SKYTTE, BENGT [SSNE 4842]

Surname
SKYTTE, SKITE
First name
BENGT, BENEDICT
Title/rank
BARON OF DUDEROFF
Nationality
SCOT and SWEDISH
Region
STOCKHOLM
Social status
NOBILITY

Text source

Bengt Skytte was the son of Johan Skytte [SSNE 4754] and Margaret Neave [SSNE 6272] and is listed here as a Scot since his mother was a Scot. He was born in Stockholm 30 September 1614. At the age of ten he was registered at Uppsala University. Five years later, in 1629 he accompanied James Spens [SSNE 1642] to the Stuart Court in London where he was knighted by Charles I. In October of 1629 he was in Leiden however as the university records noted that Benedict Skytte participated in a theological discussion there. In London in 1632 he received an account of the battle of Nurnburg in August 1632 from his brother John who took part in the battle. This letter was used by the author of the Swedish Intelligencer. Thereafter he studied in Dorpat before becoming a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Queen Christina in 1633. In 1636 he married baroness Christina Sparre, who died in 1669. They had two children: Maria of Gronso (1667-1703) and Hedvig (d.1668). He became Kammarråd (a councillor in the treasury) in 1639 and landshövding [regional governor] in Uppsala in 1646 and the same in Stockholm the following year and which he retained until 1649. He had been put forward to be Swedish consul in Edinburgh in 1643, but Hugh Mowatt [SSNE 800] was appointed instead. Bengt joined the Riksdag in 1648 and became Chancellor of Dorpat University the same year (he took over from his brother Jacob). He was a great supporter of Karl Gustav and promoted him as successor to Queen Kristina. He also received promotion to become Governor of Estonia in 1655. That same year, Skytte became one of the signatories at the treaty of Kedainiai in Lithuania which saw Lithuania withdraw from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and confederate with Sweden. During 1658-1659, Skytte apparently lived in London as a private person, during which time he maintained a regular correspondence with King Karl X. By late April 1659 he appeared unimpressed with England's support for Sweden, stating that whether ruled by kings or protectors, England's assistance against Denmark was only ever verbal. He returned to Sweden in spring 1661. Later, he was chosen to be the Swedish legate in France and Germany between 1663 and 1664, although he did not return to Sweden until 1676. During this period he remarried, to Eva Mörner. He retired soon after and died in Stockholm before 20 July 1683. Skytte was an associate of Leibniz whom he met in 1667 in Frankfurt. He is supposed to have influenced him through his Rosicrucian associations, kabbalistic studies and interest in alchemy. He has also been linked with Samuel Hartlib and the notion of Antilia so admired by Samuel Hartlib, though not yet with Freemasonry. However, Skytte did have ambitions to build a Temple of Wisdom (proposed to the future founders of the Royal Society in London) and a Temple of Knowledge while in Berlin. These were to be trans-religious in character. Leibniz hoped to collect and publish Bengt's papers after his death, but most were apparently destroyed by fire

The Swedish Intelligencer: The Third Part (London, 1633), p.46; Stockholm Riksarkiv, Anglica II, vol.32 (Skytte in London), Riksradet Bengt Skyttes bref till Kongl Majt 1659; Svenske Sändebuds till Utländske Hof och Deras Sändebud till Sverige, 1841, p.78; S. Tunberg, et al. Den Svenska Utrikes Forvaltningens Historia, (Uppsala, 1935), p. 77; G. Elgenstierna, Svenska Adelns Ättartavlor, VII, pp.319-320; Johan Kileberg (ed.), Svenska Ämbetsverk, Del. VI:I Kammarkollegium 1634-1718 (Norrköping, 1957), pp.51-52; C. Gartz, Äreminne, öfver Riks-Rådet Johan Skytte, Friherre til Duderhoff, Herre til Grönsjö och Elfvesjö; Hvilket vunnit accessit den 20 Marii 1786", Svenska Vitterhets-Academiens Handlingar, del 5, (Stockholm, 1788), pp.116-7; Svenska Män och Kvinnor, vol.7, p.94; M. K. Scuchard "Leibniz, Benzelius, and the Kabbalistic Roots of Swedish Illuminism" in A. P. Coudert et al (eds), Leibniz, Mysticism and Religion (Dordrecht, 1998), pp.88-89; P.C. Molhuysen, Bronnen tot de geschiedenis der leidsche universiteit, ('S Gravenhage, 1916), II, p.127, 143.

Service record

SWEDEN, UPPSALA
Arrived 1624-01-01
Departed 1627-12-31
Capacity STUDENT, purpose ACADEMIC
SWEDEN, STUART COURT, LONDON
Arrived 1629-03-31
Departed 1632-08-30
Capacity DIPLOMAT, purpose DIPLOMACY
SWEDEN, STOCKHOLM
Arrived 1633-01-01, as GENTLEMAN OF THE BEDCHAMBER
Departed 1648-12-31, as RIGSRAD
Capacity ROYAL SERVICE, CIVIC, purpose ROYAL SERVICE, CIVIC
SWEDEN, DORPAT, GERMANY
Arrived 1648-01-01
Departed 1654-12-31
Capacity UNIVERSITY CHANCELLOR, purpose ACADEMIC
SWEDEN, ESTONIA
Arrived 1655-01-01
Departed 1660-12-31
Capacity GOVERNOR, purpose MILITARY, CIVIC
SWEDEN-LITHUANIA, KEDAINIAI, KEDANY
Arrived 1655-07-01
Departed 1656-12-31
Capacity AMBASSADOR, purpose DIPLOMACY
SWEDEN, LONDON
Arrived 1659-01-01
Departed 1659-12-31
Purpose MISC.
SWEDEN, GERMANY
Arrived 1663-01-01
Departed 1664-12-31
Capacity AMBASSADOR, purpose DIPLOMACY