1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Moltke, Adam Wilhelm, Count
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Moltke, Adam Wilhelm, Count
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MOLTKE, ADAM WILHELM, Count (1785-1864), Danish statesman, son of the minister Joachim Godske Moltke (1746-1818), and grandson of Adam Gottlob Moltke, was born at Einsiedelsborg in Funen, on the 25th of August 1785. Under the influence of the agricultural reformer Christian Colbjörnsen he abandoned the legal career he had adopted and entered the administrative service of the state, to which he devoted the remainder of his life. In 1831 he succeeded Johan Sigismund Mösting (1780-1843), as minister of finance. On the death of Christian VIII. he was one of the most prominent members of the Council of State, and when the constitutional crisis came in 1848 he seemed marked out as the man who could bridge over the gap between the old era and the new. The services which Count Moltke rendered to Denmark cannot be too highly appreciated. The mere fact that a distinguished statesman who had served the last two absolute kings of Denmark now voluntarily placed himself at the head of a ministry which included the most advanced of the popular agitators, gave the new government the hall-mark of stability and trustworthiness, whilst the fact that he still retained the ministry of finance was of itself a guarantee of security during the earlier years of a troublesome and costly war. It was this, his first administration, which introduced the constitution of the 5th of June 1849, and he also presided over the third constitutional ministry which was formed in July 1851; but he resigned on the 27th of January 1852, because he could not approve of the decree which aimed at transforming Denmark into a composite, indivisible, monarchy. Moltke continued to take part in public life as a member of the Landsting, or Upper House, but henceforth kept in the background. On the 2nd of October 1855 he was elected a member of the consultative Rigsraad, a position he continued to hold till 1863. He died on the 15th of February 1864.
See Swalin, Det danske Staatsraad (Stockholm, 1881); Madvig, Livserindringer (Copenhagen, 1887).
- (R. N. B.)