Carl Gustaf Nordin - Encyclopedia

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CARL GUSTAF NORDIN (1749-1812), Swedish statesman, historian and ecclesiastic. In 1774 he was made docent of Gothic antiquities at Upsala University in consequence of his remarkable treatise, Monumenta svia-golhica vetustioris aevi falso meritoque suspecta. Summoned to Stockholm in 1782 by Gustavus III. to edit a Swedish Corpus diplomaticum, half an hour's private conversation with the young priest convinced Gustavus that Nordin's proper place was by his side in the political arena. But he employed Nordin quite differently from his episcopal colleague Olaf Wallqvist. While the bishop publicly defended the royal measures, Nordin became the king's private adviser. In politics Nordin was a royalist from pure conviction. To him a parliament seemed little better than a mob. He was one of the king's secret managers during the troublesome and dangerous riksdag of 1789, but advised caution and compared the estate of clergy, which at one time held the balance between the jarring orders, to ice which might be walked upon but could not be driven over. He was appointed a member of an ecclesiastical commission for reforming the church in 1787, in which capacity he was virtually minister of public worship. In 1791-1792 he became a leading member of the financial and general committees of the riksdag. After the king's death Nordin shared in the general disgrace of the Gustavians and lived in retirement at the little town of Hernesand, where he held the post of lector at the gymnasium. But he reappeared prominently on the political scene during the riksdag of 1800, and in 1805 was consecrated bishop of Hernosand. Though he lacked the brilliant qualities of his rival Wallqvist, Nordin had the same alertness and penetration, and was infinitely more stable and disinterested. One of the most learned men of his day, he devoted his spare time to history, and discovered that many of the oldest and most cherished Scandinavian MSS. were clever forgeries. Like Jean Hardouin he got to believe that a great deal of what is called classical literature was compiled by anonymous authors at a much later date, and he used frequently to startle his colleagues, the Gustavian academicians, by his audacious paradoxes.

He left behind him a colossal collection of MSS., the so-called Nordinska Samlingarna, which were purchased and presented to Upsala university by Charles XIV. and form the groundwork of the well-known Scriptores rerum Suecicarum medii aevi. Nordin published during his lifetime Handlingar till uplysning of svenska krigshistorien (Stockholm, 1787-1788). His academical addresses came out at Stockholm in 1818 under the title Minnen ofver namnkunniga svenska man. His Dagbok did not appear till 1868.

See Sveriges historia (Stockholm, 1877, &c.), vol. v.; C. T. Odhner, Sveriges politiska historia under Gustaf III.'s regering (Stockholm, 1885, &c.); R. N. Bain, Gustavus III. vol. 2 (London, 1896).

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