THE VASA IN SWEDEN AND POLAND. (1560-1630.)
By W. F. REDDAWAY, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of King's College, Cambridge.
Sweden at the death of Gustavus Vasa . 158
The Hereditary Settlement . 159
Difficulties of the monarchy in Sweden . 160
Erik XIV. Constructive measures . 161
The Livonian question . 162
The Northern Seven Years' War.163
Murder of the Sture . 164
Deposition of Erik XIV. John III . 165
Duke Charles. Peace of Stettin .166
The Russian War. Domestic opposition . 167
Sigismund and the Polish Crown .168
Poland and Sweden. Death of John III . 169
Sigismund and the Swedish Church . 170
Coronation of Sigismund. Rule of Duke Charles . 171
Deposition of Sigismund in Sweden . 172
Character and action of Charles IX . 173
War of the Swedish Succession .174
The government of Charles IX .175
The struggle in Livonia and Russia . 176
War with Denmark. Death of Charles IX. 177
Early days and personality of Gustavus Adolphus . 178
Close of the War with Denmark. 179
Progress of the Swedes in Russia . 180
Close of the Russian War . 181
The Polish War of Gustavus Adolphus . 182
Capture of Riga, and Truce with Poland . 183
Gustavus Adolphus' home government.184
Renewal of war with Poland . 185
Swedish conquests in Prussia .186
Truce with Poland. Gustavus' economic policy . 187
The rule of Sigismund in Poland . 188
Sigismund and the Rokosz of Sandomir . 189
THE VASA IN SWEDEN AND POLAND. (1560-1630.)
GUSTAVUS VASA at his death in 1560 left the future of Sweden only half assured. His forty years of resolute government, indeed, had done much to establish in his dominions a condition of unexampled prosperity. The strength of the nation had grown as the authority of the Crown increased. In 1520 Sweden had been a dependency of Denmark, unable to free herself from the political tyranny of Christian II without submitting to the commercial tyranny of Lübeck. Gustavus had given her independence, political, commercial, and ecclesiastical alike, and with it the strength which was impelling her towards a policy of empire.
The amazing progress which Sweden owed to the founder of /the Vasa dynasty was achieved by a policy which was to leave deep marks upon her future. " Necessity," Gustavus held, " breaks law, not merely the law of man, but at times the law of God also." To him necessity always meant the increase of royal power. Avaricious of power, he set himself to seize it at home and to avoid hazarding it abroad; and in both aims he succeeded.
After his death change in the policy of Sweden was inevitable. To maintain a strong monarchy might be possible, but the days of seclusion were numbered. A State which owed everything to the Protestant faith and the Baltic Sea could not remain indifferent while the fortunes of both were in peril. Apart from the Counter-reformation, the decay of the Teutonic Order, the decline of the Hanseatic League, the awakening of Russia, and the expanding ambitions of Denmark were new arguments which must compel Sweden to take action. The methods of Gustavus, moreover, were such as no other King could follow. Himself a promoted noble, he pillaged the Church remorselessly and administered the kingdom like a great domain. Seizing manors by hundreds, he looked to them for a revenue and even for an army, while he laboured with marvellous energy to control the economic life of the whole nation. The policy, both international and internal, by which his sons Erik and John brought Sweden to the verge of dissolution (1560-98), her deliverance by his third son Charles (1599-1611), and the efforts by which, under Charles and
Erik XIV, who succeeded without question to his father's throne and treasure, had grown to manhood as heir to the kingdom. A lover of pomp, he is said to have declared that he must seek to subjugate more realms and lands, or he would not wear his crown. It may be doubted, however, whether the strength of Sweden warranted so complete a breach with the policy of Gustavus. Her resources ill responded to the breadth of her territory. The ancient province of Finland was indeed profitable to the Crown. But Norway still stretched across the mountains, while foreign and often hostile territory intervened between Sweden and the States of western and central Europe. Her single precarious outlet to the North Sea was a narrow strip of territory at the mouth of the river Göta, where Elfsborg was to prove far from impregnable, Between Elfsborg and Kalmar stretched the coast-provinces of Halland, Skâne and Bleking, those fertile plains of the southern peninsula which, like Gotland, the ancient stepping-stone across the Baltic, were fiefs of the Danish Crown. Smâland, the border province, was a stronghold of robbers and outlaws from both nations. From Kalmar to the northern limit of civilisation, which adventurous peasants and fishermen were slowly pressing northward from Gefle, the long coast-line with innumerable inlets for invaders justified the dictum of Gustavus Adolphus, " We are nowhere weaker than in Sweden."
The wealth of Sweden was no greater than might be looked for in a land where less than one million people were strewn over a vast area, and in a climate which neither incited nor richly rewarded industry. Foreigners in Sweden remarked that the people were long-lived, adaptable, and cheerful, but that they were unskilled in the arts and disinclined for sobriety and steady work. Communications were poor, and commerce feeble. A great part of the royal revenue was paid in kind. The mines and fisheries, from which Gustavus had hoped so much, were not in themselves sufficient to support a large population or to supply an abundant revenue. Education, at a moment when Sweden had broken with Rome without as yet drawing full nourishment from Wittenberg, was at its lowest. And government, by which alone these manifold defects could be remedied, was still rude and insecure.
For the moment, indeed, the King was supreme. The Hereditary Settlement (Arffarenmg) of 1544, by which elective gave place to hereditary monarchy, symbolised his triumph over Church, people, and nobles. From each of these classes, however, a sovereign weaker than Gustavus must experience renewed rivalry for power. The Church, crippled and plundered as it was, had begun to develop a force of corporate resistance which baffled each of Erik's four successors upon the throne. The people, in spite of all the sharp lessons of Gustavus, had not completely renounced their practice of armed resistance to measures which displeased
In general, however, the influence of the people lay on the side of the Vasa against the caste which formed the most dangerous rival of monarchy. The nobles, sons of the men who perished in the Blood-bath of 1520, were enriched with the spoils of the Church, and had not forgotten that the Hereditary Settlement of 1544 was a blow to aristocracy. They had acquiesced in the elevation of the Vasa, but they conceived themselves to be entitled both to curtail the powers of the Crown and to share in their exercise. Their ambition was to secure a position with regard to the King similar to that enjoyed by their peers in the Empire. They claimed that their performance of knight-service (Rusttjänsi)-the maintenance of a prescribed number of mounted soldiers-freed their estates from taxation and made them practically supreme over the districts in which they lived. To what extremes of lawlessness their pretensions might lead was seen when a bold noble annexed the lands and forests of the Crown, punished one of his bailiffs who had fled to Court, and, when another bailiff cut down a wood, proposed to hang him together with every peasant who had shared in the offence. The nobles possessed a monopoly of seats in the Râd, a small council out of which the Swedish Diet (Riksdag) grew, and which except in times of stress performed the ordinary functions of a National Assembly. The chief offices thus fell into their hands, and they protested strongly, and in the main successfully, against the employment of any officers of State whatsoever who were not of native and of gentle birth. They thus formed a check on progress when the King was competent, and a menace to the power of the Crown in the hands of a ruler unequal to defending it.
In the reign of Gustavus the danger from the nobles was latent, and the danger from the Church and people was averted by force. Erik was confronted in addition by danger from three great royal duchies, which was in great part created by his father. The testament of Gustavus, of which part received the sanction of the Estates in 1547 and the whole in 1560, provided his sons with appanages, and attempted by admonitions and regulations to secure their future cooperation for the good of the kingdom. The most weighty part of the testament was that by which the King conferred upon the three half-brothers of Erik rights of hereditary sovereignty over great portions of Sweden. John was confirmed in the authority over Abo, Kumogârd, Aland and Raseborg which he had already exercised for several years, and thus remained master of Finland. Charles received the greatest part of Södermanland and Nerike with Vermeland, the whole forming a broad
The death of Gustavus caused a crisis in which the decisive factor was the character of his successor. Erik possessed a full share of the ability with which the descendants of Gustavus were endowed. His political insight was not contemptible, while his political imagination was active. A child of the Renaissance, he took delight in composing verse and prose, in painting and music, in languages, in translating the classics and in studying the stars. But this tropical luxuriance, as Geijer finely suggests, was the product of subterranean fires. Erik was too ill-balanced to endure the stress of kingship. The extravagance with which he pressed his suit upon Elizabeth of England is well known. As Crown Prince he had delighted in the wild orgies of his Court at Kalmar, and he was already suspicious almost to the verge of madness.
For three years, however, the young King grappled vigorously with his task. The most momentous problem of policy was the establishment of a single sovereignty within the Swedish State. In April, 1561, Erik secured the concurrence of the Estates in a statute known from the scene of the Diet as the Articles of Arboga. By this enactment his brothers were compelled to renounce the dangerous prerogatives which the testament of Gustavus had conferred upon them. Dwellers in the duchies were to swear fealty to the King instead of to the Dukes, and the royal supremacy was established in matters of war and negotiation, taxation, appeals, the nomination of judges and of bishops, and the conferment of nobility and privilege. This weighty assertion of the power of the Crown was accompanied by the establishment of a royal Court of Appeal,' which met one of the most pressing needs of the growing nation. A body of justices (Konungs Nämnd) was appointed, part to remain at Stockholm and part to go on circuit when required.
Having bridled the Dukes, Erik next endeavoured to regulate the status of the nobles, to whose support his triumph at Arboga was due. To add splendour and security to the Crown, he conferred upon his intimates the new dignities of Count and Baron, and endowed them with grants of royal revenues, which were moderate in amount but hereditary. He then set himself to correlate the duties and the privileges attendant upon noble birth. The scale of knight-service was fixed in 1562 by the Upsala Constitution at the rate of one well-appointed horseman for every 300 marks of income from hereditary estates or
Meanwhile the future both of the King and of his realm was being determined in Livonia. At this moment the struggle for predominance in the Baltic, a struggle vital to the Power which held both Stockholm and Âbo, entered the phase which within the compass of 160 years (1561-1721) was to bring to Sweden her glory, her empire, and her downfall. The Teutonic Order was moribund, and Erik, as heir to Sweden, and John, as lord of Finland, had united to oppose their father's policy of timid home-keeping and to secure for the Vasa dynasty a share in Esthonia and Livonia. During the summer of 1561 the Protestant town of Reval became Swedish ; but at the end of November the Order made complete submission to Sigismund II of Poland. Sweden, it seemed, must either abandon her hopes of aggrandisement or prepare for war. Russia and Denmark however were also candidates for the prize, and Sigismund suggested a third solution which promised immediate peace at the hazard of future struggles. In July, 1561, he proposed an alliance of Sweden and Poland against Russia, to be •cemented by the marriage of one of his sisters with Duke John. Erik seemed inclined to acquiesce in an arrangement which would have made his brother all but heir presumptive to the Polish Crown. In February, 1562, however, he forbade the match and proceeded to capture Pernau. John, after long hesitation, defied both the royal command and the Articles of Arboga. In October he married Catharine Jagello and received seven fortresses in Livonia as security for the repayment of money borrowed by Sigismund. Erik, who suspected his brother of treasonable intrigues in Sweden, summoned the Estates to Stockholm and procured from them a sentence of forfeiture and death against him (June 7,1563). The Duke defended Âbo ; but in August he was forced to surrender to an army of 10,000 men. Many of his servants were put to death, and he was imprisoned in the lonely fortress of Gripsholm. There he remained for four years, while thé King and his low-born minister Göran Persson subjected Sweden to a reign of terror.
The downfall of John was accompanied by the progress of the Swedish arms in Livonia ; but for both disasters Poland was amply avenged by Denmark, her new ally. The relations between Erik and Frederick II had grown steadily worse. The hereditary rivalry between the Scandinavian Kings was symbolised by the Three Crowns of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, which each of them bore on his
Sweden was in great peril, for her rise had given offence to several Powers. Frederick secured the alliance of the Poles, of the Elector Augustus of Saxony, and of the men of Lübeck, who feared for their trade with Livonia and hoped much from the restoration of a Danish dynasty in Sweden. As against these diplomatic triumphs, Erik could only point to an agreement for seven years' peace with Russia. He failed either to develop the latent conflict of interest between the allies or to secure counter-alliances with their several enemies. He alienated the Emperor by slighting the Congress of Rostock, and lost the Hessian marriage by addressing a love-letter to Queen Elizabeth which was seized and despatched to the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel by the Danes. Then, with the consent of his Estates, he sued for the hand of Renée of Lorraine, only to affront all parties by a secret match with his mistress Karin Mânsdotter, the offspring of a common soldier.
In the field the King's influence was even more disastrous than in the Cabinet. While the Swedish army was a national force which might soon be made formidable, Frederick was trusting to some 30,000 German mercenaries, a host which could not long be satisfied with the spoils of Smâland and Västergötland. Erik and Persson, however, were not strategists but barbarians, and the war became a series of brutalities. Both armies devastated where they could not conquer, and not seldom put their prisoners to death. At home the Swedes gained no signal success and suffered several grave disasters. Chief of these was the loss of Elfsborg, whose fall in September, 1563, cut Sweden off from the North Sea. Such was the isolation of the kingdom that wine could not be procured for the administration of the Eucharist, and the King outraged the feelings of the hierarchy by authorising the consecration of water or water mixed with honey.
In September, 1565, however, a foothold on the western coast was regained by the capture of Varberg, while in Norway, in Livonia, and on the sea, wherever Erik was not, the dreary struggle was waged on equal terms. Klas Kristersson (Horn) proved himself a worthy successor to Jakob Bagge, until he succumbed to the plague in 1566. Gustavus, moreover, by his lifelong invective against " the Jutes," had made the war popular in Sweden. In March, 1566, the Estates protested that
The year 1567, however, witnessed the collapse of Erik's position both at home and abroad; though he gained the Russian alliance by undertaking to surrender the wife of his brother John to her rejected suitor, Ivan the Terrible. The Tsar afterwards asserted that he had believed her to be a widow and had wished to restore her to Poland in safety. Erik could not advance even such excuses as these. His infamy profited him but little. The Russian alliance did not save the Swedes from disasters in Norway and Livonia, while at home misgovernment was becoming insupportable. Erik's capricious tyranny had not spared the high nobility, and he was conscious of their alienation from himself. Haunted by fears of treason, he suddenly struck at the great family of Sture, the kinsmen of his own half-brothers. In 1566 the young Nils Sture was condemned as a traitor. The King forced him to ride through the streets of Stockholm with a crown of straw upon his head, then pardoned him and entrusted him with a mission to Lorraine. Next, with another change of purpose, he caused Göran Persson to indict the Sture and many other nobles before the Estates at Upsala, and when Nils Sture returned from Lorraine, he flung him into prison. On May 22, 1567, however, the King expressly guaranteed his safety; but two days later he visited him in prison and stabbed him to death. The old Count Svante Sture, his son Erik, and two other lords were next despatched by the soldiery, and the King's tutor, Beurreus, paid for his remonstrance with his life.
The royal assassin fled from Upsala and for some days wandered demented through the land. The interregnum attested both the weakness and the strength of the Vasa. No one arose, either to act for the King or to supplant him. John was in prison, Magnus had lost his reason, and Charles was still a boy. At this moment, moreover, the indicted nobles were found guilty of treason by the Estates. Within a month the King had recovered himself sufficiently to set about the work of conciliation, and he allowed Persson to be condemned to death. In the autumn, however, he became possessed by the belief that John had supplanted him in the kingship, and in a grotesque encounter the two brothers in turn did homage to each other.
Meanwhile the Danes were preparing to strike a blow of unusual severity. In a triumphant winter campaign Daniel Rantzau, "the Turenne of Denmark," swept through Smâland and östergötland, burned and pillaged more than 1400 homesteads, and took by surprise the camp of the defenders at Norrby. He crowned the bold enterprise by a masterly retreat, which encouraged Erik to give himself the airs of a conqueror.
During the year 1568 the King steadily undermined his throne. He set John at liberty, restored Persson to favour, made Karin Mânsdotter
Queen of Sweden, and extorted the recognition of her son as heir to the throne. At this time, however, John and Charles were organising a revolt. On July 12, one week after the coronation, the strong fortress of Vadstena fell into their hands. Their troops were few, but the rule of Erik had become impossible. He appealed to the Dukes and to the people, fought bravely and allowed his hated minister to be tortured to death, but all in vain. On September 29 Stockholm opened her gates and Erik was compelled to abdicate. In January, 1569, he was deposed by the Diet. He was hurried from prison to prison ; but while he lived the Government could not feel secure. Early in 1575 a secret meeting of the Rad together with the Bishops and several priests condemned him to death, and two years later he was poisoned by command of his brother John.
John III, who received the homage of the Estates in January, 1569, owed his position to the endorsement of his claim by Duke Charles and the nobles. He paid his debt to the former by renouncing the Articles of Arboga and to the latter by conceding many privileges. The counts and barons received fresh grants of revenues and judicial rights, and became in all essentials an hereditary feudal aristocracy. The King swore to abstain from promoting low-born ministers, and secured the nobles against imprisonment without trial, and against trial otherwise than by their peers. They were made free to engage in foreign trade, and to sell the produce of their estates without regard to the commercial monopoly of the towns. Above all, knight-service was reduced from the standard of 1562. Henceforth, one horseman had to be maintained for every 400 marks of revenue in time of war, and for every 800 marks in time of peace. Those who were too poor to perform knight-service might sell their lands and yet retain their caste.
Concession to the nobles was thus the keynote of a reign in which the monarchy was menaced by a fresh peril. The Had was now recruited from nobles of a new generation, led by the houses of Bielke, Brahe, Sparre, Banér and Fleming. Not a few of them were educated and travelled men, and in Erik Sparre they possessed a skilful apologist of oligarchy. Their ambition to control the hereditary monarchy through the Had was certain to tax the statesmanship of Erik's successor.
John III, though himself ambitious, was no statesman. The obstinacy which he had displayed in Livonia was not weakened by adversity or by time. He loved regal pomp, and, though bankrupt, built more lavishly than any other King of Sweden. He possessed the hot temper of the Vasa, and is said to have once literally trampled under foot a recalcitrant clergyman. His natural bias towards theology had been strengthened by his studies while a prisoner and by the influence of his Papist consort. As King he neglected administration to pursue the chimera of autocratic religious comprehension, and for many years made it his chief object to force his Liturgy upon the people.
The accession of the husband of Catharine Jagello was equivalent to peace with Poland. In foreign affairs, therefore, the first duty of the new Government was to bring to an end the destructive and unprofitable war with Denmark. As early as November, 1568, indeed, the envoys of the rebellious Dukes had signed a treaty at Roeskilde by which Sweden surrendered her conquests, yielded the right to wear the Three Crowns, and paid 200,000 thalers. Frederick offered to renounce the indemnity, but John and the Estates preferred to fight on in the hope of driving the Danes from the peninsula. The campaign of 1569-70, however, only increased the need of peace. The Danes recovered Varberg and sent a fleet to Reval, while Ivan, balked of the wife of. John, flung his ambassadors into prison. France and Poland offered in vain to mediate, but the Emperor was more successful, and the Seven Years' War closed, as it began, with a congress at Stettin.
After more than five months' negotiation, the Peace of Stettin was concluded (December, 1570) on the basis of the mutual restoration of conquests. The question of the Three Crowns was referred to an Imperial Court of arbitration ; and Sweden was compelled to redeem Elfsborg by the payment of 150,000 thalers. To raise this sum, nominally rather more than £83,000, it was necessary to subject all movables in Sweden to an inquest more searching than that of Domesday. The peasants contributed one-tenth of their substance, the unburnt towns one-twelfth, and the burnt towns one-eighteenth. Payment was made in no less than seven currencies. The tax-gatherers were compelled to compute the decline in value from the standard money of Gustavus through the best, medium, and ordinary impressions of Erik down to the still baser coins issued by John in 1568,1569, and 1570.
Further debasement, however, was yet to come, for a thirteen years' war with Russia had begun. In the days of Gustavus, Ivan's hordes had sold captive men and women for a few pence. In 1573, when they took Weissenstein, they bound to stakes the survivors of the little
In 1583, for the first time for twenty years, Sweden was at peace with all her neighbours. Within her own borders, however, she was torn by strife. The weak and fitful absolutism of the King could not fail to provoke general opposition, and it seemed at times as if civil war were in sight. The King's extravagance imposed unwonted taxation upon a people harried by plague and exhausted by war. Too feeble or too self-satisfied to create any permanent organs of administration, John carried on his slovenly rule with the aid of secretaries, a practice which his subjects deemed unlawful. Shocked by the many abuses, the Râd continually but vainly protested, on one occasion begging the King to refrain from damaging his health by the bursts of choler which their interference provoked. But the brunt of resistance, ecclesiastical and political alike, was borne by Charles. The causes of discord between the brothers were innumerable, and the chief of these was beyond remedy. In Church matters, in taxation, and in the appointment of officials, the Duke asserted an independence which was clearly incompatible with the unity of the kingdom and the sovereignty of the King. On the other hand it was Charles alone who maintained good government, Protestantism, and national freedom so far as his power extended.
For the third time since the death of Gastavus the alliance of the nobles decided a conflict between his sons. In January, 1582, John secured from the Diet at Stockholm both the acceptance of his Liturgy for the whole kingdom and the substantial revival of the Articles of Arboga against the pretensions of the Duke. In 1585, moreover, less than sixteen months after the death of Catharine, John widened the breach by his mésalliance with Gunilla Bielke. In 1587, indeed, Charles gave way sufficiently to admit of the promulgation at Vadstena of a constitution drawn up by Erik Sparre to record the victory of the King. The Liturgy, however, he would never tolerate. The clergy of his duchy were denounced by the King as " members of the devil," and the royal bailiffs were instructed to imprison them as outlaws if they set foot in royal Sweden. Henceforward, however, the quest of the Polish Crown and the quarrel with the Rad which arose from it stood foremost in the mind of the King.
The death of King Stephen Bâthory in December, 1586, offered John an opportunity of consoling himself for his own rejection in 1573
The repulse of Maximilian from Cracow, where Sigismund held his entry, and the surrender of the Archduke after a decisive battle at Pitschen in Silesia (January, 1588), did not bring the troubles of the former to an end. Some hated Sigismund for his Swedish birth, which made him in their eyes no better than the Germans whose dress and language he affected. Many missed in him the frank, genial, and martial temper of a Polish sovereign. Zamoyski, i-ather than the King, led the ascendant party in the State. Sigismund's position in many respects resembled that of William III in England, who likewise wearied of the crown. Early in 1589 he entered upon secret negotiations with a view to installing the Archduke Ernest in his stead.
The conspiracy against the Republic was chastised by a public humiliation which left the monarchy even weaker than before. At the so-called Diet of Inquisition in 1592 the Primate of Gnesen solemnly arraigned the conduct and policy of the King. " Sire ! think upon your oath," he cried, " take warning by your predecessor, Henry (of Valois), who broke faith and perished miserably." Zamoyski, who remained till his death in 1605 the champion of Polish nationality, added words of defiance and warning and demanded the dismissal of the foreign guards. At length the King capitulated, and promised in writing that he would never abandon the kingdom, or diminish the privileges of the nation, or nominate his successor.
Before Sigismund sailed from Sweden to Poland the prospect of a personal union between States so incompatible had compelled John and the Bad to formulate a plan for their future relations. Both before and after his mission to Warsaw Erik Sparre strove to safeguard the interests of Sweden and of the Bad by means of a document finally signed by John and Sigismund at Kalmar (September, 1587).
The so-called Statute of Kalmar asserted complete equality between Poland and Sweden and provided for arbitration of their differences on equal terms. In spirit, however, it recognised the precedence of the older kingdom. Sigismund, when King of both countries, might live in Poland
No sooner had they reached their goal than both father and son wished to retrace their steps. John, soured by opposition and weary of ruling, cared for nothing save to regain the companionship of his heir. He favoured Sigismund's plan of abdication and met his son at Reval in the summer of 1589, resolved to bring him back to Sweden. The Swedes however united with the Poles in protesting against a repetition of the crime of Henry of Valois. Even the staff of John's army raised its voice to condemn so wanton a challenge to war. John, who had consistently defied the Râd, declaring that he would go to Reval "though men should fall as grass in summer before the scythe," answered only with harsh rebukes; but Sigismund, on whom many influences were at work, proved more pliable. At the end of September, after two months of intercourse, father and son parted ; John with a thirst for vengeance upon the Râd which the remnant of his days proved too scanty to appease.
In his bitterness against his ancient allies John sought reconciliation with his ancient enemy. In 1590 he surrendered to the Duke all the advantages won at Arboga, Vadstena, and Kalmar, ascribing the several statutes to the machinations of wicked men. On these terms Charles gladly took upon himself a great part of the burden of government and countenanced the King's campaign against the rivals of monarchic power. Erik Sparre, Hogenskild and Ture Bielke, Axel Lejonhufvud and other great nobles were imprisoned and deprived of their fiefs on charges of treason, of which the most tangible was their original advocacy of the acceptance of the Polish Crown. At the same time the hereditary character of the monarchy was strengthened by a provision for an eventual female succession. The discord in Sweden favoured the Russians, who had renewed the war in January, 1590 ; while the aged King could only prosecute his generals and negotiate with the Tsar. In November, 1592, he died.
At the death of John, Sweden and Poland became associated under the sway of a King incapable either of compromise in politics or of tolerance in religion. Inscrutable, imaginative, chaste, tenacious, and
Meanwhile the Swedish Church declared its Lutheranism by the Upsala Resolution, already noticed in a previous volume, which became the national covenant of the Swedish people. The fanatic Abraham Angermannus was appointed to the metropolitan see of Upsala, and all preparations were made for securing ecclesiastical guarantees from the King as a condition of his coronation. Amid the storms of the Counter-reformation, however, Sweden needed a ruler who could give her more than promises to refrain from assailing her Church. The union devised at Kalmar and upheld by the great nobles would at best revive the irresponsible aristocracy with which Gustavus had done away. It was likely to degrade Sweden to the position of a Polish dependency, to imperil her Church, and to sacrifice her empire. Thé natural centre of resistance to the vassalage of his country was Duke Charles, who had effected a reconciliation with the Râd and arranged, with the sanction of a small meeting of the Estates, that they should govern jointly with himself during his nephew's absence (January, 1593).
The authority of Charles, however, as none felt more keenly than himself, was indispensable to the welfare of Sweden rather than conformable to her laws. The history of the years (1592-9) during which Sigismund remained King of Sweden in name records the successive ' stages by which an impossible position changed into revolution. First it became clear that a genuine regency of Charles on behalf of Sigismund was impracticable. While great nobles such as Klas Fleming, the ruler of Finland, refused to recognise any authority but that of the King, Charles and the Râd tried in vain to extort from him a guarantee of the Upsala Resolution, and failing this to prevent him from setting foot in Sweden. At the end of September, 1593,
The victory had been won by the firmness of Charles. Scouting the King's offer of privileges for himself as the price of privileges for the Romanists, he arrayed an army at Upsala to uphold the policy of " No guarantee, no coronation." Sigismund,.however, protested secretly and promised to the Papists what he had sworn to deny them. By the advice of Malaspina he conferred upon six of his dependents the dignity of Lord-Lieutenant (StâthaUârè), hoping thereby to secure protection for the Romanists and to curtail the authority of Duke and Râd. Early in August, 1594, he returned to Poland. Charles sought to frustrate the disintegrating policy of the King by renewing his alliance with the Râd and by demanding the full powers of an Administrator of the kingdom. The benefits of his rule were patent to all. He earned the honourable nickname of Peasant King (Bomdekonung). He contrived to pay the army, reduced the face-value of the debased coin, founded towns, and restored Upsala as a seat of learning. In May, 1595, moreover, he concluded the Peace of Teusin with the Tsar.
At Teusin the Swedes agreed to surrender the county of Keksholm in return for the recognition by Russia of their title to Narva and Esthonia, while a boundary commission was appointed to avoid the recurrence of old disputes. The establishment of peace with Russia and perhaps also the, birth of his son Gustavus Adolphus (December 9, 1594) encouraged Charles in the inevitable conflict with Sigismund, the Romanists, and the Lords-Lieutenant. In order to set his authority beyond dispute he took up the weapons of his father. First he threatened to resign, and when this no longer sufficed to bend the Râd to his will, he made a direct appeal to the people. In October, 1595, the Estates, including representatives of the army, obeyed his summons to Söderköping and granted him all that he desired. Romanist priests were expelled from the kingdom ; Romanist laymen, from office ; and Sigismund was to rule only through the agency of Charles and the Râd.
Though some of the nobles dissented from the resolution of Söderköping, the Duke found in it a sufficient warrant to proceed. He pressed his claims with the masterful and lawyer-like assertion which marks the Vasa. Arguing that Sigismund, who had sworn to keep the law of Sweden, had thereby abjured the right to veto what a Diet resolved, he fell upon the Romanists and the Lords-Lieutenant. Klas
Fleming and the army of Finland, however, supported the King, and Charles failed to induce the Râd to levy war against them. He therefore broke with the Had and the great nobles, but again courted and received a mandate from the nation. In February, 1597, the Estates, disregarding the inhibition of Sigismund and the unprecedented absence of the Râd, met at Arboga and admonished all men to embrace the cause of the Duke. Soon Elfsborg and Kalmar were in his hands, and every province had endorsed the Arboga resolution. Erik Sparre, Sten Banér, and the three Gustafssons fled the country ; the commandant at Kalmar swore to resist Sigismund ; and the revolution reached the stage of war. Once more a Vasa called the Swedish peasants to arms against a monarchy which, although the nobles for the most part adhered to it, was in fact a foreign tyranny. In 1596-7 Klas Fleming was forced to put down two peasants' risings in East Bothnia ; and in the following year the men of Dalarne tortured and murdered James Neave, a royal officer who strove to rouse them against the Duke. At Stockholm (August, 1597), at Upsala (February, 1598), and at Vadstena (June, 1598), national assemblies showed that neither the abstention of a faction nor the commands of the King could shake the alliance between Duke and people. In 1597 Charles descended upon Finland, where Stalarm had succeeded Fleming, and took Abo. Next year Gustaf Banér and Ture Bielke fled to Denmark.
At last Sigismund resolved to assert his authority by force of arms. In July, 1598, he despatched Stalarm with 3000 men to Gröneborg, north of Stockholm, while he himself sailed from Danzig to Kalmar. The army of Finland, which arrived first, fled at the sight of a few peasants led by two professors from Upsala. The King, however, was admitted to Kalmar and Stockholm, and many nobles embraced his cause. He sailed northward to Stegeborg, where a long negotiation under arms with the Duke developed into a battle. .The royal troops gained the upper hand ; but Sigismund called a halt at the moment of victory, only to be routed a fortnight later at Stângebro (September, 1598). He surrendered five members of the Râd as the price of an armistice, and it was provided by the Treaty of Linköping that both forces should disband.
Charles kept faith ; but Sigismund as usual played false. He fled to Poland, where he was received with enthusiasm, and declared that he would return to Sweden as a conqueror. This conduct only hastened his deposition. In February, 1599, an assembly of nobles and bishops at Jonköping declared that, unless the King would return to Sweden without an army or send his son Wladislav to be brought up in the evangelical faith, they could obey him no longer. In July, after Charles had stormed Kalmar, Sigismund was formally deposed by the Diet assembled at Stockholm. Three months later the conquest of Finland was complete. At the same time Narva joyfully accepted the Protestant
Charles, and in April, 1600, Esthonia sought his protection against the aggressive nationalism of the Poles.
There was much, however, to mitigate and to disguise the revolution which was thus accomplished. The actual government of Sweden underwent little alteration. Sigismund had never ruled, and Charles was not yet King. " The Hereditary Prince of the realm of Sweden and Duke of Södermanland " had defeated an attempt of his nephew and the great nobles to deprive him of the political influence which he had acquired before the death of John, and which the mass of the nation was resolved that he should retain. His ideal of government, which was wholly conservative, remained unchanged. It was the personal rule of the head of the House of Vasa, fettered only by. his oath to the nation and by the law of Sweden. Valuing the principles of Gustavus more than primogeniture, he took the crown from the head of a nephew, without any ambition to place it on his own. To him the revolution was a necessary but unwelcome act of policy. The Swedish nation had none the less usurped by force rights which it had granted to the Vasa in 1544, but which in the hands of Sigismund menaced its independence and its religion. This was revolution ; and it was glorious because it defied not merely Sigismund and his faction, but also the Catholic Reaction in Europe. By his championship of Protestantism, as in much else, Charles IX connects the work of the first and of the second Gustavus.
In personal character and in domestic government Charles IX was his father's heir. He showed himself, it is true, more devout but less virtuous than Gustavus, while in his dealings with men he was more upright but less adroit. Both Kings were brave, indefatigable, grasping, suspicious, violent, and practical. In husbanding the national estate, in frankly taking the people into their counsel, in swiftly overwhelming opponents, and in pressing to the utmost every royal claim, the founder and the refounder of the Vasa dynasty were alike. Gustavus, however, was compelled by circumstances to confine himself to endeavours at home in Sweden ; but Charles, on the other hand, played his part on a stage enlarged by forty years of rivalry with the nations of the north. In an augmented and less secluded Sweden he practised anew the principles of his father and thus rendered possible the achievements of his son.
A severity not less than that which Gustavus had shown to pretenders was dealt out by Charles to the party of Sigismund. The victories at Kalmar and in Finland were followed by executions, among them that of the innocent son of Klas Fleming. These acts of vengeance foreshadowed the tragedy of the Had. In February, 1600, when the Estates met at Linköping, Charles selected 153 of their number to try thirteen great nobles whom he accused of treason. The judges, though temporarily released from their allegiance to the Duke, gave sentence according to his will ; and Erik Sparre, Sten and Gustaf Banér, Ture
If Charles showed no mercy to traitors, he was himself pedantically careful of the hereditary right to the Crown. The deposition of Sigis-mund was conditional, and more than once a loophole was left open for the eventual succession of his heir Wladislav. The Diet of Linköping, however, provided that after five months' grace the succession should pass to Charles IX, then to Gustavus Adolphus and his heirs male, and, failing such, to Duke John of Östergötland, Sigismund's half-brother, at that time aged ten. Yet it was not until four years had elapsed, and John had publicly renounced his birthright, that Charles consented to Style himself King. His coronation was deferred until 1607 ; the Ericsg-ait, his inaugural progress through the realm, until 1609. Finally, by his will Gustavus Adolphus was not to succeed him unless John should waive his claims when grown to manhood and the Estates should choose his cousin King.
As the Blood-bath of Stockholm in 1520 had removed domestic rivals from the path of Gustavus, so the Blood-bath of Linköping cleared the path of Charles IX. Secure against faction in Sweden, he was able to fling himself into the struggle with Poland, which lasted throughout his reign, and the struggle with Denmark, which threatened at the beginning and broke out at the end. In 1600 Sigismund took steps to make a national affair of his dynastic quarrel. He ceded Esthonia to Poland, but failed to win more than the passive acquiescence of the Diet in a war with Sweden at his own risk and cost. Nevertheless the Poles imprisoned the Swedish envoys; and Charles replied by invading Livonia with some 9000 men (August, 1600). By March, 1601, he was master of the lands north of the Diina. The castle of Kokenhausen and the city of Riga barred his progress, but the Livonians showed signs of sympathy with their fellow Protestants in the struggle with a Romanist Power. The peril of their province, however, roused the Poles, and in five campaigns they proved that they were still the foremost warriors of northern Europe. In 1601 they reconquered Livonia as far north as Wolmar, where they captured Karl Karlsson Gyllenhielm, the King's natural son, and Jacob de La Gardie, whose mother was the natural daughter of John III. So long as the King lived, Sigismund kept Karl Karlsson in prison, often in chains, thus provoking a fresh animosity within the House of Vasa.
In the campaigns of 1602,1603, and 1604 Zamoyski and Chodkievicz made steady progress in recovering and defending the fortresses which dominated the exhausted plain. They penetrated into Esthonia, and the Swedes twice failed to retake Weissenstein. In 1605, therefore, after the unsuccessful general Stâlarm had been condemned for treason,
Charles himself resumed the command which he had laid down after his first successes. He lacked, however, the coolness of a successful strategist. At Eirkholm, a day's march south-east of Riga, he fell upon Chodkievicz with a greatly superior force ; but his rash generalship brought upon his army a terrible defeat (September, 1605). The Poles could boast that the Swedes left upon the field thrice as many dead as Chodkievicz had men. Barely escaping with his life from a field where some 8000 of his troops perished, Charles returned to Sweden as hastily as he had come. King and nation alike faced with courage both the wreck of the army of Livonia and the prospect that the Russian pretender, known to history as the First False Demetrius, would as Tsar reward Sigismund with his alliance. Next year, though the Swedes in Livonia were still too weak to take the aggressive, the death of Demetrius and Zamoyski paralysed their opponents, while in Sweden the Catholic Petrus Petrosa planned in vain to assassinate the King.
It may well be that the greatest dangers which confronted Charles were due to his own stubborn Calvinism. The Swedish Church, no longer subservient to the Crown, scouted the King's proposals for even the smallest modification of its intolerant Lutheran teaching. From 1607-10 Charles made futile efforts to unite the two communions. By threatening to decline the Crown he continued to induce the Estates to accept a clause in the Royal Guarantee of 1604, which provided that the Upsala Resolution and the Augsburg Confession should be the rule of government only so far as they were founded on God's Word in the Scriptures. Now, as in 1593, however, he displayed towards the Lutherans a statesmanlike restraint which contrasts strongly with his violence towards the Râd and foreign Powers.
Although war and religious controversy were raging, the restless energy of Charles found vent in many domestic reforms. In 1600 he took a great step towards the establishment of a provincial standing army. Next year, as he returned from Livonia, he paused to organise the government of Finland and to cut down the liberties of the nobles to the level of those enjoyed by their peers in Sweden. He then journeyed round the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia, making choice of sites for towns. In May, 1602, he met a Diet at Stockholm, and struck the keynote of his domestic policy by restoring the Râd in conformity with the law of the land. This measure, though conservative, was not reactionary, for a decade of persecution had tamed the existing generation of high nobles. Thenceforward the Crown possessed in the Râd a corporation of notables whose services, individual and collective, it could claim on behalf of the realm.
At the same time the King grappled with the questions of the codification of the law and the establishment of a supreme tribunal, both of which projects cost him much toil and brought little immediate advantage. In 1604 a great Succession Act was framed. This arranged
Sweden still lacked anything like an organised administration, and men competent to govern were rare. Impatient at the dearth of qualified assistants, Charles made such impracticable proposals as that every nobleman should forfeit his nobility if he failed to provide his sons with learning sufficient for their serving the State in office. While the number of educated nobles was slowly increasing, the main burden of directing the administration still fell upon the King. Charles promoted manufactures, regulated commerce, worked minerals, controlled the bailiffs of the Crown, planned canals, reformed weights and measures, and raised up such abiding monuments to his memory as Karlstad, Filipstad, Mariestad, and Göteborg.
These manifold contributions to the political and economic structure of Sweden were made under a cloud of war which did not lift as the reign advanced. In Livonia Count von Mansfeld gained fortresses when the Poles were absorbed in domestic strife, and lost them again when Chodkievicz and an adequate force confronted him. As the result of four campaigns (1607-10) the Swedish power was restored in Esthonia and overthrown further south. In 1611 an armistice suspended the unprofitable strife. The combatants, however, were still the allies of conflicting parties in Russia, where a second False Demetrius had claimed the throne with Polish support. Early in 1609 Charles had concluded at Viborg an eternal alliance with the Tsar Basil against Sigismund and his successors. Next year, in the hope of gaining the county of Keksholm for Sweden, Jacob de La Gardie led an army of mercenaries to Moscow. Meanwhile Zolkievski was despatched by Sigismund to make Wladislav Tsar. In June, 1610, he encountered the allies at Klutsjino. The mercenaries deserted, the Russians fled, de La Gardie and his 400 men capitulated, and the throne of Basil collapsed. In 1611, according to a treaty between the Poles and Moscow, Wladislav became Tsar. De La Gardie therefore seized Keksholm in March and Novgorod in July, and concluded with Novgorod a treaty which secured the throne for Gustavus Adolphus or his brother Charles Philip.
At the moment when the duel between the Vasa rivals entered upon this new phase, the ambitious young King of Denmark, Christian IV, at last prevailed on his Estates to sanction a war with Sweden. The claims of the Vasa to wear the Three Crowns and to exercise rights of
In April, 1611, Christian declared war, and immediately despatched forces to the mouth of the Göta and to Kalmar. Near Kalmar, which gives its name to the war, the two Kings confronted each other throughout the summer months. Gustavus Adolphus, now in the field as well as at home his father's mainstay, surprised Christianopel ; but the great fortress of Kalmar was treacherously surrendered to the Danes. In his rage Charles challenged Christian to single combat, receiving however only coarse taunts in reply. At the close of the campaign he turned towards his capital, but died before he reached it (October, 1611).
After playing for more than forty years a leading part in every crisis of Swedish history, Charles IX left his country surrounded by peril. In the present struggle Denmark, which had never been more formidable, was the half-unconscious ally of the Counter-reformation. The " War of Kalmar" claimed all the energy which Sweden still possessed at a moment when it seemed that Russia might either become hers or pass to her irreconcilable foe, Sigismund. The loyalty of the people, moreover, had been strained by the burden of incessant struggles. The northern provinces were refusing to provide troops for the invasion of Norway, while the mercenaries plundered a country which left them short of pay. The nation, indeed, had gained strength since the Reformation. The Church was now solid, national, and militant, and Sweden was no longer destitute of industry, commerce, and education. Yet never had she stood in greater need of a strong King to save her from foreign foes and to endow her with an organised central administration.
For nearly two months after the death of Charles, however, the throne remained unfilled, while Queen Christina and Duke John carried on the government. Then, in December, 1611, the Estates met at Nyköping. In their presence John once more abjured all claim to the Crown together with the rights of co-regency which the Diet of Norrköping had conferred upon him till Gustavus Adolphus should reach the age of twenty-four years. He was still ruler of östergötland, while Charles Philip received the duchy of Sodermanland by his father's will. In consequence of the late King's affectionate treatment of Duke John, Gustavus Adolphus was secure against immediate rivalry from the only one of the Swedish Vasa who might haye been dangerous. The
Much too was due to the personality of Gustavus. Thanks to his father and to the century in which he lived, he was already, at the age of seventeen years, well versed in humane learning, administration, and war. Under the tutorship of John Skytte he had steeped himself in the works of the ancient historians. German was the language of his mother, and Oxenstierna testifies that " he spoke Latin, Dutch, French and Italian just as if born to them, understood Spanish, English and Scotch, and had also a smattering of Polish and Muscovite." As a Protestant he inherited a love of the Bible; as a child of the Renaissance, a taste for music, poesy, and eloquence. He had moreover served a strict apprenticeship in state-craft. When but nine years of age he began to attend the sessions of the Râd. At thirteen he heard complaints and received ambassadors. At fifteen he became Duke of Västmanland, and practically co-regent with his father. The truce of 1609 between Spain and the Dutch sent a host of condottieri to the north, and from them he learned the art of Spinola and Maurice of Nassau. Already he showed signs of that versatile talent for war which was to ripen into perfect mastery, so that he became equally expert in inventing appliances and organisation, in selecting conscripts and pointing cannon, in heading a troop of horse and in planning a campaign. What laurels Sweden had gained in 1611 were of his gathering.
In form and feature he was kingly, according to the heroic type which his people reverenced. He could control his hereditary choler better than the hereditary impulse to be foremost in every fight. Only once is it recorded that he played the tyrant. Then-in 1631-a young courtier, Erik Râlamb, insulted him and fled. Gustavus, inexorable for nine months, cashiered the father on the ground that he should have brought up his son better, and confined him to his house until Erik should return to duty. The connexion with Margaret Cabeliau, who gave birth to Gustaf Gustafsson of Vasaborg in May, 1616, was quite unworthy of the lover of Ebba Brahe. Yet these rare stains, not surprising in a Vasa, enhance the glory of his habitual self-mastery.
Like all the members of his House who wore the crown, Gustavus possessed versatile ability and the ambition to embody it in some great
The King's first task was to end the "War of Kalmar" on honourable terms. Christian, who was enlisting many thousands of German mercenaries, would not hear of peace, and the winter and summer campaigns of 1612 witnessed the usual ferocious devastation of border provinces by both sides. In January, 1612, he was beaten back from the walls of Gullberg, where women shared in the defence and the wife of the commandant ordered thirty prisoners to be slain. Next month Gustavus, who bore the chief burden of command, was surprised by Rantzau near Vittsjö, and had an extremely narrow escape from death. In the winter campaign, none the less, the balance of success inclined towards the Swedes, but in May it was more than redressed by the loss of Elfsborg and Gullberg.
The Danes now held the keys of Sweden and were lords of the Baltic. They threatened a combined march on Jonköping-Christian from Elfsborg, Rantzau from Kalmar. Gustavus, however, appealed to the people to repel a foe too strong for the royal arms. The peasants obeyed, filled the country-side with irregulars, and forced both invading armies to retreat. Christian next menaced Stockholm by sea, but was repulsed. Unable to bear further the cost of a war which was unpopular in Denmark, and fearful that the Dutch might intervene to get rid of the Sound dues, he accepted the mediation of James I of England. In January, 1613, by the Peace of Knäred, each side gave up its conquests and conceded to the other the right to bear the Three Crowns. Sweden renounced her empty but irritating claims to portions of Christian's dominions. The ancient mutual freedom from customs duties was restored, and the Swedes, receiving the right of free passage through the Sound, promised to refrain from impeding Danish commerce with Livonia and Kurland. Elfsborg, with the other Swedish posts at the
Gustavus thus began his reign by buying off the Swedish nobles with privileges and the Danish armies with money. The ransom of Elfsborg, nominally more than six times as high as in 1570, laid a heavy poll-tax upon the people and forced the King to sacrifice more than 30 per cent, of his revenue and to coin his plate. This was the prelude to a long series of imposts; for the new reign, like that of Charles IX, was a period of almost unceasing war. To the strain which war imposed upon the King and nation was added that of administration, organisation, and social change during the two decades of Sweden's most rapid domestic development. That the country endured so much was primarily due to the frank and cordial cooperation between Crown and people which Gustavus successfully established. Innocent of dynastic self-seeking, he never feared to take his subjects into his counsel. He convoked Diets, or smaller conventions, almost every year, and in 1617 gave the Four Estates (nobles, clergy, burghers, and peasants) their first regulations for meeting (RlTcsdagsordning). The people responded when the need arose by waiving all privilege, and placing themselves and their money at the disposal of the Crown.
Gustavus sacrificed much at Knäred that he might be free to devote himself to affairs beyond the Baltic. For the moment his chief problem was the war with Russia. Firm peace with Poland was indeed impossible so long as Sigismund persisted in claiming the allegiance of Sweden. From 1611, however, by a truce which was prolonged until 1617, the two branches of the House of Vasa had agreed to forego their domestic dissensions in the hope of profiting by the anarchy of Russia. Sigismund dreamed of bequeathing the Crowns of Poland, Sweden, and Russia to his sons ; while Gustavus, with perhaps a juster appreciation of Muscovite national strength, embraced the opportunity of fortifying Sweden by erecting a firm bulwark at her neighbour's expense. While the King was struggling with the Danes, Jacob de La Gardie made Novgorod a base for the conquest of Ingria. Nöteborg, which was reputed impregnable, was starved into surrender. Narva and other places also capitulated, and the progress of the Swedish arms was arrested only by the walls of Pskoff.
The national revival at Moscow in 1613, however, threatened to destroy the domination of both Swedes and Poles in Russia. " Rather perish than be severed from Moscow " was the answer of Novgorod when, Gustavus proposed to convert western Russia into a Swedish Lithuania. Pskoff with some 3000 defenders held out so bravely that the Swedes hemmed it in with a belt of devastation 20 leagues in breadth. Without reinforcements and supplies de La Gardie and his conquests were in peril. Michael Romanoff, the new Tsar, was bent on becoming lord
The conclusion of peace with Denmark enabled Gustavus to despatch » new army to Russia. The unruly Scots and Germans who formed the bulk of it proved, however, so mischievous, that he might well believe his own presence necessary at the seat of war. In January, 1614, he held a momentous Diet at Orebro. After controverting the charge that he made war to satisfy his martial instincts, he secured the cooperation of the Estates against Russia and Poland if an honourable peace was not to be had. One of the gravest defects in the government of Sweden was remedied by the creation of a Supreme Court, while an Economic Ordinance was directed against the scandals of purveyance and compulsory posting. Then, rejecting all counsels and entreaties, the King set out for the East, travelling day and night along the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia. In July de La Gardie crushed the invaders from Moscow at Bronitsi, and in September the King recovered Gdoff by storm. He returned in triumph to Sweden, bringing with him de La Gardie, whose ascendancy in the East was not devoid of danger to the Crown.
Gustavus now aimed at securing what the Swedish arms had won, but despite her internal distractions the barbaric pride of Russia long impeded the conclusion of peace. In 1615 Evert Horn, the successor of de La Gardie, fell before Pskoff, and the King returned to undertake the siege in person. After three months, however, he was glad to accept once more the good offices of England, a Power whose interest it was to dissuade her commercial protégé, Russia, from self-destruction.
At last, by accepting the mediation of his new allies, the Dutch, and by threatening to make common cause with Sigismund, he extorted the Peace of Stolbova from the Tsar (February, 1617). By surrendering Novgorod and recognising Michael Romanoff, the Swedes gained the fortress and country of Keksholm, north-western Ingria, the renunciation of the Russian pretensions to Esthonia and Livonia, mutual freedom of trade between Russia and Sweden, .and an indemnity of 20,000 roubles. Finland, whose administration had been reorganised by the King in the winter and spring of 1615-6, now stretched along the shores of the northern half of Lake Ladoga, while the fortress of. Nöteborg secured her against invasion. It seemed that the Swedish Empire had acquired a durable natural frontier against a neighbour whose potential greatness her King, like his grandfather, perceived. Without her approval, as Gustavus boasted, Russia could. not launch a boat upon the Baltic. He exhorted the Swedish gentry to take up estates in Ingria, and the burghers to profit by the opening of Russia to their wares. Embassy after embassy was despatched to keep the Russian Court in good humour and the Russian grain-market open to the Swedish armies. Gustavus even helped to instruct and recruit the forces of the Tsar. He hoped
Thé War of Succession between the two branches of the House of Vfcsa fills a great space in the history of Sweden and of Poland during sixty years (1600-60). That part of it (1617-29), however, which falls within the reign of G.ustavus is specially conspicuous in the general history of Europe. It may be described as that portion of the Thirty Years' War which rendered possible the Swedish intervention in Germany. From its outbreak Gustavus was consciously taking part in the great struggle of Protestantism against the Catholic Reaction. Sigismund, who had become closely associated with the throne of Habsburg by his marriage with the Archduchess Anna in 1592, was determined to purge Livonia of heresy and to restore Sweden to Home. Dynastic necessity no less than personal conviction therefore made Gustavus the champion of the faith which in three generations had become the symbol of Swedish national freedom. At Örebro, early in 1617, he armed himself with a fiercely intolerant statute which decreed that every Romanist must quit the realm on penalty of forfeiture and death, a doom in which three of the four Estates would gladly have included Calvinists.
The fact that he was menaced by a Jesuit-Habsburg crusade rather than by a single crowned litigant compelled him to look beyond Poland for the disease and beyond Sweden for the remedy. Aggression, he believed, constituted the best defence for Sweden, and he hoped by aggression to gain provinces. But whatever its issue, the struggle was inevitable and the nature of the enemy made the interests of Sweden and of Protestantism identical. Sweden hoped to gain the alliance of Brandenburg, and to cement it by the King's marriage. Skytte discussed with James I the plan of a great evangelical alliance, and laboured to convince the Dutch that his master was fighting their battle against Poland and Spain. Count Palatine John Casimir of Zweibrücken, the brother-in-law and assistant of the King, dwelt on the same theme in the Protestant Courts of Germany. The old Scandinavian discords, however, had left a great hindrance in the way of Protestant union. Denmark was still the jealous rival of Sweden rather than a sister Protestant Power. Until 1619 Elfsborg remained in Danish hands. Then Gustavus met Christian at Halmstad and strove by personal influence to avert the danger to Sweden and to the Protestant cause. It was not until 1628, however, when the Danish forces had been crushed by Tilly and Wallenstein, that Sweden dared to devote the bulk of her strength to war beyond the Baltic. It was in the Polish struggle of 1617-29 moreover that the Swedes first gained great military skill and reputation. Hitherto the armies of their Vasa Kings had gained few victories on land except against the Russians, and for some years they showed no marked superiority to the Poles. The victory of Wallhof in 1626 is the Fehrbellin or Rocroy of Sweden.
In 1617 and 1618, while Poland was still at war with Russia, the Swedes devastated parts of Livonia and captured Pernau. Sigismund then made a truce of fourteen years with Russia and of three years with Sweden, but became embroiled in a disastrous struggle with the Turks. Gustavus, having vainly offered to purchase peace by restoring the conquests made by Sweden since 1600, assembled a large army and strove to heighten its discipline, regimental esprit de corps, and even piety, by issuing his famous Articles of War. In July, 1621, he left Sweden with 158 ships and besieged Riga with 19,000 men. The great German city, free, populous, and Protestant, held out bravely for five weeks, and then experienced the usual politic clemency of her conqueror. Gustavus, whose exploit made him famous in Europe, is styled Magnus on the medal which commemorates his success. He designed to make Riga the corner-stone of a new Swedish province in Livonia and Kurland. Prince Radzivil, however, now stronger by reason of the close of the Turkish war, regained what Gustavus had conquered after the fall of Riga, and the King's army was too ill-found to win it back. In August, 1622, a truce was negotiated which endured for three years.
During this breathing-space, the last which Gustavus was destined to enjoy, Sweden did not put off her armour« The position in Livonia was such as to afford no hope of a settlement without a renewal of strife. The inflexibility of Sigismund was not weakened by the triumphs of his allies in Germany, Pernau and Riga, too, could not well remain politically separate from the province whose janitors they were. In July, 1623, the rumour that a Polish armada was preparing against him brought Gustavus in haste to Danzig with twenty warships. While Sigismund and his Court feasted on shore, the Swedes extorted from the city an undertaking to respect the truce, and even demanded a pledge of permanent neutrality. Next year, in consequence of her violation of the free commercial intercourse provided for by the Treaty of Knäred, Sweden stood for a moment on the verge of war with Denmark. When this danger passed, Gustavus and Christian, as is related elsewhere, became competitors for the leadership of the Protestant expedition into Germany. Thus, when the Truce with Sigismund expired, Gustavus stood at the head of an army which for eight years had been either fighting or awaiting the signal to fight, and in which feudalism had been giving place to a centralised national organisation.
In these years too the hold of Gustavus upon his people had grown even stronger than before. The circle of the Swedish Vasa had contracted until only its centre remained. Duke John died in 1618, Catharine Stenbock, Dowager of Gustavus I, in 1621, and Christina, Dowager of Charles IX, in 1625. Above all, in 1622, the King's younger brother, Charles Philip, fell in the Livonian war. Their appanages escheated to the Crown, and the danger from the duchies was at an end; but the succession was insecure. In 1620 the King
Throughout his reign Gustavus Adolphus responded to every national need. He possessed neither the necessary authority for autocratic reform, nor was this part of his ambition. The monarchy of Sweden, it is true, was still in great part patriarchal, and her administration rude. While the King made incessant journeys through his dominions, the seat of government moved with him. While he was at the head of his army over-seas, during almost one-half of the years 1621-32, the administration was carried on by a small committee of the Had, nominated, limited and instructed by himself. The Diet, though gaining power at the expense of the provincial assemblies, had hardly attained to the stage of definition reached by the English Parliament at the accession of Edward I. The Râd, although the course of events tended to make it the centre of the government, was as yet rather an aggregate of active grandees than a permanent cabinet council. The competence of the several organs of administration was determined in great measure by the personality of their respective chiefs. When the King is found applying in vain to Upsala for a qualified diplomatic clerk, it is not surprising that Axel Oxenstierna could invest the Chancery, the writing-office of the Crown, with something of his own eminence, that Jacob de La Gardie could shape the administration of the army, or Gustavus himself fashion the Supreme Court to his own design.
But the rudimentary organisation of the State did not imply the autocracy of the King. Besides the limitations upon his power imposed by his concessions to the nobles and those inevitably attendant on the rule of law which he was building up, Gustavus had to reckon with the conservatism of the clergy. In 1623 he made the chief of a series of efforts to achieve a reform which lay very near his heart-the establishment of an orderly central authority in the Swedish Church. He proposed to create a General Ecclesiastical Consistory composed of six clerical and six civil officials, and to charge it with the oversight not only of worship, doctrine, and discipliné, but also of education, charitable foundations, and the press. Negotiations continued for more than a year, but the King was unable to overcome the stubborn resistance of the clergy to the intrusion of laymen, and he failed to accomplish his design.
In inspiring his lieutenants, however, and in removing the friction and inertia which had hitherto retarded social and constitutional progress, Gustavus rendered priceless services to Sweden. The definition of rights and duties and the centralisation of government, which were of necessity abiding aims of his policy, found notable expression in the foundation of the House of Nobles soon after the Polish Truce had ended. It had long been a grievance of the Vasa that noble status with its freedom from ordinary taxation was often usurped by their subjects without license
At this point, however, the Swedes received a check. A Polish force .linder Gonsievski drove Horn from the south-east of Livonia. Two armies, with Radzivil and the-distinguished statesman Leo Sapieha in command, confronted Gustavus in Kurland. At the end of November the King wrote to Oxenstierna from Berson, " Hunger and cold have driven us hither. I have seen more misery on the way than ever before in my fifteen years of war." All through December he worked incessantly to avert starvation. On January 7, 1626, however, a brilliant feat of arms determined the issue of the war. At Wallhof, fighting against odds of perhaps five to one, Gustavus crushed Sapieha's army almost without loss to his own. He then returned to Sweden, leaving Livonia to await peace and to regain strength under a separate and liberal administration, to which the University of Dorpat, founded in 1630, still bears witness.
The campaigns of 1625 had proved how valuable to the Swedes were the resolute strategy of Gustavus and the reforms introduced by him into their discipline and tactics. In 1626 he sought to reap a still richer harvest in Prussia. East Prussia was a fief of the Polish Crowny Wed by Queen Maria Eleönora's brother, the Elector George William of Brandenburg. West Prussia, in many respects a second Livonia, might afford Gustavus abundant supplies and a theatre of war convenient for observing the struggle in Germany and for compelling
Sigismund to make peace. At the end of June, 1626, the Swedes, some 14,000 strong, descended upon both provinces of Prussia. Gustavus ridiculed the idea that Brandenburg could stand aside while the existence of Protestantism was at stäke, Pillaü, the port of Königsberg, had 28 feet of water, and he seized it as a naval base. By also blockading Danzig, where a great Protestant community, careless of all interests save its own, grew rich upon the commerce of the Vistula, he was able to lay hands upon the customs dues of all Prussia and to make the war in a great measure self-supporting. Having thus secured access to the mainland, Gustavus nest endeavoured to conquer the Polish littoral. His success was swift and far-reaching.. Danzig alone proved obstinate. In Catholic Ermeland as well as in West Prussia the towns opened their gates. Both provinces were reorganised as dominions of Sweden, retaining their privileges but paying heavy taxes for the war. Here, as wherever the Swedes triumphed, the Jesuits were expelled and a Lutheran organisation introduced. He then occupied the district to the west of the Vistula and hemmed in Danzig by land and sea. Two months elapsed before Sigismund was able to dispute his progress. A futile attempt to recover Mewe on the Vistula was a fresh demonstration of the inferiority of the Polish troops. Encouraged by the news from Germany, however, Sigismund offered impossible terms of peace. In October, having committed the administration to Oxenstierna and the army to Wrangel, Gustavus returned to Sweden. On December 8 his daughter Christina was born.
Although the Polish War had still more than three years to run, its main results were now achieved. Henceforward the Swedes were hindered by the wounds and sickness of their King and by the stubborn valour of, Danzig rather than by Sigismund and his army. On the other hand cold, hunger, and sickness cost them thousands of lives. Prussia was stripped bare, and the vast extent of Poland made it impossible for them to strike the decisive blow.
At the same time, the downfall of Christian IV and of the Protestant power in Germany brought into closer connexion the eastern and the western wars. In 1627 one of Wajlenstein's regiments joined the army of Sigismund. The Elector of Brandenburg, after long hesitation, took sides for a moment with his overlord, only to suffer fresh humiliations when half his force deserted to Gustavus and he lost Marienwerder and Memel. Before the campaign of 1628 opened, the King's plan for an offensive war of defence against the Habsburgs had received the assent of a secret committee of the four Estates. Sweden became the ally of Denmark and assisted in the defence pf Stralsund.
Gustavus now commanded more than 30,000 men; but until February, 1629, the Poles gained the fruits of victory by avoiding battle. Then, near Gurzno, Wrangel shattered an army of some 6000 men under Potocki. He lost no more than 90 men, but was
The reign of Gustavus after the Truce of Altmark forms an integral part of the Thirty Years' War. His embarkation in 1630 with an army entirely equipped at home commemorates, however, the industrial and commercial progress which had formed a constant ideal of his rule. " The King's Majesty," said Oxenstierna, " controls and steers mines, commerce, manufactures, and customs just as a steersman steers his ship." Gustavus indeed spared no effort to further mining and metal-working under the strict control of the Crown. In order to concentrate commerce and manufactures within the towns, he increased their number, conferred privileges upon them, and protected them by law against the competition of the country districts. In 1614 trade with foreigners was confined to thirteen staple towns, while the market towns (Uppstäder) received a monopoly of trade between Swedish subjects.
The principle that industry and commerce should be controlled by the Crown permeated the economic policy of Sweden. The King embraced with enthusiasm the plan of a South Sea trading Company. Industries were committed to the rule of guilds. The monopoly of trade with foreign lands, first in copper, then in iron, corn, and salt, was granted to chartered companies. All these experiments were made when Sweden was perpetually at war and when the financial burden of war could not be thrown upon the future. Although much of the economic policy of Gustavus was unsuccessful, Sweden became eminent in the industries necessary to war, her internal communications were improved, and fifteen new towns were established by the King. Four great free schools, in Västeras, Strängnäs, Linköping, and Abo, were of his creation, and in 1624 he endowed the University of Upsala with more than three hundred manors, comprising almost the whole of his private estates. The twenty years of his reign were a time of constitutional
The glory of Gustavus is enhanced by contrast with the reaction and decadence which characterise the first five-and-forty years of Vasa sovereignty in Poland. For a century after Sigismund's accession, indeed, the Polish magnates continued to be famous for magnificence, valour, and freedom. They believed that their constitution secured the Polish nation in the enjoyment of the fairest fruits of the three great principles of government : monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. Yet the reign of Sigismund is but the beginning of the long chastisement brought upon the Poles by the arrogant individualism which had dictated the establishment of a weak elective monarchy in 1573, and which was destined in two centuries to dissolve the State. A vassal of the Church, a stranger both to self-interest and patriotism, Sigismund derived in great part his domestic policy from the Jesuits^and his foreign policy from the Habsburgs. In 1589 and 1590, he left to his subjects the defence of the Polish frontiers against the Tartars and the Turks ; and à decade later the Poles in their turn refused to concern themselves with the recovery of his Swedish throne. Disunion between King and people is the chief characteristic of Polish history in a reign far from inglorious in war. The Habsburgs gladly embraced the opportunity to make the realm of Sigismund their bulwark against the tumultuous forces of the East. In 1595 Poland declined the invitation of Pope and Emperor to a crusade; but Zamoyski conquered Moldavia at his own expense. At the same time Zolkievski purged the Ukraine of its Cossack invaders. In 1597 Polish suzerainty over Moldavia was recognised by the Sultan, and two years later the Hospodar of Wallachia menaced the province to no purpose. To these victories of the Republic must be added the overthrow of the Swedes in Livonia. After the crowning triumph of Kirkholm (1605) Zamoyski declared that it was disgraceful to struggle so long with so petty a foe ; but again the discrepancy between the interest of Sigismund and that of the nation proved injurious to both. At this crisis of the whole reign, Zamoyski, addressing the Diet for the last time, charged the King to his face with having misappropriated the taxes, left the troops unpaid, neglected the fortifications, retained the foreign guards, planned the coronation of his son, and betrayed the interests of the kingdom by his patronage of the Russian Pretender and by his close alliance with the House of Austria. The death of Zamoyski, however, facilitated the King's marriage (1605) with Constantia, the sister of his former Queen, a union which his subjects regarded both as an act of treason against the Republic and as an insult to Heaven.
Sigismund's second marriage consolidated into a single force the several elements of hostility to the Crown which had sprung up during eighteen years of misrule. With the tacit consent both of the, King and of the Senate, which was full of his creatures, the Jesuits and the
The suppression of the Rokosz was the last enduring triumph of a reign which had still a quarter of a century to run. Some of the Polish nobleSj it is true, had secured the coronation of Demetrius at Moscow in 1605, and five years later Sigismund was to enjoy the brief elevation of his son Wladislav to the throne of the Tsars. In 1619, however, when at Diviline the Republic accepted Smolensk and Sievierz from the Romanoffs as the price of a truce for fourteen years, the dream of a Polish Tsar had vanished.
All that Sigismund hoped from the Habsburgs and from the Polish nobles greedy for office in Livonia and Esthonia likewise vanished, but at a far greater sacrifice, by the truce of 1629. His support of the Imperial cause in the Great War brought him trouble not only from Bethlen Gabor, but also from the Polish Diet of 1624, which compelled him to forbid his subjects to serve in foreign armies. The Turks, too, were able to turn the balance of success in their own favour. In 1612 they recovered Moldavia ; and the efforts of the Poles to restore their suzerainty culminated in 1620 with a terrible disaster near Cécora. Zolkievski was killed and Koniecpolski captured; and next year the heroism of the dying Chodkievicz in defending Choczim was rewarded only by the concession that the Turkish Governor of Moldavia should be a Christian. All these disasters, together with the burning of the rich town of Jaroslav in 1625, and the annihilation of his fleet during the war with Gustavus, Sigismund bore with the tenacious equanimity which was, perhaps, the most notable feature of his character, and the most disastrous to Poland.