The Danish Peace Academy
Holger Terp: Danish Peace History
Working paper 1
Denmark-Norway during the dictatorship of the kings 1660-1849
The ruling system of absolutism created from 1660 to 1849 a perverse system of oppression against the unpropertied persons, culminating with the adscription (registration of and forced labour of villeinages) in 1701.
To learn about the absolute society I am dependent on archival references of the administration of agricultural history, development of law & order and punishment, legal history and the history of taxation. Taxation could show the interaction between the military burden, taxes and protests against them
Denmark was a farming country then. Browsing in the encyclopaedic “Handbook for Danish local historians42“ gave the article Hartkorn, a Danish unit for land valuation and the key words and the reference needed were given. The key words are: portion money43, cavalry money44, march money45, food tax46, all taxes that were part of the military burden. The reference is from Nielsen and Thalbitzer’s jubilee publication “Tax and tax administration in older times47“. It was the first breakthrough. The two tax historians wrote that by the time of the great Nordic war 1701-1720, the navy had to be rearmed and an expensive system of conscripted soldiers was introduced: “The share of military burden in the total state budget was so great, that changes in the military areas marked the total account (of public expenses). The preponderance of the military expenses of wars, armaments and changes in the military policy thus greatly influenced the states finances and was quickly manifested in the tax policy48“. And because it was the history of tax and tax administration, the different military related taxes and the protests against them was easy to find and prove; as the connection between tax administration and conscription also is the subject of the important philosophical doctor’s thesis “Great Landowner and Public Administrator” of the archivist Birgit Løgstrup.
Law & order and punishment would possible show non book printed protests especially regarding to the military, conscription and desertion. By 1701 a complex detailed adscription conscript registration system was enforced wherewith the agricultural workers became slaves of the landowners. The only time off was during military service49. Historian Finn Stendal Pedersen connects again the conscription register to the landowners from 1733 to 1793, when conscription was taken over by the military50, resulting a growing number of complains to the Danish Chancellery. This had been possible from 1687. By 1785 there were 5086 complaints. In 1795, 9546 according to the research by Michael Bregnsbo. The files of Danish Chancellery is a new source to complains about enlistment and conscription51.
By the year 2000 Tyge Krogh was able to publish his second major empirical based thesis, “The Enlightenment and the magical : Executions and corporal punishments in Denmark in the first half of the 18th century52“. Krogh analyses criminal cases 1719 to 1756 presented to military courts covered by the Provincial court of Zealand. Krogh even has a database of military criminal cases53! Soldiers drafted collectively. The military historian Niels Friis wrote, that as late as July 21, 1783, 37 soldiers deserted, “possibly at the same time”54. Now the pacific desertion cases and protests against conscription should be easy to record in the period up to the Danish constitution of 1849.
Birgit Løgstrup proves in 1986 that general protests, disobedience, strikes and even civil disobedience, like boycotts was possible for the peasants, at least from 178155.
Birgit Løgstrup analyses in her thesis some of the conscientious objector cases: refusal to engagement up to 174156, bribery57, complaints to the supreme court and the king58, deserting from the land owners59, refusal of church confirmation and communication to 177760, marriage, employment in towns61 and skilled employment as in the case of the musician Olle Larsen Esch (after 1755) etc. In a later volume “Bound to the Earth”, Birgit Løgstrup also describes immigration by conscientious objectors62 and self mangling is seen as late as 184663.
It should be kept in mind, that these learned historians only researched local cases and that similar research has to be completed in the rest of Denmark.
Conscription to the navy during time of war there have always been in Denmark, by 1688-1689 the admirality introduced conscription i peace time for sailors, doctors and trumpeters with little succes. By 1705 the navy tried again by forcing persons who wanted to become sailors to enlist with the result, that during the great Nordic war there were so many deserter cases, that the conscription system nearly broke down. The sailors emigrated to foreign countries. By 1722 the admirality by itselves gave quater to the sailors, shows a new study by Claus Rafner.
According to the Record Office's Militære fondsregnskaber, the army and navy departments established 1790-1871 funds by which salaries and pensions could be paid or supplemented. The income from those funds came from fines and fees from failing to appear at the session.
The intelligence work of the police began on May tenth 1780, according to the historian Kenn Tarbesen64. The police intelligence should “control and put social clubs under surveillance”.
During the Napoleoni wars there was a rebellion in the Norwegian valley Lejrdalen or Lerdalen against conscription in January 1802. Also there was a similar rebellion in the island Karmø near the Norwegian town of Stavanger. The people in Lejr-dalen meet at the draft and was registered, but did not report for service in the army. An armed military expedition was sent from Denmark to the dale, and the citizens gave in; but formed only a light company with the explanation, that none of them “could ski”65.
After the battle and terror bombardment of Copenhagen 1807, Danish and Norwegian prisoners of war were imprisoned in English prison ships (an early form of concentration camps) up to 1814, when they were released. Some of the imprisoned Norwegian sailors became Quakers and established Quaker communities in Norway, which came under Swedish rule after the Napoleoni wars66. The British imprisonment policy during the Napoleoni wars needs attention, regarding the prisoners of war from countries other than Denmark and Norway.
In 1841 the Quaker Elizabeth Fry and her brother Joseph John Gurney visited Copenhagen, where they had talks with the king, recommending him to abolish slavery in the Danish West Indies Islands67.
42 Håndbog for danske lokalhistorikere
1952-1956 ; reprinted 1965.
46 Fourageskat, madskat.
47 Nielsen, Helge: Skatter og Skatteforvaltning i ældre Tider / Helge Nielsen ; Victor Thalbitzer, 1948. Reprinted 1976. Another good historical research introduction to the history of Denmark in the 17th. and 18th centuries is the Handbook in Genealogy / Håndbog i Slægtsforskning by Albert Fabritius ; Harald Haat. 1963. Reprinted 1982.
Løgstrup, Birgit: Jorddrot og offentlig administrator : Godsejerstyret inden for skatte- og udskrivningsvæsnet i det 18. århundrede, 1983.
48 Nielsen and Thalbitzer p. 25.
49 Krogh, Tyge: Staten og de besiddelsesløse på landet 1500-1800. Odense, 1987.
50 Stendal Pedersen, Finn: Den ulige frihed : Studier i myten om stavnsbåndsløsningens betydning. Odense, 1990 pp. 48-51.
51 Bregnsbo, Michael: Søens folk skriver til kongen. In: Søfart politik identitet tilegnet Ole Feldbæk, 1996 pp. 163-173.
52 Krogh, Tyge: Oplysningstiden og det magiske : Henrettelser og korporlige straffe i 1700-tallets første halvdel, 2000. – 608 pp.
53 Ibid.: Landmilitære straffesager i Sjællandsfar Landstings område m. fl. (1722) 1728-56. pp. 454-514.
54 Deserters were guilty in two crimes: perjure and desertion. Friis, Niels: Slesvigske Fodregiment i Krig og Fred. Haderslev, 1953 p. 37.
55 Løgstrup, Birgit: Bondeprotester på Lynderupgård 1781-1802. In: Protest og oprør. 1986 pp. 11-45. See also:
Lind, Gunnar: Udskrivning og magt i det gamle danske landbosamfund. In: Mark og menneske : Studier i Danmarks historie 1500-1800 tilegnet Karl Erik Frandsen / ed Claus Bjørn ; Benedicte Fonnesbech-Wulff, - Ebeltoft, 2000.
Rafner, Claus: Flådeudskrivningen under den ældre enevælde : Bidrag til det sømilitære udskrivningsvæsens historie. In: Søfart Politik Identitet tilegent Ole Feldbæk / ed. Hans Jeppesen et al. Helsingør : Handels og Søfartsmuseet på Kronborg, 1996 ; Søhistoriske skrifter XIX.
Struwe, Lars B.: Soldater er også mennesker : Om forskningen i dansk 1700-tals militærhistorie og New Military History. I: Historisk Tidsskrift, 2003:2 s. 384-403.
56 Gårdfæstenægtere. Løgstrup, Birgit: Jorddrot og offentlig administrator p. 265.
57 Ibid. p. 275.
58 Ibid. pp. 278-279.
59 Ibid. p. 301.
60 Kassation p. g. a. ”ej konfirmeret”. Ibid. p. 301
61 Ibid. p. 300.
62 Løgstrup, Birgit: Bundet til jorden : Stavnsbåndet i praksis 1733-1788. 1987. p. 173.
63 Index finger missing. Thorsteinsson, Hjalmar: Sessionen i historisk perspektiv. Forsvarets Sundhedstjeneste, 1997 p. 63.
64 Politiets Efterretningstjeneste. Terp, Holger: Noter om de danske efterretningstjenesters historie. In: Elsk-værdig sikkerhed, 1998, Vol. II supplement 14.
65 Reventlow, C. D.: Betænkning om Den nationale Hærreform og Forsvarssagens øvrige Udvikling i Perioden Oktober 1801-Juni 1803. In: Meddelelser fra Krigsarkiverne, 1883 pp. 289-290.
66 Here Norway disappears in my article. London Meeting for Sufferings: Minutes 1807-1814. The archives of London Yearly Meeting (now Britain Yearly Meeting), including the minutes and other records of the Meeting for Sufferings are housed in Friends House in London. Friends Historical Library has microfilm of the minutes as well as microfilm of other records of London/Britain Yearly Meeting.
Roos, Carl: Prisonen : Danske og norske krigsfanger 1807-1814, 1954. - 233 pp.
67 Alexander, G. W.: Om den moralske Forpligtigelse til og det Hensigtsmæssige af Strax og fuldstændigt at ophæve Slaveriet i de dansk-vestindiske Kolonier. Studenterforeningen, 1843. - 27 pp.
Friis, Finn: Christian den Ottendes og Caroline Amalies forbindelser med Elisabeth Fry og andre kvækere. In: Kirkehistoriske Samlinger 1975 pp. 109-143.