, queen of Sweden, one of the few sovereigns whose history is entirely personal, was the only child of the great Gustavus Adolphus, by Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg. She was born Dec. 18, 1626, and succeeded to the throne of her father when she was only five years of age. During her minority, the long war with the German empire, in consequence of the invasion of Gustavus, as supporter of the protestant league, was carried on by able men, and particularly Oxentiern. Her education was conducted upon a very liberal plan, and she possessed a strong understanding, and was early capable of reading the Greek historians. Thucydides, Polybius, and Tacitus, were her favourite authors; but she as early manifested a distaste for the society and occupations of her sex, and delighted in manly sports and exercises. She affected | likewise an extraordinary love of letters, and even for abstract speculations. When at the age of eighteen she assumed the reins of government, she was courted by several princes of Europe, but rejected their proposals from various motives, of which the true one appears to have been a conceited sense of superiority, and a desire to rule uncontrouled. Among her suitors were the prince of Denmark, the elector Palatine, the elector of Brandenburgh, the kings of Portugal and Spain, the king of the Romans, and Charles Gustavus, duke of Deux Ponts, her first cousin. Him the people, anxious for her marriage, recommended to her; but she rejected the proposal, and to prevent its renewal, she solemnly appointed Gustavus her successor. In 1650, when she was crowned, she became weary and disgusted with public affairs, and seemed to have no ambition but to become the general patroness of learning and learned men. With this view, she invited to her court men of the first reputation in various studies among these were Grotius, Descartes, Bochart, Huet, Vossius, Paschal, Salmasius, Naude, Heinsius, Meibom, Scudery, Menage, Lucas, Holstenius, Lambecius, Bayle, and others, who did not fail to celebrate her in poems, letters, or literary productions of some other kind, the greatest part of which are now forgotten. Her choice of learned men seems to have been directed more by general fame, than by her own judgment, or taste for their several excellencies, and she derived no great credit either as a learned lady, or as a discriminating patroness of literature. She was much under the influence of Bourdelot the physician, who gained his ascendancy by outrageous flattery: and her inattention to the high duties of her station disgusted her subjects. She was a collector of books, manuscripts, medals, and paintings, all which she purchased at such an enormous expence as to injure her treasury, and with so little judgment, that having procured some paintings of Titian at a most extravagant price, she had them clipped to fit the pannels of her gallery.

In 1652 she first proposed to resign in favour of her successor, but the remonstrances of the States delayed this measure until 1654, when she solemnly abdicated the crown, that she might be at perfect liberty to execute a plan of life which vanity and folly seem to have presented to her imagination, as a life of true happiness, the royal cum dignitatc. Some time before this step, Anthony | Macedo, a Jesuit, was chosen by John IV. king of Portugal, to accompany the ambassador he sent into Sweden to queen Christina; and this Jesuit pleased this princess so highly, that she secretly opened to him the design she had of changing her religion. She sent him to Rome with letters to the general of the Jesuits; in which she desired that two of their society might be dispatched to her, Italians by nation, and learned men, who should take another habit that she might confer with them at more ease upon matters of religion. The request was granted; and two Jesuits were immediately sent to her, viz. Francis Malines, divinity professor at Turin, and Paul Casati, professor of mathematics at Rome, who easily effected what Macedo, the first confidant of her design, had begun. Having made her abjuration of the Lutheran religion, at which the Roman catholics triumphed, and the protestants were discontented, both without much reason, she began her capricious travels: from Brussels, or as some say, Inspruck, at which she played the farce of abjuration, she went to Rome, where she intended to fix her abode, and where she actually remained two years, and met with such a reception as suited her vanity. But some disgust came at last, and she determined to visit France, where Louis XIV. received her with respect, but the ladies of the court were shocked at her masculine appearance, and more at her licentious conversation. Here she courted the learned, and appointed Menage her master of ceremonies, but at last excited general horror by an action, for which, in perhaps any other country, she would have been punished by death. This was the murder of an Italian, Moualdeschi, her master of the horse, who had betrayed some secret entrusted to him. He was summoned into a gallery in the palace, letters were then shewn to him, at the sight of which he turned pale, and intreated for mercy, but he was instantly stabbed by two of her own domestics in an apartment adjoining that in which she herself was. The French court was justly offended at this atrocious deed, yet it met with vindicators, among whom was Leibnitz, whose name was disgraced by the cause which he attempted to justify. Christina was sensible that she was now regarded with horror in France, and would gladly have visited England, but she received no encouragement for that purpose from Cromwell: she therefore, in 1658, returned to Rome, and resumed her amusements in the arts and sciences. But Rome had no | permanent charms, and in 1660, on the death of Gustavus, she took a journey to Sweden for the purpose of recovering her crown and dignity. She found, however, her ancient subjects much indisposed against her and her new religion. They refused to confirm her revenues, caused her chapel to be pulled down, banished all her Italian chaplains, and, in short, rejected her claims. She submitted to a second renunciation of the throne, after which she returned to Rome, and pretended to interest herself warmly, first in behalf of the island of Candia, then besieged by the Turks, and afterwards to procure supplies of men and money for the Venetians. Some differences with the pope made her resolve, in 1662, once more to return to Sweden; but the conditions annexed by the senate to her residence there, were now so mortifying, that she proceeded no farther than Hamburgh, and from Hamburgh again to Rome, where she died in 1689, leaving a character in which there is little that is amiable. Vanity, caprice, and irresolution deformed her best actions, and Sweden had reason to rejoice at the abdication of a woman who could play the tyrant with so little feeling when she had given up the power. She left some maxims, and thoughts and reflections on the life of Alexander the Great, which were translated and published in England in 1753; but several letters attributed to her are said to be spurious. 1


Lacomb’s Life of Christina. Univ. History. Whitelocke,'s Journal of the Swedish Embassy, 1775—2, 2 vols. 4to. Coxe’s Travels.