On August 24th, therefore, they swore fealty and obedience to him as administrator of the kingdom.
Continuing Sweden Liberated,
our selection from History of the Swedes down to Charles X by Eric Gustave Geijer published in 1845. The selection is presented in five easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Sweden Liberated.
Place: Vadstena, Sweden
In the month of August he arrived at Stegeborg, which was now besieged by his general, Arwid the West-Goth, who had recently repulsed with great bravery Severin Norby’s attempt to relieve the castle, and had even begun to take homage for Gustavus from the people of his province, although in this he experienced difficulties. The East-Goths declared that they had been so chastised for their attack on the Bishop’s castle at Linkoping the preceding year that they no longer dared to provoke either King Christian or Bishop Hans Brask. The personal presence of Gustavus decided the waverers, and even the Bishop received him as a friend, because he would otherwise have stood in danger of a hostile visitation. Gustavus now convoked a diet of barons at Vadstena, which was attended by seventy Swedish gentlemen of noble family and by many other persons of all classes in Gothland. These made him a tender of the crown, which he refused to accept. On August 24th, therefore, they swore fealty and obedience to him as administrator of the kingdom–“in like manner,” add the chronicles, “as had formerly been done in Upland”; whence they seem to have assumed that he had already been acknowledged as such in Upper Sweden, here called Upland, as we often find it in the chronicles of the Middle Age. This was the first public declaration of the nobility in favor of Gustavus and his cause; although the greatest barons in this division of the kingdom, such as Nils Boson (Grip), Holger Carlson (Gere), and Thure Jenson (Roos) in West-Gothland, all three councillors of state, were still in arms for Christian. That the first-named nobleman joined the party of Gustavus before the end of the year we know from his letter of thanks for a fief of which he received the investure. Both the latter were proclaimed in 1523 to be enemies of the realm, as also was the archbishop Gustavus Trolle. He had repaired to Denmark two years before, in order to obtain, by his personal instances with the King, the often-promised relief for the besieged garrison of Stockholm, but was received with coldness and reproaches.
After the baronial diet of Vadstena, the Gothlanders acknowledged the authority of the administrator, and, the Danes having been driven out West-Gothland and Smaland, the seat of the war was removed to Finland. By the commencement of the next year the principal castles of the interior had fallen into the hands of Gustavus, and some, as those of Westeras and Orebo, were razed to the ground by the now exasperated peasantry. Stockholm and Kalmar, as well as Abo in Finland, yet stood out, and by help of reinforcements which they received at the beginning of 1522, through the Danish admiral Severin Norby, the enemy were again able to resume the offensive. By sallies from the beleaguered capital on April 7th, 8th, and 13th, the camp of Gustavus was set on fire and destroyed, and for a whole month afterward no Swedish force was seen before the walls of Stockholm. The besiegers of Abo were likewise driven off, and the chief adherents of Gustavus, being obliged to flee from Finland, Arvid, Bishop of Abo, with many noble persons of both sexes, perished at sea.
Christian himself by new cruelties added to the detestation with which he was regarded in Sweden. The wives and children, of the most distinguished among the barons beheaded in Stockholm, had been conveyed to Denmark, and among them the mother and two sisters of Gustavus, whom the King, in spite of the entreaties of his consort, threw into a dungeon. Here they died, either by violence, as Gustavus himself complains in a letter of 1522 concerning the cruel oppression of King Christian, directed to the Pope, the Emperor, and all Christian princes, or, as others assert, of the plague. An order had also been recently issued by the King to commanders in Sweden to put to death all the Swedes of distinction who had fallen into their hands. The chronicles say that Severin Norby had received this order so early as the summer of 1521, but, instead of complying with it, permitted the escape of many noblemen, who afterward did homage to Gustavus at Vadstena, in order, as he expressed it, that they might rather guard their necks like warriors than be slaughtered like chickens. But in Abo a new massacre was perpetrated at the beginning of the next year by Lord Thomas, the royalist commander there, who afterward, in an attempt to relieve Stockholm, fell, with all his ships, into the hands of Gustavus, and was hanged upon an oak in Tynnels Island.
After Severin Norby had relieved the capital, the secretary, master Gotschalk Ericson, wrote thence to Christian that there were but eighty of the burghers, for the most part Germans, who could be counted on for the King’s service, but of footmen and gunners in the castle there were now eight hundred fifty men, well furnished with all; the peasants were, indeed, weary of the war, but were still more fearful of the King’s vengeance, and put faith in no assurances, whence the country could only be reduced to obedience by violent methods; if a sufficient force were sent, East-Gothland, Sodermanland, and Upland would submit to the King, and his grace could then punish the Dalecarlians and Helsingers, who first stirred up these troubles.
The governor of the castle of Stockholm informs the King, in a report on military occurrences of the winter, “that his men had compelled him to consent to an increase of pay on account of the successes they had gained; that he had expelled from the town, or imprisoned, the suspected Swedish burghers; that the peasants would rather be hanged on their own hearths than longer endure the burden of war; that Gustavus, who had in vain tempted his fidelity, had already sent his plate and the chief part of his own movable property to a priest in Helsingland; he (the governor) also transmitted an inventory of the goods of the decapitated nobles.”
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