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plicity utter strangers to politics, held tyranny in
the most detestable light. They agreed to follow
him, and Gustavus soon saw himself at the head of
an army. The use of firearms was not then at
all known to these rude men, and but imperfectly to
the Swedes. This always threw the victory on the
side of the Danes ; but Gustavus, having bought
a number of muskets upon his own account, at
Liibeck, soon engaged them upon an equality.

Liibeck not only furnished him with arms, but it
likewise sent him troops, without which Gustavus
could not have succeeded ; so that the fate of Sweden
depended on a simple trading city. Christian was at
that time in Denmark, and the archbishop of Upsala
sustained the whole weight of the war against this
deliverer of his country. At length, by an event
not very common, the party which had justice on its
side prevailed; and Gustavus, after several unsuc-
cessful attempts, beat the tyrant's lieutenants, and
remained master of part of the country.

State of Europe. 289

1521 Christian, grown furious by this disgrace,
committed an action which, even after what we have
already seen of him, appears an almost incredible
piece of wickedness. He for a long time had the
mother and sister of Gustavtis in his power at Copen-
hagen, and now ordered these two princesses to be
both sewed up in a sack, and thrown alive into
the sea.

Though this tyrant was so well skilled in working
his revenge, he did not know how to fight; and
while he could murder two defenceless women, he
did not dare to venture into Sweden to face Gusta-
vus. At length the cruelties he had exercised upon
his subjects, in common with his enemies, rendered
him as detestable to the people of Copenhagen as to
the Swedes.

As the Danes had the power of electing their
kings, so they also had of punishing a tyrant.
The first who renounced his authority were the peo-
ple of Jutland, or the duchy of Schleswig. His
uncle, Frederick, duke of Holstein, took advantage
of this just insurrection of the people, and, right
being supported by force, all the inhabitants of that
part which formerly composed Chersonesus Cim-
brica deputed the chief justice of Jutland to signify
to the tyrant the sentence of deposition.

This intrepid magistrate had the resolution to
carry the sentence to Christian in the midst of Copen-
hagen ; the tyrant, finding all the rest of his king-
dom wavering, himself hated even by his own offi-
Vol. 26 19

290 Ancient and Modern History.

cers, and not daring to trust anyone, received in
his own palace like a criminal the sentence declared
to him by a single man unarmed. The name of this
magistrate deserves to be handed down to posterity :
he was called Mons. " My name," he said, " ought
to be written over the doors of all bad princes."
The kingdom of Denmark acquiesced in the sen-
tence, and there was never an instance of a revolu-
tion so just and sudden, and so quietly effected.
The king deposed himself in 1523 by flying the
kingdom and retiring into the dominions of his
brother-in-law, Charles V., in Flanders, whose
assistance he long implored.

His uncle Frederick was elected at Copenhagen,
king of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden; but of
this last he had only the title ; for the Swedes chose
Gustavus Vasa their king, who had made himself
master of Stockholm about the same time and knew
perfectly well how to defend the kingdom he had
delivered. Christian, who, with Archbishop Trolle,
was now a wanderer, made an attempt some few
years afterward to get possession of some part
of his dominions. He depended upon the assistance
of a malcontent party in the kingdom, which is
always the consequence of a new reign, and which
he now found both in Sweden and Denmark : with
these he entered Norway. Gustavus had introduced
a change in the religion of the Swedes, and Fred-
erick had permitted his Danes to change theirs.
Christian professed himself a good Catholic, but

State of Europe. 291

was not for that either a better prince, or a better
general, or more beloved; so that in the end his
enterprise proved ineffectual.

Abandoned at length by everyone, he suffered him-
self to be carried to Denmark in the year 1532,
where he ended his days in a prison. Archbishop
Trolle, who, prompted by a restless ambition, had
prevailed on the city of Liibeck to take up arms
against the Danes, died of wounds received in
battle, and concluded his life with more glory than
Christian; both of them merited a more tragical

Gustavus, the deliverer of his country, now
enjoyed his honors in peace. He first convinced
foreign nations what weight Sweden might have in
the affairs of Europe, at a time when the politics of
that country put on a new face, and they began to
think of establishing a balance of power.

Francis I. made an alliance with him; and, not-
withstanding that Gustavus was a Lutheran, sent
him the collar of his order, though expressly against
the statutes. Gustavus spent the remainder of his
life in endeavoring to regulate his kingdom. It
required all the prudence he was master of to secure
his administration against the troubles likely to arise
on account of the change he had made in religion.
The Dalecarlians, who had been the first to assist
him in mounting the throne, were the first to raise
commotions. Their savage rusticity rendered them
attached to the ancient customs of their church ; and

292 Ancient and Modern History.

they were Catholics in the same manner as they were
barbarians, by birth and education, as may be con-
ceived from a petition which they presented to him,
wherein they desired the king would not wear any
clothes made after the French fashion; and would
order all those to be burned, who ate meat on a
Friday : this last article was almost the only one in
which the Lutherans were distinguished from the

The king suppressed these first emotions, and
established his religion by judiciously preserving the
bishops, and at the same time diminishing their
revenues and power. He showed a proper regard
for the ancient laws of the kingdom, and caused his
son Eric to be declared his successor, by the estates,
in 1544; and he even procured the crown to remain
in his family, on condition that if his race should
become extinct the estates should again resume their
right of election; and that if only a princess
remained, she should be allowed a certain portion,
without having any pretensions to the crown.

Such was the situation of affairs in the North, in
the time of Charles V. The manners of all these
people were simple, but austere, and their virtues
were fewer, as their ignorance was greater. The
titles of count, marquis, baron, and knight, and most
of the other badges of vain glory had not found
their way at all among the Swedes, and but very
little among the Danes; but then the most useful
inventions were likewise unknown to them. They

State of Europe. 293

had no settled commerce, nor any manufactures.
Gustavus Vasa, by drawing the Swedes from their
state of obscurity, inspired the Danes by his example.


The constitution of this government was exactly
the same as that of Poland. Its kings were elected
by the diets : the palatine of Hungary had the same
authority as the primate of Poland, and was more-
over judge between the king and the nation. Such
was formerly the power or privilege of the palatine
of the empire, the mayor of the palace in France,
and the justiciary of Aragon. We find that in all
monarchies the regal power was in its beginning
counterbalanced by some other.

The nobles had the same privileges as in Poland ;
I mean those of being screened from all punish-
ment, and of disposing of the lives of their peasants
or bondmen. The common people were slaves. The
chief forces of this kingdom consisted in the cavalry,
which was formed of the nobles and their followers.
The infantry was composed of peasants gathered
together, without order or discipline, who took the
field in sowing time, and continued in it till harvest.

We may recollect that this kingdom first embraced
Christianity about the year 1000. Stephen, the chief
of the Hungarians, who was desirous of being made
king, employed on this occasion the force of arms
and religion. Pope Sylvester II. gave him not only
the title of king, but also of apostolic king. Some

294 Ancient and Modern History.

writers say that it was John XVIII. or XIX. who
conferred these two honors on Stephen, in the year
1003 or 1004. Such discussions, however, have
nothing to do with the end of my inquiries. I shall,
therefore, content myself with observing that, on
account of this title having been conferred by a
bull, the popes pretend to exact a tribute from the
Hungarians, and that it is in virtue of the term
" apostolic " that the kings of Hungary claim the
right to bestow all the church benefices in the king-

We may observe that kings, and even whole
nations, have been governed by certain prejudices.
The chief of a warlike people did not dare to assume
the title of king without the pope's permission. This
kingdom, and that of Poland likewise, were gov-
erned on the model of the Germanic Empire; and
yet the kings of Poland and Hungary, though they
made counts, had never dared to create dukes, and
were so far from taking the title of majesty that they
were at that time only styled, " Your excellency."

The emperors even looked upon Hungary as a fief
of the empire, and Conrad the Salic actually received
homage and tribute from King Peter; while the
popes on their side maintained that they had a right
to bestow this crown, because they were the first who
gave the title of king to the chief of the Hungarian

And here it will be necessary to take a short retro-
spect of those times, when the house of France,

State of Europe. 295

which had furnished kings to Portugal, England,
and Naples, also beheld one of its branches seated
on the throne of Hungary.

About the year 1290, this throne being vacant,
the emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg gave the investi-
ture of it to his son, Albert of Austria, as he would
bestow a common fief. Pope Nicholas IV., on his
side, conferred this kingdom as a church benefice on
the grandson of the famous Charles of Anjou,
brother of St. Louis, who was king of Naples and
Sicily. This nephew of St. Louis was called Charles
Martel, and laid claim to the kingdom because his
mother, Mary of Hungary, was sister of the last
deceased king of Hungary. With a free people it is
not being a relative of the king that can confer a title
to the throne ; and the Hungarians accepted neither
the sovereign nominated by the emperor nor him
whom the pope appointed for them ; but fixed upon
Andrew, surnamed the Venetian, a prince who was
also of the blood royal. Upon this there followed
excommunications and wars; but after his death,
and that of his competitor, Charles Martel, the
decree of the Roman tribunal was carried into exe-

Boniface VIII., in 1303, four months before the
affront he received from the king of France, the
grief for which is said to have occasioned his death,
had the honor to see the cause of the house of Anjou
brought before his tribunal. Mary, queen of Naples,
spoke in person before the consistory ; and Boniface

296 Ancient and Modern History.

bestowed Hungary on Prince Charles Robert of
Anjou, son of Charles Martel, and grandson of this

1308 This Charles Robert was in fact king by
the pope's favor, and maintained upon the throne by
his interest and his sword. The kingdom of Hun-
gary became more powerful under him than the
emperors, who looked upon it as one of their fiefs.
He annexed to his kingdom the provinces of Dal-
matia, Croatia, Servia, Transylvania, Wallachia, and
Moldavia, which had been rent from it at different

His son, Louis, brother to that Andrew, king of
Hungary, whom his wife, Joan of Naples, caused
to be strangled, still further increased the Hungarian
power. He went to Naples to avenge his brother's
murder, and assisted Charles Durazzo to dethrone
Queen Joan, but without being in any way instru-
mental in the cruel manner in which Durazzo caused
that unhappy princess to be put to death. After his
return to Hungary he acquired true glory, by doing
justice to his people, enacting wise laws, and abol-
ishing the custom of trial by ordeal, which was
always in the greatest credit when the people were
most civilized.

We have all along observed that there never was
a truly great man who was not a lover of letters.
This prince cultivated geometry and astronomy, and
countenanced the other arts : it is to this philosophic
genius, so rare at that time, that we are to attribute

State of Europe. 297

the abolition of those superstitious trials. A king
who was master of sound reasoning was a prodigy
in those countries. His courage was equal to his
other qualifications: he was beloved by his own
subjects, and admired by strangers. Toward the
latter part of his life, in 1370, the Poles made choice
of him for their king: he reigned happily in Hun-
gary forty years, and in Poland twelve years. His
people gave him the surname of the Great, which
he well deserved ; and yet this prince is hardly
known in Europe, because he did not reign over
men capable of transmitting his fame and virtues to
other nations. How few know that in the fourteenth
century there was a Louis the Great in the Carpa-
thian mountains !

He was so much beloved that the estates, in 1382,
bestowed the crown on his daughter Mary, not then
marriageable, by the title of King Mary, a title which
has in our time been renewed in favor of a daughter
of the last emperor of the house of Austria.

This all serves to show that if in hereditary king-
doms the people sometimes find reason to complain
of a despotic abuse of the supreme power, elective
states are on their part exposed to still more violent
storms, and that even liberty itself, which is so natu-
ral and inestimable a blessing, is sometimes pro-
ductive of great misfortunes.

Young King Mary and her kingdom were both
under the government of her mother, Elizabeth of
Bosnia, who, being disagreeable to the grandees,

298 Ancient and Modern History.

they made use of their right, and placed the crown on
another head, making Charles Durazzo, surnamed
the Little, king ; who was descended in a direct line
from St. Louis's brother, who reigned in the two
Sicilies. Charles arrived at Naples, from Buda, and
was solemnly crowned in 1386, and acknowledged
king by Elizabeth herself.

We now come to one of those strange events with
regard to which the laws are wholly silent, and leave
us in doubt whether it may not be a crime even to
punish vice.

Elizabeth and her daughter Mary, after having
lived in as good correspondence with Durazzo as it
was possible to do with a person who was in pos-
session of their crown, invited him to their apart-
ment, where they caused him to be murdered in their
presence; after which they prevailed on the people
to join them, and young Mary, who was still directed
by her mother, resumed the crown.

Some time afterward Elizabeth and Mary made a
journey into Lower Hungary, and on their way
imprudently passed through the lands of the count
of Hornac, who was ban of Croatia. This ban was
what they call in Hungary a supreme count, who
has the command of armies, and the executing of
justice. This nobleman was particularly attached to
the murdered king ; was it then, or was it not, law-
ful for him to avenge the death of his king? He
soon came to a resolution, and seemed to consult
only justice in the cruelty of his revenge ; he caused

State of Europe. 299

the two queens to be tried, after which he ordered
Elizabeth to be drowned, and kept Mary in prison,
as the less guilty of the two.

At the same time Sigismund, who was afterward
emperor, entered Hungary, and espoused Queen
Mary. The ban of Croatia, who thought himself
sufficiently powerful, had the boldness to carry that
princess himself to Sigismund, after having drowned
her mother, thinking, as we may suppose, that he
had done only an act of severe justice ; but Sigis-
mund ordered his flesh to be torn off with red-hot
pincers, and he died in the most dreadful torments.
His death caused an insurrection of the nobles of
Hungary ; and this whole reign was one continued
succession of troubles and factions.

It is possible to reign over a great number of
states, and yet not be a powerful prince ; this Sigis-
mund was, at one and the same time, emperor, and
king of Bohemia and Hungary : but in Hungary he
was beaten by the Turks, and once confined in prison
by his subjects, who had revolted against him. In
Bohemia he was almost continually at war with the
Hussites ; and in the empire his authority was almost
always counterbalanced by the prerogatives of the
grandees, and the privileges of the great cities.

In 1438 Albert of Austria, son-in-law of Sigis-
mund, was the first prince of the house of Austria
who had reigned in Hungary.

This Albert was, like Sigismund, both emperor
and king of Bohemia, but he did not reign above

300 Ancient and Modern History.

three years; and this short reign was the cause of
intestine divisions, which, together with the irrup-
tion of the Turks, depopulated Hungary, and made
it one of the most miserable countries in the world.

The Hungarians, who always preserved their lib-
erty, would not accept for their king a child which
Albert of Austria left at his death, but chose Ulad-
islaus, or Ladislaus, king of Poland, who, in 1444,
lost the famous battle of Varna, together with his
life, as has been before related.

Frederick III. of Austria, who was emperor in
1440, took the title of King of Hungary, but never
was so in reality. He kept the son of Albert of
Austria, whom I shall call Ladislaus Albert, prisoner
in Vienna, while John Huniades was making head
in Hungary against Mahomet II., who conquered
so many states. This John Huniades was not king,
but he was general and idol of a free and warlike
people, and no king ever possessed a more absolute

After his death the house of Austria had the crown
of Hungary. This Ladislaus Albert was elected
king, and caused one of the sons of this John
Huniades, the avenger of his country, to be put to
death by the hands of the executioner: but, with
a free people, tyranny never goes unpunished : Lad-
islaus was driven from a throne which he had stained
with such illustrious blood, and paid for his cruelty
by perpetual exile.

There still remained a son of the great Huniades :

State of Europe. 301

this was Matthias Corvinus, whom the Hungarians,
with great difficulty, and not without paying a large
sum of money, rescued out of the hands of the house
of Austria. This prince waged war with the
emperor Frederick III. and the Turk, from the
former of whom he took Austria, and drove the latter
out of Upper Hungary.

After his death, which happened in 1490, the
house of Austria was continually endeavoring to add
Hungary to its other dominions. The emperor
Maximilian, even though he had again entered
Vienna, could not obtain this kingdom, which was
bestowed upon another Ladisiaus, a king of
Bohemia, whom I shall call Ladisiaus of Bohemia.

The Hungarians, after the example of the nobles
of Poland, and the electors of the empire, in thus
choosing their own kings, always limited the royal
authority; but it must be acknowledged that the
Hungarian nobles were petty tyrants, who would
not suffer a greater tyrant over them ; their liberty
was no other than a fatal independency, and they
reduced the rest of the nation to such a wretched
state of slavery that the peasants and common peo-
ple, being unable longer to support such continual
oppressions, took up arms against these cruel mas-
ters ; and a civil war, which lasted four years, still
further weakened this unhappy kingdom. At length
the nobles, being better provided with arms and
money than the peasants, gained the mastery; and
this war ended in redoubled miseries to the people

302 Ancient and Modern History.

who to this day continue the actual slaves of the

A country which had been so long a prey to devas-
tation, and where there remained only a slavish and
discontented people, under masters almost always
at variance among themselves, was no longer able of
itself to resist the arms of the Turkish sultans.
Accordingly we find that when young Louis II.,
son of Ladislaus of Bohemia, and father-in-law
of Charles V., attempted to oppose the arms of
Solyman, the whole kingdom of Hungary was not
able to furnish him with an army of more than thirty
thousand fighting men. One Tomori, a Franciscan
friar, who was general of this army, in which there
were five other bishops, promised Louis the victory ;
but this whole army was cut to pieces in the famous
battle of Mohacs, in 1526, and the king himself
slain. After this victory Solyman overran all this
wretched kingdom, and carried two hundred thou-
sand captives away with him.

Nature in vain furnished this country with gold
mines, and the more substantial riches of corn and
wine ; in vain she formed its inhabitants robust, well-
made, and ingenious; nothing now remained to
the view but a vast desert, with ruined cities, and
fields tilled with sword in hand, villages dug under-
ground, in which the inhabitants buried themselves
with their provisions and cattle, and a few fortified
castles, for the sovereignty of which the possessors

State of Europe. 303

were always in arms against the Turks and the Ger-

There were likewise several other fine countries
of Europe that were desolated, and lay uncultivated
and uninhabited ; such as one-half of Dalmatia, the
north of Poland, the banks of the Tanais, and the
fruitful country of the Ukraine, while search was
being made after other lands in a new world, and
as far as the limits of the old.


In this sketch of the political government of the
North, I must not forget Scotland, of which I shall
speak further when I come to treat of the article of

Scotland had rather a greater share in the system
of Europe than the other nations of the North,
because, being at enmity with the English, who were
always endeavoring to subject it, it had for a long
time been in alliance with France, whose kings could
easily prevail upon the Scotch to take arms in their
favor whenever it was necessary ; and we find that
Francis I. sent no more than thirty thousand
crowns which makes about one hundred and thirty
thousand of our present livres to the. party who
were to get war declared against the English in 1543-
In fact, Scotland is so poor, that even at this time,
when it is united with England, it pays only the
fortieth part of the subsidies of the two kingdoms.

A poor state which has a rich one for its neigh-

304 Ancient and Modern History.

bor must at length become venal : but as long as
this country kept itself free, it was formidable. The
English, who under Henry II. conquered Ireland
with so much ease, could never subdue Scotland;
and Edward III., who was a great warrior and a
deep politician, though he conquered it could never
keep it. There always subsisted a jealousy and hatred
between the Scotch and the English, not unlike that
between the Spaniards and the Portuguese. The
house of Stuart had sat on the throne of Scotland
ever since the year 1370: never was there a more
unfortunate family. James I., after having been
prisoner in England eighteen years, was murdered
by his subjects in 1444, and James II. was killed in
the unfortunate expedition to Roxburgh, when he
was only twenty-nine years of age. James III.,
before he was thirty-five was slain by his own
subjects in a pitched battle. James IV., son-in-
law of Henry VII., king of England, fell at the
age of thirty-nine in a battle against the English, in
the year 1513, after a very unfortunate reign; and
James V. died in the flower of his age, in the year
1542, when he was not quite thirty.

We shall see that the daughter of James V. was
still more unfortunate than any of her predecessors,
and added to the number of those queens who have
died by the hands of the executioner. James VI., her
son, became afterward king of Scotland, England,
and Ireland, and through the weakness of his intel-
lect laid the foundations of those revolutions

Germany and the Empire. 305

which afterward brought the head of Charles I. to
the block, and drove James VII. into exile, and still
keeps this unfortunate family outcasts and wan-

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