The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Charles XIII.

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Edition of 1879. See also Charles XIII of Sweden on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

CHARLES XIII., born Oct. 7, 1748, died Feb. 5, 1818. He was the second son of Adolphus Frederick and Louisa Ulrica, sister of Frederick the Great of Prussia. Destined from his birth to fill the high office of lord high admiral of Sweden, he received a naval education, and made several cruises in his youth. In 1765 he became president of the society of sciences at Upsal, and in 1770 commenced the tour of Europe. On the death of his father, and the accession of his brother Gustavus III. to the throne of Sweden (1771), he was recalled, and played a very important part in the revolution of 1772, by which the power of the kingdom was vested in the person of the king, with the consent of the estates. This was effected mainly by the establishment of the order of Vasa, and by the organization of clubs and committees among the young officers of the army and navy in the confidence of the king. It was agreed that the brothers of the king should superintend and commence the movement in the country, while the king himself should attend to the management of the affair in the capital. The revolution broke out by the pretended siege of Christianstad, in August, 1772, by Prince Charles, in which no one was injured; and the whole business was so admirably managed that without the spilling of a drop of blood the country was delivered from the tyranny of the nobles, and the king restored to the authority of his ancestors. Shortly after these events Prince Charles was created duke of Södermanland, and appointed governor general of Stockholm. But war soon breaking out against Russia, which persisted in fomenting dissensions in Sweden, he returned to his old profession, assumed the command of the Swedish fleets, and defeated the Russians in a naval engagement in the gulf of Finland; in reward for which he was raised to the governorship. On the murder of Gustavus III. in 1792 he was appointed regent; in which situation, at a highly critical period, he preserved the kingdom for his nephew Gustavus in its constitutional form, kept it externally and internally at peace, and united for the protection of navigation in the northern seas with the Danes. In 1796 he resigned his power to Gustavus, who ascended the throne under the title of Gustavus IV. Adolphus. After his nephew's accession Prince Charles retired into private life, passing his time in literary and scientific pursuits, and appeared no more in public affairs until, Gustavus having become a religious fanatic, a revolution broke out in 1809, by which he was deposed and his uncle placed at the head of affairs, first as administrator of the realm, and afterward (June 6, 1809) as king of Sweden. His reign was cast in stormy times, during the career of Napoleon; but he conducted the affairs of state with such consummate ability and prudence, that while almost every other European kingdom was in some degree a sufferer from the long-protracted warfare, Sweden not only suffered no loss, but received Norway at the restoration of peace as a compensation for the loss of Finland. Charles XIII. had married in 1774 Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte, princess of Holstein-Gottorp; but having no heir, he had adopted Prince Christian of Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg as his successor; and on his dying prematurely, chose Bernadotte to succeed him (1810).