiT Loven, in Belgium. 

To France was the cruel Danish Viking, Hastings, a 

horrible scourge. He marched twice to the gates of 

Paris, plundered, and exacted tribute. The third time 

A. D., Paris was saved by the bravery of Count Odo, 

886. afterwards King of France. Then he prepared to 

set out for Rome, resolving to give full way to his 

natural desire for conquest ; but mistaking the city 

Luna for Rome, he attacked and obtained it. Yet no 

A. D., rest for France, until Charles the Foolish, 

911- King of France, gave up to Rollo, or Rolf 


Gange, a Norwegian cliief, a whole province, wliicli was 
now called Normandy. Alfred the Grreat, of England, 
had, in resisting the cruel Hastings, to withstand a 
skillful veteran. For three years he had, undismayed, 
contended against Alfred, till he at last had to yield 
indignantly to that noble King of England. Has- a. d., 
tings had marked his course with blood ; but ^^7. 
whatever was done by him, fell short of the merciless 
ferocity of other Danes, who, about the same time, laid 
England waste. Scotland, the Hebrides, and Ireland 
were thrown into the most extreme desolation by the 
Danes and Norwegians, who in Ireland were called 
Ostmen (men of the east.) The exclamation of a monk 
of Worcester is forcible : " O quam crebris vexationibus, 
quam gravibus laboribus, quam diris et lamentabilibus 
modis, non solum a Dams, vermn etiam ab filiis satan- 
icis Hastingii, tota vexata est AngliaP Not till the 
Norsemen had won pleasant dwellings, and states by 
them were founded in France, Italy, Ostangel, Northum- 
berland, on the Island of Man, and the Orkney Isles, 
as also in Russia, where they were called Vareger, 
did the tumult gradually subside ; while, at the same 
time, the fierce passions of the Norsemen were in some 
degree moderated by the mild precepts of the G-ospel. 

The oldest events in Scandinavia are only known 
from the old sayings or traditions, which first, at a later 
period, have been written down, and therefore do not 
give the events back in their true form, but are mixed 


up with fiction, which has given rise to an insuperable 
chronological difficulty. The traditions are so varied, 
that it is often impossible to discover the truth of any 
of the circumstances. The. materials from which these 
traditions are compiled, are in Scandinavia, as in Rome, 
and Greece, the legendary ballads, wh.ich are in every 
country the first records of warlike exploits. Of conse- 
quence are also the calendars and annals kept by the 
priests, and the genealogical tables kept by the earls and 
other distinguished families. But poetic historians have 
afterwards mingled so much fiction with truth, that 
often only few of their assertions can be deemed 
authentic. The history, therefore, of Scandinavia, 
thi'ough the first eight centuries after Christ, until King 
A. D., G-orm the Old, is properly and correctly called 
^^^- the Fabnlous Age, because deprived of the 
nature of historical evidence, and often involved in 
impenetrable obscurity, and accordingly, full of the 
greatest improbabilities ; while the period before Christ, 
destitute of all light, is called the Obscure Age. Odin, 
supposed to have arrived in Scandinavia about seventy 
years before Christ, and, according to the religious ideas 
of the Norsemen, considered the Supreme God, is by 
some historians described as a real historical person — a 
mighty king — who has ruled the northern countries. 
Several sons are ascribed to liim, who, after his death, 
divided Scandinavia into equal parts. Heimdal is said 
to have reigned in Skane, Niord in Sweden, Seining 


in Norway, Balder in Angel, (Schleswig,) and Skjold in 
Sjelland (Zealand) and Jutland ; the latter being the 
head of an illustrious generation of kings, called 
Skjoldunger, who are said to have resided in Leire, 
(Lethra,) twenty English miles from Copenliagen, In 
Christ's time Frode Fredegod (Pacific) is said to have 
been King of Denmark. The rulers at that time were 
not called kings, but Drots, and Rig, ruler of Skane, 
adopted first the title of king. A new generation a. d., 
begins with Dan MyJdllati (The Splendid). 250. 
Almost all liistorians agree that he was the founder of 
the country called Denmark. Some have from him 
derived the name Denmark ; but it is more probable 
that it has originated from the word Dan, denoting loio 
or flat, and from Mark, denoting overgroivn with ivood ; 
the name Denmark thus denoting a flat land, overgrown 
with wood. After a reign of forty years, with the 
utmost justice and reputation — thus record the old say- 
ings — ^he died greatly lamented by his subjects. He 
ordered his courtiers to bury him solemnly, and in full 
equipage, in a hill ; and because it from his time became 
customary to bury the kings in such hills, the followmg 
age is called the Hill Age. At a subsequent time Rolf 
Krake was king. The graces of his person are said to 
have equaled those of his mind ; and his stature and 
strength to have been so extraordinary, that he was 
surnamed Krake, an old Danish word expressive of 
these qualities. He has become famous for his bravery 


and martial spirit, and for the twelve giants (Berserkers) - 
he kept at his court ; among whom Bj'arke, HJelte, and 
Wiggo ought to be named. Berserker is a word of 
frequent occurrence in the Sagas, and denotes giants or 
warriors. They were often seized with a kind of frenzy, 
either arising from an excited imagination, or from the 
use of stimulating liquors — committing then the wildest 
extravagances, and striking indiscriminately at friends 
and foes. Rolf Krake was killed by the base perfi- 
diousness of his own sister, Skulda, married to Hjartvar, 
Rolf's viceroy in Skane, whom he had distinguished by 
numberless instances of his favor,, and even exempted 
him from paying taxes for three years. Meanwhile 
Hjartvar, prompted by his wife, buckled for war ; 
making haste, at the time expired, to Leire, where he 
in the night assaulted the sleeping king and his Ber- 
serkers, who had intoxicated themselves at a banquet 
Rolf had given in honor of his sister's arrival. Rolf and 
A. D., all his Berserkers were put to the sword, except 
600. "Wiggo, who promised to avenge the death of the 
king. He kept his promise, and pierced Hjartvar with 
seven dagger-stabs. 

In the middle of the seventh century the brothers 
Rerek and Helge, thus sing the old Sagas, reigned 
jointly in Leire, at the same time as Ivar Vidfadme 
[i. e.f who surpasses his bounds,) made himself ruler over 
a great part of the North, besides Sweden, which he 
already ruled. To enter into possession of Sjelland, 


he gave his daughter, Audur, in marriage to Rerek, 
though she herself preferred the more warlike Helge. 
After that, he kindled variance between the brothers, so 
that Rerek, in a fit of jealousy, killed his brother, 
whereafter Ivar Vidfadme succeeded in conquering 
Rerek and becoming master of Sjelland. But some time 
after, Ivar lost his life on an expedition to Russia a. d., 
(Grarderige), whither his widowed daughter had '^oo. 
fled for refuge. About this time Hamlet, a Danish 
prince, whom Shakspeare has immortalized, is said to 
have enjoyed for a great number of years the Danish 
throne. It is, however, doubtful, in spite of assertions 
to the contrary, whether Hamlet ever was king of 
Denmark, all the best critics affirming that he was 
killed in a battle, just as he was endeavoring by force to 
succeed to the crown ; and even Saxo Grammaticus 
does not place him among the Danish monarchs. Harold 
Hildetandj a son of Rerek and Audur, now brought 
under subjection all the countries his grandfather, Ivar 
Vidfadme, had ruled, and became a mighty and sove- 
reign king. But, after bearing sway a long time in 
peace, Sigurd Ring, his nephew, and viceroy in Swe- 
den, raised a sedition against him. The memorable 
battle was fought at Bravallahede, in Smaland, a. d., 
Sweden, where the most noble heroes and giants '^^o. 
of the whole North encountered ; amongst whom was 
the notable Stcerkodder, whose bravery and gigantic 
size have been so much praised in the heroic songs. But 



Harald Hildetand fell in the battle, Sigurd Ring gaining 
the victory ; whose reign, however, is not worthy of 
much notice. He is said to have founded the city of 
Ringsted, in Sjelland, called after him. The more 
remarkable has his son, Regner Lodbrok, become, of 
whose exploits and enterprises of hazard the old sayings 
record so much. Perpetually roving in defiance and 
war, partly on the southern and eastern coasts of the 
Baltic, partly in Flanders, partly in Scotland, Ireland, 
and England, and being lord and ruler wheresoever he 
went, he was, at last, captured by King Ella, of Nor- 
thumberland, who, so say the English historians, threw 
him, bound, into a dungeon filled with snakes, vipers, 
A. D., and poisonous animals ; thus ingloriously putting 
"^9*- an end to a life grown old in glory and victory. 
The great Danish historians, Saxo Grammaticus, Pon- 
tanus, and Meursius, correspond with the English in 
this circumstance. His four sons avenging his death, 
divided now the wide-spread realm which Ivar Vid- 
fadme, Harald Hildetand, and Sigurd Ring had gathered 
together. Bjorn Jernside obtained Sweden, Hvidscerk 
Jutland and Wenden, Ivar Beenlos Northumberland, 
and Sigurd Snake-eye Denmark, Skane, Halland and 
Southern Norway. The historian, Meursius, speaks in 
high terms of Sigurd Snake-eye. "God," says he, 
"enabled him to complete a reign as pregnant with 
real felicity as any which the annals of Denmark can 
show." A grandson of his was Gorm the Old, who 


collected the separate Danish provinces into one aggre- 
gate body. 

Thus has been traced the History of Scandinavia, from 
the fabulous age down to the period of historical evi- 
dence ; on the accounts of which we accordingly could 
bestow an impHcit credit. Christianity, also, now com- 
menced to be preached ; paganism at length entirely 
disappeared, and the influence of a purer faith became 
disceirnible in the lives and actions of the old Norsemen. 




From the Foundation of the Danish Kingdom till A. D. 1042. 

Promulgation of the Gospel by Ansgarius — Gorm the Old and his Queen^ 
Thyra Dannebod — Harald Bluetooth — Christianity — Civil War — Palnatoke 
— Svend Splitbeard — Yiking Association — Battle by Svolder — Conquest 
of England — Harald — Canute the Great — England and Denmark united — 
Pilgrimage to Rome — Battle by Helge-River — Ulf Jarl — Conquest of Nor- 
way — The union with England ceases. 

A FEW years before G-orm's accession to the Danish 
throne, the promulgation of Christianity was com- 
menced, hut met with great opposition from the warhke 
mind and rude manners of the people. The humble and 
self-denying spirit taught by Christianity was in no 
accordance with the stubborn mind of the ancient 
Norsemen. The Christian idea of the life to come, as a 
spiritual union with Grod and the Saviour, was very 
much opposed to the hope of the northern pagans for 


Valhalla, and the sensual enjoyments expected there. 
The doctrine of fasting, abstemiousness, and chastening 
the body, displeased the Norsemen, who wished to enjoy 
the pleasures which this life offered them, and appre- 
ciated a strong and vigorous body. A long time, there- 
fore, passed away, till Christianity as an active prmciple 
entered their hearts ; but it is to be observed, that the 
victory was gained, not, as in many adjacent countries, 
by violence and compulsion, but by the intrinsic power 
of the G-ospel itself. Several points, also, of the heathen 
doctrine facilitated the introduction of Cliristianity. 
The doctrine of the pious Balder, of the destruction of 
the gods, after wliich a holy and righteous God was to 
rule, paved the way for the Christian ideas. The hea- 
thens' Loke, Gimle, and Nastrond, became easily the 
Christians' devil, kingdom of heaven, and hell ; as also 
the outward pomp and splendor of the Catholic divine 
service influenced the tractable mind of the ancient 
Norsemen. The Frankish emperors (the Franks were 
some petty German tribes, who in the fifth century had 
established themselves as a nation in the provinces lying 
between the Ehine, the Weser, the Maine and the Elbe, 
including the greater part of Holland and Westphalia,) 
endeavored to spread Cliristianity among the Norsemen, 
in order thereby to bridle these troublesome neighbors. 
Charlemagne had with violence compelled the Saxons to 
embrace Christianity, and thus deprived the people of 
its independence. But the daring and efficient Godfred, 



King of Jutland, apprehending his designs, protected the 
Saxons, and commenced war. Making large progress, 
and even threatening to visit Charlemagne in his resi- 
dence, Aachen, the emperor was happy enough to get 
rid of that intelligent and brave enemy, Godfred unfor- 
tunately being treacherously killed by one of his own 
people. His successor. Hemming, made peace a. d., 
with Charlemagne, by which the river Eider was ^H- 
appointed the limit between Denmark and Germany. 
Louis the Pious, a son of Charlemagne, not so able as 
his father, but of a more pious mind, concerned himself 
very much in spreading Christianity in Denmark, send- 
ing thither the Archbishop Ebbe, of Rheims, who, never- 
theless, did not perform anytliing of consequence. But 
a Jutlandish sub-king, Harald Klak, who had been 
banished from the country, fled to the emperor for 
refuge, hoping by his aid to regain the kingdom. Wliile 
staying there, Harald was baptized in Ingelheim, by 
lllainz, the emperor himself being sponsor at the chris- 
tening, and putting on him the white baptismal robe. 
It was after his return from Germany that we may date 
the era of Christianity in Denmark. A?isgarius, called 
the Northern Apostle, a learned and pious monk in the 
cloister of Corvey, Westphalia, was the happy instru- 
ment of spreading Christianity in the North. The 
emperor was looking for a man who could guide Harald 
Klak home, strengthen his faith, and spread the Chris- 
tian doctrine amongst his people. Ansgarius undertook 


this bold and difficult enterprise ; and, attended by 
another energetic monk, Autbert, arrived in Denmark, 
A. D., where he first resided in Hedeby (now the city 
827. of Schleswig), at that time a flourishing commer- 
cial city, and erected a missionary school, preaching the 
Kingdom of Grod, and teaching those things which con- 
cern the Lord Jesus Christ. Such was the force of 
truth — or such, perhaps, the inconstancy of human 
nature, always eager after novelty — ^that Christianity 
spread with amazing rapidity, and was greatly aided in 
its progress by the zeal and piety of the king. After 
some years' preaching and baptizing in Denmark, he 
went, advised by the emperor, to Sweden, preaching 
Christianity there for a year and a half. The emperor, 
learning what rapid progress the new doctrine had made 
in Scandinavia, purposed now, in order to promote it 
A. D., still further, to erect an archbishopric in Ham- 
83*- burg ; and Ansgarius, with whose Christian zeal 
he was highly pleased, was accordingly appointed Arch- 
bishop. Autbert, his faithful and pious attender, was 
already dead, deeply bewailed by Ansgarius. But the 
Northern Vikings (freebooters) some time after attacking 
and ravaging Hamburg, put unfortunately a consider- 
able stop to the missionary undertaking of Ansgarius. 
Through several years he had to ramble about, helpless 
and forsaken ; while the disturbances, which broke 
out at the soon ensuing death of the emperor, could 
but withdraw attention from the advancement of 


Christianity in the North. Finally, Louis the a. d., 
Grerman, interesting himself in the subject, ^^5- 
united the bishopric of Bremen with the archbishopric 
of Hamburg, and took care of Ansgarius, who anew 
commenced to preach, set the school of Hedeby again 
on foot, and, because of the favor he enjoyed with the 
Jutlandish sub-king, Erik, was permitted to build in 
this city the first church — ^the very first — in Denmark. 
But upon returning from another journey in Sweden, he 
found King Erik dead, and Christianity under persecu- 
tion of the new king, who put several of the most devout 
and zealous Cliristians to death, who had refused to 
abjure their religion. Others he forced or bribed into a 
compliance with his will. He leveled all the churches 
with the ground, and sent an army to ravage Saxony, 
chiefly because the people of that country had received 
the light of the Gospel. But Ansgarius spoke so con- 
vincingly to the king, that he not only withdrew his 
resentment, which had grievously oppressed the Chris- 
tians, but pubUshed entire liberty of conscience, and 
embraced the true faith. He erected, at his own 
expense, a magnificent church at Ripen, in Southern 
Jutland, ordered the pagan temples to be razed, and now 
became as zealous a Christian as a little before he had 
been a bigoted heathen. Upon the recommendation of 
Ansgarius, he appointed persons properly qualified for 
teaching the Grospel in every corner of his dominions, 
allowed them handsome salaries, and took Ansgarius for 


his counselor, not only in spirituals but in temporals 
likewise. He died the proselyte and chief support of 
that religion which, only a few years before, he had 
persecuted with such cruelty and bitterness. Of the 
new church erected by him at Ripen, Rembert, a disciple 

A. D., of Ansgarius, was appointed minister. At sixty- 
865. four years of age Ansgarius died in Bremen, after 
a powerful and self-denying endeavor for spreading the 
Gospel in Scandinavia. Rembert, above mentioned, 
succeeded him in the archbishopric, acting with the 
same apostolic zeal as his great teacher, whose biography 
he has written and published in Latin. A following 
king of Denmark, by the name of Frotho, prepared, the 
better to propagate the faith, an embassy to Pope Sergius 
III., to acknowledge his supremacy in spirituals, and to 
request that he would send some persons perfectly 
qualified to teach the Gospel in Denmark, when death 
claimed him, and deprived his people of an excellent 
prince. The spread of Christianity in Scandinavia gave 
additional vigor to the papal power, for the Norsemen, 
with all the zeal of new converts, became eager to prove 
their sincerity by some enterprise in support of the 
pontiff, whom they regarded as the great director of their 
faith and hope. Contemporaneously with Rembert's 

A. D., efforts for preaching and spreading Christianity, 

882-941. Qorm the Old was king of Denmark. He is 

chiefly to be remembered for collecting all the small 

provinces into one body. At that time the Danish king- 



dom comprised Sjelland, with the adjacent islands, Jut- 
land and South Jutland (now Schleswig), where the 
Eider river was the lipiit towards the south, and Skane, 
Halland, and Bleking, in Southern Sweden. But, 
though these parts were now thus united, they preserved 
for a long space of time their popular peculiarities, each 
part having its own laws, and the king receiving his 
homage separately in each province. We are not able 
to detail many facts of the reign of Gorm the Old, but 
we know, however, that he was a bitter enemy to the 
Clu'istians, whom he persecuted in every quarter, demol- 
ishing their churches and banishing their clergy. 
Amongst other sacred buildings, he totally destroyed 
the famous cathedral in Sclileswig, and ordered the 
pagan idols to be erected wherever they had formerly 
stood. While his two sons, Canute and Harald — twins 
by birth, and rivals in glory — ^were gathering laurels 
abroad, Gorm took arms against the Saxons, with a 
view to oblige them to renounce Chiistianity, but the 
emperor, Henry the Fowler, soon came to the a. d., 
relief of the Saxons, defeated Gorm, and forced ^20. 
him to permit Christianity to be preached in Denmark. 
Gorm's queen, generally called Tliyra Dannebod (the 
ornament or solace of the Danes), has rendered herself 
distinguished by founding Dannevirke (a great wall of 
earth and stones across Schleswig, strongly fortified by 
moats and tower bastions), to protect the country against 

inroads of the Germans. Already Godfred, before men- 


tioned, had erected a like fortification, called Kurvirke, 
but the irruption of Henry the Fowler had proved that 
the country needed a stronger bulwark, wherefore the 
queen founded that famous Dannevirke, remnants of 
which are yet to be seen. G-orm, loving his son Canute, 
generally called Canute Danaast (the Splendor of the 
Danes), more than Harald, declared, dreading the death 
of his dearly beloved son, of whom he for a great while 
had received no intelligence, that whosoever might tell 
him of his son's death should lose his life. Finally, 
notice was given of his death on a Yiking expedition 
in England. The queen, not risking to tell it to the 
king, made the courtiers observe an unusual silence at 
the table, and had the apartment covered with black 
cloth. Guessing the reason, Gorm cried out : " Surely 
Canute, my dear son, is dead, for all Denmark is mourn- 
ing ! " " Thou sayest so, not /," answered the queen ; 
A. D., upon which the king sickened with grief, and 

9^1- died in a good old age, 

Harald Bluetooth, his son, was immediately elected 
king, but he refused to accept the crown until he had 
first performed his father's obsequies with all the magni- 
ficence becoming his high rank. About the same time 
Hakon Adelstan was King of Norway, who had to fight 
with his nephews, sons of King Erik Bloodaxe ; of all of 
whom, Harald Greyskin, countenanced and supported by 
the Danish king, succeeded, after the death of Hakon 
Adelstan, in ascending the throne of Norway. But, as 


he did not pay the trihute promised the Danish king for 
his support, hostility hroke out, and Hakon Jarl, whose 
father, Sigurd, had been killed by Harald Grreyskin, now 
found refuge in Denmark, inflaming the enmity between 
the kings to an extreme degree. At the same time Gold 
Harald, a son of Canute Danaast, above mentioned, and 
consequently a nephew of Harald Bluetooth, had come 
back from his piracies, and claimed now, by virtue of 
supposed right, a share of the Danish Kingdom. Hakon 
Jarl advised the king to kill Harald Greyskin, and then, 
to gratify his nephew's wish to a certain extent, to let 
him have Norway ; of which advice the king approved. 
Accordingly, Harald Greyskin was now, under pretence 
of friendship, allured down from Norway, and killed by 
the Lymfiord (a river running through the northern part 
of Jutland), by Gold Harald ; who was, however, soon 
after insidiously murdered by Hakon Jarl, who had 
made the king believe that Gold Harald hardly could 
bear so gi'cat honor. This heinous action done, Harald 
Bluetooth sailed with wind upon the beam to Norway, 
which he easily conquered, and divided between Hakon 
Jarl and Harald Grsenske, a Norwegian prince ; after 
whose death, soon ensuing, Hakon Jarl became ruler 
of all Norway ; under oath, however, of allegiance 
to Harald Bluetooth. Thus Norway became a province 
to Denmark. After Harald Bluetooth had settled this 
affair, he sailed against the Venders, who committed 
horrid depredations on all the coasts of the Baltic, but 


he attacked them with such vigor, that he reduced and 
plundered all their strongholds, and, among the rest, the 
rich and important city of Wollin, built on an island of 
the same name, which is formed by two branches of 
the river Oder. But he had scarce rid liis hands of this 
war when his aid and protection were solicited by Styr- 
bear, King of Sweden, who was driven out of his own 
dominions by Erik Victor. To enforce his request Styr- 
bear had brought along with him Gyntha, his sister, 
a lady of admirable beauty. The stratagem had the 
intended effect ; Harald Bluetooth became enamored of 
her, married her, and promised the brother all the assist- 
A. D., ance in his power. Nevertheless Styrbear wa^ 

9S3. defeated by Erik Victor, at Fyriswall, neai 

The progress of Christianity, which Grorm the Old had 
resisted and disregarded, began now to attract the notice 
of the ruling power, and was, during the whole reign 
of Harald Bluetooth, vigorously promoted by Adeldagy 
who now was invested with the arcliiepiscopal see of 
Hamburg. Besides the two churches in Schleswig and 
Ripen, above mentioned, a third was built in Aarhuus^ sit- 
uated on the eastern coast of Jutland, and bishoprics were 
established in said cities. But, although in favor of the 
A. D., new doctrine, the king would not comply with the 

^'^''- exorbitant and undue claims which the German 
emperor, Otho I., arrogated to himself. The Grerman 
kings claimed, by virtue of their dignity as Roman empe- 


rors, to be acknowledged the secular head of the whole 
Christian world, as the Pope was the ecclesiastical ; 
which claim Otho I. realized by giving to those bishoprics 
above mentioned, immunity and real estates in Den- 
mark. His successor, Otho II., claiming the same, 
excited the resentment of Harald Bluetooth, who col- 
lected all his forces, and pitched his camp on the narrow 
neck of land at Schleswig, to intercept Otho, but a. d., 
was defeated, the mighty emperor demolishing ^'^^■ 
the famous fortification, Dannevirke, and making his 
way through the country right up to the Lymfiord. A 
treaty of peace was made, and the king received baptism 
by Bishop Popo — Otho, the emperor, being sponsor — and 
the same ceremony was performed on his son, Swen. 
Bishoprics were now also established in Odensee and in 
Roeskilde, where Harald Bluetooth erected a splendid 
church. Odinkar Hvicle, a native Dane, commenced 
now to preach Christianity, and annihilate the pagan 
worship ; all of which excited the resentment of the 
heathen party, in front of Vv'hich went the king's own 
son, Swen, and his master-in-arms, Palnatoke, a mighty 
chief from the Danish island Fjunen, who from the depth 
of his heart was addicted to heathenism, and besides 
that, believed to have several personal offences to be 
avenged upon the king. Harald Bluetooth, however, 
determined not to be wanting in his duty, raised an 
army and gave battle to his son, who aspired a. d., 
to his father's crown. B'"'t the king was defeat- ^^^- 


ed, and shot by the hand of Palnatoke, while he was 
walking in a grove near liis camp. Before leaving 
Harald Bluetooth, it ought to be noticed that he removed 
the royal residence from Leire (Lethra) to Roeskilde, 
where the Danish kings resided for about five cen- 
turies, till Copenhagen, during the reign of Christopher 
of Bavaria, was made the capital. 

Harald Bluetooth was succeeded by his son Swen, 
A. D., generally called Swen Splitbeard, from some 
991-1014. peculiarity observed about his beard. He is also 
sometimes called Swen Otho, in compliment to his god- 
father, the emperor. Nearly all his time was spent in 
making expeditions to Norway, Germany, and England. " 
Notwithstanding Swen Splitbeard and the mighty chief, 
Palnatoke, above mentioned, had been on a very intimate 
footing, their good understanding soon ceased ; for the 
murder committed by Palnatoke on his father, Harald 
Bluetooth, required vengeance of blood. Palnatoke re- 
sorted to Jomsburg, a fortress on the Island of Riigen, on 
the coast of Pomerania, founded by Harald Bluetooth to 
maintain the Danish dominion in these regions. Here 
Palnatoke established a band of northern Vikings, who, 
by severe laws, preserved the ancient warfaring life and 
maimers, and by the name of Jomsvikings, for a long 
time struck the whole North with fear. Palnatoke's 
institutions tended to instil into his Vikings the contempt 
of life. "A man," says the chronicle of Iceland, "in 
order to acquire glory for bravery, should attack a single 


enemy, defend himself against two, and not yield to 
three, but might, without disgrace, fly from four ;" and 
it was, on the whole, glorious to seek every opportunity 
of encountering death. Some instances of their savage 
heroism are recorded which almost exceed belief. In an 
irruption made by the Jomsburgers mto Norway, the 
invaders were defeated, and a few were taken prisoners. 
They were sentenced to be beheaded, and this intelli- 
gence they received with every demonstration of joy. 
One said : "I suffer. death with the greatest pleasure ; I 
only request that you will cut off my head as quickly as 
possible. We have often disputed," said he, " at Joms- 
burg, whether life remained for any time after the head 
was cut off: now I shall decide the question. But remem- 
ber, if so, I shall aim a blow at you with this knife which 
I hold in my hand. Dispatch," said he, "but do not 
abuse my long hair, for it is very beautiful." Not till 
the eleventh century was this piratical stronghold 
destroyed by Magnus the Good. The following chief of 
Jomsburg, the designing Sigvald, by stratagem made 
Swen Splitbeard, who had taken up arms against him, 
a prisoner, and compelled him to acknowledge the inde- 
pendence of Jomsburg and Yenden (all the provinces 
along the Baltic) ; and Swen was first set at liberty on 
promising to pay a ransom of twice his own weight, 
when full armed, in pure gold. The ransom was settled 
at three payments, but the king's person was confined 
till the last payment was made, which was raised by 


the generosity of the Danish ladies, who sold their jewels 
for this purpose. Upon his return he, therefore, ordained 
that the women should inlierit the half of all estates, 
real and personal ; although it seems more prohable that 
such an act of benevolence and kindness is to be 
ascribed to the mild influence of the Gospel, that offers 
the same rights to both sexes. Swen Splitbeard, tlurst- 
ing for vengeance, induced Sigvald, at a wassail-bout, 
to undertake a very hazardous expedition against the 
mighty Hakon Jarl, in Norway, who had shown the 
same unwillingness to pay tribute to Denmark as his 
predecessor, Harald Grreyskin ; Swen himself making a 
vow to wage war against England, which had for some ^ 
years thrown off her subjection to the throne of Den- 
mark. The elsewhere almost indomitable Jomsvikings 
A. D., were totally defeated at Hjorringebay ; Sigvald 
^^*- himself had to make his escape, and Norway 
was not subdued. Swen Splitbeard was more success- 
ful in his expedition against England. The impotent 
Anglo-Saxon king, Ethelred II., also called Ethelred the 
Irresolute, held at tliis time the supreme authority in 
that kingdom. Putting all to the fire and sword, wher- 
ever he went, and treating England with the utmost 
severity, Swen obliged the English king to acknowledge 
his superiority, and to get rid of the Danes by pay- 
ing a large sum of money, called Dcmegeld. But an 
important event took place now in the North. The Nor- 
wegian prince, 01 af Trygveson, who had been allied to 


Swen in England, left him treacherously for Norway, 
the tlu-one of wliich he ascended, after the death of 
Hakon Jarl, without taking any oath of allegiance to 
Swen, who from his ancestors had inherited the sover- 
eignty over Norway ; and the misunderstanding increased 
when Olaf, without Swen's consent, married his sister 
Thyra, who had fled from her husband, King Burislaw, 
of Venden. Add to this, that Sigrid Storraade, Swen 
Splitbeard's queen, before married to Erik Victor, of 
Sweden, had been greatly provoked to wrath against 
Olaf Trygveson, who, when he some years ago had 
courted her, but without success, had beaten her with 
■ a stick, and called her an old hag of tlireescore and 
a pagan bitch. She, of course, now urged both her hus- 
band and her son, Olaf Skotkonung, of Sweden, to ven- 
geance. Swen Splitbeard, Olaf Skotkonung, and Erik 
Jarl, a Norwegian prince, who lived at the Danish court, 
attacked Olaf Trygveson, who with his fleet had gone 
through Earsound (Oeresund, the small sound between 
"Denmark and Sweden), to Yenden, where hisg^j^g^^^ 
wife was lawfully possessed of some real estates, a. d., 
A very bloody sea-battle was fought by Sivolder, ■^°°°" 
on the Pomeranian coast. Seldom a more memorable 
naval engagement has been fought, whether we regard 
the kings that contended, or the whole kingdom that 
was in dispute. Olaf Trygveson was, after a most 
heroic resistance, defeated, and his fleet totally dispersed. 
Escaping out of the battle with a few ships, he was so 


closely pursued, that, to avoid the disgrace of being 
taken prisoner, he precipitated himself into the sea and 
was drowned. The most renowned heroes of Norway- 
shared in this battle, and the heroic songs of Einar Tam- 
beskjelver, the great archer, Ulf the Red, and Thorgeir, 
who all fought as madmen, resound yet among the rocks 
of old Norway, which was now divided between the 
three victors, and had to submit to the conditions which 
they dictated. But while Swen was taken up with 
settling the affairs of Norway, Ethelred II. had taken 
advantage of Swen's absence to perform a dreadful car- 
A. D., nage among the Danes in England. Informed 
1002. of it, Swen immediately appeared in England 
with a powerful army of the most valiant soldiers, came 
off victor everywhere, turned Ethelred out, who had to 
flee to Normandy ; and Sv/en Splitbeard was at his 
A. D., death an undisputed sovereign of the whole of 
1014. England. In the beginning of his reign, he per- 
secuted the Christian doctrine ; but, before he expired, 
he began to perceive the folly he had committed in per- 
secuting the faith in which he had been baptized and 
instructed. Afterwards, in prevailing upon the people to 
receive the light of the Grospel, he was aided by Popo, 
a Grerman bishop of great piety and eloquence, who, by 
dint of example and persuasion, brought about what the 
king's authority could not effect. Several miracles are 
related of this prelate ; and, indeed, he was possessed of 
the happy talent of impressing the people with whatever 


notions he thought fit ; in which alone, of course, con- 
sisted his supernatural powers. A see was given to 
Popo, with power to preside over the Danish clergy ; 
while at the same time he was suffragan of Adeldag, 
Archbishop of Hamburg. 

Swen Splitbeard had two sons, Harold and Canute ; 
and the Danish historian, Meursius, says, "that Harald, 
by right of primogeniture, succeeded his father to the 
throne of Denmark, while Canute, who at Swen's death 
lived in England, was elected King of the Danes there." 
But the Englishmen, taking advantage of Canute's 
youth, threw off the subjection they had promised his 
father, Swen Splitbeard, and called the fugitive Ethelred 
II. back from Normandy, and a general insurrection 
broke out. After having ordered the tongues and ears 
of the English hostages to be cut off, and, on the whole, 
shown an inflexible severity, Canute repaired to Den- 
mark, where he brought together a numerous host of 
brave soldiers, and a well-manned fleet, with which he 
went back to England, accompanied by Erik Jarl, from 
Norway, Thorkel the High, and Ulf Jarl, who after- 
wards married Canute's sister, Estrith. He met with 
the English fleet, commanded by King Ethelred in per- 
son, whom he defeated after a sharp engagement. The 
valiant Edmund Ironside, who had succeeded his father 
Ethelred on the throne of England, was forced a. d., 
to yield the half of England to Canute. But a i°i'''- 
month after, Edmund Ironside was treacherously killed 


by his brother-in-law, Edrik Streon, whereupon Canute 
was acknowledged king of the whole of England. The 
first measure of Canute was now to seize Edmund's two 
sons, whom he sent to his ally, the King of Sweden, 
Anund Jacob, with the request that they might be put 
to death. Humanity, however, induced the Swedish 
monarch to spare their lives and send them into Hun- 
gary. Canute, now ruler of England, tried to make 
himself both beloved and esteemed there ; he reigned 
with great judiciousness, paid respect to the privileges 
of the native people, and raised them to the highest 
offices ; advanced commerce and literature, and courted, 
in a particular manner, the favor of the Church, by 
munificent donations, and by presenting monasteries 
with rich gifts ; and he has, indeed, much better title to 
saintship than many of those who adorn the Roman 
calendar. To make himself yet more popular, he wisely 
married the vu'tuous Emma of Normandy, the queen- 
dowager of Ethelred, whom the English people loved 
dearly. But while he thus tried to make himself 
popular, and provide for the welfare of the State, his 
despotism and cruelty were often insupportable, and 
those whose influence seemed pernicious to him, he was 
not scrupulous in putting out of the way. Thus he 
caused Edrik Streon and Thorkel the High to be killed ; 
the first of whom was invested with Mercia, the latter 
with East Anglia, as absolute fiefs. To confirm his 
power, and perform the conquests he had in view, he 


established a standing army, called the Thingmannalid, 
consisting of the most famous warriors ; and, on account 
of the sumptuous armor they had to wear, containing 
only the richest and most conspicuous. To this army 
he gave a peculiar law, called the Vitherlagslaiv, which 
for a long time enjoyed a great credit in Europe. 

His brother Harald, King of Denmark, died after a 
reign of four years. "Weak from his infancy, he a. d., 
was little able to rule, and his profligacy, entire i^^^- 
contempt of decency and morality, rendered him odious 
to his subjects. Nothing need be said of him but that 
he reigned four years ; whereupon Canute, generally 
called Canute the Great, was unanimously chosen to 
succeed him on the Danish throne, which thus, after an 
interval of only four years, was reunited with England ; 
which, superior to Denmark in refinement, arts, trade, 
and agriculture, long exercised a beneficial influence 
upon the Danish kingdom. To Canute the Grreat has 
Denmark to ascribe the complete introduction of Chris- 
tianity ; for under him the last vestiges of the pagan 
worship were destroyed, its idols overthrown, its altars 
demolished, and its temples closed ; and Christianity 
has since prevailed in Denmark, and formed the great 
bond of the social happiness, and the great source of the 
intellectual eminence which this remote quarter of the 
globe now so richly enjoys. Many English clergymen 
migrated in this period to Denmark. English clergy- 
men were mostly invested with the Danish bishoprics ; 


and, on the whole, Canute considered England the main 
realm, and resided there. But he deserved well, also, 
of Denmark, by bringing a great portion of Venden 
under subjection, and subduing the formidable Yendish 
pirates. About the same time Christianity was intro- 
duced into Sweden, under Olaf Skotkonung, who was 
"baptized by an English clergyman, Sigfrid ; and into 
Norway, under Olaf the Pious, who, with three hun- 
dred brave men, traveled round and destroyed the hea- 
then idols. 

Before relating Canute's last expedition to Norway, 

his exploits there, and his end, it may be noticed that 

he, like most royal persons in the period under consider- 

A. D., ation, made a pilgrimage to Rome, to pay, in 

1026. that sacred city, his devotion to the relics of 
some deceased saint, and obtain from the Pope remis- 
sion of his sins. "While in Rome he established, by 
assent of the Pope, a caravansary for Scandinavian pil- 
grims ; procuring his subjects, also, on the same occa- 
sion, several commercial privileges. Upon his journey 
to Rome he chanced to meet with the German Emperor, 
Conrad II., whom he induced to renounce his claims to 
the Margraviate of Schleswig, founded by Henry the 
Fowler, and a marriage was stipulated between Can- 
ute's daughter, Giinhilda, and Conrad's son, Henry. 

About this time, or a little before, the Scandinavians 
began to make discoveries in the North and West. The 
Faroe islands had been discovered at the latter end of 


the ninth century, by some Scandinavian pirates, and 
soon after this, Iceland was colonized by the Norwegians. 
The Icelandic chronicles also relate, that the Norsemen 
discovered a great country to the West of Ireland ; and 
it seems, indeed, very clear that they made their way to 
Greenland, in the end of the tenth century — and they 
are thus the very first discoverers of America. The 
settlement made in Grreenland, though comprising only 
a small population, seems to have been very prosperous 
in mercantile affairs. They had bishops and priests 
from Europe, and paid the Pope, as an annual tribute, 
2,600 pounds of walrus teeth as tithe and Peter's pence. 
But the art of navigation must have been at a very low 
pitch, for the voyage from Greenland to Iceland and 
Norway, and back again, consumed five years ; and 
upon one occasion, the Government of Norway did not 
hear of the death of the Bishop of Greenland until six 
years after it had occurred. Greenland was called by 
the Norsemen Viinland, from the vines which were 
found by the early discoverers in that country. By 
some persons this Viinland, however, is supposed to 
have been Newfoundland. Unfortunately, the Norse- 
men forgot too soon the navigation thither ; and their 
discoveries have, therefore, not derogated from that 
immortal renown, which Columbus, five centuries later, 

To return to Canute the Great. While he tarried in 
Rome, Olaf the Pious, of Norway, and Anund Jacob, of 


Sweden, availed themselves of Canute's absence to fall 
upon Denmark, both of them fearing his increasing 
power, and being angry because Norwegian mutineers 
had found an asylum at the Danish Court. The united 
kings making great progress, Ulf Jarl, who was mar- 
ried to Estrith, a sister to Canute, and appointed lieu- 
tenant-governor under the king's absence, deemed it 
necessary for the country to have a head, and prevailed 
upon the people to elect the crown prince, Hardi- 
Canute, king. Canute informed of this, in his opinion, 
arbitrary conduct, hastened home, but though highly 
angered with Ulf, he delayed his vengeance till the 
A. D., enemies were driven away. A battle was fought 
1027. ijy Hel^ebrook in Skane, where Canute himself 
would have perished, had it not been for Llf 's aid. But 
even this could not appease the exasperated king, who, 
under pretence of friendship, invited him to a drinking- 
bout in Roeskilde. They played at chess together. 
The king making a wrong move, would undo it, but 
Ulf Jarl being angry, upset the chess-board, and left. 
"Dost thou now fly, thou cowardly Ulf?" cried the 
king. " Thou didst not call me cowardly," answered 
Ulf, " when the Danes, by Helgebrook, like dogs, betook 
to their heels, and I saved thy life." The king, yet 
more irritated at this answer, caused Ulf to be killed in 
the cathedral of Roeskilde, to wliich he thereafter gave 
a whole county as a propitiatory sacrifice for his crime. 
Canute now put himself at the head of a brave body of 



men, sailed with a mighty fleet to Norway, and com- 
pelled Olaf the Pious to fly to G-arderige (Russia). 
Olaf, however, shortly after reappearing, attempted to 
regain his kingdom, but fell in the battle at a. d., 
Stiklestad, close by Trondhjem. Canute the I'^^o. 
Great was now the most formidable potentate perhaps 
in Europe. Denmark, England, Norway, South Scot- 
land, and a great part of Venden were tributary to him, 
and his alliance was courted by the greatest monarchs. 
Canute, who had three sons, now appointed his son 
Swen viceroy of Norway, but he despised the Nor- 
wegians to such a degree, that they dethroned him, and 
placed Magnus the Good, a son of Olaf the Pious, upon 
his father's throne. Thus Canute's mighty realm a. d., 
began already to be dissolved, when death sud- i^^^- 
denly terminated his, in many respects, so glorious life. 
History has surnamed him the Great. He was success- 
ful in his wars, and bore the sceptre with prudence and 
judiciousness, but not always with justice. He was 
very much dazzled by ambition, vanity being his be- 
setting sin, so that he even threatened a Skald with 
death for not having magnified liim sufficiently in a 
poem. The poor Skald had to compose another one, in 
which he then told that Canute ruled the world with 
the same omnipotence as God does heaven, and with 
this flattery he was pleased. 

All eyes of the Danish people were now bent upon 
Hardi- Canute, the eldest son of Canute the Great, and 


the crown was placed on his head, while Harold Hare' 
foot (nimhle-footed as a hare) ascended the throne of 
England. Hardi-Canute has obtained the appellation 
Hardy, from the valorous actions he performed in Rus- 
sia, when his father sent him thither in pursuit of 
Olaf, king of Norway. After his accession to the 
Danish throne, he immediately prepared to regain Nor- 
way, and met Magnus the Good by Gota-Elf, where 
A.D., both armies were ready for battle, when the dif- 
1038. ference unexpectedly was composed by a com- 
pact, that each should keep his kingdom until his death, 
but the survivor inherit both kingdoms. After a short 
reign, died Harold Harefoot, and Hardi-Canute, by his 
mother Emma acquainted with liis brother's death, 
now united England with Denmark without any oppo- 
A. D., sition. After a violent administration of three 
1042. years he died, to the great comfort of his English 
subjects, who now seized the opportunity of entirely 
shaking off the Danish yoke. The union of Denmark 
and England was broken, England electing Edward 
Confessor, son of Ethelred, as king, and the Danes 
making no attempt to resist the voice of the nation. 
Since that time the kings of Denmark have never ruled 
England, although several attempts wer^e afterwards 




Magnus the Good — Swen Estrithson — Expedition to England — Ecclesiastical 
Affairs — Canute the Pious — Expedition again against England — Eric the 
Good — Expedition to Venden — Canonization of Canute the Pious — Canute 
Lavard — Nicholas — Civil war between Swen Grathe, Canute Magnusson 
and Waldemar — Frederick Barbarossa — Battle on Grathe-heath, in Jut- 

On the death of Hardi- Canute, Denmark and Norway 
were, according to the agreement of Gota-Elf, united 
under Mag-nus the Good. The male hneage of the royal 
family of Denmark was extinct, but a descendant in the 
female line, Swen Estrithson, a son of Ulf Jarl and 
Estrith, sister to Canute the G-reat, was yet alive. He 
put in his claim to the throne, and had the address to 
gain over a great number of the Danish nobility to his 
interest.- The Danes, who lately had ruled so many 
people, would reluctantly be subject to Norway, and 
Swen Estrithson, therefore, found no difhculty in being 
elected king of Denmark, and consequently a war 
broke out between him and Magnus the Clood. Swen 
equipped a fleet in Jutland, gave battle to Magnus, but 
was routed, being forced to take shelter in the island of 
Fjunen. Here he refitted, and ventured upon another 
engagement, which terminated as unsuccessfully as the 
former. His whole fleet was dispersed, and he himself 
obhged to flee to Anund Jacob, of Sweden, for refuge. 
Of these disburbanccs the Venders took advantage, 


making desolating invasions, overrunning the coasts of 
Jutland, and laying waste all the country tlirough which 
they passed. But Magnus, neither wearied nor daunted, 
raised an army, gave them battle by Lyrskow, in 
Schleswig, and conquered these barbarians, though su- 
perior in numbers. After this memorable combat, the 
war between Magnus and Swen was renewed, and the 
latter was abovit to give up all hope of the crown of 
A. D., Denmark, just as Magnus the Good died. The 
1047. Norwegians separated now from Denmark, elect- 
ing Harald the Hardy ^ a half-brother of Olaf the Pious, 
their king ; and the Danes called &wen Estrithson to the 
Danish tin-one, to which he by blood was the nearest 
heir. Upon the whole, highly beloved for his pleasing 
address, and captivating manners, and very much es- 
teemed for his learning, his re-appearance in Denmark 
was hailed with general joy. But, far from finding 
the throne a bed of roses, he had for seventeen years 
to stand up for his kingdom against the warlike Nor- 
wegian king, Harald the Hardy, who had lived a great 
number of years in exile, been hardened by military 
service in Constantinople, and was of a most invincible 
courage. He now laid claim to Denmark. Sioen 
A.D., Estrithson, though often totally defeated, and 
1062. even, in the bloody battle at Ntsaa, in Halland, in 
danger of life, kept up an unshaken spirit, and when he 
had no reason to expect it, Providence wrought a 
happy change in his situation. The civil divisions in 


England had roused Harald the Hardy's amhition to 
extend liis conquests and influence, and he resolved 
upon an expedition to England in order to assist Toste 
against his brother .Harald Godvinson, who had ascended 
the tin-one of England, by the title of Harold II. A 
battle was fought at Standford-bridge, where both Toste 
and the Norwegian king, Harald the Hardy, were 
killed, by which means Swen Estrithson recovered the 
peaceable possession of all his Danish dominions. But 
the death of Harold II., of England, who was a. d., 
slain in the memorable battle at Hastings, fought lo^e. 
with William of Normandy, called the Conqueror, 
furnished Swen Estrithson with an opportunity of put- 
ting in his claim to the crown of England, as the only 
remaining descendant of Canute the Grreat. He made 
two expeditions to England, but both of them fell short 
of success, and YVilliam the Conqueror brought all 
England under his control. 

Besides his many excellent qualities, which entitled 
him to honor, Swen Estrithson merits, particularly by 
his care for ecclesiastical affairs, the greatest gratitude 
of the whole Danish nation. To the five bishoprics 
already established, he added four : Wiborg and Borg- 
lum in Jutland, and Lund and Dalby in Skane, in 
order the more easily to prevail upon the Pope to erect 
an archbishopric in Denmark, and thus make the north- 
ern church free from any dependence on the foreign 
archbishopric of Hamburg, the pressure of which Swen 


himself had felt to such a degree, that the Hamburgish 
archbishop, Adelbert, under the menace of excommu- 
nication, constrained liim to part with his queen, 
Jutta, because she was a step-daughter to his first 
wife. Negotiating with several Popes concerning this 
important matter, he died before it was settled. The 
number of churches was, under his reign, considerably 
increased. There were three hundred in Skane, one 
hundred and fifty in Sjelland, and one .hundred in 
Fjunen. The authority of the Church, to which the 
king in the case above mentioned had to submit, was, 
however, often of great weight in restraining rudeness, 
cruelty and transgression of law. Thus, for instance, 
when the king had ordered some of his guests, who at 
a merry compotation had used abusive language about 
him, to be killed the next morning in the cathedral of 
Roeskilde, and he thereafter would enter the church to 
attend his devotion, the entrance was forbidden him by 
Bishop "William, who excommunicated him, (the very 
first case of ban in the North) ; and after he had fu-st, 
as a contrite sinner, put on sack-cloth and asked remis- 
sion of his crime, the absolution was pronounced by the 
bishop. A few years before Swen Estrithson's death, 
the Venders occupying the coast of the Baltic right from 
Denmark up to the G-ulf of Finland, called Vagrers 
in Holstein, Obotriters in Mecklenburg, Wilzers as far 
as Oder River, Curlanders, Liflanders and Esthonians, 
had again revolted, leveled all the churches with the 


ground, pillaged the City of Schleswig, and, in derision, 
broken the crucifixes which mistaken piety had erected. 
But the greatest insult to the king was the manner 
in wliich they treated his sister. Si/nth, whom they 
stripped naked, and in that condition sent to Denmark. 
He immediately- raised an army to revenge these in- 
juries, but had to drop his resolution, the Venders being 
too superior in numbers ; and for upwards of one hun- 
dred and fifty years the desolating piracies of these 
barbarians continued, till at length the great Waldemar 
learned how to bring them under due subjection. 

Swen Estrithson was a man of letters ; he loved the 
cultivation of the mind and the conversation of the wise, 
and corresponded in Latin with the enlightened Pope 
Grregorius VII. (Hildebrand) ; and he was so well versed 
in the history of the North, as to be able to communi- 
cate to the learned Adam of Bremen important informa- 
tion, wliich he used in his description of Denmark. 
(Descriptio Adami Bremensis.) The clergy, in whom 
Swen Estrithson had taken so great interest, have ex- 
tolled the character of the king as the most pious and 
merciful monarch that ever filled the throne of Den- 
mark, although his incontinence was so great, that of 
thirteen sons he left behind him not one was legitimate, 
and, what is more, he had polluted the house of G-od by 
the cruel murder of several of his nobility. On his 
death, in Jutland, his son, Canute, was employed a. d., 
in quelling a rebellion, which appeared in Es- ^^'^^- 


thonia, while Harald Hein, his eldest son, was elected 
king, after warm disputes about the succession. The 
election of the king always took place, at that time, at 
a general diet (Danehof ), usually held in Sjelland by 
lise Fjord, or in Wiborg in Jutland. The king elected 
here traveled thereafter round to receive a special 
homage in the provincial courts, in Skane on Sliparehog 
near Lund, in Jutland close by Wiborg, in Sjelland by 
Ringsted, and in South Jutland (Schleswig) on Urne- 
head. Five of Swen Estrithson's children successively 
arrived at the dignity of the crown : an instance, per- 
haps, not to be equaled in history. Harald Hein, the 
eldest one, reigned with clemency, unengaged in any 
hostilities ; but being somewhat unprincipled and weak, 
he was surnamed Hein {i. e., a soft stone). His short 
reign, however, is remarkable in reference to an im- 
portant alteration in the legal procedure. Formerly, 
persons who were accused of crime had to prove their 
innocence either by duel or fire ordeal, the latter of 
which being considered an immediate judgment from 
God, and consisting in that he who was charged with 
a crime had to take in his hand a piece of red-hot iron, 
or to walk barefoot and blindfold over nine red-hot plow- 
shares. If the person escaped unhurt, he was declared 
innocent, otherwise he was condemned as guilty. But 
Harald Hein passed a law, by which criminals, where 
positive evidence was wanting, should be allowed to 
clear themselves by an oath, when certain impartial 


persons, called arbitrators, swore that they felt convinced 
that the accused had told the truth. This law was 
received with universal approbation. 

On the death of Harald Hein, Canute the Pious, his 
brother, was recalled from Esthonia, and ap- a. d., 
pointed his successor. He was, at this time of ^oso. 
ignorance and selfishness, highly eminent for the honesty 
and glory of his actions ; pious in peace, brave in 
battle, an able ruler, and above the usual temptations 
of lust, luxury, and avarice, except the thirst of sove- 
reign power and of extending his territories ; which, 
after he had quelled the rebellion in Esthonia, led him 
to embark once more in war, and attempt the recovery 
of England, the great jewel in the eyes of the Danish 
kings. Taking measures to ingratiate himself with his 
father-in-law, Robert, Earl of Flanders, and with his 
brother-in-law, Olaf Kyrre, King of Norway, he 
equipped by their aid a great fleet of a thousand ships 
in the Lymfiord, and raised an army with all possible 
expedition. But while the fleet and army were waiting 
at the appointed rendezvous, until Canute had appointed 
regents to govern the kingdom in his absence, William 
the Conqueror, anxious to turn off this imminent 
danger, had bribed the commanders-in-chief, and Olaf, 
the king's own brother, joined the bribery. The fleet 
separated, and Canute the Pious had to postpone his 
expedition to England. Olaf was brought, bound in 

chains, to the king. Canute, not wishing to pollute his 


hand with his brother's blood, sent him to liis father-in- 
law, the Earl of Flanders, requesting him to watch Olaf 
so narrowly as to prevent his return to Denmark. On 
the bribed commanders-in-chief heavy penalties were 
inflicted ; which, however, being called in too arbitrarily 
and despotically, occasioned a sedition in Vendsyssel (a 
county in Northern Jutland), which soon spread over the 
whole of Jutland. Canute the Pious, who, moreover, 
from the time he had granted the tithe to the clergy, 
had wholly alienated the minds of the people from him, 
had to escape to the Island of Fjunen, whither the rebels 
A. D., pursued liim, and killed him in St. Alban's 

1086. church of Odensee, while kneeling before the 
altar. His queen, Edela, fled with her little son, 
Charles, afterwards called Charles the Dane, to her 
father, in Flanders (Belgium). Both he and his grand- 
father were concerned in the great Crusades. 

Canute the Pious was not only pious, but also keen 
and active, and a grave and vigorous king. He punished 
with inflexible severity, and without respect of persons, 
every transgression of law, and employed all his efforts 
to root out all residue of rudeness of antiquity, espe- 
cially the horrible piracy. Egil Ragnarson, a chief on 
Bornliolm, an island in the Baltic, who was found guilty 
of tliis criiPiC, was hung without mercy. To promote 
the culture of the country, he showed foreigners who 
settled in Denmark all possible benevolence and protec 
tion. He took a particular care to diminish the vast 


gulf that hitherto had existed between freemen and 
slaves, and aided the clergy in their efforts for this 
important matter. Nevertheless, it took a long time 
before the spirit of Christianity could master this evil, 
traces of it being found even up to the fourteenth cen- 
tury. The wealth, privileges, and possessions of the 
clergy, had so efficient a promoter in Canute the Pious, 
that the clergymen could place themselves on terms of 
equality with the freeholders of land. He made the 
clergy the most eminent order of the kingdom, placed 
the bishops in the same rank with princes and dukes, 
and liberated the 'clergy from subjection to the general 
tribunal, establishing a special court, consisting only 
of clergymen. He also granted, as above mentioned, 
the Danish clergy tithe, which Charlemagne already, in 
the year 812, had introduced into G-ermany. This 
tithe, however, was not paid during the reign of Canute 
the Pious, the people regarding it as the very worst 
kind of servitude. 

Canute's death was no sooner known than a sum of 
money was raised by the friends of Olaf for his ransom ; 
and his brother Nicholas sent to the Earl of Flanders to 
conduct him to Denmark, where he was raised to the 
throne. The glory that Canute the Pious, in many 
respects, had shed upon the country, was soon obscured 
by his brother and successor, Olaf the Hungry, a sur- 
name given him on account of a dreadful famine which, 
in consequence of a bad harvest, prevailed so much 


under his reign, that the richest people in Denmark 
were forced to supply the want of bread with roots and 
other vegetables, while the poor perished in the streets 
and highways. It had long been customary with the 
nobility to dine with the king on Christmas Day, and 
they were accordingly invited. Wlien dinner was served 
up, the king called for bread, but was told that there 
was not a morsel in the whole kingdom. The clergy 
declared that it was a punishment sent by heaven for 
the murder committed on Canute the Pious, and the 
Bishop of Roeskilde made a pilgrimage to the Holy 
Land, thereby to appease the Almighty, and atone for 
the crimes of the people. After an inglorious reign of 
A. D., nme years, Olaf the Hungry expired, and the 
1095. crown was transferred to his noble brother, Erik, 
who deservedly has been called Erik the Good. Under 
this excellent prince Denmark began to retrieve her 
ancient power. He was brave, humane, and kind, 
liberal to the distressed and poor, eloquent and public 
spirited ; and he preferred the arts of peaceful industry 
to destructive wars, wherefore he by right has got his 
fair surname. Nevertheless he could not avoid making 
several expeditions to Venden, to protect his country 
against those cruel pirates, whom he pursued into all 
the different parts of the Baltic, and punished severely 
those who fell into his hands, in order to terrify others 
by these examples. A dispute with Liemar, the Arch- 
bishop of Bremen, concerning some temporalities, in- 


duced him to renew his father's efforts to procure for 
the North an archbishopric ; he also wished to get his 
murdered brother, Canute the Pious, canonized, or 
enrolled in the calendar of samts. To supplicate the 
Pope, Urbanus II., for it, he went in person to Rome, 
His petition was willingly granted by his Holiness. 
After the king's return from Rome, Canute the Pious 
was accordingly taken up from the grave, and with 
great solemnity enshrined in the sjilendid St. Canute's 
Church of Odensee. By this Denmark got a national 
saint ; to whose grave pilgrims traveled for many cen- 
turies, from all northern lands, in order to pay their 
devotion to liis remains, hoping aid thereby for spiritual 
and bodily affliction. Some time after he vowed a pil- 
grimage to the Holy Land, to do penance and expiate a 
murder he, most likely in a state of intoxication, had 
committed. His people, who loved him dearly, unani- 
mously remonstrated against his design ; they embraced 
his feet, and bathed them with their tears, begging that 
he would stay at home and rule his kingdom, and not 
expose to danger a life upon which depended the felicity 
of a whole kingdom, and laid it before him that it was 
more acceptable in the sight of God to remain and dis- 
charge his royal duties. But a mighty enthusiasm had 
taken possession of his mind, and crying out, "It is the 
will of God !" he accordingly set out. Passing through 
Greece, the king was magnificently entertained in Con- 
stantinople by Alexius Commenus, where he spoke with 


the Varangers, the imperial life-guard, consisting of 
northern people, chiefly of Danes. From thence he took 
ship for Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean, where 
A. D., shortly after liis arrival he died, without reach- 
1103. ing the sepulchre of tlie Redeemer ; but Bothil- 
dis, his devout queen, and faithful companion of his 
pilgrimage, reached Jerusalem, where she died and lies 

The canonization of Canute the Pious, which had been 
granted by the Pope, became of so great consequence that 
in his honor several clubs or fraternities (Danish, Gilder), 
were instituted, the object of which was mutual protec- 
tion against violence and outrage, and mutual aid in 
case of sickness, shipwreck, fire, and other calamities. 
"When a member of such a fraternity was charged with 
any crime, the others were bound to assist him by oath 
and witness. Likewise, when a member had been 
murdered, the others should gather the fine, or if refused 
to be paid, demand vengeance of blood on the slayer. 
These fraternities had, like all institutions in the Middle 
Age, an ecclesiastical stamp. They were dedicated to 
some saint, whose name they adopted. Donations were 
given to the church and the poor, and requiems sung for 
the dead. Some fraternities, that enjoyed a greater 
reputation than others, were called royal, because dedi- 
cated to Canute the Pious, Canute Lavard and Erik 
Ploughpence. Others were established by merchants 
and mechanics. But when, in course of time, the laws 


and institutions of the State obtained more solidity and 
strength, such private associations became superfluous, 
ceasing, at length, altogether, by the introduction of 
the Reformation. By means of these fraternities, which 
promoted harmony, fellowship and industry among the 
inhabitants of the same city, the power and importance 
of the bm'gher class Vv^ere considerably raised and ex- 
tended, commerce developed, and prosperity produced, 
while, on the other hand, the peasantry remained in a 
state of deep dependence. 

Not till the spring of next year the intelligence of the 
death of Erick the Good reached Denmark, where now 
Nicholas, his brother, was elected king by the people, 
and their choice confirmed by the Diet. They were 
urged the more to do this by the severity of Harald 
Kesia, a son of Erik the Grood, who had ruled the king- 
dom during the absence of his father, and v/lio they fore- 
saw would render them unhappy if they raised him to 
the throne. The Papal bull respecting the erection of 
a national archbishopric did not arrive in Denmark till 
after Erik's departure for Palestine, and the j5i\st arch- 
bishop in the North, Adzer, v/ho resided in Lund, in 
Skane, was, therefore, not appointed before the be- 
gimiing of the reign of King Nicholas, when a Papal 
legate was sent for that purpose. By this alteration 
the Church, the power of which Canute the Great and 
Swen Estrithson had founded, and Canute the Pious 
widely extended, obtained internal strength and position, 


while tlie State was yet too weak to mamtaiii the civil 
affau's. But frequent collisions arose hereby between 
the Lords spiritual and temporal ; and the archbishops of 
Lund, on account of their large real estates and great 
revenues, often made head against the kings, and raised 
seditions and civil wars, in which the kings very often 
got the worst, till at length the civil government ob- 
tained sufficient moral strength, and the power of the 
Church had to yield to that of the State. The separa- 
tion of the Church from the State was consummated by 
A. D., introducing celibacy, the first papal bull ordering 

1123. which was issued to the Danish church shortly 
after the creation of the Lundish archbishopric, but met 
with a long and obstinate opposition from the Danish 
clergy, and a hundred years after two hundred priests 
in Jutland protested decidedly against it. But in vain. 
The unmarried life became a rule for the clergy in the 
North as well as in other Christian countries, and had 
there, as everywhere, the corruptive consequence, that 
the priests cohabited with concubines, and what is 
worse, often gave loose to appetites, that not only were 
sordid, but inhuman. 

At first. King Nicholas wielded his sceptre with great 
applause, but falling off in his character, he fell into 
the utmost contempt, and involved himself and liis 
country in a variety of misfortunes. The breach of the 
public tranquillity took its rise from the Vendish prince 
Henry. Entering into an alliance with the Nordalbingi, 


properly the Holsteiners, he soon subdued the whole 
country between the Elbe and Schleswig. Nicholas 
gave battle to Henry, whose horse broke through and 
put in confusion the Danish cavalry. Nicholas was de- 
feated, and forced to retreat with precipitation into 
Denmark. The peace of the interior parts of the 
country was disturbed by the two turbulent sons of 
Erik the G-ood — Harald Kesia and Erik Emun — who 
had a bloody dispute over their patrimony. Fortunately 
for the country, Ccmute Lavard, their brother, was a 
prince of a noble mind, and inspired with patriotic 
feelings and love of freedom, which somehow supplied 
the king's inability. Constraining his brothers to keep 
quiet, chastising the rapacious Venders, and perceivmg 
the misery to wliich the Duchy of Schleswig was re- 
duced by the Venders and Obotriters, he requested the 
government of Schleswig, which he at length obtained. 
His first measure was to subdue the haughty Vendish 
prince, Henry, above mentioned. With a body of troops 
he marched in the middle of the night dkectly to a 
castle on the frontiers of Schleswig, where Henry kept 
his head-quarters, and was fortunate enough to surround 
the place, before the Vendish prince received any mti- 
mation of his approach. In this situation, Henry, per- 
ceiving that resistance would be fruitless, mounted his 
horse and escaped, after which he sued for peace, 
promising to submit to any terms which the conqueror 
should think fit to impose. Thus the valor of Canute 


Lavard not only secured the Duchy of Schleswig to the 
crown of Denmark, but procured to himself the dignity 
of a Duke. After the Obotritish royal family was 
extinct, he became, through the instrumentality of his 
admirer, hotliar of Saxony, (Grerman Emperor,) King 
.of the Obotriters. He encouraged agriculture, planted 
new kinds of corn, built mills, invited Grerman mechanics 
to settle in Roeskilde and Schleswig, and accustomed 
the warlike people to the arts of peace. But the great 
esteem he enjoyed, and the kindness and predilection 
the people bestowed upon him, procured him enemies, 
who increased in proportion to his virtue. They easily 
found means to persuade the weak King, Nicholas, and 
his son Magnus, who was very envious of Canute, that 
ambition was the spring of all Canute's actions ; that, 
far from being satisfied with the crown he wore and 
with the Duchy of Schleswig, he aspired at a still higher 
dignity, and that his popularity was paving an easy 
way for his ascending the tlu'one of Denmark. The 
plot was ready to break out, when a sudden revolt in 
Pomerania and Mecklenburg (Obotrit) called him to his 
own country, and for a time postponed his fate. He 
quickly subdued the rebels, and returned to Denmark. 
Having no suspicion of treachery, he was attacked in a 
A. D., little wood close by Ringsted, in the island of 
1131. Sjelland, by Magnus and Henry Skate, his 
cousins, and slain. Thus fell the generous, the great 
Canute Lavard, the ornament and support of Denmark, 


and the greatest hero of his age in the North. But 
he lives still in the legends and heroic songs. He was 
privately interred in the church of Ringsted, without 
any other monument than what he had established in 
the hearts of the Danes, who to this very day adore his 
memory. The news of liis death soon reached Rbes- 
kilde, the residence of the court, and the king him- 
self could not "Help shedding tears at the loss of this 
great man, though he was privy to the plot. The mur- 
der committed on Canute Lavard was about to raise 
a sedition, which was only prevented by King Nicho- 
las sentencing his son, Magnus, to perpetual banish- 
ment, who went to Sweden, where he was elected iiing 
of the Vestrigoths. But, however, he soon returned. 
Upon the news of his return, Erik Emun, a brother 
of Canute Lavard, took up arms to avenge his memory. 
Both parties now prepared for war, and king Nicholas 
drew to his side all the bishops of Jutland, and several 
of the principal nobility of the kingdom, besides the 
conspirators in the murder of Canute Lavofrd, who were 
all strongly attached to the interest of the king and his 
son ]\ragnus. .An obstinate battle was fought by Fode- 
vi'g; in Skane, w^here the mean Magnus fell, a. d., 
together- with five bishops and sixty priests, and i^^^- 
king Nicholas escaped by an ignominious flight to the 
city of Schleswig, where the members of the fraternity 
of St. Canute, the surveyor of which Canute Lavard 
had been, assassinated him and his train, dispatching 


the king with twenty stabs. Such was the merited 
death of king Nicholas, after a miserable reign of thirty 
years. When his friends represented to him the danger 
of his fleeing to Schleswig, so strongly attached to 
Canute, he told them that majesty had nothing to fear 
from shoemakers and tailors. Nevertheless, he fell by 
the hands of those very citizens he affected to despise. 
With Nicholas ended the reign of S\fen Estrithson's 
fifth son, according to the promise Swen had on his 
death-bed exacted from the nobility. 

Agreeably to a former election in a full assembly of 
the nobility and commons of Sjelland and Skane, Erik 
Emun was now proclaimed king, and administered the 
government for three years, but in a very miserable 
and wicked way, his capricious cruelty reigning un- 
controlled. He caused his brother, Harald Kesia, and 
his nine sons to be put to death, without remorse or 
pity, believing, as he said, that neither his own authority 
nor the public tranquillity could be sufficiently es- 
tablished while his brother and nephews lived. As for 
the youngest son of Harald Kesia, he made his escape 
in a peasant's dress to Sweden. Meanwhile the Ven- 
ders made a sudden irruption into Holstein, and laid 
waste with terrible desolation every place through which 
they passed. To repress their insolence, Erik Emun 
assembled a fleet, embarking in each vessel four horse- 
men, (the very first time that cavalry was carried over 
the sea,) besides foot, with which armament he passed 


over into their country, and soon reduced it. From 
thence he went to the Isle of Rygen to punish the 
inhabitants, who had not only assisted the Venders, but 
exercised the most desperate piracy on the high sea. 
Having subdued them, he compelled the whole island 
to swear allegiance to the crown of Denmark. They 
did not, however, long continue in this state of submis- 
sion, for no sooner had Erik Emun returned to Den- 
mark, than they revolted again, and assisted the Ven- 
ders. Some disturbances arose now in Norway be- 
tween Harald G-ille and Magnus Sigurdson. Harald 
solicited Erik Emun's aid, who made no scruple of 
promising it as soon as he had put an end to the affairs 
in which the revolt of the Isle of Rygen and its capi- 
tal, Arcona, now involved him. 

Against these islanders he set out a second time, and 
so totally subjected them that he apprehended no other 
rebellion. He thereafter applied himself to the perform- 
ance of his promise to Harald Grille, passed over to Nor- 
way with his army, and, in a decisive action with 
Magnus, defeated him and took him prisoner. His 
victory he disgraced by his cruelty ; for, to prevent all 
attempts to reinstate the unfortunate king, he put out 
his eyes, emasculated him, and enclosed him for life in 
a monastery, raising Harald Gille to the throne of Nor- 
way. While his mind was thus cruelly employed, an 
unfortunate dispute arose among the bishops about the 
archbishopric of Lund, then vacant. Eskild, bishop of 


Roeskilde, supported by the people, raised an army and 
obliged the cruel king to retire to Jutland, where liis 
people, weary of bearing his cruelty, caused Black- 
A. D., plogus, a nobleman," to kill liim, while adminis- 
1137. tering justice in full court. As none of the three 
princes, who because of their birth were most entitled 
to the crown, to wit : Swen, son of Erik Emun, Walde- 
mar, son of Canute Lavard, and Canute, son of Nicho- 
las, had yet reached the maturity of age, Erik Lamb, a 
nephew of Erik the G-ood, surnamed the Lamb, from the 
mildness of his disposition, was chosen king. He had 
scarce ascended the tlirone when the divisions among 
the clergy broke out afresh. Eskild went over to 
Skane, and assumed the title and authority of primate, 
without obtaining, or indeed askmg, the permission of 
the new king, who, observing the obstinacy with which 
the whole province of Skane espoused his cause, had to 
drop all resistance. The dispute about this archbishopric 
of Lund, was the first occasion the kings of Denmark 
had to repent of their having invested then- prelates with 
temporal authority, and elevated them to such a pitch 
of power as rendered them dangerous to their sovereigns. 
Erik Lamb also made an expedition against the Ten- 
ders, who had resumed their old trade of piracy, but he 
came off unsuccessfully ; after wliich he fell into an 
inactivity and indolence that greatly impaired his repu- 
tation, and at length he embraced the resolution of 
renouncing his throne, and of passing the remainder of 


his days in quiet retirement and monastic penance, in 
the convent of St. Canute, in Odensee, where he lived a 
short time, husied with the practices of rehgion a. d., 
and pious contemplation. • ^^^'^ 

Upon the death of Erik Lamb, a civil war of ten 
years broke out between the three princes above men- 
tioned, and the frequent and destructive invasions of 
the Venders reduced Denmark to great straits. An 
agreement was, however, made between the three pre- 
tenders, who shared the countries of Denmark with one 
another ; but the agreement was not sincerely meant, 
for Swend and AYaldemar soon after turned Canute out 
of the country, who had to flee to the German emperor, 
Frederick Barbarossa, for refuge. The empe- a. D., 
ror, anxious to get a proper opportunity to renew 1153. 
the old pretension to superiority over Denmark, was 
fain to meddle with this affair, and invited Swen and 
Waldemar to the Diet of Merseburg, where Swen had 
to acknowledge himself a vassal of the emperor, and 
grant Canute a share of Denmark. After returning, 
he would not, however, acknowledge his vassalage ; and 
by assuming German manners and customs, he lost the 
love of his people. An insurrection broke out in Skane, 
and he maintained only a few years a precarious power, 
though assisted by the treacherous archbishop Eskild, 
of Lund, and by German auxiliaries from Henry Lion, 
of Saxony, and at length he had to share the realm 
with his competitors. Swen now mused on treason, 


and he and Eskild agreed to kill Canute and Waldemar, 
who were treacherously invited to a drinking-bout in 
Roeskilde. Canute was murdered, but AYaldemar put 
out the candles, and perceiving the door standing ajar, 
he pushed it open and escaped to Jutland, where he 
met his friend, the martial Absalon, afterward bishop 
of Roeskilde and archbishop of Lund, who also had 
fled away from the slaughter. A battle was fought on 
Grathelieath by Wiborg, where Swen, later called Sicen 
A. D., Grathe, lost battle and life, his corpse being cast 
^15^- into a stone-quarry. Thus ended all the plots 
and machinations of the treacherous Swen. Seldom 
were victorious news more joyfully received than the 
tidings of the victory over Swen. The people cried out 
for a ruler to lead the troops to conquest and reinforce 
the whole army ; and the Danish crown devolved now 
on Waldemar, the glorious son of Canute Lavard, for 
many years a model for kings. 




Waldemar I. the Great^— Absalon — Canute VI — Bugislaw, of Pomerania — 
Waldemar II. the Conqueror — Conquests along the Baltic — Esthonia — 
The Captivity of the King — Science and the Arts. 

Waldemar I. was joyfully received as king, and 
began his reign with the practice of every virtue that 
became a sovereign. He owed much of his success to 
his manners as well as to the uncommon energy of his 
mind. His composure of countenance and firmness of 
manner, says Saxo Grammaticus, were so great, that 
whatever resolution he had formed, he would adhere to. 
His first step towards gaining the esteem and affection 
of his subjects, was the conquering of the lands along 
the Baltic, and the putting a stop to the destructive 
piracies of the Venders. He made, therefore, several 
expeditions; but Henry Lion, of Saxony, above named, 
also keeping a strict eye upon Venden, and having 
aheady subdued several of these lands, endeavored to 
enlarge his dominion over the whole. Waldemar, there- 
fore, judged it wise to be on friendly terms with the 
emperor Frederick Barbarossa. To obtain liis alUance 
was not difficult for Waldemar, the more as the empe- 
ror considered the power of the Danish king a useful 
bulwark against the ambitious Henry Lion, who contin- 
ually went too far. By his affability and elo- a. d., 
quenoe, he won the emperor's affection and confi- ^^^^ 


dence so much as to promise Denmark energetic assist- 
ance to conquer Venden. "Waldemar the G-reat, brave 
himself, and skilled in war, and assisted by such a hero 
as bishop Absalon (also called Axel), continued inde- 
fatigably his endeavors for subduing Venden, to which 
he made twenty expeditions. Absalon fitted out a 
large fleet and army, which, cruising round the Vendish 
coasts, landed at various places, plundered the towns, 
which were unprotected by the inhabitants, conquered 
Arcona, the fortified capital of the island of Eygen, 
and destroyed their idol, Svantevit, on which they 
firmly relied, the pagan priests telling that this idol 
every night rode a white horse and persecuted the foes of 
the Venders. This horse, therefore, was every morning 
exposed, covered with sweat, to the view of the people, 
to confirm their belief, and consequently they were 
astonished at seeing Svantevit, without any resistance, 
dashed to pieces by the Danes. The feeling between 
Waldemar and Henry Lion, varied very often, but was 
never very good, though a marriage was agreed upon 
between G-ertrudc, the duke's daughter, and Canute, 
the king's son. Wliile all tliis was passing, an embassy 
came from Norway, requesting Waldemar to assist the 
Norwegian king, Erling Skakke, and his son Magnus 
Erlingsen, against Sverre, a competitor for the crown. 
Crossing over with an army, he was joyfully received, 
the campaign resulting in the Norwegian province 
Vigen's yielding to Waldemar. Having thus rendered 


himself master of the whole of Venden, converted the 
inhabitants to Christianity, and conquered a part of 
Norway, Waldemar had duties, in his opinion, para- 
mount to all other considerations, namely, to preserve 
his kingdom from civil war. He caused therefore, his 
son, Canute, to he elected his successor, anointed and 
crowned. But the many princes aspiring to the crown, 
were very much displeased with this action of Walde- 
mar, one of whom, Buris, a nephew of Swen Estrithson, 
mused upon treason, but was caught, maimed, and 
incarcerated. The archbishop Eskild, of Lund, who 
already, as bishop of Roeskilde, had stirred up a sedi- 
tion against Erik Emun, and shared in the civil war 
after the death of Erilc Lamb, dared also to defy 
Waldemar ; but the king's rapid progress obliged the 
proud Eskild to ask peace in the most submissive terms, 
and to restore to the king all the possessions which the 
former kings had given to the see of Lund. Eskild 
was so chagrined with this humiliation, that he resigned 
his mitre and retired to a private convent in France, 
where he stayed for seven years. But after his return 
to Denmark, his position became yet more slippery, his 
two nephews engaging themselves in a con- a. D., 
spiracy against the king. Suspected and hated, n'^^- 
he soon after repaired to Paris, where he died. Absalon 
was elected his successor to the archbishopric of Lund. 
It was shortly before these affairs with the rebellious 
Eskild that Waldemar laid the foundation of the city 


of Dmitzic, in Western Prussia, so famed for its trade 
and opulence. At first it was composed of the huts of 
poor fishermen, but Waldemar conferring upon the 
inhabitants certain privileges and immunities, it soon 
became a flourishing place of commerce. Thereafter 
he founded in Denmark the cities of Nyborg, Corsor, 
and Callundborg. About the same time Absalon built 
the castle of Stegelburg, afterwards called Axelhusia, 
then Hafnia, and now the celebrated port and city of 
Copenliagen. The intention of this castle was to over- 
awe the pirates, and afford a safe protection to the 
Danish merchantmen. 

Towards the close of Waldemar's life a revolt hap- 
pened in Skane, to appease which the king immediately 
dispatched Absalon. The inhabitants, displeased with 
the oppressions of the royal bailiffs, and with the institution 
of tithe allotted to the clergy for their support, raised 
a great sedition, refused to pay the usual taxes, and 
particularly the bishop's tithe, and restored to the infe- 
rior clergy their ancient privilege of marriage. They 
insisted that the superior clergy were an unnecessary 
load upon the people, fattening upon the spoils of the 
land, while their flocks were left to find heaven in their 
own way. "Waldemar, however, being more favored by the 
peasantry than Absalon, was prosperous in quelUng this 
sedition by fair means ; but when the imperious Absa- 
lon would by no means desist from claiming his tithe, 
which circumstance contributed in no slight degree to 


heighten theu- animosity, they rebelled anew, hut were 
totally defeated by Ahsalon at Dysiaa, in Skane, a. d., 
and reduced to the necessity of yielding to the n^i. 
terms of the king. Soon after Waldemar the Great 
expired, after a glorious reign of twenty-five a. d., 
years. The respect, in which he was held was 1182. 
strikingly exhibited at his death. The peasants drew 
the hearse, and liis remains were interred in the church 
of Ringsted, and it was ordained by the citizens that his 
memory should be held in reverence, Canute VI., his son, 
already chosen to succeed him.. to the throne, began his 
reign with pursuing the same course as his great father, 
guided and assisted by the same faithful counselors 
and brave warriors, archbishop Absalon and his brother, 
Esbern Snare, to whom was soon added the king's own 
brother, the victorious Waldemar. His reign was uni- 
versally acceptable to the people, as he appeared equally 
remarkable for his firmness, clemency, liberality, acti- 
vity, and justice. The first business he was engaged in, 
after his ascending the thi'one, was to answer the G-er- 
man emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, who, through an 
embassy sent to Denmark, had enjoined on the young 
king the duty of acknowledging himself a vassal of the 
Roman empire. His answer, in this emergency, shows 
the energy of Canute's character. " Please to inform 
your emperor," he said, " that the king of Denmark is 
just as independent in his kingdom as the G-erman or 
Roman emperor in his empire, and that it were better 


for me to resign my crown, than to submit myself to 
him, even if he should declare war against me for reject- 
ing his impudent enjoinment. I am ready to put my 
army in motion, and thus decide the fate of my king- 
dom." This answer highly exasperated the haughty 
emperor, who now stimulated Bugislaw, Duke of Pome- 
rania, to attack Denmark. The Duke prepared himself 
to attack the isle of Rygen with five hundred men of 
war, but Absalon, informed of it, and seeing that no 
moment was to be lost, fitted out a fleet and overtook 
the surprised Venders, -v^o lost four hundred and sLxty- 
A. D., five ships, threw down their arms and sued for 
1184. quarter, and the proud spirit of the duke began 
to give way. After this glorious victory, Pomerania and 
the Obotritic Yenden had to submit to Denmark, Canute 
YI. now taking the title, Kin^ of the Slavi and Venders. 
Afterwards Canute made several expeditions to the 
eastern coasts of the Baltic, made conquests in Esthonia, 
and forced the inliabitants to embrace Christianity, but 
the Danes no sooner left, than they returned to heathen- 
ism and piracy. The war being ended between Den- 
mark and Yenden, a profound peace ensued for some 
years ; the Danes thus having an opportunity of turning 
to the arts of peace. But while they were thus cultiva- 
ting peaceful occupations, the vigilant king was not 
unmindful of making fresh preparations for war, well 
knowing that these intervals of ease would not fail to give 
his enemies fresh vigor for new designs. Adolph, Count 


of Holstein, the archbishop of Bremen, the Margrave of 
Brandenburg, and several princes of Northern G-ermany, 
happened to make depredations on the Danish coasts, 
wishing to arrest the strongly rising power of Denmark. 
This mighty alliance became the more dangerous, as 
bishop Waldemar, of Sclileswig, an illegitimate son of 
Canute Magnusson, above mentioned, was meditating 
treacherous plans, and intended to take part with the 
German enemies of Denmark, and with king Sverre of 
Norway. But nothing was capable of subduing the 
courage of the king and of his undaunted brother, Wal- 
demar, Duke of Schleswig, who captured and imprisoned 
the rebellious bishop, and defeated the other foes. The 
bishop was put into a gloomy prison, where he was 
compelled to pine for many years. Adolph had to yield 
himself prisoner of war ; Holstein, Liibeck, Hamburg, 
and Lauenburg to submit to Denmark, and the Count 
of Schwerin to acknowledge himself a vassal of the 
Danish king ; Denmark thus now being invested with a 
greater power than ever before. But towards the close 
of the reign of Canute VI., a marriage between Inge- 
borg, a sister to Canute, and Philip Augustus of 
France, occasioned a vehement dispute, Philip repudi- 
ating the princess, and not till a papal edict from Inno- 
cent III. had compelled him to join her again, was the 
dispute abated, and a threatening war avoided. After 
an active reign of twenty years, Canute YI. died, a. d., 
universally lamented. A year before, Absalon, ^202. 


his friend and wise counselor, had been stricken by the 
hand, of death. This extraordinary man — the greatest 
man the North had produced in the Middle Ages — was 
possessed of the greatest courage in opposing danger, 
and the greatest presence of mind in retiring from it. 
No fatigue was able to subdue his body, nor any misfor- 
tune to break his spirit ; and moreover, he was a wise 
counselor in public and ecclesiastical concerns, and a 
great friend of science and the arts. Under the power- 
ful direction of such influential archbishops as Eskild, 
Absalon, and his successor, Andrew Suneson, the eccle- 
siastical affairs gained a firm footing, Eskild composing 
a canon law for Skane, and Absalon one for Denmark ; 
both of which were admitted of by the people and con- 
firmed by the king. But, unfortunately, the power of 
the clergy was now increasing too much. In exclusive 
possession of the learning of the time, and from the Pope 
invested with the power of deciding the salvation of 
men's souls, the clergy acquired very easily a vast 
authority over the illiterate people of the Middle Ages ; 
and the superior clergy, besides their ecclesiastical 
dignities, were frequently in possession of the most 
influential and lucrative offices of the state, and the 
archbishoprics, bishoprics, and abbacies, gradually ob- 
tained great possessions, so as to be nearly raised to 
an equality with principalities. The archbishops and 
bishops had fortified castles, kept soldiers, and were 
ready at a moment's notice, to malce head against the 


kings. As the church increased in intrinsic strength, so 
she grew in riches and external power. Both kings 
and private people endowed her with an immense 
deal of real estates ; and by the immunity conferred 
by the kings upon the church, she attained a degree 
of opulence and splendor nearly unrivaled, unless in 
Italy, during the Middle Ages ; while unfortunately the 
augmentation of the wealth of the church brought with 
it a detrimental appetite for expensive and demoralizing 
pleasures amongst the clergy. At the period under con- 
sideration, the nobility, equal in rank to the clergy, but 
above the burgher class and the peasantry, commenced 
to be a peculiar class, with peculiar privileges ; the 
whole population of Denmark thus being divided into 
nobility, clergy, burghers, and peasantry. The nobles 
possessed considerable estates in land, and were dis- 
tinguished from the rest of the people, not by know- 
ledge and cultivation of mind, but only by their superior 
luxury, and they often ruled the public affairs by the 
weight of an authority gained from riches and merce- 
nary dependents. In short, the kingdom came now for 
many centuries under the tyranny of a hateful aristo- 
cracy, which the kings themselves often could hardly 
master, afterwards bitterly repenting of having raised 
such dregs of society. At first the nobility was only 
personal, but became in the period following hereditary, 
the obligations being few, but the prerogatives and pri- 
vileges not to be numbered. 


Canute VI. being cliildless, liis brother, Waldemar II., 
the Conqueror, ascended the throne, receiving in Liibeck 
homage from the subjugated lands and princes. Hol- 
stein, which Count Adolph, to regain his liberty, 
resigned, was given to Waldemar's nephew, Albert of 
Orlamiinde. Waldemar II. prosecuted the conquests of 
his father and grandfather. The affairs in Germany- 
were very favorable for Waldemar in carrying out his 
designs. Pliilip of Schwaben, Otto TV. a son of Henry 
Lion of Saxony, and Frederick II. of Hohenstaufen, 
who disputed for the dominion, all attempted to gain 
the friendship and protection of Waldemar II. Wal- 
demar resolved to assist Frederick II., who returned to 
the Danish king, as a sign of gratitude, an imperial 
letter of confirmation in his German and Vendish 
conquests. Saxony, Bremen, Brandenburg, and several 
A. D., countries in Northern Germany joined together 
1214- to oppose this monarch's power and progress, and 
raised a strong army, ready to act wherever its services 
should be required, which was, however, too weak to re- 
sist his victorious arms. Waldemar had long been bent 
upon humbling the rebellious bishop AValdemar of 
Schleswig, who, after being set at liberty, had again 
taken part with the enemies of his fatherland, and got 
himself appointed archbishop of Bremen. But Wal- 
demar the Conqueror understood how to teach him 
obedience, and at length he was obliged to have re- 
course to a cloister, where, showing a very bad moral 


conduct, and sinking even to the level of vulgar men, 
he terminated his dishonorable life. No sooner had the 
G-erman affairs permitted Waldemar to breathe a little 
freely, than he undertook several expeditions to the 
remoter coasts of the Baltic, conquering considerable 
tracts of Prussia ; but most remarkable is his great 
expedition to Esthonia (called the Northern Crusade) 
under the command of the archbishop Andrew Suneson. 
Neither Denmark nor the other Scandinavian a. d., 
countries having taken any share in the gi'eat 12I9. 
European crusades for the recovery of the Holy Land, 
Waldemar the Conqueror considered himself greatly 
indebted to the Christian Church. He went, therefore, 
to Esthonia, to clmsten the heathen inhabitants. The 
Esthlanders, at first pretending subjection, fell suddenly 
upon the Danish army, near to Reval, and a great 
confusion ensued ; but the archbishop inspired the 
Danes with courage, persuading them that a flag, with 
a white cross intervv'oven on a red ground (later called 
Dannebrog), which the Pope had sent, had fallen down 
from heaven ; to which statement, and the effect pro- 
duced by it, the successful issue of the battle, and the 
conquest of the whole of Esthonia, are chiefly to be 
ascribed. The kingdom of Denmark now included 
Denmark, Holstein, Ditmarsh, Lauenburg, Schwerin, 
Mecklenburg, Rygen, Pomerania, Esthonia, Oesel (an 
island close by Russia), and several tracts of Prussia 
and Curland. But Waldemar the Conqueror was form- 


ing still more gigantic plans, love of dominion being 
the chief passion of his heart, when one disastrous 
night annihilated the fruits of the toils of three kings 
and of the victories of sixty years. Wliilst engaged in 
the chase on a little island, Lyo, by Fjunen, the king 
A. D., and his son fell into the power of Count Henry, 
1223. of Schwerin, were gagged, put on board a ship 
and carried to Germany, where they were kept priso- 
ners for three years in the castle of Daneberg. A 
general confusion arose, the princes who were his vas- 
sals revolted from him, Hamburg and Liibeck fell away 
and became free cities, establishing, in conjunction with 
other maritime towns, a mighty alliance, called the 
Hanseatic . League, and the emperor, Frederick H. of 
Hohenstaufen, formerly Waldemar's confederate, re- 
joiced now at seeing his disaster and calamity. Under 
such circumstances "Waldemar had to subscribe to the 
hard conditions his enemies exacted for his release. 
The terms were severe, but were the best that could 
be procured. He should lay down to Count Henry 
forty-five thousand ounces of silver, resign Holstein to 
Count Adolph, quit his other German and Vendish 
possessions, except Esthonia and Rygen, and never 
make war again. Promising inviolably to observe these 
A. D., severe conditions, he came back to his kingdom 
1226. on Christmas-eve, disconsolate and enraged, but 
more than ever beloved by his subjects, who now be- 


came better acquainted with the sublimity of his virtues 
by this trial of adversity. 

But "Waldemar's patriotism, swallowed up in one 
great ruling affection, the love of his country, could not 
allow him to keep his promise. He applied to the Pope, 
was absolved from his engagements, made preparations 
for war, raised at length a great army, and entered 
Holstein, with all the resentment of a prince highly 
injured. Multitudes were flocking to his standard, and 
in the beginning, he was crowned with success. But 
leading his army back from Itzeho, which he had con- 
quered, he was met by the bishop of Liibeck, the arch- 
bishop of Bremen, the duke of Saxony, the duke of 
Holstein, the Ditmarshers, the earls of Schwerin, Olden- 
burg and Mecklenburg, at the head of a prodigious 
army. A battle was fought at Bornhoved in a. d., 
Holstein, with incredible fury on both sides ; but 1227. 
here Waldemar was totally defeated, and lost one eye. 
Being very much blamed for the perfidious breaking of 
his promise, he answered that a dispensation given him 
from the Pope, Honorius IH., should be a sufficient 
excuse. After this transaction the king had the soul- 
rending misfortune to lose his eldest son, Waldemar, 
who was shot accidentally at a hunting-party, and from 
that time Waldemar the Conqueror dropped all intention 
of pursuing revenge. " Now," he said, " if G-od con- 
tinues life and health, I will have nothing more to do 
with warfaring life, but for the remainder of my days 


employ all my efforts to promote the internal welfare of 
my kingdom." And so lie did. His very fu-st care was 
to give wise and beneficial laws, amongst which were 
the Skanish and the Jutlatidish law, which he, shortly 
before his death, laid before the people, at a diet in 
Yordingborg, the Jutlandish law, even to this day, 
being valid in Schleswig, and not before 1685 abrogated 
in Denmark. 

Waldemar the Conqueror was twice rnarried : first 
to the Bohemian princess, Dagmar, and next to Beren- 
garia, from Portugal, who became mother to Erik, 
Abel, and Christopher, one by one succeeding to the 
throne. Dagmar was highly beloved, but Berengaria 
much hated on account of her pride ; and it became a 
proverb among the peasantry : " Blessed be Dagmar, 
cursed be Berengaria the old hag, the Lord be with 
the king." Waldemar had now attained to an ad- 
vanced age. He had seen his kingdom raised to the 
highest pitch of glory and power, he had seen it sink 
A. D., into the deepest distress, and now he saw it 
12^1- again restored to peace and felicity, when death 
claimed him. 

The means by which the inhabitants got their liveli- 
hood in this period were, agriculture, breeding of cattle, 
fishing and commerce, but all as yet on a small scale. 
The fishing was an important means of subsistence, and 
the Lymfjord and Earsound (Oeresund) were known for 
their abundant herring grounds. The trade was driven 


with Northern G-ermany and England ; and between 
Jutland and Norway was a lively intercourse. Fish, 
cattle and horses were the most important articles ot 
exportation. The most ancient coins of the North are 
from the time of Swen Splitbeard." Not only the kings, 
hut also the bishops were permitted to coin. 

Learned literature was cultivated exclusively by the 
clergy. Nevertheless the arts of poetry passed at an 
early period into the hands of the nobles, chiefly because 
love [minne) and devotion to the ladies were the soul 
and essence of the latter. In general they were called 
Minnesongers, or the Nightingales of the Middle Ages, 
considering the whole female sex as a sacred virgin. 
But on the whole, neither science nor the arts had 
reached a very high point, and young people being 
desirous of a deeper knowledge than they could acquire 
at home, had to go to the celebrated University of Paris, 
and at the close of the twelfth, century a special college 
for Danish students was founded in Paris. Here, for 
instance, Absalon and Andrew Suneson completed their 
studies. Absalon, a man of letters himself, favored 
learned literature, and encouraged the renowned Saxo 
&rammaticas to compose a history of Scandinavia, 
which he did, in elegant Latin, he, therefore, being sur- 
named Grammaticus. Cotemporaneously with Saxo, 
the Icelandic writer, Snorre Sturlason^ lived : a man of 
rare talents, who has made himself fariious by composing 
Heimskringla, or "The Sagas of the Norwegian Kings," 


down to Magnus Erlingson, A. D. 1162. At the age of 
A. D., sixty-three this eminent man was assassinated 
1241. })y jiis own relatives on his manor, Reykiaholt, in 
Iceland. The celebrated work called the Edda, where 
we see, amidst many absurdities, the traces of a lumi- 
nous and rational system of religion, and which therefore 
long was considered the sacred book of the Scandina- 
vians, is often ascribed to Snorre Sturlason, while it 
more probably was composed by Saemund, a clergyman 
in Iceland, who died A. D. 1133. The whole doctrines 
of the ancient rehgion and Injrthology are unfolded in 
this celebrated specimen of national poetry. 



• 1241—1319. 

Erik Ptoughpenning — Expedition to Esthonia — Abel — Christopher I. — Conflict 
with the Clergy — Archbishop Jacob Erlandson — Interdict — Erik Glipping 
— Battle on Loheath — ^War with Norway — Erik Menvcd — The Eegicides — 
John Grand — Peace with Norway — Expedition to Pomerania and Meck- 
lenburg — The Hanseatic League. 

Erik, later surnamed Ploughpenning, some years 
before chosen successor, took upon him the title of king 
after the death of Waldemar the Conqueror, his father. 
A great error ascribed to him is the dividing of the 
kingdom among his brothers: Schleswig was given to Abel^ 
and Laaland and Falster to Christopher. This division 
contributed very much to the declension of the king- 
dom, and to the diminishing of the royal power ; and 
especially in reference to Schleswig, this system of 
division had ruinous consequences ; for Abel and his sue- 


cessors tried now to make Sclileswig an hereditary and 
independent possession in their family, all of which re- 
sulted in a series of destructive internal wars, Schleswig 
thereby more and more being alienated from the king- 
dom. Under these circumstances, Abel soon assumed a 
hostile position towards Erik, the more as he claimed the 
Duchy of Schleswig as an independent sovereignty. A 
A. D., war broke out, in which, however, the king got 
1219- the better, Abel being obliged to submit. Next 
year a Diet was held in Roeskilde, in which the king ex- 
pressed his eager desire to reclaim all the former posses- 
sions of Esthonia and Livonia, which had been lost amidst 
the late civil commotions. The Diet givmg its assent to 
his proposal of undertaking an expedition thither, he 
then laid before them the necessity of raising the proper 
supplies by an additional tax of a certain sum to be paid 
by each plough, under the name of ploughpenning, by 
which term the king was afterwards surnamed. After 
returning from Esthonia, the king marched liis army 
against the counts of Holstein, who had laid siege to the 
fortress of Rendsburg. On his arrival at the Danevirke, 
that strong wall above mentioned, he bethought him of 
a visit to his brother Abel in Sclileswig, who had taken 
no part in this quarrel. He entered, however, into an 
A. D., altercation with Abel, who caused the king to be 
1250. killed in a boat, and his body thrown into the 
river Sley. Abel endeavored to screen his shocking 
crime by promulgating a report, that the king had 


perished in the river by the boat's foundering, hut 
shortly after all was discovered by the mangled body of 
the king, which was thrown by the waves on the shore, 
and taken up by some monks. 

Erik Ploughpenning falling without male issue, the 
states, though they detested Abel, on account of the 
unnatural crime he had committed, chose him king to 
avoid a civil war, which would certainly have ensued on 
setting him aside. By these means they also indispu- 
tably re-united the duchy of Schleswig to the crown. 
After a reign of two years, neither active nor a. d., 
useful, he was killed m an expedition he under- ^252. 
took against the Friesers, leaving the state in a most 
declining condition. If the royalty had remained in 
Abel's family, Schleswig would have been re-united 
with the kingdom, and all future contests prevented ; 
but Christopher L, the third son of Waldemar the Con- 
queror, was happy enough immediately to be acknow- 
ledged king, although the throne was promised to Abel's 
sons, Waldemar and Erik. Both parties exerted all 
their power to gain the ascendancy. The king encom- 
passed Schleswig with his army, and claimed, as uncle, 
the guardianship of Abel's children, but these were sup- 
ported by the counts of Holstein, Seasonably for the 
king, some of the G-erman princes offered their medi- 
ation, and a peace was concluded on these terms : that 
Christopher should have the g-aardianship, but restore 
the duchy of Schleswig as a fief to "Waldemar, the eldest 


son of Abel, when he had attained to his majority. 
About the same time Christopher was entangled in a 
sharp contest with the clergy. The imperious Jacob 
JErlandson, without the king's consent or knowledge, 
was chosen archbishop of Lund. Descended from a 
conspicuous family, and very well versed in the 
ecclesiastical laws, he was, on account of his long stay 
in foreign lands, strictly acquainted with the condition 
of the Church everywhere. Secure of the Pope's pro- 
tection, he not only disregarded all forms, but totally 
changed the ecclesiastical laws and statutes of Skane, 
and took the liberty, of his own accord, to substitute 
some new ones of his own. He consecrated other bishops 
without asking the royal consent, brought secular affairs 
under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and usurped fines 
and other perquisites belonging only to the king. He 
forbade the peasantry of his archbishopric to perform 
military service ; and when the king had summoned a 
diet of the people at Nyborg, the archbishop, as a mark 
A. D., of disrespect, convoked at the same time a synod 
125G. at "Weile, Jutland, called the Weile Constitution; 
where it was decided that, when a bishop was impri- 
soned, or in any way molested by the king, an interdict 
should be laid upon the kingdom, and all divine service 
cease. Christopher I., highly incensed at this haughty 
conduct, would now confiscate all the fiefs formerly 
given to the archbishopric of Lund, but a violent riot 
arose amongst the archiepiscopal peasants, who ravaged 


the country with unheard-of cruelty ; and as now the 
archbishop also declined crowning Erik, the king's son, 
and threatened to ban the bishops who might do so, the 
king caused him to be imprisoned. Agreeably to the 
resolution of the synod of Weile, the whole kingdom was 
immediately interdicted. The king now wrote to the 
Pope, representing to him the haughty conduct of the 
archbishop, the injustice and absurdity of a prelate's 
assuming to himself a share in the royal prerogative, 
and the hardship, that he should have it in his power to 
lay a whole people under interdiction. These remon- 
'strances were no sooner dispatched to Rome, than the 
Pope commanded that the ban should be intermitted, 
and all the priests within the kingdom should administer 
the communion, under the penalty of losing their 
tithes and stipends. At the same time the king fell a 
victim to the plot of a canon by the name of Arnfast, 
who poisoned him, and as a reward, was promoted 
by the rebellious archbishop to the bishopric of a. d., 
Aarhuus, in Jutland. Christopher I. had found 1259. 
the treasury exhausted on liis accession ; at his death he 
left things in much the same situation — the treasury 
exhausted, and the nation split into two powerful fac- 
tions. In the doubt and dismay which followed the 
death of Christopher I., a few voices saluted his son, 
Erik Glipping, with the title of king, but the majority 
would not ratify the choice, as he had not yet attained 
to fuU age, and the queen dowager, the manly Marga- 


rethe of Pomerania, called 8orte Grethe (Black Grethe) 
on account of her dark complexion, had to assume the 
reins of government. She commenced her guardianship 
with a signal instance of clemency, on pardoning the 
haughty Jacob Erlandsen ; who, nevertheless, after 
being set at liberty, treacherously joined the duke of 
Schleswig, avowing his intention to dethrone the king 
and replace the duke. Shortly after a new faction arose, 
headed by count Jarimar, of Rygen, who, gathering 
multitudes of robbers and murderers, and making an 
inroad into Sjelland, defeated, at Nestved in Sjelland, 
the peasantry, which the queen dowager had raised, 
where ten thousand peasants lost their lives. Thereupon 
Jarimar went to Skane, where he, fortunately for Den- 
mark, was killed by a country-woman. The country 
was soon after alarmed by a dangerous irruption of 
Erik, a son of Abel, who, because the queen dowager 
would not comply with giving him Schleswig as an 
hereditary fief, but only as a personal, joined the counts 
of Holstein, and commenced a war, in which the royal 
A. D., troops were totally defeated at Loheath, close by 
1261. i\^Q city of Schleswig. The queen dowager and 
her son, the minor king, were taken prisoners, she being 
sent to Hamburg, and he closely confined on Alsen, an 
island in the Baltic. The queen dowager was, however, 
soon released, but the young king not till the expiration 
of three years, during which time the queen dowager 
governed the kingdom, assisted by the duke Albert of 


Brunswick^ to whom the prefectship had been entrusted. 
The young king, now past minority, was scarcely settled 
on the throne, when his kingdom was again alarmed by 
the rebellious Jacob Erlandson rejecting repeated pro- 
posals of agreement, and even bidding defiance to the 
commands of the Pope ; and not till the queen dowager 
herself determined on going to Rome, was a reconcilia- 
tion made, according to wliich the king had to pay the 
archbishop the sum of fifteen thousand ounces of a. d., 
silver, and replace liim m his ecclesiastical dig- 1274. 
nities. When Jacob Erlandson was returning home 
from Rome, he died by the way before reaching Den- 
mark, the king rejoicing very much at having got rid of 
this spiritual tyrant. But, unfortunately, the king had, 
both witliin his own land and abroad, other foes not less 
to be feared. With Magnus Lagaboeter, King of Nor- 
way, married to Ingeborg, a daughter of Erik Plough- 
penning, a dispute arose, Erik Glipping, in the con- 
fused condition of the kingdom, not being capable of 
paying the dowry. The Norwegian king arriving with 
a great fleet in Skane, was, however, defeated by the 
Danish army ; but under the sons of Magnus a destruc- 
tive war commenced, during the course of which the 
defenceless Danish coasts and maritime towns were 
grievously vexed by the piracies and formidable pillages 
of the Norwegians. Nevertheless, Erik Clipping en- 
gaged himself in the civil disturbances of Sweden, where 
the brothers Waldemar and Magnus Ladelaas were 


disputing for the throne ; but he reaped neither honor 
nor profit by his interference, and the power of the state 
began to decline. Magnus defeated Waldemar at Hove, 
A. D., in Westrigothland, and was acknowledged King 
1275. of Sweden, the agriculture of which he vigor- 
ously promoted ; the peasantry, therefore, surnaming 
him Ladelaa*, i. e. the protector of the barns. With 
these disturbances in Sweden, in which Erik Glipping 
involved himself, came a war with Erik, Duke of 
Schleswig, who continued to sow the seeds of dissen- 
sion ; but the king entering the duchy with a powerful 
army, and seizing upon the fortress of Tender, which he 
razed, the duke was constrained to submit,, and lost his 
duchy a short time before his death ; after which Scliles- 
wig, for thirteen years, remained united with the king- 
dom, until unfortunately again Waldemar, called Duke 
Waldemar lY., a son of Erik, above named, was invested 
with Schleswig as a fief. But not content with it, he 
now also laid claim to Aro, Alsen, and Femern, three 
islands in the Baltic. He fell, however, into the hands 
of the king, had humbly to throw himself at his feet, 
resign his claim, and make a confession in writing of 
his want of loyalty to his sovereign. Besides these in- 
cessant contests and disputes, Erik Grlipping was fre- 
quently at variance with the noblemen, because of his 
A. D., violence and want of candor, and he was, at a 
1282. diet of Nyborg, compelled to promise, in writing, 
to rule more justly, and in accordance with the laws of 


the state. The same year a pestilential disease occur- 
red, hy which great numbers of men and cattle were 
swept off; terrible fires also happened in different parts 
of the kingdom ; and, to crown the misfortunes of tliis 
year, Margarethe, the queen dowager, died, after hav- 
ing, with great discretion and policy, governed the king- 
dom and her son for the space of twenty-three years. 
Erik Glipping now comforted himself with the pleasing 
hope of enjoying the remainder of his life in tranquillity, 
but his subjects growmg more and more weary of liim 
and his transgressing the limits of his authority, and 
disgusted at his debauching several wives and daughters 
of the nobihty, formed a conspiracy against the king, 
privy to wliich were James, count of Halland, and Siig 
Anderson, who ran him tlirough the body with a sword. 
He fell beneath the blow at Finderup, by Wi- a. d., 
borg, in Jutland, where he was diverting himself ^^sg. 
with hunting for a few days. Thus, in less than fifty 
years, four Danish kings were dispatched by assassi- 

These events having occurred, the situation of the 
kingdom became yet more gloomy, Erik Menved, 
hkewise surnamed the Pious, being only twelve years 
of age at liis father's death. In want of a leader, the 
affairs of government fell into the hands of the queen- 
dowager, Agnes of Brandenburg, whose respectable 
quaUties were universally esteemed. Being, however, 
without that firmness of mind which perseveres in 


difficult times and cases, she imprudently made duke 
"Waldemar IV. of Schleswig, joint guardian, even re- 
signing to him the disputed islands, Aro, Alsen, and 
Femern, so that he acquired a power in the state which 
properly belonged to better men. A formal sentence of 
death was pronounced against the regicides, who, escap- 
ing to Norway, appealed to the king, Erik PrcBstehader 
(i. e., the hater of the priests), to whom they swore 
allegiance, and received from him the fortress of Kongs- 
hel, strong by nature and art. Besides that, they 
brought into their occupancy several fortified places of 
the Danish coasts and islands, whence they, for a space 
of nine years, ravaged their native country with fire and 
sword, breathing vengeance wherever they went, and 
seeming to threaten to depopulate the kingdom by a 
continual drain of its forces. One of the conspirators, 
however, was, some years after, taken in Roeskilde, 
and broken upon the wheel. About the same time a 
new contest with the clergy ensued. John Grand, a 
kinsman of Jacob Erlandson, and related to the regi- 
cides, had been appointed archbishop of Lund, although 
highly against the consent of the king and the queen- 
dowager. No sooner had he reached this dignity, than 
he joined the regicides and the Norwegians, doing all 
within his power to injure the king and blast his 
credit. But at last the king caused him to be appro- 
hended and imprisoned "in Sdborg', a castle in North 
Sjelland, where he was placed in a subterranean dun- 


geon and treated with the utmost severity. He was, 
however, fortunate enough to escape to Bornholm, a 
remote island in the Baltic, from whence he repaired to 
Rome, to appeal to the Pope himself, at that time 
the imperious and domineering Bonifacius VIII. By 
his coloring the facts, he incensed his Holiness violently 
against the king, and was acquitted of all guilt, while 
a penalty of forty-nine thousand ounces of silver was 
inflicted upon the king, which he, however, decidedly 
declined paying. Erik Menved, rightly imagining the 
Pope had been deceived by a false representation of the 
nature of the dispute, remitted to Rome an appeal, 
and heavy complaints of the archbishop. But without 
avail. The whole kingdom was, by the papal a. d., 
legate, Isarnus, laid under a new interdict of 1298. 
five years. After a lapse of some years the king, in 
order to be reconciled with the Pope, sent a most suppli- 
cating letter, entreating that he would be pleased to 
remove the heavy curse, and receive liimself and his sub- 
jects again into the bosom of the church. His Holiness 
granted the request; the interdict was taken off*, the 
payment of forty-nine thousand ounces of silver reduced 
to ten thousand, and Jolin Grand was transferred to an 
archbishopric in France. 

The duke of Schleswig, Waldemar lY., sided for a 
while with Norway and the regicides, but being totally 
defeated in Greensou7id, he was obliged to conclude 
peace, and give back Aro, Alsen and Femern. With 


A. D, Norway, the long war was finished by the treaty 

1309. of Copenhagen, by which the province of Hal- 
land was ceded to the Norwegian king, Hakon V., and 
made over to him in perpetuity. But it was only a 
short time that Denmark enjoyed the blessings of peace, 
which were soon interrupted by her restless Swedish 
neighbors. The dukes Waldemar and Erik, brothers to 
Birg'er, king of Sweden, occasioned great disturbances. 
Erik, a crafty and ambitious young prince, who, on 
account of his being married to Ingeborg, a daughter 
of Hakon V., had expectations of ascending the throne 
of Norway, was anxious to dethrone Birger, and thus 
also become king of Sweden. Erik Menved, the Danish 
king, married to a sister of king Birger, took part in the 
Swedish disturbances, and made several expensive expe- 
ditions to Sweden, to defend his brother-in-law and 
preserve to him his throne. The rebellious dukes had 
surprised Birger in his castle Hatuna, and imprisoned 
him. Erik Menved raised an army, and led his troops 
to the frontiers of "West Gothland, where he was met 
by the enemy. Both armies encamped within sight of 

A. D., each other for some days, and at length a peace 

1310. ^vas agreed to, in Helsingborg, in consequence 
of which king Birger was restored to a part of his 
dominions, and the dukes received the remainder, on 
oath of fidelity and homage, as vassals of the crown. 
But Birger, breathing vengeance, invited his brothers to 
a drinking-bout in Nykdping: After having treated 


them with magnificence, he suddenly ordered a. d., 
his people to break into their apartments while 1317. 
they were asleep, to seize them, to strip them, and fetter 
their necks and heels with iron chains. They were 
tlu*own into a dark dungeon, where they died of hunger. 
But a sedition now arose against Birger, who had to 
flee from his kingdom, and died a fugitive in Denmark. 
To regain the great territories in Gfermany which 
"Waldemar I. and Waldemar the Conqueror had con- 
quered, was a favorite thought of Erik Menved ; where- 
fore he, through a series of years, made frequent expe- 
ditions to hring the cities and princes of Pomerania and 
Mecklenburg under subjection, but without avail. 
Towards the close of his reign, he had a new dispute 
with the clergy, in which, however, he got the better, 
the rebellious archbishop of Lund, Esger- Juel, being 
compelled to refrain from war and leave the country 
But soon the kingdom was distracted with internal 
dissensions, which had broken out amongst the stirring 
noblemen, who formed a conspiracy against the king's 
life, and caused a great insurrection in North Jutland, 
where the people refused payment of the taxes imposed 
by the king and the diet, of which Christopher, the 
king's own brother, dishonoring himself by treacherous 
connections with the insurgents, was the ringleader. 
Not being capable of realizing what he had expected, 
he went over to Sweden, where he lived in exile till the 
year 1318, A. D. Upon his death-bed the king wished, 


however, to be reconciled to his brother, and accordingly 
granted him a free pardon, without stipulating any 
terms. Though having fourteen children by his queen, 
A. D., Ingeborg, Erik Menved died childless, after a 
1319. reign of thirty-three years, leaving his kingdom 
in a most declining condition, on account of the many 
external and internal wars, and of the general abandon- 
ment of all the virtues by which, under the two great 
Waldemars, it had risen to power and greatness. To 
procure money to defray the charges of these wars, a 
great deal of the royal fiefs and other revenues had been 
mortgaged to native and foreign magnates, by all of 
which the kingdom had become weakened. Contempo- 
raneously with this, a mighty league was formed in the 
northern part of Gfermany, called the German League 
of the Hanse-towns, which, in process of time, became 
extremely dangerous to the northern countries. It arose 
in the middle of the thirteenth century, when several 
seaport towns joined together to defend their mercantile 
neutrality. By degrees this league increased its mili- 
tary resources, and after the middle of the fourteenth 
century it comes clearly into view as a domineering 
policy in the North, acquiring a great superiority in the 
Baltic, and gaining a permanent footing in Denmark, 
Norway, Sweden, and Russia, where the league, com- 
prising the important commercial cities, Hamburg, 
Liibeck, Bremen, Rostock, Wismar, Stralsund, and 
Novgorod, mastered all mercantile affairs; and their 


power increased so rapidly, that five hundred men-of- 
war could soon be mustered from these cities ; and the 
imprudent Danish kings, Abel, Erik Grlipping and Erik 
Menved, during whose internal and external wars the 
star of the League was in the ascendant, had often to 
have recourse to the assistance of the Hanseatic towns, 
which understood how to fish in foul water. Upon the 
whole, the superiority of the Hanse-league was the 
cliief cause that Denmark's cities and burgher class 
in the Middle Ages never rose to any power or impor- 
tance, the G-erman merchants importing almost all 
articles manufactured. 



Christopher II. — Charter — War with Geert, Count of Holstein — Battle on Tap- 
heath — Niels Ebbeson — Waldemar IV., Atterdag — Insurrection in Jutland 
— Magnus Smek of Sweden — War with the Hanseatic-towns — Rebellion — 
Waldemar leaves the country — Olaf — Queen Margarethe (the Semiramis 
of the North)— King Albrecht of Sweden— The Battle at Falkoping— TAe 
Union of Calmar. ^ 

Upon the death of Erik Menved, Christopher II., his 
brother, was elected and declared king, although Erik, 
even while lying in his last gasp, had, knowing by ex- 
perience his brother's mean and base disposition, tried 
to dissuade the people from electing him. His reign 
was miserable, the lower orders of the State being by 


liis corruption and inability reduced to a degree of hope- 
less subjection, while he entrusted the rich nohlemen 
with uncontrollable power, which he had no strength to 
withdraw from them when danger was coming. Before 
his accession to the throne, he had to subscribe to a very 
severe charter, containing, in substance, that the clergy 
should be preserved in the full possession of all their 
earlier privileges and immunities ; that a clergyman 
should, on no account, be tried in a civil court, but be 
subject only to the laws of the ecclesiastical court ; that 
the king should not be permitted to declare war or con- 
clude peace except by consent of the nobihty and the 
clergy ; that the noblemen should not be obliged to 
serve in the wars beyond the frontiers of the kingdom, 
and that an annual diet should be held at Nyborg. On 
the whole, the power of the nobility and the clergy 
attained to such a height as never before or after him. 
The king and the archbishop, Esger Juel, came, through 
the papal mediation, to an agreement, and from that 
very time matters assumed a better aspect between the 
kings and the church, because the clergy, in fear of the 
increasing power of the nobility, began to attach them- 
selves closer to the kings. Although Christopher II. 
had promised the nobility, under the sanctity of an 
oath, that he would inviolably keep the charter to which 
he had subscribed, he did not do so, but gave a finishing 
stroke to his wickedness and absurdity by saying, that 
he did not consider the breaking of an oath of any con- 


sequence. Several powerful noblemen, therefore, the 
bailiff Lauritz Jonsen, the field-marshal Louis Albert- 
son, and Canute Parse, Duke of Halland, flew imme- 
diately to arms, and when the king soon after entered 
into a dispute with Count Geert (Grerhard) the Grreat, 
of Holstein, concerning the guardianship over the young 
Duke of Schleswig, Waldemar V., the displeased noble- 
men joined Count G-eert, who raised a body of forces in 
Holstein, gave battle to the king at G-ottorp, defeated 
him, and raised the siege. Christopher now levied, in 
spite of his charter, a tax upon his subjects, by renew- 
ing the ploughpenning. To this was added another 
piece of misconduct, which enraged the clergy. He 
made some alterations in a monastery, without con- 
sulting the bishops, who began to fulminate threats, and 
the king was accused of intending to trample on the^, 
neck of liberty. The nobles exclaimed that he aimed 
at the ruin of the nobility, and the people murmured at 
the weight of taxes, and especially at the ploughpenning, 
the most giievous of all taxes, because it fell wholly on 
the poor laborers. Discontent appeared in every quarter, 
and a confederacy was formed to depose Christopher, 
who, finding himself unequal in strength to his subjects, 
fled to Mechlenburg, after which he was unanimously 
divested of his royalty, and the young Duke a.d., 
Waldemar elected king under the guardianship 1^26. 
of Count Geert. But a charter was now issued in which 
it was decreed that as long as the king was alive, his 


successor could not be elected, nor any certain promise he 
given of the succession to the throne. The friends of the 
new king were richly rewarded. He made over to Count 
Greert the whole Duchy of Schleswig, to be held as a 
fief of the crown ; to Canute, Porse, Halland, Samso, 
and the earldom of Kallundborg ; to John, a half-brother 
of the deposed Christopher, Laaland and Falster ; and 
Louis Albertson and Lauritz Jonson were likewise re- 
warded. Thus a general peace was concluded, to the 
great satisfaction of the people, v/ho now expected an 
end to all their calamities. Nevertheless, a dispute soon 
arising among them about this division, Christopher II. 
came, by the aid of his half-brother, back again to his 
A.D., kingdom, and an agreement was concluded at 

1330. Jlipen, according to which Waldemar again 
^ should have Sclileswig, and Count Geert, as an equiva- 
lent, have Fjunen as a hereditary fief, together with a 
great part of Jutland ; and if AValdemar should die 
without leaving inheritors behind him, then Schleswig 
should devolve to Count Geert, and Fjunen to Den- 
mark. John, who had assisted the king in regaining 
his kingdom, was rewarded with Sjelland (Zealand) 
and Skane. A new contest, in which Christopher im- 

A.D., prudently involved himself with Count G-eert, 

1331. -^as ended by a decisive defeat of the royal 
troops on Loheath, in Schleswig. The battle continued 
for a whole day. G-eert was near being worsted, but 
finding means to bribe the king's troops, he soon re- 


trieved liis affairs, and gained a complete victory, the 
king escaping from the field with great difficulty. 
Next year proved fatal to the liberty and life of Chris- 
topher, for, going to the island of Laaland with a small 
retinue, he was seized hy John Ellemose, a friend of 
Count Geert, and carried prisoner to the strong castle 
of Aalholm, close by the city of Nysted. The king was, 
however, again set at liberty, but did not live a. d. 
long to enjoy his freedom. He fell ill, and died i^si. 
in a few days, and was buried in Soro, in Sjelland, at 
his death owning only the city of Skanderborg, in Jut- 
land, a piece of Laaland, and a few possessions in 
Esthonia ; the kingdom having thus sunk into nothing. 
A greater complication of folly and inability than there 
was about Chi-istopher II., no Danish king has been 
possessed of, wherefore the account of his death pro- 
duced the greatest jubilation. Po tit anus says, that he 
was so much hated, that his memory was stigmatized 
with bitter lampoons. 

Upon the death of Clu'istopher II., an interregnum 
of seven years ensued. Erik, the eldest son of Chris- 
topher, had been mortally wounded on Loheath ; Otho, 
the next but one, attempting to regain his ancestral 
kingdom, was defeated and captured on Tapheath, by 
Wiborg ; and Waldemar, the youngest son, sojourned at 
the court of Louis of Bavaria. The cruel G-eert, pres- 
smg and impoverishing the inhabitants, now disposed of 
the country al pleasure. Skane, Halland and Bleking 


shook off his cruel yoke, and submitted themselves to 
Magnus Smek, at that time king of Sweden and 
Norway. A complete annihilation of the Danish king- 
dom seemed to be unavoidable, the more as Geert 
enrolled an army of ten thousand German soldiers, and 
ravaged the whole of Jutland with the utmost cruelty, 
sparing neither women nor tender children. But the 
Jutlanders were not inclined to submit to a tyrant upon 
whom they already had long looked with the greatest 
aversion, and at the head of them a knight, Niels 
Ebbeson of Norreriis, rose and became the deliverer of 
his fatherland. Instead of yielding to despondency he 
employed his hours of retirement to revolve in his mind 
what was to be done. After debating some time with 
himself, he rose and called together several of his most 
esteemed countrymen. He told them that all now 
depended on their own exertions. If they yielded to 
the cruel Geert, they had nothing to expect but to be 
treated tyrannically. But if, on the contrary, they 
acted with vigor and union, their numbers and courage 
were still sufficient to rescue them from this scourge of 
oppression. They wiUingly adopted the suggestions 
of the noble knight, who wrote a letter to Geert, in 
which Niels Ebbeson's plan was communicated to him. 
Thus says the letter : " To Count Geert : Sir, I hereby 
swear, by God, in whom I believe, but you do not, 
thou blood-thirsty tyrant, that wheresoever and whenso- 
ever I can get hold of you, be it either at midnight or 


at cock-crowing, either at your table or in your princely 
bedchamber, or even at the foot of the holy altar, you 
shall fall by my hand. Your sworn and mortal enemy, 
Niels Ebbeson." 

Collecting a body of sixty trusty retainers, he left his 
manor for Randers, in Jutland, where G-eert had fixed 
his head-quarters, seized the sentinels, and pushed on 
to Geert's lodging, which he forced open. Geert was 
awakened with the noise, and seeing Niels Ebbeson 
enter with armed men, began to supplicate him, in the 
most humble terms, to save his life. But considering 
the life of the tyrant a just atonement for the cruelties 
the people had suffered, he plunged liis sword a. d., 
into his breast, and then made his retreat with i^^*^- 
all possible expedition, after having given the alarm to 
the whole army, by sounding horns and beating drums. 

The notice of the death of the tyrant was followed by 
a general acclamation. But the brave and fearless 
deliverer of his fatherland soon after lost his life by 
Skanderborg in Jutland, in a battle against Geert's 
sons, who would avenge the death of their father. But 
Niels Ebbeson has never lost the grateful memory of 
the Danes, who, in a charming forest, close by his 
manor-seat, have erected a marble column, on which an 
inscription, with Spartan brevity, tells his patriotic 
exploit ; and yearly, in the summer-season, the citizens 
of Aarhus, and the scholars of the Latin school, take a 
walk to Norreriis, where, by spirited songs, they call 


back to their minds, his magnanimous and heroic 

Greert having been killed, the way to the tlirone was 
A. D., paved for Cliristopher's third son, Waldemar 
1341. lY Aiterdag", who was recalled from Bavaria. 
To "Waldemar's elevation the emperor Louis, at whose 
court Waldemar was bred, greatly contributed. His 
elder brother Otho, having renounced his claims to the 
throne, Waldemar received the homage in Wiborg. 
Uniting great vigor with the most refined policy, hu- 
manity and affability, he conciliated good will on all 
sides, and came into possession of a popularity, which 
gave him means more powerful than arms for the future 
improvement and extension of his kingdom. His vigi- 
lance was equal to his valor, and he quickly made 
himself master of Jutland, Sjelland, Fjunen, Laaland 
and Falster ; and the Danish dominions, so lately divided 
among a number of petty tyrants, were now again 
united into one sovereignty. For a number of years, as 
we have seen, Denmark had been the theatre of con- 
tinual domestic and foreign wars, which filled every 
place with confusion. One of the most powerful king- 
doms, after having given laws to such a number of 
other nations, had at length fallen under the scourge of 
some petty vassals, who laid desolate her fairest pro- 
vinces. But now she again began to taste the sweets of 
liberty and resume her old influence. Waldemar IV. sold 
immediately the remote Esthonia to the Teutonic Order 


(a confraternity of German knights, instituted by Pope 
Celestin III., A. D. 1192,) for nineteen thousand ounces 
of silver, to be enabled to redeem more important 
provinces ; and by marrying Hedevig, a sister to the 
duke Waldemar V., of Schleswig, who brought him a 
considerable dowry, he acquhed great wealth. The 
most considerable enemies he conquered were the inva- 
ders of his frontier, or the internal disturbers of his 
kingdom, and, on the whole, he only made war to 
secuj?e peace. The Jutlandish nobility, accustomed to 
disobedience to the laws, headed by Claus Limbek, 
raised a rebellion, and entered into an alliance with the 
counts of Holstein, and other enemies of the kingdom, 
but the powerful Waldemar compelled them to comply 
with his dictates. Among all the exertions of his active 
Ufe, he was also very attentive to the improvement of 
che internal welfare of liis kingdom. He frequently 
traveled round to have an eye upon the execution of 
the laws, he settled the civil concerns, which were in a 
boundless chaos, he erected castles and fortresses, he 
laid out highways, and caused canals to be dug, and 
to his people, who, under such circumstances, were 
obliged to pay high taxes, he gave a detailed account of 
the spending of the taxes he had levied. 

At tliis time Magnus Smek was king of Sweden ; of 
whose improvidence and stupidity Waldemar availed 
himself to regain the Swedish provinces, Skane, a. d., 
Halland, and Bleking, thus encompassing his i^eo. 


great aim — ^the re-union of the Danish kingdom. A 
marriage was also agreed upon between Hakon VI., 
king of Norway, and a son of Magnus Smek, and Ma?'- 
g-areihe, a daughter of Waldemar ; a basis thereby being 
laid for a continual union of Norway with Denmark. 
Next year Waldemar seized upon the Swedish island, 
Grulland (Gotliland), the capital of which, Wisby, then 
one of the richest and most flourishing Hanse towns, 
he demolished, assuming now the title, " King of the 
Gothsy But, upon the taking of the great island of 
Gulland, a mighty alliance arose against Waldemar 
Atterdag, between Magnus Smek, the counts of Hol- 
stein, and the Hanseatic towns, (which are said to have 
sent him at once seventy-seven declarations of war,) and 
Albrecht the elder, of Mecklenburg. Matters being thus 
disposed, the allies put to sea, attacked Copenhagen, 
took the citadel, and plundered the city. But Walde- 
mar rushed fearlessly on his many enemies, attacked 
the squadron of Liibeck, took six ships, burned several 
A.D., others, and forced the Hanseatic towns and his 
1^62. other enemies to raise the siege. The regency of 
Liibeck were so incensed at their defeat, that, accusing 
the admiral of neglect of duty, they ordered liis head to 
be struck off. A peace was concluded between the 
king and the Hanse towns, Waldemar thus reaping the 
harvest of glory, and gaining the great honor of having 
put a prompt end to this dangerous war. 

We have seen that the king of Norway, Hakon VI., 



was contracted to the princess Margaretlie. Yet, to 
oblige the Swedish nation, who insisted on his renoun- 
cing the alliance with Denmark, he consented to marry 
Elizabeth, a princess of Holstein, instead of Waldemar's 
daughter. Every circumstance seemed favorable to the 
conclusion of this alliance, as both the Swedes and Hol- 
steiners were equally desirous of it. She was now 
embarked on the Trave, to pass over to Sweden ; but 
Heaven disposed events otherwise. Boisterous weather 
drove the ship on the coast of Denmark. Waldemar 
Atterdag received the princess with all the honors due 
to her rank, but still he kept her under a gentle con- 
straint, in the meantime hurrying Magnus Smek and 
Hakon YI. to come to Denmark, where then, by con- 
sent of the foolish Swedish king, the nuptials between 
Margarethe and the Norwegian king were cele- a. d., 
brated. But this affair deprived Magnus Smek i^'^-'- 
of his throne, the people electing in his stead his 
nephew, Albrecht, duke of Mecklenburg. Nevertheless 
Magnus resolved to make vigorous efforts for the 
recovery of his throne. Having received aid from "Walde- 
mar and his son, Hakon YI. of Norway, he took the field, 
gave battle, but was defeated at TilUnge, near a.d., 
Jonkoping, and conducted prisoner to Stock- i^cs. 
holm, where he was confined for seven years, till he at 
length was delivered by his son, Hakon. Upon the whole, 
the cunning Waldemar bore up well against his a.d, 
many enemies, until the Jutland ish nobility, ^368 


headed by Claus Limbek, excited a fresh rebellion, join- 
ing Henry, dulce of Schleswig, the counts of Ilolstein, 
the Hanse towns, Sweden and Mecklenburg, who all 
had concluded a formidable alliance against him. At 
the sight of such a league Waldemar's courage forsook 
him. Finding himself unable to resist this cloud of 
enemies, he determined to abandon all. He left his 
kingdom for four years, after having previously 
appointed the sagacious Henning' Podebusk viceroy — 
A. D., who was happy enough to prevail with the Hanse 
1370. towns to conclude the peace of Stralsund, after 
which the other enemies broke off all hostilities. By 
this peace it was decided that the Hanseatic towns 
should, for fifteen years, possess the maritime towns of 
Skane, and enjoy special commercial privileges over the 
whole of Denmark. 
A. D., Upon his returning home Waldemar found his 
1372 kingdom in the greatest confusion, but this un- 
tiring king signalized himself by a successful and active 
endeavor to re-establish order, strengthen the enervated 
country, and infuse into the souls of his subjects a por- 
tion of that spirit of independence and patriotism of 
which he was possessed himself Henry, duke of Schles- 
wig, being childless, there was a good prospect of again 
getting this duchy re-united with the kingdom ; upon 
which important point Waldemar, in his last days, 
directed all his attention ; but, unfortunately, he only 
survived Henry so short a time, that the question 


whether Schleswig should belong to Denmark or be 
yielded to the counts of Holstein (who, pursuant to the 
treaty of Ripen, 1330, laid claim to it,) could not be 
decided, but was deferred to the following reign. During 
the thirty-four years he wore his crown, he devoted 
himself to reform all abuses, and to revive the whole- 
some laws of the country. He increased the public 
revenues, and applied them to the adorning of the cities 
with public buildings, while at the same time he con- 
demned the expenditure of the public money for mere 
show. He also paid particular attention to the com- 
forts of the poorer citizens, and took care that they 
should be maintained at the public cost. Altogether, he 
seems to have been a man superior to the time in which 
he lived. He had built a beautiful country seat in the 
neighborhood of Elsinore, called Giirre, and a. d., 
there he breathed his last. From the time of i^'^^- 
his return from abroad, he was constantly afflicted with 
the gout ; recourse was had to a variety of medicines, 
but without effect. 

Before leaving Waldemar IV., (surnamed Atterdag, 
because he used to say, when a misfortune happened, 
" To-morrow it is again day,") it may be observed, that 
under his reign an enemy, more destructive than war 
visited both Denmark and Norway. This was a fright- 
ful disease, called the Black Death, [den Sorte Dod,) 
because people, before they died, broke out with, black 
freckles over the whole body. The plague is supposed 


to have originated in Asia Minor, and to have "been 
transmitted from Constantinople to the European coun- 
tries. It raged in Denmark with the most destructive 
effect, taking off a great deal of the population, and the 
mortality was increased by the crowded and comfortless 
manner in which the people at that time lived. The 
plague spread so violently and so rapidly, that physi- 
cians were of no use. In Liibeck, for instance, there 
died in one day to the number of 1,500. There might 
be seen in one place wretches lying in the streets in 
the agonies of death, deserted by their nearest friends 
through fear of infection, or crawling to the brink of 
some stream or fountain, in the vain hope of quenching 
the intolerable thirst with which they were parched. 
By a ship going adrift this horrible disease came, A. D. 
1349, to Bergen, Norway, whence it spread round in 
the country, nearly dispeopled Norway, annihilated 
all industry, and enervated everything irreparably. But 
it should be mentioned here, that Waldemar, during the 
whole time of the plague, regardless of his own safety, 
was only anxious to lessen its increase and spreading 
abroad, by unremitting and judicious exertions. 

"Waldemar Atterdag left no male issue, but his two 
grandsons, Albrecht the Younger, of Mecklenburg, a son 
. of Ingeborg, Waldemar's eldest daughter, and of Henry 
of Mecklenburg, and Olaf, a son of Margarethe, his 
younger daughter, and of Hakon VI., of Norway, were 
now claiming the hereditary succession to the tlirone. 


One party declared for Olaf, but as he was the son 
of the younger daughter, liis right was consequently 
very doubtful. But because the house of Mecklenburg 
had acted hostilely towards Denmark, and Olaf had 
expectation of Norway and claims to the crown of 
Sweden, as a grandson of Magnus Smek, Denmark was, 
by liis election, in hopes of one day seeing the three 
crowns united on the same head. It was, therefore, 
not long before this important affair was determined. 
The preference was given Olaf, who, although only six 
years of -age, was, under the name of Olaf V., a. d., 
elected king of Denmark, under the guardian- '^^''^■ 
ship of Margarethe, his mother ; and after the death 
of his father, Hakon YL, he became also king a. d., 
of Norway, the two kingdoms thus being united : i^^o. 
a union which, till the expiration of four hundred and 
thirty-four years, was not dissolved. When Olaf V. 
seven years after died in Falsterbo, both king- a. d., 
doms elected Margarethe their queen, though i-^^T. 
custom had not yet authorized the election of a female. 
During the reign of this great princess, who de- 
servedly has been called the Semiramis of the North, 
Denmark and Norway exercised an influence in Eu- 
rope, the effects of which long vibrated throughout the 
Scandinavian countries, their vast extent and rival races.^ 
Uniting wisdom and policy with courage and determi- 
nation, having strength of mind to preserve her recti- 
tude of character without deviation, and her efforts 


being crowned by Divine Providence with success, she 
is duly considered one of the most illustrious female 
rulers in history, her renown reaching even the By- 
zantine emperor Emanuel Palseologus, who called her 
" Reg-ina sine exemplo maxima.''^ But under her suc- 
cessors, destitute of her high sense of duty, great ability 
and consistent virtue, her triumphs proved a snare 
instead of a blessing ; the great Union she created 
dissolved in a short time, and its downfall was as sud- 
den as its elevation had been extraordinary. She was 
born in the year of our Lord 1353. Her father was, 
as we have seen, Waldemar Atterdag, her mother 
A.D., queen Hedevig, and she became queen of Den- 
1387. mark and Norway in the year 1387. No sooner 
elected queen of Denmark, and homaged on the hill of 
Sliparehog, near Lund, in Ringsted, Odensee and Wi- 
borg, than she sailed to Norway to receive its homage. 
But a remarkable occurrence is mentioned by liistorians 
to have occurred about this time. A report prevailed 
that king Olaf, the queen's son, was not dead ; it was 
propagated by the nobility, and very likely set on foot 
by them, in order to punish Margarethe for her liberality 
to the clergy. The impostor claimed the crown of Den- 
mark and Norway, and gained credit every day by 
making discoveries which could only be known to Olat 
and his mother. Margarethe, however, proved him to 
be a son of the nurse of Olaf, who had a large wart 
between his shoulders, which mark did not appear on 


the impostor. In fine, the false Olaf was seized, broken 
on the wheel, and publicly burnt at a place between 
Falsterbo and Skanor, in Sweden, and Margarethe con- 
tinued uninterruptedly her regency. 

But the queen not wishing to contract a new mar- 
riage, ahd comprehending the importance of getting a 
successor elected to the throne, proposed her nephew, 
Erik, Duke of Pomerania, of which proposal a.d., 
the clergy and nobility approved by electing him i^ss. 
king of Denmark and Norway after Margarethe's death. 
Meanwhile Albrecht, king of Sweden, having, on ac- 
count of his preference given to his German favorites, 
incurred the hatred of his people, the Swedes requested 
Margarethe to assist them against him, which she 
promised, if they in return would promise to make her 
queen of Sweden. Moreover, Albrecht had highly of- 
fended the Danish queen ; had, though hardly able to 
govern his own kingdom, assumed the title, " King of 
Denmark," and laid claim to Norway too ; and when 
she blamed him for it he had answered her disdainfully. 
In a letter he had used foul and abusive language, 
calling her " a king without breeches," and the " abbot's 
concubine" (abbedfrillen), on account of her particular 
attachment to a certain abbot of Soro, who was her 
spiritual director. It is, however, true, that her inti- 
macy with this monk gave room for some suspicion 
that her privacies with him were not all employed 
about the care of her soul. Afterwards, to ridicule 


her yet more, king Albrecht sent her a hone to sharpen 
her needles, and swore not to put on his night-cap 
until she had yielded to him. But under perilous cir- 
cumstances Margarethe was never at a loss how to act. 
Nevertheless, she acted here with the utmost prudence, 
trying first to gain the favor of the peers of the state, 
and solemnly promising to rule according to the Swed- 
ish laws. The war now broke out between Albrecht 
and Margarethe, whose army was commanded by Jvar 
A. D., Lykke. The encounter of the two armies, about 

1388. 12j000 men on each side, took place at Falkop- 
ing, 21st of September, 1388. A furious battle was 
fought, in which the victory for a long while hung in 
suspense. But Margarethe's good fortune prevailed, 
Albert was routed and his army cut in pieces, and 
Margarethe was now also mistress of Sweden. 

While this was passing, the queen tarried in Word- 
ingborg, Sjelland, longing with ardent desire to learn 
the result. But no sooner hearing that the victory was 
gained, and the Swedish king and his son, Erik, taken 
prisoners, than she hastened to Bahus, in Sweden, where 
the king and his son were brought before her. Lost in 
joy and amazement at having her enemy in her power, 
the queen now retorted upon king Albrecht by uttering 
some reviling and sarcastic expressions, and in causing 
a large night-cap of paper, nineteen yards long, to 
be put on him ; a retaliation proportioned to his offen- 
sive words. He and his son were, thereupon, brought 


to Lindholm, a castle in Skane, where they were kept 
prisoners for seven years. On entering the castle, a 
dark, square-shaped room was assigned them, and when 
the king said, " I hope that this torture against a 
crowned head will only last a few days," the jailor 
repUed : "I grieve to say that the queen's orders are 
to the contrary ; anger not the queen by any bravado, 
else you will be placed in the irons, and if these fail, 
we can have recourse to sharper means." To the ex- 
cessive self-love, intemperance, conceitedness, and want 
of foresight, wliich had characterized all his actions, the 
unhappy Albrecht had to ascribe liis being here. 

The year following, the queen stormed the important 
city of Calmar, yet siding with the imprisoned a. d., 
king, and made several wise alliances with i^^^. 
Richard II., of England, and other potentates, and 
concluded a truce for two years with the princes of 
Mecklenburg, and the cities of Rostock and Wismar, 
wliich had begun to raise fresh levies in favor of the 
unfortunate Albrecht. This period expired, she laid 
siege to Stockholm and other fortified places, of which 
John, Duke of Mecklenburg, and other friends of the 
imprisoned king had become masters. But the cause of 
Albrecht was but little forwarded, and his opponent, 
Margarethe, gained ground every day. She compelled 
the capital to surrender to her and do homage to her as 
its sovereign, whereafter a peremptory peace was a. d., 
concluded on G-ood Friday, which restored tran- ^2^^- 


quillity to the three kingdoms. The imprisoned king 
and his son were delivered up to the Hanseatic towns, 
aud they obtained their hberty for sixty thousand ounces 
of silver, upon condition that they should resign all 
claims to Sweden, if said amount were not paid within 
three years. As soon as the king and his son were 
delivered to the deputies, they solemnly swore to a 
strict observance of tills article, the Hanse-towns en- 
gaging themselves to guarantee the treaty. The money, 
however, • not being paid by the stipulated time, Mar- 
garethe became an undisputed sovereign of Sweden, 
the third Scandinavian kingdom. 

About tliis time the Victuals-brethren, called so be- 
cause they, from the Hanse-towns, brought victuals to 
Stocldiolm while besieged, began to imperil Denmark, 
plundering the Danish and Norwegian coasts, and 
destroying all commercial business along the Baltic. 
But Margarethe, always able to act properly in unex- 
pected difficulties, ordered the harbors of the maritime 
towns to be blocked up, thus putting a quick stop to 
their cruelties and piracies. The queen's principal care 
was now to visit the different provinces, to administer 
justice and redress grievances of every kind. Among 
other salutary regulations, the affairs of commerce were 
not forgotten. It was, for instance, decreed that all 
manner of assistance should be given to foreign mer- 
chants and sailors, particularly in case of misfortune 
and shipwreck, without expectation of reward ; and that 


pirates should be treated with the greatest rigor, in 
order to deter them from that dishonorable profession. 

Erik of Pomerania, was, as we have shown, elected 
king of Denmark and Norway, after Margarethe's death; 
but also wishing to have him elected her successor to 
the Swedish throne, she brought this, her nephew 
and foster-son, to Sweden, and introduced him to the 
deputies, one by one, whom she requested to confirm 
his election to the succession. The majesty of the 
queen's person, the strength of her arguments, and the 
sweetness of her eloquence, gained over the a. d., 
deputies, who, on the 22d of July, 1396, elected i^^e. 
him at 3Iorasto7ie, by Upsala, to succeed her also in 
Sweden. But Margarethe, soon discovering his inability 
and hnpetuousness, took pains to remedy, as much as 
possible, this evil, by procuring him as a wife, the intel- 
ligent and virtuous princess Philippa, a daughter of 
Henry V. of England ; and shortly after she got Catha- 
rine^ her niece and Erik's sister, married to Prince 
Jolin^ a son of the German emperor, Ruprecht, John 
being promised to assume the Scandinavian crowns if 
Erik of Pomerania should die childless. Thus having 
strengthened and consolidated her power by the way of 
influential connections and relationships, the queen, 
upon whose head the three northern crowns were actu- 
ally united, now proceeded to realize the great plan she 
already had long cherished : to get a fundajnental law 
established for a perpetual union of the three large 


Scandinavian kingdoms — the realization of which has 
immortalized her, and secured for her admiration in the 
eyes of the world and of the most thorough historians, 
who do not hesitate to surname her "the Great," and 
to compare her with the great G-reek and Roman heroes 
Union of Caimar, and statesmen. On the 17th of June, 
A. D., 1397. 1397 J Margarethe summoned to an as- 
sembly in Caimar, in the province Smaland of Sweden, 
the clergy and the nobility of Denmark, Norway, and 
Sweden, and established, by their aid and consent, a 
fundamental law. This was the law so celebrated in 
the North under the name of the Union of Caimar, 
which afterwards gave birth to wars between Sweden 
and Denmark that lasted a whole century. It con- 
sisted of three articles. The first provided, that the 
three kmgdoms should, thenceforward, have but one 
and the same king, who was to be chosen successively 
by each of the kingdoms. The second article consisted 
of the obligation upon the sovereign to divide his time 
equally in the three kingdoms. The third, and most 
important, was, that each kingdom should retain its 
own laws, customs, senate, and privileges of every kind ; 
that the highest officers should be taken of the natives ; 
that an alliance being concluded with foreign poten- 
tates should be obligatory upon all three kingdoms, 
when approved of by the council of one kingdom ; and 
that, after the death of the king, his eldest son, or if he 
died childless, then another wise, intelligent, and able 


prince, should be chosen common monarch ; and if any 
one, because of liigh-treason, was banished from one 
kingdom, then he should be banished from them all. 
A month after, on the queen's birth-day (13th of July), 
a legitimate charter was drawn up, to which the queen 
subscribed and put her seal ; on which occasion Erik of 
Pomerania was anointed and crowned by the arch- 
bishops of Upsala and Lund as king of Denmark, 
Norway, and Sweden. Te Deum was sung in the 
churches of Calmar, the assembly crying out : " Hcecce 
unto esto perpetua! Longe, longe, longe^ vivai Mar- 
garethe, regina DanicB, Norvegia et Svecice!^' 

This strict union of the thi-ee large states became a 
potent bulwark for their security, and made them, in 
more than one century, the arbiter of the European 
system ; the three nations of the northern peninsula 
presenting a compact and united front, that coul(* bid 
defiance to any foreign aggression. 




Queen Margarethe — Attempts to regain Schleswig — Erik of Pomerania — Dis- 
pute about Schleswig — ^War -with the Hanseatic Towns — Eebellion in 
Sweden — Engelbrechtson — Charles Canutson — Dethronement of the King 
in Denmark and Sweden — Christopher of Bavaria acknowledged King 
of all three Kingdoms — Eebellion of the Peasantry — The House of 

Although Erili of Pomerania was elected king, and 
in tlie year 1407 past minority, Margarethe continued 
governing until the day of her death. " You have done 
all well," wrote the people to her, " and we value youlr 
services so highly, that we would gladly grant you 
every thing." The union of the three Scandinavian 
kingdoms having heen established in Calmar, all her 
efforts now aimed at regaining the duchy of Schleswig, 
A. D., which circumstances had compelled her to resign 
I'io*- to Gerhard IV., Count of Holstein, For such a 
reunion with Schleswig a favorable opportunity ap- 
peared, when G-erhard was killed in an expedition 
against the Ditmarshers, leaving behind three sons in 
minority. Elizabeth, Gerhard's widow, fled to Marga- 
rethe, for succor against her violent brother-in-law. 
Bishop Henry of Osnabriiok. Margarethe, fond of fishing 
in foul water, was very willing to help her, but availed 
herself of the opportunity to annex, successively, dif- 
ferent parts of Schleswig. 

The dethroned Swedish king, Albrecht, never able to 


forget his anger with Margarethe, or her severity against 
him, and continually cherishing a hope of re-ascending 
the Swedish throne, and considering the Union of Cal- 
mar a breach of peace, contrived to make the Swedish 
people displeased with her, and thought it a suitable 
time to revolt from her dominion. He established a 
strong camp before Visby, the capital of the island of 
GuUand, having six thousand foot and, at some distance, 
nine thousand horse. Determined to engage before this 
junction could take place, the queen's commander-in- 
chief, ^6ra//«7;i Broder, immediately advanced until in 
sight of the enemy, and then endeavored to gain pos- 
session of Visby and the ground near by. In this he 
was so far successful, that Albrecht and his army had to 
leave the camp, and conclude a truce. But, neverthe- 
less, he did not, till after a lapse of seven years, give up 
his hope of remounting the throne of Sweden, a. d., 
making a final peace with Margarethe, and hence- i^o^- 
forward living in G-adebush, Mecklenburg, where he, in 
the year 1412, closed his inglorious life. Soon a. d., 
after (27th of October) queen Margarethe died on 1-^12. 
board a ship in tlie harbor of Flensburg, fifty-nine years 
of age, and after an active and notable reign of thirty- 
seven years. Her funeral was performed with the 
greatest solemnity, and her corpse was brought to the 
cathedral of Roeskilde, where Erik of Pomerania, her 
successor, in the year 1423, caused her likeness to be 
carved in alabaster. Her acts show her character: 


judiciousness, united with circumspection, wisilom in 
devising plans, and perseverance in executing them ; 
skill in gaining the confidence of the clergy and pea- 
santry, to have a weight sufficient to counterbalance the 
imperious nobility. On the whole, she apphed herself 
to the civilization of her tliree kingdoms, and their 
improvement by the enactment of excellent laws, the 
great aim of which was to undermine the nobility. She 
pursued the plan of her great father, to recall all rights 
to the crown-lands, which, during the reign of her weak 
and inefficient predecessors, had been granted the 
nobility. The prosecution of this plan for the perfect 
subversion of the feudal aristocracy was unfortunately 
interrupted by her death ; her imprudent and weak suc- 
cessor having no power to restrain the turbulent spirit 
of a factious nobility. Previous, however, to giving an 
account of his rule of the internal afFahs of the states, it 
is necessary to take a connected view of the reign at 
large of this mean and base monarch. 

Erik of Pomeranians inability in ruling the three 
Northern kingdoms, now appeared more and more dis- 
tinctly ; for during the reign of Margarethe, all his under- 
takings were mostly under her guidance. He possessed 
no vigor of mind, no bold and enterprising spirit, and 
was never guided by prudence. The three sons of the 
duke Gerhard IV. took advantage of his inability, endea- 
voring to withdraw themselves from his yoke, and to 
be enfeoffed with the duchy of F^chleswig. At a Diet (it 


Nyborg the king cited the young dukes, and open- a. d., 
ed the assembly himself with a full explanation of i'^^^. 
the circumstances of the dispute. When he had finished 
his speech, the archbishop, in a fulminating harangue, 
declared, that the duchess-dowager, Elizabeth, and her 
brother-in-law, Henry of Osnabrilck, as tutors and coun- 
selors to G-erhard's children, had forfeited all right to the 
duchy of Schleswig, in consequence of having, before 
Margarethe's death, taken arms against their lawful 
sovereign, and that Schleswig should, therefore, be an- 
nexed to the crown of Denmark. Scarce had the arch- 
bishop pronounced this sentence, when the eldest son of 
the deceased duke, Grerhard, threw himself at the king's 
feet, and besought him to grant the investiture of the 
duchy as a fief ; but the king replied in the negative. 
The three young dukes now began to concert measures 
for shaking off his yoke ; and, although Erik of Pome- 
rania had the military power of three large kingdoms at 
command, and marched an army of a hundred thousand 
men against them, he was defeated near Immer- a. d., 
vad, in Schleswig, with great loss, insomuch that 1^21. 
his flight became a proverb : "At Immervad the Danes 
were driven to the devil." Although this defeat did not 
terminate the war, it produced a truce, in order to settle 
preliminaries for a peace. Arbitrators were chosen, and 
the whole affair of the duchy of Schleswig was again 
canvassed. Nevertheless, the young dukes embraced 
every occasion of frustrating the intention of the truce, 


and chose to decide the difference by the sword. Erik 
perceived their aim, and equipped a fleet with the design 
to invade the island of Alsen. Here he met with no 
success ; the admiral, Ivar Brusk, died on board, and a 
hurricane dispersed and shattered the whole fleet. Erik 
now took the course of appealing to the G-erman empe- 
A. D., ror, Sigismund, and repaired to Ofe7i (Buda), 

1424. where the emperor then resided. Construing the 
appeal in favor of the king, Sigismund declared, that all 
Schleswig should henceforward be annexed in full right 
to the crown of Denmark, and that the dukes Henry, 
Adolphus, and Grerhard, had, by their conduct, divested 
themselves of their right to Schleswig. The king, now 

A. D., believing the whole to be settled, resolved upon a 

1425. pilgruTiage to Palestine. But, after returning, he 
found the ancient leaven of contest revived and violently 
fermenting in the breasts of the dukes, who, making 
alliance with the Hanse-towns, continued the war ; and 
though king Erik collected all his strength to oppose 
them, and even gained a complete victory over the 
Hanse fleet, yet at last they overmatched him, and 
weakened the kingdoms by horrible ravages. However, 
their attempts to seize upon Copenhagen failed ; the 
city being saved by the bravery and intelligent pre- 
parations of his queen, Philippa, of England. At length 
the unlucky war with the dukes was ended by the treaty 

A. D., of Wording-borg; by which Adolphus, the only 
1*35. one yet alive, should enjoy, during his life, the 



duchy of Schleswig, except the city of Haderslev and 
the island of Aro, and his heirs, for two years after his 
decease ; Denmark thus again being dispossessed of 
Schleswig. Some disturbances in Sweden had accele- 
rated the peace of Wordingborg. Sweden, from the very 
beginning displeased with the Union of Calmar, was 
embroiled in commotions, which chiefly proceeded from 
the mean policy of the king in bestowing his offices of 
trust on foreigners, in usurping the rights and preroga- 
tives of the Swedish people, and from disproportional 
taxes. Encouraged by the weakness of their sovereign, 
they resolved to attempt a change in the government, 
and to wrest the sceptre from the hand of Erik, whom 
they generally nicknamed "the Pomeranian knave." 
The circumstance which caused the fhst operations ol 
the Swedes towards the recovery of their lawful privi- 
leges, was the tyrannical oppression exercised by Jens 
Erikson, the royal bailiff, in the province of Dalecarlia. 
A mountaineer and miner, Engelbrecht Engelbrechtson, 
accused the bailiff before the king. The officer was de- 
posed, but Engelbrechtson had spoken with such ardor 
and bluntness, that the king forbade him his presence, 
and ordered him to leave Denmark. "That I will," 
replied Engelbrechtson, "but to return in a different 
manner." The Dalecarlians, ever watchful of their 
liberties, resolved to throw off the Danish yoke, and 
to die like free men, rather than live like slaves under 
the lash of Erik's tyranny ; and the disturbances were 


carried on, headed by Engelbrechtsoiij wliom Erik Puke, 
an influential nobleman, had joined. It went so far that 
A.D., Engelbreohtson forced the Senate to send the 
1436. king a formal sentence of deposition. In a meet- 
ing, however, of the Council of all three kingdoms, Erik 
of Pomerania was again acknowledged King of Sweden. 
To appease the growing displeasure, the king summoned 
a Diet at Vadstena, where he agreed that Charles 
Canutson Sonde and Christiern Nielson Vasa should 
be appointed to digest a new plan of government. But 
the rebellion soon broke out with renewed power. A 
rivalship commenced between Canutson and Engel- 
breohtson. Both were fired with the glorious emulation 
of being the deliverer of their country. Engelbreoht- 
son, in particular, was extremely successful, when he 
was suddenly murdered by the artifice of his rival ; 
between whom and Erik Puke a new dispute arose, that 
once more restored the king's affau-s. Canutson and 
Christiern Vasa, however, soon seemed resolved to over- 
turn the whole arrangement of the oflices of govern- 
ment, and to substitute creatures of their own in place 
of those who formerly had filled them ; wherefore the 
nobility and the clergy, perceiving their aim, remonstra- 
ted against the continuance of this junta in office, and 
A. D., summoned a general Diet at Calmar, where the 
i^3'^- senators of all three kingdoms met to^rether to 
draw up more precise terms for the Union. Here it was 
stipulated, that after the death of the king, forty men 


of each kingdom should meet together in Halmstad, to 
elect the new ruler ; that the king should always have 
two intelligent men with him, and war could not be 
declared, or peace concluded, without the consent of all 
tlii-ee kingdoms ; and that the king should never prefer 
to the offices of trust any foreigners within the limits of 
the Swedish monarchy. This delineation, in some 
respects more accurate and complete than that of Cal- 
mar, 1397, never gained, however, any validity ; and 
the rupture between the kingdoms was incurable, until 
at length the Union of Calmar, which had promised the 
. North so great blessings and stability, after a series 
of wars and immense bloodshed, and only after a course 
of one hundred and twenty -tliree years, was broken and 
nullified. Even in Denmark a great dissatisfaction with 
the reign of Erik of Pomerania began to appear, occa 
sioned by the long and unlucky wars, by the debase- 
ment of the coin, and by the heavy taxes lavished on 
unworthy favorites of the king, or wasted in idle exhi- 
bitions of magnificence. The people were also highly 
displeased with his bestowing the highest offices on Ger- 
man noblemen, and with his endeavors to get his cousin- 
german, Bugislaw of Pomerania, appointed his joii t 
governor and successor. Vexed at the senators' noi 
compliance with his request about that, Erik of Pomi 
rania left Denmark, repairing to the island of a. d., 
Grulland with a large body of troops, with all the ^^^a. 
jewels of the crown, and with his concubine, Cecilia, o» 


whom he was passionately enamored. He was now 
29th June ^^^^^'^^'^^ in all three kingdoms, and his namo 

A. D., rendered both odious and despicable. It was the 

^^''^' time for a competitor to start forth, and to avail 
himself of this general disaffection to the dethroned 
king, who had no more expectation of re-ascending the 

This competitor was Christopher of Bavaria, a son 

of Erik's sister, Gatharina, and Pfalzgrave John. Erik 

being childless, Christopher, who now returned from 

Bavaria, stood thus plainly in the hope of succession, 

A. D., and the regency of ther three Scandinavian king- 

1439. cloms was, at the Diet of Halmstad, conferred 

upon him. The despicable Erik of Pomerania lived for 

ten years on Gulland, where he, with ignominy, dragged 

on a life of phacy, from whence he went to Pomerania, 

A. D., where he, having no resource but in the society 

1459. of 1-^js concubine, at the expiration of ten years, 
died unlamented. His noble and magnanimous queen, 
Philippa, whom he often had treated unkindly, betook 
herself to the monastery of Vadstena, which she herself 
had founded, and here she expired, on the fifth of July, 
1430. The king perceiving his loss, and repenting of 
his conduct, caused many requiems to be sung for a 
speedy entrance of her soul into the dwellings of the 

The taste for classical learning, at this time, was far 
from being universally diffused in the Scandinavian 


countries, and it is, therefore, highly to be appreciated 
that some monkish writers preserved alive the embers 
of the literary spirit, and contributed to the preserva- 
tion of such of the Greek and Roman authors as we 
now possess entire ; and however miserable an indi- 
vidual Erik of Pomerania rightly may appear, he seems, 
nevertheless, to have had some taste for literature, or 
disposition to patronize science and the arts, since he 
prevailed with the Pope, Martin V., to permit him to 
found a University in Copenhagen, which, however, on 
account of his tumultuous reign, was not carried into 

Christopher of Bavaria succeeded now to the throne 

A. D., of his uncle, and received homage in Wiborg. 

1440. Immediately on his arrival in Denmark, the 
senate published a decree, whereby all those were 
declared enemies to their country who should visit 
Erik's court on Gulland, and a manifesto was issued 
containing the articles of accusation against Erik of 
Pomerania, which were affixed on the gates of all the 
northern Hanse-towns. Although Christopher of Bava- 
ria was elected by the senators, the peasantry being yet 
regarded as too inconsiderable to have any voice, he fol- 
lowed, nevertheless, the old custom, to travel round to 
receive homage in the different kingdoms. In Sweden 
there were some hindrances to his election ; but the 
clergy, taking as much pains in preserving the union of 
the three kingdoms as the nobility did in nullifying it, 


prevailed upon the senate to acknowledge Cliristopher 
king of Sweden, and to swear allegiance to him as 
A. D., their sovereign, whereafter he was crowned in 
^'^^^- Stockholm. In the year following Christopher 
went from Sweden to Norway, and received, at Opslo, 
the crown of that kingdom. Thence he passed to Den- 
A. D., mark, and was crowned at Ripen, by the arch- 
1443. "bishop of Lund. Charles Canutson Bonde re- 
signed his office, but the Diet declared, that, in conside- 
ration of his services, he should enjoy Finland and the 
island of Oland, but on condition, that the crown should, 
at any time, have power to redeem them for the sum of 
forty thousand marks in silver. Christopher confirmed 
this donation of the Diet, and granted, thereafter, the 
investiture of Sclileswig, as a hereditary fief, to duke 
Adolphus, in order to have a support in him, if need 
be. In the beginning of his reign a violent rebellion 
broke out amongst the peasantry of Jutland, who re- 
fused paying taxes, unless they were permitted to pay 
them to their late king ErDv, of whom they yet were 
in favor. The peasants, whose army is said to have 
amounted to the number of twenty-five thousand men, 
routed the royal troops, slew the commanders, and put 
to death all the noblemen they could catch, with every 
circumstance of cruelty. Incensed at their obstinacy, 
Christopher marched against them in person, gave them 
battle, and obtained a complete, but bloody victory. 
Henry Togon, a senator, who had always espoused the 


cause of the dethroned king, together with several others 
of his adherents, was taken prisoner, and broken alive 
upon the wheel. But the main body of the rebellious 
peasants, called the Vendelboers, who lived north of the 
Lymfjord, gained a neighboring hill, which they so 
intrenched with wagons and trains, as to withstand all 
the attacks of the king's cavalry. At last, Christopher 
was advised to offer them pardon, if they would submit, 
which expedient induced them to throw down their 
arms. To pay tithes to the clergy, of which there so 
long time had been a dispute, and with which the 
peasants were yet highly displeased, was decided upon 
under Christopher, by a sentence from the senate. He 
also tried to limit the commercial privileges of the 
Hanse-towns, confirming their privileges only upon con- 
dition that they should interpose no obstacles to the 
trade of other nations, and that Scandinavian merchants 
should enjoy the same privileges in the Hanseatic har- 
bors. In Sweden they were not satisfied with Christo- 
pher's reign, though it came not to any rebellion. Ho 
was there surnamed the bark king (Barkekongen), be- 
cause an unfruitful year happened, in which the people, 
to get sufficient bread, had to grind flour of bark. But, 
in all reason, his subjects were very much displeased 
with his connivance at Erik of Pomerania's piracies, 
which he passed over, saying: "My uncle must also do 
something for the support of his life." Christopher of 
Bavaria received an embassy from the Sultan of Turkey, 


A. D., who offered him his daughter ; hut the king de- 
1444. cHned accepting the offer, Dorothea, a daughter 
of the markgrave, John of Brandenhurg, surnamed the 
Alchymist, being more agreeable to his incUnations. 
Before leaving Christopher, it may be added, that he 
removed the royal residence from Roeskilde to Copen- 
hagen, where, since that time, the kings of Denmark 
have resided, and that he entered upon a treaty of 
Roeskilde, whereby Copenhagen, until then a dependency 
A. rh, on that diocese, was ceded to the crown. After 
^^^S- a reign of eight years he died. On assuming 
the reins of government he gave some indications of a 
vigorous administration ; but this was only of short 
duration. He was abandoned to his pleasures, and, like 
most kings, a slave to unworthy favorites. 

The prosperity and esteem of the peasantry, who 
tilled the ground and constituted the majority of the 
nation, seem to have been very lightly considered in 
this period. Frequent rebellions of the peasants, quelled 
by much bloodshed, under Erik Ploughpenning, Chris- 
topher I., Erik flipping, Erik Menved, "VValdemar At- 
terdag, and Christopher of Bavaria, prove that the 
peasants were sensible of the yoke resting upon them, 
but in vain tried to shake it off. The almost uninter- 
rupted internal disturbances and external wars, of 
which the nobility and the clergy availed themselves to 
enlarge their power and riches, weakened and impover- 
ished the peasantry, and they were considered only a 


part of the property belonging to the nohlemen, trans- 
ferahle along with horses, cows and other movables, 
at the will of the owner ; wliile, on the other hand, the 
clergy and the nobility were floating in riches and ex- 
tensive privileges. The clergy were allowed a free 
election to all vacant church preferments, the king 
renouncing his power of presentation. No tax could be 
imposed upon the clergy, except in one particular case 
— ^the king's captivity. No freeman (nobleman) could 
be taken or imprisoned, or dispossessed of his free tene- 
ments or liberties, or outlawed, or banished, or any way 
hurt or injured, unless by the legal judgment of his 
equals ; the clergy and the nobility thus being set far 
above the common level. 

In this period, about the end of the twelfth century, 
the commercial spirit had begun to make some progress 
toward the North. The Baltic was then infested by 
pirates, who ravaged the coasts. The city of Liibeck, 
on the Baltic, and Hamburg, at the mouth of the Elbe, 
were obliged to enter into a league of mutual defence 
for the protection of their merchantmen against these 
piracies. This association, which was, as before men- 
tioned, termed the League of the Hanse-toivm, became 
soon so formidable in the eyes of the kings and states 
of Europe, that they even courted its alliance. The 
burgher class of Scandinavia and the cities were very 
much pressed by the Hanseatic towns, which had made 
themselves masters of all trade with foreign countries, 


and imported German commodities to the Scandinavian 
cities; and the condition of the burgher class was ahout 
on a level with that of the peasantry. During the 
greater part of this period, the general state of literature 
was at a very low ebb ; but a brighter period was now 
at hand, and classical learning began to be universally 
diffused, and a more genuine taste was revived for polite 
literature, when the admirable invention of the art of 
printing was made, in the year 1436, by John von Sor- 
g-enlock, called Giinsefleisch, from Guttenberg, gene- 
rally, therefore, called John Guttenberg. This inven- 
tion was, as is well known, considerably improved by 
John Faust, a rich jeweler, and Peter Schoffer, an 
ecclesiastic from Gernsheim. In the year 1457 the 
first book was printed, in Latin, namely, the Psalms 
of David, of which five copies yet remain — in Gottin- 
gen, Vienna, Mainz, Paris, and in the royal hbrary in 





Christian I. — ^Charles Canutson — Archbishop Jens Bengtson — Steno Sture tho 
Elder — Battle on Bninkehill — Pilgrimage to Rome — University of Copen- 
hagen — jyares-Charter — Division of the Duchies — Expedition to Ditmarsh — 
Rebellion in Sweden and Norvi^ay — War with the Hanse Towns — Chris- 
tian II. — Er.pedition against Sweden — Archbishop Gustav TroUe — The 
Slaughter at Stockholm — Sigbrit-Dyveke — Torben Oxe — The Beginning of 
the Reformation — Rebellion — The King flees — Frederick I. — Civil War — 
Rebellion in Skane — Soren Norby — The Reformation spreads — John Tau- 
sen — Diet of Odensee — Diet of Copenhagen — The War of the Count 
(Grevens Feide) — Christian III. — Shipper Clemens — Battle by Oxenhill — 
Literature and Language. 

Christopher of Bavaria, dying without issue, the 
advantages which would have accrued from annexing 
the duchy of Schleswig to the crown, made the senate 
first cast their eyes on Adolphus. But hecause of old 
age, declining accepting the crown offered him, Adolphus 
proposed to them his nephew, Christian, a son of Count 
Diderick the Happy, of Oldenburg, whose answer to the 
ambassadors is remarkable: "I have three sons," said 
he, " of very opposite qualities ; one is passionately fond 
of women, another breathes nothing but war, but the 
third is moderate in his disposition, prefers peace to the 
din of arms, and is generous and magnanimous." With 


one voice, of course, the senate declared for that prince 
whose panegyric the father had drawn ; and the house 
of Oldenburg, at this day seated on the thi'one of Den- 

A. D., mark, assumed the government in the person of 
1448. Christian /., Count of Oldenburg, and a nephew 
to Adolphus, duke of Schleswig and count of Holstein. 
\Yillingly accepting the offer, Christian I. sought to enter 
into favor with the people by marrying the queen-dov\^ager 
Dorothea. Next he gave a communication in writing 
to the Diet, declaring Denmark an elective kingdom, 
and binding himself not to impose taxes, not to declare 
war, and not to grant any deed of feoffment, unless con- 
sented to by the Diet ; after which he was anointed and 
28th Oct. crowned in Copenhagen, and received from the 

A. D., archbishop, Yvon, the standard of the kingdom. 
Christian I. now sought the affection and fi-iend- 
ship of the Swedish nation, in order to pave the way 
for an unshaken union of the three crowns. But the 
Swedes endeavoring to break the Union of Calmar, which 
they considered a thorn in their flesh, rose in rebellion, 
and chose, diametrically opposite to the statutes of 
said Union, and against the express wish of arch- 
bishop Jens Bengtson Oxenstjerna, and the whole Swe- 
dish clergy, their grand mareshal, Charles Canutsot, 
for their king. Even in Norway, assisted by liis kins- 
man, the archbishop Aslach Bolt, Charles Canutson was 

A. D., crowned in Drontheim as king of Norway. But 

1449 in the following year, at a meeting in Halmstad, 


the Swedish and Danish senators agreed that Charles 
Canutson had to renounce all claim to Norway, to which 
it was certain he had no manner of right, and that Den- 
mark and Sweden, after the death or deposition of 
Charles Canutson, were to he re-united. Although 
Charles Canutson did not approve of that agreement, yet 
Christian I. was declared king of Norway, and a. d., 
crowned in Drontheim. At the same time an i^^o. 
agreement was made in Bergen, that Norway and Den- 
mark should always be ruled by one king, happen what 
might to Sweden. But the Swedes, disgusted with the 
despotic government of Charles Canutson, determined 
at length to throw off his yoke. The archbishop Jens 
Bengtson Oxenstjerna, on account of some personal 
grievances, headed the insurrection, entered the metro- 
politan church, put on his high-priest ornaments, and 
prostrated himself before the high altar ; then laying 
aside his habit, he swore he would never again resume 
it, until Charles Canutson was driven out of the throne 
of Sweden. 

Charles Canutson, finding the greater part of the 
Swedish nation disaffected, concealed the public treasure 
in the house of some Dominican friars, and embarked 
vrith all his private riches in a ship, with which a. d., 
he set sail to Dantzic, in Western Prussia, where ^^^"^ 
he sojourned for seven years. Christian I. was now 
unanimously elected king of Sweden, conducted into 
the church by the archbishop, and crowned, amidst 


the acclamations of the pebple. The crown of all three 
kingdoms was thus now placed upon his head, and the 
Union of Calmar re-established. His little son, Hans, 
only three years of age, was elected his successor to all 
three kingdoms. 

Shortly after, at the death of Adolphus, who died 
A. D., without issue, there seemed to be a sure prospect 
1459. of re-uniting South Jutland (Schleswig) with the 
kingdom, but instead of incorporating it with the Danish 
crown as an escheated fief. Christian I. unwisely engaged 
himself in negotiations with the nobility and the clergy, 
to be elected duke of Schleswig and count of Holstein, 
to which latter, however, Otho of Schazwiburg" was 
more entitled ; wherefore he had to purchase Holstein 
for the sum of forty-three thousand florins, and to buy 
off the pretensions of Grerhard and Maurice, nephews to 
the late Adolphus, for an equivalent of forty thousand 
florins. Christian I. thus became king of Denmark, 
Norway, and Sweden, duke of Schleswig and count of 
A. D., Holstein; whereupon he forced the Dominicans 
1460. to refund the treasure lodged in their hands by 
Charles Canutson, after they had for a long time denied 
the fact. But in a short time new disturbances broke 
A. D., out in Sweden, where the nobility still sought to 
1463. prevent a firm union of the three kingdoms, and 
the people complained of the king's absence from Swe- 
den, and of burdensome taxes. The king, imagining 
that the archbishop was concerned in it, ordered him to 


be brought a prisoner to Denmark ; whereupon a vio- 
lent rebellion arose, headed by the archbishop's nephew, 
Ketil Carlson Vasa, bishop of Linkoping, who invited 
Charles Canutson to return to the tlirone, and he was a 
second time acknowledged king of Sweden ; but his 
good fortune was of short duration, for when Christian 
I. released the archbishop, and reconciled himself with 
him, Charles Canutson had to renounce the crown, and 
swear that he would never again aspire to re-ascend the 
thi'one. Finally, he w'as sent a prisoner to Finland, 
with a certain appanage for his subsistence. Neverthe- 
less, assisted by the lord high treasurer, Erik Axelson, 
Charles Canutson, whose affairs were ruined in appear- 
ance, was a tliird time called back to the Swedish a. d., 
tlirone, and died as king of Sweden. His death, '^'^''^■ 
however, did not procure Christian I. the Swedish 
throne, which got a sagacious ruler in Steno Sture the 
Elder, a nephew to Charles Canutson, who for twenty- 
six years governed the kingdom with wisdom, curbed 
the insolence of the nobility, elevated the peasantry and 
the burgher class, and founded the celebrated a, d., 
University of Upsala. Christian I. determined to i^'^*^- 
support his claim to Sweden by force of arms, set a 
powerful airmament on foot, with which he sailed to 
Stockholm, but was in the bloody battle on a. D., 
Brunkehill totally defeated and dangerously ^^'^l- 
wounded, thenceforward desisting from any claim to 



Christian I. liad promised to undertake a pilgrimage 
A.D., to the Holy Land, but to be released from it he 
1*'^^- took a journey to Rome. On his way thither he 
visited the German emperor Frederick III., who, upon 
his request, elevated Holstein, Storman, and Ditmarsh 
to a dukedom, enfeoffing the king with the country last 
mentioned, which for a long space of time had been 
a republic. But the Ditmarshians did not submit to 
Denmark till the next century, after a most bloody con- 
test for their liberty. He then pursued his journey to 
Rome, where he was received with extraordinary dis- 
tinction by his Holiness and the College of Cardinals. 
The Pope, Sixtus IV., permitted him to found a uni- 
versity in Copenhagen. Immediately upon his return 
from Rome, the king went to Cologne to compose some 
controversies between the Emperor and Charles the 
A. D., Bold, duke of Burgundy. The university was 
i-^'^^- at length established, the bishop of Roeskilde 
being appointed chancellor, but on account of its narrow 
means it had in the beginning only three professors, and 
gained no fame till after the introduction of the Re- 
formation. The young students, therefore, visited so 
frequently foreign universities, that the king deemed it 
necessary to lay it upon them as a duty first for some 
years to be in a course of study at the University of 
Copenhagen. Christian I. resolved now to strengthen 
the succession by the marriage of his son, and sent, 
therefore, an embassy to Saxony, to demand Christina, 


daughter to the elector Ernst, for his son. The pro- 
posals were accepted, and the marriage ceremony per- 
formed, on which occasion the Order of the Elephant 
was first instituted. Originally this order bore a pa- 
triarchal cross, which after the Reformation was changed 
for a gold chain with an elephant suspended to it. The 
Danish kings confer this order only upon princes and 
noblemen of the first distinction, observing, however, 
one rule, which is, never to confer it upon those who 
have not first been favored with the order called Danne- 


. . . . * 

Christian T. was in a continual want of money, 

occasioned by his two expensive journeys, and by tho 
amount he had to pay for being elected Count of Hol- 
stein. The unfavorable consequences of this want of 
money appeared, when the king's daughter, Margarethe, 
was married to James III. of Scotland ; for as the king 
was not able to pay down more than 2,000 florins of 
the dowry, which amounted to 60,000 florins, the Ork- 
ney and Shetland islands were mortgaged for the 58,000 
florins ; and as Denmark for a long series of years was 
not able to redeem them, and Scotland, because this 
debt had waxen so old, raised difficulties in giving 
them back, these possessions, which originally belonged 
to Norway, were lost forever. The power and arbitra- 
riness of the Hanse-towns yet continuing under Chris- 
tian I. appeared strikingly by tho violent acts which 
their officers and stewards exercised unpunished in 


Bergen. Falling upon the royal constable, Olaf Niel- 
son, they murdered him, the bishop, and sixty other per- 
sons. Their power and tyranny, however, did not long 
continue, their trade began to be lunited, and their de- 
clension to draw near, other lands, particularly Holland 
and England, beginning to trade in the North, and ex- 
change commodities from India and the Orient for the 
produce and manufactures of the North ; and every 
variety of useful merchandise was now, by means of 
the Baltic and the great continental rivers, easily con- 
veyed through most of the kingdoms of Europe, all of 
which successively annOiilated the superiority of the 
Hanse-towTis ; and in order to destroy entirely their 
detrimental influence in Denmark, Christian I. entered 
into alliance with England, Scotland, France, and Bur- 
gundy. He also enacted a commercial law containing 
many regulations favorable to the mercantile affairs of 
Denmark ; for instance, that German merchants should 
not be permitted to travel round in the country and en- 
gross commodities for the purpose of making their profit 
by enhancing the price, but should buy them in the 
towns. The Hanseatic confederacy had, from the year 
1438, begun to decline, and it is not to be denied, that it 
is to this decline Scandinavia and many other European 
states owe their domestic manufactures and the increase 
of their real wealth. After having pursued the true 
interests of his people, and sought to establish order, 
tranquillity, and an equal administration of justice, 


Christian I. died, after a reign of thirty -three May 2, 
years, and lies buried in the Cathedral of Roes- a. d., 
kilde. 1481. 

He was succeeded on the throne by his son Hans 
(John), as we have seen, already in his father's life- 
time elected successor in all three kingdoms. He was 
immediately acknowledged king of Denmark, but in the 
two other kingdoms, especially in Sweden, he met with 
considerable difficulties, Steno Sturo the Elder not being 
disposed to resign. Even in Norway the interest of 
Steno Sturo was promoted by the aid of the Archbishop 
of Drontheim. Nevertheless, at a meeting in a. d., 
Halmstad, king Hans was declared king of Nor- i^^^. 
way, but had to sign and seal a charter which bears 
witness to the increasing power of the nobility and the 
clergy. All the old privileges of the clergy were con- 
firmed ; the king could no more meddle with the election 
of a bishop ; the peasants and attendants belonging to 
the nobility and the clergy were to be exempted from 
paying taxes. The king could not confer a feoffiuent 
upon any one, or deprive any of the fief he had, unless 
the members of the Diet had consented to it. No serf 
could obtain a demesne, nor the kinsf himself mortsajre 
it ; and the right to fortify manors, abrogated by queen 
Margarethe, was in this charter restored to the nobility. 
But about any privileges for the commons, who yet were 
considered in a very abject and despicable light, was not 
one word spoken ; and if the king, so run the words, 


should dare to violate this charter, the inhabitants were 
entitled to apply violent means, without being im- 
peached of having broken their oath of allegiance. In 
the same year, at a meeting in Calma?', the Swedish 
Diet declared Hans king of Sweden, but Steno Sturo set 
all engines at work to frustrate the resolution of the Diet, 
his arts succeeding so happily, that for fourteen years 
the king hoped in vain to ascend the Swedish throne. 

In the duchies, king Hans met with great difficulties 
in getting elected, his brother Frederick, whom the 
influential queen-dowager ardently assisted, withstand- 
ing his election. At length both of them were elected 
A. D., dukes, the duchies being divided into Gottorp 
^*9°- and Segeberg. Frederick chose the Gottorp 
part, but was, however, not satisfied, and continued 
long to show himself very grasping and presumptuous. 
He assumed the title, " Inheritor of Norway," and laid 
claim to the islands of Laaland, Falster, and Mona ; but 
A. D., at the Diet of Callundborg these insolent claims 
1494. were rejected, as being entirely unauthorized. 
Nevertheless, the two valuable duchies were unfortu- 
nately again dismembered from the crown, notwithstand- 
ing the inconveniencies lately felt from the grant made 
to the children of Gerhard. King Hans, having now, 
through fourteen years, in vain hoped that by the way 
of negotiations he might ascend the throne of Sweden, 
resolved to enforce his right by arras. His mother 
Dorothea, who had continually dissuaded him from war, 


and entreated him to rest satisfied with his present 
dominions, was now dead and gone, and Steno Sture 
the Elder was just now very critically situated, being 
at variance with several influential members of the 
senate, and with Svante Nielson Sture, who engaged 
in his interest the archbishop of XJpsala, Jacob Ulfson, 
and all the clergy, who upbraided Steno Sture the Elder 
with having occasioned numberless losses and disgraces 
to the kingdom. Hans thought it, therefore, a favorable 
opportunity to try the chances of war. The Danish 
army advanced upon Stockholm, opened the gates of 
the capital, and cut to pieces an army from Dalecarlia 
consisting of thirty thousand men, in the memo- a. d., 
rable battle of Rodebro, where many of the '^^e. 
brave Swedish Dalecarlians sacrificed their lives with 
the most desperate courage ; whereafter Steno Sture, 
encouraged by the Dalecarlians, attacked the royal 
Danish army at Nordermabn, but was again defeated. 
Despairing now of being able to make head against the 
king's army, the administrator, Steno Sture, a. D., 
signed a treaty, by which he acknowledged king i^^'^- 
Hans king of Sweden, agreeable to the Union of Cal- 
mar, which thus, a hundred years after its founding, 
was re-established, Steno Sture getting Finland, the 
city of Nykoping, and some other lands and cities 
assigned for his maintenance. King Ha?is was now 
immediately crowned king of Sweden, and his son 
Christian elected his successor. The king now probed 


the wounds of the state, applying the most moderate 
and the wisest remedies to compose the controversies 
in Sweden, and effect a more friendly spirit. 

The Swedish affairs settled, the king engaged in a 
war, which terminated little to his honor or advantage. 
It was occasioned by the grant made by the emperor to 
the late king of that country inhabited by the people 
called Ditmarshians. For many ages this brave people 
had thrown off the Danish yoke, and aspired to perfect 
independence. A considerable royal army was now 
equipped," the greatest part of which consisted of levied 
troops, under the command of George Slentz, a 
G-erman nobleman. To co-operate with this enor- 
mous force, duke Frederick, the king's brother, ar- 
rived, together with the flower of the nobility of 
Schleswig and Holstein. So sure did the Danes make 
themselves of victory, that they had shared the booty 
before the engagement, and every one brought carriages 
for moving off his proportion of the spoil. But their 
expectation was dissipated like a summer's cloud. In 
fact, few enterprises were preceded by more immense 
preparations, and as few, perhaps, attended with a more 
unfortunate issue, the great object falling altogether 
short of its aim. It has been mentioned, that Ditmarsh 
had been a republic (a district not seven Danish miles 
in extent), which now the Danish king was desirous of 
subjugating. The Ditmarshians, penetrated with love 
of liberty, threw down the dykes, which restrained the 


encroachments of the North Sea, and the whole country 
was laid under water. A small body of one thousand 
men, headed by Wb/f Isebrant, opposed boldly the 
royal army, and a murderous battle was fought, the 
Danes attemptmg all the time to drain off the inunda- 
tion. But the sluices being opened, and the water 
gushing in from all parts, the confusion among the 
Danes reached the highest pitch, and the great a. D., 
royal army was totally routed near Hemming- i^oo- 
sted, in Holstein. Whole ranks of the Danes were 
swept down by the grape-shot of the Ditmarshians ; 
king Hans himself made a narrow escape; the old 
banner, Dannebrog, was lost, and an immense number 
of G-erman and Danish noblemen covered the battle- 
field. The Ditmarshians committed all sorts of cruel- 
ties on the bodies of the wounded; their eyes were 
plucked out, their noses slit, and their ears cut off. 

This great and decisive victory secured the indepen- 
dence of the little republic ; and for many years no 
superiority of numbers could overcome the irresistible 
bravery of the intrepid Ditmarshians. No sooner the 
Swedes, dissatisfied with king Hans and with the out- 
rages of the royal bailiffs, had been informed of the 
defeat of the Danish army at Hemmingsted, than they 
revolted again, judging this a favorable opportunity to 
shake off the Danish yoke. Steno Sture was re-elected 
administrator, and the rebellion increased to such a 
degree, that soon the king was master of only the 


castles of Calmar and Stockholm, which, with great 
courage and perseverance, were defended by Hans's 
queen, Christina of Saxony, until, after a siege of eight 
months, the whole garrison wasted away by sickness 
and hunger. 

The revolt in Sweden was the signal for another in 
A. D., Norway, wliich, however, soon ceased, when the 

1502. pioi; "vvas discovered, and the ring-leader, Canute 
Alfson, put to death ; and a later rebellion, headed by 
Herluf Hyde fad and Bishop Charles of Hammer, was 
quelled with great severity and frequent executions, by 
the king's son. Christian, who, since the year 1501 had 
been appointed administrator of Norway. Prince Chris- 
tian took Herluf Hydefad and the bishop prisoners, con- 
demned them to death, and ordered them to be broken 
on the wheel. In a word, the rigor with which his 
Highness treated the rebels, and especially the nobility, 
a great number of whom he put to death, gave so rapid 
a progress to liis arms, that he soon saw himself 

A. D., master of all Norway. Meanwliile Steno Sture 

1503. the elder had died, and was succeeded in the 
administratorship by Svante Nielson Sture. 

A new ringleader now appeared in Sweden, Hemming 
Gad, bishop of Linkoping. Possessed of engaging man- 
ners, of great ingenuity, of military talents, and being a 
decided adversary of the Union of Calmar, and bearing 
an inveterate hatred to Denmark, the bishop was very 
fit for infusing a rebellious spirit into the Swedish 


nation ; upon which, by his uncommon eloquence, he 
exercised a great influence. The negotiations were car- 
ried on through several meetings, but without a. d., 
settling the disputes. At length, at a meeting 1^05. 
in Calmar, the council of all three kingdoms agreed to 
compose and accommodate the differences between king 
Hans and the disobedient Swedes. The Swedish sena- 
tors not appearing, the Danish and Norwegian senate 
pronounced the sentence, that Svante Nielson Sture and 
his partisans were guilty of high treason and rebellion ; 
and after the scandalous conduct of Sweden had been 
represented in its strongest colors to the Grerman empe- 
ror, Maximilian, he confirmed this sentence, and forbade 
all German countries and cities to have anything to do 
with the factious Sweden. A war now also broke out 
between Denmark and the Hanse-towns, which would 
not break off their commercial connections with Sweden. 
Moreover, the Hanse-towns were exasperated at the 
increase of other nations' trade in the North, and espe- 
cially at a treaty concluded by Hans with England, by 
which this country was granted the same privileges as 
the Hanse-towns had hitherto exclusively enjoyed. In 
this naval war the Danish sea-heroes. Otto Rial, Soren 
Norby, Andreio Bilde, and Holger Ulfstand, signalized 
themselves by the bravest exploits ; and by the peace of 
Malmo a war with the Hanse-towns for the first a. d., 
time ended successfully for Denmark ; the mer- ^^^2. 
chantmen of which now rode triumphant in the Baltic. 


The Hanse-towns had to promise to break off all mer- 
cantile connections with Sweden while rehellious, and 
to defray the charge of war by paying thirty thousand 
florins. It also came in Malmo to an agreement with 
Sweden, which, however, put no end to the contests ; 
the Swedes, in spite of this agreement, electing, after 
A. D., the death of Svante Nielson Sture, his son, Steno 
1512. Sture the Younger, administrator. The next year 
20th Feb ^^^o Hans died, after a reign of tliirty-two years. 
A. D., "Without any brilliancy of talents, his character 
^^^^' is generally said to have been tempered with 
piety, moderation, and simplicity of manners. He was 
so great an admirer of the simplicity of the ancient 
Danes, that he even imitated their dress, and always 
wore an antique sword hung over his robe. Neverthe- 
less, for having caused his treasurer, Anders, to be 
beheaded, only on account of a loose suspicion of em- 
bezzlement, king Hans is blamed very much, the major- 
ity considering the treasurer innocent. On his death-bed 
the king was also so touched with remorse at having 
been instrumental in the treasurer's death, that he often 
called upon his name in a kind of frenzy, and ordered, 
before breatliing his last, requiems to be sung for the 
rest of the soul of the innocent treasurer. 

During the reign of king Hans, two Norwegian noble- 
men stabbed the grand marshal, Paul Laxmand (Sal- 
mon), as he was passing over a bridge in Copenhagen, 
and flung his body into the sea, saying that land was 



not SO natural an element for a fish as the sea ; alluding 
to Laxmand, which was the marshal's name. The 
king commenced a lawsuit against the murdered man, 
who was declared guilty of treacherous connections with 
the Swedish rebels, and his large estates were adjudged 
to the king. 

Christian II., liis son, in Sweden generally called 
Christian the Tyrant, was now raised to the throne ; a 
man in every respect opposite to his father. He was of 
high genius, ahility and judgment, but not possessed of 
any mild and humane disposition. His administration 
was like Cromwell's in England, arbitrary, cruel, and 
vigorous, and he made no scruple to use religion for 
reaching his aim. In political matters he was both a 
leveler and a tyrant. He was born on the 2d of July, 
1481, two years before the great reformer, Martin Lu- 
ther. His father, king Hans, put the young prince out 
to board with a wealthy citizen in Copenhagen, called 
Hans Bookbinder, where George Hinze, an ecclesiastic, 
daily came to teach him. The prince being of a wild 
character, and by his dissipations often hazarding his 
own life, Hans Bookbinder was desirous of being freed 
from the burden of having supervision over him, and 
proposed, therefore, to the king, to place him with 
Hinze. He neither being able to moderate the prince, 
had to have a watch upon his actions, to take him along 
with him to church, and make him sing in the choir 
together with the other singing boys. The king con- 


sidering it below the prince's dignity, took him again to 
the royal palace, and caused him to he taught hy a 
Grerman master of arts, in general called Master Con- 
rad, who instructed him so thoroughly and carefully in 
Latin, that the young prince spoke it with the greatest 
volubility and wrote it with classical elegance. On 
account of his being trained amongst the commons, he 
had sucked in, as with his mother's milk, a great predi- 
lection for the burgher class and the peasantry, while 
he, on the other hand, cherished a strong antipathy to 
the nobility and the clergy, who restrained his power 
and oppressed the lower orders. When twenty years of 
age, he was, as before mentioned, sent to Norway, to 
quell a rebellion there, which he performed with great 
courage, but also with the utmost severity. Thereafter 
appointed administrator of Norway, he became ac- 
quainted with Dyveke, a handsome girl, whose mother, 
Sig-brit, had moved from Amsterdam to Bergen, where 
she kept a tavern. Both of them exercised, from that 
time, a great but corruptive influence upon Christian II. 
A. D., On the death of king Hans he was, without 
1513. any opposition, acknowledged king of Denmark 
and Norway, but Sweden, as usual, raised difficulties 
concerning his election, and several years passed away 
before he could ratify his claims there. Meantime 
A. D., Christian resolved to strengthen his power by 
1515. marrying the noble and gentle princess Eliza- 
betJi, a sister to the celebrated Charles V., emperor of 


Germany and Holland. Studious to please his young 
queen, the king sent to Holland for gardeners and a 
colony of Dutch to cultivate all sorts of fruits and other 
vegetables for her table, and assigned them the little 
island of Amager, close by Copenhagen, where they 
liighly improved the horticulture, hitherto little known 
in the North. Notwithstanding his marriage, the king's 
unlawful connection with his concubine, Dyveka, con- 
tinued, until a sudden death took her off. Many be- 
lieved that she had been killed by poison slowly infused 
into her by the family of a rich nobleman, Torberi Oxen, 
who had fallen in love with Dyveka, and would marry 
her. Torben confessed that he had solicited her favor, 
but never obtained it. Immediately the king's counte- 
nance altered, and he was provoked to such a degree, 
that he resolved to put Torben Oxen to death without 
mercy. He was arrested and imprisoned. The- affair 
was tried by the senate, whore he was unanimously 
acquitted, the law having assigned no punishment for 
simple concupiscence. When the senate's decree was 
related to the king, he flew into a passion, saying, that 
if his friends had been as numerous in the senate as 
Torben's their judgment would have been different ; 
adding :. " Even if he had a neck as thick as that of a 
bull, he shall lose it ; and when did I ever say a thing, 
make a promise, or utter a threat, that I did not ful- 
fill my word ? " He proceeded to assemble twelve 
peasants of the neighborhood before the gate of the 


citadel, and ordered them to pass sentence on Torben. 
Dreading his majesty's resentment, and thinking they 
would be sacrificed, if they did not comply with his 
humor, they gave their verdict in the following terms : 
" We do not judge Torben, but his own words con- 
demn him ;" whereafter he was immediately beheaded. 
This despotic act irritated the nobility yet more 
with the king, who during his whole reign strove 
to restrain the extravagant power and influence of the 
nobility and clergy, and to elevate the peasantry and 
the burgher class. It is here not out of place to re- 
mark, that many of his laws bear witness to a sound 
judgment, mainly aiming at removing and reforming 
the degeneracy of manners and morals among the 
clergy, and at diminishing their exorbitant riches and 
power, which rendered them odious to the people and 
prevented them from being examples of the virtues 
they had to preach. Of the school affairs the king 
took a peculiar care. He increased the salary of the 
teachers, and commanded them to prove their qualifi- 
cation by submitting to a public examination. Con- 
sidering the great influence and power of the nobility 
and clergy a blight upon the social condition of the 
mass and an obstacle to the progress of society, he 
struggled, during his whole reign, against the encroach- 
ments of the aristocracy, until, at last, because of his 
despotism and cruelty, a general insurrection broke out, 


which retarded him in realizing his many salutary re- 

But now an epoch commenced, the most important 
of any in the history of the North. The great Re- 
formation, which Martin Luther had begun in Saxony 
was early introduced into the Scandinavian countries, 
and Christian II. received with joy this new religious 
system of liberty, which he considered conducive to pro- 
mote his plans. Endeavoring in vain to induce Luther 
to visit Copenliagen, he prevailed upon his uncle, a. d., 
Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, to send 1^20. 
liim Martin Reinhardt, who for a short time preached 
the new doctrine ; but not being able to preach cor- 
rectly in Danish, and, therefore, often exciting the mirth 
of his hearers, he left Denmark ; whereafter Carlstadt, 
another disciple of Luther's, arrived in Copenhagen ; 
but he also returned soon to Germany without having 
performed anything worthy of notice. 

Nevertheless, Christian II., though in favor of the Re- 
formation, felt obliged to keep on good terms with the 
Pope, Leo X., who might perhaps be useful to him in 
regulating the Swedish concerns, and he permitted, 
therefore, the abominable Arcemboldus, a seller of in- 
dulgences, to travel throughout his dominions to make 
sale of releases from the pains of purgatory, which this 
pious robber said every one might purchase for a small 
sum of money. The form of the absolution issued by 
Arcemboldus was as follows: " I absolve thee from all 


thy sins, how enormous soever, and remit thee all man- 
ner of punishment, which thou oughtest to suffer in 
purgatory, and at death the gates of paradise shall be 
opened to receive thee. In the name of the Father, of 
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit ;" even adding, the 
same as Tetzel, the Dominican friar, in Germany: "As 
soon as the money clinks in the coffer the soul springs 
out from purgatory." The king, however, soon fell out 
with Arcemholdus, and deprived him of a great por- 
tion of the money he blasphemously had collected. 

The Swedes continued showing themselves unwilling 
to acknowledge Christian II., who was, however, fortu- 
nate enough to find a zealous partisan in Gustavjts 
Trolle, Archbishop of Upsala, who carried on a corres- 
pondence with the king to extinguish the liberties of his 
native country. Steno Sture the younger encompassed 
now the archbishop's castle, Steka, and the senate of 
Sweden deposed him from his dignities. The mighty 
prelate had immediate recourse to the Pope, Leo X., 
who granted him a bull, laying the kingdom of Swe- 
den under the sentence of excommunication. The 
affrighted Swedes returned to their allegiance, Gus- 
tavus Trolle was restored to his archiepiscopal functions, 
and Christian II. succeeded by the aid of the archbishop 
in establishing the supremacy of Sweden. Seven 
hostages were given Christian as a security for the 
loyalty of the Swedes, and amongst these was the young 
Gustavus Erikson Vasa, who was destined by Provi- 



dence to be the deliverer of his country. Chris- a.d., 
tian ordered the fleet to get under sail, and i^^^- 
steered strait to Denmark, where he arrived safe with 
the hostages. The king perceiving young G-ustavus 
Yasa's patriotic feelings and skill, and, therefore appre- 
hending him, confined him immediately in prison in the 
castle of Kalo, in Jutland, from which this noble youth 
at a later time found opportunity to escape, and to gain 
a considerable number of adherents, and take the field 
against the generals of Christian. 

The kmg, whose intention it was now, at one blow, 
to bring the rebellious Steno Sture to subjection, 
equipped a powerful armament, and commanded his 
general, the brave Otho Krumpen, to march a nume- 
rous army to Sweden, while the fleet was harassing the 
coasts. Steno Sture gave battle at Bog-esund, in a. d., 
Visi-Grothland, but fell into an ambush laid for ^520. 
him, and received a wound of which he soon after died. 
Sweden was now left without a head, and the Senate 
fell into a violent dispute about a successor, while 
Christian was marching unopposed to Stockholm, which 
he blockaded on the sea side. After being long and brave- 
ly defended by the heroic Christine Gijldenstar, Steno 
Sture's widow, Stockholm had at last to yield to the 
king, who, by the archbishop, Grustavus Trolle, was 
proclaimed, in the name of the states, king of Sweden, 
Denmark and Norway, and crowned with the usual 
ceremonies, the archbishop of Lund and the bishops of 


Hoeskilde and Odensee glorifying the solemn act by 
their presence. Although he, on the day of his corona- 
tion, had proclaimed a general pardon of the offences of 
the Swedish people, he continued to thirst for vengeance, 
and resolved, if possible, to suffocate in blood the rebel- 
lious spirit in Sweden, and extirpate, at one stroke, all 
the Swedish nobility, in revenge for the troubles they 
had excited. In his meditated schemes the king got an 
adviser in Didrik Slag-hak, doctor of the canon law, 
whom Arcemboldus had brought along with him to Den- 
mark, and who had attained a very great degree of the 
king's favor and esteem. He was a man of a deep and 
subtle reach, and being skilled in kindling discontents, 
he insinuated himself into the king's mind by soothing 
flatteries, and persuaded him to use the papal bull as an 
8th Nov instrument of vengeance. The third day after 
A. D., the crowning, Christian II. invited the principal 
^^^^' senators and nobles to a brilliant entertainment, 
in the royal palace of Stockholm, and bestowed the Order 
of the Elephant on a great number of the German and 
Danish nobility, but not on a single Swede. The gates 
of the capital were locked, the streets beset with guards, 
and every citizen, under pain of death, forbidden to 
leave his house. Amidst the most unbounded festivity, 
the archbishop, G-ustavus TroUe, made his entrance into 
the great saloon of the palace, the Pope's bull in his 
hand, and in the name of the Holy Church, demanded 
satisfaction for the usas^e he had sustained. The sen- 


tence of excommunication was read aloud ; the arch- 
bishop concluded his crafty oration with a pathetic 
request that justice might he granted and the criminals 
punished. The king now ordered liis guards to seize 
the whole senate and nobiUty and imprison them, and a 
tribunal was erected to pass sentence. Jens Anderson 
Beldenak, bishop of Odensee, being the only Dane pre- 
sent, now interrogated, by virtue of his office, the rest 
of the assembly, whether they, who had opposed the 
Pope in deposing the archbishop, were heretics or not ? 
The answer being in the affirmative, the king considered 
it a sentence of death, and- under the pretence of extir- 
pating heresy and impiety, he ordered ninety-four sena- 
tors and a great number of the nobility and the clergy to 
be beheaded on the market-place of Stockholm. Chris- 
tian made no distinction between friends and enemies, 
the better to convince the people that he acted less from 
motives of vengeance than obedience to the Holy See. 
Only to signify displeasure, or show compassion, cost 
the life. A citizen of Stockholm was drawn along and 
beheaded, because he shed tears over these dreadful 
scenes. Among those who were the victims to this in- 
fernal revenge, was Erik Vasa, father to young Gusta- 
vus Vasa, and nephew to the former Swedish king, 
Charles Canutson. On the whole, the fortunes and the 
lives of individuals were entirely at the mercy of the 
cruel king, who himself witnessed these horrors from a 
window in the palace. The whole city of Stockholm 


was a scene of blood and heart-rending calamities. To 
hold out yet more distinctly the appearance of having 
exercised, not his own vengeance but that of the Church, 
Christian II. ordered the noble-minded bishop, Mattheio 
of Strengnccs, and bishop Hemming; Gad, of Finland, 
to be beheaded ; while the subtle Didrik Slaghak, who 
had aided him in carrying out the Slaughter of Stock- 
holm (generally called so), was rewarded with the arch- 
bishopric of Lund. Thus having, as he thought, con- 
solidated his supremacy in Sweden, the king left Stock- 
holm for Denmark. In liis passage from Sweden, 
instances of his cruelty are to be met with. Gibbets 
were erected wheresoever he passed along, and the in- 
human tyrant ordered even the mother and sister of 
G-ustavus Yasa, both of whom he had long confined in 
prison, together with five monks of the monastery of 
Nydal, to be sewed up in a great sack and thrown into 
the sea. The abbot found means to escape out of the 
hands of the ruffians employed to bind him. He ran 
towards the river, but was pursued and murdered by 
the king's order, before he could save himself by swim- 
ming. At Jonkoping he caused two noblemen to be 
scourged to death, and the Swedish historian, Lager- 
bring, says, " Massacres and calamity marked the way 
wheresoever the Danish monarch passed along." Some 
Swedish writers even affirm that, not content with the 
barbarous revenge taken on the living, the king ordered 
the dead body of Steno Sture to be dug up, and divest- 


ing himself of humanity, flew like a wild beast upon the 
corpse, which he tore and mangled with his teeth and 
nails. To complete the measure of his harbarity, he 
ordered the widow of Steno Sture, Christine Gyldenstar, 
to be brought before him, and asked her whether she 
chose to be burned, flayed, or buried alive ? His savage 
intention was, however, altered by the strong interest 
made in behalf of that unfortunate lady. 

But the despotism and cruelty of a king is no uncom- 
mon prelude to a revolution, which now took place 
under Christian II., whose cruelty forever dissolved the 
bonds between Denmark and Sweden, and the Union 
of Calmar was irreparably broken by the Swedes, who 
recovered their ancient independence. Young Gustavus 
Erickson Yasa escaped from his prison in Denmark and 
from Christian's emissaries, who were continually at his 
heels, fled disguised to Flensburgh in Schleswig, where 
he hired himself to some merchants, under whose pro- 
tection he escaped out from the Danish territories, and 
arrived in Liibeck, where the regency gave him a ship 
to convey him to Sweden. He now went to the moun- 
tains of Dalecarlia, where he, for some time, concealed 
himself, in the disguise of a workman, in the mines. 
He found aid and protection from the valiant inhabi- 
tants of Dalecarlia, to whom he opened his project and 
discovered his name and rank, and with a band of these 
hardy peasants he repulsed the Danes and took a. d., 
Upsala. After being elected, at the Diet of ^^^i. 


Vadstena, administrator of Sweden, and two years 
after, at the Diet of Strengnaes, king, by the unanimous 
A. D., suffrages of his fellow-citizens, Gustavus Vasa 
1523. made his entry into Stockholm, and the words 
" Saviour and Deliverer," echoed to him from every 

Thus Sweden was now emancipated from Denmark, 
and the Union of Calmar annihilated. Norway re- 
mained ccnnected with Denmark till 1814, when the 
allied powers, by the treaty of Kiel, gave it to Sweden, 
as an indemnity for Finland, which Russia had taken. 
G-ustavus Vasa reigned in peace for a long space of 
years, and is the founder of the celebrated House of 
Vasa, which has given Sweden so many excellent kings, 
amongst whom was the great and famous Gustavus 
Adolphus, who made foreign nations sensible of the 
weight which Sweden might have in the affairs of 

The slaughter of Stockholm had produced a general 
astonishment throughout all Europe, and had, as even 
two bishops had been beheaded, exasperated the Pope to 
such a degree, that he sent a nuncio to Copenhagen, 
to examine into the death of the bishops who had 
been massacred at Stockholm. Christian II. treacher- 
ously threw the whole blame on his friend Didrik 
Slaghak, who was sentenced to be beheaded and then 
A. D., to be burnt ; which sentence, in the king's justi- 
1522 fication, was executed in the market-place of 


Copenhagen; after which the imperious and arbitrary 
king appointed his personal attendant, John Veza, arch- 
tishop of Lund. 

Christian's outrageous and cruel proceedings had pro- 
duced, even in the minds of the Danes, the greatest 
disgust toward him, and rendered his name hateful. 
He trampled upon all law and government ; he endeav- 
ored, by menaces, to extort from his uncle, Frederick, 
his dukedom of Schleswig, and of the archbishopric of 
Lund he disposed at pleasure. The number of the 
disaffected increased, therefore, daily ; and the Danish 
nobihty, exasperated at his oppressions, and not expect- 
ing any good from him, determined to risk all, rather 
than tolerate so intolerable a yoke. The nobility and 
clergy of all Jutland rose in one general revolt, and 
wrote a formal sentence of deposition, which they trans- 
mitted to the king in Veile, in Jutland. Mog-ens a. d., 
Munk, chief-justice of Jutland, was entrusted 1^23. 
with the dangerous commission of making him ac- 
quainted with the resolution. He dined with the king, 
and, after dinner, left the decree in a glove on the win- 
dow. It had not lain long in that place, before the 
king, observing a large scroll of parchment, ordered it 
to be read, and no sooner perceived the contents than 
he ordered search to be made for Mog-ens Munk, but 
that nobleman had meanwhile removed himself out of 
the reach of danger. The king now repaired to Copen- 
hagen. Although, as yet, Copenhagen, Malmo, all 



Norway, and the whole peasantry and burgher class 

were loyal to him, he felt discouraged, and behaved like 

a coward, as he had reigned like a tyrant. Attended 

by his queen, children, and Sigbrit, the mother of his 

concubine, he betook himself to Holland, where he, in 

vain, solicited assistance from his brother-in-law, the 

A. D., emperor Charles V. His uncle, Frederick, duke 

1^-^- of Schleswig and Holstein, was now offered the 

throne of Denmark and Norway, which he accepted 

without any hesitation. Upon his return from Holland, 

Christian H., however, collected an army to invade 

Holstein and oppose his uncle, but his troops forsook 

him, and his general, Henry Gjoe, after an obstinate 

A. D., defence of eight months, had to surrender Copen- 

1524. hagen to Frederick I. Nevertheless, a great 
part of Denmark sided yet with Christian II., and one 
of his most faithful adherents was the noble and brave 
Sdren Norby, a general of consummate ability and of 
indefatigable activity. In Skane he collected an army 
of twelve thousand men, who, however, were entirely 

A.D., cut to pieces by Frederick's general, John 

1525. Ranzau, first at Lund, and then at Brunktoft- 
lund, near Landscrona, and Soren Norby was, at length, 
obliged to leave the country and flee to Russia, where 
he was imprisoned by the Czar Vasilius Iwanowitch. 
Being at length set at liberty, he entered into military 
service under Charles V., and fell at the siege of 


Notwithstanding all these disadvantages, Christian II. 
hoped and projected to regain his dominions, and a. D., 
went now to Norway, where he was elected in i^^i- 
Opslo. But here his success was of short duration. 
Bishop Canute Gryldenstar arrived in Norway with 
troops, and Christian had to submit. Christian II. went 
now, with a safe-conduct, to Copenhagen, to negotiate 
in person with his uncle, Frederick I., hut anchoring in 
the harbor of Copenhagen, he was, in spite of the 
warrant of security given him by the bishop, a d., 
taken prisoner and carried to Sonderburg, on the i^^^. 
island of Alsen, in the Baltic, where he was compelled 
to pine for seventeen years in a gloomy tower, with no 
other companion than a Norwegian dwarf. Frederick I. 
and the nobility engaged themselves, reciprocally, never 
to release him. First when Christian III. had ascended 
the throne, more freedom was given him ; the a.d., 
castle of Callundborg, in Sjelland, was granted 1549. 
to him, where he, under continual inspection, lived ten 
years, till the beginning of the reign of Frederick II. 
(1559). His body was brought to the church of St. 
Canute, in Odensee. He left behind him two daugh- 
ters : Dorothea, married to the elector of Saxony, and 
Christina, to the duke of Lothringen. The bad use 
Christian II. made of his many great qualities, of 
which a single one might have immortalized another 
prince, became his ruin, and he left a most piteous 


monument of the effects of cruelty and despotism, 
exerted over a free-spirited and warlike people. 

Immediately after the downfall of Christian's royalty 
A. D., Frederick I. ascended the throne of Denmark 
1523-33. and Norway. On mounting the throne he had 
to sign a charter containing several new articles, and he 
was to be declared an enemy of the kingdoms, and 
deprived of the throne, in case he manifestly violated 
his engagements. In this charter it was determined, 
that bishops and archbishops should be of noble descent, 
and that the king should patrocinate the Romish 
Church, punish all Lutheran heretics, solemnly promise 
to show a deadly enmity to the dethroned and impri- 
soned king. Christian II., and declare Denmark and 
Norway elective kingdoms. The legislative authority 
was to be in the Diet, which should consist of a certain 
number of deputies, chosen amongst the nobility and 
the clergy ; but the burgessescould not be invested with 
any public office, or in any way be on a footing of 
equality with the nobility. Finally, the king could not 
declare war or conclude peace without the consent of 
the nobility ; and if the king delayed his signature to 
laws or ordinances, sixteen noblemen should be em- 
powered to supply the want of it, and sign for him. 

Except Copenhagen and Malmo, which still adhered 
to the detlironed king, and for eight months gallantly 
bore up against the royal troops, until all hope of assist- 
ance was gone, both Denmark and Norway proclaimed 


Frederick I. king, with the usual formahties. Besides 
having an able and courageous general in John Ranzau, 
Frederick I. was energetically assisted hy Liibeck, 
because he had restored to that city the commercial 
privileges of which Christian II. had deprived it. Frede- 
rick I. of course could not see Gustavus Vasa raised to 
the throne of Sweden but with an eye of jealousy ; he 
eagerly wished, from motives of ambition and interest, 
to see the three kingdoms reunited, and with that view 
he wrote to some of the chief nobility of Sweden. But" 
the answer he received was not agreeable to his wishes, 
the Swedes being no longer in a disposition to give ear 
to such hopes. " The Union of Calmar," wrote they, 
" had more than once proved fatal to their liberties, 
which they now enjoyed in the greatest felicity, under a 
king possessed of every quality which could engage their 
affection." Frederick I., comprehending that there was 
no hope for him in this respect, made, at Malmo, a. D., 
a strict alliance with Gustavus Yasa against their 1^24. 
common enemy. Christian II. 

Notwithstandinsr the efforts of the dethroned king to 
promote the Reformation had almost proved fruitless, 
yet there were not wanting those who deeply felt the 
necessity of embracing the new religious principles, 
which day by day were advancing in strength in Ger- 
many, and thence easily propagated to the Scandinavian 
countries by the young students who pursued their 
studies at Wittemberg, and other German Universities. 


The people's mind had grown weary of the hondage of 
spiritual despotism which the Popes had estahlished, 
and a doctrine adulterated and trickfid out with false 
additions, was not more satisfactory to the religious 
want. The fear of Grod consisted in external ecclesias- 
tical actions, and remission of sins might be had for 
money from the seller of indulgences. The public wor- 
ship was conducted in Latin, and the people were not 
permitted to read the Bible in the vernacular tongue. 
The ministerial order did not enjoy any esteem or love, 
and the lower ranks of the clergy made themselves des- 
picable by their ignorance, drunkenness, and excesses 
in indulging in concubinage. The higher ranks of 
the clergy, enjoying at ease their rich revenues, were 
neglectful of their duties, which very often were dis- 
chai-ged not by themselves but by their vicars. Many 
curateships were often conferred on one curate to enlarge 
the revenues, the bishops even causing the curateships 
to be vacant through a whole series of years, in order 
thereby to arrogate the incomes to themselves. The 
avarice and extortions of the bishops were excessive 
almost to a proverb ; their wealth was, therefore, often 
exorbitant, and their power and privileges enormous. 
All church property was exempt from taxation, while on 
the other hand the laity were loaded with excessive 
impositions. All clergymen were exempted from crimi- 
nal process in the courts of law, and delivered over to 
the ecclesiastical tribunal, so that the Church alone took 


cognizance of the t crime. Different orders of lazy 
monks, Augustinian, Franciscan and Dominican friars, 
who already duringHhe reign of "Waldemar the Con- 
queror had crept into the country, ramhled about and 
made considerable profit from the sale of indulgences, 
performing their mean-spirited acts with little regard to 
discretion or decency, and describing the value of the 
indulgences in such a disgusting and blasphemous style 
of exaggeration, that even the ignorant began to suspect 
the worth of the remission of sins dispensed by them ; 
all of which gathered into a heap, prepared the minds of 
the people willingly to listen to the bold attacks of Lu- 
ther and the other great Reformers against all these 
outrageous and unchristian acts. Even the nobility 
were in favor of the Reformation, hoping thereby to 
re-obtain the great property that their ancestors had 
bestowed upon the Church ; and the kings could not but 
Avish the liberal principles of the Reformation introduced 
into their countries, which would not fail to lessen 
the exorbitant power and influence of the bishops. 

All these causes were adequate to the effects attributed 
to them, and the Lutheran doctrine and form of worship 
gained, therefore, very soon a complete triumph in the 
three Scandinavian kingdoms, and already in the year 
1527 the magnanimous (lustavus A^'asa obtained from an 
assembly of the state the declaration, that the Lutheran 
doctrines should be the established religion of Sweden. 
Frederick I., who previous to his ascending the throne 


had secretly embraced the Protestant faith, concurred 
with G-ustavus Vasa in the design, and although want- 
ing his spirit and genius, he conducted the religious 
affairs of Denmark and Norway with more prudence 
and sagacity than was to he expected. The clergy 
now lost the greater part of their possessions to the 
crown and the nobility, and the bishops (whose titles, 
however, were retained in all three Scandinavian king- 
doms, Sweden even keeping the title of archbishop,) fell 
almost into a complete dependence upon the govern- 
ment, their large revenues and ecclesiastical jurisdictions 
being considerably retrenched and curtailed. 

Next to Switzerland, the Scandinavian kingdoms 
were the first of the European countries that embraced 
Lutheranism; and in Denmark, Hans Tausen, whose 
parents were only poor peasants, became the most im- 
portant instrument in spreading the Protestant faith. 
While a monk in the cloister of Antvorskov, in Sjel- 
land, he won the prior's favor to such a degree, that he 
allowed Tausen to go abroad at the expense of the 
cloister. Luther's renown brought him to "Wittemberg, 
where, on hearing his preaching, he became convinced 
of the truth of the doctrines Luther proclaimed. No 
sooner had the prior heard it, than he suddenly re- 
called him from "Wittemberg, and committed him to 
the custody of the abbot of the cloister. The following 
year he was sent to AViborg, in Jutland, where the 
prior of the cloister of the Hospitalers (the Knights of St. 


John) promised to keep a strict eye upon him. He 
was, however, permitted to preach, and interested the 
citizens of Wihorg so much, that they not only gave 
him asyhim in the city, but even protected him against 
several attempts of the bishop, George Fr'ds, a.d., 
to lay hold on his person. Frederick I., being ^^^e. 
secretly a convert to the doctrines of Luther, and by 
whose protection Herman Tast already had spread the 
Reformation throughout the Duchies, (1522-1525,) 
interested himself for Hans Tausen, issuing a war- 
rant of security for him, and licensing him to preach 
the G-ospel in Wiborg. At the same time George Sa- 
dolin, also a hearer of Luther in Wittemberg, appeared, a 
mighty champion of the Reformation ; and the new doc- 
trine soon found advocates and adherents in other cities, 
particularly in Malmo, where two unlearned but highly 
gifted and eloquent men, Glaus Mortenson Tonde- 
binder (cooper), and Hans Spandmayer (pail-maker), 
assisted by the learned Franz Wormordson, rose as un- 
daunted proclaimers of the Reformation, and inveterate 
enemies of the Pope's jurisdiction and of his sellers of 
indulgences. But the circumstance which, of all others, 
most conduced to the advancement and universal dis- 
semination of the Lutheran Reformation, was the ex- 
cellent translation of the New Testament, which tho 
ex-mayor of Malmo, John Michaelson, who had accom- 
panied Christian IL in his exile, published in Leipzic, 

and which by foreign merchants was brought to Den- 



mark. This translation opened the eyes of the people 
to the papal deviations from the evangelical truth, and 
gave security for the perpetuation of the Reformation 
in the North ; and now it profited nothing that the 
bishops forbade the use of this dangerous book, as they 
termed it. A mean fellow, Paul Eliason, a Carmelite 
from the cloister of Elsenore^ who had embraced Lu- 
theranism, but soon again changed color, and was, 
therefore, called Paul Vendekaabe (turncoat), rambled 
about in the country and preached violently against the 
new doctrine ; but he performed as little by his denuncia- 
tory sermons as the bishops by their fulminating pas- 
toral letters, which they dispatched to their dioceses. 
The difficult position of the Catholic clergy increased 
also very much by the dispute about tithe, which the 
people decidedly declined paying ; and the controversies 
were increasing day by day, and internal disturbances 
would undoubtedly have broken out, had not both the 
king and the nobility feared the exiled Christian II., 
and, therefore, moderated themselves. It came, there- 
fore, to a sort of agreement, when Frederick I., after 
A. D., great opposition, effected the publication of a 
1^27. famous edict, sanctioned at the general Diet of 
Odensee, by which every subject of Denmark and Nor- 
way was declared free to adhere either to the tenets 
of the Church of Rome or to the doctrines of Luther ; 
that no person should be molested on account of his 
religion, and that the clergy should be permitted to 


marry ; all of which contributed considerably to pro- 
mote the Reformation, the adherents to which were daily 
increasing, both in the country and in the towns. In 
consequence of this decree of the Diet, all abbeys and 
cloisters were deserted, and celibacy in particular dis- 
regarded. Lutheranism was publicly preached and em- 
braced. At last the city of Malmo erected the standard 
of Luther, prohibited mass, idols, and the other super- 
stitions of the Romish Church. Also a new and more 
literal translation of the New Testament and the Psalms 
of David into the vernacular tongue, published by a 
canonist. Christen Pedersen, likewise one of the guides 
of the exiled king, conduced to the advancement of this 
important matter. Hans Tausen, who now had es- 
tablished the Reformation in "VYiborg, was by the a. d., 
king called to Copenhagen to preach the new 1^29. 
doctrine. Finding a better spirit than Reinhardt and 
Carlstadt eight years before had found, he soon gained 
the majority of the citizens of the capital over to the 
new doctrine, the Reformation thus having gained a firm 
footing in the three most important cities : Copenhagen, 
Wiborg, and Malmo. The bishops excited an alarm, 
but could obtain nothing more than that the affairs of 
religion should receive farther regulation at the next 
general Diet. 

But the Diet of Augsburg, at this time assembled in 
Germany to try the great cause of the Reformation, and 
expected to result in condemning the doctrines of the 


Protestants, as they were termed since the year 1529, 
was, by the Catholics in Denmark, considered a favor- 
able opportunity to oppress their opponents. No recon- 
ciliation, however, of the opposing opinions being ef- 
fected in Augsburg, the prelates prevailed, therefore, 
A. D., upon the king to convoke a Diet in Copenhagen, 
1530. that the new doctrines might be debated, and, 
as the Catholics hoped, thoroughly condemned. But 
the Protestants displayed great power and firmness at 
the Diet. They gave in their Confession of Faith, con- 
sisting of forty-three articles, stirred up the people by 
ardent sermons, and above all, inveighed bitterly against 
the traffic in indulgences and the worship of images. 
The Catholics tried in vain to refute the Protestant 
Confession of Faith ; but their attempt occasioned a 
defence in writing from the Protestants, accompanied 
by a vehement complaint of the bad administration 
and gross immorality of the clergy. The bishops now 
remmded the king repeatedly of liis promise to defend 
the Catholic doctrine, but without avail. The discus- 
sions were carried on in the Danish language ; but the 
Catholics, missing thereby the help they had expected 
from their pleader. Dr. Stagefi/hr, whom they had 
called in from G-ermany, required the use of the Latin 
language. But this the Protestants would not grant, as 
they thereby would lose the important assistance which 
they hitherto had had from the commonalty. At length 
the Diet dissolved without having accommodated the 


differing points ; the king declaring, that he would protect 
both parties in the free exercise of religion, but that 
neither party should be allowed to seek proselytes at the 
expense of the other. 

However trifling the result of this Diet of Copenhagen 
may seem to be, yet it was a clear gain for the Protest- 
ants, whose doctrines soon began to prevail in all the 
cities of the kingdom, and to show the Catholic bishops 
that the end of the mighty power, which they long had 
wielded, was fast approaching. But this was not pas- 
sing without great tumults and violence. The monks 
particularly, exposed to great persecution, were often so 
teased and vexed that they left their cloisters. In 
Copenhagen, the citizens, headed by the mayor a. d., 
of the city, Ambrosius Bookbinder, broke, on the ^^so. 
27th of December, into Our Lady's church, causing 
great devastation, and cutting to pieces all the images 
of the saints ; and the Catholic clergy, were, just now, 
less able to make sufficient resistance. Their chief, the 
archbishop Aage Sparre, was not acknowledged by the 
Pope ; Jens Andersen Beldenak, bishop of Odensee, who, 
as we have seen, had been present at the slaughter of 
Stockholm, was, at the Diet of Copenhagen, disgraced 
with a mark of infamy, for having used injurious lan- 
guage against the king; George Friis, bishop of Wiborg, 
was, for a violation of his duty, excommunicated by 
the Pope ; Laga Urne, bishop of Roeskilde, the most 
undaunted champion of Catholicism, had expired a year 


before the Diet of Copenhagen, and his successor, 
Joachim Ronnoiv, was consecrated, upon condition that 
he would not impede the spreading of the Reformation 
in his diocese. The CathoUc affairs were thus conside- 
rably on the decline, and the Protestant faith com- 
menced to get a permanent footing in Denmark and 
April 13, Norway. It was three years after these impor- 
A. D., tant events, that Frederick I., who had openly 
■ avowed himself a Protestant, died at G-ottorp, 
close by the city of Schleswig, where he frequently re- 
sided and lies buried. He is not mentioned by histo- 
rians in language of eulogy, but in general considered 
deficient in moral force and clear judgment. Never- 
theless, it is not to be denied that he conducted the 
religious affairs of his kingdom with much greater 
prudence than his more talented predecessor, Christian 
II. ; but whether he was a sincere favorer of the Refor- 
mation, or not, is very questionable, the more as he 
seems to have temporized with both parties. At all 
events, his religious opinions were dim and benighted. 
He knew the words of Christ, Matthew ix. 15 : " The 
devil departs not out of a man but by prayer and 
fasting." Being prompt in compliance with them, but 
not finding it convenient or comfortable to fast himself, 
the king hired seven boys to fast in his place, believing 
thereby to have done justice to the words of the Saviour. 
The Roman Catholics detest, of course, his memory, to 
this day, for having contributed to effect a reformation 


in religion, to the utter extinction of their tyrannical 
superstition and spiritual power. Frederick I. left 
behind liim two sons, Christian and Hans, and one 
daughter, married to the duke Ulrick, of Schwerin. 

Upon the death of Frederick I. an interregnum fol- 
lowed of three years, accompanied by a sanguinary war. 
At a general Diet assembled in Copenhagen in j^^^^^ 24 
order to deliberate on the election of a king, the A. D., 
nobility would select Christian, Frederick's eldest 
son, but the clergy, entertaining fear of him who had 
been a hearer of Luther in Wittemberg and was in 
favor of the Reformation, voted for his younger brother, 
Hans, whom they hoped to bring up in the Catholic 
faith. A third party were for recalling the imprisoned 
king, but this faction was yet small, and partly absorbed 
in the two others. Not being able to agree, the election 
of the king was postponed to the following year, in 
order that the senators of Norway might be assembled, 
and the same king seated on the throne of both kinsf- 
doms. The Catholic party now beginning to recover 
their courage, passed several resolutions tending to stop 
the spreading of the Reformation. It was determined 
that no priest could be appointed in any diocese without 
the consent of the bishop, that the mass should be re- 
established, and the existing monasteries and ecclesias- 
tical institutions continue uninjured. Hans Tausen, 
the most dangerous opposer of the Catholic church, was 
charged with offensive language against the bishops, and 




sentenced to leave the diocese of Sjelland, and nowhere 
in the kingdoms, either verbally or in writing, to inter- 
fere with religious afTans. The condemnation of the 
universally esteemed Hans Tausen occasioned a great 
riot in Copenhagen, the bishop Joachim Roimow even 
running the hazard of being mobbed by the exasperated 
citizens. Tausen, however, left Copenhagen, but Ron- 
now had, for fear of his own life, to permit him to 

The burgher class and the peasantry, not having yet 
forgotten the imprisoned king. Christian II., who so 
valiantly had taken their part, began, wliile the nobility 
and the clergy were at variance concerning the election 
of the king, to think of restoring him to the crown ; 
the regency of Liibeck, which hitherto had opposed him, 
but was now displeased with some commercial liberties 
granted to the Dutch, also projected the restoration of 
the imprisoned king, and Denmark was in the most 
perilous and distracted condition. Liibeck was governed 
by two talented men, the mayor, George Wullenveber, 
and the admu*al, 3Iarc Meyer, who from an obscure 
birth had risen to the highest dignities in Liibeck Both 
of them made an alliance with Ambrosius Bookbinder, 
Mayor of Copenhagen, and with George Miinter, mayor 
of Malmo, declaring their object to be to replace Chris- 
tian II. upon the throne, and to introduce the Reforma- 
tion. They complained that Christian II. was confined, 
contrary to the faith of a treaty and to the safe-conduct 


granted him by Frederick's general, Canute Gyldenstar. 
Upon receiving intelligence of this design, the senate 
renewed the alliance with Gustavus Vasa, and conclu- 
ded a union between Denmark and the Duchies, in order 
to deter their enemies from attempting the restoration 
of the imprisoned king, but without effect. The regency 
of Liibeck and the popular party appointed Count Chris- 
topher of Oldenburg, a relative to Christian II., com- 
mander-in-cliief, after whom the whole war is called 
Grevens Feide (the War of the Count). He was a 
nobleman of great courage, fond of glory, of a most 
enterprising disposition, and deeply interested in releas- 
ing the imprisoned king. He landed troops in Sjelland, 
and by assistance of the citizens made himself master 
of Copenhagen and Malmo ; all Skane, Sjelland, Fjunen, 
and the adjacent islands yielded witliin a short time, 
and paid their homage to Christian II., who, on hearing 
what was passing in lus favor, exulted for joy, crying : 
" May be the crown can be replaced upon my head ; then 
once more I shall teach the nobility how to obey." The 
most horrible outrages were committed on the noblemen, 
who were filled with astonishment at the arbitrary man- 
ner in wliich they were treated, and with fear of the 
imprisoned king's reassuming the reins of government. 
To put a stop, if possible, to these terrible scenes, the 
nobility and bishops of Jutland resolved to meet for the 
election of a sovereign. Holstein took the same resolu- 
tion, and they assembled in a small town, called Rye, 



June 4th ^J ^^® ^^^7 ^^ Skanclerborg, where they elected 
A. D., the eldest son of Frederick I., Prince Christian, 
^^ ■ king, and comirdtted to him the charge of the 
war, ahd transferred to him the whole military and 
executive power of the crown. He immediately laid 
hold of the offer, ascended the tlirone of Denmark and 
Norway, and was crowned in Horsens, Jutland, by the 
name of Christian III. Troops were now levied with 
the utmost industry and alacrity, arms provided, and 
all military stores furnished from the royal magazines 
of Jutland. Then Christian III. complained to Gus- 
tavus Vasa, his hrother-in-law, of the irregular conduct 
of the Llibeckers, in order to exhort him to enter Skane 
with a force sufficient to wrest that province out of the 
hands of the enemy, and re-annex it to Denmark. But 
these measures to affright the rebels had not the effect 
for which they were intended, but cemented yet more 
the alliance between the regency of Liibeck and the 
popular party, which, alarmed by the preparations 
of the king, transferred their arms to Jutland, which 
now for a while became the theatre of a bloody war. 
Shipper Clement, an adherent of the imprisoned king 
and of Count Christopher of Oldenburg, went to Jut- 
land, where he brought the peasantry together, took the 
city of Aalborg, and defeated the nobility and the royal 
troops. Christian III., informed of it, marched imme- 
diately an army into North Jutland, under the command 
of the celebrated general John Ranzaiu. The royal 


cause was supported ty all, the nobility, and by a great 
portion of men of landed property' in Jutland, and by all 
the members of the clergy. The first military opera- 
tions were favorable to the king. Rantzau too'k pos- 
session of Aalborg, where a great carnage took place ; 
the peasants- were forced to submit, and Clement, who 
escaped out of the battle, was afterwards taken prisoner 
and beheaded. His head was fixed on a stake in the 
market-place, and crowned in derision with a leaden 
crown, on account of his insolence in defending the 
imprisoned king. In Skane and Halland Christian III. 
was aided by the noble Grustavus Vasa, who of course 
did not wish the cause of the imprisoned king to suc- 
ceed at all. Gustavus Vasa gained a complete a. d.,' 
victory at Helsingborg, in- Skane, over the Count i^^o. 
of Oldenburg and the forces of Liibeck, and Mark 
Meyer was taken prisoner. About the same time 
the brave and undaunted John Rantzau brought 
the whole island of Fjunen under subjection, in the 
celebrated battle of Oxehjerg (Oxen Hill), a. d., 
where an old clergyman, Hans Maclson, a 1535. 
beautiful model of the most exalted and virtuous 
patriotism, arrived half naked and barefooted from 
the hostile campj disclosing to Rantzau the plans of 
the enemy, which contributed considerably to the 
happy issue of the battle. A great number of soldiers 
and officers were killed or taken prisoners, and among 
the latter the old archbishop of Upsala, Gustavus Trolle, 


who again had proceeded on the stage to operate in 
favor of the imprisoned king. 

Meanwhile the royal cause had also met with great 
success from the military ahilities of the brave old ad- 
miral, Peter Skram, surnamed Danmarks Vovehals, 
(the Desperado of Denmark), who won a glorious vic- 
tory at the island of Bornholm over the Liibeck fleet, 
and cleared the Baltic, so that John Rantzau could pass 
over to Sjelland and lay siege to Copenhagen, where 
Amhrosius Bookbinder was yet defending the cause of 
the imprisoned king. Also the Southern part of Norway 
submitted to Christian III. ; and the archbishop of 
Drontheim, Olaf Engelbrechtson Lunge, who in the 
Northern part maintained the cause of Christian II., 
had to flee from the kingdom to Holland, where he 

Thus all the schemes of the popular party beginning 
to prove abortive, Alb'recht of Mecklenburg, who was 
married to a niece of the imprisoned king, was ap- 
pointed lieutenant-colonel to assist the chief-commander, 
Count Christopher. But this, however, did not alter 
the circumstances, which day by day turned so much to 
their disadvantage, that they soon found it necessary to 
solicit terms of peace. Deputies now met at Hamburg, 
and ordained, that hostilities should cease between Den- 
mark and Liibeck, and that their ancient friendship 
should be renewed, upon condition that the island of 
Bornholm should be ceded to the regency of Liibeck 


for the space of fifty years. Christian III. acceded 
readily to this peace. Only Copenliagen and Malmo 
were yet faithful to the cause of the imprisoned king. 
At length George MUnter surrendered Malmo after a 
long siege, but Copenhagen held out constantly a whole 
year, until the famine, which reached such a degree 
that the inhabitants were reduced to such straits that 
dogs, cats, rats and the most loathsome animals juiy 29, 
were used as food, compelled Ambrosius Book- ^•^■' 
binder to surrender the capital to Christian III. i^^*^- 
Albrecht of Mecklenburg and Count Christopher of 
Oldenburg were forced to throw themselves at the 
king's feet to obtain pardon. A few of the most stub- 
born ringleaders were beheaded, but the 'great body of 
the revolters were conciliated by an act of amnesty. 

The intellectual excitement occasioned by the intro- 
duction of the Reformation, exercised a useful influence 
upon the improvement of the Scandinavian literature, 
which, as well as all progress of literature, was highly 
favored by the spirit of free inquiry fostered by the Re- 
formation. In the last centuries of the Middle Ages 
there was less scientific activity than before ; histo- 
rians, as Saxo Grrammaticus, Snorro Sturleson, and 
Andrew Suneson, appeared no more, and the father- 
land's history was only told in brief chronicles and dry 
annals, mostly written by monks in corrupt Latin. At 
the foreign universities — Paris, Bologna, Cologne, and 
Loven — where young men pursued their studies even 


after the erection of the universities of Copenhagen 
and Upsala, only the canon law and scholastic philoso- 
phy were taught. But the Reformation, rightly called 
the great genius of all genuine liberty, emancipated 
the human mind from the thraldom wliich • ages of 
spiritual despotism had imposed upon it, discarded the 
subtleties of the schools, and sent science and the arts 
forth into the wide world of humanity. Only a few 
ecclesiastics cultivated msdicine. Henry Harpestreng 
canon in Roeskilde, composed m the thirteenth century 
a remarkable medical work in Danish, yet extant. 
Danish writings were also very rare, everything being 
recorded in Latin. King Olaf, Margarethe's son, higlily 
disliking tlais putting aside the mother tongue, enjoined 
that public documents should be issued in the Danish 
language ; but, however, Latin continued to prevail. 
German merchants and mechanics settled in almost all 
cities of the country ; German noblemen immigrated in 
multitudes from Holstem and other G-erman countries, 
and except king Hans and Christian II., all the kings 
of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were G-ermans, 
not so much as able to speak Danish with their subjects. 
Under these circumstances, the Danish language was 
more and more depraved ; ' German words and phrases 
crept into it, and the original phrases and forms of ex- 
pression disappeared. 

But the Reformation, that great principle of Christian 
liberty, which restored to every mother tongue its rights, 



and the progress of the art of printing, which now also 
had become knc^vn in Scandinavia, arrested the ap- 
proaching dissohition of the Danish language. The 
Bible was now translated into Danish, and Danish books 
Avere published. John Snell, a traveling printer, was 
the very fu'st who in Denmark printed a Latin book, 
published in Odensee, in the year 1482. The very first 
printing office was established by Gotfred of Ghemen 
in Copenliagen, where, in the year 1495, the first Danish 
book was printed and published, by the name of The 
Danish Rhyme Chronicle, i. e.. The Danish History 
put into Rhyme ; which, during the reign of Christian I., 
was composed by the Abbot of Soro, Nicolaus. But 
none has rendered himself more eminent in regenerating 
the language than Christen Petersen, above mentioned, 
who not only during his exile published a translation of 
the New Testament and of the Psalms of David, but 
even upon his return to Denmark continued to enrich 
the literature with several literary works, all excellmg 
in a pure and elegant style. Peter Lolle, also, who 
collected the heroic songs of the Middle Ages and the old 
Danish sayings, has distinguished himself by the purity 
and splendor of his style. 

The morality of the Middle Ages could not but suffer 
by the degeneracy of religion and by the increasing 
corruption. The scandal of the crimes committed by 
many of the ecclesiastics, was increased by the facility 
with which such as committed them obtained pardon. 


A bishop, for instance, might assassinate for a small 
sum of money. Any clergyman mighi violate his vows 
of chastity likewise for a little money ; and it is, on 
the whole, easier to conceive than to describe th6 gross 
immorality w^hich such a system introduced into society 
at large. The kings often had the mortification to see 
all their laws overthrown by insurrections of the peas- 
ants, goaded to madness by the oppressions of their 
lords. Mm'ders, and other dreadful crimes, therefore, 
occurred frequently, private vengeance often supplying 
the impotency of the laws. 

Scarcely any institutions existing for the instruction 
of the commonalty, the greatest number of the people 
were grgwmg up in the deepest* ignorance. . Through 
all classes of society gross superstition was prevailing, 
especially appearing in belief in witchcraft and enchant- 
ment. Sorceresses were tried by an ecclesiastical tri- 
bunal, condemned and burnt. Christian II. forbade, 
indeed, that .superstitious cruelty; but, however, long 
after his time, it continued, and even as late as 1675, 
two sorceresses were burnt alive in Kjoge, a few miles 
from Copenhagen. Intemperance and gluttony, and, 
among the higher classes of society, an excessive luxury 
in dress and equipage, were characteristics of the four- 
teenth and fifteenth centuries. Drunkenness was here, 
as in other northern countries, a prevailing vice, both 
among the higher and lower classes, among clergy and 
laity. Mead and strong beer were the usual drinks to 


be taken, either for quenching thirst or for medicinal 
purposes ; mead being prepared in the country itself, 
beer imported from G-ermany. Beer was taken so ex- 
cessively, that a man daily consumed twelve pints, and 
to a nun in a nunnery five hundred and four gallons 
were annually allotted. Brandy, in the north of Europe, 
a spirit obtained from grain, was only known as a 
medicine ; and coffee, tea and chocolate were unlcnown 
in Scandinavia before the seventeenth century. Vege- 
tables were, comparatively speaking, used very little, 
whereas fish and meat formed the principal food, 
strongly seasoned with spices. Luxury in entertain- 
ments was very much in use ; Christian II., therefore, 
enacted a law that a wedding-party must not last more 
than two days. The extravagance of the rich nobility 
in dress and ornaments exceeded all bounds. Immense 
amounts of money were squandered away on ornaments 
of gold and silver, gems, dresses embroidered with 
pearls, silk, velvet, damask, brocade variegated with gold, 
and fars of ermine and sable ; even the servants of the 
nobility being sometimes dressed gorgeously, and their 
horses, on festival occasions, covered with costly cloth 
and ornaments of gold and silver. The general dwel- 
lings in the towns were plain, usually built of timber- 
work, an(i thatched, wherefore destructive conflagrations 
frequently happened. Panes of glass were yet, in the 
fifteenth century, rare and expensive; skin and horn 

being, therefore, used instead of glass. The opulent 


noblemen erected castles, fortified with towers, ram- 
parts and moats, where they lived in princely magnifi- 
cence. But the Reformation, rightly called the principle 
of equality, compelled the nobility to renounce a great 
many prerogatives which they had hitherto exercised 
over the poor and ignorant population, and to use a 
more temporizing poHcy. 





Christian III. — Diet of Copenhagen — Charter — Bugenhagen — The Reforma- 
tion introduced into Iceland — Intolerance — University and School Affairs 
— Alliance with Sweden — New Division of the Duchies — Frederick II. — 
Conquest of Ditmarsh — Three Crowns — The Northern Seven Years' War 
— Daniel Eanzau — Peace concluded in Stettin — Peter Oxen — Foundation 
of Kronborg — The Sound Dues — Lubeck — Hamburg — Science and Arts — 
Henrik Eanzau — Tycho Brahe — Christiayi IV. — Queen-Dowager Sophia 
of Mecklenburg — Guardianship — Peasantry — Nobility. 

The war now being at an end and Copenhagen 
surrendered, the king, Christian III., came to an agree- 
ment with the senators ahout abrogating the power 
and authority the bishops hitherto possessed, thereby 
facilitating the introduction of the Reformation, and 
completing the religious revolution. The bi.shops of the 
whole kingdom, therefore, were imprisoned, but soon 
again set at liberty, after, by oath, having promised 
neither to act nor to speak against the new doctrine. 
Only Joachim Ronnov, bishop of Roeskilde, proving 


very refractory, was confined in prison till his death. 
A. D., Thereafter, in a general assembly of the states 
1536. in Copenhagen, at which all the nobility and 
deputies of the burgher class and peasantry met to- 
gether, the noble king procuifed the suppression of the 
E-omish worship, and the abrogation of episcopacy and 
the episcopal hierarchy ; the titles, however, of the 
bishops being retained, which more easily reconciled the 
clergy to it. The castles, fortresses, and vast domains 
of the bishops were now reunited to the crown, and 
the rest of their revenues applied to the maintenance of 
Lutheran ministers, the purposes of general education, 
and charitable institutions. 

From Denmark the revolution extended to Norway, 
w^here the Reformation was introduced without any 
opposition ; but about the same time this kingdom, for 
having, as we have seen, supported the deposed Chris- 
tian II., was deprived of its independence, and reduced 
to a Danish province ; the king of Denmark, however, 
continuing to call himself king of Norway, but being no 
more crowned in Trondlijem, only in Copenhagen, the 
crowning there giving validity to both kingdoms. At 
that important general assembly, or Diet of Copenhagen, 
the aristocracy lost the vicious supremacy over the pre- 
rogatives of the crown and the rights of the people 
which they had established ; the senate was no more to 
be composed entirely of nobles ; national assemblies 
should be convoked, and the elections of the kings should 


not alone be confined to the aristocratic order. Never- 
theless the nobility continued to keep a good deal of 
that ascendency which they had too long maintained ; 
and the royal power, a long time after, was restricted 
by charters and capitulations, which the nobility pre- 
scribed to the kings on their accession to the throne, the 
burgher class and the peasantry. being very little noticed. 
Before closing the Diet, where the papal hierarchy in 
Denmark and Norway was entirely overthrown. Chris- 
tian III. sealed and signed a charter, containmg nearly 
the same clauses and articles as the earlier ; yet with 
the exception that the subjects were not permitted to 
rebel, even if the king might not rule in conformity 
with the charter. For the rest, the power of the crown 
was very much limited by this charter, containing very 
little to support the dignity of the king, but too much 
to gratify the nobility and secure to it the chief powers 
of the state ; the whole reign of Christian III., there- 
fore, being a continued struggle against the encroach- 
ments of the aristocracy, which had taken too deep root 
to be eradicated at one blow. 

The Lutheran or Evangelical doctrine which, according 
to the decree of the Diet of Copenhagen, had become 
the established religion in Denmark and Norway, was, 
as we have seen, introduced without considerable oppo- 
sition in both kingdoms ; only in Iceland^ an island in 
the northern part of the Atlantic ocean, noted for its vol- 
canic mountain, Hekla, the Catholic party fell with the 


sword in their hands ; John Areson, bishop of Holum. 
and Ogmund, bishop of Skalholt, who withstood the 
introduction of the Reformation into Iceland, falling by 
the stroke of an executioner ; wdiereafter the new doc- 
trine got a firm footing, and Iceland fell into complete 
dependence upon the Danish government, promising 
never to carry resistance so far as to employ the sword 
against the king of Denmark, Popery had now been 
overthrown in Scandinavia, but the Protestantism 
erected in its stead was for a long time just as bigoted 
and intolerant as the Catholic creed had been in the 
worst of times, several severe laws being passed against 
other Protestant sects, wliich only in a few points 
dissented from the established church.. There was a 
division between the Calvinists and Lutherans, and an 
unhappy animosity of one party against the other, wliich 
the Form of Concord, a confession of faith that was sub- 
scribed on the 28th of May, 1577, had not been able to 
compose ; and it was in vain that some exiled Calvinists, 
headed by a Polish nobleman, John a Lasco, who had 
been cruelly persecuted in England, took refuge in Den- 
mark, hoping to induce the else kind-hearted king. 
Christian III., to show them protection and toleration. 
But all in vain ; and although only disagreeing about a 
few points concerning the Lord's Supper, and the doc- 
trine of predestination, they were mercilessly banished 
from Denmark, and, in the midst of the sternest winter^ 
forced, with infants and sick women, to emigrate to 


Germany. Flatterers extolled the king as the extermi- 
nator of heresy, but sincere and true Christians held 
Christ's words before him : "Be ye merciful, as your 
father also is merciful." 

In order to regulate the ecclesiastical affairs and com- 
pose a liturgy according to the doctrines of the Refor- 
mation, Christian III. induced Luther's friend, John 
Bugenhagen, theological professor at "Wittemberg, to 
come to Copenhagen. He crowned and anointed a. d., 
the king, inaugurated the new Protestant bishops, 1^37. 
and made himself highly famous by composing a liturgy 
and ritual conformed to the Lutheran system of refor- 
mation. Regarding a strict observance of the Sabbath as 
a safeguard of public order and virtue, and deeply con- 
vinced that God, who is the Giver of all time, never has 
surrendered to ordinary use this His own reserved sea- 
son, but appointed it for collective prayers, intercessions, 
and thanksgivings, and considering the Sabbath Day a 
season when labor may wipe off its grime, Bugenhagen 
prevailed upon the king to enact a Sabbath law adapted 
to the wants of the people, the king himself promising 
to enforce by his own example the observance of the 
Lord's Day. For the rest, the meek and pious Bugen- 
hagen advised against persecution of those who proved 
themselves good and quiet subjects, whatever were their 
opinions on controverted points of theology ; a warning, 
however, very Uttle listened to in Scandinavia. 

The ecclesiastical affairs having now been regulated, 


and the laws having given their countenance to the 
estabhshed mode of worship, the king abolished the 
cloisters of the mendicant monks, the Dominicans and 
Franciscans, applying the revenues of their large estates 
to the maintenance of literary men, Protestant minis- 
ters, and school aflairs, and teaching those idle, rebel- 
lious, and licentious friars how to submit themselves to 
his decision with unconditional compliance. Also, the 
prebends granted to the cathedral churches of Lund, 
Roeskilde, Ribe, Aarhuus and Wiborg, were confiscated, 
and applied to literary purposes, especially to the 
advancement of the University of Copenhagen, which, 
during the civil disturbances, had sunk into nothing ; 
Christian III., therefore, in all reason, being considered 
A. D., the proper founder of the University, which now 

1539. from this period slowly advanced for about two 
centuries, till it was brought to great perfection in the 
age of Chi-istian VI. He appointed a greater number 
of professors than before, and applied the estates of the 
cathedral churches to pay the salaries of the professors, 
and to exempt meritorious and suitably qualified young 
students, whose circumstances required it, from charge 
for tuition. 

The efforts of Christian II. for improving the school 
affairs being broken off" by his banishment, it was re- 
served to Christian III. to give the Latin schools a 
better regulation by proposing more proper school-books 
and a better method of instruction. But it was a pity 


that in these schools, of which one was erected in each 
commercial town, the Latin language continued, almost 
exclusively, to be cultivated, the other branches being 
neglected altogether. In this manner the Latin lan- 
guage was strained to the highest pitch, and a classical 
Latin style became the distinguishing mark of profound 
scholarship : an opinion which, although somewhat modi- 
fied, has been maintained in the Scandinavian countries. 
Of erecting country schools, no mention was made in 
this period. 

But civilization and religious enlightenment received 
a mighty impulse in Denmark during the sixteenth 
century by that translation of the Bible, which a. d., 
Christian IIL ordered, and which Palladius, i^^o. 
theological professor at the University of Copenhagen, 
performed in a masterly manner ; it being thus the first 
Danish translation of the Bible, which, hitherto, had 
been a book unknown to the commonalty and the 
burgher class. 

Although Christian IIL had not been involved in any 

war since the civil war had terminated, yet the peace 

of the kingdom had a long time been threatened by 

Duke Franz of Lothrin^en, and Frederick, Elector of 

Saxony, sons-in-law of the imprisoned king, both laying 

claim to the throne, and both having a powerful support 

in the emperor, Charles Y., brother-in-law of Christian 

II. To strengthen himself against these pretenders, 

Christian III. entered into an alliance with Francis I, 


of France, an enemy of the emperor, and with Grustavus 
Vasa of Sweden, with whom he, of late, had had some 
discord concerning the possession of Grulland. These 
contests, however, were soon composed, a strict alliance 

A. D., was made between Denmark and Sweden, in 

1541. Bromsebro, and the plans of the two pretenders 
did not conduce to the desired result. This alliance, so 
promising for the strength and harmony of the North, 
and affording so just expectations of a permanent peace, 
soon lost its effect, the Danish king assuming three 
crowns in his coat of arms, thereby indicating his 
pretensions to all three kingdoms. The inveterate 
jealousy anew broke out, and although the peace of 
Bromsebro had put an end to the open contest between 
the two monarchs, the hereditary animosity between 
the royal houses of Denmark and Sweden was not 
extinguished, but, after a few decennaries, broke out 
in a destructive seven years' war, exhausting the re- 
sources of both kingdoms, and at last forcing Denmark 
to recognize the independence of Sweden by the treaty 
of Stettin. 

The emperor, Charles V., at length withdrawing from 
A. D., all fellowship with his brother-in-law. Christian 

15*^- II., made peace with Denmark, in Spne, where 

Christian III. had to promise to mitigate the rigid 

A- D., imprisonment of Christian II., in the gloomy 

1549- tower in Sonderburg, where he already had pined 
away for seventeen years. He was now brought to 



Kallundborg, in Sjelland, where he ended his a. d. 
days after he had attained his seventy-eighth i^^^- 

Christian III. was a member of the League of Smal- 
cald, which the Protestant princes had formed for their 
mrftual defence, in case any of them should be attacked 
for the Word of God's sake ; but as the war of Smalcald 
broke out between Charles V. and the Protestant princes, 
the situation of the Danish king, who had lately made 
peace with the emperoj*, became very critical. He sent, 
therefore, no troops to Germany, but instead, a sum of 
money, wliich yet the royal embassador wisely withheld, 
the war being ended in the battle of Muhlberg; a. d., 
where the elector of Saxony, John Frederick, an ^^'^'^■ 
intimate friend of the Danish king, was taken prisoner 
after a brave defence. Christian III. purchased for the 
crown the two dioceses, Oesel and Curland ; but to avoid 
offending the Russian Czar, Ivan Vasilievitch, declined 
accepting the large city of Reval, which voluntarily . 
offered to submit to Denmark. 

That division of the duchies, Schleswig and Holstein, 
which had taken place during the reign of king Hans, 
was again annulled, at the accessiftn of Frederick I., to 
the Danish crown ; but Christian III. undertook a new 
division betv/een his brethren, although the old .and 
expert general and statesman, John Ranzau, strongly 
advised against this imprudent step. Adolph, obtaining 
,the Gottorp part, became founder of the house of 


Holstein-Grottorp, the dukes of which so often waged 
war with Denmark ; Hans the Elder got the Haderslev 
part, and the king himself the Sonderburg part. To 
the fourth brother, Frederick, was only given the diocese 
of Schleswig, and later, that of Hildesheim. Owing to 
these divisions and parties, the affairs in Schles^vig- 
Holstein have often taken a disastrous turn for Den- 
mark, and occasioned sanguinary national wars, the 
kings often not knowing how to keep the rebellious 
dukes within due bounds ; and I grieve to say, that 
Christian III., in many other respects so invaluable 
a king, by that division of the ducliies between his 
brethren, has sown the seeds of that spirit of resistance 
and discord, which, though it did not break out in his 
time into acts of violence, afterwards proved fatal to his 
successors, and became the principal cause of the violent 
revolutionary storms and convulsions in the years 1848, 
'49 and '50. 

The commercial industry in Denmark was roused 
considerably in every quarter of the country during the 
reign of Christian III., and not only foreign trade, but 
domestic manufactures made a rapid progress. Copen- 
hagen, Aalborg, and*Kj6ge, hitherto having manifested 
very little of the spirit of commerce, began to be 
remarkably distinguished for their trade and manufac- 
tures ; and the international trade between Denmark 
and Norway was considerably increasing, the favorable 
location of Denmark and Norway at the Baltic and the 


North sea, giving them every advantage in mercantile 
respects. The herring-fishery in the Lymfjord, and 
the sahnon in Guden river, at Randers, were sources 
of riches for Denmark, as iron, copper, lead and potashes 
were for Norway. The Hanseatic League, which had 
begiin to decline from the year 1428, and was now fast 
sinking into decay, transferred to Denmark and Norway 
a great part of their trade, and the declension of the 
Hanseatic Confederacy, the unwise attempt of which 
to enforce monopoly proved fatal to their privileges and 
their power, was the commencement of the splendor of 
Copenhagen, that for a long series of years rivaled the 
most eminent commercial cities of Europe, and speedily 
attained to a very high degree of wealth and elegance. 
A general commercial intercourse began between the 
North and other countries, and Denmark and Norway 
found London, Antwerp and Amsterdam the most 
convenient entrepots in transmitting their productions. 
Christian III. encouraged, also, domestic manufactures 
• by many excellent laws, and it became of great conse- 
quence for the increase and growth of commercial 
affairs, that he caused good money to be coined, and 
made weights and measures uniform for both kingdoms. 
It may not be improper to conclude this sketch of the 
reign of Christian III. with a few observations on his 
* character and private life. During his whole reign he 
proved intent on projects of real utility, and distin- 
guished himself by rectitude of mind and conduct, by 


unfeigned piety to God and love to men, and by care- 
fulness for the prosperity and well-being of his king- 
dom ; he loved the arts and sciences, and promoted 
them ; his habits were economical, and his manners 
plain and familiar ; he was a decided hater of false- 
hood and low flatteries, which he on taking the Lord's 
Supper strikingly exemplified. The court chaplain ad- 
dressed the king while kneeling before the altar : " Most 
high and mighty Prince, most gracious King;" but 
Christian, rising, reprimanded him directly, saying, " I 
have knelt down here as a poor sinner ; here I am 
neither high nor mighty. Don't address me in such a 
manner ; call me here plainly Christian." He exhibited 
himself often to his people; conversed with them, and 
shared in their innocent tastes and amusements. His 
queen, Dorothea, exercised perhaps a greater influence 
over him than was desirable, the king's severity against 
the exiled Calvinists, who had taken refuge in Den- 
mark, being mainly ascribed to her. Being jealous of 
the great consideration and honor conferred upon the 
A. D., eminent financier and statesman, Peter Oxen, 
1559. g]^e prevailed also with the king to banish him. 
On new-year's day Christian III. died in Copenhagen, 
after having borne the agonies of protracted sickness 
with Christian patience and resignation. He is buried in 
the Cathedral of Roeskilde, where a splendid vaulted mar- 
ble repository is erected to receive the earthly remains 
of the kings and queens of the house of Oldenburg. 


The crown of Denmark and Norway was now con- 
ferred upon his son, who was elected and crowned by 
the name of Frederick II., after having subscribed to a 
charter not very different from that of his father. 
Having as crown-prince always been on the best terms 
with the Danish and Norwegian people, his accession 
gave great satisfaction. He was soon crowned, and 
commenced his reign by liberal promises, and showed a 
wise policy in weakening the powers of the nobility 
and reuniting the great fiefs to the crown ; the nobility, 
however, understanding how to turn something to theii 

Anxious to relieve Denmark from the ignominy it 
had undergone in Ditmarsh at Hemmingsted under 
king Hans, and at the same time desirous to subdue 
that rebellious little republic, the king, in conjunction 
with his uncles, Hans and Adolph, made the most 
vigorous military preparations for washing out the ig- 
nominy and subjugating the unmanageable inhabitants. 
The warlike duke, Adolph, had already often tried to 
influence Christian III. to make an expedition against 
Ditmarsh, but this peaceable king could not be induced 
to take any part in the contest ; after his death, 
Adolph proposed to make himself master of the re- 
public ; but Frederick IT. being seasonably informed of 
it, resolved to lead the undertaking himself, and go in 
front of his army. War was declared, of which the 
object and prize was the sovereignty of Ditmarsh. 


Though alarmed at the prospect of their destruction, 

the vaUant Ditmarshians would listen to neither reasons 

nor suggestions, hut with desperate hravery defended 

A. D., their liberty against the superior royal army, 

I'^so. headed by the old John Ranzau. After a most 
heroic resistance at Heide, where women fought as well 
as men, they were forced to succumb to overwhelming 
numbers, and with white staffs in their hands to implore 
the king's mercy ; after which peace was soon concluded 
on terms advantageous to the king and the dukes, who 
now. divided the country between themselves. The tal- 
ented liistorian, Professor Molbech, of Copenhagen, has 
eloquently described and particularized that heroic de- 
fence of the little people, who had determined either to 
conquer or to die ; and he has properly compared their 
heroism with that of the immortal three hundred, who 
at Thermopylae, under Leonidas, gloriously fell, op- 
posing the countless hosts of Xerxes. A marble 
column, as we know, was erected in honor of Leonidas 
and his brave Lacedaemonians, but no monument has 
pointed out to the traveler the spot where the heroic 
band of the Ditmarshians fell. 

About the same time as the war against Ditmarsh 
was ended, A. D., 1560, the noble-minded G-usta\Tis 
Erikson Yasa, of Sweden, died, sixty-four years of age, 
having established Sweden's prosperity by wise laws, 
and founded the hereditary succession of the crown, 
which afterwards was extended to females. His son, 



the passionate, cruel, and at last almost insane Erik 
XIV., ascended the throne, during whose reign a. d., 
the horrible Dayiish Seven Yearns War hroke 15G3-70. 
out. A dispute about the use of the three crowns in 
the Danish coat of arms was the main motive of the 
war ; to which may be added, that the Swedish king 
would usurp feudal rights over the dioceses of Oesel and 
Curland, which the Danish king, Frederick IL, had re- 
signed to his brother, Magnus, who in return renounced 
all claim to the duchies. Besides that, Erik XIV. had 
personally offended Magnus. The Seven Year's a. d., 
War now breaking out between Denmark and is*^^- 
Sweden, was waged both on land and sea. At sea the 
Danes were led by the great sea heroes, Peter &kram, 
Herluf Trolle, and Ottd Rud ; but the first one being 
ninety years of age, soon resigned the staff of command. 
In a naval engagement at Oeland the Danes, indeed, cap- 
tured the Swedish admiral's ship, called the Matchless, 
having three benches of oars, an equipment of 1,800 ma- 
rines and 120 pieces of ordnance, but Herluf Trolle was 
soon after mortally wounded on the Pomeranian coast, 
and Otto Rud was made prisoner in a battle by Bornholm, 
and carried to Sweden, where the enraged and cruel 
king, Erik XIV., would have killed him with his sword, 
had not Otto Rud undauntedly addressed him, saying : 
" Be not wholly guided by your passionate temper, 
but remember, I pray your royal Majesty, what you 
owe to a warrior, who has discharged his duty to his 


king and fatherland." Afterwards the Danish fleet 
was destroyed by a violent hurricane, not far from 
G-ulland. In consequence of all these misfortunes, 
the Swedes were, beyond doubt, superior to the Danes 
at sea. 

The land force performed nothing as long as it was 
conducted by the inefficient general. Count Gunther of 
Schwarzburg ; the command was therefore given to 
Otto Knimpen, who, forty years before, during the reign 
of Christian II., had conquered Stockholm, but on 
account of old age he soon retired to private life, where- 
upon the chief command was entrusted to the brave and 
A. D., magnanimous Daniel Ranzau, who immortalized 
1565. iiis name in the battle of Svarteraa, in Sweden, 
where he, with five thousand Danes, totally defeated 
the Swedish army, consisting of twenty-five thousand 
well disciplined soldiers. Notwithstanding this pro- 
digious inequality, Daniel Ranzau resolved to indulge 
the ardor of his few troops, but before commencing the 
battle he tried to inspire them with still more courage, 
by addressing them as follows : " Soldiers ! The enemy, 
whose cruel hands are reeking with the blood of your 
bretliren, is impending over your heads. You must 
either battle as heroes or fight as poltroons. On the one 
hand is honor and a clear conscience ; on the other, in- 
famy and remorse. It concerns your king and your 
fatherland. Therefore, join together in the bravest 
defence, keep your eyes undauntedly fixed on the 


enemy, and have a watch upon all his evolutions. In 
me you will find both the soldier and the general. I 
shall conduct myself in such a manner that I may be 
accountable for my conduct, here to my king, and in 
heaven to my God. Now, soldiers, forward ; let the 
ememy see the white of your eyes ; rush straightway on 
him. The Lord of Hosts will be with us !" The Danish 
soldiers, animated by these words, fought like lions, and 
gained a complete victory ; and the celebrated Swedish 
historian. Dr. Gejer, says, that the Danish infantry 
wrought miracles. Within three hours four thousand 
Swedish bodies covered the battle-field. 

Having thus triumphed over that great superiority, 
Daniel Ranzau, together with Franzis Brockenhuus, 
another famous Danish commander, made an inroad 
into Smaland, a province of Sweden ; and, having 
peissed into the interior of the country, he defeated, after 
sanguinary engagements, two Swedish armies ; where- 
after both those generals undertook a most difficult 
retreat, in the heart of the winter, through regions filled 
with mountains, forests, and hollows ; a retreat often 
compared by historians with that of the Ten Thousand 
from Cunaxa to Colchis, on the Euxine, and thence 
along the Euxine- to the Hellespont, about the year 400 
B. C. Unfortunately for Denmark, both Daniel Ranzau 
and Francis Brockenhuus fell at the close of the war in 
the siege of Varberg, in the province of Hal- a. d., 
land, in Sweden ; but the successful issue of the ^^^^' 


war was chiefly owing to their skillful tactics. Erik 
XIV., of Sweden, having reigned very imprudently 
and cruelly, and even having with his own hand 
murdered the young Niels Sture, a grandson of Steno 
Sture the Younger, before mentioned, and having caused 
all the nobles to tremble in anticipation of a similar fate, 
was placed in confinement by his brothers, John and 
Charles, and sentenced to suffer death. The only favor 
shown him was to choose the manner of it, and he chose 
A. D , to empty the cup of poison. On his confinement 
1577. John III. had ascended the Swedish throne in" 
the year 1569. He wished to make peace with Den- 
mark, and after one year of negotiations the seven years' 
A. D., war ended in the peace of Stettin. Sweden had 
1570 to pay down to Denmark one hundred and fifty 
thousand rixdollars ; each kingdom should be entitled 
to use three crowns in its coat-of-arms, and the preten- 
sions which both kingdoms, since the Union of Calmar 
had been irreparably broken, had still mutually made to 
each other, should cease : Denmark recognizing the inde- 
pendence of Sweden, and Sweden, in return, disclaim- 
ing every pretension to Norway, Skane, Halland, Ble- 
king, and the island of Gulland. 

The happy issue of the war was owing, in a great 
measure, to the wisdom, firmness,' and prudence of the 
skillful statesman, Peter Oxen, who had been recalled 
from his exile, and now, by his judicious inanagement 
of finances and taxes, procured means of defraying the 


great charges of the war. *He also made himself well 
known by introducmg several fruit trees, as also the 
carp, the pike, and the craw-fish. 

The little sconce or fortification called Krogen, at 
Earsound, (the small Sound between Denmark and Swe- 
den), having proved insufficient to command the naviga- 
tion through the Sound, Frederic IT. built the strong 
fortress called Kronborg, close by the city of Elsenore. 
The origin of the tax known as the Sound Dues of Ear- 
sound., goes back upwards of six hundred years, and is 
founded in that ascendency which the kings of Denmark, 
from time out of mind, have exercised over the narrow 
and small sounds and belts streaming through their 
lands ; an ascendency which the principal maritime 
powers, through a series of treaties, have acknowledged, 
and the tolls levied by the Danish Government on all 
ships passing through the Sound, were considered an 
equitable compensation for the expenses which Denmark 
incurred in the erection and maintenance of light-houses, 
buoys, and landmarks, to protect the navigation of the 
different sounds ; and this compensation has been paid 
to Denmark by the several nations interested, according 
to a graduated scale, but always, however, considered a 
thorn in the side of the commercial nations of Europe. 
During the reign of king Ha7is it was decided, by a 
commercial treaty made with England, that the ships 
only in cases of utmost necessity could pass through the 
Danish sounds and belts, and should then pay tolls in 


Nyborg, situated on the Itirge belt. From the time of 
Christian II. the sound dues were paid down in pure 
silver, while in earlier times goods were taken. The 
enhancing of the Sound Dues in the following age 
occasioned many complaints, and as Frederick II. raised 
it considerably, the Liibeckers made a complaint to the 
G-erman emperor, which, however, resulted in its 
enhancement particularly for the Liibeckers, who had 
to submit, their political influence being now almost 
undone. But Hamburg commencing again to occupy 
an influential rank amongst the commercial towns, had 
already, during the reign of Christian III., arrogated a 
right, called the compulsive right, in pursuance of which 
Hamburg would compel the Holsteinish towns situated 
on the Elbe to carry their grain and other merchandises 
to this city. But Frederic II. forced Hamburg to give 
up that usurped right, and pay ten thousand rixdollars, 
and afterwards one hundred thousand rixdollars. 

Yet older than the sound dues at Elsenore is the Stade 
toll levied by the Hanoverian Government on all ships 
passing up the river Elbe. Stade is a small town situ- 
ated on the Elbe. It originally belonged to the king of 
Sweden, but was subsequently seized by Denmark and 
sold to the elector of Hanover (Greorge I. of England) in 
1715. In the time of Conrad 11, emperor of Germany 
(1040), permission was given to the archbishop of Ham- 
■ burg to establish a market in Stade, and to levy a tax 
on all goods offered for sale there, with the understand- 


ing that the revenue of the -tax should he devoted to the 
use of the Roman Catholic Church in Hamburg. But 
the toll thus established as a market tax for religious 
purposes, has been enforced by the successive owners of 
Stade down to the present day, and has been converted 
into a transit duty on all vessels bound for the large 
cities of Hamburg and Altona, which yields the king- 
dom of Hanover an enormous annual income, for which 
it returns no compensation of any sort. But Hanover's 
pretended right to exact a tax for the navigation of the 
Elbe, is not entitled even to the consideration extended 
to Denmark ; because Hanover does not contribute a 
single dollar towards keeping the river in a navigable 
condition, or maintaining light-houses and buoys, the 
free city of Hamburg having for centuries borne all such 

The fatal division of the two southern duchies 
of Denmark, was continued under Frederick H., he 
granting to liis brother, Hans the Younger, who a. d., 
became the founder of the ^onderhurg lineage, i^oi. 
the counties of Sonderburg, Nordburg, and Aro, a small 
island in the Baltic. Upon the death of this Hans the 
Younger, this house was divided even into four others : 
Sonderburg, Nordburg, Ploen and Glilcksburg ; the 
first of which was afterwards divided into five new 
lines, all, however, now extinct, with the exception of 
the Sonderburg (Augustenburg), and the Gliicksburg 
(Beck), the possessions of the extinct lineages succes- 


sively being reunited to the crown. Nevertheless, 
Hans the Younger and his successors took no share in 
ruling the duchies, but were only considered proprietors 
of the allodial estates. The protracted disputes between 
the king and his uncles, concerning the enfeoffment 
A. D., of Schleswig, were ended at an agreement in 

1579. Odensee, after which the dukes, Adolph and 
Hans the Elder, took the oath of allegiance, thirty-six 
years after they had received their fiefs. Upon the death 
of Hans the Elder, his possessions were, after some 
variance, divided between the king himself and Adolph ; 

A. D., Hans the Younger obtained nothing but, in com- 

1580. pensation, some scattered possessions of the royal 
part of the duchies. It is easy to see of what vast 
detriment this division was to the solid interests of the 
Danish body. 

Frederick H. was, like his father, liberally disposed to 
encourage science and art, and, by his own example, to 
promote a fashionable relish for literary productions. 
He founded a cloister, also called the Community, a 
massive building, where a hundred students received 
free house and board ; and in Soro, a town forty 
English miles from Copenhagen, he established an 
academy for thirty children of noble descent and for 
thirty descended from the burgher class. The Academy 
of Herhifiholm, the environs of v^rhich are celebrated 
for their beauty, was founded by the great sea hero, 
Herluf Trolle, who liberally spent all his great riches 


to establish this yet celebrated institution. At this 
time lived also several men eminent in the various 
departments of literature, sciences, and the arts ; as 
Henry Ratizau, Tycho Brake, Niels Hemmingson 
and Anders Sorenson Vedel, the latter of whom has 
deserved well by an excellent translation of the 
Latin original of Saxo Grrammaticus. Henrik Ranzau, 
surnamed the Learned, a son of the celebrated com- 
mander, John Ranzau,. rendered himself known, both 
by his extensive learning and immense riches, which he 
applied to promote and encourage science and the arts, 
and to bring about undertakings of general usefulness. 
The great astronomer, Tycho Brake, has gained the 
most unlimited reputation abroad, his name being 
known to the whole civilized world. In the thirteenth 
year of his age he entered the University of Copenhagen, 
and after there having passed his examination highly 
satisfactorily to his examiners, whose attention he at- 
tracted, particularly by his deep knowledge in the 
classics and mathematics, he visited several foreign 
Universities. Upon his return, the king, Frederic II., 
presented him with Hwen, a beautiful little rock-island, 
in the sound between Denmark and Sweden, where 
Tycho Brahe erected a castle named Uraniaburg, and 
an observatory called Stjerneburg (star-burg). He occu- 
pied these for twenty-one years in profound studies 
concerning the motions of the planets and the form of 

the heavens. This great man, whose genius far out- 


shone all who had gone before him in the path of 
astronomy, so as not to leave to posterity the possibility 
of eclipsing his fame, discovered that the planets moved 
in a circular orbit round the sun ; and he discovered, 
likewise, the analogy between the distances of the 
several planets from the sun and their periodical revo- 
lutions, thus paving the way for the immortal Newton. 
He not only influenced his contemporaries by astro- 
nomical works, but instructed, also, many young men ; 
and he enjoyed so high a reputation, that even foreign 
potentates visited him on his astronomical island, 
amongst others, James VI. of Scotland, who had come 
to Denmark to celebrate his marriage with princess 
Anna, daughter of Frederick II. The Scottish king 
requested Tycho Brahe to ask a favor of him, and 
Tycho begged two English dogs, which became the 
innocent cause of his ruin. The lord high chancellor, 
Christopher Walkendorph, visiting him, the dogs, lying 
at the door, barked at the chancellor, who kicked 
them. Tycho Brahe, in general easily provoked, 
was so exasperated, that he severely rebuked "VYalken- 
dorph, who, greatly offended by this harsh language, 
tried to disgrace him with the young king, Christian 
IV. At Walkendorph's request, the king sent Thomas 
Finche, professor of mathematics at the University of 
Copenhagen, to Hwen, to examine Brahe's astronomical 
instruments. The Professor, jealous of all the honor 
and esteem conferred upon Brahe, declared that they 


were too expensive and superfluous ; all which mortified 
the latter ^ much as to make him weary of his father- 
land, which he left in the month of April, 1597. He 
now repaired to Bohemia, where the emperor, Rudolph 
IL, highly instructed in learning and science, cordially 
received hrm, and gave him a large yearly salary, and 
a palace called Benach, close hy Prague, where he lived 
till his death, 1601. His cotemporary, the great as- 
tronomer, John Kepler, lodged in Brahe's house in 
Benach, both applying themselves to the deepest astro- 
nomical speculations. The emperor caused him to be 
buried with great pomp, in the principal church of 
Prague, called Church am Thein, where a marble 
monument is erected, on which his image is engraven, 
as also his usual motto : " Non videri, sed esse.''' Dr. 
lessen delivered the funeral sermon, explaining in 
classical Latin, how his great genius had proceeded, 
step by step, fi'om the simplest principles to the most 
sublime conclusions. The emperor, Rudolph II., bought 
his astronomical instruments. Notwithstanding liis 
high genius and deep erudition, he wanted very much 
of that which is consistent with real greatness of soul. 
He was, for instance, very superstitious, considering 
certain days of the year pregnant with misfortune; 
wherefore it has become a proverb in the Scandinavian 
countries, when an unhappy accident happens, " This 
day is a Tycho Brahe's day." 

Niels Hemmingson (Hemmingius), one, for his age, 

244 mSTORY OF scandinavia. 


of the most learned and talented divines, renowned, 
both in his fatherland and foreign lands, met with the 
same bitter fate, with the same disappointments and 
neglect of merit, as Tycho Brahe. Suspected of being 
inclined to adopt the Calvinistic meaning about the 
Lord's Supper in the sense of " This represents my 
body," and of not asserting, as Luther, the bodily 
presence of Christ in the Sacrament, and arraigned by 
August, elector of Saxony, and brother-in-law to the 
Danish king Frederic II., for this crime, the generous 
and learned Niels Hemmingson was suddenly, in the 
sixty-third year of his age, without proof and passing 
of any sentence, deposed from his professorship at the 
university, it being the reward with which Denmark, 
both now and afterwards, has often distinguished lite- 
rary genius. 

Upon the whole, intolerance was a prominent feature 
of this period. The Form of Concord [Formula Con- 
cordice), a book in which the Lutheran doctrines, to- 
gether with some new subtle additions, were explained, 
which James Andrea, professor at the University in 
Tiibingen, Wirtemberg, tried to introduce into Denmark, 
was not only not introduced, but the king himself, with 
his own royal hand throwing a copy of that book into 
the fire, even commanded that clergymen, in whose 
houses it was found, should be deposed from the ministry, 
and booksellers attempting to sell it should suffer death 
without mercy. Already Christian III. had passed a law 


forbidding any foreigner to settle in the country before 
he was examined in the Creed, and Frederick II. issued 
twenty-five articles, which every foreigner intending to 
settle in Denmark should affirm by oath ; whosoever 
might decline doing so, had to leave the country within 
three days, and for apostacy capital punisliment was to 
be inflicted. 

Frederick II. was married to Sophia of Mecklenburg, 
a daughter of Ulrich of Schwerin ; a wise, pious, and 
intelligent queen, by whom he became father of the 
famous king of Denmark, Christian IV. He died in 
Copenhagen, fifty-three years of age, liis son a.d., 
Christian yet being a minor, only ten years of ^^s^- 
age. Upon the whole, Frederick II. ruled his kingdoms 
with justice, vigor, and vigilance. In his private life he 
was frugal without avarice, enterprising without teme- 
rity, and of an active and pious temper. The king 
drawing his last breath, and the court physician who 
came to feel his pulse remarking, " The beating of the 
pulse is weak," he answered, " Be it as it may, but we 
know the mercy of God shall not fail ;" and when he 
had said this he fell asleep. But it was his misfortune, 
that with his many good qualities, and a large share of 
mental endowments, he wanted that toleration towards 
other religious denominations, which should have taught 
him moderation ; and it was his misfortune, too, that in 
his latter days he indulged in the frequent use of 
strong spirituous liquors, which abridged his life and' 
undermined his naturally healthy constitution. 


Christian IV. now mounted the throne, with the en- 
tu'e approbation and even affection of his subjects ; but, 
being a minor, a guardianship was appointed, consisting 
of Niels Kaas, counsellor of state, Peter Munk, admi- 
ral, Christopher Walkendorph, superintendent of finance, 
and baron George Rosenkranz, lord high chancellor ; all 
ruling the kingdoms carefully, and taking the utmost 
interest in educating the young king, and inspiring him 
with good and firm principles. He was not only taught 
Latin, Grerman, French, Italian, and Spanish, but also 
mathematics, in which he made gi-eat proficiency. 
Early manifesting a great propensity to naval affairs, 
he exercised himself in them on Lake Skander- 
burg, in Jutland, where a ship was built for that pur- 
pose ; thus in his youthful years acquiring no little 
insight into the science of naval affairs. He was often 
charged, under his minority, to consider and make 
answer to embassies, and give audience to the foreign 
officers who came to Denmark ; and he often sat in 
council to profit by what passed. After having attained 
the legal age prescribed by the Danish law (eighteen), 
A. D., Christian IV. assumed the government ; the old, 
1596. dignified counsellor of state, Niels Kaas, address- 
ing him in the following soul-moving words : " By vir- 
tue of my office, I hereby deliver to your Majesty the 
key to that vault, where the royal crown, the imperial 
globe, and the golden sceptre have been preserved since 
the death of your royal father of glorious memory. Let 


the crown never fall from your head, grasp the globe 
with genius and circumspection, wield the sceptre 
with wisdom and justice, and impair no man's well won 
privileges. May our God, the King of kings, and the 
Lord of lords enlighten you, and fill you with wisdom 
to promote the welfare of your two kingdoms, and may 
you never forget the great account you have to make in 
the last day. May your Majesty be crowned abundantly 
with all the blessings of this life !" Christian IV. now 
commenced his reign, after having sealed and subscribed 
a charter corresponding altogether with that of his father, 
and has distinguished himself among the sovereigns of 
the North by the superiority of his talents, and the zeal 
that he showed in reforming the different branches of 
the administration. He is often compared by histo- 
rians with his cotemporary, the magnanimous Grustavus 
Adolphus, who raised Sweden to the summit of its great- 
ness, and whose very name has awakened in generous 
hearts the liveliest emotions of respect and admiration. 
Christian IV. was a remarkable linguist, illustrious 
commander, and an indomitable, fearless soldier ; but 
whether he was, as Gustavus Adolphus, an exemplary 
Christian, we are permitted to entertain some doubts ; 
and when, therefore, a Danish historian, Frederick Sne- 
dorph, says : "I boldly, in every respect, compare him 
with Gustavus Adolphus," we believe he asserts too 
much. After having assumed the government himself, 
he married the Prussian princess, Anna Catharina, 


whereafter his mother, the noble-minded queen-dowager 
Sopliia, repaired to Nykjobing palace, on the island of 
Falster, with which the king, her son, had presented 
her, and where she lived in the exercise of secret 
charity till her death, in 1631. 



Christian IV. — Care and interest for Norway — Variance with Sweden — Calmar 
War — Peace at Knarbd — He encourages Science and the Arts — Commer- 
cial Affairs — Discoveries — Eegulation of the Post Affairs — Manufactures — 
Buildings — Participation in the Thirty Years' War — Battle by Lutter, near 
the Barenberg — Peace of Liibeck — Dissatisfaction amongst the Peasantry 
and Burgher Class with the Aristocracy — Dispute with Hamburg — Sound 
Dues at Elsenore — War with Sweden — Inroad of the Swedish General, 
Torstenson — Battle at Colberg — Peace of Bromsebro — Frederick III. — 
Election of King — The Charter — Alliance with Holland — Corfitz Ulfeldt — 
Rupture with Sweden — Peace of Eoeskilde — Eenewal of the War — 
Siege of Copenhagen — Admiral Opdam — Battle at Nyborg — Peace of 

. After having taken his seat at the helm of govern- 
ment, Christian IV. commenced to act with great dili- 
gence and vigor, paying a particular attention to the 
many complaints that in Norway had heen put up 
against the oppressive treatment of the royal bailiffs, 
who, when found guilty, were punished and deposed. 
Upon the whole, there was a prepossession of mind 
about him in favor of this kingdom, wliich he during his 
reign visited fifty times. Under the title of Cap- a. d., 
tain, he sailed straight to Kola, in llussia, and i°^^ 


at Vardo ran the risk even of Iiis life, his ship run- 
ning aground and losing the keel ; but he succeeded in 
getting off, without receiving any injury. Sweden for 
some time having disagreed with Denmark concerning 
the northern bounds of Norway, Christian IV., for getting 
an exact knowledge about this important matter, sailed 
liimself by North Cape and along the coast of Finn- 
mark, where the Norwegian, Swedish, and Russian 
borders are adjoining to each other. The misunder- 
standing increased, when Charles IX., a son of Grus- 
tavus Erikson Vasa, having received the S\^edish crown, 
which he had long been striving for, assumed the title, 
" King of the Norwegian Laplanders," and even levied 
taxes in Finnmark, and posted placards on the custom- 
house of Elsenore, forbidding the Danish vessels to 
trade in Lifland and Curland. The dignity of the 
Danish crown being hereby highly offended, a. d., 
Christian lY. declared war against Sweden, and i^ii. 
marched a powerful army against the strong fortress, 
Calmar, which after a terrible siege of three months 
had to surrender, although the old and brave Swedish 
king, Charles IX., spared no labor, and even hazarded 
his own person, in rescuing this principal Swedish 
place of arms. The taking of Calmar, wliich has given 
this war the name of the Calmar War, exasperated 
the old Charles IX. to such a degree, that he wrote a 
very unpolite letter to Christian IV., in wliich he even 

challenged the Danish king to fight a duel. In reply to 



this letter, Christian told him, that it would be much 
better for him, being now so far advanced in years, to 
sit like an old woman behind a warm stove, than to 
risk a blow with a vigorous man, even abusing him in 
calling him a crafty old knave. Shortly after, October 
30th, 1611, died Charles IX., his son, the great Grus- 
tavus Adolphus now assuming the Swedish government 
on the 26th of December, 1611. Quitting now the 
council board for the scene of battle, Grustavus Adolphus 
stormed Christianopel, the principal depot of arms in 
Skane, and *re-conquered Oeland. Nevertheless, the 
war continued successful for Denmark, Christian IV. 
taking by storm the Swedish fortresses, Guldborg' and 
Elfsbor^, and demolishing the large city, Gothenborg, 
which Charles IX. had erected ; also at sea the Danes 
had the preponderancy in this war. The king of Swe- 
den had now levied 1,400 Scottish soldiers, as auxiliary 
troops, who, headed by Colonel Sinclair, landed in Nor- 
way, devastating wheresoever they went, and rushing 
forth like madmen. The Norwegian peasants, highly 
provoked at their plunderings and cruelties, took up 
whatsoever arms they could lay hold of, boldly en- 
countering the Colonel and his Scotsmen in Guld- 
A.D., 6ra?^fl?5^aZe^^ (the Guldbrand valley), south of the 
1612. mountain Dovrefield, where the Scottish chief 
and his 1,400 soldiers, save two, in the most horrible 
massacre were formally butchered. The one went home 
to Scotland to tell his countrymen of the desperate 


bravery with which the people of the North had de- 
fended their national rights ; the other remained in 
Norway, where he founded a glass furnace. In memory 
of that heroic exploit, a monument has been erected 
with the following plain inscription : " Here was Colo- 
nel Sinclair shot on the 26th of August, 1612." Upon 
the intelligence of that frightful defeat, Grustavus a.d., 
Adolphus made peace with Denmark in KncBrod, ^^i^' 
in the province of Halland, on the following terms, so 
advantageous for Demnark : both kingdoms were per- 
mitted to use three crowns in. their coat of arms ; the 
king of Sweden was not to call himself king of the 
Laplanders, nor to exact tribute in the Norwegian Finn- 
ma-rk ; Sweden had to pay to Denmark one milhon of 

But Christian IV. was not so successful in the Thirty 
Year's War, during which he undertook the defence of 
the Protestant party against the German emperor 
Ferdinand of Steiermark, who was a zealous Catholic ; 
and the Protestants of Boherhia, who had suffered under 
the government of his predecessor, Matthias, were appre- 
hensive^of still greater restraint under Ferdinand. The 
religious dissensions continued daily to increase in ac- 
rimony and animosity, and at length the Catholic and 
Protestant leagues plunged Grermany into a civil war of 
thirty year's continuance (1618-1648), the horrors of 
which make the very flesh quiver. The Bohemians de- 
posed Ferdinand II., and chose Frederick V., of Pfalz, 


the elector Palatine, son-in-law of the English king, 
James I., for their sovereign ; but Frederick soon lost 
the battle of Wliite Hill, near Prague, 7th November, 
1620, where the imperialists determined the fate of Pro- 
testantism in Bohemia, the emperor compelling Fred- 
erick to seek refuge in Holland, and banishing the 
Protestant clergy from the country. Thirty thousand 
families were driven out, and had to flee to the Pro- 
testant states of Saxony and Brandenburg. The Pro- 
testant party now seeing its future shrouded in the 
darkest gloom of an impending tempest, and almost 
overpowered by the imperialists, formed a new Pro- 
testant union, of which Christian IV. was chosen the 
head, and the war burst forth with fresh violence. Eng- 
land, Holland and France also encouraged the gallant 
Danish king to defend the oppressed Protestants, promis- 
ing him support of money and troops. Relying on these 
promises, and actuated by compassion toward the un- 
A.D., happy Protestants, the Danish king was made 

1625. captain-general of Lower Saxony, and crossed 
the Elbe with an army of 25,000 men, joined by 7,000 
Saxons ; but, after some successes, the king fell head- 
long with his horse from the high ramparts of the 
fortress, Hameln, in Hanover, which accident for a time 
disabled him from leading his army, and shortly after he 

A. D., was defeated by the imperial general, Tilly, near 

1626. Lutter-am-Barenberg, (August 26, 1626,) with 
the loss of 4,000 men, the imperial general being far 


superior to his Protestant adversaries. Nevertheless it 
deserves to be remarked, that the Danish army fought 
with the most undaunted bravery, the king himself 
setting forth a glorious example. By the two imperial 
commanders, Tilly and Wallenstein, the Danes were 
in the following year driven from Grermany, and the 
imperial troops, consistmg of 100,000 men, overflowed 
the whole of Holstein, Schleswig and Jutland, so that 
Christian IV., threatened with the loss of his own a. d., 
dominions, was forced to purchase peace in Lii- i^^^o. 
beck by renouncing all right to interfere in the affairs 
of Germany, and on the condition of abandoning his 
Grerman allies, especially the Duke of Mecklenburg. 
Furthermore, Christian had to resign liis pretensions to 
the dioceses of Bremen, Verclen, and Schwerifi, which 
he had acquired for his sons, Frederick and Ulrik. 

Thus ended the Danish period of the thirty years' war, 
which undoubtedly would have been more successful 
for the brave Danish king had he been assisted by his 
allies according to their promise ; but the Duke of 
Luneburg' treacherously fell off, and Charles L, of Eng- 
land, who in 1625 had ascended the British throne, 
was almost immediately involved in a contest with his 
parliament, which diverted his attention from foreign 
affairs. But to Chistavtis Adolplms, king of Sweden, 
perhaps the greatest and noblest warrior the world has 
seen, often called the Lion of the North and the bul- 
wark of the Protestant faith — to him it was reserved to 


be the deliverer of the Protestants. He taughi the 
haughty emperor, whose general, Wallenstein, in deri- 
sion called him the Snow-King, that the snow does not 
easily thaw in the North, defeating his mighty armies 
in almost every engagement, until at Li'dzen, a small 
town of the present Prussian Saxony, on the 16th of 
November, 16-32, he was shot through the left arm, 
body and head, and wounded in four other places before 
he died. But even in death he conquered, and for about 
sixteen years after, his spirit led his country's hosts to 
victory, until the emperor, tired of an unsuccessful war, 
concluded the remarkable peace of Westphalia, in the 
year 1648, the religious dissensions being finally put an 
end to. The three religions, the Catholic, the Lutheran, 
and the Reformed, were equally established. 

Although the terms of peace were not severe for Den- 
mark, yet this war of four years' continuance, made with 
great efforts and enormous expenses, had desolated the 
Danish countries and destroyed some of the most opu- 
lent and flourishing towns. Industry was at a stand, 
agriculture neglected, commerce and manufactures to- 
tally annihilated, Hamburg had arrogated to itself a 
right called JUS restrmgendi ; that is, that all the inhabi- 
tants along the Elbe should carry their merchandises to 
Hamburg and there sell them for such a price as the 
Hamburg merchants thought proper to prescribe. To 
this despotic act the vigilant and active king Christian 
sought to put a stop by erecting the fortress Gliickstadt, 


where he levied toll on all the vessels which trafficked 
with Hamburg, which now, after its fleet was a.d., 
defeated on the Elbe, had to submit, and even ^''^s. 
pay down an indemnity of two hundred and eighty 
thousand rix-doUars. Denmark, at length, gradually 
recovering from her wounds and misfortunes, became 
again a powerful and wealthy nation, so much the more 
as Christian IV., for remedying the evils of the war and 
the scarcity of money, through several years'had raised 
the sound dues at Elsenore. But Holland and Sweden, 
higlily displeased with this, watched eagerly for a proper 
opportunity to deprive Denmark of the Eastern Sound 
provinces, and a most formidable combmation seemed 
now ready to overwhelm Christian IV., under which a 
monarch of less spirit and ability than himself must 
certainly have succumbed at once. Axel Oxenstjern, 
chancellor of the kingdom of Sweden, and during the 
minority of queen Christina, daughter of Gustavus 
Adolphus, commissioned governor of the Swedish realm, 
a statesman whom posterity considers a man second to 
none, resolved to weaken the power of Denmark by a 
sudden invasion, commanding the famous Swedish 
general, Lennert Torstenson, to leave Germany, and, 
without any declaration of hostilities, to carry the torch 
of war, into the very heart of Denmark. Christian IV. 
had, indeed, long dreaded Sweden's hostile intentions, but 
the careless senate and nobility, having placed too many 
restrictions on his power, would not grant him the 


necessary pecuniary means to put the kingdom into a 
due posture of defence. Torstenson, therefore, meeting 
with no obstacles, burst with the rapidity of liglitning 
into Holstein, Schlesvvig and Jutland, another division 
of the Swedish army making an inroad into the Danish 
provinces in Sweden, Skane, Halland and Bleking ; and 
had these two mighty armies jointly come over to the 
Danish islands, which, however, the insecure state of 
the ice and the activity of the Danish fleet prevented, 
it had been all over with Denmark. But all the towns 
and castles in the two duchies of Holstein and Schles- 
wig, except G-liickstadt, had to surrender to the 
advancing Swedes ; and Rendsburg, on the Eider, 
one of the strongest Danish fortresses, opened its 
gates to the enemy, and in the month of January, 
1644, Torstenson stood on the Middlefartssound, a point 
of the island of Funen. Under all these perilous cir- 
cumstances the old king. Christian, did not relax in any 
of his royal duties, but evinced the most indefatigable 
activity, making everywhere in the provinces the most 
needful defensive preparations, and despite his advanced 
age, now almost seventy years old, going on board his 
fleet to command in person, and keeping a sti'ict eye 
upon the movements of the enemy. But everjrthing 
seemed to look very gloomy for Denmark. On the 
other side of the Kattegat, in the Swedish peninsula, 
Chistavus Horn, field-marshal of Sweden, and general 
Lars Kagge, with an army of fourteen thousand horse 


and foot, had made an irruption into Skane, in the 
heginning of the year 1644. Horn occupied Helsing- 
borg, situated on the sound, across from Elsenore, and 
after having defeated the Danish troops who ventured 
into the field, he took Laiidscrona, a seaport in Skane, 
whence he advanced to the siege of Malmo, a very 
strong fortress, defended on the landside with walls, 
ditches and bastions, and on the seaside by a strong 
castle, wliither the brave old Danish king, with numerous 
forces, had repaired, which enabled the garrison to defy 
the utmost efforts of the Swedes. Brit in the mean- 
time a fleet arrived from Holland to assist the Swedes, 
obliging the Danes to raise the blockade of Gothenburg, 
which king Christian had commenced ; but the Danish 
fleet encountering it off the coast of Jutland, prevented 
it from transporting Swedish troops into the island of 
Funen, and compelled the Hollanders to take refuge 
under the island of Si/lt, on the west coast of Schleswig, 
where they were cannonaded by the gallant Danish 
king. Meanwhile the Swedish fleet, numbering forty 
men-of-war, put to sea, under the command of Admiral 
Claus Flemming, a tried naval officer, and having 
arrived on the coast of Holstein, near the island of 
Femern, met the Danish fleet, numbering thirty a.d., 
men-of-war. On the 6th of July a terrible '^^^'^■ 
engagement took place, king Christian, despite his old 
age, commanding in person. The king himself, stand- 
ing at the foot of the mast of his admiral ship, and 


encouraging his mariners to persevere manfully to the 
end, was dangerously wounded, losing an eye and two 
teeth, a splinter from the ship having killed twelve men 
immediately around him. The king, however, con- 
tinued to command until the enemy was put to flight. 

This glorious victory has given rise to the magnificent 
Danish war-song, composed hy the Danish poet, Ewald, 
of which the following is a translation, made by Prof, 
Longfellow : 

{King Christian stood by the High Mast.) 

King Christian stood by the high mast, 

'Mid smoke and spray ; 
His fierce artillery flashed so fast 
That Swedish ■wrecks -were round him cast, 
And lost each hostile stern and mast 

'Mid smoke and spray. 
Fly, Swedes, fly ! No hope to win 
Where Christian dauntless mingles in 
The fray! 

Niels Juul beheld the tempest grow. 

" The day is right !" 
Aloft he bade the red flag glow, 
And shot for shot he dealt the foe. 
They shout, whilst fiercest j^erils grow, 

"The day is right!" 
Fly, Swedes, in safest refuge hide ; 
What arm shall stand 'gainst Christian's pride 
In fight? 

O North Sea ! Vessel's thunders light 
Thy murky sky ! 


His foemen shrunk with strange affright, 
For death and terror round him fight; 
Sad Gothland hears the bolts that light 

Thy murky sky ! 
He gleams, proud Denmai'k's shaft of war ! 
The foe must own his brightest star : 
They fly ! 

Thou road for Danes to power and praise, 

Dark heaving wave ! 
Eeceive thy friend, by valor's rays 
Led through thy wild and boisterous ways ! 
Guide the bold youth to power and praise. 

Dark heaving wave ; 
And free, through storm and tempest, throiigh 
Dangers and glory, waft him to 
His grave ! 

It affords me much pleasure to quote this excellent 
translation, in which the Danish original has not lost 
more of its power than is the case with every transla- 
tion. But, as previously stated, everything seemed to 
look dark for Denmark, and the victory gained by 
Femern was only a momentary blaze. After being 
defeated, the Swedish high admiral, Flemming, repaired 
to Christiansprus, now called Fredericksort, to repair 
damages, where he, in the bay of Kiel, was immediately 
blockaded by the Danish fleet, whence the Swedes 
could not escape on account of the adverse wind. King 
Christian opened a fierce cannonade upon the Swedish 
fleet in the harbor, in which bloody engagement the 
valiant Swedish admiral, Flemming, fell, turning over 
the command, before he expired, into the hands of 
Charles Gustavus Wrang-el, who had acquitted himself 
in the most satisfactory manner in the battle of Liitzen, 


1632, where his master, the great and noble G-ustavus 
Adolphus, breathed out his illustrious life. It being, of 
course, of the greatest consequence to keep the Swedish 
fleet enclosed in the bay of Kiel, to prevent it from uni- 
ting with the Hollandish fleet, commanded by Martin 
Thysen, Christian IV. entrusted this important matter to 
the charge of admiral Peter GoJt, and had he acted 
with due vigilance, the Swedish fleet would have been 
irretrievably lost. But an unpardonable negligence of 
Gait, for which king Christian immediately ordered the 
admiral, although seventy-two years of age, to be be- 
headed, united the Swedish naval forces with the Dutch 
squadron. The combmed fleet, consisting of sixty-four 
men-of-war in all, met that of Denmark, numbering 
seventeen ships-of-war, between the islands of Femern 
and Laaland, on the 13th of October, 1644, and obtained 
over it so complete a victory that only two men-of-war 
escaped, and the heroic Danish admiral, Prosmund, fell, 
after having given the most extraordinary proofs of 
dauntless sph'it. The combined fleet then sailed for 
IHeler harbor to refit, after which the Hollanders returned 
home. At length the emperor, Ferdinand III., envious 
and jealous of the progress of the Swedes in Denmark, 
ordered his general, Matthias Gallas, to collect all his 
available forces in Bohemia, and move towards Holstein. 
He entered Kiel, and obtained some few other unimpor- 
tant advantages, but the Swedish general, Torstenson, 
offered him battle, which he did not dare to accept; 


and Grallas, says a German historian, made his way out 
of Holstein, having actually been of more detriment than 
benefit to the Danes, whom he had been sent to assist. 
The misery of Denmark increasing day by day, and the 
Swedish general, Wrang-el, in the spring of 1645, as 
soon as the season would permit, taking the island of 
Bornholm, and disputing successfully the sovereignty of 
the Danish seas, while Torstenson, on the land, kept 
most of the Danish islands blockaded, the gallant Danish 
monarch. Christian IV., was compelled to make^^^ ^o^j^ 
a disadvantageous peace at Bromsebro, on the a. d., 
following terms : Sweden should be exempted ^'''*^' 
from paying Sound Dues ; Denmark should forever 
renounce her claims to Herjedalen and Jemteland, (two 
provinces in the Swedish district, Northland, Nor- 
landia), also to the two islands in the Baltic, Oeland 
and Chilland. In the same year the Danish king was 
also compelled to adjust a pacification with Holland in 
Christianopel, where the Sound Dues for the Dutch 
merchantmen were considerably abated. 

When the sanguinary and expensive wars, mainly 
arising out of the thirty years' war, terminated, the 
Danish and Norwegian kingdoms were so enfeebled and 
harassed, that they, during the last three years of the 
reign of Christian IV., sunk into inactive repose. Such 
a complete change in all commercial transactions had 
taken place, that credit was shaken, trade injured, 
manufactures checked, the public treasury exhausted, 


and thousands reduced to beggary. Several energetic 
measures for remedying the evils of the war, and bring- 
ing the countries into a better condition, were taken by 
the active old king; but meeting with opposition and 
obstinacy on the part of the senate and the nobility, 
which had been invested with undue power and influ- 
ence, they all sunk into nothing. The nobility were 
displeased with the king for bestowing the highest 
offices alone on his sons-in-law, who were married to 
daughters of his concubine, Christine Munch, with 
whom the king, upon the death of his' queen, A^ma 
Catharina, had contracted a morganatic marriage. 
Thus, for instance. Count Pentz was governor of 
Holstein, Hannibal Sehestedt governor of Norway, and 
Corfitz Ulfeldt, married to the king's dearest daughter, 
Eleonora Christina, was lord high chancellor, exer- 
cising an all-powerful influence upon state affairs. 
Although the nobility might have some reason for com- 
plaining of the favor shown to the king's bastards, yet 
it is not to be denied, that the sad condition of the 
Ivingdoms was owing rather to the many restrictions 
which the nobility had placed on his power, than to any 
want of talent in the king himself; the nobility continu- 
ally trying to restrict the royal authority, to secure the 
chief powers of the state to the aristocracy, and destroy 
even the best plans of the king. The noblemen had 
brought their influence even to that point that neither 
the clergy nor the burgher class and peasantry could 


write any application to the Ifing unless signed by a 
nobleman. George Dybvad, theological professor at 
the University of Copenhagen, published a work about 
this unjust tyranny, but the nobility convinced the 
king that Dybvad's modus operandi was not in accord- 
ance with the spirit of the times, and that it was repug- 
nant to their privileges, and the king, had to depose 
him from his office. Christojjher Dybvad, not intimi- 
dated by his father's fate, spoke of the nobility in the 
bitterest terms, and composed a work in which he con- 
demned the prerogatives of the nobility as destructive to 
the kingdom ; but he was imprisoned for life. Even 
the best efforts of the king for the improvement of his 
country were opposed by the nobility. * He tried to 
improve the circumstances of the peasantry, but met 
with so much opposition, that he was forced to give it 
up ; and his anger was often wound up to such a pitch 
as to exercise despotic authority against some noblemen. 
Thus, for instance, baron Christopher Rosenkrantz was 
beheaded for having committed only a trifling fraud. 
Besides all these disagreeable terms on which he was 
with the nobility, and which often darkened his days, 
he had, in his old age, the heart-rending grief a.d., 
to lose his eldest son, crown-prince Christian, 1^47. 
his long elected successor to the throne. 

We have next to examine the king's conspicuous 
abilities in leading the internal affairs of his kingdom. 
In peace he was as unceasingly active as in war and 


military preparations. Having enjoyed, himself, a care- 
ful education, and being well versed in languages, both 
the ancient and modern, he had a high appreciation of 
learning, and was, therefore, a judicious and munificent 
patron of science and literature. He appointed more 
professors at the University of Copenhagen than before, 
furnished the University with new incomes taken from 
the ecclesiastical estates, which were vacant from the 
time of the Reformation, enlarged the University library, 
and built a spacious building called Regentsen {domus 
regia), for indigent students. The Royal Observatory 
of Copenhagen, called the round tmve?; was built at the 
king's expense, and a botanic garden and an anatomical 
theatre were founded. In order to give the young 
noblemen that education at home which they fre- 
quently sought at foreign Universities, Christian IV. 
erected in the to\^Ti of Soro an Academy [Academia 
Sorana), exclusively for noblemen, commanding that 
for the future no nobleman should go abroad before 
reaching the nineteenth year of his age. Among the 
learned men who lived during the reign of Christian lY., 
we ought not to forget to name Ole Worm, distin- 
guished both as physician and antiquarian ; Caspar 
Bartholin, a famous anatomist, has become progenitor 
of a whole generation of learned men ; Tyclio Brake, 
above mentioned, acquked an immortal renown by his 
astronomical researches and discoveries. Longoman- 
tanus, a disciple of Tycho Brahe, gained reputation as a 


great mathematician. Hans Paulson Resen and Broch- 
man, bishops in Denmark, have signalized themselves 
by deep theological learning, of vv^hom the first trans- 
lated the Bible out of the original tongues ; the learned 
Icelandic clergyman, Arngrim Jonson, commericed fun- 
damentally to explain the remarkable Icelandic Edda, 
composed by Snorro Sturleson, A. D. 1218, and con- 
taining- the system of the Scandinavian mythology, and 
specimens of the poetry of the ancient Northern Skalds. 
Of consequence for the history of the fatJierland was 
the Chronicle of Denmark, composed and published by 
Arild Hvitfeld, a short time lord high chancellor of the 
kingdom. Also royal historiographers were appointed ; 
but it is remarkable that it was incumbent on them, 
as a duty, to write in Latin, and several of them, as 
Meursius and Pontanus, were foreigners. The mother 
tongue as yet enjoyed very little esteem, nearly all 
books being written in Latin. Christian IV. being also 
a promoter of fine arts, prevailed upon Charles van 
Mandern, the famous Dutch painter, to visit Denmark, 
to whom the church of Soro owes its greatest beauty. 
He left many scholars of great reputation, who distin- 
guished themselves by a graceful and correct design, 
and several, that, in one single department, may be 
found to surpass even Charles van Mandern. The 
active king also invited foreign enterprising merchants 
and mechanics to Denmark, and established salt and 

saltpetre manufactories, paper mills, sugar houses, pow- 


der mills, and several copper works in Norway. Under 
A. D., hiiTi) also, were the important silver mines near 
1623. Kongsberg in Norway discovered. In his reign, 
also, the Danes first directed their attention to the 
Asiatic trade, and founded an East India Company, 
and tried to procure possessions in the East Indies, 
the king dispatching, for that purpose, the Admiral 
Ove Gjedde, to the island of Ceyloji, situated in the 
Indian ocean. This attempt, however, proving abor- 
tive, the admiral formed a commercial establishment at 
Tranqiiebar, on the coast of Coromandel, which was 
ceded to the company by "the rajah of Tanjore. The 
king also attempting all means possible for renewing 
the navigation to Greenland, which already in the tenth 
century was discovered and peopled by Norwegians 
from Iceland, the navigation to it, however, being inter- 
rupted by the frightful disease called the Black Plague, 
under Waldemar IV., dispatched the captain, Jens 
Munk. to Grreenland, where he established the Company 
of Greenland, which carried on a profitable whale 
fishery in those regions. 

That Denmark's own inhabitants might profit by the 
Icelandic trade, which the greedy Hanse towns and 
the English had almost exclusively appropriated. Chris- 
tian IV. founded the Icelandic Company. Also, many 
public buildings, cities, and fortresses were founded by 
this wise monarch : as the Merchants' Exchange, the 
Church of the Trinity, the Church for Seamen, tlie 


Palace of Rosenborg, and the splendid palace of FredC' 
ricksborg, sixteen English miles from Copenhagen, 
which his father, Frederick II., had commenced. He 
founded, in Norway, Christiania, the present capital of 
Norway, Christiansand, and Kongsberg ; and the fol- 
lowing fortresses : Gluckstadt, on the Elbe, Christians- 
priis, now called Fredericksort, at the hay of Kiel, ChriS' 
tianopel, in Bleking, and Christtanstad, in Skane ; for 
the greater number of which the king himself made the 
plans. He established a school for the art of navigation, 
and raised a standing army, consisting of five thousand 
foot, steadily trained in military exercises. The king 
himself, very skillful in the art of ship-building, modeled 
many of his men-of-war, which were considered the 
most beautiful and the best in Europe ; and the Danish 
navy was in an excellent condition, and the strongest 
bulwark of both kingdoms. He also distinguished him- 
self by his zeal for the propagation of the Christian 
religion, and notwithstanding his limited means, he 
succeeded in diffusing the Christian principles through 
a considerable portion of the East Indies ; and if the 
Danish East India Company had not been injured 
by the pertinacious jealousy of the Dutch, who excluded 
them from the most profitable branches of trade, he 
would have been able to do much more. It may not be 
without interest to learn that Christian IV. was a warm 
advocate of colonial enterprise, and considering America 
a gold mine, the idea of planting a colony in the new 


world held a conspicuous place in the mind of the 
Danish monarch ; and the State of New Jersey was first 
settled by the Danes, about the year 1624, making their 
abode in the town of Bergen ; but as Peter Stuyvesant^ 
the Dutch G-overnor of NeAV-York, conquered New 
Jersey in 1655, most of the Danes left the country. 
The great Gustavus Adolphus, of Sweden, conceived the 
same idea, and a Swedish colony was planted in 1627 
in the State of Delaware ; but the Dutch disputing the 
possession of it with them, the Swedes, after the Dutch 
conquest, 1655, returned to Sweden. 

He was a gi-eat hater of superstition and deceitful 
dealing, and the years 1572-1648 were signalized in 
the annals of Denmark by vehement and severe trials for 
witchcraft. This fanatic and shameful delusion went 
on increasing until, in the city of Ribe, in Jutland, not 
less than twelve women were burned alive. After a 
memorable reign of sixty years, and after having him- 
self governed his kingdoms through half a century, 
A. D., Christian IV. died on the 28th of February, 1648, 
1648. aged seventy-one years, an object of the love and 
affection of his subjects, and of the honor and regard of 
the whole of Europe, the policy of which he often 
had powerfully influenced. 

Frederick III. After an interregnum of thi-ee months 
Cliristian IV.'s second son succeeded his father to the 
tlirone of both kingdoms, by the name of Frederick III. y 
during: which interval the state affairs were oontroUed 


by Corfitz Ulfeldt, lord high chancellor, Christian Se- 
hested, lord high treasurer, Ove GJedde, lord high admi- 
ral, and Anders Bilde, commander-in-chief; and having 
first sealed and subscribed a very severe charter, restrict- 
ing the royal authority much more than before, and 
increasing the power of the nobility, which charter has 
mainly been ascribed to Ulfeldt, Frederick III. ascended 
the throne. The events of the last time having shown 
how dangerous the enmity of Holland was, the king 
wisely sought to persuade that realm to join his party ; 
the more since Sweden, because of her triumphs in the 
thirty year's war, and last successful war with Den- 
mark, almost became the arbiter of the European 
destiny, and was elevated to a pinnacle of glory and 
power which proved dangerous to Denmark's peace and 
security. The learned and intelligent Corfitz Ulfeldt, 
therefore, was sent to Holland to negotiate an alliance 
of mutual defence against every enemy. The alliance 
made, a Treaty of Redemption was concluded, accord- 
ing to which Holland, mstead of Sound Dues yearly, had 
to pay one hundred and fifty thousand fliorins. Corfitz 
Ulfeldt, towards the close of the reign of Christian IV., 
having often given the king reason to be displeased with 
him, and lost very much of his affection, occupied a 
posij:ion yet more dangerous and slippery during Frede- 
rick III. The great power his high office gave him, his 
immense riches and high connections, struck with fear 
and jealousy both the king and his proud queen, Sophia 


Amalia, a princess of Brunswick Liineburg, who all 
the time was cherishing a personal aversion and dislike 
to Ulfeldt's lady, Eleonora Christina^ the vh-tuous, 
handsome, and ingenuous daughter of Christian IV. 
A. D., Upon his return from his embassy, with the re- 
1^*^- suit of wliich the king on the whole was dis< 
pleased, an action at law was entered against him, as 
he had, during his administration of the finances, heen 
suspected of embezzlement and peculation ; both of 
which, together with other humiliations, induced him to 
leave the court entirely, and retire to private life. About 
the same time a lascivious girl, Dina Winhofer, being 
in an unbecoming intimacy with Colonel Walter, in- 
formed the king, that Ulfeldt and his lady had prepared 
a subtle draught for his Majesty. This, however, being 
proved false, Dina, on the 11th of July, 1651, was pub- 
licly beheaded, and "Walter banished ; but Corfitz Ulfeldt 
continued to be suspected and disliked, wherefore he, 
with his wife and four sons, suddenly left Denmark for 
Holland. King Frederick, highly exasperated at his 
leaving without permission, deposed him from his digni- 
ties and deprived him of his estates of Hirchhohn. Gor- 
fitz Ulfeldt, however, not thinking liimself safe in Hol- 
land, fled for shelter to Sweden, where queen Christina, 
fondly attached to learned and talented men, received 
him and his family with every circumstance of honor. 
But here he became guilty of treason, not alone provo- 
king the Swedish king, Charles Gustavus X., Christina's 


successor, to war against Denmark, but even aiding him 
in making inroads into the Danish dominions. 

Charles Gustavus X., a nephew of the great Grustavus 
Adolphus, who, at the abdication of Christina, a. D., 
seized the reins of government of Sweden, pos- ^'^^^• 
sessed all the qualities and talents requisite to follow in 
the footsteps of his uncle, his reign being one succession 
of hardy enterprises and remarkable exploits. He 
indulged the martial spirit of his people by declaring 
war against Poland; where John Casimir, descended 
through Sigismund, his father, from the race of Vasa, 
revived his pretensions to the throne of Sweden, pro- 
testing against the nomination of Charles X. Poland 
was then invaded by Charles ; the progress of the 
Swedes was rapid ; they obtained two brilliant victories 
in the field, captured Cracow, the former capital of 
Poland, and compelled the terrified John Casimir to fly 
into Silesia. Thereafter the king entered Prussia, 
where he compelled Frederick William, elector of 
Brandenburg, to acknowledge himself the vassal of 
Sweden. Meanwhile, John Casimir having returned to 
Poland, the people rushed to arms, and the country was 
on the point of being reconquered from the Swedes, 
when Charles X. led back an army to the assistance of 
his troops, and fought a terrible battle near Warsav), 
1656, which, after having lasted three days, was ulti- 
mately decided in favor of the Swedes, and Poland had 
again to submit. His great success in Poland had 


already excited the apprehensions of the emperor cf 
Austria, of Holland, and Brandenturg, and rekindled 
the jealousy of Denmark, which, desirous of profiting by 
the complicated embarrassments of Sweden, and hoping 
now easily to regain the lost provinces, declared a. d., 
war against Sweden, although her defensive '^^^'^■ 
affairs were in the most miserable condition. But 
Charles Grustavus, who had fought in Germany under 
the illustrious Torstenson, soon convinced the Danish 
king, Frederick III., that he was able to chastise his 
temerity. Concluding an armistice with Poland, he 
repaired to Pomerania, and then into the duchy of 
Bremen, which the Danish army had conquered. Thence 
he marched with 12,000 men into Jutland, where the 
Danish commander-in-chief, Anders Bilde, defended 
the fortress of Fredericia, which, however, was taken 
by the Swedish general, Herman Wrangel, who was 
now made Lord High Admiral of Sweden. Charles 
Gustavus X., with astonishing rapidity, made himself 
undisputed master of Holstein, Schleswig, and Jutland, 
the treacherous Ulfeldt, who was minutely acquainted 
with the interior parts of the country, assisting liim 
with his advice and actual help. But Charles X. could 
not yet pass over to the small islands, as his fleet, 
numbering fifty-nine men-of-war, in a horrible engage- 
ment with the Danish navy close by the island of 
Falster, was so cut up and crippled as to be obliged 
1o make port to refit, this disadvantage being about 


the only one he had in this war, while the prospects 
of the Danish king had become dark as midnight. 

After being defeated at the island of Falster, a.d., 
Charles G-ustavus, in the month of January, i^ss. 
drew up his victorious forces on the shore of the 
Little Belt, which was completely bridged with ice. 
The extremely rigorous cold, twenty- four degrees of 
Reaumur, which had thus fettered the strait,' still con- 
tinuing, and giving no signs of relaxing in severity, 
Charles, having tested the strength of the ice, and 
measured its thickness, weighed the matter carefully 
for a short time in his mind, and determined to pass 
over it with his army. With the king at their head, 
the Swedish troops, numbering 20,000 men, advanced, 
in separate columns, accompanied by all their horses, 
baggage, trains and artillery, combating, even upon the 
ice, (where two divisions of his dragoons were sub- 
merged and drowned,) the detachments of the Danish 
troops, which bravely endeavored to arrest their advance, 
and at last, victorious over the enemy and the ele- 
ments, Charles Gustavus entered the island of Fyen 
(Funen). At the eastern coast of Fyen, separated from ' 
the island of Sjelland (Zealand) by the Great Belt, 
the Swedes discovered this water, sixteen English miles 
wide, likewise entirely frozen. Charles at once de- 
termined to attempt the passage, taking, nevertheless, 
such precautions as prudence demanded. In place of 

crossing directly from Fyen to Sjelland, where the cur- 



rents are too rapid to afford sure passage on the ice, he 
marched his army by a circuitous route between the 
islands of Langeland, Falster and Laaland, where the 
well fortified city of Nakskov, imprudently listening 
to the crafty and subtle demonstrations of the treach- 
erous XJlfeldt, unresistingly surrendered to the Swe- 
dish king, whose cards were almost all trumps in this 
war. Only the Danish Admiral Bredahl distinguished 
himself by heroically and successfully defending the 
Danish fleet, which was ice-bound in the gulf of Ny- 
borg. At length, arrived in the island of Sjelland, the 
Swedes, to whom the ice and the deep snow presented 
no obstacles, advanced upon Copenhagen, a prey to the 
greatest terror, and unprepared for the event of a siege. 
In fact, so general was the consternation, that, within 
ten days after the landing of the Swedish army in 
Sjelland, Frederick III. sent commissioners to the city 
of Wordingborg to negotiate with Charles Gustavus, 
whose conditions, however, were too severe to be agreed 
to by the Danish commissioners. But Charles Grus- 
tavus, tenax propositi, advanced further towards Co- 
penhagen, and Frederick III. had to offer humiliating 
proposals of peace, signed by the commissioners at the 
small village of HSie Tostnip, eight English miles from 
Copenhagen, and afterwards affirmed and signed by the 
king himself in the definite treaty subsequently con- 
A. D., eluded at Roeskilde, on the 26th of February, 
1658. X658. So humiliating were the conditions for 


Denmark, and so glorious for Sweden, that one of the 
Danish envoys exclaimed, as he affixed his signature, 
like the usually cruel Roman emperor, Nero, when a 
warrant for the execution of a criminal was hrought to 
be signed: " Would to Heaven that I had never learned 
to write." Said peace of Roeskilde was concluded on 
the following terms : Denmark should give over to 
Sweden Skane, Halland, Bleking, Bahus, Trondhjem, 
in Norway, and the island of Bornholm, in the Baltic ; 
as also deliver twelve men-of-war and two thousand 
horsemen, and, finally, replace the treacherous Corfitz 
Ulfeldt in his dignities. Shortly after both mon- 
archs met together, for the first time, with great pomp 
and ceremony, at a splendid entertainment in the royal 
palace of Fredericksborg, amusing themselves by friendly 
conversation, as though living in the best harmony. 
The base and contemptible Corfitz Ulfeldt was now re- 
placed in his dignities, his estate, Hirchholm, restored to 
him, and his lady, Eleonora Christina, was granted the 
title of Countess of Schleswig-Holstein. 

But to return to Charles G-ustavus. Repenting that 
he had omitted the convenient opportunity of subduing 
all Denmark and Norway, and pleading that the two 
thousand horsemen had not been delivered duly equip- 
ped, he broke the peace a few months after, landed with 
his army in Korsor, and advanced upon Copenhagen. 
But this insincere peace, which proved to be only a 
suspension of arms, stirred up a new spirit among the 


Danish people, now uniting the most enterprising and 
heroic spirit with the greatest prudence and moderation, 
and clearly comprehending, that it had come to sad • 
extremities, and that the existence of Denmark and 
Norway, as independent states, was at stake. In 
Copenhagen every one prepared himself for the most 
determined defence; no one spared himself; even the 
young students of the University took up arms, the 
king's own example being the most effectual encourage- 
ment to the promotion of a courageous defence. Several 
citizens advised the king to leave the capital, but he 
answered : " Even if the worst comes to the worst, I 
will not leave, but die in my nest." 

Charles Grustavus X. commenced to lay siege to Co- 
penhagen, and also sent a body of hardy Swedish soldiers 
to take possession of the important fortress, Kronborg ; it 
being of the more consequence, as a strong Dutch fleet 
was expected to relieve the besieged city of Copenhagen. 
Wrangel was sent to besiege the fortress of Kronborg, 
which he took from Colonel Beenfeldt in less than three 
weeks' siege, acquiring thereby enormous booty of can- 
nons and powder, which enabled the Swedes to carry on 
the siege of the Danish capital with yet more energy ; 
Charles Gustavus being so confident of winning the 
horrible game, as to write to king Frederick III. that 
his life and liberty lay at the mercy of the Swedes, and 
that he (Frederick) might easily comprehend that Den- 
mark was undone, and like a patient past recovery. 


But king Frederick did not despair ; the citizens and 
students of Copenhagen made several sudden and suc- 
cessful sallies on the enemy ; and three patriots, the 
engineer Steenwinkel, the hailiff Hans Rostgaard, and 
the clergyman Henry Gerner, hazarded their lives for 
reconquering Kronhorg, which, however, fell short of 
success, their patriotic design being too early discovered. 
Steenwinkel was decapitated by the enraged Charles 
G-ustavus, Hans Rostgaard escaped by flight, but the 
magnanimous minister of the gospel, Henry Gerner, 
was put on the rack, and asked questions about the 
plans and operations of the Danish army, which he, 
nevertheless, obstinately declined revealing. 

Under command of the generals Schack and Gi/ldeti- 
love, the chief captain of the city, Thureson and the 
king himself, the citizens of Copenhagen continued to 
defend the city in the most heroic manner, but began 
soon to suffer from want of provisions. Meanwhile 
the Dutch fleet arrived, under Admiral Opdam, to the 
assistance of the Danes, carrying brave soldiers and 
plenty of victuals. On the 24th of October the a. d., 
fleet came booming through the narrow sound, I'^^s. 
under a terrible shower of cannon balls from Kronborg, 
whence the Swedish general, Wrangel, tried to prevent 
the passage of Opdam and his fleet, but in vain. After 
having totally defeated "VVrangel, Opdam arrived safe in 
Copenhagen, where the most boundless rejoicing took 
place. Te Deums were sung in all the churches, and 
fresh spirit and courage quickened every soul. 


The siege having lasted half a year without any issue, 
Charles G-ustavus now resolved to take the capital by a 
general storm and a violent onset, making the most 
desperate preparations, and promising his troops, if 
victorious, the plunder of Copenhagen for three days. 
He ordered his soldiers to put on white shirts, that the 
besieged might not distinguish them on the snow-covered 
ground, and bade them not to spare even the child in 
A. D., the mother's womb. The night between the 10th 
1659. and 11th of February was appointed • for that 
wholesale slaughter, which he had in view. But the 
result disappointed his expectations. The undaunted 
Frederick III. being informed of the plans of the Swedes 
by the patriotic Lorentz Tuxen, receiver of taxes in 
Hirchholm, made the most skillful preparations, and his 
military talents had here, undeniably, the noblest field 
for their exertion, as his antagonist, Charles Grustavus, 
was deservedly ranked among the greatest commanders 
in Europe. In that frightful night king Frederick III. 
was present himself wheresoever the danger was 
greatest, and the talent he displayed in bringing the 
siege of Copenhagen to a happy issue has immortalized 
his memory, as well as that of its brave citizens. Even 
the queen, the proud Sophia Amalia, arrayed in a mili- 
tary dress, was all the night on horseback, encouraging 
both the soldiers and citizens to shed the last drop of 
their blood for king and fatherland. 

Maddened by the thirst for victory, the Swedish sol- 


diers fought with a bravery almost unheard of; the 
massacre was dreadful, and the Swedish historian, La- 
gerbring, says, that Charles G-ustavus kept up so con- 
stant a discharge of artillery, that had each hundredth 
ball hit the mark, not a single Dane would have been 
left. The Danes, excited to frenzy by the agonies their 
eyes beheld and the lamentations their ears drank in, 
fought with the most desperate bravery, and after a 
heroic resistance forced, Charles Gustavus to raise the 
siege of Copenhagen. 

For the important services the citizens of Copenhagen 
had rendered, Frederick III. conferred upon them great 
prerogatives and privileges, equal to those of the nobility. 
Few enterprises were ever more deeply weighed than 
that of Charles G-ustavus, few preceded by more im- 
mense preparations, and few, perhaps, ever attended 
with a more unfortunate issue. And here it may not be 
out of place to use the words of the Spanish writer, 
Bentivoglio : "So often the Divine Providence, in the 
wisdom of his impenetrable decrees, has determined the 
fate of an enterprise quite contrary to the presumptuous 
expectations of human foresight." Also, in other places 
did the Swedes suffer great losses. The inhabitants of 
the island of Bornholm drove out the Swedish garrison, 
and threw off the Swedish yoke. Likewise, from the 
diocese of Trondhjem, Norway, the Swedes were turned 
out, and the citizens of Frederikshald, Norway, bravely 
defended their town a2:ainst three different attacks of 


the Swedes. Nakskoiv, on the island of Laaland, which 
in the former war so rashly had surrendered, now 
compensated for it hy a heroic and ohstinate defence of 
thirteen weeks ; even the small island Moen, South of 
Sjelland, made a valiant resistance. Finally, the con- 
federated troops arrived to the assistance of Denmark ; 
the elector Frederick Wilhelm, of Brandenburg, at the 
head of thirty thousand men, clearing almost the whole 
peninsula of Jutland from enemies. 

Undaunted by all these misfortunes, Charles Gusta- 
vus, although finding himself surrounded with mighty 
enemies, formed a new plan for the destruction of his 
hated rival, Frederick III. Marching a considerable 
body of soldiers to the island of Fyen (Funen), where, 
close by the city of Nyborg, a Danish army of ten 
thousand men was encamped, Charles ordered his gene- 
ral. Count Steenbuck, to attack the Danes in their 
intrenchments. A battle was now inevitable, and both 
armies prepared for the contest with equal courage. 
The battle was brief, but fierce, and after a dreadful 
combat of about four hours' duration, the Swedish army 
was irretrievably ruined ; four thousand of their best 
troops were left dead on the field, three thousand were 
taken prisoners, and about two thousand of the fugitives 
were soon after forced to surrender on the coast, from 
want of boats to cross the Great Belt. Only General 
Steenbuck escaped by flight. When intelligence of this 
defeat was conveyed to Charles Gustavus, who tarried 



in Korsor in Sjelland, he laconically exclaimed : " Since 
the devil has taken away the sheep, he might as well 
also have taken the buck." Charles Gustavus now 
repaired to G-othenhurg, from whence he made an 
irruption into Norway, but without avail, only to learn 
the downfall of all his expectations. Shortly after, he 
died, in the year 1660, full of grief that his visionary 
designs had proved unsuccessful ; whereafter negotia- 
tions for peace were commenced with Sweden, a. d., 
and a treaty was concluded in Copenhagen on '^'^^^■ 
the 27th of May, on terms, which, though severe, were 
more favorable than Frederick III., under the circum- 
stances, could reasonably have hoped. Sweden retained 
Bahus, as also the three fertile provinces, Skane, Hal- 
land and Bleking, which Denmark never has got again ; 
only Trondhjem in Norway, and the island of Bornholm 
were restored to Denmark, the execution of tliis treaty 
being guaranteed by Holland, England and France. 
Thus the bloody war with Sweden terminated, just as 
Denmark was upon the very brink of her ruin. 


TIL THE YEAR 1852. 1660—1852. 


Frederick III. — The Diet of Copenhagen — The Charter annihilated and Abso- 
lute Sovereignty introduced — Kay Lykke — Corfitz Ulfeldt — Eleonora 
Christina — Dispute with Christian Albrecht of Gottorp — Christian V. — 
Acquisition of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst — "War with Sweden and 
France — Niels Juel — Peace of Lund and Fontainebleau — Griffenfeldt — 
Ole Eomer — The Peasantry — Oluf Eosenkranz — Masius and Bagger — 
Frederick IV. — War with the Duke of Gottorp — Peace of Travendal — 
Eleven Years' War with Sweden — Tordenskjold — Peace of Fredericsborg 
• — Hostile Terms with Russia — Hans Egede — Science and the Arts — 
Christian VI. — The Peasantry — Ecclesiastical Affairs — School Affairs — 
Science and the Arts — The*Navy — Count Danneskjold Samso — Frederick 
V. — Hostile Terms with Russia — Peter IH. — Manufactures — Commercial 
and Financial Affairs — The Peasantry — Science and the Arts. 

The sanguinary struggle ended, a period followed, 
scarcely to be called a peace, although there was a ces- 
sation from open hostilities. Both kingdoms, Denmark 
and Norway, were in a sadly depressed condition ; the 
scene, that was everywhere presented, was a wide waste 
of ruin ; the countries were sunk in debt, and the 


soldiers had not received their washes, the commercial 
affairs were decaying, and the agriculture, of course, 
neglected. The nobility, enjoying all privileges and 
prerogatives, Vi^ould, as usual, he exempted from taxes, 
although best capable of paying them, and the popular 
frenzy was inflamed to the highest pitch. To pacify 
the minds and to find out means to remedy the misera- 
ble condition of his kingdoms, King Frederick III. 
convoked a Diet at Copenhagen on the 8th of a. d., 
September, being called the Revolution of Den- i^^*^- 
mark. During the sitting of the Diet the tyranny and 
unbecoming haughtiness of the aristocracy arose to such 
a height, that the clergy, the burgher class, and the 
peasantry, headed by Hannibal Sehested, the only no- 
bleman siding with the king, the senator, Henrik Bjelke, 
the honest mayor of Copenhagen, Nanson, the learned 
bishop Svane, and pastor Willadson of Slagelse, voted 
for the surrender of sovereignty to the king, and jan. lo, 
Frederick IIL, at the close of the Diet, almost a. D., 
without any effort of his own, was thus invested ^^^i. 
with absolute power, Denmark being now as absolute a 
monarchy as any other in the world. But it deserves 
here to be remarked, that the Danish sovereigns have 
generally exercised their extensive power with great 
moderation. Nevertheless, this excessive power of the 
crown, produced, at length, in the year 1849, the liberty 
of the people, gave rise to a spirit of union, and opened 
their eyes to the natural rights of mankind. 


The sovereignty thus surrendered to the king, a new 

and solemn contract hetw^een the king and the people, 

called Law for the King, and composed by the talented 

secretary, Peter Schumacher, under the follow^ing king 

Nov. 14, ennobled by the name of Griffenfeldt, was sub- 

A. D., scribed to by Frederick III., and declared an 

1665. inviolable law for both kingdoms, the principal 

articles of which law were : 

1. The king of Denmark and Norway shall indis- 
pensably profess the articles of the Lutheran creed, 
known by the name of the Confession of Augsburg 
[Confessio Augustana). 

2. The king must neither divide the kingdoms nor 
separate any province from them, but shall preserve 
their integrity. 

3. The king shall reside in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

4. The king is of age at thirteen years old, to control 
all affairs. 

5. The throne is hereditary, both in the male and 
female line, but it being never vacant in the eye of the 
law, the queen-dowager shall, if the king before his 
death should not have regulated the guardianship, from 
the very moment of his death, in conjunction with seven 
counselors of state, assume the reins of government as 
long as the young king is in his minority, and take care 
of his education. 

6. The most unlimited power of the government, 
both in ecclesiastical and secular matters, shall be 



lodged in the person of the king, who is above the 
reach of all courts of law, and not personally responsi- 
ble to any judicature but the bar of God for his acts 
and conduct in the administration of government. 

It need not be explained how greatly this investment 
of the king with absolute sovereignty curbed the no- 
bility, whose shameful ignorance, meanness and rebel- 
lious spirit had rendered them useless and contemptible 
both to the king and the nation. 

The praiseworthy men, above mentioned, who had 
mainly raised the king to an absolute sovereignty, obtain- 
ed the most palpable evidences of his gratitude : Svane 
being given the title of archbishop and extensive real 
estates; and Nanson, Hannibal- SehesiecU^ and Willad- 
son likewise presented with donations and high offices, 
in reward of their important services. New measures 
for improving the administration of the state affairs 
were now taken. The whole frame of government was 
altered altogether, many affairs, which before had be- 
longed to the senate, being divided amongst various 
colleges [collegia), in which, by authority of the king's 
writ, the burgher class as well as the nobility could be 
invested with offices. Said colleges were : the college 
of state, intrusted with the administration of foreign 
affairs and with the care of maintaining the new con- 
stitution and the interests of the royal house ; the sacred 
college, invested with power to confer the ecclesiastical 
offices on qualffied persons ; the college of justice, to 


which pertained the judicial power and the regulation 
of the police ; the college of treasury, to administer 
the finances and the levying of taxes ; the college of 
war, to which the army was suhject ; and the admiralty 
college, having the naval affairs under its direction. 
But whatsoever the colleges had decided upon, was, for 
getting legal strength and force, first to be laid before 
the king himself, and have his signature affixed to it. 
The legislative power belonged to the king alone, that 
is, the power of making laws, of abrogating them, or of 
changing them. 

Besides these colleges, the supreme court was in- 
stituted, which became the highest tribunal, its presi- 
dent being the kmg liimself. Frederick III. now em- 
ployed all his efforts for mtroducing a more economical 
system, and remedying the prevailing scarcity of money, 
the proud nobility, hitherto exempt from taxes, being de- 
clared tributary as well as the peasantry, which consid- 
erably contributed to settle the confused financial affaus. 
There remains to be mentioned, that the code of posi- 
tive law needed a transformation according to the ma- 
terial alteration the government had undergone, for the 
performance of which the king appointed a committee, 
which reviewed the earlier laws and elaborated a new 
code or collection of laws ; which important work was 
finished in the space of eight years by Rasmus Winding, 
professor of law, and Peter Lasson, justiciary of the 
supreme court, the code itself, however, first being pub- 
lished during the reisjn of Christian V. 


"We must now take a brief retrospect of the affairs 
of the treacherous Corjitz Ulfeldt, one of the most ex- 
traordinary men that ever appeared on the stage of hu- 
man life. After the peace was concluded in the year 
1660, Ulfeldt had made himself suspected even in Swe- 
den of being a clandestine adherent of Denmark. His 
property, therefore, being confiscated in Sweden, he fled 
with wife and children to Copenhagen, just at the time 
the sovereignty was to be surrendered to the king. 
Being here at liberty for a short time, he and his 
wife, through the instrumentality of his sworn enemy, . 
Hannibal Sehestedt, were suddenly imprisoned in the 
castle of Rosenborg, on the 3d of March, 1660, from 
whence they soon after were brought to the castle ot 
Hammershus, on the island of Bornholm, and locked up 
in a dark, subterranean prison, where Henri/ Fuchs, 
the lieutenant of the castle, for a time of fifteen months, 
treated them with such inhumanity and severity that 
Ulfeldt had to make a very submissive request to the 
king himself for a mitigation of their severe treatment. 
Count Frederick Ranzau was now sent to Bornholm to 
inquire into the matter. Ulfeldt and his wife were set 
at liberty on condition that he would solemnly promise 
never to undertake anything detrimental to the sovereign 
power of the king, and never, without permission, to 
leave the country. They arrived now again in Copen- 
hagen, whence they, on the 27th of December, 1661, 
went to the island of Fyen, to their beautiful manor, 


Ellensborg. Some time after, Ulfeldt, upon request, 
obtained permission fo go to Spaa, a celebrated watering- 
place in Belgium, but instead of it, he went with his 
wife and four sons to Amsterdam, where his lady, the 
magnanimous and faithful Christina Eleonora, left him 
for England, in order to claim a large amount of 
money with which Ulfeldt had supplied Charles II. On 
taking leave of her, 7th July, 1662, liis parting words 
were as follows : " You have been united with me in 
love, you have suffered with me in patience, you have 
•shared my hardships with manly perseverance, you have 
assisted me with kind advices in difficult cases, you 
have tried to lead my heart unto Him by whom kings 
reign and princes decree justice ; you have loved me 
even in the utmost miseries. I am now parting with 
you, but whatsoever might happen, do not forget to 
adhere to Him who is the ruler of adversities and the 
strengthener of love." They never more met each other 
on tliis side the grave. 

After she left, Ulfeldt, whose heart was full of hatred 
against the Danish king, engaged himself in treacherous 
negotiations with Holland, France, and Brandenburg, 
aiming at overthrowing the new constitution of Den- 
mark. But the elector of Brandenburg, Frederick 
Wilhelm, a personal and intimate friend of Frederick 
HI., informed, without delay, the Danish court of 
Ulfeldt's high treason, who instantly was sentenced to 
suffer death ; but it being impossible to get hold of him, 


he was decapitated in effigy, his sentence of condemna- 
tion heing written on the scaffold, his house in Copen- 
hagen pulled dowai, and a monument of infamy erected 
on the void place. 

No sooner was Ulfeldt informed of the sentence of 
death pronounced against him in Denmark, than he left 
Amsterdam and fled, crossing the Rhine to Brisac, 
where he died, aged sixty years, his conscience a. d., 
being burdened with the memory of crimes of i^^^- 
the deepest dye. His corpse was brought to a cloister 
near Neuburg, in Bavaria, whence his sons brought it, 
interring it secretly under a tree. He was a man of the 
greatest talents, a great linguist, an accomplished noble- 
man, and a sagacious diplomate ; but he was headstrong 
in his passions, imprudent, treacherous, and capricious, 
and his romantic spirit often led him into the most 
extravagant excesses. Ulfeldt's wife, the noble-minded 
Eleonora Christina, a splendid example of conjugal 
love, was by the English government delivered up to 
Denmark, and sent on board of a ship to Copenhagen, 
where the queen, Sophia Amalia, ordered her maid of 
honor to strip Eleonora of her clothes, after which she 
was imprisoned for twenty-three years in Bluetoiver, 
and all the time treated with every circumstance of 
severity. This action is the greatest stain upon the 
memory of the queen, who ought to have respected the 
unhappy lady for that which was her only offence — a 

noble faithfulness in sharing the fate of her husband. 



Immediately after the death of the queen, the suc- 
ceeding king released Eleonora from imprisonment, 
in 1685, presenting her with the palace of Maribo, 
on the island of Laaland, and with an annual allowance 
of fifteen hundred rixdollars. Here she lived for thir- 
teen years in literary occupations and pious contempla- 
tions, until she died on the 16th of ]\Iay, 1698, aged 
seventy-seven years. Her biography, composed hy 
herself, she finishes with the following words : " Per- 
secutions followed my husband of blessed memory ; I 
followed him, and afflictions, therefore, followed me : 
mats la tristesse donne occasio7i a la patience. Death 
will be acceptable to me ; nevertheless I do not wish 
for it, but agree with the Latin proverb : 

Eebus in adversis facile est contemnere mortem : 
Fortius ille faeit qui miser esse potest." 

She is buried in Maribo cemetery, the words she 
herself had wished being engraved on the tombstone : 
" Unless Thy law had been my delight, I should have 
perished in mine affliction. Ps. cxix. 93." 

Although the absolute power, as above mentioned, 
was generally exercised by Frederick III. and his suc- 
cessors with great moderation, he seems, ilevertheless, 
especially immediately after having obtained this 
power, to have held the highest notions of liis sove- 
reignty, and to have exerted his authority with rigor. 
A rich and esteemed nobleman, Kay Lykke^ had in a 


private letter mentioned the queen in offensive terms. 
Though humbly imploring mercy and forgiveness for his 
temerity and inoonsiderateness, he was sentenced to 
suffer death; but having seasonably escaped by flight 
the capital punishment, he was executed in effigy, 
his large estates being confiscated in behalf of the 
crown. . Ckmde Rosenkranz, an accomplished and 
honest nobleman and senator, having often deserved 
well of his country, was without mercy banished, only 
for being at variance with the king's favorite, Heyiry 
Gabel; and for the unexampled severity shown against 
the -innocent countess, Eleonora Christina Ulfeldt, the 
king is highly to be blamed. 

For the rest, Frederick III. took energetic care for 
the welfare of his kingdoms, commencing rapidly, 
during his reign, to emerge from the weakness and 
enervation into which they had been plunged by the 
Swedish invasion and subsequent wars. He reformed 
the laws, and encouraged commerce by establishing 
trade with Guinea, on the western coast of Africa, and 
with the West Indies. The king himself, being a man 
of letters, patronized science and the arts, and estab- 
lished the royal library, one of the greatest in Europe, 
now containing four hundred thousand volumes, and 
the university library was considerably enlarged. The 
fleet, almost entirely disabled in the last war, was 
excellently fitted up by a Norwegian, Cort Adler, who 
in Venetian service against the Turks, had immortalized 


himself by the most undaunted courage in many naval 
engagements. But a most heavy burden on the 
country was the standing army, which was now aug- 
mented to twenty-four thousand men, kept in constant 
pay ; and the king, who, with all his superiority of 
genius and extensive knowledge, firmly believed in the 
possibility of the transmutation of metals into gold, 
wasted not a httle of the national revenue in vain on 
costly alchemical experiments, conducted by Burrhi, 
an Italian professor of that imaginary science, with 
which so many of even the superior minds were in that 
age infatuated. 

Frederick III. inherited Oldenburg and Delmenhorst 
and bought Sonderborg, Nordborg, and the island of Aro, 
in the Baltic. In the latter part of his reign hostilities 
were about to break out with Charles II. of England, as 
an English admiral had attacked a Dutch commercial 
fleet, wliich had fled for refuge to a harbor in Norway ; 
A. D., the conclusion, however, of a peace at Breda, 
16C7. in Holland, dissipating the alarm. But soon a 
serious misunderstanding arose between Frederick and 
Christian Albrecht, duke of G-ottorp. The new relation 
into which the dukes of Grottorp, because of the sove- 
reignty surrendered to the king, had come to Denmark, 
occasioned freqvient collisions ; and Christian Albrecht, 
having made an alliance with Charles XI. of Sweden, 
was more prone to strife than to submission. The 


dispute, however, was settled by the Recess of a. d., 
Gluckstadt, the friendship being confirmed by a '^^^'^■ 
marriage between the duke and the daughter of the 
king, Fredericka Amalia. 

Frederick III. died after a remarkable reign a. d., 
of twenty-two years. Upon the whole, having ^^'^'^■ 
distmguished himself by firm principles, manliness, 
prudence, and judiciousness, he nevertheless often 
showed, as above mentioned, a blamable severity, 
mainly, perhaps, to be ascribed to the undue influence 
his queen, the haughty Sophie Amalia, exercised upon 
him. He is also to be blamed for having surrounded 
himself too much with G-erman favorites, and neglected 
the mother tongue to such a degree, that the crown 
prince for a long while did not understand Danish. 
Neither was it slightly to his discredit that he nearly all 
the time lived in prohibited sexual commerce with 
different concubines. 

Christian V. succeeded to the Danish crown a. d., 
on the death of his father. He commenced liis i*^'^^- 
reign by adopting a policy entirely contrary to that 
system of equality, which had begun to take place 
during the reign of Frederick HI., the new king being 
unfavorable, as it will appear, to the people's liberties, 
but in favor of the higher orders of the state, which now 
again would have everything at their disposal. The 
nobility, having been made tributary from compulsion, 
during the reign of Frederick HI., was now, by Chris- 


tian Y., exempted from paying taxes, and not alone 
restored to their ancient rights and privileges, hut 
several new prerogatives were conferred upon counts 
and harons, the lower orders of the state heing consid- 
ered only as a part of the property helonging to the real 
estates. Amongst these prerogatives were : 

Right of patronage {jus vocandi), consisting in 
freedom to confer a vacant pastorate on their estates 
upon any candidate for orders the nohleman might 
please to select — a right very often misapplied in the 
most shameful and conscienceless manner, the nohle- 
man frequently offering a pastorate to a young candidate 
upon condition that he should marry a woman de- 
bauched by the lewd nohleman himself ; right of juris- 
diction, that is, an exclusive privilege of appointing any 
judge on their estates they might wish — a right, likewise, 
often misused ; exemption from paying tithes of their 
manors to the clergy ; and power of life and death over 
their peasants, that is,' it was left to the disposition of 
the nohleman to order a peasant to he scourged and 

All these shameful privileges granted to these dregs 
of society were, in fact, the very cause of the subsequent 
freedom of the Danish nation, which at length, roused 
out of sleep, shook off the unjust yoke to which they, 
for centuries, had been subjected. 

Christian V. established also a distinction of ratiks 
ami honor, which he considered an essential benefit to 


the state, as furnishing a reward for puhlic services and 
captivating to the ambition of individuals, who thereby 
might be prompted to distinguish themselves in service 
of their country ; but although undeniably thereby was 
given an incitement to many to exert themselves lauda- 
bly, it nevertheless imposed a great burden on the com- 
munity, a new order thereby being established, invested 
with new privileges and immunities, not to mention the 
impure emulation and vanity it produced. He also 
instituted two new orders of knighthood : the orders of 
Dannebrog and of the Elephant, with the latter of which 
only kings, princes, dukes and noblemen were decorated. 
Upon the whole, the gay humor of the French, and that 
spirit of levity and luxury which was prevailing at the 
court of Louis XIV., was never more conspicuous in 
Denmark than during the reign of Christian V., who 
himself loved the lusts of the flesh and the lust of the 
eyes and the pride of life, but cared not very much for 
matters relative to salvation. 

The good terms on which Denmark, by the Recess 
of Gliickstadt, had come to Christian Albrecht, duke 
of Gottorp, commenced now again to be subverted by 
disputes concerning Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, which 
the last count, Anthon Guntlter, by his will before his 
death, had divided between the king of Denmark and 
the duke of Gottorp ; but Joachim Ernst, duke of 
Ploen, in Holstein, believing himself more entitled, laid 
claims to the said earldoms, and appealed to the empe- 


ror's bench. For averting the danger, which was 
threatening, the wise diplomate, Griffenfeldt, whom 
Louis XIV. called the world's greatest statesman, nego- 
tiated with the duke of Ploen and prevailed upon him 
to resign his claims, by which means Christian V. 
decidedly became the master of both earldoms; which 
exasperated Christian Albrecht to such a degree as to 
prepare himself to strike a decisive blow against Den- 
mark. But Christian V., by virtue of his au- a.d., 
thority as sovereign king, cited him to meet in '^^''^^ 
Rendsburg, where he was compelled to make an agree-- 
ment, according to which he had to give up his troops 
and fortresses to the king, as also to pass his word for 
refraining from all hostilities. 

At the same time the arbitrary designs of Louis XIV. 
had excited universal dissatisfaction, and alliances were 
formed to resist his designs and successes, which 
alarmed all Europe. A triple alliance was formed be- 
tween England, Holland and Sweden, to compel Louis to 
make peace with Spain, and the union of these powers 
being too formidable to be opposed, a treaty was signed. 
But other projects soon occupied the monarch of France, 
whose designs against the dominions of Spain had been 
checked by means of the triple alliance. He meditated 
now the conquest of Holland, and took every measure 
necessary for so great an enterprise. England and 
Sweden entered into his views, while the German em- 
peror, Le»pold I., and the Elector of Brandenburg, 


Frederick Wilhelm, took up arms to protect Holland 
and rescue it from destruction. Griffenfeldt advised 
the Danish king, Christian V., to maintain a wise neu- 
trality, and keep up good terms with Sweden, which 
had joined the mighty France. 

But from an ardent desire of reconquering the lost 
provinces in Sweden, Christian V., disposed to war 
himself, and instigated hy the Elector of Brandenburg, 
declared war against France and Charles XI. of a. d., 
Sweden, whose troops lately had been defeated ^^''^■ 
*at Fehrbellin in Brandenburg, Denmark thus again 
being involved in a horrible war. The Danish king, 
not daunted by the power of his enemies, opened the 
theatre of the war m Germany, although Grriffenfeldt 
advised the king rather to invade Skane, the inhabitants 
of which were yet in favor of Denmark. After many 
toilsome tasks, the strong fortress, Wismar, was taken, 
especially by G-rifFenfeldt's constancy, and Bremen- and 
Werden were also conquered by the Danish and Bran- 
denburg troops. Next year the war commenced in 
Skane, and Christian V. launched his fleet, now excel- 
lently equipped and fitted out, into the Baltic, and 
during the continuance of this war, the Danish navy 
rode triumphant, and gained a decided superiority over 
the Swedish fleet. The great Danish admiral Niels 
Juel, in whom every endowment of nature necessary to 
form a consummate warrior seems to have been cen- 
tered, conquered the important island, Gidland, and 



A D., co-operating with the Dutch admhal, Tromp, he 
i'^"'^- totally defeated, in a most desperate engagement, 
the whole Swedish fleet at the island of Oeland, whereby 
the king was enabled to carry his army to Skane, where 
in the beginning, he went on with brilliant success, 
conquering the greatest part of Skane and Bleking, and 
several strong fortresses. 

But fortune soon turned her back upon him. The 

Swedish king, Charles XL, endowed with military talent, 

as were almost all the kings of the illustrious house of 

Vasa, and with an intrepid and enterprising mind, arose* 

now like a phenix from its ashes, and defended himself 

with great ability and success. A Danish army was 

A. D., defeated by Charles, at Halmstad, and in the 

1^"^- next year two battles were fought near Lund 

and Landscrona, where both kings commanded in per- 

A. D., son. The battles were brief, but, for their dura- 

^*^"''- tion, the most sanguinary on record; the victory, 

towards the last, remained doubtful, when suddenly, 

Charles XL, amusing the Danish left wing by a feigned 

attack, poured his infantry, in masses, on the centre ; 

they encountered the bravest resistance, but the Swedish 

king, bringing up the cavalry just as the Danish lines 

began to waver, broke through them with a headlong 

charge, and in a few moments the Danish army was a 

helpless mass of confusion. 

The result of this brilliant victory was the immediate 
conquest of the lost fortresses, except Christianstad, 


which for a long time was defended with great heroism 
by the Danish general, Vo?i Osfen; who, nevertheless, 
as his assistant. General Ahrensdorff, neglected his duty 
altogether, had to surrender that strong fortress to the 
Swedish king, and every thing now seemed short of 
success for Denmark. The wise and intelligent Griffen- 
feldt stood no more by the king's side ; he had been 
removed partly by his own crimes, partly by secret 
intrigues of his enemies, the king now trusting only in 
his inefficient German favorites, Hahn, A/ilefeldt, and 
Ahrensdorff, who assisted him in his immoral dissipa- 
tions and irregular course of life. 

Notwithstanding all looking very dark for Denmark, 
Christian V. attempted to retrieve his losses in a new 
campaign, and sent his half brother, Ulrik Frederick 
Gilldenlove, a natural son of Frederick III., to Norway, 
which had been attacked by the Swedes. Giildenlove 
acquitted himself bravely and with success, soon after 
conquered Jemteland, made his way through Bahus and 
Halland, and took by storm the strong rocky fortress, 
Carlsteen, situated by the Cattegat, while at the same 
time the brave General LovenJijelm entirely defeated a 
superior Swedish army at Uddevalle, in the province of 
Bahus. The rays of the sun seemed again to smile on 
Denmark, her navy continuing to ride triumphant 
wheresoever she came in engagement. The celebrated 
Niels Juel gained a new victory over the Swedes at 
Kolberg- PJied, close by the island of Femern, and a 


A.D., month after, he immortalized his name by en- 

1677. tirely destroying the Swedish fleet in the hay of 
Kjoge^ by Sjelland. The latter, numbering forty-six 
men-of-war, attacked the Danish fleet, moored in a 
formidable position in the bay, but, after a desperate 
contest, every Swedish ship that had a share in the 
engagement was taken or destroyed, the Swedes being 
humbled considerably by this loss. 

A. D., In the meantime, conferences taking place at 

1678. Nimvegen, and peace with France being made, 
Denmark also had to consent to peace with Sweden, in 

A. D., Lund, and the same year with France, at Fon- 

1679. tainehleau. On account of the interference of 
France, who would not permit her ally, Sweden, to 
suffer any loss, Denmark got nothing for all her great 
victories at sea, but had even to promise to replace the 
rebellious Christian Albrecht of Gottorp in his former 
rights. The good footing between the two neighboring 
kingdoms now seemed to be firmly established, Charles 
V. marrying Ulrikka Eleonora, a sister of the Danish 
king. After the restoration of peace, the king of Sweden 
tried to make himself as absolute as the kings of Den- 
mark, but he died prematurely, leaving his crown to 
his son, Charles XII., who has deservedly been styled 
the Alexander of the North, and who rivaled the fame 
of the most celebrated conquerors of antiquity. 

We shall now dwell a little on the fortunes and fate 
of the chief minister of Christian V., the sfreat Peter 


Griffenfeldt, whose Christian name was Schumanke): 
His father was a wine merchant in Copenhagen. His 
education commenced in the house of bishop Brock- 
man, where king Frederick IH. saw him, bestowed his 
favor upon him, and, perceiving him to be a young 
man possessed of a very considerable share of learning, 
and of uncommon acuteness of understanding, per- 
mitted him, at royal expense, to visit foreign universi- 
ties. Upon his return he was ennobled by Christian V., 
decorated with the order of the Elephant, and made 
lord high chancellor. Even the Grerman emperor, Leo- 
pold I., conferred upon him the title of landgrave. 

But there are never wanting those who are envious 
and jealous. His success procured him powerful ene- 
mies, who tried to get rid of him, and cast an aspersion 
upon his honor in the eyes of the king, who was weak 
and of a changeable mind. Griildenlove, half-brother of 
the king, bore an inveterate hatred against Griffenfeldt, 
because the latter had tried to counteract the detri- 
mental influence (liildenlove exercised on the king's 
morality. Another dangerous enemy was John Adolpli, 
duke of Ploen, whose daughter he had refused to marry ; 
Ahlefeldt, Halm, Knuth, and*other German favorites, also 
tried to undermine Griffenfeldt, in hope of profiting by 
his declension from greatness ; and the king himself 
appears not to have seen through the ungenerous policy 
of these crafty knaves, who were possessed of neither 
abilities nor virtue. Griffenfeldt was suddenly impris- 


A.D., oned, charged with leze majesty and simony; 

i''''*^- and also witli using abusive language against 
the king himself, the following words being found in 
his diary : " To-day the king has spoken as a child in 
the council of state ;" a circumstance which contributed 
in no slight degree to heighten the king's animosity 
against G-riffenfeldt. He was sentenced to suffer 
death, and his property to be confiscated ; a sentence, 
however, which three members of the Supreme Court 
deemed so iniquitous that they refused to subscribe to 
it. But only the minority of the court being in his favor, 
the king said, " Justice will take its course," and signed 
the warrant for the execution of the great statesman. 
A high scaffold was erected, but just as the executioner 
Avas about to strike the mortal blow, voices were heard 
on the staircase, crying " Pardon, in the name of his 
Majesty !" Grriffenfeldt, on hearing that the sentence 
of death was commuted to imprisonment for life, cried, 
" This mercy is more cruel than the capital punish- 
ment." Then he was brought to the citadel of Copen- 
hagen, where he was imprisoned for four years, whence 
he was sent to a prison on the island of Munkholm, in 
Drontheim Fjord, Norway, where he was kept for 
eighteen 'years, (1679-1698), and treated there all the 
time with the utmost degree of barbarous cruelty. He 
was set at liberty only a few months before his death, 
and died in Jutland, on Steensballe, a beautiful manor 
belonging to his son-in-law, baron Krag-, with whom he 


passed the last days of his wretched and toilsome life. 
From his early youth he distinguished himself by remark- 
able talents ; he spoke almost all modern languages, and 
even in his fourteenth year he wrote Latin with Cicero- 
nian perfection ; as a statesman he has never been 
surpassed. Louis XIV., of France, looked upon him 
as a genius of the highest order, and he undeniably 
wielded the diplomatic sceptre with a discrimination 
which no doubt saved Denmark and Norway from being 
involved in one common ruin. After his fall, the want 
of his rare talents was often deeply felt, the king him- 
self saying, " G-riffenfeldt alone better understood the 
welfare of my states than all my other counsellors to- 
gether." His administration was vigorous and useful, 
but his haughtiness and imprudence gave great offence 
to the Danish nobles, and was mainly the cause of the 
conspiracy being formed against him, of which Giilden- 
love, above mentioned, was the principal instigator ; and 
it is not to be denied that he wanted that prudence 
which should have taught him rather to yield to the 
necessity of the times, than, by obstinately maintaining 
his power, to risk an entire deprivation of it. 

According to the pacification of Lund, Chris- a. d., 
tian Albrecht was as we have seen to be replaced i*^"''- 
in his former rights, but new disputes arising. Christian 
V. marched his army into Schleswig, when, by the 
interference of other realms, the treaty of Altona a. d.. 
was brought about ; agreeably to which the ^*^89. 


rudely treated duke was allowed to return to his duke- 
dom from Hamburg, where for several years he had 
lived a retired life. Upon his death his son a. d., 
Frederick^ married to Hedevig Sophia, a sister i*^^*- 
to Sweden's warlike king, Charles XII., succeeded to 
the rule of the duchy, and relying upon his affinity to 
the king of Sweden, he picked a new quarrel with Den- 
mark, which shortly after the death of Christian V. 
created a most dangerous war. 

Like many of his predecessors, Christian V. had 
earnest controversies with Hamburg, which were com- 
posed, however, hy an agreement of Pinneberg, Ham- 
burg obliging herself to pay Denmark two hundred and 
twenty thousand rixdollars. The mighty Hanse Con- 
federacy now gradually declined, and this league, once 
so extensive as to preserve a monopoly of the Baltic 
trade, was now forced to share it with the merchants of 
England, Holland, Sweden, and Denmark, and included, 
in the seventeenth century, only the cities of Hamburg, 
Liibeck, and Bremen. 

In many branches of the internal administration of 
Denmark and Norway, important improvements were 
made during the reign of Christian Y. The new code, 
published in 1683, by name of Christian F.'s Danish 
Laiv, has been before mentioned. The celebrated 
mathematician, Ole RSmer, acquired great fame 
throughout Europe, by his ingenious astronomical in- 
struments, and by discovering the swiftness of the 



emanation of light from the sun, from whence the most 
important conclusions have been deduced. He also 
composed a new terrier, which became the basis of a 
more exact taxation of the lands of private persons. 
The navy and admiralty were excellently administered 
by Span and Janus Jiiel, a brother of the great admiral, 
and at the close of the Swedish war the Danish fleet 
numbered forty-eight men-of-war, duly equipped and 
fitted out. 

The able statesman, Sigfried Pless, regulated skill- 
fully the financial aftairs, which had fallen into great 
disorder during the war with Sweden. Nevertheless, at 
the death of Christian V., Denmark had run into a debt 
of one million of rixdollars, mainly to be ascribed to 
the king's military enterprises, which had been attended 
with a prodigious waste of treasure. To improve trade 
and manufactures, a College of Commerce was estab- 
lished, the East India Company was renewed, and 
commercial houses erected for Iceland, the Faroe isles, 
and Grreenland. The trade with the West Indies was 
enlarged by acquiring the two islands of St. Thomas 
and *S^. John ; and, on the whole, the Danish commerce 
was vigorously promoted in the latter part of the reign 
of Christian V., while most other maritime powers of 
Europe were entangled in wars. Fairs, or great mar- 
kets, were held at stated times, to which traders resorted 
from different quarters, and interchanged their several 
products or manufactures. This trade, however, being 


A. D., exposed to much trouble from the privateers of 
1^91- the helhgerent nations, Denmark made an alh- 
ance with Sweden, for the mutual protection of their 
commerce. For defence the old fortresses were refitted 
and some new ones founded ; amongst others, the for- 
tress of Clwistianso, near the island of Bornholm. The 
police and the fire-companies were better regulated, and 
Copenhagen was beautified by laying out new streets 
and by the erection of the splendid palaces, Charlotten- 
horg and Amalienborg. Uniform measures and weights 
were fully introduced, the common roads measured, 
and the means of conveyance bettered. 

But the peasantry and agriculture, during the reign 
of Christian V., were in a most lamentable condition, 
the country not producing sufficient to satisfy her own 
necessities. The peasants were compelled to serve 
without wages, whenever the noblemen thought it proper 
to send for them, their own work often thereby being 
neglected. The overweening self-confidence and pride 
of the nobles disdained any co-operation with the lower 
orders ; the nobles filled the highest offices in the state ; 
they appointed judges in their domains for the cogni- 
zance of certain civil causes, and exercised an unlimited 
criminal jurisdiction over their peasants, on whom they 
occasionally inflicted even capital punishment. The 
nobility we^e also exempt from taxation, except in case 
of war, nor could they be imprisoned, though their 
estates might be sequestered for debt. The peasants 


were in perfect bondage to their masters, who, when 
displeased with them, could, without any judicial 
inquiry, fetter them, and send them for one year to the 
house of correction. The whole was a system of oppres- 
sion, and exerted a fatal influence on the character of 
society in general, the great mass of the population, 
under the thraldom of this system, sinking into the 
deepest ignorance. 

Nevertheless, wliile inhumanity and oppression held 
undisputed sway, the sentiment of independence, and 
the feelings of personal consequence and dignity, were 
fermenting in the mass of the people, and at 
length let in those first rays of light, which dispelled 
barbarism, and intl*oduced that liberty of which the 
Danish nation, since the year 1849, can rightfully boast. 

Science and the arts were not patronized by Christian 
v., who himself had no relish at all for them, whereas 
some private men protected literature and took care of 
its cultivators. Ole Borch erected a spacious building, 
called the Collegium Mediceum, appropriated to the use 
of sixteen indigent students, and George Ehlers, a like 
edifice, called Collegium Ehler'tii, both of them be- 
queathing rich legacies to the students. But the liberty 
of the press was under the severest control, censors being 
appointed and empowered to examine all manuscripts 
before they were printed, and to see that they did not 
contain anything offensive to the king's absolute power, 
every expression containing the least opposition to the 



sovereignty being looked suspiciously upon, and at times 
severely punished. A learned nobleman, Oluf Rosen- 
kranz, puMislied a small book entitled, "Defence of 
the Danish Nobility," which historical work caused a 
law suit against him, and by the supreme court he was 
sentenced to be deposed from his office, to recant, and 
his fief to be confiscated, all of which was executed 
except the forfeiture of the fief, w"hich was commuted 
for a penalty of twenty thousand rixdollars. A like 
instance did appear in a literary controversy between 
Masius, court-chaplain of Copenhagen, and the great 
philosopher, Thomasius, of Halle, Germany : Masius 
having explained, that the king's absolute power origi- 
nated immediately from G-od, while' Thomasius insisted 
that it was originally yielded to the king by the people. 
This work of Thomasius was publicly burnt by the exe- 

In reference to religious matters a mean intolerance 
prevailed. The celebrated edict of Nantes, 1598, had, 
as we know, been issued by Henry iV., of France, 
giving the Huguenots (Protestants) liberty of conscience, 
and had been confirmed by Louis XHI., under certain 
restrictions with regard to public worship. But Louis 
XIV., by a display of ferocious bigotry, revoked the 
edict, and nearly four hundred thousand of the Hugue- 
nots abandoned their country, some of whom solicited 
the Danish king, Christian V., for permission to settle 
in Denmark. The Huguenots beino: of the Reformed 


Church, were, however, by the bigoted interposition of 
Bishop Bagger, and the court chaplain, Masius, not 
granted their request, but had to remove into other lands, 
Denmark thus losing many subjects of wealth, commer- 
cial intelligence, and manufacturing industry. Never- 
theless, some time after, the queen, Charlotte Amalia, 
belonging herself to the Reformed Church, interceded 
for them with the king, and procured them permis- 
sion to settle m Copenhagen, and a Reformed a. d., 
church was erected, the queen herself paying two I'^'^s. 
clergymen, a Frenchman and a Grerman, a yearly salary, 
and at her death bequeathing a considerable sum of 
money to the congregation. But not many availed 
themselves of this permission, and those who arrived in 
Copenhagen were oppressed in different ways. Christian 
V. was married to Charlotte Amalia, a daughter of 
Landegrave Willielm IV., of Hesse Cassel, an intelli- 
gent, pious, and virtuous queen, exercising, however, 
only a little influence upon the king, who lived in open 
concubinage with a lascivious girl, Sophia Amalia 
Moth, whom he exalted to be Countess of Samso, and by 
whom he begot several spurious children. After a. d., 
a reign of twenty-nine years, Christian Y. died, i^^^- 
leaving his kingdom greatly indebted, and a court highly 
corrupted in morals. The Grerman language got a 
greater ascendency over the mother tongue than ever 
before ; German was the court language, and Grermans 
filled the highest offices in the state. 


After the death of Christian V,, the sceptre passed to 
A. D., the hands of his son, Frederick IV., who, not- 

1699. withstanding the rudeness and imperfection of 
his education, very soon exhibited proofs of that genius, 
frugahty, and assiduity hy which he became one of 
Denmark's most able and excellent kings. The first 
object of his attention was how to manage the rebel- 
lious duke, Frederick of Gottorp, who, relying on his 
affinity to Charles XII., of Sweden, defied Denmark in 
every way, made alliance with Hanover, erected fortifi- 
cations, and carried Swedish troops into the country. 
To compel the duke to submit, Frederick IV. entered 
into a secret alliance against Sweden with Peter the 
Great,, of Russia, and Augustus, elector of Saxony, 
who had succeeded John Sobiesky on the throne of 
Poland, marched an army to the duchy of Schleswig, 
and commenced to lay siege to the fortress of Ton- 
ning-en, and it was not doubted, that the duke and 
Sweden both would fall victims to so formidable an 
alliance. But the progress of the Danes was slower 
than they expected, the duke being supported by 
Swedish and Hanoverian troops, and, in the midst of 
his career, the Danish king was arrested in his opera- 
tions by intelligence of the dangers which menaced his 
own capital, which was just now on the point of being 
taken. The young king of Sweden, Charles XII., only 
eighteen years of age, soon unveiling his admirable 
military talents, and undaunted by the power of the 


league, resolved to cany the war into the dominions 
of Denmark, and landed immediately upon the island 
of Sjelland, on which Copenhagen is situated, \Miile 
his fleet, strengthened by a Dutch and English squadron 
of ships, which William III., kmg of England and 
stadtholder of Holland had sent, bombarded Copenha- 
gen. Frederick IV., cut off from his dominions by the 
Swedish cruisers, and alarmed by the imminent danger 
of his navy and beautiful capital, thought himself 
happy to save his kingdom by indemnifying the a. v., 
Duke of G-ottorp, and purchasing a peace at I'^^O- 
Trave7idal, highly honorable to the Swedes, and left 
his Russian and Polish allies, who had not duly assisted 
him, to continue the contest with Charles XII., the 
young Alexander of the North, who for a long time 
did not permit them to enjoy a moment of ease or re- 
laxation. The terms of peace were : Denmark should 
acknowledge the Duke's sovereignty m his dukedom, 
and his right to erect fortresses, keep troops, and make 
alliances with foreign powers, and payliim two hundred 
and sixty thousand rixdollars, to defray the charges of 
the war. But two years after the peace of Travendal, 
duke Frederick of Grottorp, who fought for his a. d., 
brother-in-law, Charles XII., fell in the battle i'^02». 
of Clissain, in Poland, and the duchess-dowager gov- 
erned the dukedom in the minority of her son, Charles 
Frederick, when events soon now came to pass, un- 
expectedly deciding the long contests between the dukes 


of Gottorp and the kings of Denmark. After having 
humbled Denmark, and ah-eady, at the age of eighteen, 
rendered his name the terror of the North, and the ad- 
miration of Europe, Charles XII. resolved to turn his 
arms against the Russians, whom the heroic king of 
Sweden totally defeated at Narva, after a contest of 
three hours' duration, all the artillery, baggage, and 
ammunition of the Russians becoming the prey of the 

Having wintered at Narva, Charles XII. marched 
against the Poles and Saxons, and formed the project 
of dethroning king Augustus, and placing another upon 
the throne. His designs were seconded by the misera- 
ble state of Poland, and by the dissatisfaction of the 
Poles with their king, Augustus, from the undisguised 
preference which he showed for his Saxon subjects ; and 
to add to this, the primate of Poland, Radzreivtski/, 
secretly meditated a revolution, and entered immediately 
into the views of the king of Sweden, who, without 
difficulty, made himself master of "Warsaw, in July, 
1702. Augustus, convinced that he could only protect 
his crown by the sword, led his army to meet the 
Swedes at Clissaw, above mentioned, where he, how- 
eirer, was forced to fly, after having made in vain the 
most heroic efforts to rally his troops. 

A second triumph at Pultusk gave such encourage- 
ment to the enemies of Augustus, that in the yeas 1704 
the throne of Poland was declared vacant, which Charles 


XIL now ga^e to Stanislaus Leczmski, a young noble- 
man of Posnania ; and when the Poles hesitated a little- 
on account of his youth, Charles XII. said : " If I am 
not mistaken, he is as old as I am." Then the king of 
Sweden turned liis arms against Peter the Great of 
Russia, who was making some ineffectual efforts to re- 
vfve the party of Augustus, and at the head of forty-five 
thousand men he entered Lithuania, and carried every- 
thing before him, defeating an army of twenty thousand 
Russians, strongly intrenched. 

Intoxicated by success, he rejected the Czar's offers 
of peace, bluntly declaring that he would negotiate with 
the Czar in his capital of Moscow. When Peter the 
G-reat was informed of this haughty answer, he coolly 
replied : " My brother Charles affects to play the part of 
Alexander, but I hope he will not find in me a Darius." 
Peter prevented the advance of the Swedes, on the direct 
line, by breaking up the roads and wasting the country, 
and Charles XII., after crossing the Dnieper, and en- 
during great privations in the midst of a hostile and 
almost desolate country, and in the midst of one of the 
severest winters ever known in Europe, found it im- 
practicable to continue his march to Moscow. 

Nevertheless, undaunted by these obstacles, he adopted 

the extraordinary resolution of passing into the Ukraine, 

and laying siege to Pultowa, a fortified city on the 

frontier. Leaving some thousand men to guard the 

works, Charles ordered his soldiers to march and meet 


A. D., the Russians, who were advancing to raise nie 

1709. siege. On the 8th of July, a desperate contest 
took place, but after a dreadful combat of two hours 
the Swedish army was irretrievably ruined, and Charles 
XII., who thus in one day had lost the fruits of nearly 
nine years of successful warfare, had to escape as a 
helpless fugitive with three hundred horsemen to Ben- 
der, a Turkish town in Bessarabia, abandoning all his 
treasures to his rival, Peter the Great, whom he now 
had taught how to conquer him. 

Under these circumstances, Denmark thought it a 
proper opportunity to regain the lost provinces of Skane, 
Halland, and Bleking, and king Frederic lY., after a 
short interview with Augustus in Dresden, entered into 
a league with Poland, Saxony, and Russia against Swe- 
den. The Danish monarch invaded Skane, but liis 
troops were in the beginning- of the following year de- 
feated by the Swedish army, principally consisting of 
young boys, commanded by the brave General Steen- 
buck. This victory again quickening the Swedes, was 
A. D., won close by Helsingborg, over against Else- 

1710. nore, and transported Charles XII. to such a 
degree, that when intelligence of it was conveyed to 
him in his exile he exclaimed, " My brave Swedes ! 
should Grod permit me to join you once more, we will 
beat them all !" Then the war was carried over to Ger- 
many, where the Danes conquered the two counties, 
Bremen and "Werden, together with other Swedish pes- 


sessions, while the fortresses, Stettin and Stralsund, in 
Swedish Pomerania, were besieged in vain ; and next 
year ftie Swedes, under General Steenhuck, gained a 
brilliant victory over the united forces of the a.d., 
Danes and Saxons, at Gadebusch, in the duchy i'^^^. 
of Mecklenburg. Not able, however, to master the 
troops of the allied powers, Steenbuck had to retire to 
the fortress of Tonning, in Sclileswig, but on the way 
thither he sullied his fame by burning the defenceless 
city oi Altona, an outrage which excited the indigna- 
tion not only of the king of Denmark, but of all Eu- 

Although the government of Gottorp had engaged 
itself to maintain a strong neutrality, Steenbuck, never- 
theless, was received into Tonning. In retaliation, 
Frederick IV. immediately took possession of the Got- 
torp pal-t of the duchy of Schleswig. The burning of 
Altona, however, was the last service that the cruel 
general could perform for his exiled master ; unable to 
prevent the junction of the Russians with the Danes 
and Saxons, he retreated before superior numbers, and 
the brave king Frederick IV., of Denmark, pur- a.d., 
sued his advantages so vigorously, that Steen- I'^i^. 
buck, at Tonningen, was forced to yield himself a 
prisoner of war to the Danish king in person, who car- 
ried him to Copenhagen, where he died in captivity in 
the citadel. 

The Danish fleet, commanded by the illustriouii he- 


roes, Gabel, Sehested, Raben, and Tordenskjold, rode 
triumphantly throughout nearly the whole of this war. 
Gahel annihilated a Swedish fleet in Femern Sound, 
and Sehested and Raben discomfited, off the island of 
Riigen, another Swedish fleet, which had to retire to 
the harbor of Carlscrona to refit. The commander, 
Hvitfeldt, has left behind him a never-dying remem- 
brance in the mind of the Danish nation by heroically 
sacrificing his life in the desperate battle in the bay of 
Kjoge. Dannebrog, the admiral ship, on which he *vas, 
A. D., had taken fire. Hvitfeldt could have saved his 
1'^^*- life, but in fear of thereby setting the whole 
Danish fleet on fire, he resolved heroically to sustain 
the whole fury of the assault, till he, with three hun- 
dred men, was blown up. The young Norwegian, 
Peter Vessel, so distinguished himself by heroic ex- 
ploits, that he from a low office rose to the dignity of 
an admiral, and was ennobled by the name of Tor- 
denskjold (thundershield). On receiving this honor, ho 
exclaimed : " Tordenskjold ! A beautiful name, your 
Majesty ; and I promise to thunder so in the ears of the 
Swedes, that your Majesty shall not have to say that 
you have given me that name in vain." 

The Swedish monarch continued to linger in Turkey 
until the end of 1714 ; but when he then learned that 
the Swedish senate intended to make his sister regent 
in his absence, and to make peace with Eussia and 
Denmark, his indignation induced him to return home. 


He traversed Grermany incognito, and toward the close 
oT the- year reached Stralsund, the capital of Swedish 
Pomerania, which was besieged by the united armies 
of the Prussians, Danes, and Saxons. After an obsti- 
nate defence, in which Charles XII. displayed all his ac 
customed bravery, Stralsund was compelled to capitulate 
after a siege of two months, while at the same time the 
Danish and Russian fleets swept the Baltic and threat- 
ened Stockholm. 

A firmer alliance was now concluded between Den- 
mark, Saxony, and Russia, which also soon after was 
joined by Prussia and Hanover, the elector of which had 
ascended the throne of England under the name of 
George I. Stralsund having surrendered, Charles 
escaped in a small boat to his native shores, and now 
prepared himself to pass over the ice and make an 
irruption into Sjelland, from which he, however, was 
prevented by an unexpected thaw. All Europe be- 
lieved Charles XII. undone, when, to the inexpressible 
astonishment of every one, it was announced that he, 
whose anger with Denmark was now wound up to the 
highest pitch, had declared war against Denmark, and 
invaded Norway. But his army was soon driven back, 
greatly diminished in num^bers. Anna Colbjornsen, a 
clergyman's wife, a patriotic, fearless woman, led astray 
by cunning pretences the Swedish colonel, Loiven, so 
that he desisted from his plans to destroy the silver 
mines of Kongsberg. 


Charles XII. now laid siege to the city of Fredericks- 
A. D., hald, a maritime town of Norway, near the Skag- 

1716. gerack, defended by the strong fortress of Frede- 
ricksteen, but the two brothers, John and Peter Colbjurfi- 
sen, prevailed on the uihabitants to fire the city, to 
prevent the Swedes from having any hold there. A 
bloody battle ensued ; Charles galled the Danes and 
Norwegians with a continual fire ; the slaughter was 
equal on both sides, till at last, however, the Danes 
claimed the victory. Crowds of hungry wolves, issuing 
in the midst of the severe winter from the Norwegian 
forests, howled over the dying remains of the Swedish 
soldiers. Charles XII. was driven to seek a temporary 
refuge for his army in the country. 

In the meantime, the vigilant Danish admiral. Tor- 
denksjold, with a daring hardly ever heard of, running 
a Danish fleet into the harbor of Dynekiel, and, after a 
desperate contest of a few hours, destroying the Swedish 
men-of-war and store-ships, Charles XII. was compelled, 
for this time, to leave Norway. But no way yet intimi- 
dated by his misfortunes, and still determined upon 
taking Denmark, he commanded his mariners to seize 
every Danish vessel, even if the king of Denmark him- 
self might be on board. Frederick lY. now launched 
into the Baltic a mighty fleet, commanded by Torden- 
skjold, who acquired great fame for his courage and 
strategic skill in conquering Marstrand, and the strong 
rocky fortress, Carlstee7i, although meeting with the 


most terrible fire from the Swedish batteries. While 
Charles XII. had been taken up with his attempts at 
conquering Norway, Frederick IV. and Peter the Great 
of Russia prepared themselves to march an army to 
Sweden, Peter himself arriving in Copenhagen with a 
fleet, and disembarking a powerful Russian army on 
the shores of Sjelland, seemingly in assistance of the 
Danes. But soon learning that the cunning Czar, who, 
under the mask of friendship, requested the keys to the 
four gates of Copenhagen, intended to seize upon the 
Danish capital and the fortress of Kronborg, the neces- 
sary preparations were made to oppose this treacherous 
plan, Peter the Great being suddenly compelled to leave 
Sjelland. Then secret negotiations commenced between 
Russia and Sweden, conducted by the Swedish prime 
minister. Baron de Gortz, a native of Franconia, a 
man of an artful, active, and comprehensive genius, 
whose plan was to unite the king of Sweden and the 
Russian Czar in strict amity, who then not only would 
dictate laws to Europe, but wrest the kingdom of Nor- 
way from Denmark, and force the Danish king to 
renounce the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein to the 
Duke of Gottorp. The Czar readily joined in the 
scheme, and a dark storm was gathering for Denmark, 
when the sudden death of Charles XII. rendered abor. 
tive a plan that might have thrown Denmark, afid 
perhaps all Europe, into a state of political combustion. 
Charles XII., in the prosecution of his views against 


Norway, a second time invested the castle of Fredericks- 
hald, in the very depth of winter, but wliile engaged in 
viewing the works, and in conversation with his engi- 
neer, in the midst of a tremendous fire from the enemy, 
A. D., he was struck dead by a ball from the Danish 

i'''!^- batteries. His sister, Ulrikka Eleonora, suc- 
ceeded to the throne, and raised to it her husband, 
Frederick of Hesse Cassel, who first had to swear, that 
he never would attempt the re-establishment of absolute 
power, which was now fully abolished in Sweden, and a 
new form of government rhodeled. 

The Swedish senate showed little grief for the loss of 
this warlike king, who had only involved Sweden in 
miseries and wars. Upon the intelligence of the death 
of G-ustavus Adolphus at Liitzen, 1632, the inhabitants 
of Stockholm shed tears ; upon that of Charles XII. they 
jubilated. Some have believed, that he was not struck 
by a cannon ball from the Danish artillery, but was shot 
by a traitor, a Swedish Colonel Seeker, which, however, 
has never been proved. Be it as it may, the kingdom 
of Sweden gained by his death. 

On the first news of the king's death, his favorite min- 
ister. Baron Gortz, was arrested, brought to trial for 
having projected a dangerous Vv^ar when the Swedish 
nation was exhausted and ruined, and was publicly be- 
headed in Stockholm. The death of Charles XII. was a 
great relief to Denmark, and when Tordenskjold, the 
very first who conveyed the intelligence of it, entered 


the king's audience chamber, saying, " Charles XII. is 
dead, and there is not one Swede in the whole of Nor- 
way," Frederick IV. embraced him joyfully, and hung 
a gold chain round his necli. 

The new government of Sweden now looked with an 
ardent desire for peace with Denmark, which was 
established by the treaty of Fredericksborg, the a. d., 
terms of which were, that Sweden should pay ^'''^O- 
Denmark six hundred thousand rixdollars to defray the 
charges of the war, and acknowledge the sale of Bremen 
and Verden, which, with their dependencies, G-eorge I., 
king of England and elector of Hanover, had purchased 
from Denmark for eight hundred thousand rixdollars ; 
Sweden should renounce her exemption from paying 
Sound Dues, which she had enjoyed since the peace of 
BrOmsebro, 1645; and finally Sweden pledged herself 
not to assist any more the Duke of Gottorp ; France and 
England securing to Denmark the permanent possession 
of the duchy of Schleswig. So happy an issue for Den- 
mark had this eleven years' war, though no accession of 
territory was gained. 

The appearance of an English fleet in the Baltic, 
coming to aid Sweden, finally disposed Czar Peter to 
pacific measures, and he consented to grant peace in 
Nystad, a town of Finland, 1721, on condition of being 
permitted to retain Esthonia, Livonia, Ingria, part of 
Finland, and dominion over the G-ulf of Finland, a high- 
way for his commerce to the Baltic ocean. 


The war thus being ended between Denmark and 
Sweden, a profound peace ensued. Denmark, however, 
had soon after to empty a bitter cup. The patriotic, 
brave, and magnanimous Tordenskjold, who had raised 
his fatherland by many victories to a great height of 
naval glory and greatness, and was almost adored by 
the king and the people, asked permission to go abroad. 
In Hamburg he met with a Swedish colonel, Stahl, a 
mean-spirited scoundrel, who tried to impose upon a 
young rich Danish nobleman, by name of 'Lehn, who 
accompanied Tordenskjold. Exasperated at such con- 
duct, and exchanging high words with Stahl, who called 
the admiral a vulgar sailor, Tordenskjold gave liim a 
sound beating, and knocked him down in the kennel, 
after which he left Hamburg for Hanover. A few 
weeks after, he unfortunately met here again with 
Stahl, who, bringing the old quarrel again upon the 
carpet, challenged Tordenskjold to answer for his offence 
by a duel with rapiers, in using which Stahl was a great 
master. Tordenskjold of course, answering the chal- 
lenge in the affirmative, appeared the next morning at 
the appointed place, close by Hildesheim. The two 
first thrusts he parried, but then Stahl ran his sword 
under Tordenskj old's right arm, pulling it back in 
tierce. Tordenskjold, perceiving his death inevitable, 
calmly disposed himself to meet it with decency, and 
covering his wound with his handkerchief, resigned 
himself to his fate. As he expired from the loss of blood, 


he exclaimed : " God be merciful to me for the -^^^ on 
sake of my Redeemer." On hearing this sad A. D., 
event, king Frederic lY. shed tears, and ordered ^'^'^^' 
the corpse to be brought to Copenhagen and buried in 
the mariner's church, where Tordenskjold now rests in 
the same vault with Otto Rud, Niels Juel, Cort Adeler, 
Raben, Sehested and Gabel, who all so often had led 
the blood-red Danish flag from victory to victory on the 
Baltic ocean, the dark heaving wave. 

• By the peace of Fredericksborg, the duchy of Schles- 
wig was once more reunited to the kingdom ; but for 
the many centuries through which the counts of Hol- 
stein and the German-minded dukes of Gottorp had 
swayed the sceptre, the Danish nationality had had a 
difficult fight to wage. In the southern part of Schles- 
wig the German language at length prevailed, while in 
the northern part the inhabitants were attached to their 
native tongue, and to the manners and habits inherited 
from their forefathers, although the dukes of Gottorp, 
by appointing German clergymen and introducing Ger- 
man schoolmasters and German legal procedure, sought 
to naturalize the German language, even in this part of 
the dukedom. 

Notwithstanding Schleswig was now reunited to the 
kingdom and for all subsequent time governed by the 
Danish kings, that unnatural state of language, how- 
ever, continued for more than one century, and first in 
modern times energetic regulations have been issued to 


protect the Danish nationality in the northern part of 
Schleswig. But the reunion of Schleswig to the king- 
dom put Denmark, tlu*oughout a long series of years, to 
very much trouble and heavy expenses. The duke of 
Gottorp, Charles Frederick, making now the city of 
Kiel his residence, would neither subscribe to the resig- 
nation of Schleswig, nor come to any amicable agree- 
ment, and became a very dangerous enemy by marrying 
the Russian princess Anna; a daughter of Peter the 
Great. Frederick IV. had continually to keep fleets 
ready in the Baltic to secure Denmark against Russia, 
as Peter the Great, and his successor, the empress 
Catharina I., threatened to establish by force the claims 
of the duke. Certainly amicable terms v/ere afterwards 
contracted with the court of St. Petersburg, but in 
course of time the strife was renewed in such a manner 
as to be very dangerous for Denmark. Frederick IV. 
A. D., gained an accession of territory for the kingdom 

1725. "by laying hold on the fertile county of Ranzau, 
as the latter count had been killed, and his younger 
brother, on being brought to trial, found an accomplice 
in this crime. 

During his whole reign, Frederick IV. was actuated 
by sincere and earnest motives to introduce useful insti- 
tutions and remedy old mistakes. He deserved well of 
the Danish peasantry, by abrogating their slavish de- 
pendence on their masters. He enacted a law, that all 
peasants born after his accession to the throne should bo 


free ; concerning the others it was determined that 
they, on reasonable terms, could buy their freedom ; 
the tenants should be permitted to keep their farms for 
life, and neither could they involuntarily be deprived 
of them, nor be forced, as before, to accept of desolate 
and barren farms ; and on the whole this law contained 
very considerable mitigations of those feudal rights 
claimed by the noblemen over their peasants, which 
either were the most burdensome in their own nature, 
or had been made so by an abusive extension. 

Already during the first war which Frederick IV. 
waged, his attention had been directed to several defi- 
ciencies in the military afiairs, which he immediately 
tried to remedy ; and after the treaty of peace (1700), 
he employed the interval of tranquillity in raising a 
militia of eighteen thousand men, in equipping a respec- 
table fleet, and upon the whole, in paying close atten- 
ticn to the posture of defence. Besides this militia, 
there was kept a considerable army of levied soldiers ; 
the cavalry was augmented by twelve regiments, each 
consisting of eight companies. He established two 
cadet schools in Copenhagen, to educate young men 
both for the fleet and the army ; schools never organized 
before, and the want of whicli had been deeply felt. 
In order to protect the capital and the navy against the 
renewal of the dangers to which they had been exposed, 
when, in the year 1700, a Swedish, Dutch, and English 
fleet bombarded Copenhagen, he erected two sea- 


batteries, Tre Kroner (three crowns), and Provestenen 
(touchstone). The navy was put in a good posture, and 
the number of marines was considerably increased. 
To augment the revenues of the kingdom, Frederick IV. 
had suppHed Austria, England, and Holland, with twenty 
thousand men, who acquitted themselves with great 
courage in the war of the Spanish succession. Under 
the illustrious heroes, prince Eugene, of Savoy, and the 
duke of Marlborough, commander-in-chief of the forces 
of England, the Danish soldiers had shared the glory 
of the battles of Hochstedt, RamilUes, Oudenarde, and 
Malplaqnet ; and the Duke of Marlborough, upon whom 
now the emperor of Austria had conferred the dignity 
of a prince of the empire, wrote to king Frederick IV., 
that for the gaining of the victory in those celebrated 
battles he was mainly indebted to the lion-hearted 
bravery of the Danes, who likewise, under the great 
Eugene, fought gallantly in Hungary against the Turks. 
Frederick IV. made many improvements in the regu- 
lation of the different colleges, and caused justice to be 
duly and quickly administered, and the laws carried 
into execution. He was very active himself, and 
sought to acquire a knowledge of all matters of conse- 
quence. To the admirfistration of the finances he paid 
a strict attention, and kept the pecuniary affairs in an 
exemplary order. As economical as the king was in 
spending the public means, as particular was he in 
conferrins titles and bado^es of honor. At his death the 


kingdom had incurred a debt of three millions of rix- 
dollars ; wliich, however, when" it is considered, that 
Frederick IV. waged expensive wars, and even after the 
peace, for many years, had to keep a standing army and 
fleet against Russia, and that many disasters visited the 
country, is only a trifle, and not to be laid to his charge. 

An enemy more fatal than the swords of the Swedes, 
a frightful pestilence, raged from 1710 to 1712, in Co- 
penhagen and on the island of Sjelland, with the most 
destructive effect, and took off" great numbers ; the 
North sea breaking through the dykes in the marshlands 
on the western coast of Schleswig, destroyed property 
to the amount of one million of rix-dollars, and a. d., 
Copenhagen was visited by a destructive fire, ^'^^8. 
continuing for several days and consuming nearly two- 
thirds of the city ; on whi(3h occasion science and the 
arts suffered a great loss, as a great deal of the large 
University library, with its many rare manuscripts, was 

Notwithstanding all these heavy losses, and his many 
great expenses, the king found, however, by his econ- 
omy, means to erect the splendid palaces of Fredensborg 
and Frederiksberg, as also the spacious exchequer. 
Commerce and manufactures were vigorously promoted 
by Frederick IV. The trade with Greenland was re- 
newed, and the East India Company, for a great while 
ruined altogether, was, at the close of his reign, again 
put in motion. The post-office department, having for 


a long time teen entrusted to private men, was again 
administered at royal expense, the surplus being 
applied to pension civil and military officers, or their 
indigent widows. Previous, however, to giving an 
account of the private life and character of this excellent 
king, we must take a short connected view of the stand- 
ing of school affairs and literature during his reign. 
The public instruction had, hitherto, almost entirely 
been neglected in Denmark, the commonalty growing 
up in the grossest mental darkness. But Frederick IV. 
merited highly the grateful thanks of the peasantry by 
erecting two hundred and forty brick school buildings, 
and assigning money to keep them in repair and pay 
the teachers. Amongst other charitable institutions, 
ought to be mentioned the founding of Yaisenhuset (the 
Orpkanotrophy), for the education of orphan cliildren, 
with w]iich hospital fjn excellent school is connected. 

In G-reenland, Christianity was spread by the noble 
and pious Hans E^ede, who left his pastorate in Nor- 
way, and went to Greenland with his wife, Gertrude 
Rask, a Christian heroine, " whose adorning did not 
consist in putting on of apparel, but in the hidden man 
of the heart, and in the ornament of a meek and quiet 
spirit, which is, in the sight of God, of great price." 
From 1721 to 1736, Hans Egede, enduring inexpres- 
sible privations, opened his mouth boldly, to make 
known the mystery of the Gospel amongst the heathenish 
and savage Greenlanders. His faithful wife, who had 


shared his hardships, died in Grreenland; soon after which 
he went down to Denmark, where, on the fifth of No- 
vember, 1758, he departed from life, aged seventy-three 
years, to receive the crown of righteousness, v\ihich the 
Lord shall give unto all them that have loved his 
glorious appearing. Pursuant to his proposal a Green- 
landish seminary was established in Copenhagen, to 
educate missionaries, Egede himself teaching the Grreen- 
landish language. His son, Pmil Egede, continued for 
six years, with Christian fidelity, his father's missionary 
work in Greenland, to the great good and profit of many 
souls ; and when he left them, his parting words were : 
"Preserve with meekness the ingrafted word, and 
grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are 
sealed unto the day of redemption." Upon his arrival 
in Copenhagen, in 1742, Paul Egede was appointed 
minister of the Church of Vartov (the church of charity), 
where he, renouncing the vanities of all worldly pomp, 
showed liimself an able minister of the New Testament, 
not of the letter, but of the spirit, whose praise is not 
of men, but of God. Besides discharging his pastoral 
duties, he translated the New Testament into the diffi- 
cult language of the Greenlanders, and published other 
works of consequence for the Greenlandish mission. 

For advancing learning and the arts, nothing of con- 
sequence was done during the reign of Frederick IV., 
as the king himself had not enjoyed any scientific educa- 
tion. Nevertheless there lived during his reign several 


men of letters : Peter Hansen Resen, who has distin- 
guished himself by standard works on the Northern 
history and antiquities ; Thomas Bartholin deserves 
particular regard for the universality of his genius, 
which embraced a wide circle of history, philosophy, and 
physic; Niels Steno, who, after having embraced the 
Catholic faith, passed the remamder of his days in 
foreign countries, acquired fame as an anatomist ; the 
Icelander, Torfceus, who successfully applied the Ice- 
landic sources to throw light on the history of the 
North, and preserved alive the embers of that literary 
spirit which already early had been stirring on that 
distant island, evinced a zeal for the cultivation of 
letters, wliich does him the highest honor ; the Icelander, 
Arne Magnusson, deserved well of men of letters by col- 
lecting a great number of Icelandic manuscripts, and 
bequeathing the greatest part of his means to publish- 
ing them. Thomas King-o, bishop of Fjunen, acquired 
the fame of being an unsurpassed hymnologist, his 
hymn book being in use for a long time. 

Shortly after the death of his first queen, Louise, the 
king took in marriage Anna Sophia, a daughter of the 
deceased lord liigh chancellor, Count Conrad Reventlow. 
This marriage caused great disagreement in the royal 
family, particularly provoking the crown prince. Chris- 
tian, because the king had cohabited with Anna Sophie, 
even while queen Louise was living. 

Frederick IV., before his death, saw his kingdoms in 


the possession of every happiness which could flow from 
economy, frugahty, laboriousness, and from the salutary 
laws and institutions which he had estahlished, when he 
died, aged fifty-nine years, after a glorious reign a. d., 
of thirty-one years. Whether we view him in I'^^o. 
his puhlic or private character, he deserves to be 
esteemed as one of the most useful of the Danish kings. 
He united an enterprising spirit with the greatest pru- 
dence and moderation, the utmost vigor of authority 
with the most exemplary justice, and brought his king- 
doms to a pitch of eminence and wealth which, till then, 
they had never attained. War was not his ruling pas- 
sion, but he was able to meet it with firmness and valor. 
Nought but the memory of soldier-like bravery survives 
Charles XII., but Frederick IV. has left behind the 
memory of a hfe of restless activity, perpetually labor- 
ing for the improvement and prosperity of his countries ; 
and while Charles left behind him nothing but ruins, 
Frederick lY. left two kingdoms in a flourishing con- 
dition, and with a well regulated administration. 

But his admirable institutions were but partially and 
feebly enforced under his son and successor. Christian 
VL, Denmark and Norway relapsing again into a.d., 
confusion and pauperism. No sooner had he I'^^o. 
obtained the sovereignty than he treated with great 
severity the queen-dowager, his stepmother, Anna So- 
phia, above mentioned, rightly accounted a stain on the 
royal family, removing her from the court to Clausholm, 


a lonely manor in Jutland, and immediately dismissed 
a great number of the higher officers of state, who had 
enjoyed his father's confidence, entrusting the public 
affairs to the ministers of state, Baron Ivar Rosenkranz, 
the Counts Louis Pless, Charles Pless, Schulin, and 
Joh?i Louis Holstein, all of whom exercised a strong 
influence upon the government. 

In the beginning, it was likely that the peasantry 
would flourish during the reign of this king, for he 
instantly abrogated the militia, above named, which on 
account of the feudal bondage therewith connected, had 
been greatly burdensome to the peasantry and permitted 
every countryman to settle wheresoever he might desire. 
By this change the peasantry got complete personal 
freedom, as well as the other orders ; but, unfortunately, 
after a few months, he enacted a new law, forbidding, 
upon severe punishment, the country lads to abandon 
their native county, unless permitted by the noblemen 
concerned ; and after a couple of years the militia was 
re-established, the time of military service being pro- 
longed from six to eight, and thereafter to twelve years ; 
and when a countryman, after his term of service had 
expired, would not receive whatsoever farm the noble- 
man might think proper to give him, he had to submit 
to military service for ten years more. The enrollment 
was extended to the fortieth year of age, and from his 
ninth year the country lad was bound to remain in 
his native county ; thus again the liberal and salutary 


regulations of king Frederick IV. being annihilated, and 
the peasantry anew sinking under the domineering spirit 
of the aristocracy. 

Several other regulations affected detrimentally the 
peasantry and. the agriculture. Many noblemen, for 
instance, were permitted to break up the farms and 
unite the ground^ to their manors, the peasantry, of 
course, thereby decreasing, and the bond-service in- 
creasing. Such were the stipulations in favor of the 
higher orders of the state, which the king promoted to 
all offices of honor and emolument, and to which, from 
the very beginning of his reign, his partiality was abun- 
dantly conspicuous, while the peasantry was in the 
lowest stage of degradation. 

Upon the whole, the government, under Christian VI., 
seems to have been extremely aristocratic. It was also 
of very detrimental consequences, that the king passed 
a law by which the merchants were restrained from im- 
porting grain into Denmark, the prices of corn thereby 
rising, and the progress in agriculture, of course, 
decreasing, as the greater certainty thereby produced 
for making a market, did not make it a matter of 
greater moment for the husbandmen to prepare the 
ground sufficiently for a rich crop, and could not fail to 
excite somewhat of a spirit of ease and inactivity. 

But let us now observe some particulars of the reli- 
gious life, perhaps worthy of more note than any other 
circumstances during the reign of Christian VI., since 


it will be found to have received a very great influence 
during the period under consideration. There are 
periods in which the human mind seems more than 
usually to turn strongly to religion and spiritual con- 
cerns, and to feel that the Heavenly Majesty must be 
worshiped in spirit and truth, and the flesh crucified, 
with the affections and lusts thereof, and such a period 
in Denmark was the reign of Christian VI. 

In opposition to the unsubstantial trusting to the 
letter which had long prevailed, and to the exorbitant 
weight laid on the ecclesiastical formulas and symbols, 
all of which kill, while only the spirit gives life, there 
appeared in Denmark, as well as a little earlier in Ger- 
many, a revival, in general called the pietistic disposi- 
tion of mind, which endeavored to remove that luke- 
warmness and stagnation, which undeniably in a great 
measure had long prevailed in the Lutheran churches. 
Grreat variances arose in the Church between the differ- 
ent parties, and separatistical conventicles were formed 
in many places. The king himself, being of a stern, 
religious mind, was highly in favor of the revival, which 
he regarded as a recovery from death to life, and tried 
in different ways to promote the religious spirit ; but the 
means he used were almost altogether external, and not 
to the purpose at all, failing therefore entirely of the 
effect intended. The court chaplain, Bluhme, and the 
queen, Sophie Magdalena, exercised a great influence 
upon the fooUsh ordinances issued in reference to eccle- 
siastical matters. 


Going to church every Sabbath was peremptorily 
commanded by law, the withdrawal from which being 
in the cities punished by fines, and in the country by 
pillorying the peasants outside the church door. Dan- 
cing, masquerades, comedy, Christmas games, and like 
amusements, were forbidden, as hindering the attain- 
ment of spiritual and heavenly gi-ace, and the alienation 
from selfishness and the world ; the church discipline 
was vindicated by public penance and rebukes from the 

These ordinances very likely arose from the king's 
own unfeignedly religious mind ; nevertheless, the happy 
mean was not found, and even his best advocates will 
find no apology for applying such compulsion in religious 
affairs, and cannot regard it as a commendable method 
of propagating the mild and pure religion of Christ, who 
will not have involuntary professors ; and it was a mat- 
ter of course, that instead of a real and pure fear of God, 
there appeared everywhere a feigned devoutness and a 
false piety, the people, to please the king, making use 
of the most melting religious terms of this valley of 
misery, of the heavenly Jerusalem, and the celestial 
Canaan, and so forth, to profit substantially by his 
grace ; paying tithe, as Christ says, of mint, and anise, 
and cummin, but omitting the weightier matters of the 
law, judgment, mercy, and faith. 

But, in spite of the many mistakes above mentioned, 
it is not to be denied that Christian VI., in many other 


respects, exercised a highly beneficial influence upon 

the spread of true Christianity, by introducing the Act 

A. D., of Confirmation, by which the young, after hav- 

1736. ing attained to mature years, should confirm and 
ratify themselves the solemn promises made by others 
at their baptism ; and by appointing a Board of In- 
spectors, which had to superintend the clergymen's and 
schoolmasters' administration of their offices, and to 
keep a watchful eye over their preaching the doctrines 
of the Church purely and genuinely, as also to 
ascertain that the books which were to be published 
were not of immoral or impure contents. 

The king also patronized highly the public instruc- 
tion, by enacting a law, that public schools for the pea- 
santry should be erected round about in the country, 
and by issuing useful rules for the method of teaching ; 
a law, however, often meeting with great opposition, on 
account of the great expenses therewith connected ; and 
although the king here ought to have made use of his 
absolute power to establish this important institution, 
the opposition, nevertheless, gained the victory, in many 
places no schools being erected. 

The reign of Christian VI. may be considered as the 
epoch of the revival of literature in Denmark from that 
lethargy in which it had continued under Christian V. 
and Frederick IV., both of whom were not very much 
interested in literary affairs, and whose incessant wars 
diverted their attention from them. The University, 


which had suffered by the fire, (1728,) and was in a 
declining state, was restored ; more professors were 
appointed, and given tetter salaries than before ; the 
examinations were made more strict, and a new consti- 
tution was drawn up in writing, and published. An 
examination in law was for the first time instituted ; 
and the science of law being considered the most impor- 
tant, next to that of theology, recovered a new life from 
the learned Andreas Hoijer, a man extensively versed 
in the European jurisprudence. The legal procedure 
was highly improved by a new regulation of the 
supreme court, and particular attention was given to 
the study of medicine, and its connection with the 
sciences of botany and human physiology ; at the same 
time the subserviency of the studies to the practical 
uses of life being an object not to be neglected. 

The Latin schools, of which there was one in each 
city, were diminished, some of them being changed into 
common schools, and the Academy of Soro {Academia 
Sora7ia), which was founded by Christian IV. exclu- 
sively for young noblemen, but since the year 1665 had 
been out of use, was recalled to life and inaugu- a. d., 
rated a year after the death of Christian VI. i'^'^'^- 
To promote the fine arts the king erected the Royal 
Academy for painting and drawing, the Venetian and 
Flemish manner of tempering the colors with oil instead 
of water, being introduced, an invention which unde- 
niably gave to painting a greater durability, as well as 

a warmth more approaching to nature. 



During the reign of this king two learned societies 
were formed, the Literary Society of Copenhagen, and 
the Society of the Danish Language and History, 
from both of which excellent treatises have been and 
still are published. 

Among literary men of this period deserve to be 
mentioned Andreas Hoyer, above named, distinguished 
both as jurisconsult and historian, and remarkable for 
his great judgment and perspicuity ; Erik Pontoppi- 
dan, chancellor of the University, has composed. His- 
tory of the Danish Church, History of Norway, Origines 
Hafnienses, and an Explanation of Luther's Catechism, 
all works classical in point of style, and to be depended 
on in point of facts; John Grain, royal Historiographer, 
possessed not alone of great philological erudition, but 
also of rare knowledge in the history of the North, on 
which he has composed many critical dissertations, all 
written with great judgment and impartiality ; Andreas 
Samsing, for fifty years a faithful minister of the Gos- 
pel, has left behind him an excellent Latin translation 
of some of the best Danish hynms, of which I may be 
allowed to cite a proof: 

" Tua, Jesn, mors cruenta et profunda viilnera, 
Grata menti dant fomenta contra qnffivis tristia, 
Si quid mali cogito, tua jubet passio, 
Semper Tui recordari, et peccata detestari." 

But all these authors wrote mostly either in Grerman 
or Latin, thus exercising, properly speaking, no influ 


ence upon the Scandinavian literature. "We have, 
therefore, so much the more to pay attention to Louis 
Holberg, born in the city of Bergen, Norway, 1684, 
who has made a great epoch in the historical and 
dramatic literature of the Scandinavian countries, and 
not alone deserves, but will keep a lasting memorial. 
In the year 1718 he was appointed, first, Professor 
of Metaphysics, then Professor Eloquentise, and at length, 
Professor Historiarum et G-eographise. During his pro- 
fessorship (1718-1747) he has influenced the Danish 
nation as hardly any one, either before or after him, 
partly by his historical, partly by his dramatical writ- 
ings, being both original and the results of deep study. 
His Description of Denmark and Norway, his History 
of Norway, his History of the Church Universal, and 
his History of the Jews, are fruits of his indefatigable 
study and cultivated judgment, and of a purity and 
flexibility of language remarkable for the time in wliich 
he lived. His heroi-comic poems, Peter Paars and 
Niels Klim (the last written in Latin), in which he 
strikingly and wittily ridicules all that foolish pedantry, 
pertness, and vanity that prevailed amongst the higher 
classes of his time, and in which he sometimes soars to 
a pitch of the sublime equal to the finest flights of 
Homer and Virgil, whose kind of style he in a mas- 
terly manner has imitated, have the most captivating 
charms to all who are possessed of the smallest degree 
of genuine taste, and have, by an uncommon degree 


of candor, humor, and impartiality, preserved their 
value long after their immediate interest has ceased. 

But the merit of the dramatic pieces of Louis Hol- 
berg is still much higher. Having taken the French 
comedian, Moliere, as his pattern, he ridicules, unde- 
niably sometimes in too low a language, the fashionable 
women, who were overrun with a pedantic affectation 
of learning, and that arrogant and supercilious de- 
meanor of the nobility, which demanded respect from 
the consideration of birth or fortune, without the pos- 
session of a single laudable or valuable quality. He 
certainly possessed that invention, which is the very 
first quality of a dramatic poet ; he is never deficient 
in the expression of passion, and in his most laughable 
scenes we have to admire the art of the poet, and to 
participate in the delineation of his characters, every 
person of which is very often a highly-finished picture. 
Upon the whole, in most of his pieces we cannot but 
discern the marks of a great and comprehensive genius, 
an inexhaustible fund of imagination, the most aston- 
ishing ebullition of ridiculous representations, and an 
infinite knowledge of human nature ; and when pic- 
turing the pedantry of the ladies, the pathetic style of 
ordinary writers, and the absurd pride of the ignorant 
nobility, he calls often to our memory, the words of 
Horace : " Parturiunt monies, nascitur ridiculus mus.^^ 

In his youth he had visited four times the Universi- 
ties of Oxford, Leyden, Paris, and Florence ; he spoke 


fluently nearly all modern languages, not to mention 
that he, as every distinguished Scandinavian scholar, 
wrote and spoke Latin with the highest degree of cor- 
rectness and volubility. After having been exalted to 
the rank of a baron, he repaired, because of physical 
infirmity, to his manor, TerslSse, on the island, of 
Sjelland, where he died, unmarried, on the 27th of 
January, 1754, bequeathing his large real estates and 
extensive library to the Academy of Soro. His last 
words were : "I have always endeavored to be a useful 
citizen to my fatherland ; now I am feeble and weak, 
and my only desire is to depart and be with Christ." 

Christian VI. took a praiseworthy care of diffusing a 
spirit of commercial industry, and the prodigious in- 
crease of the commerce of Denmark is mainly to be 
ascribed to his reign. The trade of the East India Com- 
pany was extended to China, and vigorously carried on ; 
and that of the "West India Company was considerably 
enlarged by buying the island of St. Croix of Louis 
XV. of France. A bank was founded in Copenhagen, 
exercising through a series of years a favorable influence 
upon trade and industry, and facilitating in a high de- 
gree the currency. The king put himself to great 
expenses in improving domestic manufactures. But 
although many manufacturers of cloth and silk were 
encouraged by the king's liberality, these efforts, how- 
ever, feU short of success ; their manufactures not being 
so cheap and good as to compete with the productions 


of foreign countries. Various expedients were thought 
of to obviate that rivahy, but for a long time without 
avail. Much money was also spent on foreign pro- 
jectors, who, too willingly, were supported by the gov- 
ernment, and became a very great drain to the wealth 
of the kingdoms. The navy has hardly ever been better 
administered than under Christian VI, , by the talented 
Frederick Danneskjold, Count of Samso. In the latter 
part of the reign of Frederick IV. the navy had been 
neglected, consisting, when Danneskjold undertook the 
management, only of seven men-of-war and two frigates, 
but numbering, when he left, thirty men-of-war and 
sixteen frigates. A dry dock was established, many 
new storehouses were erected, and important break- 
waters reared to shelter the navy. Notwithstanding 
these expensive undertakings, the abilities of the good 
financier, Danneskjold, husbanded so well the amount 
of money he had to dispose of, that, on his leaving the 
administration, one million rixdollars was saved. Dan- 
neskjold, a man of great address and extensive know- 
ledge, who had gained upon the favor of the king, 
also influenced other branches of the state concerns, and 
had the principal share in setting on foot the Bank of Co- 
penhagen, above mentioned, and in granting protections 
to trade and industry ; though he deserves highly to be 
blamed for his conduct toward two deserving naval 
officers, Benstrup and Frederick Liitken, with whom he 
had become at variance, and who, through his interfe- 
rence, suffered severe and inequitable treatment. 


Although Denmark and Norway, during the reign of 
Christian VI., continued to enjoy the blessings of tran- 
quillity, and their commerce grew with their navy, and 
Danneskjold labored with indefatigable industry in the 
■finances the king, however, was in perpetual want of 
money, the kingdoms, at his death, being in debt for two 
and a half millions of rixdollars ; about the same as 
during his predecessor, who had not reigned under so 
favorable conditions, but was involved in expensive 
wars. The reason was the king's boundless desire of 
raising new buildings and costly palaces, mainly to be 
ascribed to his ostentatious queen, Sophie Magdalena. 
The palace of Copenhagen, which Frederick IV. with 
great expense had enlarged and repaired, was pulled 
down, a new one, called the palace of Christiansburg; 
being erected, and fitted up with such an excessive 
magnificence, that it rivaled the most splendid of Eu- 
rope, and cost the kingdom the enormous sum of three 
millions of dollars. Furthermore, were built the palaces 
oi Fredericksruhe, Sopliienberg, Eremitage, and, twelve 
English miles from Copenhagen, the pompous palace of 
Hirsckholm, erected on so miry a ground as soon after 
to be pulled down. Large amounts of money were also 
squandered away on relatives of the queen and other 
foreigners, who crowded into the country, and upon 
whom donations, pensions, and high offices were pro- 
fusely bestowed. The German language prevailed again 
very much -at the Danish court ; Christian VI. liimself 


spoke and WTote only German ; nevertheless he was 
interested in the Danish literature, and took care to 
diffuse the Danish language in the northern part of 
Schleswig, while the queen professedly despised Danish. 
Christian VL had several difficulties with his neigh- 
bors. From his father he inherited a dispute with Ham- 
burg, respecting an alteration made in the currency, 
and with Hanover a dispute arose as to the possession 
of the county of Steinhorsi, in the duchy of Lauenburg, 
both of which, however, were composed. With Charles 
Frederick, the late duke of Gottorp, the king was con- 
tinually on an unpeaceable footing, and although an 
A. D., alliance was made between Denmark, Russia, 
i'^32. and Austria, which secured to Denmark the pos- 
session of the Gottorp part of Schleswig, and put an end 
to the dispute for a season, and Charles Frederick was 
offered a compensation of one million of rixdollars, he, 
nevertheless, obstinately rejected every proposal for an 
amicable agreement. Under his son and successor, 
Charles Peter Ulrick, these dissenting terms were 
about to turn highly dangerous for Denmark, as Eliza- 
beth, the daughter of Peter the Great, was raised to the 
Russian throne, and now secured the inheritance of the 
A.D., imperial purple to her nephew, the above named 
i'^*3. Charles Peter Ulrik, and to the Swedish crown 
for her favorite, Adolphus Frederick, a prince of the 
younger line of the house of Gottorp, and through the 
Swedish king, Charles IX.'s daughter, Catharina, a 


descendant from the warlike house of Vasa. The elec- 
tion of Adolphus Frederick to fill the tlirone of Sweden 
after the death of king Frederick of Hesse, came within 
a hair of occasioning a dangerous war between Denmark 
and Sweden, where a considerable part of the Swedish 
nobility, clergy, and peasantry, wished to secure the 
succession to the Swedish throne tci the Danish crown 
prince, Frederick, of whose amiability, kind disposition, 
and popularity, favorable opinions were in vogue in 
Sweden. Particularly amongst the brave peasantry 
from the province of Dalecarlia a violent move- a. d., 
ment arose, five thousand of them advancing '^'^^'^^ 
upon Stockholm, to force the election of the Danish 
crown prince. A most fearful and bloody conflict ensued 
within the city, and after several days of fighting, the 
undaunted peasants from the mountains of Dalecarlia 
were overmatched and compelled to submit. With a 
loss of two thousand five hundred men their military 
operations terminated, and Sweden, in order to please 
the Russian empress, and avoid hostilities, consented to 
elect Adolphus Frederick successor to the crown of Swe- 
den, excluding the Danish crown prince. Dejected, 
melancholy, and even enraged at seeing his son's expec- 
tations frustrated, and yet cherishing a glimpse of hope 
of his success. Christian VI. equipped his army and 
fitted out his fleet, threatening to wage a sanguinary 
war ; but Sweden making great preparations, and 

Russia promising to march twenty thousand auxiliary 

346 msTORY OF . Scandinavia. 

troops agairvst Denmark, the Danish king deemed it 
unsafe to bid defiance to so mighty an alliance. The 
strife dropped fortunately, and amity was entertained 
with Russia during the reign of the empress Elizabeth, 
although Charles Peter Ulrick, the elected successor to 
the Russian tlu-one, was highly exasperated at Denmark, 
and looked out for every opportunity to rekindle the 
flame of war. 

Christian Yl. was of a gentle, pious, and sincere dis- 
position, and preferred and cherished the arts of peace- 
ful industry to those of selfish and destructive war. He 
gained the affection and confidence of liis subjects by 
many good institutions, tending to promote literature, 
public instruction, commerce, and naval affairs ; and 
there is more pleasure in contemplating such a man's 
character, than that of a mad conqueror like Charles 
XII. of Sweden, the one producing happiness, and the 
other misery in the world. The king himself was of an 
unfeigned piety to God, and an exemplary Christian, 
and his mistakes in promoting a true religious life are 
more to be ascribed to the artful and hypocritical insinu- 
ations of his court chaplain, Bluhme, than to himself. 

A. D., After a reign of sixteen years, he died in the 

1746. vigor of his age. 

No sooner had Frederick V. succeeded his father to 

^- ^-> the throne of Denmark and Norway, than that 

1746. seriousness and formality of manner which, du- 
ring his father's reign, had prevailed at the Danish 


court, was done away, and a more jovial life took place, 
comedies and concerts being again represented, and 
other public amusements permitted. 

During the reign of Christian A'l. there had been up- 
held a great distance between the people and the royal 
family, the members of which never appeared in public 
except when accompanied and attended by costly liveried 
servants and soldiers ; the palace of Christiansberg, also, 
was surrounded by numerous sentinels ; all of which 
ceased during Frederick V.'s reign, who regarded all stiff- 
ness and affected precision as not compatible with modern 
civilization, and married the jovial princess Louise, a 
daughter of George 11. of England, both of whom, free 
from all pride and vain ambition, made themselves 
extremely beloved of their subjects. To see the royal 
couple making their appearance in the theatre, the cele- 
brated Louis Holberg, before mentioned, called a fasci- 
nating sight. On the 10th of September, 1747, Frede- 
rick V. and his queen, Louise, were crowned and 
anointed in the palace of Fredericksborg, the bishop of 
Copenhagen, Dr. Hersleb, performing the solemn act. 
In the beginning, many tried to insinuate themselves 
into the queen's favor, thereby to obtain rank, dignities, 
and high offices, but she answered that she had come to 
Denmark to embellish the days of her royal consort, not 
to interfere in public affairs, which did not appertain to 
her sex. Count Schulin, one of the few able and skill- 
ful Germans who, during Christian VL's reign, had 


arrived in the country, and risen from a plain and poor 
student to the highest dignities, kept his situation under 
Frederick V. 

After him the gi-eat politician and acute diplomate, 
John Hartvig Ernst, Count of Bernstorf, gained com- 
pletely the confidence of his royal master, and signally 
displayed his splendid ahihties, while, on the other hand, 
the highly deserving Danneskjold, ahove named, with- 
out any competent reason, was discharged. The finan- 
cial affairs were excellently administered by the baron. 
Otto Thott. Also, the great favorite of the king, Adam 
Gottlob Moltke, later exalted to Count of Bregentved, 
a beautiful estate in the island of Sjelland, exercised 
a considerable influence upon the state afFairs. 
A. D., The dearly-beloved queen Louise became, on 
i'^^9- the 29th of January, mother to crown-prince 
Christian, afterwards king of both kingdoms by the 
name of Christian VII. ; but two years after, the twin- 
kingdoms had to lament her death, shortly after her 
delivery of a still-born prince. 

That spirit of disagreement which had so long existed 
between Denmark and Sweden, was done away with 
A. D., by the wise diplomatic efforts of Schulin and 
1750. BernstorfF, a treaty being concluded, by which 
Adolphus Frederick, the elected successor to the Swe- 
dish crown, and the head of the younger line of the 
dukes of Holstein, renounced his claims to Schleswig, 
and engaged himself to exchange the ducal part of 


Holstein, when this soon, by inheritance, might devolve 
to his line, for the two counties, Oldenbnrg and Del- 
menhorst. The want of certain limits between Norway 
and Sweden, which long had caused violent disputes, 
was, in the following year, adjusted by plenipotentiaries 
from both kingdoms ; and, to contract a yet firmer union 
between Denmark and Sweden, espousals were arranged 
between the Danish princess, Sophie Magdalena, and 
the Swedish crown-prince, Gustavus, a son of Adolphus 
Frederick, afterwards king of Sweden, by the name of 
Gustavus III. The wedding ceremony w"as, however, 
not performed till after the death of Frederick V. 

At this time, nearly all Europe was involved in the 
devastating Prussian seven years war, which a. d., 
the talented warrior, Frederick the Great, waged 1756-63. 
triumphantly against Austria, Russia, France, Sweden 
and Poland, all regarding with jealousy the increase of 
the Prussian monarchy; and the empress Elizabeth of 
Russia entertaining a personal hatred to Frederick the 
Great, who had often made her the object of his political 
satires, and the empress of Austria, Maria Theresa, still 
being dissatisfied with the loss of Silesia by the peace 
of Dresden, 1745. 

Although Denmark, through Bernstorff's wise diplo- 
macy, was happy enough not to be involved in this 
destructive war, it was, nevertheless, the cause of heavy 
expenses, it being deemed necessary, to secure the fron- 
tiers, to keep a considerable standing army in Holstein, 


Besides, an alliance was made between Denmark and 
Sweden, both joining together in having their fleets in 
the Baltic during the war, to protect the commerce of 
the North against the hostile privateers, all of which 
was a great drain on the public treasury. 

The war, at length, approached to the Danish fron- 
A. D., tiers. The French troops had entered Hanover, 
1757. where the French general, D''Etree, defeated, 
near Hastenbek, an array of Prussians and Englishmen, 
commanded by the Duke of Cumberland ; but Frede- 
rick V. of Denmark was happy enough, through the 
A. D., interference of Count Lynar, to effect the con- 
1757. vention of Zeven, in Hanover, pursuant to which 
the allied army had to separate ; a convention, however, 
neither ratified by the English nor the French king, and, 
therefore, of no long duration. 

But it was the fate of Denmark soon to enter into a 
yet more critical situation. An unexpected event deliv- 
ered the king of Prussia from the ruin, that seemed to 
threaten him at the close of his last campaign. Eliza- 
A. D., beth, the empress of Russia, died, and was suc- 
i"'^^. ceeded by her nephew, Charles Peter Ulrik, who 
now mounted the Russian throne by the name of Peter 
III., and who entertained a romantic admiration of the 
Pru.«sian king, but an unquenchable hatred against 
Denmark. He immediately re-demanded Schleswig, 
which Adolphus Frederick had renounced in 1750. 
Denmark peremptorily refusing his demand, Peter HL 


marched an army to G-ermany to attack Denmark, and, 
as he declared, entirely to turn away the Danish royal 
family, against which he cherished the most inveterate 

Meanwhile Denmark had made strenuous military 
preparations to meet the threatening tempest, Frederick 
Y. launcliing his fleet in the Baltic, numbering thirty- 
six men-of-war excellently equipped, and marching to 
Mecklenburg, his army consisting of seventy-one thou- 
sand men, commanded by the French general, St. 
Germain, who, upon request of the Danish king, had 
undertaken to conduct the military operations. The 
Russian and Danish armies approaching each other in 
Mecklenburg, a bloody battle was impending, when the 
sudden intelligence was conveyed to the Danish court, 
that Peter III., who, by his imprudent reforms, had 
given offence to a great body of his subjects, had a. d., 
been dethroned, mainly by his wife, and killed i'^^^. 
in prison a few days after his deposition. It has, how- 
ever, not been fully ascertained, whether he was the 
victim of disease or violence. Be it as it may, liis 
death delivered Denmark from the imminent danger 
that threatened her, the more so as the empress, Catha- 
rina II., who now usurped the Russian throne, renewed 
friendship and peace with Denmark, and resolved to 
observe a strict neutrality. 

Nevertheless, it was easy to foresee that the peace 
with Russia was not to be trusted, as long as the dispu- 


table point concerning Schleswig was not settled. The 
celebrated Bernstorff, therefore, deserved higlily of Den- 
mark for getting this point satisfactorily determined. 
After long negotiations he was happy enough to adjust 
a treaty, by which the house of Holstein renounced all 
claims to the former G-qttorp part of Schleswig, and 
Denmark obtained the ducal part of Holstein in ex- 
change for the Counties of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, 
but had, at the same time, to pay the great debt of the 
house of Holstein, and to resign the diocese of Liibeck, 
which Frederick V., with great expense, had purchased 
for his younger son, the crook-backed prince, Frederick, 
whom 'the king had by his second queen, JuUane 
Marie, of Brunswiclc-Liineburg-Wolfenbiittel, to whom 
he had been married on the eighth of July, 1752. This 
treaty being subscribed to a year after the death of 
Frederick Y., was fu*st ratified some years after, when 
the Russian crown-prince, Paul, in whose behalf his 
mother, Catharina II., had concluded it, was past mi- 
nority. On the same occasion was Hamburg, after 
some controverted points were settled, unbound from 
her dependence on Holstein, and declared a free impe- 
rial city. Frederick V. bought that part of the island 
of Aro, which belonged to the duke of Gliicksburg, 
with the proviso that he paid the debt contracted, 
amounting to about one million of rix-dollars. 

During the reign of this king, as during that of his 
predecessor, large sums were spent in promoting 


domestic manufactures in Denmark ; but however 
well-meaning these endeavors might be, particularly- 
originating from the great Bernstorff, their consequences 
were not profitable nor permanent; the manufacturing 
of many things, as silks and other fine manufactures, 
with which many thousands in Copenhagen were occu- 
pied, was unnatural to Denmark and only brought to 
pass by large expenses, and by forbidding the import 
of foreign articles. These being cheaper, were, of course, 
imported into the country in great quantities, and 
greedily sought after, ignoring the severe punishments 
inflicted upon those who were found guilty of such 

Of greater use was the foundation of the armory near 
Elsenore, and of the cannon foundery and the powder 
mills near Fredericksvark, by which the army was 
provided with arms and ammunitions. In spite of the 
high tariff placed upon trade and other ways of living, 
in order to create for manufactures and home-bred com- 
modities a home-market, nevertheless the great juris- 
consult, Henry Stampe, who was attorney-general, 
and exercised a beneficial influence upon many branches 
of the state affairs, effected a modification of the press- 
ing restrictions which, hitherto had been placed on com- 
mercial and mechanical corporations. Also trade and 
navigation were highly patronized under this king. 
Already Christian VI., towards the close of his reign, 
had contributed not a little to increase the Danish com- 


merce in the Mediterranean, and in his name a treaty- 
was concluded with Algiers, confirmed hy Frederick Y., 
who meantime had ascended the throne, and on the 
whole, continued liis father's endeavors, concluding 
commercial treaties with Morocco, Tunis, Tripoli, the 
Turkish Sultaji, Mustapha III., Genoa and Naples. 

Hereby a foundation was laid for the important con- 
veyance of freight, which Denmark had in the Mediter- 
ranean, but the immediate trade with Africa became of 
no consequence, though Denmark spent immense sums 
on equipping merchantmen for that purpose ; while on 
the other hand the East and "West Indian trade flourish- 
ed, and, at length, was raised to a height hitherto 
unknown, and could not fail to be an inexhaustible 
source of wealth to the nation ; and it can not be denied, 
that during the reign of Frederick V. a variety of excel- 
lent laws were enacted for the encouragement of trade. 

But the financial affairs grew still worse during the 
reign of this king. In the first eight years the debt 
was reduced to one million of rix-dollars, but afterwards 
grew, year by year. The reason was, the great expenses 
in fitting out the army and the fleet on account of the 
Prussian seven years' war, and yet more, the necessary 
preparations for the war against Russia ; finally the 
king's splendid court, as also the considerable amounts 
of money spent on supporting manufactures, mechanical 
occupations, and expensive commercial undertakings. 
Another hardy enterprise, on which was spent more 


than a million of rix-doUars, was the attempt at break- 
ing and cultivating the vast heaths of Jutland by 
Grerman colonists. The attempt, however, falling short 
of success, contributed, nevertheless, to make the culti- 
vation of potatoes more known in Denmark, which now 
produces the finest kinds of this vegetable. 

The public treasury was also very much incumbered 
by the purchase of the possessions which belonged to 
the duke of Ploen, and of the allodial estates of the duke 
of Gliicksburg. To remedy the increasing scarcity of 
money, it was, therefore, resolved, upon the proposal of 
Count Schimmelmann, who, in the latter part of the 
reign of Frederick Y., tried to put the finances upon a 
better footing, to dispose of the large estates which the 
crown possessed. These estates hitherto having only 
yielded very small revenues, were now sold with great 
profit, and amounted to considerable sums ; moreover, an 
extra tax was imposed, which, to many, became very 
burdensome, every person, after having attained to the 
twelfth year of age, without respect of person, being 
forced to pay a tribute of one rix-dollar yearly. 

But although this taxation was complied with, with- 
out the faintest murmur on the part of the people, and 
afforded the king the most abundant supplies for the 
accomplishment of all his designs, and for the enjoy- 
ment of the pleasures of his splendid court, the disorder 
of the finances was, nevertheless, so great, that at the 
expiration of the reign of Frederick V. the debt of the 


state had reached the immense amount of twenty mil- 
lions of rix-dollars : a debt which ever since has been too 
heavy a bm-den for Denmark to get rid of, the king 
himself being most to blame in this matter, as his 
desire to imitate the luxurious court of Louis XV, of 
France, had highly contributed to exhaust the wealth 
of his kingdoms. 

The severe restrictions placed on the peasantry by 
Christian VI. continued yet during the reign of Frede- 
rick^ V., and became yet severer than before, a law 
being enacted, that the country lad, from the very time 
he had filled his fourth year, should be bound to remain 
in his native county. The peasants groaned yet under 
all the miseries flowing from the despotic power of the 
nobility. The severe treatment to which they were 
exposed, occasioned many to concert measures for run- 
ning from their native place and emigrating from the 
country, ncftwithstanding they, if apprehended, had to 
undergo the severest punishment. Many estates, there- 
fore, were so deserted that the government found it 
necessary to permit the administrations of alms-houses 
and orphanotrophies to convey poor children to the 
noblemen to farm their estates. 

The sale of the large estates belonging to the crown, 
also, had unfavorable consequences on the peasants, who 
in very few places were able to buy their farms them- 
selves. Many new manors, therefore, were erected on 
the crown estates disposed of, and numerous farms 


pulled down, the peasants often, under these new mas- 
ters not getting so good terms as during the royal 

But notwithstanding these encroachments so highly 
unfavorable to the peasantry, an active interest com- 
menced just at this time to manifest itself for this class 
of society, and caused the attention of the government 
to he drawn to their pitiahle condition, and to the gross 
deficiencies and abuses which prevailed among all the 
agricultural classes. The enlightened count, A. G. 
Moltke, before mentioned, was desirous of making the 
best possible improvements in agriculture, and prevailed 
upon the king to give the liberty of the press to such 
authors who published books on state affairs and agri- 
culture ; on which occasion several writings and treatises 
were issued, not only throwing light upon the bad con- 
dition of agriculture, but also proving tliis to be founded 
in the many restrictions and oppressions placed on the 
peasantry. A royal committee was appointed, which 
particularly had to attend to the economical part of ag- 
riculture, causing several laws to be enacted aiming at 
abrogating that hitherto existing community of ground, 
in so high a degree detrimental to agriculture. 

The new spirit of liberty, which in view of the pea- 
santry began to stir, did also appear in the efforts of 
several noble-minded lords to improve the economical 
situation of their peasants. Amongst these Bernstorff, 
minister of state, deserves to be mentioned, who, upon 


advice of his nephew, A. P. Bernstorff, parceled the 
grounds, and abrogated all community on his estates, 
and granted his peasants freedom from bond-service. 

Frederick V., though not a man of letters himself, 

was nevertheless a munificent patron of science and the 

arts. The Academy of Soro, the re-establishment of 

A. D., which Christian VI. had prepared, was recalled 

^'^*'^- to life and inaugurated, wliich is especially to be 
ascribed to Holberg" bequeathing his immense riches of 
estate and money, and his large library, to this institu- 
tion. There lived under Frederick V., and the following 
king, many celebrated men of learning, of whom I shall 
enumerate a few of the most eminent and remarkable. 

In the science of law Kofod Ancher and Andreas 
Schytte excelled, not to forget Henrik Stampe, before 
named, who all made an equally eminent figure in the 
poUtical as in the literary world, their w"orks being the 
fruit of mature study, and written in a refined and clas- 
sical style. As historians, we have to mention the fun- 
damental investigator, Langebek, who has gained a 
great reputation, both at home and abroad, by his work, 
Scriptores rerum Danicarum Medii JEvi, and Peter 
Suhm, whose favorite subject was the Northern mytholo- 
gy, on which he had published a work of deep erudition, 
which entitles him to the character of a thorough histo- 
rian. Erik Pontoppidaji, above named, continued to 
enrich the literature by eminent productions ; for in- 
stance, his work, Exploits of the Danes abroad, writ- 


ten in Latin, acquired for him a great fame. Pro- 
fessor Oeder has, by liis work, Flora Danica, distin- 
guished himself as a great botanist. Cramer was a 
famous ecclesiastical orator — even known abroad. The 
Grerman poet, Klopstock, who was supported by 
Frederick V., by his immortal works is known to the 
whole civilized world. In point of fancy and imagina- 
tion hardly any poet has gone beyond him ; and his 
poetry exhibits the most beautiful examples of the true 
pathetic. His lyric poem, Messias, has raised him. an 
everlasting monument. The Danish poet, John Her- 
man Vessel, born in Norway, 1742, died in Co- a.d., 
penhagen, whose genius and humor are never to ^''^^■ 
be forgotten, has delivered masterpieces in dramatic 
literature, all distinguished for a correctness of language, 
a harmony of numbers, and a brilliancy of metaphor 
hardly ever surpassed, not to mention the striking wit 
which he in a masterly manner' knew how to apply. 

The great politicians, also, Schlegel, Mallet, Roger, 
and Reverdil, ought to be cited. Reverdil was appointed 
teacher in French to the young crown-prince. Christian, 
and afterwards availed himself of the great influence 
he exercised upon his pupil, to act in behalf of the 
oppressed peasantry ; in which respect Oeder, also, the 
great botanist, merits an everlasting remembrance. The 
great statesman, Bernstorff, influenced the king to send 
the learned Professor Niebuhr to Arabia, whose re- 
searches have thrown a new light on mineralogy and 


oriental history. The celebrated Icelanders, John Erich- 
son, Skule Thorlacius, Grim Thorkelin, and Sandvig, 
applied themselves diligently to examine the northern 
antiquities. Sandvig has made himself famous by his 
translation of the Edda, or sacred book of the Scandi- 
navians, whose author, Snorro Sturleson, lived in the 
beginning of the tliirteenth century, and was supreme 
judge of Iceland. Mallet, above named, has given an 
abridgment of this remarkable book, and shown that 
Snorro had composed it with the sole purpose of preserv- 
ing the memory of the ancient Scandinavian poetry, and 
of the wild and massive mythology therewith insepa- 
rably connected. 

During the reign of Frederick V., two important 
societies were formed in Copenhagen, and Throndhjem, 
Norway : the Society of Belle Lettres, and the Lite- 
rary Society of Norway. Physics and cameralistics, for 
which Count A. G-. Moitke had great affection, were 
vigorously pursued. Upon the proposal of Oeder, a 
cabinet for natural curiosities was erected in the palace 
of Charlottenborg, more professors being appointed to 
deliver lectures on the sciences of nature. Oeder laid 
the ground-plot of a botanic garden, and commenced to 
publish his famous work, Flora Danica, i. e., a descrip- 
tion of Danish herbs. Frederick's Hospital, founded 
during the reign of Frederick V., was not only a highly 
beneficial institution, but also of great importance for 
the study of medicine. The fine arts were promoted by 


enlarging the school of painting and drawing, erected by- 
Christian VI., and by changing it to an academy of 
sculpture, painting, and architecture, in which the im- 
mortal Thorwald&en^ who in sculpture stands unrivaled 
among the moderns, afterwards displayed his rare 

After a reign of twenty years, Frederick V. died on 
the 14th of January, 1766. Although not dis- a. d., 
playing any considerable degree of self-activity, ^''^^^■ 
he entirely possessed the affections of his subjects by his 
engaging affability, which in him deriving its origin 
from a native goodness of heart, was very different from 
that colored complaisance, the usual courtly engine for 
acquiring popularity, and which, therefore, was the sub- 
ject of panegyric among his people, and has continued to 
be the object of honorable mention by posterity. He 
appeared just, liberal, and humane ; and when a war- 
rant for the execution of a criminal was brought to him 
to be sifirned, his courtiers often saw him walkins: Ions: 
to and fro on the floor, before affixing his royal signa- 
ture, entertaining a continual doubt of his right to take 
human life. 

Upon the occasion of his death a case happened which 

ought to be mentioned for the sake of its singularity. 

When the minister of the Church of the Mariners, of 

Copenhagen, pastor Rothenburg, who had got into the 

habit of drinking, next Sabbath after the death of the 

king, ascended the pulpit, he addressed the congregation 


in the following words : " Our most gracious king has 
exchanged his corruptible crown for the incorruptible ; 
he was a mighty monarch, king of Denmark, Norway, 
Sweden, Russia, Prussia, Asia, Africa, America, and 
many other countries, which neither you nor I myself 
know." Of course, he was immediately deposed from 
his ministry. 


176e— 1852. 

Christian VII. — Alterations among the Higher Officers of State — Care for the 
Peasantry — The King's going abroad — Struensee and Brandt — Ove Guld- 
berg, Minister of State — The Queen-dowager, Juliane Marie — Prince Fre- 
derick — Deed of Exchange with Eussia — A. P. BemstorfF — The Armed 
Neutrality — The Finances — The Press — The Peasantry — Care for the 
< Danish Language and Literature — The Charter of Naturalization — Crown 
Prince Frederick, afterwards Frederick VI. — A. P. Bernstorff — Henrik 
Stampe — Reventlow — C. Colbjornson — Hostilities with Sweden — Neu- 
trality during the French Revolutionary War — Independence of the United 
States acknowledged by Denmark — Tripoli — Hostilities with England — 
Renewal of the Armed Neutrality — Horrible Battle at Copenhagen — Co- 
penhagen cruelly Bombarded, and the Fleet carried away — War with 
Sweden — Peace of Jonkoping — Prince Christian August, of Augustenburg 
— His Death — War with Sweden, Russia, and Prussia — Alliance with 
France — Fierce Fight at Sehestedt — Peace of Kiel — Norway Lost — Eman- 
cipation of the Peasantry from Feudal Bondage — Other Important Altera- 
tions in Different Branches of the Government — Care of the King for Public 
Instruction — University and School Affairs — Literature — Pecuniary Af- 
fairs — Representative Council — Christian VIII. — School Affairs in Copen- 
hagen and in the Country — Iceland — The Danish East India Possessions 
disposed of — Care for the Danish Language in the Northern part of 
Schleswig — Railroads — Frederick VII. — Horrible War with the Rebel- 
lious Duchies. 

Christian VII., a son of Frederick V, and his first 
queen, Louise, succeeded his father to the throne of 



both kingdoms, in the seventeenth year of his a. D., 
age. Soon after his accession, Christian VII. ^'^66. 
married Caroline Mafhilde, a sister of the magnani- 
mous krng of England, George III. ; and the engaging 
manners of this young princess, only sixteen years of 
age when married to the king, won her the favor of the 
Danish king and people. 

Shortly after Christian VII. had mounted the throne 
several alterations amongst the higher officers were 
made. The well deserving Count Danneskjold Samsd, 
who, during the reign of Christian VL, had so gloriously 
managed the naval affairs, but under the whole royalty 
of Frederick V. had been removed from any share in the 
government, now regained the administration of the 
navy, and was again introduced into the privy council. 
Prompted hy- Reverdil, who was now appointed secre- 
tary of the cabinet council, the young king, by nature 
possessed of uncommon endowments of mind, took an 
energetic care of the peasantry, which be rightly re- 
garded the majority of the nation. A committee, in 
which Reverdil and Henrik Stampe presided, was 
appointed to propose improvements in the condition of 
the peasants, who, in the whole county of Copenhagen, 
were emancipated from bond-service, and declared 
owners of their farms. Soon after, however, new alte- 
rations were made at the court. Reverdil was dis- 
charged, the' deserving Danneskjold Samso was sud- 
denly, without any fault, deposed from all his offices, 


and banished from Copenhagen ; likewise St. Germain, 
before mentioned, who for some years had commanded 
the land force, was dismissed. After Reverdil's dis- 
charge, Count Hoick exercised a detrimental iiffluencc 
upon the morality of the young king, and led him into 
dissipated hahits. 
A. D., Soon after the king undertook a tour through 

1768. Europe, for the purpose of acquiring more in- 
struction and experience, and bringing back to his sub- 
jects the improvements of more refined nations. Having 
established a regency, to direct the government during 
his absence, he departed from his dominions in the train 
of his courtiers and numerous attendants. In Altona 
the young king contracted familiarity with the talented 
physician, John Frederick Struensee, who was appointed 
to accompany the king as physician in ordinary. 

Shortly before the king left Denmark, his queen, Caro- 
line Mathilde, had on the 28th of January, 1768, been 
delivered of the crown prince Frederick, afterwards king 
of Denmark and Norway, by the name of Frederick VI. 

From Altona Christian VII. went to England, where 
he, by his handsome appearance, natural wit and enga- 
ging manners, won universal favor, the University of 
Oxford even conferring upon him the honorary diploma 
of doctor juris. On account of his talents and insin- 
uating manners, and of his availing himself of every 
opportunity to please his royal master, Struefisee became 
a great favorite with the king, and upon returning he 


monopolized the favor of the king and the queen to such 
a degree, that he was raised to the office of prime minis- 
ter, or rather, sole ruler of Denmark and Norway, ex- 
alted to the rank of a count, and decorated with the 
order of the Elephant, exercising an omnipotent influ- 
ence, and being able to undertake a complete revolution 
of the state affairs ; the easier, as the king himself, by 
dissolute, licentious manners, had fallen into a temporary 
insanity. To accomplish his schemes, Struensee availed 
himself of his intimate friend, Enevold Brandt, who 
entertained the greatest familiarity with the king, 
had likewise been exalted to the rank of a count, and 
decorated with the order of the Elephant, and mastered 
Christian VII. so completely as to make him comply 
with his humor ; Struensee and Brandt thus being the 
real rulers of the Icingdom, the king himself only nomi- 
nally. The old, generally-esteemed Bernstorff, being a 
stumbling-block to Struensee's carrying out his plans, 
was suddenly removed, through the interference of Count 
Ranzau Ascheberg; also striving for power and influ- 
ence. The privy council was annulled, and its a. d., 
members, among whom was baron Thott and ^"''o. 
count A. Gr. Moltke, dismissed ; a cabinet council being 
erected instead of it ; v/hich, however, signified nothing, 
Struensee liimself deciding all matters of consequence, 
without any consultation either with the king or with 
the royal colleges, and soon gaining such an a. D., 
ascendency as to be authorized to pass com- ^'^'^i- 


mands in his own name with the same vaHdity as if 
they were subscribed by the king himself. Jealous of 
the unheard-of power and influence extended to Struen- 
see and Brandt, count Ranzau Ascheberg soon became 
one of their most mortal enemies, and afterwards privy 
to the horrible conspiracy, which brought them to trial 
as criminals, and to suffer a dreadful death. Intoxica- 
ted with joy at the immense influence they exercised, 
they did not suspect that fearful event wliich was at 

Struensee's administration was vigorous, and, in 
many respects, very useful, many alterations which he 
made being highly laudable, while others were of doubt- 
ful utility, and some altogether injurious. One of the 
greatest benefits which the ministry of Struensee effect- 
A. D., ed was the liberty of the press. Immediately 

i"^"*^- after he had assumed his power, a royal rescript 
emanated, giving every individual right to express his 
opinion on the whole conduct of the government, with- 
out reserve, by word or writing ; the press should be 
open to every thing, but after publication, such writings 
as offended in the particulars, should be subject to the 
penalties of the law ; thus, at length, that tie was now 
untied, which for two centuries had retarded the free 
progress of literature and science, and furnished unjust 
officers with the most powerful impulse to every species 
of malversation. 

A better regulation of the finances was a main object 


of his attention, and to accomplish his plans in this 
respect, he employed the skillful Oeder, and his efficient 
brother, Peter Struensee, counselor of state. A col- 
lege of finances was erected to undertake the adminis- 
tration of all the revenues and expenses of both king- 
doms, which formerly had been divided between different 
colleges ; a more economical system was adopted and 
a fixed sum of money assigned for the expenses of the 
royal court. 

As to the conferring of badges of honor and honorary 
titles, it was resolved henceforth to ascertain more 
minutely than before the worthiness of the persons on 
whom those titles were to be conferred, and no more to 
allow servants of the nobility offices in the kingdoms, 
the practice of which already long had intruded upon 
the patience of the people. 

In reference to the magistrate of Copenhagen, im- 
portant alterations took place, all the members of the 
magistracy being deposed and the council of the thirty- 
two men removed, after which the whole administration 
was regnlated in a new and better way. 

Of great importance was the erection of the municipal 
court, from which the defendant could appeal to the 
supreme court, if not content with the sentence of the 
municipal court. Formerly the law-suits in Copenha- 
gen had been divided between many different tribunals : 
a great hindrance for quick and due procedure. It was 
also forbidden by law to put the criminals to the rack 
to compel them to confess their crimes. 


Struensee was also highly desirous of improving the 
condition of the agricultural classes. In the beginning 
of the reign. of Christian VII. something had teen done 
for this purpose, tut afterwards this important matter 
had again been dropped, only some few laws teing 
passed as to improvements in agriculture, while the 
personal condition of the peasantry continued as before. 
But, prompted ty Struensee, a new committee was 
appointed, in which Oeder, uniting a deep insight 
into agricultural affairs with ardent love of the peas- 
antry, presided. Upon the recommendation of this 
committee a lav/ was enacted, that the bond-service 
should be adjusted to their acres of land, as also other 
regulations favorable to the peasantry. Besides that, it 
was proposed by tliis committee, shortly before Struen- 
see's declension, to emancipate the peasantry from all 
feudal bondage. 

It also conduced to the advancement of manufactures 
in Denmark, that the Moravian bretliren, distinguished 
for their industry, were permitted to settle in Chris- 
tiansfeldt, in the duchy of Schleswig. 

Struensee's attention was also directed to the many 
deficiencies in the regulation of the University, and to 
remedy them he called down from Norway the learned 
bishop Gimnerus of Trondhjem, who, with deep inspec- 
tion, elaborated a proposal for a reformation of the 
University, which, however, at Struensee's declension, 
shortly subsequent, was laid aside. 


But although these excellent improvements met with 
great approhation amongst the sensible and educated 
people, nevertheless, he incurred their displeasure and 
censure for having made them too precipitately, without 
preparation and assurance for the future. All eyes 
were bent jealously upon him, and misfortunes were 
accumulating fast upon his head. During the continu- 
ance of Struensee's useful designs, his friend, Count 
E nevoid Brandt, a man of weak intellect, and without 
any vigor of mind, had plunged into the pleasures of the 
court, and in the midst of luxury and festivity indulged 
the king's passions, often taking advantage of his famil- 
iarity with him to forget the distance between himself 
and his royal master, while many looked jealously vipon 
him, and he stood over a hidden volcano. 

To return to Struensee ; several of his institutions 
gave great offence to the manners and habits of his age ; 
for instance, that he abrogated by law (26th of October, 
1770) the following holy days : the third Christmas, 
Easter, and Pentecost days, the Epiphany, the Purifica- 
tion of St. Mary the Virgin, the Annunciation of the 
Blessed Virgin, St. John Baptist's day, and St. Michael's 
and All Angels, alleging that they were only used for 
idleness and vices, and not for true worship ; that he 
annulled all difference between legitimate and illegiti- 
mate children, and finally commanded to bury all 
corpses early in the morning, aiming thereby, it should 

be observed, at diminishing that luxury and funeral 


pomp which long had taken place ; all of which gave 
the more ofFense as Struensee was a known despiser of 
all religion and a man of immoral principles. 

He is also blamed for having introduced the corrupt- 
ing system of" raising money by lotteries, and there 
soon appeared a general dissatisfaction with the reign 
of Struensee, the more as he was a professed despiser 
of the Danish language. The royal orders were issued 
in German, the royal colleges had to present their pro- 
posals in (jrerman, and applications and supplications 
from private people had to be written in G-erman, if 
they might expect them to be taken notice of. 

Struensee had formally monopolized the favor of the 
young queen ; wheresoever she was, he accompanied 
her ; he approached her without sufficient respect, and 
he was generally charged with having defiled the royal 
bed, which, however, never was clearly proved. Many 
officers had been despotically deposed from their offices, 
often without any pension ; his haughtiness had given 
great ofFense to the Danish nobles, and the most influ- 
ential families of the country had lost their influence. 
During some agitations arising from a few mariners and 
workmen, Struensee proved himself faint-hearted, which 
inspired his enemies with courage to precipitate him 
from his high place. His friend. Count E nevoid Brandt, 
was charged with having taken advantage of the king's 
tnomentary insanity, even so far as to ha,ve beaten his 


A conspiracy was formed against them, the principal 
leaders of which were the king's stepmother, the queen- 
dowager, Juliane Marie, and her son, the crook-backed 
prince, Frederick, both of whom, during the ministry 
of Struensee, had been neglected and stripped of all 
influence ; Ove Guldberg, private secretary with Prince 
Frederick, whose teacher he had been ; the two counts, 
Ranzau Ascheberg and Osten, Colonel Koller, General 
Eichst'ddt and Commissary-General Beringskjold ; who 
all had before enjoyed the king's bounty, but by the 
influence of Struensee and Brandt had lost it. 

It was resolved to involve the unfortunate young 
queen, Caroline Mathilde, in their fate, preparations 
being made to strike a decisive blow. The plot was 
laid with a depth equal to the atrociousness of a. d., 
the design. In the night, between the 16th and i'' ''2. 
17th of January, the infernal scheme was carried out. 
Soldiers appeared in the streets and round the royal 
palace of Christiansborg, barricades were erected, popu- 
lar commotions took place in the capital, and the cry, 
"Down with the traitors!" resounded throughout Co- 
penhagen. Struensee and his friend Enevold Brandt, 
not at all suspecting the peril to which they were expo- 
sed, were suddenly arrested at midnight, by virtue of an 
order which had been extorted from the imbecile king. 
Wliile this was passing, Ranzau Ascheberg and Koller, 
guided by numerous soldiers, repaired to the royal 
palace, entered the queen's bed-chamber and dragged her 

372 msTORY OF Scandinavia. 

naked out of her bed and commanded her to follow 
them. Pleading her complete innocence and appealing 
to her royal dignity, she cried : "I will speak with the 
king, my royal consort ; " but they answered : " His 
majesty is asleep, we dare not awake him ; " after 
which they placed her by force in a carriage, and sent 
her, a prisoner, to the fortress of Kronborg, near Else- 
nore, where she remained for six weeks. Dread of 
British vengeance saved her, perhaps, from personal 
violence. "While a prisoner in Kronborg, she was, under 
the pretence of having committed adultery with Stru- 
ensee, divorced, by a judicial sentence, from the imbecile 
king. Christian VII., and then permitted to retire to 
Hanover, where, from 1772 to 1775, in a small town 
called Zelle, the remainder of her life was spent in 
comparative obscurity, pious contemplations, and in the 
exercise of secret charity. She died at the age of 
twenty-four. Even when breathing her last she assert- 
ed her innocence of the crime with which she had been 
charged, declaring solemnly that she had been sacrificed 
by a base plot. 

When she was carried away by force from Copen- 
hagen, her little son, the crown-prince Frederick^ after- 
wards king by the name of Frederick VI., was only 
four years of age. She saw him no more. She is 
buried in a plain vault in the church of Zelle, with the 
laconic inscription on her coffin : " Carolina Mathilda, 
Regina Danise et Norvesrise." 


While this was passing with the young queen, Stru- 
ensee and Brandt were sitting in their prisons, wrapped 
in gloomy thoughts and awaiting their horrible sentence 
of death, at the circumstances of which abominable 
tragedy we cannnot but shudder. They were insulted 
with the mockery of a trial, and their sentence was : 
" Struensee and Brandt have forfeited honor, life, and 
property; their right hands shall first be stricken off, 
then their heads ; their bodies be divided into four parts 
and exposed on the wheel to public view ; " to which 
cruel sentence the deranged king was easily brought to 
affix his signature. 

Dr. Hee, minister of the church of the mariners, and 
Dr. Miinter, minister of the German church, and father 
of the learned bishop of Copenhagen, Dr. Frederick 
Miinter, were commanded to prepare the victims a. d., 
for death. On the 28th of April, the cruel i"2. 
sentence was literally carried into effect. Struensee, 
whose religious views had taken a happy change under 
liis imprisonment, when ascending the scaffold, cried 
out : " The power of the blood of Christ speaks comfort 
to me." 

This horrible scene excited horror and detestation in 
all the courts of Europe, calling it the Danish judiciary 
murder. The hard-hearted queen-dowager, Juliane 
Marie, who was seen looking from a window of her 
palace upon the dreadful spectacle, now usurped the 
royal authority for a long time, after having removed 


her rivals; and the young and talented nobleman, named 
Bernstorff, a nephew of the before mentioned count, 
was appointed minister of foreign affairs, which he 
conducted with excellent discretion. 

Struensee thus removed, the former principles of 
government were introduced, the privy council was re- 
established by the name of council of state, the royal 
colleges were replaced on their old footing, most of 
Struensee's institutions being abrogated, the good as 
well as the bad, and nearly all the men whom he had 
employed in carrying out his reforms, deposed and 
removed, although many of them were highly efficient 
and deserving officers. 

Besides the queen-dowager, Juliane Marie, baron Otto 
Thott, Schack Rathlait, and count Schimmelmann, 
exercised until 1784 the most important influence upon 
the government ; while, on the other hand, E-anzau 
Ascheberg, and several others of the most efficient 
coadjutors in removing Struensee, were soon dismissed. 
Only Ove Guldberg was gradually raised to greater and 
greater dignity and influence, his authority becoming so 
considerable that this whole period has been called the 
period of Guldberg. Andrev7 Peter Bernstorff, a nephew 
of the elder BernstorfT, skillfully administered, (1773- 
1780,) as above mentioned, the foreign affairs, but 
afterwards laid down his office, not approving of the 
principles which Guldberg followed. But the adminis- 
tration of Bernstorff is remarkable for the fact that the 


treaty which his uncle, in 1767, had concluded with 
Russia, concerning the exchange of the ducal part of 
Holstein for Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, was a.d., 
now accomplished, the crown prince of Russia, i'^'^^- 
Paul Petrowitch, now passing his minority. Denmark 
hereby coming into an undivided possession of Holstein, 
the motives for future disputes with Russia were 
removed ; the more so, as the house of Holstein-Kiel 
renounced its claims to the duchy of Schleswig. The 
counties, Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, were, by Paul 
Petrowitch, resigned to the young Frederick Aug-tist, a 
prince of the younger line of the house of Kiel, and on 
this occasion elevated to a grand duchy, by the title of 
the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg. 

Six years after, also, the Grliicksburg posses- a. d., 
sions, at the death of the last duke, by inheri- i'^'^^- 
tance devolved to the Danish crown ; all the small par- 
cels which by earlier divisions had been separated from 
the crown were reunited to it, except the possessions of 
the duke of Augustenburg. 

In 1775, twelve years from the peace of Paris, by 
which Nova Scotia, Canada, Cape Breton, and all other 
islands in the gulf and river St. Lawrence were ceded 
to the British crown, the American revolutionary war 
began, which, by the indefatigable efforts of the noble 
George Washington, and many other patriots, termi- 
nated in the final separation of the United States from 
the British empire. Several of the European maritime 


powers sharing in this memorable war, the Danish and 
Northern commerce was highly molested by the priva- 
teers of the belligerent powers, France, Spain, and 
especially England. To remedy this evil, A. P. Bern- 
storff labored energetically for effecting an alliance 
between Denmark, Sweden, and Russia, to protect the 
neutral commerce. His endeavors met, for a while, 
A. D., with difficulties, but at length a treaty was con- 
1780. eluded, called the Act of the Armed Neutrality^ 
by which these three maritime powers jointly engaged 
themselves in maintaining the axiom, that a free ship 
makes free cargo, or that all merchandise, when not 
contraband, freely and withovit any control, could be 
carried on neutral vessels, to and from the countries of 
the belligerent powers. This alliance, entered upon by 
several states, exercised a highly beneficial influence 
upon the Danish commerce, England now altering her 
policy in this respect, and France and Spain acknow- 
ledging the principles of the armed neutrality. Espe- 
cially the lines of transportation in the Mediterranean 
and the AVest Indies were very flourishing, which latter 
was carried on to a great extent, and with considerable 
profit. For the advancement of the commerce, a chan- 
nel was formed between the bay of Kiel and the Eider 
river, a conjunction being thereby effected between the 
Baltic and the North Sea. But, nevertheless, finan- 
cial aflairs grew still worse during this period. In the 
first years several considerable expenses occurred, which 


increased the debt, but even in the following years the 
debt was continually increasing, notwithstanding the 
sources of wealth were pouring in abundantly. In the 
year 1784 the debt, which from 1766-1772 had been 
reduced to sixteen millions, amounted to twenty-nine 
millions of rix-doUars. The government tried to remedy 
the scarcity of money by redeeming the private bank, 
wliich, during the reign of Christian VI., had been esta- 
blished, and changing it to a royal bank. This altera- 
tion, though undertaken diametrically opposite to the 
charter of the bank, and detrimental to the shareholders, 
made it possible for the government, when want of 
money might happen, to issue out bills without having 
a corresponding value of silver ; which expedient, in the 
following time, was used to such an extent as to ruin 
altogether the pecuniary affairs of the country. 

The period of Guldherg is distinguished by a great 
care ibr the Danish literature. Guldberg himself was 
a man of extensive learning, and an active promoter of 
scientific undertakings. The Danish language, which 
long had been neglected, and during the ministry of 
Struensee entirely trampled under foot, regained esteem. 
In the army the G-erman drill words were exchanged 
for Danish ; at the court the Danish language was 
spoken ; the Latin schools were reorganized, on which 
occasion the mother tongue and history of Denmai'k 
were introduced as the objects of instruction. Also, the 
University was reformed, though not to that extent 


which bishop Gunnerus, during the ministry of Struen- 
see, had in view. The charter of naturalization, issued 
during the period of Guldberg, hears a strong witness 
to the patriotic mind of the government. By this law, 
which the king enjoined his successors to regard as an 
unalterable radical law, it was determined, that only 
Danes, Norwegians and Holsteiners should have access 
to the offices of the state ; such men, however, excepted, 
as by rare talents, uncommon knowledge, or great 
wealth, might be of great service to the kingdoms. 
Notwithstanding science and the arts being protected 
and promoted, the government, nevertheless, during the 
ministry of Gruldberg, was very disaffected toward the 
liberty of the press. That liberty which, under Struen- 
see, had been given to every individual to express his 
opinions without reserve, by word or writing, ceased 
A. D., unfortunately again altogether. A law was now 
i''"^- enacted, forbidding to insert in the newspapers 
or periodicals anything concerning the government and 
public institutions, the mayor of Copenhagen being en- 
titled to punish the violators of this law, either by fine 
or imprisonment, without allowing any appeal to the 
tribunals. Also, against larger works, a high degree of 
arbitrary power was exercised, the government encroach- 
ing upon them, either through immediate orders from 
the cabinet council, or in other ways preventing them 
from being published. 

In reference to the peasantry, also, during the ministry 


of G-uldberg, principles were established diametrically 
opposite to those of the former government, Gruldberg 
himself was fully convinced, that the yoke of the pea- 
santry could not be taken off without entirely subverting 
the state. The committee which, under Struensee, had 
been appointed to propose improvements in the condition 
of the peasantry, was dissolved, professor Oeder, its 
most active and skillful member, being discharged, with 
the notification, that he had forfeited the king's favor. 
The law concerning the bond-service, so favorable to the 
peasants, which had been enacted during the ministry 
of Struensee, was annulled, the bond-service again being 
made indefinite, and replaced on its old despotic footing. 
The pressure on the peasantry also grew still worse by 
the erection of many new manors, which came up by 
continually disposing of the crown estates. Neverthe- 
less, after count Joachim Gotshe Moltke had been 
appointed president of the exchequer, a law for the 
abrogation of the community of ground was enacted, 
highly important and beneficial for the agricultural 

The revolutionary war in America, of seven years' 
duration, had been waged vigorously, and successfully 
in its results to the cause of freedom. Misfortunes 
seemed to attend almost every scheme undertaken by 
England for coercing the Americans into obedience. 
The great continental powers, jealous of the maritime 
and commercial prosperity of England, and dissatisfied 


with her pohcy, ardently desired her humihation, and 
rejoiced heartily at every misfortune that befel her, and 
the northern kingdoms shared in the universal joy, and 
mentioned Washington's name with respect and admira- 
tion ; and when the proclamation of the cessation of 
hostilities was made to the army, on the 19th of April, 
1783, Sweden had already, by virtue of the articles of 
peace, signed on the 30th of November, 1782, acknow- 
ledged, 5th of February, 1783, the independence of the 
United States ; whereupon Christian VII., on the 25th 
of February, 1783, for Denmark and Norway, subscri- 
bed to the independence of this great Union. Already, 
the year before, Holland had, 19th of April, 1782, ac- 
knowledged said independence. The expenditure of blood 
and money which tliis war had cost England was enor- 
mous. Of course, also, the United States had suffered 
during the war ; the trade and the commerce of the 
country were almost destroyed, and agriculture was 
greatly interrupted and depressed, and the great Union 
was burdened with an immense debt, from which they, 
however, soon recovered, by maintaining a strict neu- 
trality, and engaging themselves in an extensive and 
profitable carrying trade. 

Crown-prince Frederick, son of Christian VII. and 

the unfortunate queen Caroline Mathilde, had now 

A. D.. grown up and been confirmed by the court chap- 

1^84. lain. Dr. Bastholm, whereupon he conducted the 

reign ; his father, Christian VII., being so mentally 


deranged as not to be able to rule the kingdoms. A 
few days after his confirmation, the crown-prince 
removed Ove Gruldberg, whose ministry ceased pursuant 
to an order in writing, signed by the imbecile king and 
the crown-prince, who now created a new mmistry of 
state, into which were admitted the great and liberal 
jurisconsult, Henry Stampe, and the celebrated diplo- 
mate, Andreas Peter Bernstorff, who, after an absence 
of four years, returned to Denmark to conduct again 
the foreign affairs. 

The peaceable terms on which Denmark was with 
Sweden, were for a little while interrupted, Sweden 
having attacked Russia, which Denmark, according to 
an earlier alliance, had to assist. Consequently a. d., 
a Danish army made from Norway an inroad ^''SS- 
into Sweden, and, commanded by crown-prince Frede- 
rick, advanced briskly into the Swedish frontier-pro- 
vinces, which were unable to make any resistance, the 
Swedish troops having pitched their camp in Finland, 
in order to attack the Russians. A victory was obtained 
over the Swedes at Qvistrum Bridge, by the Danes, who 
advanced upon Gothenburg; but England interfering, 
and threatening Denmark with war, the hostilities soon 
ceased. This short campaign, however, had cost Den- 
mark the considerable sum of seven millions of rix 
dollars. Shortly after, the unfortunate Louis j^^^ 21 
XVI, of France was guillotined in Paris, and the A. D., 
democratic spirit, which had called forth the revo- ^''^^" 


lutionaiy war of America, was borne back to France by 
her chivalrous sons, who, in aiding the oppressed Ame- 
ricans, had imbibed their principles. The ancient con- 
stitution of France was overthrown, and the French 
Revolution was hurried forward, involving most Euro- 
pean powers in a sanguinary war. But Denmark, 
through A. P. BernstorfF's wise diplomacy, being happy 
enough to maintain an unshaken neutrality, abundantly 
enjoyed the blessings of peace, carrying on the most 
flourishing commerce. The East India and China trade 
was so profitable, that for many years merchandise was 
yearly brought to Copenhagen, to the amount of five 
millions of rix-dollars ; and the carrying trade in the 
Mediterranean, together with the North American and 
West Indian commerce, was likewise pursued with great 
profit. The trade, however, in the Mediterranean, was 
for a long time greatly molested by the Dey of Tripoli 
violently outraging the Danish merchantmen. But, not- 
withstanding peace having long reigned, the Danes had 
not degenerated from the ancient Northern bravery. 
The undaunted Admiral, Steen Bille, gained a complete 
A. D., victory over a superior Tripolitan fleet, and com- 
1797. pelled the Dey to pay respect to the Danish -flag, 
thus securing to the Danish trade in the Mediterranean 
due freedom and progress. The victory gained, the 
Dey presented Steen Bille, to show him his esteem, with 
a costly sabre. 

But, in the course of the French revolutionary war, 


Denmark had a difficult game to play, frequent col- 
lisions occurring with the belligerent powers, especially 
with England, who despotically treated the neutral 
merchantmen. England now extending the list of con- 
traband goods, by which before only munitions of war 
were meant, to meal, grain, and other bread-stuffs, and 
claiming the right of searching neutral ships for contra- 
band articles, and of seizing vessels not laden with 
exceptionable cargoes, attempted to forbid Denmark to 
enjoy free navigation from one port to another, and to 
bring meal and grain, her most important articles of 
exportation, to France or other countries, which were 
waging war with England. Nevertheless, the wise 
BernstorfF succeeded in getting it determined, that ail 
effects conveyed by Danish merchantmen, excepting 
only warlike stores, should be free, and in maintaining 
the peace and dignity of Denmark and Norway, a. d., 
But, unfortunately, Bernstorff died amidst these I'^s. 
critical circumstances. 

To protect the merchantmen against future outrage, 
Denmark now commenced to convoy them by ships of 
war; but England stubbornly claimed the right of 
searching even such merchantmen as were convoyed. 
Mutual recriminations were, therefore, almost constantly 
passing between the Danish and the English govern- 
ments, the former complaining, that great numbers of 
Danish vessels, not laden with contraband goods, had 
been seized and carried into the ports of England ; the 


latter accusing the former of supplying the enemies of 
A. D., England with naval and military stores. A 
1800. slight collision in the English Channel, between 
Freia, a Danish man-of-war, and a superior English 
vessel, which, after a brave resistance, at last captured 
her, together with the merchantmen sailing under her 
convoy, increased the hostile feelings of the two nations ; 
a war being about to break out, when fortunately a 
Convention was concluded, pursuant to which England 
returned the captured vessels, and Denmark promised 
not to convoy her merchantmen by ships of war until 
the matter in question was settled. 

In the meantime, Napoleon, since the 10th of No- 
vember, 1799, seated on the consular throne of France, 
was successfully planning a union of the northern 
A.D., powers against England, and on the 16th of 
1800. December, a Maritime Confederacy was signed 
by Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and soon after by Prussia, 
on principles similar to the Armed Neutrality of 1780, 
and its effect would have been, if fully carried out, to 
deprive England of her naval superiority. Denmark 
having lately concluded a convention with England, was 
not inclined to accede to this new confederacy, but gave 
way, however, to the wish of the Russian emperor, 
Paul, who was highly exasperated at England ; the 
Danish government now ordering her armed vessels to 
resist the search of the British cruisers, and the Russian 
emperor issuing an embargo on all the British ships in 
his harbors. 


Still, England maintained her superiority at sea, and, 
determined to anticipate her enemies, despatched, as 
soon as possible, a powerful fleet to the Baltic, a. d., 
under the command of Sir Hyde Parker and i^oi. 
Nelson. Passing through the sound at Elsenore under 
a tremendous fire from the Danish batteries, on the 
30th of March, the English fleet, numbering fifty-one 
men-of-war, came to anchor opposite the harbor of 
Copenhagen, which was protected by an imposing array 
of forts and floating batteries ; but the Danish men-of- 
war were old and almost unmanageable, commanded by 
admiral Olfert Fisher. 

It is an interesting fact, that Charles Gc. Sommers, a 
Baptist minister in the city of New- York, still living, 
was in Copenhagen on the eventful day of the 2d of 
April, 1801. I cannot refrain from quoting the following 
graphic words from the " American Pulpit," published 
by Henry Fowler, Professor of the University of Ro- 
chester, N. Y. : 

"Within two miles from Copenhagen the British 
fleet came to anchor, in the evening of the first of April. 
Here these mighty battle-ships lay all night, in a fore- 
boding silence, broken only by the dash of waves against 
their huge black sides, or by sound of revelry, and 
low murmur of preparation, which ever and anon 
issued from the open port-holes. In the British fleet it 
was a night of wild joy and hope, and glorious antici- 
pation of the morrow's victory, with the thrill mg excite- 



merit which nerves the arm and steels the heart of 
soldier and seaman in the prospect of desolating contest. 
But the gloom of night, which settled over the doomed 
city of Copenhagen, was but a faint image of the fore- 
bodings shutting down so darkly on the hearts of all its 
desperate defenders. About ten o'clock on the j^ ^-^ c, 
following morning (Good Friday), Lord Nelson's a.d., 
ships had taken their allotted places, and at the ^^°^' 
signal opened their tremendous fire on the Danish 
armament. It was returned by the shot of one 
thousand guns, which spoke in terms not to be misun- 
derstood, of the desperate bravery with which the Danes 
would defend their native land, and of the terrible 
destruction through which the British flag must pass, 
ere it waved in triumph over the citadel of Copen- 
hagen. For more than five hours did these two mighty 
combatants, the flower of the English navy, and the 
concentrated strength of Denmark, wage upon each 
other a warfare of magnificent bravery, but of awful 
carnage. It was one of the hardest fought battles that 
humanity ever has been called to mourn over. Young 
Sommers was witness of it all, in its terribleness, its 
havoc, and its magnificence. When Nelson came- on 
shore, Sommers had a good sight of him. Villemoes, 
too, he often saw, and describes him as of a very modest 
and retiring appearance, of whom the following is told. 
A Danish youth of seventeen, named Villemoes, par- 
ticularly distinguished himself on this memorable day. 


He had volunteered to take the command of a floating 
battery, which was a raft, consisting merely of a num- 
ber of beams nailed together, with a flooring to support 
the guns ; it was square, with a breastwork full of 
port-holes, and without masts, carrying twenty-four 
guns and one hundred and twenty men. "With this he 
got under the stern of the Elephant, below the reach of 
the stern-chasers, and, under a heavy fire of small arms 
from the marines, fought his raft till the truce was 
announced, with such skill and bravery as to excite 
Nelson's warmest admiration. Nelson requested of the 
crown-prince of Denmark, that Yillemoes might be 
introduced to him ; and shaking hands with this young 
northern hero, told the prince, that Villemoes ought to 
be made an admiral. The prince replied : ' If, my 
Lord, I am to make all my brave officers admirals, I 
should have no captains or lieutenants in my service.' " 

After a continued fight of five hours the Danish fleet 
was almost altogether destroyed, but Nelson had under- 
gone so great a loss as not to be able to continue the 
battle, his largest men-of-war being in a dangerous 
situation. The formidable fire from the Danish batte- 
ries being silenced. Nelson sent a white flag ashore, and 
negotiations were transacted. Nevertheless, it is not to 
be denied, that the victory in this horrible engagement 
rested with the English, but the Danes had fought 
with such courage and obstinacy as to procure them 
everlasting honor, to which Nelson's words to the crown 


prince *bear witness : " Your royal highness ! I have 
been in one hundred and five engagements, but that of 
Copenhagen was the most terrible of them all." Six 
thousand of Denmark's bravest sons were taken from 
her ; the English loss was two thousand two hundred 
men, but many of their men-of-war had blown up. 
Against each other were arrayed men who knew no 
inspiration equal to that of their country's call, and 
paid no heed to personal safety, when her safety was 

Nelson, a man of refinement of manners, humanity, 
and with studied courtesies of polished life, was, after 
the battle, cordially received in Copenhagen ; and as an 
instance of his courtesy, it is related, that in the very 
midst of the battle, when the work of carnage and 
destruction was the hottest around him, and he judged 
it expedient to propose a cessation of hostilities, a wafer 
being brought to him to seal his communication to the 
Danish authorities, he rejected it, directing the wax and 
a taper to be brought, saying: " What ! shall I send my 
own spittle to the crown-prince ? " 

An armistice was now concluded for fourteen weeks, 
during which time Denmark abdicated active participa- 
tion in the Armed Neutrality. This armistice soon led 
June 24 ^° ^ Complete peace, when the Russian emperor, 
A. D., Paul.) the founder and head of the Northern Con- 
^^°^" federacy, who had provoked the indignation of 
the nobles and the people, was murdered by a party of 


conspirators, who placed upon the throne his son, 
Alexander /., who immediately resolved to ahandon the 
armed neutrality, and to cultivate the friendship of 
Great Britain. Sweden, Denmark, and Prussia followed 
his example, and thus was dissolved the League of the 
North, the most formidable confederacy ever arrayed 
against the maritime power of England. 

Denmark soon retrieved the consequences of this war, 
and her commerce continued to flourish as hefore ; but 
the incessant wars in the north of Germany occasioned 
immense expenses, Denmark deeming it necessary to 
keep her army in Holstein to protect the frontiers. 
Meanwhile Napoleon had rapidly extended his suprem- 
acy over the continent of Europe, and when the a. D., 
German empire was dissolved, and fourteen i^oe. 
princes of the south and west of Germany were induced 
to form the Confederation of the Rhine, and place them- 
selves under the protection of France, that feudal 
obligation in which Holstein had been to the German 
emperor ceased, and Holstein was now incorporated as 
an inseparable part of the Danish monarchy. 

Denmark having hitherto sought, as far as possible, to 
keep out of the terrible war in which the French Revo- 
lution had involved most of the other states of Europe, 
was suddenly thrown into the middle of the great 
movements, which then shook Europe ; and the blessed 
peace which Denmark, except a few short interrup- 
tions, had enjoyed since the year 1720, was now ex- 


changed for a seven years' war of the most lamentable 

It was generally believed that Napoleon intended to 
blockade all the harbors of the continent against Great 
Britain, and that he would compel Denmark to give up 
her neutrality, and probably avail himself of the Danish 
navy to execute his old project of an invasion. To prevent 
such an enterprise England sent, without any previous 
declaration of war, a powerful armament against Den- 
mark, under the command of admiral Gambier and 
general Cathcart. An imperious demand for the in- 
stant surrender of the Danish fleet and naval stores, to 
be retained as a deposit by the English until the con- 
clusion of the war, being peremptorily rejected, the 
Danes were briskly attacked by land and sea ; but as 
their army was in Holstein to protect the frontiers, and 
was prevented by English men-of-war, cruising round 
in the Belts, from coming to the assistance of the 
capital, they could only make a very weak resistance. 
Se t 2-5 After Copenhagen had been furiously bom- 
A. D., barded for three days, general Peymann was 

^^*^'^' constrained to submit to the demands of the. 
British, and the Danish fleet was, six weeks after, 
removed, while the indignant people could scarcely be 
prevented from avenging the national insult, even by 
the presence of a superior force. A militia, consisting 
principally of men who had never stood under fire, 
commanded by general Castenskj'old, tried at Kjoge. 


four Danish miles from Copenhagen, to make head 
against the British troops, but were immediately routed. 
The enemy carried away thirty-three men-of-war and 
several frigates, besides a great store of ammunition. 

Here I may quote the following graphic account from 
the American Pulpit : "It was six years after the 
horrible battle of 1801, that a British fleet suddenly 
appeared off Elsenore, the toll-gate city of Denmark. 
It amounted to nearly a score of line ships, a large 
number of frigates and gun-boats, with transports car- 
rying some twenty thousand men. As they swept into 
the straits under a light wind, with all sails spread, 
flags, pennants, and streamers flying from mastheads, 
bows, and sterns, every yard throughout the whole fleet 
manned with seamen, Mr. Sommers describes it a mag- 
nificent sight. And when the bands of eleven regiments 
struck up the national air : ' Rule, Britannia, Britannia 
rule the Waves,' the effect was thrilling. With his 
usual enterprise in search of incident or information, 
Sommers jumped into a skiff with a companion, and 
pulled off for the Prince of Wales, a ninety-eight gun 
ship. G-oing on board, he was most kindly received, 
and invited below to a repast with the officers. He 
frankly inquired where they were going with such a 
fleet. An officer replied : " We do not know ; sealed 
orders have been given us, which will be opened this 
afternoon ; and we hope it is not to Copenhagen," 
But alas, it was. That afternoon the fleet weighed 


anchor for that unfortunate capital, and the next morn- 
ing the booming of cannon was heard at Elsenore, 
twenty-four English miles distant, and Copenhagen 
was bombarded. 

" This attack was made under the command of Lord 
G-ambier. It was done for the purpose of getting pos- 
session of the Danish fleet, which lay dismantled in its 
harbor. This fleet the English government was inform- 
ed by their active minister abroad, Jackson, was to 
come into possession of the French, which John Bull 
could not, and would not allow. The fleet was captured ; 
English sailors swarmed on board of the stripped vessels, 
rigged them, fitted them for sea, and the two fleets 
passed over to England. In this engagement, the 
enthusiasm of young Sommers would not allow him 
merely to sit quietly on the end of a ship-crane, but he 
must assist in the defence of Denmark, his adopted 
country. So he joined the company which manned 
the old fort of Kronborg, the guns of which swept 
the straits, and there played away at the ships as they 

This act of violence against Denmark, called so by 
the whole of Europe, furnished the Russian emperor 
with a pretext for breaking off" his connection with 
Great Britain. He complained, in strong language, of 
the disregard which England had ever shown for the 
rights of neutral powers, and the unscrupulous use that 
had been made of her naval supremacy, and many of 


the maritime states seconded his remonstrances. Den- 
mark, though deprived of her navy, resented the hlow 
inflicted on her by England, by throwing herself v^^ithout 
reserve into the arms of France. Shortly after, a. D., 
Denmark declared war against Sweden, whose ^^o^- 
king, Gustavus IV., a son of the celebrated Gustavus 
III., who, in 1792, at a masked-ball, had been mur- 
dered by Captain John Jacob Ankarstrom, was in the 
closest connection with England, and strove for the 
possession of Norway. A few days after the breaking 
out of the war with Sweden, the imbecile Chris- a.d., 
tian VII. died in Rendsburg, Holstein, and his i^^^- 
son, who, since 1784, had ruled Denmark and Norway 
as crown-prince, ascended the throne of both kingdoms 
by the name of Frederick VI. 

The kingdoms were, at that time, in a very critical 
situation, involved in a double war, and on account of 
the loss of the fleet not able to undertake anything 
of consequence against England, their most dangerous 
enemy ; their commerce was weakened by England's 
capturing many hundred merchantmen, and their agri- 
culture was greatly interrupted and depressed. The 
capital had suffered greatly by the English bom- 
bardment ; and some years before, 1794, it had been 
greatly injured by a fire, which even consumed the 
splendid palace of Christiansborg, considered one of the 
most costly and beautiful in Europe. 

French reinforcements arrived in Denmark under the 


command of Charles John Bernadotte, prince of Pon- 
tecorvo, one of Napoleon's most celebrated marshals, 
and preparations were made to make a descent upon 
Skane in Sweden, The reinforcements consisted mostly 
of Spanish soldiers, who mutinied, and the expedition 
was abandoned. But on the Norwegian frontier, the 
war was waged very successfully by the skillful, tal- 
ented, and generally beloved prince, Christian August, 
of Augustenburg. 

Meanwhile the eccentric Gustavus Adolphus IV., 
Avho, by his imprudent reign, had brought Sweden into 
the most miserable condition, had been deposed on the 
13th of March, 1809, and his uncle, Charles XIIL, 
raised to the Swedish tin-one. After his accession to 
A. D., the crown of Sweden, peace was concluded with 

1809. Denmark, in Jonkoping, by which everything 
remained as before the war, and with Russia the same 
year, in Frederikshamn, by which peace Sweden lost 
Finland, which for six hundred and fifty years had 
belonged to Sweden — the most unfortunate peace Swe- 
den has ever concluded. 

Charles XIII. being old and childless, the Swedes 
A. D., elected prince Chi'istian August, of Augusten- 

1810. burg, successor to the throne. By the name of 
Charles August he arrived in Sweden, where he, by his 
mild and unaffected deportment, made himself liighly 
beloved ; but while he was reviewing a regiment of 
hussars in Skane, at Quidinge Heath, he died suddenly, 


not without some suspicion of poison. Count a.d., 
Axel Fersen, suspected of having poisoned him, i^^o. 
was, when the body of the dearly beloved crown-prince 
was escorted to the tom.b, cut to pieces by the mob of 
Stockhohn, The Swedish senate feeling convinced that 
a tried warrior was, under the sad circumstances, neces- 
sary for Sweden, tendered the succession to Charles 
John Bernadotte, who had won their favor by the leni- 
ency and prudence he had displayed some years before 
in the North of Germany. Bernadotte, willingly accepting 
the glorious offer, to the secret annoyance of Napoleon, 
who had long been jealous of his military fame and 
independent spirit, arrived in Sweden in October, 1810, 
by the name of Charles John. 

To return to Denmark : against England the war 
could only be waged very weakly, Denmark being 
deprived of her fleet ; and the few men-of-war which had 
escaped the attention of the English in 1807, were suc- 
cessively captured, amongst others, the Prince Christian, 
which, after a most heroic resistance under admiral 
Jessen, was entirely cut up on the northern coast of 
Sjelland. But, notwithstanding Denmark had nothing 
but a few small vessels and gun-boats, which had been 
built by patriotic private people, to oppose the English 
men-of-war cruising all the time round in the Danish 
sounds and belts, the Danish sea- warriors often battled 
bravely against the enemy, and caused him, in the 
course of the war, many severe losses. But an attempt 


made by the Danes to recover the island of Anholt, in 
the Cattegat, was defeated by the EngUsh garrison ; a 
great loss to the international commerce. 

Sweden could scarcely be said to be at war with 
Great Britain. Bernadotte soon discovered that subser- 
viency to France was inconsistent with the interests of 
his adopted country, and he secretly entered into nego- 
tiations with the Russian emperor for restoring their 
mutual independence. 

In the year 1812 the situation of Denmark became 
yet more critical. On the 24th of June, 1812, Napoleon 
crossed the Niemen at the head of " the Grand Armi/,^' 
and entered upon his ever-memorable Russian campaign. 
On the morning of the 7th of September the great battle 
was fought at the small village of Borodino, seventy 
miles from Moscow, where neither side gained a decisive 
victory. Napoleon now approached Moscow, the ancient 
capital of the Czars, revered by the Russians as Jerusa- 
lem by the Jews. The citizens resolved not only to 
abandon their beloved metropolis, but to consign it to the 
flames ; and Napoleon, not able to check the conflagra- 
tion, had to undertake his perilous retreat. 

Exasperated at Napoleon, and to acquire assistance 
against this his enemy, and, if possible, to break him 
entirely, the Russian emperor, Alexander, although there 
was at that time peace and amity between Denmark 

A. D., and Russia, offered Sweden his aid in depriving 

1813. Denmark of Norway. The following year Den- 


mark was summoned to share in the war against Napo- 
leon, and resign Norway to Sweden. This iniquitous 
request left nothing to Denmark but to take a yet closer 
part with France, whereby all the powers which were 
allied against France now became Denmark's enemies ; 
and after Napoleon, on the 18th of October, 1813, had 
been signally defeated at Leipsic, an immense army of 
Swedish, Prussian, and Russian troops, commanded by 
the elected crown-prince of Sweden, Prince of Ponte- 
corvo, now called Charles John, rushed upon the fron- 
tiers of Denmark. The Danish army, which had pitched 
its camp in Holstein, had to retreat, but fought bravely 
against superior numbers. A division of the army had 
on its retreat been cut off from the fortress of Rends- 
burg, but, after an honorable and obstinate battle a. d., 
at Sehestedf, won the field. ^^"^i^- 

Denmark having now, through seven years, endured 
a desolating war, could no longer afford to con- j.^^ ■^^^ 
tinue the contest, and Frederick YL submitted to a. d., 
conclude the peace of Kiel, by which Denmark '' ' 
resigned Norway to Sweden. Thus the close union 
which, for four hundred and thirty-four years, had 
existed between Denmark and Norway, was dissolved, 
and Denmark lost a large kingdom, the inhabitants of 
which had always obeyed the Danish kings with love 
and loyalty ; and the allies have incurred just censure 
for aiding in this forcible annexation of Norway to Swe- 
den, against the earnest remonstrances of the inhabi- 


tants. As a sort of compensation for the loss of Norway, 
Denmark obtained Sivedish Pomercmia, which was 
afterwards exchanged with Prussia for the duchy of 
Laiienburg and a sum of money. Peace was also con- 
cluded with England at Kiel, by which Denmark had to 
concede Helgoland, a rocky island in the North Sea, to 
Great Britain. 

Nevertheless the Norwegians tried to defend their 
independence under the Danish hereditary prince. Chris- 
tian Frederick, who gave Norway a free constitution, 
and was proclaimed king, but never acknowledged 
by any European state. The Swedish crown-prince, 
Charles John (Bernadotte'), now marched his victorious 
army into Norway, and the Swedish fleet conquered 
Frederickstad. The fortress of Frederickshald was be- 
sieged, and the Swedish army advanced upon Christiania, 
the capital of Norway. The superiority being too large, 
the Norwegians hastened to secure their persons and 
Au-nist pi'operty by a capitulation in Moss, upon condi- 
A. D., tion that Norway should belong to Sweden, and 
■ Christian Frederick immediately leave Norway ; 
the Swedish king, however, confirming that free consti- 
tution which Christian Frederick had given to Norway. 

Although Norway is now under the same crown with 
Sweden, it is in reality little connected with the latter 
country. Its democratic assembly, called the Storthing, 
meets for three months once in three years, by its own 
right, and not by any writ from the king. If a bill 


passes both divisions of this assembly in three successive 
Storthings, it becomes a law of the land without the 
royal assent ; a right which no other monarchico-legis- 
lative assembly in Europe possesses. 

In the meantime the fate of France was decided ; 
Napoleon was, on the 2d of April, formally de- a. d., 
posed, and, by a treaty between him and the ^^'^'^■ 
allies, promised the sovereignty of the island of Elba 
and a pension. But when he suddenly landed at Frejus, 
(March 1, 1815), and soon again found himself at the 
summit of power, and re-ascended the throne of France, 
Denmark took part with the other European powers in 
fighting against him ; and after having lost the memo- 
rable battle of Waterloo, nine miles south of Brussels 
(18th of June, 1815), Napoleon a second time abdicated 
the throne of France, and was banished by the allies to 
St. Helena, where he died on the 5th of May, 1821. 

At the general congress of the allied powers, a. d., 
which assembled at Vienna, the Danish king, i^^^- 
Frederick YL, was present, and subscribed to the incor- 
poration of the duchy of Holstein into the Germanic 
Confederation. Of Schleswig not a word was spoken, it 
being considered an inseparable part of the Danish body. 
Since that time the peace of DemTiark has not been 
interrupted until 1848, when the rebellious ducliies tried 
to shake off the Danish yoke, and erect themselves into 
independent states, and waged a sanguinary three years' 
war against the Danish king, being assisted by more 
than twentv thousand Prussians and Hanoverians 


Of the favorable period previous to the breakmg out 
of the war, the government had availed itself, to make 
important improvements in agriculture and in other 
matters. When crown-prince Frederick, in the year 
1784, during his father's imbecility, assumed the reins 
of government, the peasantry was in a most lamentable 
condition, and agriculture very defective. Community 
of ground still prevailed in most places, although in 1781 
a strict law had been enacted against it, but on account 
of prevailing prejudices, it had been very difficult to 
carry this law into execution. Not less detrimental for 
the advancement of agriculture was the bond-service, 
with a few exceptions, yet in use. The number of 
owners of farms decreased more and more, and the 
tenants were in most places impoverished and oppressed. 
Many sorts of grain were not cultivated at all, and when 
sterile years happened, the country could not supply 
itself with provisions. Public instruction was yet at a 
very low ebb, though Frederick IV. and Cliristian VI. 
had made active efforts for improving it. As far as the 
personal relation to the nobility was concerned, the 
tenants were subject to the greatest despotism. When 
the nobleman was just and well-minded, the tenants did 
tolerably well ; hut if he would intrude upon them, it 
was difficult for the peasants to be protected against 
oppression and injustice. After military service of many 
years, the country lad was obliged to return to that 
estate from which he was enlisted, and then to take 


what farm soever the nobleman might please to give 
him, and on whatsoever terms. The hond-service being 
indefinite, the nobleman exercised the most unlimited 
power over the tenants' time and labor, and was autho- 
rized to lash them and punish them with the wooden 
horse and jail ; a right which the nobility often exer- 
cised in its full extent, and occasionally with circum- 
stances of peculiar atrocity. 

But the crown-prince, a warm and munificent patron 
of the peasantry, appointed (1784) a committee, consist- 
ing of Christian Frederick Ditlev Reventlov, Andrew 
Peter Bernstorff, and Chr. Colbjornsen, who, by their 
skill and activity in improving the condition of the agri- 
cultural classes, have acquired an immortal name. The 
beginning was made in the counties of Kronborg and 
Fredericksborg, near Copenhagen ; the ground was 
parceled, bond-service abrogated, the tithes changed to 
a money tribute, and the farms were given to the pea- 
sants as property. 

As the result of this reform, a general improvement 
took place among the peasantry. Next year a a. d., 
law was immediately enacted, which forbade the i'^^- 
nobility to exercise any despotism over them, their 
mutual rights and duties being exactly fixed. The 
noblemen were now forbidden to inflict punishment 
upon the peasants, either by stripes or imprisonment, 
and it was decided that the farms, previous to being 
given to the peasants, should be examined by umpires ; 


controversies respecting the farming out should be deci- 
ded upon by the magistracy, and no longer left to the 
sentence of the despotic nobleman. 

Yet more important was the emancipation of the 

June 20 P^o,santry from feudal bondage. A law was 

A. D., enacted enfranchising all the peasantry who were 

'^^' under fourteen or above thirty-six years of age, 
and all others from the first of January, 1800. Tliis 
memorable law restored personal liberty to the Danish 
peasantry, and made the peasant a free citizen of the 
state, as well as the other inhabitants of the country. 
The government also extended its care to the peasantry 
of the duchies, where an abominable slavery resting 
upon the peasantry, and depriving not only the males 
but also the females of personal liberty, was entirely 

All these thorough reformations in the condition of 
the agricultural classes, met, however, with great oppo- 
sition from a great part of the nobility, an application 
signed by one hundred and two noblemen being tendered 
to the crown-prince, to repeal the new laws, which they 
particularized as detrimental to the country, and repug- 
nant to their own privileges ; but, fortunately, the crown- 
prince had firmness enough to answer in the negative, 
and the government continued to follow the humane 
principles it had adopted. Those inequalities in burdens 
and privileges among the citizens of the state, which 
through centuries had been kept up, were now succes- 


sively diminished. The great privilege which the nobility- 
had, of appointing clergymen and judges on their estates, 
gave no assurance that these important offices would be 
filled by qualified persons, and had often occasioned the 
grossest abuses. Tso sooner, therefore, had the a. d., 
crown-prince ascended the throne, than he i^o^- 
changed this detrimental privilege to a right of nomi- 
nating [jus proponendi), upon the practice of which, 
moreover, many restrictions were placed. 

The Jews, in Denmark as well as in most other states, 
deprived of all civil privileges, and excluded from exer- 
cising any profession and filling any offices, were now 
placed nearly on equal terms with the other inhabitants, 
and Frederick YI. already, when crown-prince, testified 
to his humane and pliilanthropic principles, by a. D., 
putting a stop to the slave-trade in the Danish i''^^. 
West Indies ; and it is remarkable that Denmark and 
the United States preceded England in declaring the 
slave-trade unlawful. But the example thus set forth 
has afterwards been followed by all the great maritime 
countries of Europe and America. At length, in the 
year 1807, under the Grenville administration, an act 
for the abolition of the slave-trade passed the British 
legislature, to which the impulse was given in the year 
1784, when Dr. Peckard, vice-chancellor of the Univer- 
sity of Cambridge, proposed as the subject of a Latin 
essay, for which a gold medal was to be given, an an- 
swer to the question : Anne Uceat invitos in servitutem 


dare? or, "Is it right to make slaves of others against 
their will?" But, although both the king and the 
people of Denmark have manifested the strongest repug- 
nance to the traffic in human beings, this trade lingered 
in her colonies in the vv^est for years after it had been 
declared illegal. So difficult is it to enforce just laws in 
distant possessions, demorahzed by a vicious and crimi- 
nal system. 

Besides the institutions above mentioned, Frederick 
VI. made, in other respects, many important improve- 
ments. The criminal code was highly improved by a 
new law on theft. The tribunal of inquisition, also 
called the sharp examination, the branding, and the 
barbarous running the gantlet, were abrogated. Of 
great importance for commerce was the new tariff, which 
regulated the commercial affairs according to sounder 
principles than before. Useful alterations were also 
made in the organization of the army ; the. enrollment 
of foreign soldiers was abrogated, the army now consist- 
ing exclusively of the native subjects, while formerly 
German soldiers comprised a considerable part of the 
Danish army. The military officers' higher scientific 
education was provided for by the erection of a Military 
Academy^ where the young engineers learn mathematics, 
and to unite mobility of mancEuvre with rapidity of fire 
and precision of aim. 

That the peasantry might enjoy the right fruit of the 
many improvements which had been made for their 


advancement, Frederick VI. deemed it necessary tho- 
roughly to organize and ameliorate the public instruc- 
tion. To train up qualified teachers for the peasantry, 
normal schools (seminaries) were established in various 
sections of the country ; many new schools were built, 
and money was assigned for the salaries of the teachers. 
A new school-law was enacted, and every peasant was 
enjoined to send his children to school for instruction. 

The Polytechnic School, founded upon the recom- 
mendation of the celebrated natural philosopher, Hans 
Christian Oersted, has exercised a censiderable influ- 
ence in promoting the study of the science of nature, 
and spreading useful knowledge and greater skill 
amongst mechanics. The University and the learned 
schools were thoroughly reorganized, mainly to be 
ascribed to the active and skillful Frederick Cluistian, 
duke of Augustenburg, who, in the beginning of the 
present century, was appointed patron of the University. 
The examinations were made more strict, and a special 
examination was enjoined upon those, who intended to 
be teachers in the learned schools, called Examen 
philologicum. The Academy of Soro, consumed by 
fire in 1813, was rebuilt and recalled to life in 1822, 
and solemnly inaugurated in 1827. It deserves g^^j 2, 
also to be remarked, that Frederick VI. founded a. d., 
the University of Christiania, in Norway, which 
the Norwegians, therefore, call the Frederick's Uni- 


Although Frederick VI. had not himself had the 
benefit of a thorough education, we have to observe 
how much literature was indebted to him for its ad- 
vancement and dissemination in Denmark. Classical 
learning, the art of criticism, poetry, and history, began 
from his time to make a rapid progress. The two 
learned bishops of Copenhagen, Frederick Milnter and 
Peter Erasmus Moller, enriched the historical, antiqua- 
rian, and theological literature with invaluable treasures. 
Miinter is also celebrated for his extensive knowledge in 
the oriental languages. Malte Conrad Bruun, who, 
for having by his writings offended the government, 
was banished, acquired in Paris an immortal name as 
the greatest geographer of the world. Rask is cele- 
brated as a great linguist. Brondsted has immortalized 
himself by deeply searching into the curiosities of the 
Greek antiquities. Finn Magnusson and C. Rafn, both 
yet living, unite deep knowledge in the antiquities of 
the North, with perspicuity of narration and force of 
language. The study of jurisprudence was vigorously 
promoted by Kongslev, E. Colbjornson and F. Schlegel ; 
that of medicine by Tode, Saxtorph, F. L. Bang, 
Winslow, and Herholdt. H. C. Oersted is known over 
the whole civilized world, for his deep knowledge, and 
discoveries in physics. Tetens, Bugge, and Degen have 
signalized themselves as great mathematicians, and 
Abildgaard and Viborg, as superior veterinarians. 

Bertel Thorvaldsen has placed himself at the head 


of all the sculptors that ever the w^orld produced. 
Oehlenschlceg-er has won a great name as a poet, and the 
strict unity of his pieces demonstrates a thorough ac- 
quaintance with the rules of the classic tragedy. His 
genius was original, and he disdained to imitate. 
Coeval with Oehlenschlseger was his friend, the 
illustrious theologian and poet of Sweden, bishop 
Esajas Tegner. He was horn on the 13th of Novem- 
ber, 1782. In the year 1824 he was appointed bishop 
of Vexo, and justified this promotion by the most 
zealous guardianship of the educational institutions of 
his large diocese. His spirited speeches on public occa- 
sions often excited an extraordinary sensation, and his 
eloquent address to the assembly of the Swedish clergy, 
in Vexo, in 1836, has not been confined within the 
limits of his diocese, but convinced all classes, that he 
no less deserved consideration .as a deep and fearless 
theologian, than as an accomplished and nearly une- 
qualed poet. In his charming poem, Frithiaf^s Sag'a, 
he has bequeathed a poetic inheritance to posterity, 
never to be lost, in which he, in a masterly manner, 
resolved the epic form into free lyric romances. The 
noble, the high-minded, the bold, the great features of 
all heroism, are not wanting there. His is, therefore, 
a perpetual glory, " cm neque profuit quisquam lau- 
dando^ neque vituperaiido quisquam nocuitP 

Hans Christian Andersen has, by his poems and 
novels, made an agreeable impression upon his readers, 
and has acquired a great name in Europe and even now 


in the United States. His productions are not the fruit 
of deep study or learning, but of native talent ; and it is 
to he observed to his honor, that in all his works, good- 
ness and virtue are inculcated, as he himself is the 
impersonation of goodness and morality. This charac- 
teristic distinguishes him from the many worthless 
noveUsts, who, in a variety of licentious novels, have 
prostituted excellent talents in the service of vice. 

As Latinist, /. N. Madvig stands nearly unsurpassed, 
and has acquired such a renown, that the great Grerman 
philologers, when uncertain how to interpret a difficult 
passage in the Latin classics, write : " Consulamus 
juniorem Madvig-ium Danice." Dr. Jacob Peter 
Mynster, bishop of Sjelland {ob. 1854), has, as a learned 
linguist, theologian, and talented pulpit-orator, gained 
a name never to be forgotten. The truth of Chris- 
tianity, which he, after a deep philosophic searching, 
had embraced with all his heart, appears eloquently 
and powerfully embodied in his edifying sermons and 
theological writings, in the clear reflections of which 
a rich fullness of sublime thoughts and a deep insight 
into the human heart are manifest. The strength of 
his pious and devout feelings warmed his audience ; a 
mild, but ministerial earnestness gave his words dignity, 
and in short, he had a strong and vigorous intellect, 
rendered, by scientific culture, capable of clear discrimi- 
nation, correct analysis, and happy combinations. His 
views of the Christian doctrines were clear and decided ; 


he received the great system of evangehcal truth in its 
simplicity, and he defended that truth with modesty and 
gentleness. In all his preparations for the pulpit, his 
great and leading desire and purpose were to set forth 
Christ, the gi-eat high-priest of our profession. Wlien 
he departed this life, the great theologians of Germany 
wrote : " Wlio can predict the day when Mynster's 
name shall be forgotten ? " 

Nicolai Frederick Severin Grundtvi^, still living, 
equally remarkable as a pulpit-orator, poet, and deep 
historian, has exercised a mighty influence upon the 
religious and literary life, ^nd in his learned explana- 
tions of the massive Northern mythology, he is generally 
considered unrivalled. As elegant and thorough histo- 
rians, L. Eng-lestoft, E. Werlauf and C. Molbeck in 
Denmark, and Geyer in Sweden, deserve to be men- 
tioned, who all have sought to inspire their readers 
with esteem for history, to warm their hearts and 
strengthen their moral power. 

But I shall not close this hasty sketch of Scandina- 
vian literature, without mentioning Henry Nicolai 
Clausen, supreme theological professor at the University 
of Copenhagen. Richly endowed with gifts and graces, 
he has published, both in Latin and Danish, many 
learned works, which have gained him a great number 
of disciples and admirers, both at home and abroad. 
He ascended, in early youth, to the post of a theological 
professor, and there he has stood, from week to week, 


during a period of nearly thirty-two years, reflecting 
from his own clear and polished mind the light of divine 
truth, and communicating it to his numerous disciples, 
who, after having sat at the feet of this approved master 
in Israel, have come forth from his instruction ahle minis- 
ters of the New Testament. Besides his theological 
erudition he has excited admiration hy managing the 
Latin language with an uncommon degree of volubility 
and genius, and, on the whole, I can convey but a faint 
idea of that portraiture of the Christian and the learned 
professor, vrhich his life has exhibited. There have 
rarely been combined such simplicity and spirituahty, 
such youthful elasticity and manly vigor, such gentle- 
ness of manners and decision of character, as are seen 
in him. 

The seven years' unfortunate war, terminating in so 
heavy losses, had excessively enervated the state. 
Agriculture was in a most lamentable condition, com- 
merce almost annihilated, industry was stagnant and 
money matters deranged. The interest 'of the public 
debt remained unpaid, the certificates of it depreciated 
every day, and many, who held them, were obliged to 
sell them for almost nothing. To remedy these evils, 
A. D., the surplus revenue from the duties on imports, 
181S. and the change of the royal bank to a national 
bank, administered without the control of the govern- 
ment, were appropriated. This measure immediately 
restored public credit, certificates of public debt rose to 


par, and those who had purchased low realized immense 
fortunes. Business of all kinds revived, and the country 
entered upon a career of prosperous activity and enter- 
prise. Nevertheless, the national debt yet amounted, in 

1847, to one hundred and six millions of rix-dollars. 

Sweden having also suffered very severely by her war 
with Russia and Denmark, was, however, this year, 
• happy enough to get rid of her inefficient and demorali- 
zed king, Charles XIIL, who expired in February, 1818, 
and John Baptista Julius Bernadotte, prince of Ponte- 
corvo, who already (21st of August, 1810,) had been 
elected Swedish crown-prince, ascended now the throne of 
Sweden and Norway, and was solemnly crowned on the 
11th of May, 1818. His personal influence, due alike 
to his diplomatic wisdom, his virtues, and his eminent 
military talents acquired in Napoleon's school," became 
of the utmost importance to Sweden. During the 
twenty-six years of his wise administration, all differ- 
ences with foreign nations had been settled ; public and 
private credit was restored, and ample provision made 
for the payment of the public debt. "When ascending 
the throne, he assumed the motto : " The love of my 
people is my reward," and he fully realized 'it. This 
celebrated monarch, to whom Sweden is indebted for 
her present influence and temporal happiness, was born 
on the 26th of January, 1764, in the city of Pau in the 
southern part of France, and married to Eugenia Bern- 
hardina Desideria, daughter of a rich merchant in 


Marseilles, by whom he only had one son, prince Oscar, 
now the talented and highly beloved king of Sweden 
and Norway, by the name of Oscar I. 

Although, as above mentioned, the kingdom of Den- 
mark had commenced to enter upon a career of activity 
and enterprise, its rapid thriving was highly retarded 
by a series of unfavorable years, through which the 
grain prices were so low, that the king had to lighten 
the taxes for the peasants. The flourishing commerce 
which Copenhagen had carried on with China, America, 
and the East and West Indies, and which had been a 
rich source of wealth for the whole kingdom, had, during 
the war, been utterly ruined, and since that time the 
commerce of Copenhagen has not been of any conse- 
quence. Only in the last decennary of the reign of 
Frederick VI., the country recovered a little strength, 
the commerce of the cities increased, and on account of 
the improvements which had been made in agriculture 
and in the condition of the peasantry, the productions 
of the country increased to such a degree that the 
exports almost doubled ; even in industry and home- 
trade a brisker life began to stir up. 

But thfe very last part of the reign of Frederick VI. has 
been remarkable for an institution which became of great 
influence upon Denmark's felicity and advancement. 
Since the introduction of the absolute power, 1660, the 
people had been deprived of all influence upon the legis- 
lation and the rule of the state ; this was altered by the 


introduction of a council representative of the people 
Already, in the year 1720, Sweden, under Frederick of 
Hesse Cassel, had become a hereditary monarchy, with 
a representative Diet consisting of four chambers, formed 
respectively of deputies from the nobility, clergy, burgh- 
ers, and peasants, and in a great part of Europe the 
people had obtained either a deciding or an advising 
influence upon the government ; and the Danish people, 
influenced by the European culture and by the increas- 
ing enlightenment, had gradually come to such a matu- 
rity as to make its co-operation in the government highly 
desirable. Frederick VI., though as fond of his sove- 
reignty as a baby of his puppet, resolved, nevertheless, 
to meet the demand of the time by the introduc- jj^^y gg, 
tion, both for Denmark and the Duchies, of a A.D., 
council representative of the people ; a resolution 
received with every demonstration of joyous enthusiasm 
throughout the whole kingdom. All measures respect- 
ing government, all questions regarding public affairs, 
all propositions for the public good, might take their 
rise indifferently in this council and be discussed there, 
and then presented to the king's consideration. But 
'h&mg .only 2i deliberative assembly, the king was not 
compelled to admit the proposals of the council, but had 
promised to take all proposals, which had taken their 
rise from this council, into serious consideration, and 
make them laws, if his wisdom thought it proper or pru- 
dent to do so. This inestimable privilege of the Danish 


subjects was productive of very much good, and made 
Frederick VI. yet more beloved and popular than he 
already, by his unassuming manners, his national and 
sincere mind, had been, when, at the age of seventy- 
two, and after a remarkable reign of fifty-five years, 
first twenty-four years as crown-prince, then thirty-one 
Dec 3^ years as king, the Lord removed him from tliis 
A.D., scene of trial to inherit life everlastinsr. His 
■ people mourned for him, but offered thanksgiv- 
ing to God that he had raised up for them so good and 
so faithful a steward, who had always been found wil- 
ling to share their hardships. Twelve peasants from the 
county of Copenhagen asked permission to bear the 
royal coffin, on which was written " The memory of the 
just is blessed." Prov. x. 7. His queen was the virtu- 
ous and intelligent Marie Sophie Fredericka, a princess 
of Hesse Cassel, who survived him thirteen years. Hav- 
ing no sons by her, he was succeeded in the reign by 
his cousin, Christian Frederick, ascending the throne by 
the name of Christian VIII. Enriched by nature and 
cultivation, he was, when assuming the reins of govern- 
ment, considered one of. the most enlightened monarchs 
of Europe ; and added to this his prepossessing appear- 
ance and engaging manners, and that, from his shoul- 
ders and upward he was, like • Saul, higher than any of 
the people, he was received everywhere with the greatest 
enthusiasm and veneration, Denmark flattering herself 
with the prospect of enjoying golden days under his 



sway, and of profiting by the liberal spirit to which he, 
twenty-five years ago, had testified in Norway. Puffed 
up, as we have noticed before, by a transient gleam of 
prosperity, he had in Norway, 1814, assumed the title of 
king, but was after a little while, by Bernadotte, whose 
star was then on the ascendant, compelled to resign the 
crown of Norway. But, however short his reign was in 
Norway, he has left behind him an undying monument 
in the hearts of the Norwegians, by giving them the free 
Constitution above mentioned, by which he sowed the 
seeds of freedom, and produced a rich harvest in the 
blessings of independence, which spread quickly over 
the whole kingdom. 

The Danish people, on good grounds expecting that 
the new king, Clu-istian VIIL, would bless them with a 
like freedom, were nevertheless highly deceived in their 
expectations, as the king, having confined all his ideas 
to the power, dignity, and splendor of the crown, deci- 
dedly declined giving a free constitution, asserting that 
the people had not yet attained to such a degree of intel- 
lectual maturity as to be capable of duly enjoying the 
blessings of freedom. A spirit of opposition, which con- 
fined itself to complaints under this reign, began in the 
next to break out into active efforts. But, although 
declining to bless Denmark with the privilege of liberty, 
and unwilling to renounce even the smallest particle of 
the royal prerogatives, he was in many other respects a 
useful ruler. He reformed the laws, encouraged com- 


merce ; and science and the arts, which the king himself 
loved dearly, were munificently patronized by him. 

During his reign Dr. Hans Larsen Martensen, now 
bishop of Sjelland, commenced to draw the attention of the 
learned of Europe to his brilliant talents. After having, 
in the year 1832, passed his theological examination at 
the University of Copenhagen, to the greatest satisfac- 
tion and admiration of his examiners and the faculty, he 
went to Berlin, where he deeply profited by the instruc- 
tion of the great theologians and philosophers, Neander, 
Marheinecke, Schelling, and Twesten, and joined their 
scientific debates. Upon his returning, Christian VIII. 
appointed him theological professor at the University, 
where Martensen, to the most crowded and refined 
audience, delivered his spirited lectures on the strict 
conjunction of the scientific theology with philosophy, 
and on the exegesis of the New Testament. His bril- 
liant gifts as a public orator induced the king to appoint 
him court chaplain, expecting in him an able champion 
and defender of the Christian faith. The king was not 
disappointed in his expectations. In the king's chapel 
he mounted the pulpit, where he did not shun to de- 
clare the whole counsel of God, proclaiming His severity 
in due conjunction with His loving-kindness. Peculiarly 
skilled in setting forth the awfulness of Sinai, and in 
launching forth the terrors of the law, he never fails in 
the tender presentation of the great sufferings and love 
of our Saviour, and of the attractions of his cross to 


dying men. In the year 1846 he published his Dog- 
matics, a clear and learned work, which immediately 
was translated into German, and received with great 
applause among the learned theologians of (3rermany. 

Christian VIII. not only patronized literary men, but 
also directed his royal attention to other branches of his 
kingdom's welfare and advancement. Railroads were 
laid down in Holstein and Sjelland, the Sound Dues at 
Elsenore were reduced, the public and learned schools 
were re-organizeS, a new seminary (normal school) was 
erected in Jutland, Iceland was given a council repre- 
sentative of the people, and the East India possessions no 
longer being of any pecuniary' profit to Denmark, were 
disposed of to England. Many circumstances had long 
contributed to check the prosperity of the Danish East 
India Company, but none more than the pertinacious 
jealousy of the Dutch, who excluded them from the most 
profitable branches of trade ; and Christian YIII., there- 
fore, did well in selling them. But, although the kings 
of Denmark were not successful in carrying out any 
considerable commerce there, they have honorably dis- 
tinguished themselves by their zeal for the propagation 
of the Gospel ; and, notwithstanding their limited means, 
they have diffused the principles of true religion through 
a considerable portion of the south of India and of the 
east of Africa. 

In North Schleswig, where the Danish language was 
used in divine service and school-teaching, Christian 


VIII. commanded it to be used also in lawsuits and 
public afFairs, instead of the German language, before 
used, as he also in other ways has promoted the interest 
of the mother-tongue. During his reign the neigh- 
boring kingdom, Sweden, lost, on the 8th of March, 
1844, her greaj; and talented king, Charles John XIV., 
once, as we know, Napoleon's celebrated marshal. He 
was succeeded in the Swedish throne by his son, Oscar 
I., born on the 4th of July, 1799, and married to 
Josephine Maximiliane Eug-enie, prineess of Leuchten- 
berg, daughter of Napoleon's step-son, prince Eugene. 
By her King Oscar has four sons and one daughter. 
Sweden thus now ruled by French blood, and no more 
by the descendants of the celebrated house of Vasa, has, 
nevertheless, not had any reason of complaining over it, 
Charles John XIV. being an excellent king, and his son, 
Oscar I., yet wielding the sceptre with clemency, wis- 
dom and justice. 

Christian VIII., although declining to give Denmark 

a free constitution, thought, however, at the close of his 

life, of meeting the demand of the time, and had him- ' 

Jan 20 ^®^^' delineated such a one, when, in an earlier 

A. D., hour than he and his people expected it, death 

■ claimed him. He was married to Caroline 

Amalie, a princess of Augustenburg, and sister to the 

rebellious duke who mainly involved Denmark in the 

horrible war with the Duchies. She is still living, and 

has, loving her God and her Redeemer, done, and 


and is doing, very much to promote a true religious life. 
After the death of Christian VIII. , the crown was 
placed on the head of his only son, Frederick VII., 
born on the 6th of October, 1808. No sooner had he 
ascended the throne, than he yielded to the clamors of 
his subjects, dismissed his father's old aristocratic min- 
istry, appointed a new one, and gave Denmark the long 
desiderated free constitution, which made him very popu- 
lar and beloved, Denmark now being no more an abso- 
lute, but a constitutional monarchy. The Constitution,, 
freed from all those despotic restraints with which it had 
been fettered by the Act of Sovereignty in 1660, was 
now fixed on a basis more favorable to the people's 
liberties than had ever been known in the annals of the 
nation. Undeniably, a few men, who had put this 
important wheel in motion, had made patriotism a cloak 
for their views of private interest, and made a great 
harvest ; but, be it as it may, it is sufficient to say, that, 
under the influence of this Constitution, of which Den- 
mark now, together with the United States and Norway, 
has to boast, the condition of society, whatever fluctua- 
tions it must, from the constitution of our frail human 
nature, be liable to, has been such as to answer all the 
wishes of the good, the virtuous, and the industrious 
part of the community, and its restraints have proved 
grievous to the overweening nobility alone, on whom 
restraint was necessary. 

Frederick VII. mounted the throne under critical 


circumstances, but before entering on the abominable 
war with the Duchies, wrought by the treacherous policy 
of the rebellious duke of Augustenburg, it will be neces- 
sary to cast a brief glance at tlie affairs of Europe. 

A revolutionary spirit pervaded, in the year 184& 
nearly all Europe, like an epidemic fever, Louis Phi- 
lippe, of France, having acquired a high reputation for 
wisdom and firmness, was, however, far from finding 
his throne a bed of roses. In the beginning of his reign, 
zealously supported by the middle classes, who looked 
upon him as their guarantee for constitutional . freedom, 
he soon lost their favor, as they believed themselves 
deceived in their expectations, and an all-pervading 
feeling of discontent taking place, led to the Revolution 
of February, 1848. On the 23d of February, crowds 
appeared in the streets of the capital, barricades were 
erected, and the cry ; "To arms ! Down with Louis 
Philippe ! Down with the Bourbons ! " resounded 
throughout Paris. The troops allowed themselves to be 
disarmed by the mob, who then demanded the abdica- 
tion of the Idng, who, with his queen, escaped to St. 
Cloud, and thence, in disguise, to England, Royalty 
had vanished, and France was again a Republic. No 
sooner had the accounts of the affairs in Paris reached 
Germany, than popular commotions took place, and the 
people demanded a political constitution, that should 
give them a share in legislation, establish the liberty of 
the press, and otherwise secure them their rights. The 


grand-duke of Baden had to yield to the demands of 
his people, and appoint a ministry from the popular 
party. The king of Saxony was compelled to grant the 
requests of his subjects. At Munich, the capital of 
Bavaria, the people stormed the arsenal, and forced 
from the king the concessions in question. The elector 
of Hesse-Cassel yielded, after a severe conflict. The 
king of Hanover also yielded, when he saw that resist- 
ance would have cost him his throne. Frederick William 
IV., of Prussia, vainly and foolishly resisted a popular 
revolution in Berlin. In Vienna, the capital of Austria, 
the citizens, headed hy the students of the University, 
sympathized with the Parisians, and expressing them- 
selves openly upon the great subject of reform, pre- 
sented their petition for a constitutional government, a 
responsible ministry, liberty of the press, and religious 
freedom. After a formidable struggle in Vienna, during 
which many victims fell, the Emperor was compelled, 
on the 15th of March, to comply with the demands of 
the people. Also, the subjects of Ferdinand II., king 
of Naples and Sicily, had revolted early in 184S, and 
their request for a constitution was granted. That 
victory which had followed the popular commotions of 
France and G-ermany, was an inducement for the two 
southern duchies of Denmark, Schlesivig and Ho/stcin, 
to revolt. The duke of Augustenburg had already 
long, through speeches and periodicals, sown that seed 
of resistance and discord which now commenced to 


break out into acts of violence. The two Duchies, long, 
without any reason, dissatisfied with the Danish rule, 
and irritated by the refusal of the king to accede to any 
of their imperious demands, declared the new ministry 
appointed hy Frederick VII. hostile to their privileges 
A. D., and theanselves independent of Denmark. On 

i^s. the 24th of March, 1848, a message was written 
from Rendshurg to Copenhagen : " Schleswig-Holstein 
twenty-four hours ago became an independent state, 
shook off the Danish yoke, and appointed a provisional 
government." On the 25th of March, the duke of 
Augustenburg arrived in Rendshurg, where the provis- 
ional government resided, and the insurgents assembled 
under the command of his brother. Prince Frederick, 
On the 26th of March, there was written : "The king 
of Prussia has ordered his army to check the Danish 
troops, if they make their appearance." 

The king of Denmark, Frederick VII., of course not 
evincing any inclination to abate his pretensions to the 
Duchies, guaranteed him by England and France, and 
decidedly declining the admission of Schlcswig into the 
Germanic Confederation, to which it had never belonged, 
marched his army into Schleswig, where it arrived be-^ 
tween the 28th and 29th of March, under the command 
of the generals Hedemami and Meza. Meanwhile Ger- 
man volunteers, amongst whom were many enthusiastic 
young students, resorted now from all parts of Germany 
to assist the rebellious Duchies, whose interest they 


ioined. The first battle between the Danes and the 
Schleswig-Holsteiners was fought at Ban, near to F lens- 
burg, on the 9th of April, 1848. The battle was a. d., 
brief, but for its duration sanguinary enough ; IS'^^- 
the insurrectional troops were entirely routed, and eight 
hundred prisoners of war carried to Copenhagen. From 
Prussia numerous troops now arrived, under the com- 
mand of General Benin, declaring that any attack of the 
Danish army on the Schleswig-Holsteiners would be 
regarded a declaration of war against Prussia, a d., 
Easter Day, 23d of April, 1848, eleven thousand 1848. 
Danes, while preparing to attend divine service, were 
unexpectedly attacked by nineteen thousand Prussians, 
close by the city of Schleswig. The combat was very 
obstinate ; the Danes, although fighting as madmen, and 
with the greatest contempt of death, were defeated, and 
G-eneral Hedemann had to yield to superior numbers ; 
but, as the Roman senate formerly thanked Varro, quia 
de republica non desperasset, so Frederick YII. rendered 
thanks to his soldiers for that bravery they had display- 
ed at Schleswig — a good omen of future success. 

Norway and Sweden now sided with the Danes, and 
two thousand Norwegians and Swedish volunteers 
arrived in Schleswig, to join the Danish army. Shortly 
after the unfortunate battle of Easter Day, the Danes 
gained a glorious victory at Diippel, 28th of May, a.d., 
over the Prussian general, Wrangel, though hav- I'^^s. 
ing a difficult game to play — twelve thousand Danes 


against sixteen thousand Prussians. Proposals of medi- 
ation were now made by Russia, which sided with Den- 
mark, and on the 26th of August an armistice was 
A.D., agreed on. The insurgents, nevertheless, con- 

1848. tinning to cherish a revolutionary spirit, and the 
partisans of anarchy taking advantage of the popular 

A. D., excitement, the king of Denmark declared, 26th 

1849. of March, the armistice invalid, ordered the for- 
tress of Fredericia to be more strongly fortified, and his 
army to enforce the royal authority, and prepared to 
strike a decisive blow against the insurgents, who at 
first gained some advantages at the towns of Ulderup 
and Kolding, and. threw a strong garrison into Frede- 
ricia, which they seized. The Danes, seeing that no 
moment was to be lost, determined to defy the whole 

A. D., strength of the insurgents, and on the 6th of July 
isia. the Danish army attacked the Schleswig-Hol- 
steiners at Fredericia. The garrison was numerous, the 
resistance obstinate, and the insurgents fought as lions ; 
but the Danish artillery made so dreadful a havoc in the 
hostile line, that after a most sanguinary combat, of 
more than eight hours' duration, the insurrectionary 
army was irretrievably ruined ; six hundred of their best 
troops were left dead on the field, and two thousand 
were taken prisoners. The Danes lost three hundred 
men, and sixteen hundred severely wounded, but had to 
mourn over the loss of Olaf Rye, a native of Norway, 
one of their most gallant officers 


Prussia having more seemingly than sincerely assisted 
the Schleswig-Holsteiners, now settled (10th of a.d., 
July) the preliminaries to a peace with Denmark, i^^^- 
and a convention of truce, pursuant to which the king 
of Prussia promised to withdraw his forces, and no more 
to act in concert with the insurgents, whose afTairs 
seemed to be more and more on the decline. Their chief 
leaders, the Duke of Augustenburg, and his brother, 
Prince Frederick of Noer, to the latter of whom the 
insurgents had committed the command of their army, 
had, in a military point of view, accomplished very little, 
Prince Frederick being a wretch without spirit, courage, 
or tactical ability, who, after the lost battle of Bau, fled 
into the city of Flensburg, narrowly escaping being made 
prisoner ; and the duke, for his personal safety, select- 
ing the securer occupation to travel round to fan the 
flame of insurrection. The revolutionary spirit con- 
tinued, and Schleswig-Holstein was in a ferment. 
Through immense exertions the insurgents raised an 
army of thirty thousand men and eighty-two field-pieces, 
under the command of General Willison, and formed a 
bold plan for carrying on the war against Denmark ; but 
the end of the mighty power, which the rebellious 
Duchies had tried to wield, was fast approaching. 

As it was impossible, save in blood, to quench the re- 
volutionary spirit, and compel the Duchies into subjec- 
tion to their hereditary monarch, Frederick VII. ordered 
an army of thirty-eight thousand men and ninety-six 


great guns, to march out of the camp under the com- 
mand of the noble and undaunted warrior, Greneral 
A. D., Krogk, and the brave Assistant-Greneral, Schlep- 
1850. pegrel. On the 13th of July, 1850, the rebel 
troops crossed the Eider river, frequently skirmishing 
A. D., with the Danes, until, on the 24th of July, the 
1850. royal army gained, at the town of Idsted, the 
most brilliant victory that had been obtained during the 
war, over the united forces of the Schleswig-Holsteiners. 
This dreadful battle, lasting two days without intermis- 
sion, and attended with a most cruel carnage, cost Den- 
mark three thousand six hundred and fifty-seven men 
and one hundred and forty officers ; amongst whom 
were the magnanimous Greneral Schleppegrel, and the 
skillful tactician, Colonel Lsessoe. 

The insurgents were, however, not yet tranquilized, 
but, to the inexpressible astonishment of every one, 
formed a new plan for the destruction of the Danes. On 
A.D., the 29th of September, 1850, they laid a terrible 
1850. siege to the city of Frederickstad, situated on 
the Eider. Through five days they showered fire-balls 
upon the unfortunate town, and vast clouds of smoke 
arose in awful sublimity over the bloody scene, until 
the Danish artillery, commanded by the courageous Nor- 
wegian, Greneral Helgesen, after having made a most 
dreadful havoc amongst the insurgents, compelled them 
A. D., to raise the siege and order a retreat. Finally, 
\S5i- next year, 6n the 1st of February, 1851, after 


almost one continued battle of three years, the insurrec- 
tion ceased, the royal authority and the whole state thus 
again being considered re-established* 

But the turmoil of the war had not diverted the new 
ministry's attention from the internal affairs of the 
country. The free constitution, which the king had 
promised his subjects, had been elaborated and finished, 
to which, on the 5th of June, 1849, the royal signature 
was affixed ; and the same year the possessions on the 
coast of Gruinea, proving unprofitable to Denmark, were 
disposed of to England for the amount of ten thousand 
pounds sterling. 

Frederick YII. having, when crown-prince, been twice 
married — first to the Danish princess, Wilhelmine, 
daughter of king Frederick YI., and then to princess 
Caroline Charlotte Mariane, daughter of the grand duke 
of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, but on account of domestic 
disagreement, divorced from both of them — was, 7th of 
August, 1850, by the bishop. Dr. Mynster, solemnly 
joined in a morganatic marriage to Louise Christine, 
Countess of Danner, 7iee Miss Rasmussen. She had, 
for some years back, kept a millinery shop in Copen- 
hagen. Although thus not of royal blood, and, there- 
fore, now and then overlooked by the aristocracy, she 
has, nevertheless, by her cultivated understanding and 
refinement of manners, exercised, and is still exercising, 
a very beneficial influence upon the king ; and by her 
indefatigable munificence, she has gained the favor of 


the mass of the people, who have more and more recon- 
ciled themselves with the idea of their king's connecting 
himself with one of ^plebeian blood. 

The insurrection having been crushed {1st of Feb- 
ruary, 1851), the cessation of hostilities taken place, 
and the king of Denmark thus having regained his 
authority over the Ducliies, a treaty was concluded in 
London, on the 8th of May, 1852, between a. d., i 
Denmark, Siveden, Norway, England, Austria, i^^^. 
France, Russia, and Prussia, which yet more firmly 
than before by the peace of Fredericksborg in 1720, 
guaranteed the integrity of the Danish monarchy. 
Though a hollow reconciliation is thus established, the 
revolutionary spirit is still fermenting in the minds of 
the Schleswig-Holsteiners, waiting only for a favorable 
opportunity to break out into a new rebellion. The 
perfidious duke of Augustenburg, of course, deprived 6i 
liis ducal possessions, and now an exile traveling round 
in Europe with the stigma of Judas Iscariot on his fore- 
head, is still fanning the flame of rebellion ; and what 
the future conceals in its bosom, He only knows, who, 
as David sings : " Shall strike through kings in the day 
of his wrath, and turn their hearts whithersoever he 

" The gracious God," once said, metaphorically, the 
great Talleyrand, " has always a miracle in his pocket 
to save the little Denmark." Acquiescing in this con- 
viction, I look safely forward to the fate of Denmark, 


my dearest native country, where my cradle was rocked, 
where I received blessings upon blessings, and the in- 
grafted w^ord of G-od, which is able to save souls. 

Thus have heen sketched the leading events, political 
and civil, of the Scandinavian kingdoms, especially of 
Denmark, from her first feeble and scattered establish- 
ments to her formation into a prosperous and now highly 
enlightened nation. It depends, of course, upon the 
religion and morality of the people, these indispensable 
supports of political prosperity, whether the great 
problem of the possibility of a permanent and well- 
ordered constitutional monarchy shall be solved as the 
sincere friends of free institutions desire. 

I conclude by commending the welfare of the 
three Scandinavian countries to the protection of the 
Almighty, entreating for them, and for their rulers, 
Frederick the Seventh and Oscar the First, His 
heavenly guidance and blessing. 




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