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The ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) online

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Swedes of good capacity as he could find, and
have them educated at his court in the catholic
faith by some of the most zealous bishops, or in the
Polish Jesuits' colleges."

The pope's first object here, as elsewhere, was
to reduce the clergy once more to obedience ; but
the nuncio had another project in view, viz. to insti-
gate the catholics who still remained in Sweden,
to institute legal proceedings against the protest-
ants ; for the king would then occupy the position
of judge over both parties, and every arbitrary
change would assume the appearance of a legal de-
cision*. He was only sorry that Sigismund had

lia permesso che ia due anni sia stato proveduto dal re raorto,
haverä S. M'^ particulare pensiere a pigliarc un arclvescovo cat-

* Ragguaglio dell' andata del Re di Polouia in Suetia. (MS.
Rom.) " Erano tuttavia nel regno alcune reliquie de' cattolici : et
VOL. II. 2 C


not brought with him a stronger armed force to
give effect to his edicts.

There is however no proof that the king had
fully adopted the views of the Roman court ; judg-
ing from his own declarations, it would appear that
his intentions at first were only to procure for the
catholics some few immunities, and that he did not
contemplate the overthrow of the protestant consti-
tution. But would it be in his powder to restrain
the fanatical impulses which actuated his court,
and the representatives of which were in his train ?
Was it to be believed that he could stop at that
precise point, when he should have reached it ?

The protestants were not disposed to abide the
trial. The views which were cherished by the one
party called forth from the other an instant and
almost unconscious opposition.

Immediately after the death of John, the Swedish
councillors of state, — names illustrious both in the
earlier and later history of Sweden : Gyllenstiern,
Bielke, Baner, Sparre, Oxenstiern, — united them-
selves to the brother of the late and uncle of the
present king, another of the sons of Gustavus Vasa,
the zealously protestant duke Charles ; " agreed to
recognise him, in the absence of his nephew, as
governor of the kingdom, and promised him obe-
dience in all things that he should do for the
maintenance of the Augsburg confession in S we-
il nuntio seguendo la forma giä tenuta da CI. Madruzzo, per for-
tificar r autorita dell' imperatore, cercava di costituire il re giu-
dice tra li cattolici e gli heretic! di Suetia, inducendo quelli a
querelarsi appresso il re dell' insolenza e delle ingiurie di questi."

CH. I. § II.] SWEDEN. 387

den." In furtherance of this object a council was
held at Upsal in March 1593. The Augsburg
confession of faith was here proclaimed afresh,
the liturgy of king John condemned, and every-
thing in the existing ritual which retained a trace
of catholic ceremonies, altered ; the rite of exor-
cism was retained, but in a milder form, and for
the sake of its moral significance* ; and a declara-
tion was drawn up, that no heresy, whether popish
or calvinistic, would be tolerated in the country f.
In the same spirit appointments were made to public
offices. Many former defenders of the liturgy now
renounced it; but this abjuration did not in all cases
avail to protect those who made it from dismissal.
The vacant dioceses, upon the filling up of which
such magnificent schemes had been founded in
Rome, were bestowed upon lutherans ; the arch-
bishopric of Upsal upon M. Abraham Angermaii-
nus, the most vehement opponent of the liturgy. The
clergy, by an immense majority, placed at their
head the most strenuous lutheran they could find;

* For we are not to believe with Messenius, that it was done
away with. The words " Faar här uth" were merely changed
for the words "Wick här ifra;" and the reply made to duke
Charles, who required that the forms of exorcism should be en-
tirely abolished, was, " retinendum esse exorcismum tanquam
liberam cerimoniam propter utilem commonefactionem ad audi-
torium et baptismi spectatores permanantem ;" a view of the
case to which the duke assented. Baaz, Inventarium, iv. x.
525. In Baaz maybe found the documents, in general tolerably

t " Concilium definit," it further says, " ne hsereticis adveni-
entibus detur locus publice conveniendi."

2 c 2


he had two hundred and forty-three, and his next
competitor only thirty-eight votes.

Up to the latter years of king John's reign a
moderate party, not so directly opposed to papacy
as the protestants in other countries, had existed,
and hy their aid Sigismund might easily have
brought about a change such as the catholics wish-
ed ; but now the extreme party had been before-
hand with them, and protestantism had established
itself more firmly than ever.

Even the royal prerogatives of Sigismund were
not spared. He was no longer considered as the
true and legitimate king, but rather as a foreigner
possessing a claim to the throne ; an apostate, who
must be jealously watched as dangerous to religion.
The great majority of the nation, unanimous in
their protestant convictions, joined duke Charles.

The king was well aware of his isolated position
on his arrival. He could do nothing, and only en-
deavoured to evade the demands made upon him.

But while he awaited in silence what time would
produce, the hostile creeds, which had never yet
stood in such direct opposition in Sweden, came
into open collision. The lutheran preachers broke
out into invectives against the papists, and the Je-
suits who preached in the court chapel were not
slow in answering them. The catholics in the king's
suite took possession of a lutheran church on occa-
sion of a burial, after which the protestants held
it necessary for some time to abstain from using
their desecrated sanctuary. These hostile demon-

CH. I. § II.] SWEDEN. 389

strations soon led to acts of violence ; the lieiduks
had recourse to force to obtain possession of a piil-
l^it which was shut, and the nuncio was accused
of having ordered stones to be thrown from the
windows of his house upon some young protestant
choristers ; in short, the mutual exasperation in-
creased every moment.

At length the court proceeded to Upsal to cele-
brate the coronation. The Swedes demanded above all
things the confirmation of the decrees of their coun-
cil. The king resisted, declaring that he desired only
toleration for the catholics; indeed he would have
been contented, had he been permitted to entertain a
hope of having power to grant this at some future
time. But the Swedish protestants were inflexible.
It is said, that the king's own sister* told them,
that it was his nature to make a long and obstinate
resistance, but at length to yield ; and that she im-
pressed on them the necessity of reiterating their
attacks upon him. They demanded absolutely that
in all parts of the kingdom the doctrines of the
Augsburg confession should be taught purely and
exclusively in the churches and schoolsf . At their
head stood duke Charles. The position which he
occupied gave him an independence and a power
such as he could never have hoped to attain ; and,
by inevitable consequence, his personal intercourse

* The Ragguaglio calls her " ostinatissima eretica."
t Messenius, vii. 19 : " Absolute urgebant ut confessio Augus-
tana qualis sub ultimo Gustavi regimine et primi Johannis in
patria viguisset, talis in posterum unica sola et ubique tain in
ecclesiis quam in scholis perpetuo floreret."


with the king daily became more disagreeable and
bitter. The king was, as we have seen, almost
without an armed force, while the duke assembled
several thousand men on his own domains around
the town. At last the Estates plainly declared to
the king, that they would not do homage to him if
he refused to comply with their demands*.

The unfortunate prince felt all the painful em-
barrassment of his situation. He could not yield
without violence to his conscience ; he could not
refuse without the loss of a throne.

In this perplexity he first asked the nuncio
whether he might not give way ; but no arguments
could induce Malaspina to sanction such a course.

The king next addressed himself to the Jesuits in
his suite ; they took upon themselves a responsi-
bility which the nuncio had not dared to accept.
They declared that, in consideration of the neces-
sity of the case, and of the undeniable and immi-
nent danger in which the king was placed, he
might comply with the demands of the heretics,
without offending God. The king was not satisfied
until he held in his hands their decision in writing.
Under the shelter of this authority he proceeded to
grant the demands of his subjects ; he confirmed the
decrees of Upsal, the exclusive exercise of religion
as prescribed by the genuine unaltered Augsburg
confession, without the smallest admixture of foreign

* Supplicatio ordinum : " Quodsi cl. rex denegaverit subditis
regiam approbationem horum postulatomm, inhibent nostri fra-
tres domi remanentes i)ublicum homagium esse S. R. M. prae-

CH. I. $ II.J SWEDEN. 391

doctrine, in church or school ; and promised that
none should be employed in the public service who
were not prepared to defend that confession*. He
recognised the appointments of the prelates w^ho
had been nominated to their sees in opposition to
his will.

But could his catholic heart find peace in such a
state of things ? Could his romanist court con-
tent itself with a result which it must so thoroughly
condemn ? It would have been most unreasonable
to expect it.

They had recourse to the expedient so often em-
ployed in similar cases; they protested. " The
nuncio," says the report of the transaction sent to
Rome, in the words of which I can best relate
this occurrence, " was most zealously employed
in devising some mode of escape from the irregu-
larity which had taken place. He succeeded in
inducing the king, for the safety of his conscience,
to make a written protest, in which he declared that
what he had conceded had been wrung from him
by force and against his will. The nuncio further
prevailed on the king to make corresponding con-
cessions to the catholics, that so he might be
pledged to both parties in Sweden as well as in Po-
land, in like manner as the emperor of Germany.
With this the king was satisfied f."

* The words however run so, that they leave open a chance
of evasion. " Ad officia publica nuUi promovebuntur in patria
qui religionem evangelicam nolunt salvam, quin potius qui earn
serio defendere volunt publicis officiis praeficiantur." (Generalis
confirmatio postulatorum regis Sigismundi, in Baaz, p. 537.)

t Relatione dello stato spirituale e politico del Regno di Suezia


This is a most curious device ; one protest was
not enougli ; so in order in some degree to get
rid of an obligation formally incurred by oath to
the one party, the king took an oath of directly con-
trary tendency to the other. Thus, being equally
pledged to both parties, he would be compelled to
bestow equal justice.

The Swedes were astonished that the king, after
such solemn promises, should yet grant the catho-
lics a protection which he took little trouble to con-
ceal. His conduct doubtless arose from this secret
pledge. " Even before his departure," continues
our informant Avith complacency, " the king con-
ferred offices and dignities upon true catholics.
He made four governors, though heretics, swear
to protect the catholics and their religion, and re-

1598. " Mando alcvmi senatorl Polacchi a darle parte dello stato
delle cose in le sue circostanze e conseguenze, e detti patri di-
chiararono che presupposto la necessita e pericolo nel quale era
costituita la M*^ S. la potesse senza offender Dio concedere alii
heretici cio che ricercavano, e la M''^ S. per sua giustificazione

ne voile uno scritto da detti patri Hora fatta la coronatione e

concessione pose ogni studio il nunzio jjer applicare qualche rime-
dio al disordine seguito, onde opero per sicurezza della coscienza
di S. M^ ch' ella facesse una protesta in scritto, come ella non
con la volonta sua ma per pura forza si era indotto a concedere
cio che haveva concesso ; e persuase al s™° re che concedesse da
parte agli cattolici altrettanto quanto haveva conceduto alii here-
tici, di modo che a guisa dell' imiseratore e del re di Polonia
restasse la M^ S. giurata utrique parti. S. M si contento di
farlo, et immediatamente mise in esecuzione le dette concessioni :
perch^ avanti la sua partenza diede ufficij e dignita a cattolici, e
lascio in quattro luoghi 1' esercitio della religione e fece giurare a
quattro governatori, se ben erano heretici, quali lascio nel regno,
che haverebbero protetto la religione e li cattolici."

CH. I, § II,] SWEDEN. 393

established in four places the exercise of the catholic

These were measures which might appease the
unquiet conscience of a bigoted prince, but which
could have no other than a mischievous influence
upon the affairs of the country ; for the constant
irritation in which they kept the Estates of Sweden,
strengthened and exasperated their hostility to the

The clergy reformed their schools in the strictest
lutheran spirit, and directed a special thanksgiving
for the maintenance of the true religion " against
the devices and stratagems of the Jesuits;" in the
year 1595 a resolution was passed at the diet of
Südercöping, that all exercise of the catholic rites,
wheresoever the king might have established them,
was again to be prohibited. " We unanimously re-
solve," is the expression of the estates, "that all
sectaries hostile to the lutheran religion, who have
established themselves in this country, shall quit
the kingdom within six weeks*;" and these reso-
lutions were carried into effect with the utmost
rigour. The convent of Wadstena, which had
existed for two hundred and eleven years, and had
remained uninjured through so many convulsions,
was now dissolved and destroyed.

Angermannus held an ecclesiastical visitation
which had never been equalled for searching rigour;
those who neglected the lutheran churches were
punished with stripes, the archbishop having with

* Acta ecclesiae in conventu Sudercop. in Baaz, 567.


him several robust young students, who carried the
punishment into execution under his own eyes.
The altars of the saints were destroyed, their reUcs
scattered, and ceremonies which in the year 1593
had been declared matters of indifference, were now
in 1597 abolished.

The relation subsisting between Sigismund and
Charles gave a personal character to this conflict.
All that was done, was in opposition to the well-
known will and command of the king ; in all, the
influence of duke Charles was felt to be predomi-
nant. It was contrary to the express command of
Sigismund that the duke held the assembly of the
diet ; he endeavoured to prevent any interference
of the king in the affairs of the country ; and caused
a resolution to be passed, in virtue of which the
rescripts of the king were not valid till they w^ere
confirmed by the Swedish government*.

Charles was already in substance sovereign and
ruler of the kingdom ; and the thought soon sug-
gested itself to become so in title also. A dream
which he had in 1595, is one of the indications of
what was passing in his mind. He thought he was
at a feast in Finland, and a covered double dish was
placed before him ; on removing the cover, he saw
in the one part the insignia of the crown ; in the
other, a death's head. Similar thoughts seem
to have been afloat in the nation ; there was a story

* Ausa illustrissimi principis dominl Caroli Sudermannise ducis
adversus serenissimum et potentissimum dominum Sigismundum
III. regem Sueciee et Polonice suscepta, scripta et publicata ex
mandato S. R. Majestatis proprio. Dant. 1598.

CH. I. ^ II.] SWEDEN. 395

current in the country, that in Linköping a crowned
eagle had been seen contending with an uncrowned
one, and that the latter had been victorious.

But when things had reached this pass, — when
the ascendency of protestant opinions had been
maintained by such harsh and violent means, and
so successfully as to give their champion a sort of
claim to the highest power in the state, a party
arose in favour of the king. Some few nobles who
had appealed to his authority against the duke
were banished, but their adherents remained ; the
common people were discontented at the abolition
of all ceremonies, and attributed to that cause what-
ever disasters happened in the country ; in Finland,
Flemming the governor openly held the field in the
king's name.

This was a state of affairs which rendered it a
matter of necessity as well as of expediency to king
Sigismund, to make an appeal to arms. It was
probably the latest moment at which it would be
possible for him to re-establish his power. In the
summer of 1598, he set out for the second time to
take possession of his hereditary dominions.

He was now more strictly catholic, if possible,
than before. In the simplicity of his bigotry, he
believed that the various misfortunes which had
befallen him since his first journey (among others
the death of his wife), had been sent him as punish-
ments for the concessions he had then made to the
heretics, and he disclosed these painful thoughts
to the nuncio with deep contrition of heart ; de-
claring that he would rather die than again sane-


tion anything which would stain the purity of his

But the cause espoused by Sigismund was in
some sense an European one. CathoUcism had
made such progress that an enterprise in its favour,
even in so remote a corner of Europe, was princi-
pally regarded as a branch of a general combination.

During their war with England, the Spaniards
had already cast their eyes occasionally towards the
Swedish coasts ; they perceived that the posses-
sion of a Swedish port would be of the greatest ad-
vantage to them, and had entered into negotiations
with a view to obtain one. It was now regarded
as certain that Sigismund, the moment he should
be master in his own country, would give up to
them Elfsborg in West Gothland. Here it would
be easy to build a fleet, to keep it ready for service,
and to man it with Poles and Swedes : from hence
they could wage war on England with far greater
advantage than from the shores of Spain, and soon
force her to desist from her aggressions on their In-
dian dominions. On the other hand, an alliance
with the catholic monarch could not prove other-
wise than advantageous to theauthority of theking
in Sweden^.

But the catholics looked further. They thought
that they might thus acquire power in Finland

* Relatione dello stato spirituale e politico. The proposal is,
" Che a spese del cattolico si mantenga un jiresidio nella fcrtezza
che guardi il porto, sopra lo quale niuna superiorita habbia
il cattolico, ma consegni lo stipendio per esso presidio al re di

CH. I. § II.] SWEDEN. 397

and on the shores of the Baltic. From Finland
they hoped to be able to make a successful attack
upon Russia, and when once in possession of
the Baltic, to bring the duchy of Prussia into sub-
jection. As yet, the electoral house of Branden-
burg had failed in its endeavours to procure the
investiture of this fief; the nuncio asserted that the
king had determined not to grant it, but on the
contrary to attach the duchy to the crown ; he en-
deavoured by every argument to confirm him in
this intention ; chiefly of course from religious con-
siderations, for it w^as certain that the house of
Brandenburg would never consent to the restoration
of Catholicism in Prussia*.

When we consider on the one hand, the extent
of the schemes which were built on the king's suc-
cess (a result by no means improbable), and on the
other, the weight which Sweden would acquire in
the scale of nations if the protestants were victo-
rious, we must admit that the issue of this struggle
was one of those events which decided the destinies
of Europe.

Zamoysky had advised the king to enter Sweden
at the head of a strong army, and to conquer it by
force of arms. King Sigismund thought that this
was not necessary ; he could not bring himself to
believe that he should be forcibly resisted in his

* Relatione di Polonia, 1598 : " Atteso clie se rimarrä il ducato
nelli Brandeburgesi non si puo aspettare d' introdurre la religione
cattolica, si mostra S. M'^ risoluto di voler ricuperare il detto
ducato." King Stephen ought already to have done this. " Ma
ritrovandosi con penuria di danari mentre era occupato nelle
guerre, ne fu sovvenuto delli Brandeburgesi."


own hereditary dominions. He had about 5000
men with him, and having landed with them at
Calmar without opposition, moved on upon Stock-
holm, where another division of his troops had
already arrived and been admitted into the city.
Meanwhile a body of Finlanders advanced upon

Nor had duke Charles been idle. If the king
succeeded, it was evident that his power and the
ascendency of protestantism were at an end.
Whilst his peasants of Upland held the Fins in
check, he posted himself at the head of a regular
military force in the way of the king, who was march-
ing upon Stegeborg. He demanded that the royal
army should be withdrawn, and the matters in dis-
pute referred to the decision of the diet; on these
conditions he promised to disband his own troops.

The king would not consent to them, and the
hostile armies advanced against each other.

Their number w^as inconsiderable, a few thou-
sand men on either side ; but the result of the con-
flict was not less momentous, the consequences not
less lasting, than if vast armies had been sacrificed
to obtain them.

Everything depended upon the personal character
of the princes. Charles was his own counsellor ;
— daring, determined, — a man in the fullest sense of
the word, and what was more important, in actual
possession : Sigismund, dependent upon others ;
yielding, good-natured, no soldier; and now under
the unfortunate necessity of conquering a country
which belonged to him, the legitimate king indeed,

CH. I. § II.] SWEDEN. 399

but compelled to do battle for his kingdom with
the actual ruler.

Twice the troops were engaged near Stangebro,
the first time more through accident than design ;
on this occasion the king had the advantage, and
is said to have put a stop to the massacre of the
Swedes. But the second time, when, in conse-
quence of the rising of the Dalcarlians in his favour
and the arrival of his fleet, the duke was victorious,
no one checked the slaughter of the Poles ; Sigis-
mund suffered a total defeat, and was forced to
accede to all that was required of him*.

He even consented to give up the few faithful
subjects he had found, to be tried by a Swedish
tribunal ; and, in his own cause, he promised to
abide by the decision of the diet.

But this was only a mode of escaping from the
embarrassment of the moment ; instead of attend-
ing the diet, where he must have acted the melan-
choly part of the conquered, he sailed for Dantzig
with the first favourable wind.

He flattered himself indeed with the hope of be-
coming at some future time, — some more favoura-
ble moment, — lord of his hereditary dominions ; but
in fact he abandoned them, by his departure, to the
overwhelming influence of his uncle, who did not
scruple shortly afterwards to assume the title of
king, and instead of awaiting the war in Sweden,

* Piacesii Chronicon gestorum in Europa singularium, p. 159.
Extracts from the letters of the princes in Geljer ; Schwedische
Geschichte, ii. p. 305.

400 DESIGNS ON [book VII.

transferred it to the frontiers of Poland, where it
was carried on with various success.


In a short time, however, it appeared as if this
failure was to be atoned for by success in another

It is well known how many times the popes had
entertained the hope of gaining over Russia ; Adrian
VI. and Clement VII. had successively attempted
it ; the Jesuit Possevin had next tried his influence
with Iwan Wasiljowitsch ; and in the year 1594
Clement VIII. sent a certain Comuleo to Moscow,
with more than usual confidence of success, in con-
sequence of his acquaintance with the language :
but all these endeavours were vain; Boris Godunow
declared, " that Moscow was now the true and or-

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