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Artillery personnel
Great Embassy
Prisoners of war
Source criticism
The Great Northern War
Sunday, 12 November 2017
Captain Matthias Feder
Topic: Livonia

In May 1705 a large shipment arrived at Neumünde. The fortress commander Colonel Albedyhl on the 19th informed Governor Frölich of the arrival of the vessel Elisabeth under the command of captain Matthias Feder. Albedyhl had suggested that some of the equipment should be handed over to his regiment, but Feder had refused to comply without direct orders from Frölich. Frölich sent his decision to Feder the very same day: everything listed on the specification sent by the College of War must be delivered to Riga. Only if the ship carried an additional cargo earmarked for Albedyhl's regiment would the colonel be permitted to unload anything.

The list of items sent on Feder's ship is quite impressive:

100 pistols for Schreiterfelt's dragoons 

90,000 pistol balls for the armoury at Riga 

45,000 carbine balls for the armoury at Riga 

110,000 musket balls, ditto

120,000 buckshot pellets (rännkulor), ditto

600 shovels, ditto

300 picks, ditto

200 scythes of the old fashion, ditto

2 double jacks, ditto

2 simple jacks, ditto 

100 drums, ditto

30,000 firestones, ditto

100,000 flintstones, ditto 

plus large amounts of horseshoes, horseshoe nails and other nails of various dimensions.



LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 56
Rahvusarhiiv, EAA.278.1.XX-25c
Rahvusarhiiv, EAA. 278.001.XXV-99

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:40 PM CET
Updated: Sunday, 12 November 2017 8:40 PM CET
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Sunday, 5 November 2017
Palmquist again
Topic: Diplomacy

On 2 June 1703 Palmquist sent his next report from The Hague. He had again met with the Grand Pensionary Heinsius. The Swedish had emphasized the importance of putting stop to all Russian recruitment in the Netherlands and to stop anyone from leaving for service in the Czar's navy. Heinsius promised to speak to both the Admiralty in Amsterdam as well as to mayor Nicolaes Witsen.

Palmquist next wrote on 6 June. He had again spoken to Heinsius, who had expressed concern about events in Poland. What if Charles XII after capturing Thorn (under siege) and Elbing would turn his attention to Danzig? It would not please the Dutch or the English, Heinsius said. Well, Palmquist had replied, Thorn was only under attack because Saxon forces were inside. Danzig would only be in danger if the Saxons took control of it, which seemed unlikely. They had also touched on the matter of the Russian recruitment. Heinsius assured Palmquist that he had spoken with both the Admiralty and particularly mith mayor Witsen. He had found that the Czar certainly tried to find good craftsmen, such as turners, carpenters and blacksmiths. Seamen had not been recruited and the Dutch authorities would make sure that none were. 


Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 229 


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:23 PM CET
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Sunday, 29 October 2017
Paul Bethun
Topic: Factoids

In Börje Magnusson's Svenska teckningar 1600-talet (1980), page 104, it's stated that the artillery officer Paul Bethun while in Russian captivity in 1714 made a drawing of Saint Petersburg. This is incorrect. Bethun served in Elbing and was captured when the town was taken by the Russians in 1710. In an account dated Ystad 13 December 1711 Bethun describes his experience in Russia:

On 3 April 1711 the Swedish prisoners (476 men) were ordered  to march through Marienwerder, Strasburg, Pultusk and Grodno to Riga, where they were kept outside the town for three weeks. On 4 July the prisoners were ordered to march eastwards and eventually ended up at Velikiye Luki. On 25 August the Swedes were ordered to continue and on 12 September they reached Narva, the 15th Jama and on the 16th Koporie. There the prisoners were met by Menshikov and the group was divided. The officers were sent to Ivangorod and the common soldiers to Saint Petersburg where they were put to work. Many of them, Bethun says, died from hunger and fatigue. 

On 8 December Bethun left Ivangorod and marched through Dorpat to Riga. There were no wagons for the officers, he writes, and those who were sick had to be drawn on sleds by their comrades. They were also badly treated by the guards. It was obvious, Bethun claims, that the plan was to kill all the prisoners. On 2 December they marched to Dünamünde and on the following day boarded ships which carried them to Ystad.

So did Bethun actually visit Saint Petersburg? He doesn't say, but if he did it was certainly not in 1714.

Source: Riksarkivet, Ericsbergsarkivet, Autografsamlingen, vol. 17


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:26 PM MEST
Updated: Sunday, 29 October 2017 9:27 PM MEST
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Sunday, 22 October 2017
Seamen for the Czar?
Topic: Diplomacy

On 30 May 1703 Johan Palmquist sent a long report to Charles XII and the usual copy to the Chancery in Stockholm. His predecessor Nils Lillieroot had just left the Hague, so Palmquist was on his own. 

Palmquist had met with the Grand Pensionary and had again asked about the rumoured Russian recruitment drive. Heinsius had replied that he had discussed the matter with the Admiralty of Amsterdam. As recruitment by foreign powers on Dutch soil usually was prohibited in time of war the Grand Pensionary had believed that such a ban had been issued for Amsterdam. However, this was apparently not the case. The Admiralty was consequently not aware of any such Russian recruitment effort, but deemed it unlikely to succeed as most of those who had returned from service in the Russian navy were very unhappy with their experiences. Some had been enticed by promises of higher rank, but these were few and not very capable. Palmquist had told Heinsius that the Czar's plan was to equip cruisers for service in the North Sea, where they were to disrupt the trade from the Baltic and try to divert merchants ships to Arkhangelsk. Heinsius promised to try and put a stop to any Russian recruitment effort.

Palmquist was not entirely satisfied with this, so he had written to a certain van de Lutt (of the Admiralty of Amsterdam?). Later in the volume there is a copy of the reply, dated Amsterdam 8 June. Van de Lutt writes that as far as he knew the Czar employed about 12 to 15 captains and some lieutenants. He did not know their names. The Czar had since one or two years been building ships of war at Arkhangel, but it was impossible to know the plan. Van de Lutt would attempt to find out and knew a man he believed could help. As for the rest the people in Amsterdam could not understand why the King of Sweden would amuse himself in Poland while Russians ruined Lvonia. 

Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Polonica, vol. 229

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:40 PM MEST
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Sunday, 15 October 2017
More Palmquist
Topic: Diplomacy

On 16 May 1703 (O.S.) Palmquist sent a a new report to Stockholm. It concerned two different issues. The first was the damages caused to the duchy of Zweibrücken by forces from the Electoral Palatinate.

The second had more bearing on the Great Northern War. Rumours hade reached Sweden that the Czar was attempting to recruit soldiers (or maybe rather naval personnel) in Amsterdam. Palmquist forwarded a copy of the letter he had sent to the Admiralty in Karlskrona. The matter had, Palmquist stated, been brought to the attention of the Grand Pensionary Anthonie Heinsius, who had replied that he knew nothing of this. Heinsius said that he considered it very unlikely, as any form of recruitment by a foreign power was strictly forbidden and consequently would be pointless to attempt. The Grand Pensionary had stated that he would nevertheless look into the matter and would put a stop to the effort if the rumour proved to be true. 

Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 329 

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:51 PM MEST
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Sunday, 8 October 2017
A peace proposal?
Topic: Diplomacy

On 2 May 1703 (O.S.) Johan Palmquist sent his first report to the Chancery in Stockholm. He acknowledged having received the printed account of the Saladen battle, which he promised to use when appropriate.

Palmquist also reported that a rumour suggested that he had brought a peace proposal from Paris. The rumour had grown quite strong after his arrival in The Hague. Palmquist had made every effort to explain that it was quite untrue and had received assistance from Anthonie Heinsius, the Grand Pensionary of Holland. Their effort appeared to have been successful, Palmquist wrote. As for the rest he referred to Lillieroot's dispatches.

In a hastily added PS Palmquist writes that accordingb to report which had arrived the same morning the fort near Bonn had been captured in an assault. This should refer to Fort Bourgogne, which was taken on 9 May (N. S.) by allied forces under the command of Menno van Coehoorn, the famous Dutch engineer.

Source: Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 229 

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:43 PM MEST
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Sunday, 1 October 2017
Johan Palmquist arrives in the Hague
Topic: Diplomacy

On 27 March 1703 Johan Palmquist, previously Swedish envoy in Paris, arrived in the Hague where he was to relieve the very able and experienced Nils Lillieroot, who had been recalled to Stockholm to help fill the vacancies caused by the deaths of Bengt Oxenstierna and Samuel Åkerhielm. 

On the 28th Palmquist wrote to Charles XII. He had the preceeding day arrived in the Hague after travelling on some very bad roads. As Lillieroot had not yet left for Stockholm Palmquist would, he assured the King, take every opportunity to get useful information from his predecessor.

Little was otherwise to report, except that Palmquist had been received most courteously in Bruxelles by the Marquis Bedmar (Isidoro de la Cueva y Benavides, Governor of The Spanish Netherlands), the Field Marshal Boufflers (Louis-François de Boufflers) and Mr Quiros (Francisco Bernardo de Quiros). In Antwerp Palmquist had been received by Lieutenant General de Gacé (Charles Auguste de Goyon de Matignon) and at the the fort Lillo by a captain Palmquist calls "Wildschütt", who was in command of a small Dutch naval force stationed there. The captain had dined with Palmquist on his ship and sent him off with a salute of seven shots.

Riksarkivet, Diplomatica, Hollandica, vol. 229

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:20 PM MEST
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Sunday, 24 September 2017
My journey
Topic: Miscellaneous

From 9 September to 20 September I was away on a trip to Romania, passing through cities like Prague, Brno, Bratislava and Budapest. In the latter city I did of course not fail to visit Váci utca 43:

















Posted by bengt_nilsson at 7:14 PM MEST
Updated: Sunday, 24 September 2017 7:48 PM MEST
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Sunday, 10 September 2017
Topic: Miscellaneous
There will be no posts until the 24th because of a trip to Romania.

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 12:01 AM MEST
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Sunday, 3 September 2017
Princes from Chile: part 3
Topic: Miscellaneous

I originally thought that on one had discovered this peculiar story before, but Google books helped me to discover Axel Paulin's Svenska öden i Sydamerika (1951). Paulin's list of sources is very impressive, but he is often short on specific references. The story of the Chilean princes is described like this:

When going through some documents from the Swedish Field Chancery during the Polish period a letter from the Swedish envoy in the Hague was following letter was found. Paulin then goes on to quote from Palmquist's letter dated 4 March 1705 as well as from a the translated summary of Colonel Scott's letter attached to this report. Paulin apparently never looked among Palmquist's drafts and so he never found Scott's original proposal. 

Paulin's conclusion was that there must have been some real basis for the proposal. He suggests that some of the cargo was coming from the East Indies, but finds no reasonable explanation for the 27 princes. 

Paulin tried to follow the story and noted that Charles XII ordered Palmquist to keep the authorities in Stockholm updated. The King also instructed the Chancery College and the College of Commerce to discuss the matter and send their views to him. 

Oddly enough Paulin concludes  by saying that no further traces of the story could be found beyond the fact that the King's letters did reach Stockholm. My distinct memory is that there was in fact plenty of evidence, especially in the archive of the Chancery College. If I can find my old notes on the matter I'll add a part 4.

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 1:08 PM MEST
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