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Monday, 19 November 2012
Magnus Stenbock, part two
Topic: Generals

In a previous entry I mentioned the large autograph collection in the archive from the manor Ericsberg and in particular a series of letters from Casten Feif to Magnus Stenbock. Feif was before Poltava a junior member of the Field Chancellery, but afterwards became one of the King's closest advisors. From Bender he corresponded with Nicodemus Tessin the younger about the plans for the new Royal castle in Stockholm, in many instances conveying the King's wishes and ideas. He apparently also kept up a similar correspondence with Magnus Stenbock, who before the start of the campaign against Russia had returned to Sweden after being appointed Governor of Scania. Stenbock was a highly talented man in many ways and greatly appreciated by Charles XII, but he was also extremely sensitive and seems to have been in almost constant fear of falling into disfavor. He was, it seems, constantly looking for hidden enemies and "backstabbers" and forever asking for new favors and rewards.

On 29 November 1710 Casten Feif wrote to Stenbock and expressed his delight with the King's latest expression of confidence in Stenbock (presumably his appointment as Councillor of the Realm in late August). However, it's apparent from the letter that Stenbock had been less than satisfied. It would seem that the General not only wanted a Royal confirmation of his Field Marshal's baton (given to him by the Council after the victory at Helsingborg) but also the title "Governor General" of Scania. Feif explained to Stenbock that this would be quite impossible as it had been previously decided to have only a Governor in Scania. 

In June 1711 Feif returns to the matter of Stenbock's baton. He states that he is confident that the King will confirm it, but strongly advises Stenbock to stop bringing it up as the King always reads the letters to Feif. It would, Feif suggests, be much better if Stenbock emphasized how content he was and wrote some entertaining letters to the King.

On 31 July 1711 Feif again writes to Stenbock, referring to the latter's wish to be appointed Governor of Stockholm. Feif points out that this position is not vacant and suggests that Stenbock would probably not like having someone ask for the Governorship of Scania. Stenbock must, Feif insists, avoid using such expressions in his letters and should be satisfied with knowing that he remained in the King's favor. In a P.S. Feif particularly mentions Stenbock's claim that he had saved the King's throne by his victory at Helsingborg. This was a glorious thing for subject to do, Feif wrote, but he should never ever express the sentiment openly in a letter to the King as it could very well be interpreted as criticism.


Source: Riksarkivet, Ericsbergsarkivet, autografsamlingen, vol. 69

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 6:58 PM CET
Updated: Monday, 19 November 2012 6:59 PM CET
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