Axel Gustafsson Oxenstierna


Comenius placed great confidence in this Swedish leader, confidence that would be disappointed. As chancellor of Sweden (1612–1644), Oxenstierna wielded considerable power. King Gustavus Adolphus II was more of a warrior than an administrator, and generally left domestic affairs in Oxenstierna’s able hands. The chancellor was a good organizer and a skilled diplomat. The peace he arranged with Poland in 1629 allowed Gustavus to enter the Thirty Years War in 1630. After Gustavus’s death (1632), Oxenstierna was the dominant member of the committee that ruled Sweden until Queen Christina came of age in 1644. In that capacity he accomplished a number of social and economic reforms— among them the invitation to Comenius to develop Swedish schools. But Oxenstierna did not get along with the young queen and his power declined after Christina’s accession. He was not directly involved in the negotiations of the Peace of Westphalia (1648), which may explain why his promise to Comenius, to look after the interests of the Brethren, was never fulfilled.

Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden (1594–1632)

The “Lion of the North,” Gustavus Adolphus was acknowledged as one of the great military men of his day. When King Gustavus intervened in the Thirty Years War, he embodied the hope of Comenius and his fellow exiles for the re-establishment of their lands and a defeat of the Hapsburg Catholics. In A Trumpet for the Year of Grace, Comenius reflected this mood; Gustavus was shown to be a great conqueror in this pamphlet. Ironically, Gustavus’s primary purpose was to strengthen Sweden, not to enter a religious conflict. However sympathetic he may have been to the Moravians. he intended to settle the exiles near the ...

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