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The New International Encyclopædia/Armfelt, Gustav Mauritz

ARMFELT, Gustav Mauritz (1757-1814). A Swedish courtier whose public life was characterized by striking vicissitudes of fortune. He was born in the Government of Åbo. His loyalty to Gustavus III. gained him the favor and friendship of that monarch. Armfelt distinguished himself in the war between Sweden and Russia, and as military representative of Gustavus, had the honor of concluding a peace at Wärelä in August, 1790. By the will of Gustavus, who was assassinated in 1792, Armfelt was made Governor of Stockholm and a member of the council assigned to the regent, Charles, Duke of Sudermania. The Duke, however, could not brook the idea of a check being placed upon his liberty of action, and found means to destroy the will, the conditions of which he never intended to observe. Armfelt soon became conscious that his influence was rapidly disappearing. He was rarely permitted to see the young King; and at last, after a secret interview with the Crown Prince Gustavus, departed as ambassador to Naples in July, 1792. While in Italy he entered into correspondence with certain parties in Sweden for the purpose of overthrowing the regency, and inducing the States to proclaim Gustavus IV. of age. The correspondence was discovered. Armfelt fled to Poland and afterwards to Russia. He was condemned during his absence for high treason, and stripped of his goods and titles, while many of his friends were visited with torture and exile. In 1799 Gustavus IV. received the crown at the age of eighteen and Armfelt was restored to all his honors. In 1805 he was appointed Governor-General of Finland, in 1806 he commanded the Swedes in Pomerania, and in 1808 he commanded the Swedish army raised for the invasion of Norway; but his plans were so completely frustrated that he was compelled to witness the invasion of Sweden by the successful Norwegians, and was in consequence recalled and dismissed by the King. In the following year a revolution took place, Gustavus was deposed, the Duke of Sudermania elected in his place and Armfelt was appointed president of the Military Council. But shortly after he resigned and retired to Russia, where he lived during the remainder of his life in high honor. The title of count was conferred on him; he was made chancellor of the University of Åbo, president of the Board of Finnish Affairs, and member of the Russian Senate. He died at Tsarskoye-Selo. Consult Tegnér, Gustav Mauritz Armfelt (Stockholm, 1887).