ULRICA ELEONORE succeeded her brother Charles XII. as the sovereign of Sweden. She was proclaimed queen by birthright, and called the Riksdag, willing to cede the absolute power. When the Riksdag convened a disagreeable surprise met her. The Estates refused to acknowledge her right to the crown, stating that both she and her older sister had deprived themselves of their rights of succession by marrying without the consent of the Estates of the Riksdag. Princess Hedvig Sophie was dead, but her son, the young Duke Charles Frederic of Holstein was in Sweden, ready to claim the throne. Ulrica Eleonore was compelled to yield gracefully. She sent a note to the Riksdag disclaiming her hereditary right, but declaring herself willing to accept the crown, with restriction of the absolute power. She was at once elected queen by the Riksdag of 1719, which then proceeded to pass a new constitution. Such a constitution had been formulated in advance by a new party, chiefly consisting of nobles, who aimed at introducing a royal government, restricted in its power by the state council and the Riksdag. They were successful in their efforts, but unfortunately lost their ablest leaders at the start, Per Ribbing dying soon after the first Riksdag, and Arvid Horn retiring from the government and council on account of a conflict with the queen. Thus the new government did not open up under favorable auspices. Baron von Grtz was captured and put to death for high treason without being granted the privilege of an appropriate legal defence. The queen overstepped her limit of power in being the active force in this illegal execution, anxious to rid herself of Grtz because he was the ablest man among the supporters of Duke Charles Frederic of Holstein. The duke gave up his chances and left for Russia, where he married a daughter of Czar Peter. The arrangements made to establish order in financial matters were not satisfactory. The management of the war with Denmark was miserable. The army was recalled from Norway and little done to protect the coast from attacks by the Danish fleet under Admiral Tordenskiold. This valiant naval hero, of Norwegian birth, who, during the reign of Charles XII., had made unsuccessful attacks on Strmstad and Gothenburg, through cunning captured the strong fortress of Carlsten, but was unable to take New Elfsborg. Danckwardt, the commander who surrendered Carlsten, was executed by the Swedish government. The Swedish army of 6,000 men, which had entered the district of Dronthiem by the command of Charles XII., perished from hunger and cold when returning through the mountains of Jemtland. Only a few hundred survived to tell the terrible tale. The Russians sent a fleet to the Swedish shores with 40,000 men, and burned, in two expeditions, twelve Swedish towns in the middle and northern parts of the country. They avoided open battle, and when landing in great numbers were effectively repulsed.
Under such conditions Sweden was anxious for peace. In compensation for various sums of money, Bremen and Verden were ceded to Hanover in 1719, Pomerania, south of the river Peene, with Stettin, Usedom and Wollin to Prussia, in 1720, and Ingermanland, Esthonia, Livonia, with Viborg and Kexholm, and surrounding Finnish territory, to Russia, in 1721. Denmark had to give up all territory captured from Sweden, but received a sum of money in exchange for Carlsten, in 1720. Thus the Baltic empire of Sweden was swept away. It had been of importance during the time of the German war and for the shielding of new conquests in the Scandinavian Peninsula itself. Now its loss was a gain for Sweden, as it allowed her to concentrate her attention upon the interior development of the country.
The tendency of Ulrica Eleanore to exert more power than was within her authority had created dissatisfaction, and when she commenced an agitation to have her consort, Prince Frederic of Hesse, share the throne with her, the crown was granted him only upon her own resignation from the government.
Frederic I. was crowned in 1720 and Ulrica Eleonore retired from the government. Frederic left the Reformed and entered the Lutheran Church. The crown was to be inherited by his male issues only, in the union with Ulrica Eleonore. He showed a tendency for mixing in the affairs of state to further his own interests, but soon gave in to his easy-tempered, pleasure-loving nature, occupying him-self exclusively with his hunts and his mistresses.
The real ruler of Sweden, during the first two decades of Frederic’s reign, was Arvid Born, one of the greatest of Swedish statesmen. His was not the work of building up the government of a strong and influential nation, like that of Oxenstierna or Gyllenstierna, nor were his their grand, far-reaching views. But his mission was to raise from the dust his bleeding, downtrodden country, and to reinstall it in the honor and respect, not only of itself but of the world. Count Arvid Bernhard Horn was art opportunist, but one of the noblest kind, who by means of peace found the only way in which to protect and further the financial and cultural development of Sweden. He was an able soldier and a skilled diplomatist. The son of an illustrious but poor family, of the Finnish nobility, he entered the military service after a university course at Abo He served in foreign armies, but was with Charles XII. in Stockholm as the best companion of his youth. As the commander of the royal body-guard he took an honorable part in the early victories of Charles XII., later being chosen to fulfil the delicate task of making the Polish nobles elect Stanislav king, in which he was eminently successful. After a short captivity he was released and re-turned to Sweden, where he became a member of the state council and president of the state chancery. In this position he repeatedly sent letters to Charles XII., in which he described the distress of the country, in eloquent words pleading its need of peace. Upon his return Charles XII. removed him from office with the other councillors, although he was the one who had saved the tottering throne for the king. Of this Ulrica Eleanore was aware and was glad to accept his resignation; when reinstated in his position he found that he could not preserve it with dignity in the face of the irregularities committed by the queen. Count Horn was responsible for the exclusion of Ulrica Eleonore from the government at King Frederic’s ascendency, but the latter was forced to accept Horn in his former position as the controlling power of the government. With due reason, the peaceful and honorable decades of Frederic’s reign have been named the “Period of Arvid Horn.”
The new form of government introduced by Ribbing, Horn and others was nothing else than that of an aristocratic republic. The rights of the monarch, reduced in 1719, were still further reduced in 1720. He had two votes in the state council and a deciding vote in deadlock, but besides the authority to appoint councillors from the candidates nominated by the Riksdag, and to appoint all higher officials, no other rights. The government was in the hands of the state council, consisting of sixteen members. The Riksdag decided all questions of taxes and legislation, and settled issues of peace and war. Each of the four Estates was represented in the committees, except in the “secret committee,” for international affairs, to which no yeoman could be chosen. Each Estate had its speaker. The president of the chancery was the minister of foreign affairs and consulted the secret committee on important questions, being the only head of a department who was allowed as a member of the state council. The nobility held the balance of power, much to the opposition of the lower Estates, who tried, by repeated agitation, to invest the king with the authority held by him. before the days of absolute power. The nobility had done away with its three classes, and, with these abandoned, it was the majority, viz., the lower nobility, who were the governing class. The aristocracy tried its best to regain the privileges enjoyed during the reign of Queen Christine and Charles X., but Horn forced it to be satisfied with those granted by Gustavus Adolphus. The power of the higher nobility was forever crushed by the loss of their immense possessions. The friction between the nobility and the lower Estates of the Riksdag was constant, Horn siding with the former, but keeping them all in check.
Arvid Horn led with superior skill and gentleness the management of foreign affairs. All influences from the powers and from the restless nobles to involve Sweden in a conflict of war were unsuccessful. A treaty was never entered into with any one power without another one formed with a power of the opposite continental party to counter-balance it. Thus England, France and Russia were unable to make Sweden an obedient ally, Horn upholding her independence, maintaining peace and inspiring respect. Utterly refusing to accept the bribes which were freely offered and considered the indispensable means of obtaining diplomatic influence in that day, Horn himself distributed bribes to gain his patriotic purposes. Horn’s great mistake was to refer the decision of foreign affairs in which he was opposed by members of the state council to the Riksdag and its secret committee. The latter commenced to act independently in important foreign matters. By signing an agreement with France, through which Sweden lost its former privilege of an independent policy, the committee ultimately caused his downfall, in 1738. Arvid Horn then retired, at the age of seventy-two, and died a few years later.
During Horn’s peaceful administration the financial conditions improved, the state debt was reduced and the peaceful trades and industries were furthered. The great deed accomplished was the completion of a new state law which was published in 1734 and is in force to this very day. Arvid Horn was a perfect type of the great Carolin era, of pure and severe morals and modest requirements. In a day of increasing scepticism and levity, he ostentatiously preserved the rigid religious practices of his youth. He showed unreserved indignation at the unworthy and immoral conduct of the king, for which reason strained relations existed between them. Count Horn was of impressive form and carriage, controlling the quick temper of the warrior beneath the smooth and dignified bearing of the states-man.
The decades which followed upon the fall of Arvid Horn were stormy ones and full of miseries. The friends of peace were called Caps and the warlike party Hats. The latter, now in power, commenced a war against Russia, which turned out badly, the Swedes being defeated at Vilmanstrand, in 1741, and at Helsingfors, in 1742. The government and secret committee felt ashamed of their work and had the poor generals, Charles Emil Lewenhaupt and Buddenbrock, executed for their lack of martial skill and good fortune. Peace was made with Russia in 1743, the towns of Fredericshamn, Vilmanstrand and Nyslott, in Finland, being ceded by Sweden, and the river Kymene made the boundary line.
Next the Hats had to face a rebellion. In order to please Elizabeth of Russia, Czas Peter’s daughter, they had selected Charles Peter Ulric, her nephew and the son of the duke of Holstein, as heir-apparent to the Swedish throne, to which he was the nearest in right, Ulrica Eleonore dying without issue, in 1741. But when chosen as Elizabeth’s successor in Russia, the Hats selected Adolphus Frederic, prince bishop of Lubeck, who on his mother’s side was a descendant of Gustavus Adolphus. This caused popular discontent, the people, forgetful of past enmities, desiring to make Crown Prince Frederic of Denmark heir-apparent. The peasants at the Riksdag of 1742 proclaimed loudly their desire of a personal union with Denmark-Norway, which would establish Scandinavia as one solid power against Russia. The peasants of Helsingland and Dalecarlia revolted. They gathered, and marching down to Stockholm, placed the government in a dangerous position by demanding the election of Crown Prince Frederic of Denmark and the execution of the two imprisoned generals. In that very moment peace was obtained with Russia, and the government persuaded the leaders of the rebellion, who had obtained admission to the Riksdag, that Adolphus Frederic must be chosen, since it was a part of the treaty of peace. Later the rebels, 3,500 in number, were forced to surrender. Their principal leader was executed.
The Hats were at first led by Count Gyllenborg, who was succeeded by the brilliant Count Charles Gustavus Tessin, a son of the great architect, Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. Although not a statesman of any higher ability, Charles Gustavus Tessin was able to shake the oppressive influence of Russia. He was assisted by Prince Adolphus Frederic, who said he would rather resign than be a Russian vassal. A war seemed imminent, but was averted, Finland in the meantime being effectively fortified. The unconquerable fortress of Sveaborg was built near Helsingfors, and was the creation of Augustinus Ehrensverd. The Hats were eager in their attempts to encourage industry and manufacture, but did so at the expense of agriculture, and placed immense taxes on imported goods. A pioneer of industry was John Alstroerner, who, in his town of Alingsos, built factories of various kinds. King Frederic died in 1751.
Adolphus Frederic was a good-natured and gentle man.
He was not averse to an increased royal authority, but was not energetic enough to exert a controlling influence or to push his claims. His consort was the ambitious and brilliantly gifted Louise Ulrica, the sister of Frederic the Great of Prussia. She tried to inspire the king to action. Continually occupied by ambitious schemes, she spoiled them herself, through lack of caution and stability. As crown princess, she stood close to Count Tessin, whom she hoped to win over for her plans. They devised the institution of the knightly orders of the Seraphim, the Sword and the North Star, the credit of their introduction being given to King Frederic I. Adolphus Frederic was forced to sub-scribe to the same minimum of royal privileges as those enjoyed by Frederic I. At court a party was formed which supported the king, who soon commenced to oppose the state council. In 1755 this went so far that he refused to sign a document from the council. The case was brought before the Riksdag, where, in spite of strong opposition from the peasants, a resolution was passed indorsing the action of the state council. Count Tessin, in friction with the court, resigned from all his positions. The Riksdag tried to reinstall him as governor of the royal princes, but gave in upon the request of Tessin. The Riksdag went to the extreme of having a stamp made of the king’s signature, to use in cases where he refused to sign, and also took upon itself to engage and dismiss teachers for the royal princes. At court indignation rose high, and a conspiracy was formed to take possession of the capital, with the state council and the speakers of the four Estates, in order to bring about a revolution with increased power for the king. The conspiracy was discovered, and Count Eric Brahe, Count Jacob Horn and six others of its leaders executed.
A new humiliation to the court was Sweden’s alliance with Austria, Russia and France against Frederic the Great of Prussia. The plans laid out by the Swedes were as elaborate as those for the Russian war. But on account of poor equipment and repeated change of commanders nothing effective was done. When peace was made at Hamburg, in 1762, Sweden neither lost nor gained any-thing. The Swedes had fought no battles, and Frederic the Great said he would call the Swedish invasion of Pomerania a private fight at the frontier.
The great expense of the profitless war gave the Caps an occasion to gain in influence, and at the Riksdag of 1765 they overthrew the power of the Hats, in their turn summarily dismissing the councillors of their opponents. They introduced perfect liberty of the press in 1766, but went too far in their policy of economy, dangerously injuring the new industries by the withdrawal of loans and subsidies. The expensive factories came to a standstill and skilled workingmen emigrated. Popular opinion turned against these repeated changes and the endless strife of the parties, and felt inclined to criticise a Riksdag which had attained such power without giving a prosperous and secure administration in return. Foreign powers, encouraged by the court, tried to gain adherents of their various policies by bribes to councillors and members of the Riksdag, thus demoralizing state politics.
The king received a valuable supporter in the crown prince Gustavus, who in 1767 became of age. He prevailed upon the king to resign when the state council refused to call an extraordinary Riksdag for the granting of added royal authority. The king did so, and the country was without a monarch for six days (December 15-21, 1768). The crown prince notified the presidents of the different administrative offices in Stockholm that his father had ceased to reign. The state council persisted; but had to give in, when the colonels of the regiments reported that they could no longer answer for their troops, since also the paymaster’s office was closed. The Riksdag convened in Norrkping in 1769. The Caps suffered defeat in spite of strenuous efforts made for their preservation by the secret agents of the powers, anxious to see the anarchic condition of the government continue. But the court party failed in the exertions to have the royal privileges augmented. The intrigues of the foreign powers continued, and the crown prince left for France to insure her support in case of war. While the Hats were once more in power, Adolphus Frederic died suddenly in February, 1771.
Gustavus was to put an end to the party strife of the “Period of Liberty,” as it has been called. His own reign belongs properly to it, for he reaped the benefit of the seed it had been sowing. The Period of Liberty, with all its faults, forms an important chain in the cultural and political development of Sweden. Its form of government made necessary a varied and active part in public affairs, educating all classes of officials to a high degree of efficiency and the people at large to self-government. The Riksdag, through parliamentary activity and importance, developed an authority which, although too composite to govern itself, was enabled to act as a shield of steel against all abuse of the executive power. The national life never gathered a richer harvest of men of genius who worked for the progress of their country and for that of the world. The heroism of the Swedish people during the preceding period of suffering and distress bore fruit in men like Emanuel Swedenborg, the inventor, naturalist, philosopher and founder of a new religion; Charles Linnæus, the founder of modern botany; Andrew Celsius, Junior, the inventor of the centigrade thermometer; John Ahlstrmer, the pioneer of industry; John Ihre, the able philologist, and Olof von Dalin, the poet, humorist, and, with Sven Lagerbring, the first modern historian of Sweden. The Period of “Liberty,” viz., of an Aristocratic Republic, was the golden era of Swedish science, the latter for the first time becoming of universal fame and of universal importance. The scientists of this period belong to the fathers of modern research, basing their conclusions upon personal observation, in strong contrast to their fathers and precursors of the chauvinistic barocco period.
Emanuel Swedenborg, the most remarkable man whom Sweden has ever brought forth, was born in Stockholm, June 29, 1688. His father was Jesper Svedberg, bishop of Skara, in West Gothland, and his mother Sara Behm. The tendency toward mysticism, an inheritance from his father, was noticed in him at an early age. He has told of himself that between the age of four and ten his thoughts were exclusively occupied with religious subjects. While in prayer, he sometimes entered a somnambulic condition, revealing things which surprised his parents, who said that angels spoke through him. As a child, he had the idea of God as one, without any conception of a Trinity. Later he received instruction in the systematic theology of his day. His father gave him a thorough training in the Oriental and classical languages. The early mysticism of the boy was supplanted by a thirst for knowledge of the phenomena of life and nature, coupled to a burning desire to illustrate his reading by practical experiments. Having entered the University of Upsala, he at first devoted himself to the study of the classical languages and literature, later to that of mathematics and natural science. When the university was visited by the plague in 1710, and almost all courses of instruction were interrupted, Swedenborg made a journey for scientific purposes to England, Holland, France and Germany. He returned in 1714, enriched with valuable results. In 171618 he published the first scientific journal of Sweden, “Daedalus Hyperboreus,” treating subjects of mathematics and physical science. In 1716 he came in close personal contact with Charles XII, at the university town of Lund The king, being deeply impressed by his great learning and practical ability, appointed him assistant assessor of the college of mining. Swedenborg had, by the scholar Eric Benzelius, been made acquainted with the idea of the old Bishop Brask, of the time of Gustavus I, to “cut up the land” between the North Sea and the Baltic to make a navigable route through Sweden. Swedenborg gave close attention to this scheme, and communicated his plans to Charles XII, who became very much interested in them. Christopher Polhem was selected to build the great canal, and Swedenborg was made his assist-ant. We know from the sketch of Polhem’s life why the great work failed of accomplishment. Swedenborg gave a proof of his superior genius as a practical engineer during the siege of Fredericshall. Tordenskiold made the sea unsafe and had hedged in the Swedish fleet at Iddefiord. The Swedish boats and galleys were then carried overland to the town of Strmstad, travelling the main road for fifteen miles on rolling machines devised by Swedenborg. After the death of Charles XII., whom he highly respected, Swedenborg travelled to Saxony and Hungary to study the mining industry of these countries. Returning in 1722, he entered for the first time upon his work of the college of mining, becoming assessor a few years later. In 1719 he was ennobled with his brothers and sisters, when the change of name from Svedberg to Swedenborg was made. In 1724 he declined to accept the chair of mathematics at the University of Upsala, dividing his time between his official work and his studies, until 1747, when he resigned from his position with a pension of the same amount as his salary. His religious works were commenced in 1745, and after that time he made repeated journeys to London or Amsterdam to have these printed, as they could not be published in Sweden on account of the strict and highly orthodox censure of that period.
In 1744 the event occurred which Swedenborg in various places of his works has described as the opening of his spiritual sight, or the manifestations of the Lord to him in person. He had not, by geometrical, physical and meta-physical principles, succeeded in grasping the infinite and the spiritual, or their relation to the nature of man, but he had touched on facts and methods which seemed to conduct him in the right direction. He thought that God had led him into the natural sciences in order to prepare him for his later spiritual development. The visions of his boyhood returned, now conceived by a nature enriched by the experiences of a life spent in ardent and scientific research. The great seer remained a man whom everybody loved and respected. People who did not believe in his visions feared to ridicule them in the presence of this august savant. His manner of life was simple, his diet chiefly consisting of bread, milk and large quantities of coffee. He made little distinction between night and day, and sometimes lay for days in a trance. His servants were often disturbed at night by hearing him engaged in what he called conflicts with evil spirits. His intercourse with spirits was often perfectly calm, in broad daylight, and with all his faculties awake. He held that every man and woman. has the same power of spiritual intercourse, although not developed in the same degree as it was found in him.
The work which established the scientific reputation of Swedenborg was published, in 1734, in three massive folios, at the expense of Duke Ludvig Rudolph of Brunswick. The second and third volumes describe the best methods employed in Europe and America in the manufacture of iron, copper and brass. The first volume contains a philosophical explanation of the elementary world which has aroused admiration as a beautiful, daring and consistent creation of human genius, worthy of being placed side by side with the works of Newton, and replete with remark-able ideas and anticipations of later discoveries. Swedenborg indicated the existence of the seventh planet forty years before Uranus was discovered by Herschel. He was the first to form an idea of the development of nebulae from chaotic masses to concrete heavenly bodies, a hypothesis later perfected by Herschel, and the first to offer the theory, later developed by Buffon, Kant and La Place, of the solar origin of the planets and their satellites. As in astronomy, so also in physics and geology he preconceived great discoveries. His experiments and theories in physics have been confirmed by the discoveries of the polarity of light and the galvanometer and its magnetic properties. Swedenborg discovered before anybody else the great importance of magnetism and the fact that magnetism and. electricity are manifestations of the same power. He made observations concerning air and water which have been confirmed as to their correctness by Priestley, Cavendish and Lavoisier, who long were supposed to have been the first discoverers. In geology, he was the first to demonstrate that the Scandinavian peninsula, except the southern part of Scania, was a rising continent, proving the earlier level of the sea to have been much higher and the inland lakes to have stood in connection with the sea. Through his remarks on bowlders, he gave rise to the later theories of Berzelius and Sæfstrom of a bowlder period. Upon these researches followed great and remarkable works of anatomy, which, by later anatomists of the first rank, have been declared to be classics in the literature of physiology. His immense work, “Arcana Clestia,” and other theosophical writings which he has placed as a foundation for the New Church, and on which his present fame rests, were not so celebrated in his days as his scientific works. Like the latter, they were all written in Latin.
The new religion, founded by Swedenborg, more spiritual than the old, has proved equally attractive to the individual and idealistic thinkers of all sects, Protestants and Catholics, Unitarians and Theosophists. Swedenborg made no attempt to establish a sect, and the New Church as an organization is the result of a movement which was started after his death.
In his personal appearance Swedenborg was a middle-sized man of strong constitution. His head was of a fine shape, the color of his face somewhat dark and its expression pensive, but his blue eyes were large and radiant. His disposition was amiable. He was a man of the world, fond of music and society, especially of that of cultured women, and was often seen at court. He had a tendency to stutter when speaking fast, for which reason he used a slow diction, characterized by choice and mature expressions. In his youth, he frequented the house of Christopher Polhem and fell in love with his daughter Emerentia. Both Poi-hem and Charles XII. favored the idea of seeing them united, the young girl of fourteen giving her consent. But young Emerentia was secretly in love with somebody else, and her health and disposition suffered under the strain. When Swedenborg discovered the truth, he gave his betrothed freedom from her allegiance. He ceased to visit the house of Polhem and never entered any other relation of love.
In 1770, at the age of eighty-two, Swedenborg for the last time visited Amsterdam. John C. Cuno, who then saw him, thus described the impression which the aged visionary and thinker made upon him: “He looked so touchingly pious, and when I gazed into his smiling eyes of a heavenly blue, it always seemed to me that truth itself spoke from his lips.” Swedenborg left Amsterdam for London, where, on Christmas eve, 1772, he was struck by hemiplegia. After a few weeks he recovered his speech, and his faculties were clear to the last. The chaplain of the Swedish legation asked him if he had not formulated the doctrines of his new religion in order to gain fame, and if he wished to recall it all before he died. The yet partly paralyzed man raised himself into a sitting position, saying: “As true as it is that you see me here in front of you, as true is also all that I have written, and na eternity you will find a confirmation of it.” The chaplain asked him if he wanted to receive the sacrament. Swedenborg answered “I need it not; for I am already a member of the other world; but your intention is good, and I will with joy receive the sacrament in token of the bond of unity between heaven and earth.” Swedenborg died March 29, 1772, and was buried in the Lutheran church of London.
Swedenborg was shrewd in worldly affairs and discussed politics and finance in the Swedish Riksdag for nearly a score of years after his visions and theological writings had begun to occupy most of his time.
If the theological works of Emanuel Swedenborg at first were apt to discredit the results of his manifold scientific research in the eyes of those who did not share his theosophical views, the renown of the great religious thinker in later times has outshone the fame of which, as the versa-tile scholar and philosopher, he was so eminently worthy. With his younger contemporary, Charles Linnaeus (or Carl von Linné), the case was different. There was in his career no radical change to divert or throw an umbrage over the fame he had won as a scientist of the very first rank.
Charles Linnaeus, the most celebrated of Swedish scientists, was born at Rashult, in Smaland, in 1707. His father was a minister of a very subordinate charge of the state church. The neighborhood in which the young Linnæus grew up was not fertile, but rich in flowers, which were the toys and comrades of his childhood. He made but little progress at his work in the college of Vexio, being more fond of collecting and examining plants than of studying Greek and Latin. It was the wish of his parents that he should become a minister and the assistant of his father; but the youth had so little inclination to pursue the life or studies of a clergyman that he at last found it necessary to tell his parents so. He had found a friend and protector in Doctor Rothman, a district physician, who encouraged him to follow his ambition of becoming a naturalist and physician. Doctor Rothman supervised his studies in botany and succeeded in teaching him Latin by giving him the natural history of Pliny to study. In this manner Linwho at college showed utter dislike for the classical languages, learned to write and speak Latin with ease. His teachers, who at first had advised his parents to let him quit the book, in order to take up some trade, were made aware of his gifted nature, but as he was found deficient in the regular courses, their recommendation, necessary for his admittance to the University of Lund, was very carefully worded. “The youths in our colleges may be likened unto little trees in a plant school, where it happens, although but rarely, that young trees upon which the greatest care have been lavished do not turn out well, but resemble wild stems, yet, when removed and trans-planted, change their wild nature and develop into beautiful trees of agreeable fruit. Likewise, and for no other purpose, this youth is sent to the university, where he may venture into a climate favorable to his growth.” There was an accurate but unconscious prophecy concealed in this beautiful “recommendation,” which, curiously enough, has chosen the similes which were considered indispensable in the artificial language of the period from the world of plants, when speaking of the future flower king of the North.
The young Linnaeus made his way to the university town of Southern Sweden, walking the whole distance from Vexio to Lund, with a heavy knapsack and a light pocket-book. He was in hopes to win the protection of his uncle, the influential dean of the cathedral. Upon entering Lund, he heard all church bells tolling, and, upon inquiry, learned that they rang for the funeral of his uncle, the dean! A former teacher of his managed to have him enrolled at the university without having to turn in the diplomatic recommendation from his college. He took his bachelor’s degree and was kindly encouraged by Professor Chilian Stobaeus, at whose house he was stopping. The mother of Stobius told him to look after the young man from Smaland, who was in the habit of going to sleep with his candle left burning, thus liable to “lead the whole house into adventure.” When the learned professor looked into the matter he found his own works in the hands of the youth, who spent his nights reading them. After that all the books and the heartfelt sympathy of the scholar were at the command of Linnaeus.
In 1728 Linnaeus, so advised by his earliest protector, changed his place of study to the University of Upsala, which at the time was better equipped and provided with a fine botanical garden. The young scholar endured a. great deal of suffering for lack of funds, his father no longer being able to provide for his support. His diet was very light, and he wrapped his benumbed feet in paper to keep them from peeping out of his ragged shoes° His father called him home to reconsider his resolution as to a ministerial calling. Linnaeus was ready to leave and paid a farewell visit to the botanic gardens. He lingered in melancholy thoughts before a rare flower which he in-tended to pluck. A harsh voice behind commanded him to leave the flower alone. Linnaeus turned and stood face to face with the dean, Olof Celsius the Elder. In the inter-view which followed the young man surprised the dean, who was an able and enthusiastic botanist, by his exceptional knowledge of plants. Celsius inquired about his circumstances and ended by taking him into his house and providing for his future. Shortly afterward Linnæus published a short but important treatise on the sexual life of plants, which he handed in to Professor Olof Rudbeck the Younger. This able scholar was forcibly struck by the ingenuity of the thoughts in the work, which contained the nucleus to the grand scientific system which Linnæus later developed. When, in 1730, Rudbeck obtained a vacation he had Linnæus installed as a lecturer of the botanic gardens. Shortly afterward Linnæus received the commission to pay a visit of botanic research to Lapland, on the plants of which he published a remarkable work. The journey was made on horseback, the young scholar returning deeply impressed by the grandeur of natural sceneries in the extreme North.
Linnaeus had to fight poverty and adversity for some time still. His mother, who always had regretted that he should “turn out a surgeon instead of a minister,” was elated over his first triumph when opening the field of a new science by his sexual system of plants. He suffered all the more at her death, which he was forced to conceal because he could not afford a mourning garb. Envious comrades put an end to his lectures at Upsala by having enforced, through petitions, an order against the filling of temporary vacancies by men who had not taken the doctor’s degree. It was found necessary for Linnæus to go abroad, and some money was subscribed by his friends for that purpose. In Holland he met the learned Professor Boerhave, who, on being made acquainted with his system of botany, which Linnæus then for the first time published, received him with tokens of unlimited admiration and friendship. It was by Boerhave that the continental fame of Linnæus was founded. The latter found, in the arranging of the great gardens of Hartekamp intrusted to him, a work both agreeable and instructive. In London, Linnæus broadened his experience with study of the rich collections of plants and naturalia which were made accessible to him by the celebrated scholar Hans Sloane, later the founder of the British Museum. The letter of recommendation from Boerhave was somewhat different to the one Linnæus had received at Vexio: “Linnæus, who hands you this letter, is the only one worthy to see you, and to be seen by you. Those who see you together look upon two men the peers of which the world does hardly possess.” After a stay in Paris, where the greatest scientists of France treated him with distinction, he returned to Holland; to find his friend Boerhave dying in Leyden. Linnæus kissed the hand of the dying man, who insisted on kissing the hand of Linnæus in return, pronouncing him the greater genius, of whom the world should expect and receive more.
Linnaeus, the celebrated founder of a new science, returned home as an unknown man. His ability as a physician, acquired at the University of Leyden, and his growing continental fame soon made him distinguished. In 1741 he was appointed professor of medicine at Upsala, but changed chairs with the professor of botany. The study of the latter science was highly developed through the continued research of Linnæus, and became very popular, while giving a great impetus to the study of medicine. The grace and animation of Linnæus as a lecturer caused students and scholars to flock around him in hundreds. The botanic excursions led by Linnaeus resembled daily marches of triumphs, the multitude of students escorting their beloved teacher back to the botanic gardens with flowers in their hats and with music of drums and French horns. Sweden, with Upsalaas a centre, was for the first time in history considered a home of scientific culture, to which naturalists gathered from all parts of the world, America included. Pupils of ability and distinction were sent by Linnæus to strange and unknown quarters, from which they returned with new and unfamiliar plants, which were examined and classified by the flower king of the North. Linnæus was honored by his contemporaries in such a superlative manner as no one of his countrymen, before or after, and few other scientists of any age or country. Count Charles Gustavus Tessin has the credit of having encouraged him in his work and improved his career upon his return from the Continent. When ennobled, Linnaeus changed his name to Von Linné, the earlier form being the more familiar to English readers. King Gustavus III presented him with the estate Hammarby, where he liked to dwell, surrounded by his flowers and his family, resting from the fatigue caused by the endless stream of distinguished pilgrims who came to visit his flower court at Upsala. The offers of foreign monarchs to have him come and dwell with them were many and liberal. In 1739 he married the love of his youth, Maria Elizabeth Moraeus, “and never since felt an inclination to leave Sweden”
Linnaeus in many respects resembled Swedenborg, being convinced that his acceptance of truth was the correct one and disliking disputes. Like Swedenborg, he was pious, modest, benevolent and sincere. Of his own exterior and disposition Linnaeus has himself given the following characteristic account : “Linnæus was not tall, not small, lean, brown-eyed, light, quick, walked briskly, did everything promptly, disliked slow people, was sensitive, easily moved, worked continuously and could not spare himself. He was fond of good food and drank good drinks, but never to excess. He cared little for exteriors, considering that man should adorn his dress and not vice versa. Faculty meetings were not his delight, or business, for he was made for quite other things, and had other things in mind than those which there were discussed and decided upon.” In the preface to the late edition of his principal work, “Systema Naturæ,” the following noteworthy paragraph is found : “I saw the shadow of the Supreme Being go past me, and I was seized with respect and admiration. I searched for His footsteps in the sandwhat power, what wisdom ! I saw how the animals existed only by means of the plants, the plants by means of the lifeless particles, and these in their turn constitute the earth. I saw the sun and stars without number hanging suspended in the air, held by the hand of the Being of beings, the artist of this grand master-piece.”
Linnaeus died January 10, 1778, and was buried in the cathedral of Upsala. His botanic system has been superseded by others, but the influence that his researches and discoveries have exerted on the natural sciences and medicine, has not ceased to be benignantly felt, nor have the utmost results of his researches been as yet attained.
Andrew Celsius, professor of astronomy at Upsala, acquired fame as a writer on astronomy and was successful in his efforts to have an observatory built at the university. In 1742 he introduced his invention, the Celsius or centigrade thermometer, which is of almost indispensable practical value in all physical and chemical experiments. Olof Celsius, Senior, the able botanist, Orientalist and patron of Linnæus, was his uncle, he thus being a cousin of Olof Celsius, Junior, whose brightly written histories of Gustavus Vasa and Eric XIV. were translated into contemporaneous French and Germano John Ahlstrmer accomplished more for the resurrection of the downtrodden industry of his country than any one else, and therefore justly deserves the name of the Father of Swedish Industry. This man, who occupies an honored place in Swedish history, was born in 1685, of poor parents, at the town of Alingsos, in West Gothland, his original name being John Toresson. He worked himself up in various mercantile positions in Stockholm and other towns, later coming to London, where he engaged in business of his own and became an English citizen. He saw with regret that his countrymen sent their money abroad to obtain articles which they could manufacture at home, and was seized with the ambition to introduce into Sweden the industries which constitute the foundation of England’s mercantile wealth.
When Charles XII. returned to Sweden, Ahlstrmer went there also, trying to win the king to his industrial plans. He did not succeed, but found in Christopher Polhem a man who listened to and appreciated them. Ahlstrmer intended to return to England, but was captured by the Danes during the journey. On account of his English citizenship he soon regained his liberty, visiting England and the Continent, and carefully selecting everything which he had in view of sending to Sweden as the requisite instruments for his plans. This work sometimes involved great danger, as the buying of looms for hose and ribbon, fulling vats, dyes, etc. ; for the great manufacturing countries were keeping jealous watch that the secrets of their industries should not become known abroad. In a town in Holland, Ahlstrmer barely missed being pelted with stones by the mob. Pursued by the revenue authorities, he managed to escape with his ship, arriving safely in Gothenburg with the valuable cargo and skilled laborers in his employ. Shortly afterward he arrived in his native town of Alingsos, where the industrial enterprises were established. The Riksdag at first was unwilling to grant him the necessary concessions, the clergy especially being averse to allow so many foreign workingmen free confession of their Catholic religion. In 1724 the concessions were at last obtained, and Ahlstrmer began his course, which he was resolved should result in the fostering of the same industrial activity in his impoverished country, which he, with surprise, had noticed in England and on the Continent.
In establishing his enterprises, Ahlstrmer exhausted his resources, and when he tried to form a company to keep them going he was met with stubborn resistance, caused by ignorance and jealousy. He succeeded at last in obtaining the financial backing of some wealthy mine owners of Vermland, who took shares in his enterprises. The Riksdag of 1726 encouraged him by placing high protective or prohibitive tariffs on foreign articles which could be produced in the country. In the following year King Frederic paid a visit to Alingsos, spending a whole day in looking over the mills and factories. The king said that he would rather own the stock of goods of Ahlstrmer than the largest arsenal in his kingdom, and saw to it that his servants were dressed in broadcloth manufactured at Alingsos.
Alingsos saw its population suddenly increase from 300 to 1,800 and entered upon an era of prosperity. Ahlstrmer’s factories formed almost a little town of their own beside the older one. There were twelve looms for the manufacturing of broadcloth, forty-five looms for wool, and, besides, cotton mills, dye works for wool and silk, hose factories, an English tannery and various other industrial works. Also a foundry, with eight communicating shops, where all kinds of household articles of simple and composite metals were manufactured. Alingsos was made a kind of normal school of industry for the whole country. The foreign master workmen, who at the beginning had charge of the factories, instructed in time a great number of native apprentices, who later found employment elsewhere, thus distributing to various parts the experience obtained at Alingsos. Wool was the principal material in the factories, and in order to obtain a refined quality, Ahlstrmer imported stocks of foreign breeds. He commenced with English sheep, the Riksdag of 1727 granting him the use of the royal estate Hjentorp for the purpose. Angora goats were later imported and seemed to thrive.
Ahlstrmer did his country a great service by introducing the cultivation of potatoes. The first shipment of this useful plant arrived in 1723, with workingmen imported from France. As soon as the plant was seen to stand the climate, larger quantities were sent for. Potatoes were cultivated in the vast fields around Alingsos at a period when they were exhibited in the botanic gardens of the Continent as rare plants from Peru. Prejudice at first interfered, but when the soldiers returned home from Pomerania with the habit of eating potatoes, and planted such around their cottages, the popularity of the Peruvian plant was assured. Ahlstrmer also introduced the cultivation of tobacco and several dye plants. The coal mines, near Helsingborg, in Scania, commenced to be operated at his instigation. When the Academy of Science was instituted, in 1739, Ahlstrmer was made one of its members. The Academy of Science served originally and in that era of utilitarianism a more practical purpose than later. The Cap administration of Arvid Horn gave comparatively little attention to the enterprises of Ahlstrmer, having more in view to develop agriculture than industry. When the Hats got into power the conditions were reversed. Count Charles Gyllenborg, the successor of Arvid Horn as president of the chancery, in order to set a good example, always dressed in broadcloth of Swedish manufacture. Ahlstrmer was made a councillor of commerce, and ennobled, while his bust was placed in the Exchange of Stockholm and medals issued in his honor by the Academy of Science.
Ahlstrmer was a middle-sized man of a strong constitution. He was amiable, courteous and hospitable, ever ready to conduct visitors through his factories and ware-houses. His energy was as great as his kindness, and he refused to recognize an enemy in anybody. The large profits of his plants he mostly spent on other patriotic enterprises, leaving hardly any other inheritance to his sons than an excellent education. During the last few years of his life he suffered the consequences of a stroke of paralysis. He died in 1761, and thus was saved from witnessing the destruction which was caused to the new factory industry and his own works at Alingsos by the reckless policy of the new Caps.
Olof Dalin is the principal poet and writer of the Period of Liberty, strongly influencing not only the creative minds of his own day, but also those who with more or less right have been counted as belonging to the Gustavian Period. Dalin was the son of a minister in the province of Halland and a relative of Professor Andrew Rydelius of Lund, a historian of the older generation, who conducted the course of his studies. He came to Stockholm in 1726, where several positions in various state departments afforded opportunity for study in libraries and archives. Dalin, from the year 1732 to 1734, published a magazine called “The Swedish Argus,” which, with the English “Spectator” as a pattern, contained articles on public and individual morals, with allusions to the facts of contemporary life. This publication caused a great stir and became. very popular on account of the acute logic and excellent language of its editor. Dalin was appointed royal librarian by the Riksdag, and, on the recommendation of Count Tessin, teacher to the young crown prince Gustavus.
Dalin was an enthusiastic admirer of the glorious epoch of Swedish history and of the character of Charles XII., which caused him to join the party of the Hats. When the latter utterly failed in their attempts to restore the political grandeur of the past, and Dalin witnessed the excesses of the rivalling parties, he joined the secret agitators for an in-creased royal power. In the literary and artistic circle of the brilliant Queen Louise Ulrica, Dalin was the leading spirit. He was not unaware of the conspiracies and intrigues of the queen, and is supposed to have been the author of several of the sharp notes which the king added to the records of the state council. The Hats, who took offence at his sharp satires, made him resign from his position as the teacher of the crown prince. After the conspiracy of the court party was detected, Dalin was called before a committee of the Estates and by order dismissed from the court. Dalin used the time of his compulsory isolation for the writing of a history of Sweden. ‘This work, which never was carried further than to the end of the Period of Reformation, is characterized by an attractive style, but is not reliable as to facts.
Dalin was allowed to return to the court in 1761. He stood in great favor and was covered with testimonials of appreciation. He died in 1763, at the moment when King Adolphus Frederic was resolved to make him a state councillor. Dalin was the first writer who made Swedish history popular, and exerted, by his poems and his magazine, and by his education of Gustavus III., a considerable influence upon the history of his own time.
In point of scientific research the historical works of Sven Lagerbring have a much higher value than Dalin’s history, although they lacked the literary excellence of the latter. Lagerbring, who, born in Scania, was professor of history at the University of Lund, carried his work to the times of Charles VIII. A shorter history of his was translated into French and long formed the chief source of continental knowledge of Swedish history.
As a poet Dalin had a rival in the somewhat younger Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht, one of the most interesting characters in Swedish history of literature. Her works, chiefly consisting of lyrics and idyls, show a long chain of development from the taste of the Carolinian period to that of the Gustavian epoch. In her deep emotional nature and enthusiasm for all cultural movements she stands with-out a rival. Receiving an annuity from the government, she was after many adversities able to maintain a literary salon. The men who met there, like Gustavus Philip Creutz and Gustavus Frederic Gyllenborg, were the founders of an academic style in poetry, as was Charles Gustavus Tessin in eloquence.
John Ihre is perhaps the most highly gifted of Swedish philologists and the first whose research had. a lasting scientific value. He stood at the summit of contemporary European study of language, and rose a head or more higher than the philologists of his own country in that day. The period was characterized by a movement for the purification and analyzation of the language, Dalin expressing his wish to speak the truth to the Swedes in pure Swedish, and the Academy of Science taking pride in publishing their important papers in the mother tongue. Eric Benzelius, an able critic of the Gothic, and interested in Swedish dialect re-search, was one of the precursors of Ihre; and so was Olof Celsius, Senior, professor of Greek, later of Oriental languages, who was the first to fix the age of the majority of Runic inscriptions as dating from the Christian era.
John Ihre was born, in 1707, in Lund, where his father was a professor of theology, a talented, witty and learned man. The young Ihre lost his father in 1720, after which time his uncle, Archbishop Steuchius of Upsala, had charge of his education. He later studied modern languages at the University of Jena, made the acquaintance of the contemporary philologists of Holland, and also studied at the universities of London, Oxford and Paris. After an absence of three years he returned, soon to be connected with the University of Upsala, where he remained for forty-two years as professor of rhetoric and politics. Ihre was a liberal, outspoken man, who was severely censured for his opinions upon political and religious subjects, once by the Riksdag being sentenced to pay fines and receiving a warning from the chancellor of the university. When the clergy upon another occasion warned the philosophers not to mix in theological subjects, Ihre defended himself in the following terms in a letter to the chancellor, Count Charles Gustavus Tessin.
“Gracious lord! I teach eloquentiam, politicam and the states, with all things pertaining to them. To become a heretic I possess neither genius nor stupidity enough, less an evil purpose. Therefore I am willing to forego all theology, if only an allowance of it be made large enough for my private practice and edification in Christianity. I never intended to go any further.”
Ihre left religion and politics alone, and received many high distinctions in return for his great scientific merits. When ennobled, he kept his old family name, stating that he was “somewhat known abroad under the name of Ihre,” while if he changed it to Gyllenbiorn or Vargstierna, it would take “some time to announce this new disguise.” He was renowned for his ready wit, and wielded a considerable influence in academic circles. Ihre was satisfied with his position and his science, and was not willing to exchange them for a political career.
Ihre was led to the study of the Teutonic languages in their oldest forms by his desire to find a consistent spelling and correct understanding of the words in his own language. He was desirous of freeing it from foreign words, but only when those substituted were as expressive and comprehensible as the old. Ihre was a pioneer in the field of dialect lexicographers, publishing the outline of a Swedish dialect dictionary in 1766, and wrote a number of works pertaining to the historic forms of Gothic, Lappish, Finnish and Old Norse. Special importance is due to his epoch-making research concerning the language of the Codex Argenteus. He once for all settled the controversy, proving the Codex to contain the Gothic Bible translation of Bishop Wulfila against the assertions of M. Lacroze of Berlin, who claimed that it was written in Frankish. In regard to the Edda of Snorre Sturleson, he declared it to be intended as an introductory study of poesy, a handbook of poetics for young scalds, an opinion which has been fully established in a much later time. By these and other theories Ihre attained a much higher standpoint as a scientific critic than his contemporaries. He spoke of the resemblance between the Teutonic and the classical languages, without being able to find the reasons. He even to some extent anticipated the great discovery which after its formulator has been called Grimm’s Law, by pointing out “a certain regularity of consonant shift” in the Teutonic languages.
The monumental work of Ihre and the crowning effort of his life was prepared between the years 1750-1759. This Glossarium suiogothicum, published at the expense of the government, is the best Swedish dictionary of the eighteenth century. Ihre by his severe critical method kills the wild etymologies of the “Rudbeckian philology,” turning to Old Swedish for the derivations, and, where this gave no satisfaction, to the Old Icelandic, “because this language nine hundred years ago was separated from our own and has remained undisturbed by foreign influence.” From the Old Northern dialects he turned to Old High German, Old English and Gothic, the last mentioned of which he considered the mother of the Teutonic languages. Many of Ihre’s etymologies have not been able to withstand the scrutiny of later criticism, but his great etymological dictionary is the product of versatile knowledge and unusual insight, and has not only exerted a profound influence upon his own period but also served as a model for later epochs of philological research.