1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gabel, Kristoffer

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21725801911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 11 — Gabel, Kristoffer

GABEL, KRISTOFFER (1617–1673), Danish statesman, was born at Glückstadt, on the 6th of January 1617. His father, Wulbern, originally a landscape painter and subsequently recorder of Glückstadt, was killed at the siege of that fortress by the Imperialists in 1628. Kristoffer is first heard of in 1639, as overseer and accountant at the court of Duke Frederick. When the duke ascended the Danish throne as Frederick III., Gabel followed him to Copenhagen as his private secretary and man of business. Gabel, who veiled under a mysterious reticence considerable financial ability and uncommon shrewdness, had great influence over the irresolute king. During the brief interval between King Charles X.’s first and second attack upon Denmark, Gabel was employed in several secret missions to Sweden; and he took a part in the intrigues which resulted in the autocratic revolution of 1660 (see Denmark: History). His services on this occasion have certainly been exaggerated; but if not the originator of the revolution, he was certainly the chief intermediary between Frederick III. and the conjoined Estates in the mysterious conspiracy which established absolutism in Denmark. His activity on this occasion won the king’s lifelong gratitude. He was enriched, ennobled, and in 1664 made governor of Copenhagen. From this year must be dated his open and official influence and power, and from 1660 to 1670 he was the most considerable personage at court, and very largely employed in financial and diplomatic affairs. When Frederick III. died, in February 1670, Gabel’s power was at an end. The new ruler, Christian V., hated him, and accusations against him poured in from every quarter. When, on the 18th of April 1670, he was dismissed, nobody sympathized with the man who had grown wealthy at a time when other people found it hard to live. He died on the 13th of October 1673.

See Carl Frederik Bricka, Dansk. Biograf. Lex. art “Gabel” (Copenhagen, 1887, &c.); Danmarks Riges Historie (Copenhagen, 1897–1905), vol. v.