Page images

There I found Gjörwell's conversation with Swedenborg, which I translated into English, and sent to Dr. Bayley for publication in the Intellectual Repository. This Mr. Gjörwell had been Royal Librarian, and editor of many learned journals and magazines published during Swedenborg's lifetime and after his death. All these journals contain scattered notices of Swedenborg, of his movements abroad, and of the works he published ; they also record the first notices of the New Church in England and Sweden. I collected a complete set of the periodical literature of Sweden from 1755 to 1790 ; also several works on Swedish literature, in which I found Swedenborg discussed, and also a voluminous work by Fryxell, containing materials for Swedish history, in which Swedenborg's public life is recorded. It is astonishing how much information about Swedenborg and the New Church is contained in books where we least expect to find anything concerning them.

I collected also a complete set of the New Church literature of Sweden, which forms quite a little library by itself. There are some papers of Drs. Beyer and Rosen, of Professor Knös, Dr. Kahl, and Madame Ehrenborg, which are well worth translating into English. .

III. I was particularly anxious to collect all letters written by Swedenborg, or addressed to him, and also all the letters written by his friends, in which he is discussed. I collected sixTY-ONE LETTERS WRITTEN BY SWEDENBORG HIMSELF, without counting the originals of Swedenborg's letters to Dr. Beyer, of which I have the Swedish printed originals, and some of the original letters written by Swedenborg. Four of those letters to Beyer I had already were sold in England. 51 of these 61 letters are addressed by Swedenborg to his brother

in-law, Eric Benzelius. They were written between 1709 and

1726 ; 2 to Carl Jesper Benzelius, son of the former, in 1765 and 1770; 1 to Bishop Filensius, in 1765; 1 to Count Höpken, in 1769; 1 to Count G. Bonde, in 1760; which I translated from Swedish

into English, and sent to Manchester, with directions to have

it inserted in the Intellectual Repository; 1 English letter, without direction, but addressed to some Lordship; 1 to Landsböfding Ribbing, in 1724; 1 without date, on metallurgical subjects ; 2 to C. Nordencrantz.

The letters addressed to Bishops Eric Benzelius, C. F. Benzelius, and Filensius, I discovered in Linköping last week. Some of these letters were copied about twenty years ago for the Swedenborg Association ; but only six or eight of them have ever been published in English, and eleven in Swedish, by Professor Atterbom ; and, finally, an additional paper read by Swedenborg before the Swedish Diet.

In Linköping, I discovered also six letters, addressed by Polheim to Swedenborg, and seven to Eric Benzelius, in which Swedenborg is discussed.

In the collection of Bishop 0. J. Benzelius, there is also a letter from the Swedish traveller Biörnstahl, who had been instructed by the bishop to find out what had become of Swedenborg's books and manuscripts which he left in England—a most interesting letter. There are also two documents, signed by Swedenborg's heirs, about the manuscripts; and a letter from Chr. Johannsen, about the books of Swedenborg that were confiscated in Norrköping. There is also a copy of a letter of Swedenborg to General Tuxen.

In the collection of Eric Benzelius, I found also several letters written by Bishop Jesper Swedberg, and one by his son Jesper, about some family property ; also a letter from Christ. Wolff, in which he gives his estimate of Swedenborg.

All these letters I received permission from the Consistory in Linköping to have removed to Stockholm, in order to have them copied and photolithographed there. The work of copying these letters is now being done by the amanuenses of the Royal Library. And eleven of the letters which are contained in seven volumes, which I promised to return to Linköping within four weeks, I am having photolithographed. The bulk of the letters, however, is in a volume which I received permission to keep out for six months. In this same volume there are also forty-seven longer and shorter papers of Swedenborg's on various subjects, written for the most part before 1725. Some of these, I think, have been copied for the Swedenborg Association.

The letters of Swedenborg to Count G. Bonde and to Mr. Nordencrantz, I found in the collection of letters presented by Professor Bergius (who died in 1785) to the Academy of Sciences. This collection was not to be opened until fifty years after the death of the collector. It fills twenty heavy quarto volumes ; and the seal was removed from them in 1835 ; but the collection had never been consulted before with a view of discovering in it letters of Swedenborg. Besides these three letters written by Swedenborg, which I mentioned

above, it contains the Swedish originals of Swedenborg's letter to the king, and also of that which was addressed to the Swedish Universities. It contains, moreover, copies of the following letters addressed to Swedenborg :

1, containing sworn information about Swedenborg's paternal

ancestors; 1, containing interesting information about his maternal ances

tors; 1, of Baron Hotzel from Rotterdam; 1, of Count G. Bonde, August 7, 1760; 1, of J. F. Henkel, from Freyburg in Saxony, dated October 21,

1, of J. Forskäl, August 27, 1734, asking for a copy of his works

on Mineralogy ;
2, of Tars Benzelstierna, 1739 and 1740;
3, of Eric Benzelius, from 1722 to 1728;
2, of Bishop Swedberg, 1730 and 1731 ;
6, from his brother-in-law Uage, from 1726 to 1736;

2, of Commerzienrath Nordencrantz, in 1761; Also— 1 letter from Bishop Swedberg to his son Jesper, in which he

informs him of his mother's dispositions about her property; 1, from Swedenborg's brother Jesper, in which he asks Emanuel

to give him a sum of money, because he wishes to go to

33 letters from Bishop Swedberg to Canzlei Rath Rosenadler, in

seven of which he discusses his son Emanuel ;
1, from Bishop Swedberg to Queen Ulrica Leonora ;

1, Supplique from the Bishop to King Charles XI. All these letters, which are of the greatest importance to the Church in general, and to Swedenborg's biographer in particular, I had very carefully copied by one of the amanuenses of the Royal Library.

IV: In the years 1724 to 1727, Swedenborg had a lawsuit with his mother's sister, Brita Behm, about some property. This lawsuit, the documents of which cover over 200 pages folio, contains many interesting facts about Swedenborg's family relations, and the sources of his income. It derives also a special interest from the fact that several of the briefs are from Swedenborg's own hand. The papers concerning this lawsuit were exhumed a few weeks ago in the archives of the Royal Court in Stockholm. I engaged the services of one of the

lawyers employed there, to write me an abstract of the case, and to point out those papers written by Swedenborg which are worth preserving.

V. In order to make my stay in Stockholm as useful for the Church as possible, I had photographic copies taken of the two genuine portraits of Swedenborg known to exist in Sweden. These photographs were retouched by competent artists, with the original portraits before them; and from these large photographs I had smaller ones taken for the use of the Church. They are certainly the best pictures of Swedenborg that I have seen.

I am also happy to inform you that a gifted Swedish artist, who lives at present in Moscow, years ago took sketches of all the portraits of Sweden borg which he could find, with a view of reproducing from them Swedenborg as he looked in the best years of his life. After years of patient study, he has at last produced a picture with which he himself is satisfied. It represents Swedenborg dressed for a walk, as he is about leaving his room. The room and furniture are said to be from drawings from the original room and furniture. This picture is the only one that gives us an idea of the whole figure of Swedenborg. The copy which I have is a small photograph taken from a large sketch of the author. It is pronounced a perfect gem of art by all connoisseurs to whom I have shown it. It will make a beautiful steelengraving.

I enclose a copy of the circular which has been sent out by Mr. Klemming, the Royal Librarian, all over Sweden, and which has been .inserted in the Swedish newspapers. In this circular, all those that have any documents about Swedenborg in their possession are called upon to send them to the Royal Library of Sweden, in order that a copy may be taken of them for my use. Several responses have already come in.

Such then are, in brief, the results of my work in Sweden during the last three weeks.

I had intended at first to proceed from Stockholm at once to London, in order to examine the manuscripts which are in your care; but during my visit last week in Linköping, I fell in very unexpectedly with the oldest son of C. T. Nordensköld, who informed me that the letters and books of his father are at present kept by a younger brother of his in Berlin. He says that there are many letters among them from Gen. Tuxen and Director Wadström. Perhaps there are among the books some of the lost manuscripts of Swedenborg. At all events, it is of importance that these letters and books be at once examined. I shall, therefore, proceed from Stockholm to Berlin, and thence by way of Gotha, where our friend, Rev. S. M. Warren is at present, to London. -Yours, &c.


NATURAL SCIENCE. (Extracted from Swedenborg's Spiritual Diary, n. 690-692.) THERE were two who were known to me in their bodily life; the one had been dead about six months, and the other about two. They were as though dreaming, because they were altogether unconscious of their being in the other life, supposing themselves to be still living in the body; with whom having conversed a while, I represented to them that they were now in the other life ; still, neither could they believe it to be so until it was demonstrated to them to their living conviction. They conducted themselves altogether as in the life of the body, and were immersed in similar phantasies.

One of them was learned enough in subjects of an earthly kind, and consequently esteemed in the world. His faith was communicated to me, which, as I could ascertain in a spiritual manner, was of such negative quality as to be altogether nothing, but entirely suffocated by terrestrial sciences, insomuch that he believed not in a life after death, nor in the existence of spirits, and still less in heaven. Thus his faith was buried in sciences.

We conversed together respecting the necessity of the sciences in life, stating that it is only needful to know and to do those things which belong to a true faith, and that other things are comparatively worthless. Thus, although the latter may be added withal, yet they must not be made to comprise the all or the chief of use.

Moreover, I was permitted to tell them what life awaits them, saying that they are first received into the company of good spirits, who gladly receive recent souls, but when they cannot agree with them, on account of the inverted order of their faith, they then separate from them, as of their own accord, and are again received into the society of other spirits ; and if they do not agree with them, they are also rejected by them, and are afterwards associated with spirits who are not good ; and when they are rejected by them it is with fines and punishments. At length they are left alone, and they

« PreviousContinue »