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Wednesday, 17 October 2018
A very peculiar book : again
Topic: Literature

Some weeks ago I published a brief review of Cecilia Nordenkulls' book Karl XII : kungamord (Charles XII : Regicide). Towards the end I stated that a certain newspaper article, which forms the basis for Nordenkull's theory, has been incorrectly dated. 

The issue is available online through the British Newspaper Archive . It's dated 13 November 1718, but it should be noted that the date only appears on the first page of each issue. The newspaper in question (Stamford Mercury) has however page numbers. The third page of this issue is numbered 219, the relevant page is numbered 226. 

One particular detail is worth noting: each page ends with a word (or part of a word) which is then repeated on the following page. Page 219 ends with "pre-venting" and the first word on page 220 is "venting". Om page 220 the last word is "Difficul-ties" and on page 221 the first is "ties". 

This system is in place until the end of page 224, where the last word is "Next", but page 225 begins with "We". Page 225 ends with "And" and page 226 starts with "And". The final page is 226, although there obviously should be at least one more page as it ends in the same way with the word "Car". 

Ok, this suggests to me that something is wrong, i.e. that there has been a mix-up of some sort. Page 225-226 likely belongs to another year. So which one?

What does it say on page 225-226? A few things worth investigating:

1. A great plague in France (several items about this)

2. The Duke of Chandios going to Gravesend

3. A certain Doctor Parson, Chaplain to the Duke of Dorset

4. The arrival of a Russian Adjutant-General Romansoff in Stockholm

So what do these items tell us:




So the great plague in France occurred in 1720, there was no Duke of Chandos until 1719 and the Dukedom of Dorset was created in June 1720. 

So what does that indicate? Well, that the newspaper pages cannot be from November 1718 but from some later date - with 1720 being the earliest. 

Ok, so lets look through the issues for 1720 in order to find a connection between pages 224 and 225, where the break occurred in the issue dated 13 November 1718. The issue dated 3 November 1720 looks interesting, with the final page being numbered 224 and ending with the word "We" (see above). 

This indicates that pages 225 and 226 in fact belong to the issue dated 3 November 1720. But how about "Adjutant-General Romansoff"?

Let's look in C. G. Malmströms classical Sveriges politiska historia från konung Karl XII:s död... On page 298 in volume one of the second edition Malmströms describes the arrival in Stockholm of the Adjutant-General Romanzov (in fact Aleksandr Ivanovitj Rumjantsev)  in September 1720 and his mission to congratulate Fredrick on his accession to the throne. The arrival of the Russian envoy made the Swedes believe that he brought a peace offer, but when he didn't want to negotiate he was sent away in October. This very closely matches the newspaper article Nordenkull bases her idea of a coup d'etat in October 1718 on, i.e. she has simply not understood that a couple of the pages have been incorrectly labeled during scanning and that events described on pages 225 and 226 occurred in 1720. 



Posted by bengt_nilsson at 5:18 PM MEST
Updated: Wednesday, 17 October 2018 8:15 PM MEST
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