1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gyllenstjerna, Johan, Count

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7066371911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 12 — Gyllenstjerna, Johan, CountRobert Nisbet Bain

GYLLENSTJERNA, JOHAN, Count (1635–1680), Swedish statesman, completed his studies at Upsala and then visited most of the European states and laid the foundations of that deep insight into international politics which afterwards distinguished him. On his return home he met King Charles X. in the Danish islands and was in close attendance upon him till the monarch’s death in 1660. He began his political career at the diet which assembled in the autumn of the same year. An aristocrat by birth and inclination, he was nevertheless a true patriot and demanded the greatest sacrifices from his own order in the national interests. He was therefore one of those who laboured most zealously for the recovery of the crown lands. In the Upper House he was the spokesman of the gentry against the magnates, whose inordinate privileges he would have curtailed or abolished. His adversaries vainly endeavoured to gain him by favour, for as court-marshal and senator he was still more hostile to the dominant patricians who followed the adventurous policy of Magnus de la Gardie. Thus he opposed the French alliance which de la Gardie carried through in 1672, and consistently advocated economy in domestic and neutrality in foreign affairs. On the outbreak of the war in 1675 he was the most loyal and energetic supporter of the young Charles XI., and finally his indispensable counsellor. Indeed, it may be said, that the political principles which he instilled into the youthful monarch were faithfully followed by Charles during the whole of his reign. In 1679 Gyllenstjerna was appointed the Swedish plenipotentiary at the peace congress of Lund. The alliance which he then concluded with Denmark bound the two northern realms together in a common foreign policy, and he sought besides to facilitate their harmonious co-operation by every means in his power. In 1680, after bringing home Charles XI.’s Danish bride from Copenhagen, he was appointed governor-general of Scania (Skåne), but expired a few weeks later.

See M. Höjer, Öfversigt af Sveriges yttre politik under åren 1676–1680 (Upsala, 1875).  (R. N. B.)