Ditlev Gothard Monrad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ditlev Gothard Monrad
Ditlev Gothard Monrad.jpg
Council President of Denmark
In office
31 December 1863 – 11 July 1864
Monarch Christian IX
Preceded by Carl Christian Hall
Succeeded by Christian Albrecht Bluhme
Personal details
Born (1811-11-24)24 November 1811
Copenhagen
Died 28 March 1887(1887-03-28) (aged 75)
Nykøbing Falster
Political party National Liberal Party

Ditlev Gothard Monrad (24 November 1811 – 28 March 1887) was a Danish politician and bishop, a founding father of Danish constitutional democracy in 1848-49 but also led the country in its huge defeat during the Second Schleswig War of 1864. Later, he became a New Zealand pioneer before returning to Denmark to become a bishop and politician once more.

Monrad's father, Otto Sommer Monrad, an attorney, suffered from mental illness, and spent some years in institutions; he died in 1863. From time to time Monrad was himself on the brink of, or had, emotional breakdowns.[1]

Monrad studied theology, learned Semitic and Persian languages, and became a Lutheran priest, while beginning to participate in politics.[2] He became a co-editor of the national liberal publication, Fædrelandet, in 1840, was a leading figure in the National Liberal Party and spearheaded the movement towards a constitutional Denmark. Monrad wrote the draft to the liberal 1849 Constitution of Denmark, with structure and many phrases similar to the current. In it he coined the term 'people's church'. The constitution was quite democratic for its time; largely a result of the political and philosophical positions formulated by Monrad.[3]

Monrad became the first Minister of School and Church Affairs ("Kultus") in 1848; he held the same position in 1859 as well as 1860-63. He was also Minister of the Interior 1860-61. He was a bishop of the Lolland–Falster diocese 1849-54, and a member of Parliament 1849-65. He was a permanent secretary in the department of "kultus" 1855-59.[4]

With war approaching, Monrad was the only National Liberal leader ready to form a government after the resignation of Monrad's rival, Hall, due to disagreement with Christian IX.[5] As Council President (1863-1864), Monrad was the Danish state leader during the early part of Second Schleswig War, against the German Confederation led by Otto von Bismarck. With none of the other National Liberal bigwigs wanting to continue in office, Monrad became the most, arguably often the only, important figure for cabinet decision making. Yet, at critical moments during the war, Monrad was indecisive. Thus, during an armistice, he let the king decide on a peace proposal at the London Conference to divide Schleswig approximately along the language line between majorities of Danish and German speakers (see also the Schleswig-Holstein Question).[6] The king, who held an unrealistic hope to maintain a personal union with the duchies, rejected, the conference ended with no result, and war resumed resulting in further military defeat. Next, the king dismissed Monrad and his government.[5] The Peace of Vienna resulted in loss of lots of territory for the monarchy, including almost all of Schleswig. Denmark got relegated to a minor power.[6] In what was labelled his speech of madness Monrad in parliament spoke for continued resistance and against ratifying the peace treaty even if it would look like 'madness'.[1]

Following the war, a depressed and disillusioned Monrad emigrated to New Zealand. After sending his sons to Nelson and other districts of New Zealand to scout for land, he chose to settle in Palmerston North in the North Island of New Zealand. He bought 482 acres (1.95 km2) of land at Karere Block. He first lived in a small hut and then erected a timber house and started clearing bushland. He and his family farmed cows and sheep.

Monrad helped the New Zealand Company to find suitable settlers from Scandinavia and helped many Danish immigrants find land to settle on, most notably in the area of Dannevirke. His work was disturbed by Māori rioters, members of the Hauhau cult under Chief Titokowaru. Monrad buried his belongings and went with the family to Wellington and then went back to Denmark in 1869. His sons Viggo and Johannes later returned to Karere to become farmers.

Before leaving New Zealand, he presented to New Zealand's Colonial Museum a collection of 600 woodcuts, etchings and engravings by European Old Masters, including Rembrandt, Hollar, Albrecht Dürer and van Dyck. They are now part of the collection at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa where examples often feature in temporary exhibitions. Monrad Intermediate is a Palmerston North intermediate school named after Monrad.

After his return Monrad again became bishop of the Lolland-Falster diocese from 1871 until his death. He also again began became a member of parliament 1882-1886. Now, he publicly promoted the original and more liberal 1849 constitution against the conservative revision of 1866. His sharp mind and sense of the public mood was still feared by his opponents.[3] He also defended himself against condemnations for the 1864 defeat while he acknowledged personal responsibility for the poor conduct and result of the peace negotiations.[7]

Monrad published throughout most of his life about political and religious matters.[8] His book from 1876 about prayer is still cited and used in religious practice and got translated into four languages, including English.[9]

Monrad was respected for his intellect and industriousness.[1] His both theoretical and practical interest in political and ecclesiastical matters had a huge and lasting impact, primarily through the constitution but also a number of legal reforms showing him as an able politician and administrator. Yet, he showed himself an erratic political leader during the 1864 war ending in disastrous defeat.[5] Ever since, Monrad's legacy was split between these extremes.[8] The historian Aage Friis characterized Monrad as 'one of the most outstanding but at the same time most enigmatic characters in modern Danish history, and the most difficult person to portray'.[1]

There is a debate on whether Monrad's mental state affected his decision-making during the war, in particular dismissing the supreme commander and the break-up of the London Conference.[1] In the 1864 (TV series) Monrad is portrayed as a maniac nationalist. Other historians point out the high complexity of the situation, the absence in cabinet of other experienced ministers, including the other National Liberal leaders who had made the important decision leading up to the war and ignited the nationalistic public mood but now leaving Monrad to himself, the opinion and dynastic position of the new king, the mixed messages of other European powers, as well as how formidable Bismarck was as an opponent with a distinct cause for winning a war as a stepping stone towards German unification.[6] A learned society for promoting knowledge about Monrad exists since 2012 founded by his successor as bishop of Lolland-Falster.[10]

Political offices
Preceded by
New office
Kultus Minister of Denmark
22 March 1848 – 15 November 1848
Succeeded by
Johan Nicolai Madvig
Preceded by
Carl Christian Hall
Kultus Minister of Denmark
6 May 1859 – 2 December 1859
Succeeded by
Vilhem August Borgen
Preceded by
Vilhelm August Borgen
Kultus Minister of Denmark
24 February 1860 - 31 December 1863
Succeeded by
Christian Thorning Engelstoft
Preceded by
Johan Christian von Jessen
Interior Minister of Denmark
24 February 1860 – 15 September 1861
Succeeded by
Peter Martin Orla Lehmann
Preceded by
Carl Christian Hall
Council President of Denmark
31 December 1863 – 11 July 1864
Succeeded by
Christian Albrecht Bluhme
Preceded by
Carl Emil Fenger
Finance Minister of Denmark
31 December 1863 – 11 July 1864
Succeeded by
Christian Nathan David
Preceded by
Carl Christian Hall
Foreign Minister of Denmark
31 December 1863 – 8 January 1864
Succeeded by
George Quaade
Preceded by
Carl Christian Hall
Minister for Holstein and Lauenburg
31 December 1863 – 11 July 1864
Succeeded by
Christian Albrecht Bluhme

Literature[edit]

  • Claus Bjørn and Carsten Due-Nielsen, Fra helstat til nationalstat 1814-1914. Dansk udenrigspolitisk historie. 2. udgave, København, Gyldendal. 2006. ISBN 978-87-02-04975-6.
  • D. G. Monrad: The World of Prayer; or, Prayer in relation to personal religion. Translated from the fourth German edition by J.S. Banks. London 1879, 239 pages. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark [Danish original 1876]. https://archive.org/stream/worldofprayerorp00monr#page/n1/mode/2up
  • G.C. Petersen, D.G. Monrad : Scholar, statesman, priest and New Zealand pioneer and his New Zealand descendants, Kerslake, Billens & Humphrey. 1965.
  • Johan Schioldann-Nielsen, The life of D.G. Monrad (1811-1887) : manic-depressive disorder and political leadership, Odense University Press, 1988. ISBN 87-7492-668-3.
  • Kaare R. Skou, Land at lede, København, Lindhardt og Ringhof. 2008. ISBN 978-87-11-31059-5.
  • Svend Thorsen, De danske ministerier 1848-1901, København, Pensionsforsikringsanstalten. 1967.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Johann Schioldann-Nielsen, "Prime Minister D. G. Monrad: manic-depressive disorder and political leadership", History of Psychiatry, March 1996 7: 063-90. Accessed 15 February 2016
  2. ^ Britannica. Accessed 2 June 2015
  3. ^ a b Kaare R. Skou, Land at lede, København, Lindhardt og Ringhof. 2008.
  4. ^ Nicholas Hope, German and Scandinavian Protestantism 1700-1918. Clarendon Press, 1995. p 469. Accessed 15 February 2016
  5. ^ a b c Svend Thorsen, De danske ministerier 1848-1901, København, Pensionsforsikringsanstalten. 1967.
  6. ^ a b c Claus Bjørn and Carsten Due-Nielsen, Fra helstat til nationalstat 1814-1914. Dansk udenrigspolitisk historie, København, Gyldendal. 2006.
  7. ^ Monrad's newsletter defence in 1870 on the London conference. Accessed 11 February 2018
  8. ^ a b Bibliography for D. G. Monrad. Accessed 12 February 2018
  9. ^ Skovsgaard on prayer. Accessed 11 February 2018
  10. ^ Monradselskabet. Accessed 11 February 2018

External links[edit]