Liberation of Sweden
Author: Geijer, Eric Gustave
Translation: Turner, J.H.

Liberation of Sweden

1523

Gustavus Vasa, son of Eric Johanson, and hence called Gustavus Ericson,
was descended from the house of Vasa, and before the beginning of his long
reign (1523-1560) as king of Sweden had served his country against the Danes,
who were the controlling power in the union with Sweden and Norway. In a
battle fought at the Brennkirk, July 22, 1518, Gustavus, then twenty-two years
old, bore the Swedish banner. This battle resulted in the defeat of Christian
II of Denmark. Gustavus was given as a hostage to Christian during his
interview with the Swedish administrator, and the Dane treacherously carried
the young patriot off to Denmark. In the following year he escaped in the
disguise of a peasant.

Sweden was conquered by Christian in 1520, and in the same year, having
taken Stockholm, he ordered there the massacre of the nobility, known as the
"Blood-bath." Ninety of the leading men of Sweden, including the father of
Gustavus, were put to death. This outrage provoked an uprising, in which the
province of Dalecarlia bore the leading part, and its people followed Gustavus
in a movement for independence. He soon gathered an army of his adherents,
called "Dalesmen" - men of the dales - strong enough to meet the enemy.

Gustavus Vasa is not only famed as the deliverer of Sweden, but also as
the promoter of popular education in his country, and for the support which he
gave to the Reformation, he himself having early embraced the doctrines of
Luther.

The heroic aspects of this Scandinavian patriot and King have alike
endeared his memory to his own people and made his fame to endure in the world
annals of mankind. His last appearance and address before the estates of his
kingdom, in the closing year of his life, have been finely commemorated in
art, with a commingling of power and pathos, the aged monarch taking leave of
his people and his throne. "He took his place in the hall of assemblage,
accompanied by all his sons. The King having saluted the estates, they
listened for the last time to the accents of that eloquence so well liked by
the people."

The most influential yeomen of all the parishes in the eastern and
western dales elected Gustavus to be "lord and chieftain over them and the
commons of the realm of Sweden." Some scholars who had arrived from Westeras
brought withthem new accounts of the tyranny of Christian. Gustavus placed
them amid a ring of peasants to tell their story and answer the questions of
the crowd. Old men represented it as a comfortable sign for the people, that
as often as Gustavus discoursed to them the north wind always blew, "which was
an old token to them that God would grant them good success." Sixteen active
peasants were appointed to be his bodyguard; and two hundred more youths who
joined him were called his foot-goers. The chronicles reckon his reign from
this small beginning; while the Danes and their abettors in Stockholm long
continued to speak of him and his party as a band of robbers in the woods.

Thus the Dalesmen swore fidelity to Gustavus - the inhabitants, namely,
of the upper parishes on both arms of the Dal-elf, where a numerous people,
living amid wild yet grand natural scenery and hardened by privations, is
still known by that name. Gustavus came to the Kopparberg with several
hundred men in the early part of February, 1521, there took prisoner his enemy
Christopher Olson, the powerful warden of the mines, made himself master of
the money collected for the crown dues, and of the wares of the Danish traders
on the spot, distributed both the money and goods among his men - who made
their first standard from the silk stuffs there taken - and then returned to
the Dales. Not long afterward, on a Sunday, when the people of the Kopparberg
were at church, Gustavus again appeared at the head of fifteen hundred
Dalesmen. He spoke to the people after divine service, and now the miners
likewise swore fidelity to his cause. Thereupon the commonalty of the mining
districts and the Dalesmen wrote to the commons of Helsingland, requesting
that the Helsingers might bear themselves like true Swedish men against the
overbearing violence and tyranny of the Danes. Those cruelties which King
Christian had already exercised on the best in the land, they said, would soon
reach every man's door and fill all the houses of Sweden with the tears and
shrieks of widows and orphans; if they would take up arms and show themselves
to be stout-hearted men, there was now good hope for victory and triumph under
a praiseworthy captain, the lord Gustavus Ericson, whom God had preserved "as
a drop of the knightly blood of Sweden"; wherefore they begged them to give
their help for the sake of the brotherly league by which, since early times,
the commonalty of both countries had been united.

Ten years afterward, the Dalecarlians recall the fact that they had
received a friendly answer to the request which their accredited messengers
had preferred on that occasion, and that their neighbors the Helsingers had
promised to stand by them as one man, "whatever evils might befall them from
the oppression of foreign or native masters." When Gustavus had begun the
siege of Stockholm, every third man of the Helsingers in fact marched thither
to strengthen his army. Yet at first they hesitated to embrace the cause,
although Gustavus himself went among them, and spoke to the assembled people
from the barrow on the royal domain of Norrala. Thence he proceeded to
Gestricland, where fugitives from Stockholm had already prepared men's minds.
The burghers of Gefle, and commissioners from several parishes, swore fidelity
to him in the name of the whole province. Here the rumor reached him that the
Dalecarlians had already suffered a defeat; he hastened back, and soon
received an account of the first victory of his followers.

Letters of the magistracy of Stockholm, which were sent over the whole
kingdom, warned the people to avoid all participation in the revolt. Relief
was supplicated from the King; additions were made to the fortifications of
the capital, sloops and barks were equipped, in order, as it was said, to
deprive "Gustavus Ericson and his company of malefactors of all opportunity of
quitting the country," but really to keep the approaches on the side of the
sea open, which were obstructed by the fishers and peasants of the islets, who
had begun to take arms for Gustavus. Special admonitory letters were
despatched to Helsingland and Dalecarlia, signed by Gustavus Trolle, his
father Eric Trolle, and Canute Bennetson (Sparre) of Engsoe, styling
themselves the council of the realm of Sweden, by which, however, say the
chronicles, the royal cause was rather damaged than strengthened. "For when
the Dalesmen and miners heard the letter, they said it was manifest to them
that the council at this time was but small and thin, since it consisted of
only three men, and these of little weight."

Gustavus Trolle, the Danish bishops, Canute Bennetson, above named, and
Henry of Mellen, the King's lieutenant at Westeras - where they had recently
been assembled with commissioners from the magistracy of Stockholm by Bishop
Otho - now marched with six thousand men of horse and foot toward the Dal
River, and encamped at the ferry of Brunback. On the other side the
Dalecarlians guarded this frontier of their country, under the command of
Peter Swenson of Viderboda, a powerful miner, whom Gustavus had appointed
their captain in his absence. When those in the Danish camp observed how the
Dalesmen shot their arrows across the stream, Bishop Beldenacke is said to
have inquired of the Swedish lords present - to use the words of the
chronicles - "how great a force the tract above the Long Wood (the forest on
the boundary between Westmanland and Dalecarlia) could furnish at the utmost?"
Answer was made to him, full twenty thousand men. Yet further he asked where
so many mouths might obtain sustenance? To this it was replied that the
people were not used to dainty meats; they drunk for the most part nothing but
water, and, if need were, could be satisfied with bark-bread. Then Beldenacke
declared: "Men who eat wood and drink water the devil himself could not
overcome, much less anyone else. Brethren, let us leave this place!" The
story makes the Danes hereupon prepare for breaking up their encampment.
However this may be, it is certain that Peter Swenson, with the Dalesmen,
crossed the Dal secretly, by a circuit, at Utsund's Ferry, surprised the camp,
and put the foe to rout.

Gustavus had himself dealt with the inhabitants of Helsingland and
Gestricland, in order to insure himself against leaving foes in the rear, and,
after his return to the Dales, he prepared for an expedition into the lower
country. He assembled his troops at Hedemora, and sought to inure them to
habits of order and obedience by military exercises. The dale peasant had no
fire-arms and knew little of discipline; his weapons were the axe, the bow,
the pike, and the sling, the latter sometimes throwing pieces of red-hot iron.
Gustavus instructed his men to fashion their arrows in a more effective shape,
and increased the length of the spear by four or five feet, with a view to
repel the attacks of cavalry. He caused monetary tokens to be struck - an
expedient which seems to have been not uncommon in Sweden, since, from a
remote period, even leather money is mentioned. The coins now struck at
Hedemora were of copper, with a small admixture of silver, similar to those
introduced by the King, and called "Christian's klippings;" on one side was
the impress of an armed man; on the other, arrows laid crosswise, with three
crowns.

Gustavus broke from his quarters, and marched across the Long Wood into
Westmanland. His course lay through districts which bore traces yet fresh of
the enemy's passage. The peasantry rose as he advanced. On St. George's Day,
April 23d, he mustered his army at the church of Romfertuna. The number is
stated by the chronicles at from fifteen to twenty thousand men, yet on the
correctness of this little reliance can be placed, even if we did not
absolutely class this account with those which compare the multitude of
Dalesmen in the fight of Brunneback to the sands of the sea-shore and the
leaves of the forest, and their arrows to the hail of the storm-cloud. The
liberation of Sweden by Gustavus Vasa is a history written by the people, and
they counted neither themselves nor their foes. The army was now divided
under two generals, Lawrence Olaveson and Lawrence Ericson, both practised
warriors. Gustavus next issued his declaration of war against Christian, and
marched to Westeras. He expected here to be met by the peasants of the
western mining district from Lindesberg and Nora, who had already taken the
oath of fidelity to him through his deputies; but instead of this he was
informed that Peter Ugla, one of those intrusted with the performance of this
duty, had allowed himself to be surprised at Koping, and cut to pieces with
his whole force. On the other hand, tidings arrived that the peasants on
Wermd Isle had revolted, slain a band of Christian's men in the church itself,
and made themselves masters of two of his ships. The letters conveying the
news, and magnifying the advantages gained, Gustavus caused to be read aloud
to his followers.

Theodore Slagheck, exercising power with barbarous cruelty and outrage,
had himself taken the command of the castle of Westeras. He caused all the
fences of the neighborhood to be broken down, in order to be able to use his
cavalry without impediment against the insurgent peasants, who, on April 29th,
approached the town. Both horsemen and foot, with fieldpieces, marched
against them; and Gustavus, who had interdicted his men from engaging in a
contest with the enemy, intending to defer the attack till the following day,
was still at Balundsas, half a mile from the town, when news reached him that
his young soldiers were already at blows with their adversaries, and he
hastened to their assistance. The Dalecarlians opposed their long pikes to
the onset of the cavalry with such effect that, more than four hundred horses
having perished in the assault, they were driven back on the infantry, who
were posted in their rear, and compelled to flee along with them, while
Lawrence Ericson pushed into the town by a circuitous road and possessed
himself of the enemy's artillery in the market-place. When the garrison of
the castle observed this, they set fire to the houses by shooting their
combustibles, and burned the greatest part of the town. The miners and
peasants dispersed to extinguish the flames or to plunder, bartered with one
another the goods of the traders in the booths, possessed themselves of the
stock of wine in the cathedral and the council-house, seated themselves round
the vats, drank and sang. The Danes, reenforced from the castle, rallied
anew, and the victory would undoubtedly have been changed into an overthrow
had not Gustavus sent Lawrence Olaveson, with the followers he had kept about
him, again into the town, where, after a renewal of the conflict, the foe was
put to an utter rout. Many cast away their arms, and threw themselves,
between fire and sword, into the waters. Gustavus caused all the stores of
spirituous liquors to be destroyed, and beat in the wine casks with his own
hand.

The fight of Westeras, from its influence on public opinion, acquired
greater importance than of itself it would have possessed. Little was gained
by the conquest of the town, so long as the castle held out; and how
unserviceable a force of peasants was for a siege, Gustavus was often
subsequently to experience. Wherever the tidings of his victory came, the
people revolted, and he was already enabled to divide his power, and to invest
the castles of several provinces. Siege was accordingly laid to Stegborg,
Nykoping, and Orebro. A division of the Vermelanders, with the peasants of
Rekarne, in Sudermania, was employed in beleaguering the castle of Westeras;
of whose exploits, however, nothing else is told than that they shot the
councillor Canute Bennetson (Sparre), to whom Slagheck transferred the
command, so that he tumbled in his wolfskin coat from the wall into the
stream. Howbeit, another detachment reduced Horningsholm in Sudermania;
Christian's governors in Vermeland and Dalsland were slain; the people of the
former province, under the command of their justiciary, prepared for an attack
upon the councillor Thure Jonson, the King's lieutenant in West-Gothland, and,
crossing Lake Vener, entered that district.

In Dalsland, fifteen hundred men took up arms; several thousand peasants
from Nerike marched across the Tiwed with the same object. Gustavus had been
obliged to grant a furlough to his Dalesmen about seed-time; and to supply
their place he caused the people of several districts of Upland to be summoned
to assemble in the forest of Rymningen, at (Ceresundsbro; from which point his
two captains essayed an attack upon the Archbishop of Upsala. It was St.
Eric's Day (May 18th), and a great confluence of people was present at the
fair. An assault was expected; for a deputation of four priests and two
burgesses, sent from Upsala to the forest, had received from the leaders the
answer that it must be Swedes, not outlandish men, who should bear the shrine
of holy Eric, and that they would come to take their part in the festival.
Bennet Bjugg (Barley), the Archbishop's bailiff, to show his contempt of such
foes, caused a banquet to be set out in the open space between the larger and
smaller episcopal manor houses of that day, where, before the eyes of the
people, he made himself and his fellows merry till late in the night with
drinking, dancing, and singing. Roused from a late sleep by an assault on the
gates of the fortified house, and finding it beset by the enemy, they
attempted to escape by a concealed passage, which then connected the Bishop's
house with the cathedral. But the peasants set fire to this passage, which
was of wood, and shot fire arrows at the roof of the episcopal residence, in
whichthe flames soon burst forth. The building was laid in ashes, and next
day the females of the household, with some burghers of Upsala, crept out of
its cellars, in which they had taken refuge. Great part of the garrison
perished. The bailiff escaped with a wound from an arrow, of which he died
after rejoining his master at Stockholm.

This prelate, Archbishop Gustavus Trolle, had lately returned from a
journey to Helsingland, undertaken in order to retain this part of his diocese
in its allegiance to the King. Shortly afterward he received, by a messenger
from Gustavus, who had himself come to Upsala at Whitsuntide, a letter
exhorting him to embrace the cause of his country, to which his chapter had
been persuaded to annex a memorial to the same effect. The Archbishop
detained the messenger, saying that he would carry the answer himself. He
broke up immediately with five hundred German horse and three thousand foot of
the garrison of Stockholm, and had come within half a mile of Upsala before
Gustavus received intelligence of his approach. This the latter did not at
first credit, but remained, expecting an answer to his overture of
negotiation, until, about six in the morning, being on horseback upon the
sand-hill near Upsala, the spot where he afterward built a royal castle, he
saw the Archbishop marching across the King's Mead (Kungsang) toward the town.
Gustavus had but two hundred of his so-called foot-goers and a small number of
horse with him, for the peasants had returned to their homes. He made a hasty
retreat, but was overtaken by Trolle's horsemen at the Ford of Laby. Here a
young Finnish noble, who was next to him, in the confusion rode down his horse
in the midst of the stream; and he would have been lost had not the rest of
his followers turned upon the enemy with such effect as to make them desist
from the pursuit.

Gustavus now betook himself to the forest of Rymningen, raised the
peasantry of the adjoining districts, and sent out young men under his best
captains to surprise the Archbishop on his return. The remains of cattle
slaughtered on the road betrayed the ambush to the prelate, who drew off in
another direction. He was nevertheless overtaken and attacked, escaping the
spear of Lawrence Olaveson only by bending downward on his horse, so that the
weapon pierced his neighbor; and he brought back to Stockholm hardly a sixth
part of his army. Gustavus followed close after with his collected force, and
encamped under the Brunkeberg. Four gibbets on this eminence, stocked with
corpses of Swedish inhabitants, attested the character of the government in
the capital.

Thus began, at the midsummer of 1521, the siege of Stockholm, which was
to last full two years, amid difficulties little thought of nowadays, after
the lapse of ages; and the admiration which men so willingly render to the
exertions in the cause of freedom have deprived events of their original
colors. The path of Gustavus was not in general one of glittering feats,
although his life is in itself one grand achievement. What he accomplished
was the effect of strong endurance and great sagacity; and though he wanted
not for intrepidity, it was of a kind before which the mere warrior must vail
his crest. All the remaining movements of the war of liberation consist in
sieges of the various castles and fortresses of the country, undertaken as
opportunity offered, with levies of the peasantry, whose detachments relieved
each other, though sometimes neglecting this duty when pressed by the cares or
necessities of their own families. Hence the object of these investments,
which was to deprive the besieged of provisions, could only be imperfectly
attained, and there were many fortified mansions of which the proprietors
adhered to the Danish party, as that of Wik in Upland, which remained
blockaded throughout the whole year. These difficulties were the most
formidable where, as at Stockholm, access was open by the sea, of which
Severin Norby, with the Danish squadron, was master. The scantiness of the
means of attack may be discovered from the circumstance that sixty German
spearmen, whom Clement Rensel, a burgher of Stockholm, himself a narrator of
these events, brought from Dantzic in July for the service of Gustavus, were
regarded as a reenforcement of the highest importance. "At this time," says
the chronicle, "Lord Gustave enjoyed not much repose or many pleasant days,
when he kept his people in so many campaigns and investments, since he bore
for them all great anxiety, fear, and peril, how he might lend them help in
their need, so that they might not be surprised through heedlessness and
laches. So likewise his pain was not small when he had but little in his
money chest, and it was grievous to give this answer when the folk cried for
stipend. Therefore he stayed not many days in the same place, but travelled
day and night between the camps."

In the month of August he arrived at Stegeborg, which was now besieged by
his general, Arwid the West-Goth, who had recently repulsed with great bravery
Severin Norby's attempt to relieve the castle, and had even begun to take
homage for Gustavus from the people of his province, although in this he
experienced difficulties. The East-Goths declared that they had been so
chastised for their attack on the Bishop's castle at Linkoping the preceding
year that they no longer dared to provoke either King Christian or Bishop Hans
Brask. The personal presence of Gustavus decided the waverers, and even the
Bishop received him as a friend, because he would otherwise have stood in
danger of a hostile visitation. Gustavus now convoked a diet of barons at
Vadstena, which was attended by seventy Swedish gentlemen of noble family and
by many other persons of all classes in Gothland. These made him a tender of
the crown, which he refused to accept. On August 24th, therefore, they swore
fealty and obedience to him as administrator of the kingdom - "in like
manner," add the chronicles, "as had formerly been done in Upland"; whence
they seem to have assumed that he had already been acknowledged as such in
Upper Sweden, here called Upland, as we often find it in the chronicles of the
Middle Age. This was the first public declaration of the nobility in favor of
Gustavus and his cause; although the greatest barons in this division of the
kingdom, such as Nils Boson (Grip), Holger Carlson (Gere), and Thure Jenson
(Roos) in West-Gothland, all three councillors of state, were still in arms
for Christian. That the first-named nobleman joined the party of Gustavus
before the end of the year we know from his letter of thanks for a fief of
which he received the investure. Both the latter were proclaimed in 1523 to
be enemies of the realm, as also was the archbishop Gustavus Trolle. He had
repaired to Denmark two years before, in order to obtain, by his personal
instances with the King, the often-promised relief for the besieged garrison
of Stockholm, but was received with coldness and reproaches.

After the baronial diet of Vadstena, the Gothlanders acknowledged the
authority of the administrator, and, the Danes having been driven out
West-Gothland and Smaland, the seat of the war was removed to Finland. By the
commencement of the next year the principal castles of the interior had fallen
into the hands of Gustavus, and some, as those of Westeras and Orebo, were
razed to the ground by the now exasperated peasantry. Stockholm and Kalmar,
as well as Abo in Finland, yet stood out, and by help of reenforcement which
they received at the beginning of 1522, through the Danish admiral Severin
Norby, the enemy were again able to resume the offensive. By sallies from the
beleaguered capital on April 7th, 8th, and 13th, the camp of Gustavus was set
on fire and destroyed, and for a whole month afterward no Swedish force was
seen before the walls of Stockholm. The besiegers of Abo were likewise driven
off, and the chief adherents of Gustavus, being obliged to flee from Finland,
Arvid, Bishop of Abo, with many noble persons of both sexes, perished at sea.

Christian himself by new cruelties added to the detestation with which he
was regarded in Sweden. The wives and children, of the most distinguished
among the barons beheaded in Stockholm, had been conveyed to Denmark, and
among them the mother and two sisters of Gustavus, whom the King, in spite of
the entreaties of his consort, threw into a dungeon. Here they died, either
by violence, as Gustavus himself complains in a letter of 1522 concerning the
cruel oppression of King Christian, directed to the Pope, the Emperor, and all
Christian princes, or, as others assert, of the plague. An order had also
been recently issued by the King to commanders in Sweden to put to death all
the Swedes of distinction who had fallen into their hands. The chronicles say
that Severin Norby had received this order so early as the summer of 1521,
but, instead of complying with it, permitted the escape of many noblemen, who
afterward did homage to Gustavus at Vadstena, in order, as he expressed it,
that they might rather guard their necks like warriors than be slaughtered
like chickens. But in Abo a new massacre was perpetrated at the beginning of
the next year by Lord Thomas, the royalist commander there, who afterward, in
an attempt to relieve Stockholm, fell, with all his ships, into the hands of
Gustavus, and was hanged upon an oak in Tynnels Island.

After Severin Norby had relieved the capital, the secretary, master
Gotschalk Ericson, wrote thence to Christian that there were but eighty of the
burghers, for the most part Germans, who could be counted on for the King's
service, but of footmen and gunners in the castle there were now eight hundred
fifty men, well furnished with all; the peasants were, indeed, weary of the
war, but were still more fearful of the King's vengeance, and put faith in no
assurances, whence the country could only be reduced to obedience by violent
methods; if a sufficient force were sent, East-Gothland, Sodermanland, and
Upland would submit to the King, and his grace could then punish the
Dalecarlians and Helsingers, who first stirred up these troubles.

The governor of the castle of Stockholm informs the King, in a report on
military occurrences of the winter, "that his men had compelled him to consent
to an increase of pay on account of the successes they had gained; that he had
expelled from the town, or imprisoned, the suspected Swedish burghers; that
the peasants would rather be hanged on their own hearths than longer endure
the burden of war; that Gustavus, who had in vain tempted his fidelity, had
already sent his plate and the chief part of his own movable property to a
priest in Helsingland; he (the governor) also transmitted an inventory of the
goods of the decapitated nobles."

But by the end of one month Gustavus, who in this letter is styled "a
forest thief and robber," had again filled three camps around Stockholm with
Dalesmen and Norrlanders; and when, pursuant to a convention with Lubeck, he
received thence in the month of June an auxiliary force of ten ships, a number
that was afterward augmented, he was enabled to dispense with the greatest
portion of his peasants, and retained about him only those who were young and
unmarried. The assistance of the Lubeckers, it was true, was given only by
halves, and from selfish motives; they did not forget their profit on the
arms, purchased Swedish iron and copper for klippings, with which worthless
coins they came well provided, and exacted a dear price for their men, ships,
and military stores, refusing even, it is said, to supply Gustavus with two
pieces of cannon at a decisive moment, although upon the proffered security of
two of the royal castles.

This occurred on occasion of a second, and this time unsuccessful,
attempt made by Norby to relieve Stockholm; in which he was only saved from
ruin by the refusal of the admiral of Lubeck to attack. Meanwhile Gustavus,
despite the losses which he sustained by sallies, pushed his three camps by
degrees close to the town, then covering little more than the island still
contains, the town properly so called. At length, after Kingsholm, Langholm,
Sodermalm, Waldemar's Island, now the Zoological Gardens, had been connected
by block-houses and chains, the place was invested on all sides. Yet it held
out through the winter, until the news of Christian's fate, joined to the
pangs of hunger, deprived the garrison of all spirit for further resistance.

He did not dare to trust either his subjects or his soldiers, collected
twenty ships, in which he embarked the public records, with the treasure and
crown jewels, his consort and child, and his adviser Sigbert, who was
concealed in his chest. Deserting his kingdom, he sailed away in the face of
the whole population of Copenhagen, April 20, 1523.

Thus ended the reign of Christian II, a king in whom one knows not which
rivets the attention, the multiplied undertakings he commenced and abandoned
in a career so often stained with blood, his audacity, his feebleness, or that
misery of many years by which he was to expiate a short and ill-used tenure of
power. There are men who, like the storm birds before the tempest, appear in
history as foretokens of the approaching outburst of great convulsions. Of
such a nature was Christian, who, tossed hither and thither between all the
various currents of his time without central consistence, awakened alternately
the fear or pity of the beholders.

Frederick I, who was chosen to succeed him in Denmark, wrote to the
estates of Sweden, demanding that in accordance with the stipulations of the
Union of Kalmar he might also be acknowledged king in Sweden. They replied
"that they had elected Gustavus Ericson to be Sweden's king." That event came
to pass at the Diet of Strengess, June 7, 1523. Thus was the union dissolved,
after enduring one hundred twenty-six years. Norway wavered at this critical
moment. The inhabitants of the southern portion declared, when the Swedes
under Thure Jenson (Roos) and Lawrence Siggeson (Sparre) had penetrated into
their country as far as Opslo, that they would unite with Sweden if they might
rely upon its support. Bohusland was subdued, Bleking likewise on another
side, and Gustavus sought, both by negotiation and arms, to enforce the old
claims of Sweden to Scania and Halland. The town of Kalmar was taken on May
27th, and the castle on July 7th. Stockholm having surrendered on June 20th,
on condition of the free departure of the garrison with their property and
arms, and of every other person who adhered to the cause of Christian,
Gustavus made his public entry on Midsummer's Eve; before the end of the year
Finland also was reduced to obedience. The kingdom was freed from foreign
enemies, but internal foes still remained; and Lubeck was an ally whose
demands made it more troublesome than it would have been as an enemy.

A town wasted in the civil war had been the scene of the election of
Gustavus Vasa to the throne. In the capital, when he made his public entry,
one-half of the houses were empty, and of population scarcely a fourth part
remained. To fill-up the gap, he issued an invitation to the burghers in
other towns to settle there, a summons which he was obliged twelve years
afterward to renew, "seeing that Stockholm had not yet revived from the days
of King Christian." The spectacle which here met his eyes was a type of the
condition of the whole kingdom, and never was it said of any sovereign with
more justice that the throne to which he had been elevated was more difficult
to preserve than to win.


 

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