Sprengtporten, Goran Magnus, Count
SPRENGTPORTEN, GORAN MAGNUS, COUNT (1740-1819), Swedish and Russian politician, younger brother of Jakob Magnus Sprengtporten, entered the army and rose to the rank of captain during the Seven Years' War. He assisted his brother in the revolution of 1772, and in 1775 was made a colonel and brigadier in east Finland. Here he distinguished himself greatly as an organizer and administrator. The military school which he founded at Brahelinnd subsequently became a state institution. Irritable and suspicious like his brother he also came to the conclusion that his services had not been adequately appreciated, and the flattering way in which he was welcomed by the Russian court during a visit to St Petersburg in 1779 still further incensed him against the purely imaginary ingratitude of his own sovereign. For the next two years he was in the French service, returning to Finland in 1781. It was now that he first conceived the plan of separating the grand duchy from Sweden and erecting it into an independent state under the protection of Russia. During the riksdag of 1786 he openly opposed Gustavus III., at the same time engaging in a secret and treasonable correspondence with the Russian ministers with the view of inducing them to assist the Finns by force of arms. In the following year, at the invitation of Catherine II., he formally entered the Russian service. When the RussoSwedish War of 1788-90 began, Sprengtporten received the command of a Russian army corps directed against Finland. He took no direct part in the Anjala conspiracy (see SWEDEN: History), but urged Catherine to support it more energetically. His own negotiations with his fellow countrymen, especially after Gustavus III. had brought the Finlanders back to their allegiance, failed utterly. Nor was he able to serve Russia very effectively in the field for he was seriously wounded at the battle of Parosalmi (1790). At the end of the war, indeed, his position was somewhat precarious, as the High Court of Finland condemned him as a traitor, while Catherine regarded him as an incompetent impostor who could not perform his promises. For the next five years, therefore (1793-1798), he thought it expedient to quit Russia and live at Toplitz in Bohemia. He was re-employed by the emperor Paul who, in 1800, sent him to negotiate with Napoleon concerning the Maltese Order and the interchange of prisoners. After Paul's death Sprengtporten was again in disgrace for seven years, but was consulted in 1808 on the eve of the outbreak of hostilities with France. On the 1st of December 1808 he was appointed the first Russian governor-general of Finland with the title of count, but was so unpopular that he had to resign his post the following year. The last ten years of his life were lived in retirement.
See Finska Tidskrift (Helsingfors, 1877-1889); and Svenska Letteratursdllskapets i Finland forhandlingar (Helsingfors, 1887).
(R. N. B.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)