Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter xii: The Disposition and Inclinations of the King of Denmark towards his Neighbours - An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor
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chapter xii: The Disposition and Inclinations of the King of Denmark towards his Neighbours - 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).
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The Disposition and Inclinations of the King of Denmark towards his Neighbours
The Kingdoms and States which border upon the King of Denmark, are towards the North and Northeast, the Territories belonging to Sweden; towards the South, the Duke of Holstein’s part of Sleswick and Holstein, the City of Hamburg, and the Dutchy of Bremen. Towards the West and Southwest, England, and Scotland; which are separated from them by the main Ocean. Towards the South-east the Dukedoms of Saxe Lawenburg, of Mecklenburg and of Lunenburg. The Dominions of Brandenburgh, etc. lye also this way not far distant from them.
Between the King of Denmark, and most of these Neighbours, it may be said in general, that there always is a reciprocal Jealousy and Distrust, which often breaks out into open Hostilities; with those nearer more frequently, with the remoter more seldom, according as the occasions of quarrel or revenge do happen.32
The interposition of a vast Ocean has hitherto kept the Danes in pretty good terms with England and Scotland, and the Trade they have with those Kingdoms is very considerable to them; their Maritime Forces are in no measure sufficient to cope with us and others concern’d, otherwise they have had a good mind to challenge the sole right of the Groenland Whale-fishing; as pretending that Country to be a discovery of theirs, and therefore to belong to them.
Since the present Wars with France, and our strict Union with the Hollanders, they have shown themselves extreme jealous of our Greatness at Sea, fearing lest we should ingross and command the whole Trade of the World; and therefore have favoured France on all occasions, as much as they durst, furnishing it with Naval Stores, and other Commodities which it wants. And for this reason (notwithstanding their scarcity of Money) they will hardly be persuaded either to lend or sell any more Forces to the Confederates. Neither is it to be doubted, but that as well to keep the balance of the Sea Power even, as to secure the liberty of their Commerce, which brings them in great Gains, they will leave no Stone unturned to do us a Mischief, in order to humble us to such a degree as may put them out of fears, that we shall give law to the Ocean. To this end they have entered into stricter Alliances with Sweden of late, for a mutual Vindication of open Commerce, than the natural Animosities between those Northern Crowns did seem to admit of; but the present apparent necessity of restraining within Bounds our growing united Power at Sea, works more prevalently with them both, than the ancient hatred which they retain for each other; and which may break out again, as soon as they are out of fear of us.33
For Sweden is the most powerful, most dreaded, and nearest Neighbour of Denmark; the Territories of that King lye as it were at the Gates of Copenhagen, the Capital City, and may be seen from the very Bedchamber of this King, ever since the Danes lost three of their best Provinces on the other side the Baltick; so that as well the Resentment of past Injuries, as the dread of future Mischiefs from the greatness of Sweden on the one side; the consciousness of being violent possessors of another’s Right, the certainty of their being hated and envied for those Acquisitions, the fear of losing them in case Denmark grow powerful on the other, are unsur-mountable Obstacles to any firm Friendship between these two Crowns. The ancient Quarrel, like a Wound ill healed, is but skinned over, and festers at the bottom, although our equally disobliging them in the interruption of their Traffick, has made a greater step towards their mutual Reconciliation, than was thought to be practicable. But whenever we please to caress the one at the expense of the other, this seeming Knot will discover the weakness of its contexture, and probably dissolve of it self.
Neither is the Alliance by the King of Sweden’s having married the other’s Sister,34 of any moment towards a good Correspondence, but rather the contrary. The King of Sweden, though a very virtuous Prince, shews coldness and indifference enough (upon this account, as it is thought) towards his Queen, who is a very accomplished Princess; and either has, or thinks he has reason to avoid a further Matrimonial Tye with the Dane: therefore he chose rather to Contract his only Daughter with the young Prince of Holstein Gottorp, whose Estates are in a manner wasted and ruined, than with the Prince Royal of Denmark; for having but one Son, in case of whose death this Daughter would be Heiress of his Crown, he thinks it not prudence to leave it to so near a hazard and probability, that the Dane may be one day Master of both Kingdoms.
Upon the Foundation of this mutual Jealousy, are built the Friendships and Enmities which each of them (but especially Denmark) have with most of their other Neighbours, and the rest of the German Princes. And upon this account it is principally that the Animosity is so great between this Crown and the Princes of Lunenburg;35 with whom, on the contrary, the Swede has always kept a good Correspondence, that upon occasion of any Attack made on his Territories in the Circle of Lower Saxony, or in Pomerania, (which are looked upon by the rest of the German Princes with an evil Eye) he may secure to himself the Assistance of that powerful Family against the Dane or Brandenburger; therefore the neighbourhood of the Lunenburg Princes will always be grievous to, and suspected by Denmark, which will obstruct by all means it can, the Accessions either of Territories or Honours to that Family. So that it is not to be supposed that the Dane will quietly sit down with the Duke of Zell’s thrusting himself into the possession of the Dutchy of Saxe Lawenburg, which borders immediately upon Holstein; nor with the determination of the Imperial Diet in favour of the Ninth Electorate conferred on the Duke of Hannover. On the other hand it is thought that the Swede, in order to the further curbing of Denmark, will uphold the Lunenburg Family in its Acquisitions; in the matter of the Electorate openly and aboveboard; in the other of Saxe Lawenburg secretly, because of the invalidity of the Title of that Family to that Dutchy; which seems to be no longer good than it can be maintained by force or connivance.
The Princes of Lunenburg have also hitherto seconded the Swedes Intentions, in being the Guardians of Hamburg,36 upon which City the King of Denmark casts a longing Look, and has made frequent Attempts. His pretensions to it as part of his Dutchy of Holstein, are none of the weakest, but his Arms and Councils in order to the Reduction of it under his Power, have been unsuccessful. He encourages his new Town of Altena (which is built close under its Walls) as a Rival, and which one day may be a curb to it. And in truth, this rich City has great reason to be jealous of such a Neighbour, whose chiefest Ambition is to destroy its Liberty, and render himself its Master. But the Duke of Zell (whose Territories lye next) has always some Forces posted near enough to prevent the King of Denmark’s Designs upon it; therefore this City pays a great deal of respect to those Princes, whom it looks on as its best Protectors. With the other German Princes it keeps also as good a Correspondence as possible; and they on their part shew an affection to the Liberty of that City, the Reduction of which, under the Power of the Danes, would be extremely inconvenient to them, as well upon the score of the Trade of great part of Germany, whereof it is the Seat and Principal Mart by its convenient Situation on the River Elb; as upon the score of the great Addition such a Conquest would make to the Power of the Danes; who are usually ill Neighbours when they are weak, but would be insupportable were their Force proportionable to their Inclinations.
Nor would the Brandenburgers37 wish that this City, or the Town of Lubeck, should have any Master, but would endeavour to their utmost to frustrate Attempts upon them, and yet the Elector of Brandenburg is esteemed the firmest Ally the King of Denmark has; for their common interest to prevent the Greatness of the Swedes, (whereof they are equally jealous and fearful) unites these two Princes stronger than any tie of Blood could do. The Ducal Prussia, and that part of Pomerania which belongs to Brandenburg, lies open to the Swedes; and the least transport of Forces from Sweden to Germany side of the Baltick gives a terrible Alarm to all the Neighbours. They cannot forget the strange Successes of Gustavus Adolphus, nor the Encroachments of Sweden in the late Wars; neither can they be otherwise persuaded, but that there is always impending danger of the like Attempts from the same Nation, abounding in Soldiers, and ruled by a frugal, diligent, and active young King. So that, as I said before, their common danger makes them strangely concur in this design of keeping the Swede within his due Bounds, although in other matters some disagreement may happen between them; as may be more particularly instanced in the Affair of St. Thomas’s Island, and in the Branden-Burgers endeavours to force the Dane to a Restitution of the Duke of Holstein Gottorp to his Country; which was so happily accomplished by his Majesty of Great Britain, the very first year of his Exaltation to the Throne.
The Duke of Holstein Gottorp (whom I have purposely mentioned last of those Princes that confine with Denmark, that I may have an opportunity to speak more amply concerning his Case) is nearly related to the King of Denmark, both by Consanguinity and Affinity. They are of the same Family of Oldenburg; the Ancestor of the present Duke refused the Kingdom of Denmark, in favour of the Ancestor of the King; whom he recommended to the Peoples Election. This Duke is married to the King’s Sister, by whom he has Issue a very hopeful Prince; his Territories are intermixt both in Sleswick and Holstein with the King’s, but much to his disquiet and inconvenience; for Ambition knows no bounds, especially when joined with Power sufficient to oppress a weak Opponent. The King thought it for his Interest (and that is esteemed reason enough with most Princes) to be Master of the whole Country; which the Duke being sensible of, and convinced that the first convenient opportunity would be taken to dispossess him, to secure himself, cultivated as strong a Friendship as he could with the King of Sweden his Brother in-Law, and one who upon many accounts was bound to hinder the Greatness of the Danes. Yet this Confederacy reached no farther, nor was ever intended to be made use of by the Duke otherwise than as a Defensive Guard, the Reputation whereof might possibly shelter him from Oppression. For the Duke was of himself much too weak to oppose the King, and the Succours of the Swede too far distant to frustrate a sudden Attempt, to which he lay constantly exposed. But in regard that at long run this Alliance would stand him in greatest stead (as he has found by Experience) it was always most carefully cherished and maintained on the Duke’s part, and no less on the King’s, who did, and ever will think it of great advantage to him to uphold the Duke of Holstein in his lawful Rights; and no less detrimental to his Enemy; this Duke being the severest Thorn in the Foot of the King of Denmark, and the greatest Mortification to him that can possibly be imagined; who now of a near Kinsman and Brother, by his ill usage has made an utter Enemy, that (notwithstanding the present Composure of Differences) can neither trust him, nor be trusted by him. For the better understanding of which it will not be amiss in another Chapter to give a short account of the Proceedings in that whole Matter.
[32. ]Note in margin: “England.”
[33. ]Note in margin: “Sweden.”
[34. ]Note in margin: “Quae apud concordes vincula caritatis, incitamenta irarum apud infensos erant. Tacit.” Translation: “What are bonds of love between united hearts, became with bitter foes incentives to fury.” Tacitus, Annals, bk. 1, chap. 55.
[35. ]Note in margin: “Duke of Lunenburg.”
[36. ]Note in margin: “Hamburg.”
[37. ]Note in margin: “Brandenburg.”