Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter xi: Of the Court - An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor
Return to Title Page for An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
chapter xi: Of the Court - Robert Molesworth, An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor 
An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor, Edited and with an Introduction by Justin Champion (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Of the Court
Under this Head I comprehend the King, Queen, Royal Family, Ministers of State, Knights of the Order of the Elephant, and of Dannebrug, with other principal Officers belonging to the Court.
The present King of Denmark, Christian the Fifth, is but of a moderate stature, rather lean than corpulent, yet well proportioned, and strongly built; his Complexion is Sanguin, he wears a black Perriwig; the Lines of the lower part of his Face are not unlike those of King Charles the Second; his Constitution has been very robust, capable to endure, and loving to undergo all manner of fatigue; until that within these few years, having had some fits of the Gout, he thought it better to dispense with Exercises which might disturb his Ease; especially there being less need in time of Peace of his taking such pains as he easily could, and yet would do, were there occasion. He began the six and fortieth year of his Age the fifteenth of April 1692. His Habit is usually modest, but gentile; he seldom appears at Court times with either Hat or Gloves, though always (after the German fashion) with a good Sword girt close to his side.
As to his qualities, he is a Prince of singular affability and good nature; temperate if you consider the humour of that Country; being neither luxurious in his Meat or Drink, and of late years very seldom making any Debauch. His Amours have not been many, and in those he has continued very constant. He is Religious as a Prince ought to be, without doting on his Clergy, though they seem to adore him; in his own temper a lover of Justice and Moderation; but often over-ruled by those about him, to whom he leaves the whole management of Affairs; because he neither loves, nor has a Genius for business. He speaks little, unless to his Ministers, and immediate Servants; yet he gives all opportunity and encouragement to others to entertain him; as it were emboldening them by a gracious Smile, and advancing towards them. He is Master of three Languages besides his own, the High and Low Dutch, and the French, using them with great ease upon occasion. He was not bred up to any sort of Learning, yet takes a particular delight in Geography; and is never better pleased than when an exact Chart of any Country, or Delineation of any Fortress is brought to him: his Genius for the War inclining him to love Fortification. He is of a clear undoubted Personal Courage, as has been often demonstrated in the late Wars with Sweden: but eases himself of the greatest part of the Conduct, which he leaves to his Generals, not relying on his own Judgment either in occasions of Action or Negotiations; though ’tis probable the greatness of his Courage in the one, and the sincerity of his Intentions in the other, would produce better effects, did he trust himself more, and others less. In fine, he is a very mild, and gracious Prince, beloved rather than reverenced by his People; who are sensible that the present Form of Government, concurring with a King of a severe temper, would be altogether intolerable. His Motto under his Arms and Cypher is, Pietate & Justitia;25 and his Subjects do really believe the preservation of these to be his true Inclinations; and that all hardships that fall upon them, have their rise from the Ministry. Therefore they complain of his permitting, rather than his acting, and attribute all the Evils they endure, to the easiness of his Temper, and unhappiness of their present Constitution; which is not redressed by any Advantages derived from his Education.
The Queen, Charlotta Amelia, is a Princess that deserves to be mentioned with all honour, even though she were not of that high Quality. She is fair, and well shap’d; her Complexion being a mixture of Flegmatick and Sanguin; and although she be in the forty first year of her Age, continues still handsome; her Carriage is very engaging, affable, and free; her great Accomplishments secure to her the Hearts of her Subjects, notwithstanding her differing from them in Religion, and stop the mouths of the bigoted Lutherans, which would be apt enough to exclaim against her, did not a most unreproachable Life set her above Malice. They have made several Attempts to wound the Calvinist Religion through her sides; but she has hitherto frustrated them all, and preserved not only her self, but the little French Protestant Church (lately founded in Copenhagen by her Bounty, and subsisting through her Protection) from all the Assaults made against it by Persons in Power. And this she does the more effectually, through a prudent compliance with the King in matters indifferent, going frequently with him to the Lutheran Service and Sermons: thereby not only shewing the charitable and good Opinion she has of the Publick established Worship, but getting a greater freedom of going every Afternoon to hear the French Ministers in her own Church. She is the common Refuge of distressed People, who never fail of their account in approaching her. Neither is Access to her difficult; she often prevents those that have need, and does good before she be sought unto. In short, she is Sister to the present Landgrave of Hesse Cassel; worthy of such a Brother, and the illustrious Stock from whence she proceeds.
The King of Denmark has five Children; four Princes and one Princess. Prince Frederick the eldest, who is also called the Prince Royal, is about twenty years old; it were to be wished his Education had been more conformable to his quality; for his former Governor being somewhat pedantick, had infused a little stiffness and formality into the Pupil, which People that judge by outward Appearances, are apt to misconstrue Pride; but doubtless his Travels have reformed that ill habit. Prince Christian, the second Son, is about eighteen years of Age, of a more lively and affable temper than his elder Brother, as well as taller, and of a more robust Constitution; much addicted to Hunting, and riding the great Horse; he longs for nothing more than to see and shew himself to the World. Prince Charles, the third Son, is about nine years old, and Prince William, the Fourth, about six. The former is a very forward hopeful Youth; the latter does not yet stir out of the Nursery, so that no Judgment can be made of him.
The Princess [Sophia Hedwig] is about sixteen, a very beautiful sweet tempered and well-educated Lady; she was contracted to the present Elector of Saxony her own Cousin Germain; but the Match was afterwards broken off.
The King has besides these, two Natural Sons by Mrs. Mote, a Citizen’s Daughter of Copenhagen, whom he had made Countess of Samsoe (an Island which he has given to her) he sends her moreover, as it is confidently reported 1000 Rix Dollars every Saturday Night. The young Gentlemen, her Sons, are very handsome and hopeful. The eldest is in the Service of France, where he has a Regiment of Horse, and is called young Guldenlieu, to distinguish him from the Elder, who is Viceroy of Norway; the King gives him the Revenue of the Post-Office. This Appellation of Guldenlieu is appropriated to the Bastard Sons of the Kings; I know not whether it began with the present Viceroy of Norway, or not; but it is likely to continue hereafter, and a young Guldenlieu will become as necessary an Ornament to the Court, as an Heir of the Crown.
The second of the King’s Sons, by the Countess of Samsoe, is designed for the Sea; and to that end has been sent several Voyages in a Man of War under the Direction of a trusty Person, in order to fit him to be one day Admiral-General.
His high Excellency, Count Guldenlieu, Viceroy of Norway, and Natural Brother to the King, will be more properly mentioned here, as one of the Royal Family, than when we come to speak of the Ministers; for though he be one of them, yet he cares not to embark himself deep in the Publick Affairs, having formerly, in some Occurrences, burnt his Fingers; he thinks it wisdom rather to enjoy his Divertisements, and the favour of the King, which he now firmly possesses. His Father, King Frederick, loved him so well, that he once thought of making him King of Norway; which has been remembered to his prejudice, and obliges him to carry himself with great care, under a Government so Arbitrary as this is. He is about fifty six years of Age, has been one of the handsomest, and continues one of the finest Gentlemen that Denmark has produced: having to his Natural Accomplishments, added all the advantages of Travel, and Knowledge of the World. He is a Man of Pleasure, and understands it in all its Refinements; his Palace, his Gardens, his Entertainment, manner of accosting, etc., excelling by many degrees any thing that can be found elsewhere in that Kingdom. He was formerly Ambassador Extraordinary from King Frederick his Father to King Charles the Second, who shewed such a particular esteem for him, that he made him the Partner of his Pleasures. And this is returned by so deep a sense of that King’s Kindness, that he scarce ever mentions his Name without great concern. He speaks a little English, and is very obliging to any Person that belongs to this Country, in gratitude for the great Civilities he received here.
The King of Denmark’s Court, as to Pomp and Magnificence, can hardly be called a Royal one; the Luxury and Extravagance of the more Southern Courts of Europe having not reached thus far North, no more than their Riches. It is true indeed, since their good correspondence with France, their Manners are somewhat refined above what they formerly were; they affect French Modes, French Servants, and French Officers in the Army; whereof they have one Lieutenant General, and one Major General, who have quitted France for fighting Duels there. And this is either really true, or at least the pretence of such as seek Service in Foreign Countries on purpose to do the business of France, whose interest they always cultivate industriously, though they seem never so much in disgrace with their Prince.
In this Court no Ensigns of Majesty appear; let the occasion be never so solemn, except such as are Military, all those which a standing Army can afford, such as Horse and Foot Guards, Trabands, which answer our Beef-eaters, Kettle-Drums, and Trumpets, etc. are there in perfection, and used every day as much as in a Camp: but Badges of Peace, viz. Sword of State, Heralds, Maces, Chancellor’s Purse, etc. are not known.
The King sits down to Dinner with his Queen, Children, Relations, prime ministers, and General Officers of the Army, till the round Table be filled. The Court Mareschal invites whom he thinks fit to eat with the King, speaking sometimes to one, sometimes to another, till all have had their turns in that honour. A Page in Livery says Grace before and after Meat, for no Chaplain appears either here, or in any other of the Protestant Courts abroad, but in the Pulpit. There is a plentiful Table; but the Meat dressed after their own manner. The King’s particular Diet every day, is a Loin of roasted Veal, and his Drink Rhenish-Wine; whereof a silver Beakerfull stands at every one’s Plate, which generally serves for the whole Meal. The Attendants are one or two Gentlemen, and the rest Livery Servants. No Ceremony of the Knee is used to the King. The Kettle Drums and Trumpets, which are ranged in a large place before the Palace, proclaim aloud the very Minute when he sits down to Table. Sunday is his Fasting day, and by his Example, is so to many of the Courtiers.
Court times, wherein those that have business, may most easily have Audience, are an hour before Dinner constantly, and sometimes before Supper. At such times the King’s Children, Domestick and Foreign Ministers, Officers of the Army, and Household, appear in the Anti-chamber and Bedchamber: these compose the Court, and seldom amount to above the number of twenty or thirty. Few or no Gentlemen, that have not Employments, are seen at Court, or in Copenhagen, for Reasons formerly given.
The Officers of the Household are, The Marshal, who regulates the Affairs of the Family, and gives the King notice when Dinner or Supper is ready. The Comptroller of the Kitchen, who places the Dishes of Meat upon the Table, and is likewise Master of the Ordnance. The Master of the Horse, who looks after the King’s Stables, and Studs of Mares, whereof the King has very many, and very good, especially those of one Breed particular to him, which are light Iron-Grey, with black Heads, Tails, and Mains. But one forms a nearer Idea of the Grandeur and Revenue belonging to these several Offices, by imagining them like the same in the Families of some of our English Noblemen, rather than of those belonging to Whitehall. The Master of the Ceremonies is obliged by his Employment to be a constant Attender at Court.
But the principal Favourite of the King is Monsieur Knute, a Mecklenburger, and only Gentleman of the Bedchamber. He has been bred up all along with the King, as his Confident and Companion in his Pleasures; is a civil well-natur’d Gentleman, speaks no Language but his own, and loves least of all the French; meddles rarely with publick business, yet when he undertakes any thing with the King, seldom fails of Success. There are several Grooms of the Bedchamber subordinate to him. And the Queen has many Gentlemen, Sons of Persons of the best Quality, which are Attendants upon her, and eight Maids of Honour.
The King’s Ministers are, first, Monsieur de Guldenlieu, who has the precedence at the Council-Board, and in all other Commissions where he is employed with the rest; but business, as I intimated before, being not his Talent, or at least not his Choice, it is rather out of respect to his quality, than otherwise, that he is reckoned among them.
Secondly, Count Raventlau, Great Master of the Game, which is the Employment of greatest Profit in the King’s Gift, after the Viceroyship of Norway: he is a Native of Holstein, and is lookt upon as Prime Minister; therefore all Foreign Ministers address themselves to him. He takes it not ill to be stiled so; though he seems upon some occasions modestly to decline it. He is very affable civil, and of easy access; a Man of Pleasure, and an admirer of the fair Sex, as well as Monsieur de Guldenlieu: his Parts and Learning are of a moderate size; though of late, through a more diligent application to business he be much improved; so that he seems to fill worthily enough the Post wherein his Master has placed him. He is about Three and forty years of Age, his Complexion fair, and his Constitution robust; his Inclinations were but indifferent towards the French (as being convinced that the low Ebb of his Country’s Prosperity, and his Master’s Honour, were in a great measure owing to their Counsels and Practices) till within this year or two, that private Interest has reconciled him to that Court: the benefit of the French Traffick, during this War (wherein he is deeply concerned, as well by several Ships of his own, as by giving Protection to others that manage that Trade) has made him think that it is his Master’s Advantage, as well as his, to keep firm Friendship with France. On the other hand, the English obstructing that Traffick, by taking and confiscating several Ships wherein he was concern’d, seem to have quite lost his favour. Yet after all, ’tis believed, if he could procure the same, or equivalent Advantages for himself and his Master, his Inclinations would more willingly lead him to accept of them from England than France; but the unhappy Circumstances of this present Conjuncture do render that matter scarce possible.
Thirdly, Baron Juel, younger Brother to the Admiral General, and a Dane by Birth, about sixty years old; he is very corpulent, and of a flegmatick Complexion; more easy in his Fortunes than any about Court, which is in part owing to his remarkable parsimonious temper. The Danes look on him as one of the cunningest men among them, who under the disguise of a seeming Simplicity covers a great deal of Craft. His words are very few and smooth, and his behaviour Civil. It is thought that he sees with regret the Misery his Country is reduced to, as being one of the Stock of old Nobility, who have suffered by the change of the Constitution: yet his Advice cannot be wanted, where there is such a scarcity of good Heads; and therefore he is employed in all difficult Affairs, which he manages with great dexterity and success.
Fourthly, Monsieur Ehrenschild, a German by birth, and formerly Secretary to Monsieur Terlon the French Ambassador at this Court, which makes him French in his Inclinations to this day. The King enobled him, and gave him the Name of Ehrenschild, instead of that of Beerman, by which he was formerly known. He is about 65 years old, of a weakly constitution, and therefore most commonly resides at Hamburg, under pretence that the Air is necessary for his Health; but in reality to manage the King’s Affairs with that Town; wherein is constantly maintained a Faction, which must have Life kept in it by the Residence of a Minister of Quality. Moreover, that City being conveniently seated for the Correspondence with all Germany, from whence a nearer inspection may be made into the proceedings of the neighbouring Princes, as well as the management of the French Traffick during this War; it is thought necessary to keep an able Man there: this Monsieur Ehrenschild has been bred a Scholar after the German way, and is well skill’d in negotiating; wherein he has been constantly employed since he first entered into business. He is esteemed a Cunning man, but has no great reputation of Integrity; he affects to find out difficulties, and is excellently skill’d in prolonging a business. The Foreign Ministers call him by the Name of Pater difficultatum,26 and say that he has a peculiar knack in finding nodum in scirpo.27 Therefore they care not for Treating with him, because he values Argumentation, and seeks Sophisms rather than Truth, or the Decision of the Matter. You can never bring him to say such a thing is, though it be as clear as the Sun; but cela peut êstre:28 thereby leaving always a Hole open to creep out at. He hoards up all his Money, or puts it in the Banks of Hamburg and Amsterdam, having small prospect of a future happy establishment for his Family in Denmark. And this is the common Maxim of all the most intelligent Heads in that Kingdom, as appears by their making few or no Purchases.
Fifthly, Monsieur Plessen, a Gentleman of Mecklenburg, and formerly the Manager of Prince George’s Revenue in Denmark. He is now the Ober-Rent Master, or Comptroller of the Finances, in the room of Monsieur Branat, lately removed from that Employment. The State of the Finances and Expenses were very much embroiled, and the King some Millions of Crowns in Debt when he undertook the difficult Task of setting things right; which it is generally thought he will accomplish as far as they are capable: and ’twas high time to set seriously about redressing Affairs, for the King’s Credit both at Hamburg, and every where else, was in a manner absolutely lost, through the ill Payment of all Assignments. He is about Six and forty years old, of a Melancholy Complexion, and weakly Constitution; is esteemed to have a good Judgment, and to understand the World; though his Distempers make him sometimes particular in his Humour. He speaks four or five Languages, and English among the rest. His Inclinations seem to be rather English than French; as well on the account of his Dependence on Prince George, as because he is convinced ’tis more the Interest of his Master to be well with England and Holland, than with France. He appears to be disinterested, and is very easy in his Fortunes, which consist most in ready Money. In short, he is a Man of Business, and seems to be more downright in his manner of dealing than many of the rest.
These Five compose the King’s whole Privy Council. Four of them are constantly at Court, and the fifth at Hamburg; by the weekly Advices of whom the others do for the most part regulate all their Deliberations.
The King in this Council determines all Affairs; deliberates of Peace or War, of Alliances, and other Treaties; of Taxes, Fortifications, Trade, etc. without the intervention of any other Person, unless it be the Secretaries of State; who are yet esteemed here rather as Ministerial Officers and Assistants, than principal Counsellors. There are four of these Secretaries that are not Secretaries of State, in the sense that ours in England are, that is to say, Prime Ministers; but carry the Pen, and have the management of the business relating to their several Provinces; the first is the Secretary for the Affairs of Denmark, and is at present Monsieur [. . .].29 The second for the Affairs of Norway, is Monsieur Mote, Brother to the King’s Mistress the Countess of Samsoe. The third for Foreign Affairs, is Monsieur Jessen; and the fourth, who is Secretary at War, is Monsieur Harboe. When any thing which concerns the Province of any of these is debated at Council, the Secretary it belongs to is to be present; but Monsieur Jessen never misses, because there is always business relating to Foreign Affairs; and the usual times of the sitting of the Council being after the Posts come in, his Employment is to read all the Letters, and to make Remarks on them. This renders his Office more considerable than that of the other Secretaries, and makes him enter into the Secrets of the Cabinet, which pass for the most part through his sole management. He has also liberty to speak his Sentiments; and because he has been bred a Latin Scholar, that, as well as his Employment, entitles him to the penning of all Treaties with Foreign Ministers. Therefore he is constantly one of the Commissioners appointed to treat with them; and to whom they are to have recourse almost as necessarily as to the Prime Minister, who suffers himself to be in a great measure guided by this Secretary. He is about forty, of a civil behaviour and humility, even to affectation; speaks four or five Languages very well, and very much; whereby he sometimes gives advantages to those that have business with him. He has but a moderate reputation for Sincerity, or Parts; yet so much used to the Road of Publick Affairs, that he cannot be wanted, because they have no fitter Man to put in his place. He is Son-in-Law to Monsieur Ehrenschild, by whom he is much governed, and of the same Inclinations as to France. This Affinity is a great support to his Fortune, as long as that old Gentleman lives; and his diligence in his Employment, (if there were nothing else) will secure to him his Post and his Princes Favour; provided always that he keep fair with the Prime Minister, (as at present he does) and act in concert with him.
The ordinary Diversions of the Court are Progresses, which are made once a year at least, to Sleswick, or Holstein, either to make a review of some Troops, or to see the Fortifications at Rendsburg; besides smaller Journeys to Laland, and elsewhere, up and down the Country. These are of no Expense to the Treasury, because the travelling Wagons and Horses are found by the Boors, who are also to pay their Personal Attendance, and be ready for all necessary Services. During five or six Weeks every Summer, the Court removes to Jagersburg, a small Hunting-House, situated upon a little Lake within four English Miles of Copenhagen, and not far from the Sea: and for five or six Weeks more it resides at Fredericksburg, the chief Country Palace of the Kings of Denmark, about twenty English Miles from Copenhagen, began by Christian the Fourth, and finished by this King’s Father, Frederick the Third: this is that House which the Danes boast so much of, and tell wonders of the quantity of Money it cost in building. It is seated in the midst of a Lake, the Foundations of it being laid in the Water, which probably occasioned the greatest part of the Expense; you pass into it over several Draw Bridges. This watery Situation in so moist and cold a Country, cannot be approved by the Critical in Seats, especially when the rising Grounds about this Lake (which are clothed with fine Woods) afforded much better places both for health and prospect: but it is the humour of all this Kingdom, to build in the midst of Lakes; which I suppose was at first practised upon the score of Security. This Palace, notwithstanding the great cost they talk of, is far from being magnificent, or well contrived; for the Rooms are low, the Apartments ill disposed, the fine Chapel much too long in proportion to its breadth, and has a Gallery over it, which has one of the worst contrived Entrances that can be imagined. In fine, it falls far short of many of our Noblemen’s Country-Houses in England; yet is esteemed by the Danes as a None-such. There is indeed a fine Park about it, well filled with Red Deer; having large Ponds, high Trees in great quantity, a good Bathing-House, and other Country Embellishments; so that it is by far to be preferred to all the rest of the King’s Houses, which except these two last mentioned, are for the most part out of repair: that of the Fortress of Cronenburg near Elsignor, and of Coldingen in Jutland, with others, being scarce habitable even during one Fortnight in the Summer Quarter.
At Fredericksburg the Court spends most of its time in Stag-hunting, for there are few Fallow-Deer in Denmark; during which Sport the King allows great freedom to his Domesticks and Ministers, who commonly do all accompany him where ever he goes; insomuch that he seems to lay aside all Majesty, and the Formalities of it for that Season; they eat and drink together, the latter sometimes to Excess, after a hard days hunting; when as soon as Dinner is done, they adjourn to the Wine-Cellar. About five or six in the Afternoon the Hunting-Assizes are solemnly held in the great Court before the Palace, the Stag is drawn into the midst of it by the Huntsmen, who are all cloathed in Red, having their great Brass Hunting-horns about their Necks; and ’tis there broken up with great Ceremony, whilst the Hounds attend with much Noise and Impatience. One that is likeliest to give a good Gratuity to the Huntsmen, is invited to take Essay, and presented with the Deer’s foot. Then Proclamation is made, if any can inform the King (who is both Supreme Judge and Executioner) of any Transgression against the known Laws of Hunting that day committed, let him stand forth and accuse; the accused is generally found guilty; and then two of the Gentlemen lead him to the Stag, and make him kneel down between the Horns, turning down his Head with his Buttocks up, and remove the Skirts of his Coat, which might intercept the blows; then comes his Majesty, and with a small long Wand gives the Offender some Lashes on his Posteriors, whilst in the mean time the Huntsmen with their Brass Horns, and the Dogs with their loud Openings, proclaim the King’s Justice, and the Criminal’s Punishment. The whole Scene affording Diversion to the Queen, Ladies, and other Spectators, who are always assisting, and stand in a Circle about the Place of Execution. This is as often repeated as there happen to be Delinquents; who as soon as the Chastisement is over, rise up and make their Obeisance, “proudly boasting Of their magnificent Rib-roasting.”30 After all is done, the Hounds are permitted to fall to, and eat the Deer.
At another season Swan-hunting is the Royal Pastime; the wild Swans haunt a certain small Island not far from Copenhagen, and breed there; about the time that the Young ones are near as big as the Old, before their Feathers are grown long enough to fly, the King with the Queen, Ladies, and others of the Court, go to the killing of them; the Foreign Ministers are usually invited to take part in this sport: every Person of Condition has a Pinnace allotted to him, and when they come near the haunt, they surround the place, and inclose a great multitude of young Swans, which they destroy with Guns till they have killed some thousands. What is killed by the whole Company is brought to the Court, which challenges the Feathers and Down of these Birds, the Flesh of them being good for nothing.
On Shrove-Tuesdays the King, Queen, Royal Family, Home and Foreign Ministers, and all the other Persons abovementioned, that usually compose the Court, cloath themselves in the habit of the North-Holland Boors, with great Trunk-hose, short Doublets, and large blue Thrum-Caps; the Ladies in blue Petticoats, and odd Head-dresses, etc. Thus accoutred they get up in their Wagons, a Man before and a Woman behind, which they drive themselves, and go to a Country Village called Amak, about three English miles from Town; there they dance to Bagpipes, and squeaking Fiddles, and have a Country Dinner, which they eat out of Earthen and Wooden Platters, with wooden Spoons, etc. and having passed the day in these Divertisements, where all are equal, and little regard had to Majesty, or other Quality: at Night they drive in like manner home again; and are entertained at a Comedy and Magnificent Supper by the Viceroy Guldenlieu, spending the Remainder of the Night in Dancing in the same Habits, which they put not off all that day.
Every Winter, as soon as the Snow is firm enough to bear, the Danes take great delight in going in Sleds. The King and Court first giving the Example, and making several Tours about the Town in great Pomp, with Kettle-Drums and Trumpets; the Horses which draw the Sleds being richly adorned with Trappings, and Harness full of small Bells, to give warning to such as stand in the way. After the Court has been abroad, the Burgers and others trot about the Streets all night, wrapt up in their Fur Gowns, with each his Female in the Sled with him; and this they esteem a great and pleasant Pastime.
In travelling to Fredericksburg, Jagersburg, and many other places from Copenhagen, there are two Highways; one the common Road, which is usually bad; the other the King’s Highway, very fair and even, peculiar to the Court, and such as it has a mind to favour in bestowing on them a Key to open the several Gates that are upon it.
In this Chapter of the Court, it will not be improper to take notice that there are in Denmark two Orders of Knighthood, viz. that of the Elephant, and that of Dannebrug; the former is very honourable, and the Companions of it are of the highest Quality, or extraordinary Merit. Their Badge is an Elephant with a Castle on its back, set with Diamonds, and hung on a watered Sky-coloured Ribband, worn as the George is in England. The later is the honorary Reward of inferior Gentlemen or Noblemen: their Badge is a white Ribband with red Edges, worn over the contrary shoulder with a small Cross of Diamonds hung to it, and an Embroidery on the Breast of their Coats like a Star, in which is the Motto, Pietate & Justitia. They say that the Order of the Elephant was instituted about Two hundred and ten years ago by King Christian the First, at the Wedding of his Son.
A List of the Present Companions of It Follows
They pretend that the Order of Dannebrug is more Ancient, and recount many Fables of its Original, viz. That one King Dan saw a white Cross with red Edges, descend from Heaven, and thereupon instituted the Order, and gave it this compound Name, from Dan and Brug, which signifies Painting. The Knights of this Order are almost as common here, as Baronets with us, and therefore I omit their Names.
The following Ordinance for Rank and Precedency was published in Danish and French, Anno 1680. But most of the Offices therein marked * are now vacant.
An Ordinance for Rank and Precedency in the Kingdom of Denmark.31
It must be observed that when several Persons in Office are named together, and are not distinguished by a separate Figure, they take place among themselves according to the Date of their Commissions.
The King’s Ministers who hold Offices that are not mentioned in this Ordinance, shall keep the same Rank they have hitherto enjoyed; and those to whom the King has given, or shall give, the Title of Privy Counsellors, shall have the same Rank as if they were really and effectually such.
They who actually exercise an Office, shall have the Precedency before such as have only the Title of it, and do not officiate.
They whom the King dispenses with from exercising their Offices, shall yet keep the same Rank they had when they actually exercised them; and if any one takes another Office of an inferior Rank to that he had, he shall nevertheless hold the Rank of the former.
The Precedency with respect to Women shall be thus: After the Countesses follow the Governesses, and Ladies of the Bedchamber, and of the Court, while they are in Waiting: Next come the Wives of Privy-Counsellors, and of such as have the same Rank with them: Afterwards the Baronesses, and other Wives, according to the Rank of their Husbands when living, and also after their Deaths while they continue Widows.
The Noblesse [Nobility and Gentry] who have no Offices, and the Captains of the Horse and Foot, and other Persons ecclesiastical and secular, shall hold among themselves the same Rank they did formerly.
To these Regulations all Persons are to conform, on pain of forfeiting the Royal Favour. And if, contrary to all Expectation, any one should, of his own Authority, act or do any thing contrary to this Ordinance, he shall immediately, after being convicted of such Crime, pay a Fine of One thousand Rix-Dollars; and moreover be prosecuted by the King’s Attorney-General, as a Transgressor of His Majesty’s Royal Orders.
Given at Copenhagen, December 31, 1680.
[25. ]“With piety and justice.”
[26. ]“Father of difficulties.”
[27. ]A proverb meaning “to seek a difficulty where there is none.”
[28. ]“This being the way things are.”
[29. ]No editions identify this person.
[30. ]Note in margin: “Hudibras.”
[31. ]This passage appeared in French in the 1694 edition, but it was translated subsequently in the 1738 edition. We have substituted the English version as the main text. For the original French passage, see Appendix 2: “Ordonnance pour les Rangs du Royaume de Danemarck,” p. 361.