The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Fersen, Hans Axel, Count von

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The Encyclopedia Americana
Fersen, Hans Axel, Count von
Edition of 1920. See also Axel von Fersen the Younger on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

FERSEN, Hans Axel, Count von, Swedish military officer and diplomat: b. Stockholm, Sweden, 4 Sept. 1755; d. there, 20 June 1810. He came to America in 1780 on the staff of Rochambeau; fought under Lafayette and received from Washington the Order of the Society of the Cincinnati. Later he returned to Paris where he had already been stationed in 1778-80; he became a favorite at court, and was the disguised coachman at the flight of the royal family from Versailles during the Revolution. He was deeply devoted to Queen Marie Antoinette and made a number of unsuccessful attempts to save her. His relations with her have been the subject of a number of books. He returned to Sweden, where he was received with honor, and in 1801 was made grand marshal of that country. He was entrusted with a number of important diplomatic missions. On suspicion of complicity in the death of Prince Christian of Sweden he was seized by a mob while marshaling the funeral procession, and beaten to death. After his brutal assassination his entire innocence was clearly established. Consult Carnegy, M., ‘A Queen's Knight; the Life of Count Axel de Fersen’ (London 1912); Fersen, Comte J. A. de, ‘The French Army in the Revolutionary War’ (in Magazine of American History, Vol. XXV, pp. 55 and 156, New York 1891); Gaulot, P., ‘Un Ami de la Reine’ (Paris 1894; translated into English as ‘A Friend of the Queen’ by C. Hoey, 2 vols., London 1894); Granath, W., ‘Fersenska Mordet. Historisk Roman’ (Stockholm 1904); Hansson, O, ‘L'Assassinat de Fersen’ (in Revue d'Histoire Diplomatique, Vol. XXV, p. 195, Paris 1911); Heidenstam, O. G. de, ‘Marie-Antoinette, Fersen et Barnave; leur Correspondance’ (Paris 1913); Klinckowström, R. M. de, ed., ‘Le Comte de Fersen et la Cour de France’ (2 vols., Paris 1878); O'Connor, T. P. ‘Some Old Love Stories’ (London 1895).