Gustavus, Adolphus

, king of Sweden, commonly called the Great, a title which, if great valour united with great wisdom, great magnanimity with regard to himself, and great consideration of the wants and infirmities of others, have any claim, he seems well to have deserved. He was born at Stockholm in 1594. His name Gustavus he inherited from his grandfather Gustavus Vasa, and he was called Adolphus from his grandmother Adolpha. His education was calculated to form a hero, and seems, in all respects, to have resembled that bestowed on Henry the Fourth of France. He had a great genius, a prodigious memory, and a docility and desire of learning almost beyond example. He ascended the throne of Sweden in 1611, being then no more than fifteen; but the choice he made of ministers and counsellors proved him fully adequate to govern. His valour in the field was tried first against Denmark, Muscovy, and Poland. He made an honourable peace with the two first, and compelled the last to evacuate Livonia. He then formed an alliance with the protestants of Germany against the emperor, and what is commonly called the league. In two years and a half he overran all the countries from the Vistula as far as the Danube and the Rhine. Every thing submitted to his power, and all the towns opened to him their gates. In 1631 he conquered Tilly, the imperial general, before Leipsic; and a second time at the passage of the Lech. In the following year, he fought the famous battle in the plains of Lutzen, where he unfortunately fell at the immature age of thirty-eight, Nov. 16, 1632. Besides his other noble qualities he loved and cultivated the sciences. He enriched the university of Upsal; he founded a royal academy at Abo, and an university at Dorp in Livonia. Before his time there were no regular troops in Sweden; but he formed and executed the project of having 80,000 men constantly well armed, disciplined, and cloathed. This he accomplished without difficulty, on account of the love and confidence which his subjects without reserve reposed in their king. Some historians have delighted to draw a | parallel between Gustavus and the great Scipio, and it is certain that they had many traits of character in common. Scipio attacked the Carthaginians in their own dominions; and Gustavus undertook to curb the pride of Austria by carrying the war into the heart of her country. Here indeed the advantage is with Gustavus; for, the Carthaginian power was already debilitated; but the emperor’s had before never received any check. He died literally, as it is said of him, with the sword in his hand, the word of command on his tongue, and victory in his imagination. His life has been well written by our countryman Harte; and he appears in all respects to have deserved the high and numerous encomiums which writers of all countries have heaped upon his memory. Some have suspected this exalted character to have lost his life from the intrigues of cardinal Richelieu; others from Lawemburgh, one of his generals, whom Ferdinand the emperor is said to have corrupted. He left an only daughter, whom he had by the princess Mary of Brandenburg, and who succeeded her father at the age of five. This princess was the celebrated Christina queen of Sweden. 1


Universal History. Harte’s Life of Gustavus Adolphus.