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FINLAND AND THE FINNS



BY

ARTHUR READE

Lecturer in English at the University
of Helsingfors



ILLUSTRATED




NEW YORK

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

1917






COPYRIGHT, 1917
BY DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY, INC.



PREFACE

present book is written from the Stand-
point of one who has made his home in Fin-
land, and the writer hopes that what he may have
lost in the freshness of first impressions may prove
to be more than counterbalanced by increased inti-
macy with the land and people described.

As Finland, in spite of the excellent books that
have been written by thoughtful and observant trav-
ellers, is still but little known, it has seemed best
to concentrate attention on the leading features of
Finnish life, and not to go too much into details
which, in the absence of a conception of the country
as a whole, might easily prove wearisome or confus-
ing. The general ignorance of Finland has also
made a small amount of repetition unavoidable, as
it has been necessary to summarize in the Introduc-
tion matters which are treated at greater length
in subsequent chapters.

It may be as well to point out that the term
"Finn" is sometimes used to denote any citizen of
Finland, and sometimes, in a narrower sense, to dis-
tinguish the Finnish-speaking from the Swedish-
speaking population of the country. Similarly
"Swede" sometimes signifies an inhabitant of
Sweden, and sometimes is used to distinguish the
Swedish-speaking from the Finnish-speaking popu-
lation of Finland. It will be clear from the con-



376 I Hi



vi PEEFACE

text whether these terms are used in the narrower
or the wider sense.

The translations in the book are the author's,
except when it is stated to the contrary.

The hearty thanks of the author are due to the
many friends who have assisted him either by ob-
taining information or by criticism and discussion.
Also to the editors of the Dial, for permission to
reproduce (in the course of Chapter XV) the
greater part of an article which appeared in their
periodical last year.

HELSINGFORS

July 1914



FINNISH MONEY

100 penni = 1 Finnish mark.
The Finnish mark is equal in value to the
French franc.



MEASURES

The metric system prevails throughout

Finland.

1 metre = 3 feet 3.37 inches.
1 kilometre = 1,093 yards 2 feet.
8 kilometres 5 English miles.
1 hectar = 10,000 square metres.





CONTENTS




CHAPTER




PAGE




PEEFACE


V


I.


INTEODUCTOEY .


1


II.


THE NATIONAL MOVEMENT ....


23


III.


THE RACIAL STEUGGLE


47


IV.


^

LIFE IN HELSINGFOES


65


V.


THE COUNTEY-SIDE


83


VI.


SOME COUNTEY-SIDE MANNEES, CUS-






TOMS AND BELIEFS


105


VII.


THE WOELD OF THE ANCIENT FlNNS .


122


VIII.


THE LANDMAEKS OF FINNISH LITEEA-






TUEE SlNCE RUNEBEEG ....


142


IX.


PAINTING AND Music


174


X.


EDUCATION ........


188


XI.


THE DIET AND PAETIES


206


XII.


FINLAND'S WOELD-INDUSTEY


219


XIII.


OTHEE INDUSTEIES


231


XIV.


THE LABOUE MOVEMENT ....


241


XV.


THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN ....


249


XVI.


THE POSITION OF FINLAND IN THE RUS-






SIAN EMPIEE


273


XVII.


THE FIEST PEEIOD OF RUSSIANIZATION


283


XVEII.


THE SECOND PEEIOD OF RUSSIANIZA-






TION


306


XIX.


FINLAND AND THE WAE


326




INDEX


333



ILLUSTBATIONS

VIEW FROM FIEE STATION TOWER, HELSINGFORS

Frontispiece



FACING
PAGE



THE STATUE OF ELIAS LONNROT, HELSINGFORS . 38

HELSINGFORS, FINLAND 90

A MARKET PLACE, HELSINGFORS 134

FINE RESIDENCE, HELSINGFORS 180

PART OF ESPLANADE AND NATIONAL THEATRE, HELS-
INGFORS 224

CASTLE AT TURKU, LINNA. BUILT ABOUT 1200 . 256

ST. ANNE RESTAURANT, WIBORG 290



FINLAND
AND THE FINNS

CHAPTER I

INTBODUCTORY

war of 1808-9, by which Finland passed
from Sweden to the Empire of Russia, has
hardly received from the outside world the atten-
tion it deserves. It was, perhaps, not unnatural
that Europe should have given it but little heed.
The eyes of most men were fixed upon events nearer
home, for it was at this time that Napoleon's mar-
shals were conducting the bloody wars against
Wellington in the Peninsula and agaist the heroic
Hofer and his fellow-peasants in Tyrol. Words-
worth's prophecy of two years earlier seemed near
fulfilment :

Another year! another deadly blow!
Another mighty Empire overthrown !
And we are left, or shall be left, alone,
The last that dare to struggle with the foe.

Nevertheless, the war between Sweden and Rus-
sia was an intrinsic part of the great European
struggle. It was of Napoleon's making. In order

l



2 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

to distract Russia from Turkey, he incited her to
attack Sweden, the ally of Great Britain. Eussia
was to recoup herself by the acquisition of the east-
ern part of the kingdom of Sweden, namely Fin-
land, which had been for centuries the battle-field
of Russians and Swedes. The Russian Emperors
had long wanted the country, and Alexander I
searched for a pretext to declare war. He de-
manded that Sweden should join the Continental
System and exclude British goods. When Gustavus
IV foolishly enough refused, a Russian army crossed
the Finnish frontier and the long struggle com-
menced. This is not the place to describe the strat-
egy of the campaign in any detail. The Finnish
army was left to defend itself as best it could. It
consisted of about 20,000 troops, of whom some
8,000 were shut up in the fortresses of Sveaborg,
Svartholm and Hangoudd on the south coast. The
field force of 12,000 had to confront a Russian army
of 24,000 under Buxhoevden, whose strength was
subsequently increased by reinforcements. The
Finnish army, moreover, was hampered by wretched
leadership. Klingspor, the Commander-in-Chief
sent over by King Gustavus, caused his troops to
retreat when they wished to fight, and the Russians
advanced when and how they pleased. They had
crossed the frontier on February 21, 1808, and had
taken Svartholm by March 10th and Hangoudd by
March 21st. Klingspor retreated continually in a
northwesterly direction until he neared Uleaborg,
on the north of the Gulf of Bothnia. Here the tide
turned. The Finns, whose anger at the retreat had



INTEODUCTOEY 3

been growing from day to day, at last took things
into their own hands and disobeyed orders. Klings-
por had gone on to TJleaborg, leaving Adlercreutz
to superintend the general retreat thither. Adler-
creutz did so, in bitterness of heart. But his own
former regiment could not stand it and refused
to budge. The Eussians came to the attack, and
the other Finnish regiments, who had not gone far,
hurried back to the rescue. In the battle that fol-
lowed the Finns won a complete victory against a
force that outnumbered them by two to one. Hav-
ing begun, they continued. The army won noble
victories, and, though it failed to follow them up,
this was at least better than retreating. The o peas-
ants took an active part in the war. Thus, in Aland,
under the leadership of two of their Lutheran
clergy, they attacked the Eussians and took several
hundreds of prisoners, and elsewhere they assisted
the regular troops or carried on guerilla fighting.
In a sense it was all in vain. Sveaborg, "the Gibral-
tar of the North," lying on some islands by Hels-
ingfors and regarded as impregnable, was shame-
fully surrendered on May 3rd, and after winning
battle after battle against heavy odds the Finns
were finally broken at Orivais on September 29th.
But the gallant resistance bore splendid fruit. It
was largely due to this, as we shall see in a later
chapter, that Alexander I guaranteed to Finland the
preservation of the Swedish constitution an ines-
timable gain, which rendered all her subsequent
progress possible. Having realized the fighting ca-
pacity of the Finnish peasant, Alexander was not



4 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

anxious to impose such conditions as might lead to
a Finnish rising in favour of Swedish rule, more
especially as the incapable Gustavus IV had been
replaced on the throne by one of Napoleon's great-
est generals, Bernadotte.

But the resistance of the Finns did more for them
than this. It caused them to become more deeply
conscious of themselves as a nation, it quickened to
life the national soul. The men of 1808-9 grew in
imagination to the dimensions of national heroes, em-
bodying the nation's greatest deeds and aspirations.
They took on something of the light that clings about
the heroes of the saga. They lived a new life in the
people 's mind, of which they have become more and
more a definite part through their projection in
Euneberg's poetry. Every one in Finland has seen
in imagination the heroic campaign, waged in the
darkness of a northern winter amid the frozen lakes
and snow-covered forests and white, silent moors.

The country in which this great struggle was
fought out is a land of strong contrasts, and the
visitor to it will get a very different impression ac-
cording to the season at which he arrives. In the
summer he will at once be struck by the intense
blueness and clarity of the sky, and will find these
attributes mirrored in the smooth waters of the tide-
less Baltic, which embraces Finland with its two
arms, the Gulfs of Finland and Bothnia. As he
approaches the coast he will notice with pleasure
the innumerable small rocky islands, mostly pine-
clad, which form a belt round the greater part of
the Finnish coast and are dotted here and there



INTEODUCTOEY 5

with summer villas. He will gather that navigation
through this maze of rocks and islands is an art
only to be acquired by long apprenticeship, and that
a people living so much 'twixt land and sea must
produce a hardy breed of sailors.

The most lasting impression of all, however, may
be the lightness of the summer nights, when, for
several weeks in succession, neither streets nor
houses require artificial light, and one might be ex-
cused for supposing that here was a land where it
is always summer, where one could remain unmen-
aced



Beside a sea that could not cease to smile;
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss.



If the visitor arrive in winter, this fairy picture will
have dissolved as if it had never been there. Long
before he sees land his steamer may have crunched
its way through loose ice, and for miles around the
coast he will find an iron sea. Instead of arriving
at Helsingf ors, as he would probably do in summer,
he will have to land at Abo or Hango, the only ports
kept open throughout the winter by ice-breakers.
If he is fortunate, he may, indeed, see glorious sun-
shine converting the snow-covered land to a glitter-
ing plain and turning each separate tree into a
spiritual presence. But in midwinter it will not be
for long. The sun rises late and sets early, and all
the light is crowded into a few short hours, upon
which darkness falls; yet not black darkness, for
light is thrown up by the snow. In bad weather



6 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

the sun may not be visible for weeks on end and a
great gloom lies over everything. It seems like a
land where it is always winter. But already in
February and March, when the days have grown
longer again, one may see sunlit snow for weeks.

It is, of course, in summer that most foreigners
visit the country. Some come for the sake of the
voyage, others are drawn by the prospect of good
fishing, others again by a desire to become ac-
quainted with the scenery and people of this still
unknown land. The scenery may be briefly de-
scribed as forest, rock and water. Dark pine for-
ests stand out sharply against the sky; next to the
pine, the silver birch is the most common tree.
Apart from the water, this unending forest scenery
becomes a little monotonous, even depressing, but
the two combined form some of the loveliest land-
scape imaginable, and Finland, the land of a thou-
sand lakes, is peculiarly rich in water. You may
travel for days on the lake steamers into the very
heart of the country, nor weary of the changes rung
by ever new combinations of lake, forest and rocky
island. In all Europe there is nothing to equal the
Saima chain of lakes ; one has to go to North Amer-
ica for a parallel.

To the geologist Finland is of unusual interest,
differing in important respects from most other
European countries. It is the glacial period that
accounts for many peculiar traits in the geography
of the country. During its continuance Finland
was completely covered with ice, which, as can be
seen from the striation of the rocks, moved in a



INTRODUCTORY 7

south or south-east direction. When these vast ice-
fields melted, there followed a rise in the sea-level
which resulted in Finland being completely sub-
merged. The soil rests on a huge substructure of
crystalline rocks, such as granite, gneiss and schist,
which contain no trace of the animal or plant life
of the period in which they were formed. On this
foundation lies a thin covering of sand, clays or
gravels, through which the rock frequently peeps.
On the coasts are chiefly found the richer clay lands,
while in the interior of the country gravels predom-
inate.

Finland has no great mountain ranges. Nor is it
completely a plain, however. It is rather a land
of little hills. The majority of these are formed of
solid rock, and are often impressive for their abrupt-
ness, if not for their height. Long low sandhills
are also common in most parts of the country.
North of the Polar Circle a certain number of hills
reach a height of from 600 to 1,100 metres, but
south of this no hill exceeds 600 metres, the general
level being from 100 to 150 metres. The coast land
is the lowest, and barely rises to 50 metres above
sea-level.

Finland lies between the 60th and 70th degrees
of latitude and between the 21st and 33rd degrees
of longitude, reckoned from Greenwich. The south
coast is thus about on a level with the Shetland Isl-
ands, and it may be worth pointing out that Hels-
ingfors, the Finnish capital, is almost on the same
level with three other Northern capitals Peters-
burg, Stockholm and Christiana. A glance at the



8 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

map shows Eussia on the long eastern frontier, Nor-
way on the north just cutting Finland off from the
Arctic Ocean, and Sweden on the west, running
from Tornea, at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia,
up to the critical point where Norway, Sweden and
the Russian Empire meet. In this region Finland
extends a finger, as it were, across Sweden and
Norway, the frontier reaching to within some 20
miles of one of the Norwegian fjords, a fact which
causes considerable uneasiness to those who believe
that Russia intends to secure for herself an ice-free
outlet on the Atlantic coast. The Swedish frontier
was determined in 1809 at the Peace of Fredrik-
shamn, when Finland passed from Sweden into the
Russian Empire. For the rest, Finland is bounded
by water, which tends to soften the severity of the
climate. The west coast fronts the Gulf of Bothnia,
while on the south is the Gulf of Finland, which is
separated by a comparatively narrow stretch of
land from the great inland sea of Ladoga, about
half of whose shores are Finnish.

Other factors which modify the harshness of the
climate are the great lakes, the influence of the Gulf
Stream, which makes itself felt even in Finland,
and the fact that the prevailing winds come from
the south and west, bringing warmth with them.
The difference of climate between north and south
is very great. The winter lasts for about eight
months in the north and five in the south. At Hels-
ingf ors the longest day is of about 18% hours, while
in the far north of Finland the summer sun does not
set for two or three months.



INTRODUCTORY 9

Passing from the land to the people, the first
point to be apprehended is that Finland is a coun-
try with two distinct races. The Swedes entered
from the west, the Finns from the east. The latter
were the more numerous, the former the more highly
civilized. Of the inhabitants to-day 86.7 speak Fin-
nish, 12.9 speak Swedish, the remaining fraction
being Russians, Germans and Lapps.

The origins of the Finnish race are still not clear,
though much light has been thrown upon the subject
since Matthias Castren undertook his remarkable
journeys of exploration in the eighteen-f orties. Cas-
tren was the son of a pastor in the northern town
of Kemi, and was early fired by the desire to learn
as much as possible about the peoples related to
the Finns. Accordingly, he visited a great number
of remote and forgotten tribes in North Europe and
Siberia, which had originally formed component
parts of the Finnish race. It was a life of the ut-
most hardship. To reach the different tribes he
had to cross deserts and snowfields, sleep out in the
open or in miserable hovels, and be content with
the scantiest food. He lived among the Samoyedes
and other savage peoples, learned their language,
joined them in their hunting and fishing and daily
occupations, and entirely won their confidence. He
was thus able to lay the foundations of a scientific
study of Finnish origins which has been proceed-
ing steadily ever since. He became professor at the
University of Helsingf ors, where his memory is hon-
oured as one of its most distinguished investigators,
but died in 1852, at the early age of thirty-eight.



10 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

The Finnish tribes of North Asia are still much the
same as when Castren visited them simple, kindly
folk, struggling to maintain an existence in the face
of ruthless Nature. But in the South of Europe is
another race, connected with the Finns, which has
left these primitive conditions far behind, namely
the Magyars of Hungary, who succeeded in pene-
trating to a kindlier region than any of their fel-
lows and making some considerable stir in Euro-
pean history. The Finns thus belong to the Finnish-
Ugrian stock. They are related to the Esthonians
and Livs, and more distantly to the Finnish tribes
on the Volga and in the Urals. They are supposed
to have come to Finland in different detachments
about the end of the seventh century, from the re-
gion about the Volga. Two main subdivisions are
usually distinguished among them, namely, the Ka-
relians and the Tavasts, inhabiting the east and west
of Finland respectively. The Tavasts are the
tougher race, the Karelians the more sociable and
artistic. It is among the latter that the old Fin-
nish runes have been preserved.

The language of the Finns has neither a Latin nor
a Germanic nor a Slavic origin, but belongs to a group
which includes Hungarian, Esthonian, Lappish, and
a great many dialects spoken by Finnish tribes in
Russia. In Finland a distinction is drawn between
West Finnish and East Finnish, the former of which
has been a little influenced by Swedish, the latter by
Eussian. West Finnish has the place of honour.
The Bible was translated into it some three hun-
dred years ago, and this stamped it as the founda-



INTRODUCTORY 11

tion of the written language. Even to-day the lan-
guage may be regarded as still in course of con-
struction and as not having assumed its final
form (if, for the sake of comparison, we may
use the word " final" of so changing a thing as lan-
guage).

It is an extremely difficult tongue for a foreigner
to learn, but if well spoken it is a beautiful one.
The structure is complex but regular. There are
fifteen cases, with a corresponding paucity of prepo-
sitions. The accent always falls on the first syllable.
Finnish resembles Italian in having a large number
of open vowel sounds, which makes it a beautiful
language to sing. It is capable of expressing accu-
rately a great many different shades of meaning.
To hear it spoken at its best one must go into the
interior of the country.

The Swedish-speaking inhabitants, although found
in small numbers in most parts of the country, are
mainly situated in the south, along the Gulf of Fin-
land, in the Aland Islands and in the southern part
of Osterbotten, on the Gulf of Bothnia. The lan-
guage they speak differs somewhat in pronunciation
from the Swedish of Sweden. The intonation is
more like that of English people, and to a Swedish
Finn the Swedes proper appear to sing their words.
The vocabulary also differs to some extent, some
Finnish expressions having found their way into the
language and some old Swedish terms having
been conserved in Finland though now obsolete in
Sweden. This difference, though very slight, ap-
pears in literature also.



12 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

It should be borne in mind that there has been a
considerable mixture of races in Finland and that
many of the original distinctions between Karelian,
Tavast and Swede have been blurred. The two
sections of the Finnish race have not only inter-
married largely with each other but also with the
Swedes. There must, moreover, be a fair sprink-
ling of Russian blood in the country, owing both
to the proximity of Eussia and to the perpetual
wars with her. It is very remarkable, however, how
few persons there are in Finland who speak Rus-
sian as their mother tongue. They only number
some eight thousand, exclusive, of course, of the
Russian military and naval forces stationed in the
country. Until recently many educated Russians
sent their children to Swedish-speaking schools, and
the children have often forgotten the Russian lan-
guage. The same thing has happened in the case
of several German merchant families.

Civilization came to Finland from Sweden. It is
probable that even before the Christian era there
had been Swedish settlements in Finland, but the
real colonization came later. During the period of
the Crusades, probably in 1157, King Eric of Swe-
den led the first missionary expedition against the
heathen Finns, whom, seeing that they would not
be influenced by argument, he converted at the
sword's point. He left behind him in the neighbour-
hood of Abo some Swedish colonists, including
Bishop Henry, an Englishman by birth, who was
shortly afterwards murdered and has since been



INTRODUCTORY 13

revered as Finland's patron saint. Henry was a
man of great courage and did not fear to make ex-
peditions on his horse or in his sleigh into the very
heart of heathendom. In the absence of churches
he preached in barns and kilns, and there is still
preserved near Bjb'rneborg a ruined barn in which
he is said to have held a service. After his murder
by a Finn who attacked him on the ice with an axe,
his body became a very precious relic. It was even-
tually taken to Abo and placed in the cathedral.
Many stories are told of the martyr. According to
one of them, he used to wear a valuable ring on his
thumb. His assassin cut off the thumb in order to
get the ring, but both thumb and ring fell into the
snow and could not be found. In the early spring
a blind old man and his son rowed over the
lake and the boy saw a raven poking about with
its bill on a piece of floating ice. Rowing up to
the place, the boy found the Bishop's thumb and
ring, and when the old man applied the former to
his eye he recovered his sight. The Chapter at
Abo has a thumb and ring on its seal to this
day.

The colonists grouped round the fortress and
bishopric of Abo maintained themselves with diffi-
culty against the attacks of Finns and Russians
until 1249, when the famous Birger Jarl led the so-
called Second Crusade to Finland, penetrated into
Tavastland and founded the fortress of Tavastehus
to protect the conquered territory. This expedition
consolidated the Swedish rule in the districts called
Abo, Nyland and Tavastland. In 1293 Torgils



14 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

Knutsson extended Sweden's power still farther
eastwards and founded the fortress of Viborg,
where he came into conflict with the Russians. In
a second campaign he penetrated as far as Lake
Ladoga and the Neva, but was not able to main-
tain his hold on this region, and only Western
Karelia remained in his hands. The ancient for-
tresses of Tavastehus and Yiborg still stand to mark
the successful advance of Swedish arms. From the
middle of the fourteenth century Finland became
an integral part of the kingdom of Sweden, the Fin-
nish provinces enjoying the same legislative rights
as those of Sweden, and the Finns enjoying the
same common law (the code of Magnus Eriksen,
c. 1350, and of King Christopher, 1442). In 1623
a Court of Appeal for Finland was founded in Abo,
and in 1640 a University. During centuries the Law
and the Church educated the Finnish people to take
a place among the nations of West Europe. As in
Sweden, the law was, and is, administered by courts


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