The New International Encyclopædia/Gustavus IV. Adolphus
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Gustavus IV. Adolphus
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GUSTAVUS IV. ADOLPHUS (1778-1837). King of Sweden from 1792 to 1809. He was the son of Gustavus III. and was born November 1, 1778. He succeeded his father on the latter's death, March 29, 1792. By his father's will he was to be vested with the actual sovereignty at the age of eighteen. His uncle, the Duke of Sudermania, acted as regent during his minority. Gustavus had all the belief in absolutism and the wrongheadedness which wrought his father's downfall, without the latter's ability. Gustavus rashly entered the coalition against Napoleon, and hatred of the Corsican became the guiding influence of his life. The result of his policy was the occupation of Swedish Pomerania by French troops under Marshal Brune, who took Stralsund and Rügen from the Swedes in 1807, and thus deprived them of the last of their German possessions. The King opened all his ports to English vessels, and thereby involved himself in a war with Russia, which was then the ally of France. The scene of these hostilities was Finland, which was invaded and conquered by Russia in 1808, the Swedes being assisted by an English auxiliary force of 10,000 men, who, however, speedily returned to England when they found that Gustavus intended to send them to Finland. This unfortunate war with Russia, which had been excited entirely through the folly of the King, gave rise to so much discontent in Sweden that a conspiracy was set on foot by several officers and nobles, the object of which was to dethrone the unpopular monarch. He was seized in the palace at Stockholm, March 13, 1809, and made a prisoner, and the powers of government were assumed by the Duke of Sudermania. On May 10th the King was formally deposed by the Diet, and the Duke of Sudermania was chosen King of Sweden as Charles XIII. After wandering for a time from place to place, Gustavus finally settled at Saint Gall, Switzerland, where he died, February 7, 1837, in poverty, having refused to accept a pension from Sweden. Consult: Mémorial du colonel Gustafsson (pseudonym) (Leipzig, 1829); Kleinschmidt, Die Irrfahrten Gustavus IV. Adolf von Schweden (Leipzig, 1888).