Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/272

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

history. His consort, Sophia, however, was a woman much praised for her intellectual eminence.[1] From this union sprang Christian IV., the idol of Danish history and the only sovereign who ranks at all with the more able kings of other countries. There were six other children, but Christian is the only one who has left a distinguished record. Anna, the wife of Christian IV., descended from a comparatively obscure branch of the Brandenburg family, was a mild, sweet-tempered, charitable princess,[2] but not a conspicuous character in contemporary records. Their son, Frederick III., 1609-70, was a wise and shrewd sovereign, but of languid disposition. His temper was amiable, and his reign popular. The brilliant, haughty and vindictive Sophia Amelia was queen during this reign. It was she who imprisoned the king's half sister for twenty-two years, because, when trying on the crown, it is said, Eleonora Christian dropped it and injured a very fine jewel. The same authority gives us the anecdote that she ordered a noble executed, because he claimed she would fall in love with him. The Brunswick stock from which she came shows at this point no eminence of any kind; still we expect some of her six children to have been mentally gifted. The next generation gives us a rather mediocre showing, with Prince George, husband of Queen Anne of England, almost a fool. Ulrica Elenora, who married Charles XI. of Sweden and became the mother of the remarkable Charles XII., was the only one among the six children to represent the intellectual side of the family.

Christian V. 1646-1699, the eldest son, courageous, enterprising and chivalrous, was no ordinary man, but the strong tendency to ease and pleasure and the weakness he showed in being governed by others forbid us to give him a high rating for intellect when this is judged by the standard of outward achievements. His marriage brought in no mental uplifting, since the Queen Charlotte Amelia was from an 'obscure' region in the family of Hesse Cassel. Neither in the next generation (Frederick IV.) or the two following this (Christian VI. and Frederick V.) do we find any noteworthy mental variations. In all these generations a study of the chart will show the stock good but far from illustrious.

We now come to a very interesting anomaly in Christian VII., the only son of Frederick V. by his first wife Louisa, daughter of George II. of England. Among all modern royalty there is scarcely a feebler specimen of the human race than this poor little, half-mad, debauchee king. His type of mind was so purile and his self-restraint so weak that it seems only charity to consider him among the irresponsibles. From L. Wraxall and Walpole an idea may be obtained

  1. Allen, 'Hist, de Dannemark,' II., 29.
  2. L. Flamand, 'Danmarke Dronninger,' 1848, pp. 11, 12.