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composed of a learned judge, as chairman, and a
body of peasants the ndmnd. These peasants de-
cide not only the question of fact, but also the ques-
tion of law, and have, when unanimous, the casting
vote if they differ from the judge. Thus every ses-
sion has been, and is, a popular legal education.
The influence of the Lutheran Church has, until
quite recent times, been very great. Up to the
middle of the nineteenth century the clergy were
recruited from many of the best teachers of the
University and the higher schools, and have really
been the spiritual shepherds of their flock. The



INTRODUCTORY 15

Finnish language was, of course, used in preaching
to Finnish-speaking congregations.

Thus the Finns received from Sweden Christian-
ity and West European culture, together with the
principles of personal and political freedom. Fin-
nish continued to be spoken by the vast majority of
the population, however, and the defence of the
country was mainly entrusted to troops consisting
chiefly of Finns. In the course of centuries the
Finns and the Swedes have, as we saw, considerably
intermixed. Swedes who settled in Finland mar-
ried Finnish wives, and the resulting fusion of races
was furthered by the educational conditions in the
country. From the time when Latin was discarded
as the language of instruction until after the middle
of the nineteenth century, when the Finnish national
movement had gathered irresistible force, Swedish
was exclusively used at all educational institutions,
and it was necessary for Finns who desired higher
education to exchange their language for Swedish.
Thus large numbers of Finns became members of
the Swedish-speaking class and married into it. In
spite of the considerable racial fusion, however, the
extreme divergency of their languages made a close
intimacy between the Finnish- and the Swedish-
speaking inhabitants difficult, and the latter con-
tinued to be the ruling class in Finland. It should
not be lost sight of, however, that this class was to
a quite considerable extent recruited from the
Finnish-speaking population, which entered it and
was assimilated to it.

After being for centuries a province of Sweden,



16 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

Finland was, as we have pointed out, transferred
in 1809 to the Empire of Russia. This was only the
culmination to a long series of events. The struggle
between Sweden and the growing power of Russia
in the eighteenth century was fought out mainly in
Finland. In 1721 Russian acquired the south-east
corner of the country, and in 1743 Sweden was
forced also to cede the province of Viborg. Finally,
during the great struggle of 1808-9, the Finns, worn
out with conflict and seeing no further possibility of
help from Sweden, accepted Alexander I's gener-
ous offer that they should enter the Russian Em-
pire, conserving as their own the Constitution of
Sweden, and with it, of course, the whole legisla-
tion then in force. No Russian law was introduced
into Finland. Alexander I thus became the Grand
Duke or constitutional monarch of Finland, the cap-
ital of which was soon removed from Abo to Hels-
ingfors. Relations between the Swedish-speaking
officials of Finland and the Russian Court were very
cordial, and large numbers of Finnish Swedes took
service in the Russian army. The change was in
many ways a blessing to Finland, which had been
devastated by the never ceasing wars. Now, for
the first time for centuries, the necessary condition
for real progress opened out for the country,
namely, a long period of unbroken peace, and Fin-
land, as will be seen, was not slow to take advantage
of it. But the union with Russia carried in it the
seeds of the conflict which is being fought out at
the present day. The subject will be treated at
length later; here it is sufficient to point out cer-



INTRODUCTORY 17

tain stages in the conflict to which frequent ref-
erence will have to be made.

With the Swedish constitution, Finland had, of
course, a representation. There was, legally, a Fin-
nish parliament (riksdag) elected in the same way
as that of Sweden. The Swedish Riksdag consisted
of Four Estates : nobles, clergy, burgesses and peas-
ants. Its organization dated from the beginning
of the seventeenth cetury, the time of Gustavus
Adolphus. But its origins are very much older; in
fact, as far as history goes back, the Swedish people
has voted laws and taxes through general assem-
blies. During the later Middle Ages meetings of
nobles were convoked to the king's Samtaln, lit-
erally, parliaments. Out of these the Riksdag grew
and inherited the people 's right to make its laws and
vote its taxes. Now, in 1809 Alexander I convoked
such a riksdag, or, as it is called in Finland, a landt-
dag or diet, at the Finnish town of Borga 4 . This
Diet he attended in person, and in a speech made
in French gave his confirmation of the constitution.
The Diet then did him homage as Grand Duke of
Finland. Thus was completed the Act of Union.
Alexander, at that time a Liberal, created this
Grand Duchy as a jar din d'acclimatation for West-
ern ideas and institutions in the Russian Empire
the same policy which in 1815 he pursued in Poland.
In Finland he won what he immediately wanted,
namely, the gratitude of a loyal people, which was
a guarantee against the re occupation of the land by
Sweden. As the Emperor grew more conservative,
he still upheld Finland as being the loyal Grand



18 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

Duchy, a land of ancien regime, where no French
revolutionary ideas had ever penetrated and where
he enjoyed the same devotion as had formerly ac-
crued to the Swedish king Gustavus III. But
Alexander did not again convoke the Diet, nor did
his successor, Nicholas I. In fact, it was not con-
voked till 1863, in the reign of Alexander II. Nev-
ertheless, the constitution was not violated. For
the monarch was not bound to convoke the estates
regularly, but only when he wanted a new law or
a new grant, and there was till 1863 no new legisla-
tion or taxation in Finland. The constitution was,
indeed, more scrupulously observed than by the two
last Swedish kings.

For the central administration and jurisdiction a
Senate was created, like that of Russia, its Depart-
ment of Justice (Justitiedepartment) being a su-
preme court and its Department of Economy
(EJconomiedepartment) being the central adminis-
tration. The Senators were Finnish citizens; only
in 1912 was the first Eussian introduced into the
Department of Economy, while in the Department
of Justice all the members are as yet Finns.

Finnish affairs have been, and are still, reported
to the Emperor by a Finn, the Minister Secretary
of State. Between 1809 and 1811, however, a Eus-
sian official, the Liberal statesman Speranski, had
charge of Finland. Having organized the Grand
Duchy, he said in a letter to the Emperor: "Fin-
land is a state, not a province." His successor was
Count G. M. Armfelt, the favourite of Alexander I
and formerly of Gustavus III of Sweden. Only



INTRODUCTORY 19

since 1907 have Finnish affairs passed through the
Russian Council of Ministers, which, however,
merely advises approval or rejection of what the
Finnish Senate has proposed; it does not itself
prepare Finnish administrative matters. The
Governor-General has mostly been a Russian. This
high official is chairman of the Senate (where, how-
ever, he never sits) and chief of the executive. Up
to the 'nineties he did not take much interest in
the routine business of administration. Since then
he has been the chief agent of russianization.

After 1863, the Diet was regularly summoned
every third year. There was never any quarrel
between the Grand Duke and the representatives
of his Grand Duchy, and his being the Emperor of
Russia did not cause any difficulty. The interests
of Russia were fully safeguarded by Finnish leg-
islation, the Diet having good reason to comply
with the wishes of Russian Ministers, when ex-
pressed. But for the most part, as there were very
few points of friction, Finland was utterly ignored
by Russian officials.

In 1878, when a national Finnish army was cre-
ated, with Finnish officers and Finnish court-
martials, etc., it was officially declared by Alex-
ander III himself to be an excellent part of the
Russian army. But meanwhile Russian national-
ism was growing stronger and demanding the uni-
fication of the Empire. In 1899 the present Tsar
decided that Russian military law was to be intro-
duced into Finland without the consent of the Diet.
The latter was, indeed, consulted, but as it was



20 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

clear that it would not pass the Bill, the Manifesto
of February 15, 1899, was issued, declaring that
any law demanded by an " imperial interest"
might be passed without the consent of the Diet.
This was meant as a death-blow to the constitu-
tion of Finland, the imperial interest being an en-
tirely vague notion, and the Emperor reserving to
himself the right to interpret it in casu. This was
quickly followed by the systematic russianization
of the country by General Bobrikoff, who terrorized
the nation until his dramatic assassination in 1904.
These five years are conveniently referred to as
the Bobrikoff period, or the first period of russian-
ization. They were succeeded by a brief period of
respite. In the autumn of 1905, at the same time
as the Tsar was compelled to summon the first
Duma, the Finns, by means of a general strike,
which seems to have broken out spontaneously,
from an instinctive recognition of the psychologi-
cal moment for striking a blow for freedom, in-
duced the Emperor to recall all illegal ordinances
and to restore the constitution on a wider basis.
Their jubilation was short-lived, however, for the
Russian Government was only waiting until the
Duma should be rendered powerless at home and
the revolutionaries crushed before it resumed the
destruction of Finnish autonomy. The second
period of russianization, which is still proceeding
at the time of publication, may be roughly dated
from the autumn of 1909.

The conflict with Eussia brought in its train cat-
aclysmic changes in the internal economy of Fin-



INTRODUCTORY 21

land. Had there been no external trouble, the in-
ternal adjustments would no doubt have occurred,
but they would have taken place in a far less sud-
den and volcanic manner than was actually the
case. When the constitution was restored in 1905,
many long-delayed reforms were carried out with
great abruptness and thoroughness. The formerly
very restricted parliamentary representation was
transformed from the old Swedish system of Four
Estates, sitting separately, to a single Chamber
elected by universal adult suffrage on a system of
proportional representation. In the new Parlia-
ment, or Diet, of 200 members there sat 19 women
and no less than 80 Socialists. Nor did these wide-
reaching changes take place without considerable
Labour disturbances. The General Strike, while
directed primarily against Russia, contained also
a large element of class feeling, which has not
yet subsided and is sometimes very bitter.

All these circumstances have combined to leave
Finland in a very unsettled state, and it is often
very difficult to separate the accidental and tem-
porary from the essential and permanent elements
of modern Finnish life. Finland is indeed an ex-
traordinary mixture of the new and the old. In
some places it is rushing onward at motor speed,
in others the conditions existing for centuries have
not been disturbed. Women are admitted to Par-
liament, but at social gatherings men and women
still usually form separate groups. Stone houses
of six stories, with every modern convenience,
jostle one-storied wooden abodes, even in many of



22 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

the principal streets of Helsingfors. In telephones
Finland is far ahead of us, in drainage woefully
behind.

Certain things, however, strike one as being char-
acteristic of the Finns as a whole. Their virtues
are steady and stolid, not usually of a brilliant
nature. In spite of a contrary tendency visible
among the younger generation, I should place the
virtue of perseverance prominent among the per-
manent attributes of Finnish character. Quiet en-
durance also takes a high rank. Notwithstanding
the wave of materialism that has swept over the
country, the Finns are at heart a very religious
and law-abiding people. They have a profound
love of liberty, a quality that endears them to
Englishmen, and a sturdy hatred of tyranny. They
have the defects of their qualities in being at times
obstinate to the degree of mulishness and very
slow. They sometimes seem too earnest about life
and a little suspicious of gaiety and playfulness.
Nevertheless there is in them a latent capacity for
passion and warmth which breaks forth surpris-
ingly at times, reminding one momentarily of
Southerners. The fine flower of Finnish character
is a childlike simplicity and transparency com-
bined with quiet strength.



CHAPTER II

THE NATIONAL MOVEMENT

NOT long ago, any one speaking of the smaller
nations of North Europe was understood to
refer to Norway, Sweden and Denmark. To-day
Finland must be included in the list, and the present
chapter attempts to give some notion of the men and
events which pushed Finland out of obscurity into
the light of an independent nationality. To do justice
to the National movement, however, an entire volume
would be necessary. For the movement may be re-
garded from many different aspects. Philosophi-
cally, it may perhaps best be described as a desper-
ate attempt to preserve Finland's individuality from
being merged in the vastness of Russia, when once
the nexus with Sweden had been cut. To achieve
this end a vivid sense of nationality was essential,
and the genius of the Finnish people was sufficiently
virile to adapt itself to the new conditions and de-
velop that sense. Historically, however, as we shall
presently see, the movement may be said to have
commenced far earlier than 1809. But it was after
1809 that it came to a head, and it had many char-
acteristics in common with the other Nationalist
movements of the nineteenth century.

Racially, it represents a struggle between the

23



24 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

Swedish-speaking and the Finnish-speaking inhabi-
tants, resulting in the full enfranchisement of the
latter, while, as the former constituted roughly an
upper and the latter a lower class, the struggle also
takes on the aspect of a class conflict.

To attempt to treat the subject in all its different
aspects is out of the question in the present work.
But as no one can possibly understand modern Fin-
land without some knowledge of the movement, it is
necessary, however imperfectly, to give a brief ac-
count of it, and especially to try and convey some
idea of the spirit animating the men who best rep-
resent it.

The sources of the National movement may per-
haps be traced back as far as 1548, when Michael
Agricola published the first Finnish translation of
the New Testament. A hundred years later, in 1640,
Per Brahe, the famous Swedish Governor of Fin-
land, founded the University of Abo and recom-
mended the professors, who were Swedes, to learn
the Finnish language, which "does not lack a cer-
tain elegance in its construction and does honour to
the country. " A complete Finnish translation of
the Bible appeared two years later, and when about
this time a printing-press was established in Abo a
considerable number of Finnish books began to be
published.

Bad times were in store for the country, however,
and interfered with its normal development. The
great wars which lifted Sweden to her zenith of
power and her tragic fall reached upon Finland



THE NATIONAL MOVEMENT 25

Thousands of her best men fell fighting in the Thirty
Years War, and those who stayed at home were im-
poverished by the heavy taxes necessitated by the
wars. Moreover, as we saw, Finland later became
the battle-field for Sweden and Russia and was rav-
aged time after time. Topelius describes how, when
the Swedish refugees returned to their homes after
the disastrous Peace of Nystad in 1721, they found
the roads destroyed, the bridges broken, no horses,
no food, the whole country a desert. The houses
were either burned down or roofless and window-
less, their contents sacked; the wells were filled
up with earth, the plough-lands were overgrown
with forest, birds had their nests in the abandoned
churches. The University was closed between 1713
and 1722, and other important institutions suffered
acutely during the same period.

After the Peace of Nystad the country began to
revive, but the separation of the two races and lan-
guages seems to have been more keenly felt than
ever before. The Swedish element formed an iso-
lated and superior class. The Finnish language,
which was the mother tongue of the vast major-
ity of the inhabitants, was not taught in the schools,
and all judicial and administrative proceedings
were conducted exclusively in Swedish. It fre-
quently happened that Swedish officials did not
understand the language of the country they were
called upon to administer. All the privileges of
education and culture were confined to the Swedish-
speaking class, so that if a Finn wished for edu-
cation he was compelled to give up his native Ian-



26 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

guage and become "a Swede" a fact which has
always rankled in the breasts of the Finns.

Nevertheless, indirectly the disastrous Peace of
Nystad helped to bring the two races together. For
it became apparent that Finland would be less and
less able to rely on Sweden for help against the
ever growing power of Eussia. This tended to
loosen imperceptibly the bond with Sweden and to
develop a more independent and self-reliant habit
of thought among the inhabitants of Finland, which
in its turn led up to the conception of a national
Finland, having an independent life and history
of its own. The idea is especially associated at the
end of the eighteenth century with the great scholar
at Abo, Henrik Porthan, who, though he wrote in
Latin and Swedish, was an enthusiast for the his-
tory, geography, philology and antiquities of Fin-
land and inspired a large number of young schol-
ars to make researches in these fields. The senti-
ment of national consciousness was immensely
stirred in 1809, when Finland passed into the Rus-
sian Empire, and Alexander I made the famous
declaration that "the Finnish people is henceforth
placed in the ranks of the European nations." But
people began to ask, "What is the Finnish na-
tion?" They saw an official class isolated from
the people. Was this a possible basis for a strong
nation? Was it not desirable to give the mass of
the people a real interest in the maintenance of
Finland's independence and of the social order by
admitting them to the full rights and privileges of
citizenship?



THE NATIONAL MOVEMENT 27

The current of thought thus started soon ex-
pressed itself not merely in the scientific and lit-
erary pursuits of Porthan's followers, but also in
politics. Thus in 1819 an article appeared in the
journal Mnemosyne to the effect that there were
two real obstacles to progress in Finland: firstly,
the fact that Finnish was not in general use either
in society or as a written language ; secondly, that
Swedish was the official language. A series of sim-
ilar articles appeared in the Abo Morgonblad
from the pen of E. Gr. Ehrstrom, who advocated
Finnish as the language of instruction at schools
and the University, and desired the fixing of a date
after which all State officials should be required
to use the language of the mass of the people.
A. J. Arvidsson wrote to the same effect, and ad-
vanced the famous proposition, "We are not
Swedes, we don't want to become Russians, so we
have to be Finns." Such proposals were not to
the liking of the authorities, who described them,
in a term afterwards to become famous, as fen-
nomania. They came at a time when all over
Europe the governing classes were in dread of rev-
olution and a " national " spirit was regarded as
peculiarly dangerous. The infant movement was
crushed, the issue of the Abo Morgonblad being
prohibited, Mnemosyne coming to an end for lack
of subscribers and Arvidsson being arbitrarily de-
prived of his lectureship at the University, upon
which he retired to Sweden. The seed of the move-
ment was, however, soon to spring up again, and
far more successfully, in the famous "Saturday



28 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

Club." This consisted for the most part of a
group of young men who had been students at Abo
in the 'twenties and who after the removal of the
University to Helsingf ors, consequent on the great
fire at Abo, had settled in the new capital. The
club was quite informal. It had no chairman or
secretary, no rules and no defined object. It usu-
ally met on Saturday evenings at the rooms of one
of the group and discussed literary and scientific
matters and the questions of the day. Certainly
no such remarkable society has ever existed in Fin-
land before or since. As one reads through the
list of members one realizes that practically all the
best intellectual and spiritual forces of the time
belonged to the circle, and in studying modern
Finland one is constantly reminded of the fact
that the best ideas of to-day germinated in and
branched forth from the minds of its members.

Women as well as men belonged to the circle, as
several of the married men brought their wives.
Fredrika Euneberg, the wife of the poet, describes
how "most of the subjects, after being eagerly and
animatedly discussed by the men, were brought
over by one of them to us women and examined by
us in our own way, and our views were then con-
veyed to the men." This curious division of the
sexes did not exist, however, in a smaller group
within the club circle. Of this group Mrs. Eune-
berg writes: "The conversation was always ex-
tremely lively even when it turned on matters
which we women could not discuss because we had
never had the right to get the necessary knowledge



THE NATIONAL MOVEMENT 29

about them and therefore must sit as silent listen-
ers. But the men never considered that they owed
us the insulting politeness of talking down to our
level. And thus the conversation always proceeded
with the greatest life and interest, embracing all
subjects, from the highest and most profound to
the most gay and piquant jests. Such conversa-
tion as there was in this circle I have never found
elsewhere. There was always fire, sometimes in-
deed of a crackling sort, but always fire. Now fire-
works of genius and wit, now seriousness and the
highest and deepest questions of life, now disputes
so eager that strangers who happened to be pres-
ent thought the speakers ready to tear each other's
hair, but usually ending in new sallies and laughter,
never in bad temper and enmity."

The central idea of this circle, the one which gave
it its force and inspiration, was the development
in Finland of a national consciousness and the
raising of the material, the intellectual and the
spiritual level of the people. This implied a gen-
erous recognition of the natural rights of the
Finnish-speaking people, but there was no thought
of hostility to the Swedish-speaking population.
Indeed, the overwhelming majority of the Satur-
day Club spoke Swedish as their mother tongue,
which was, indeed, inevitable, seeing that it was
only among the Swedish-speaking society that edu-
cation was spread. "To abandon Swedish and
clothe all civilization in a Finnish dress would be
to return to mediaeval barbarism," said a promi-
nent member of the circle of 1842. It was only at



30 FINLAND AND THE FINNS

a later time that the struggle between the two lan-
guages made itself acutely felt.

The activities of the club were indeed directed
not to politics, but to literature and instruction.
It was felt that the first condition for the elevation
of the people was an improved education. Many
of the club members were professionally interested
in the subject and undertook to found a school based
on advanced ideas of pedagogy. The modern side
was developed at the expense of the classical and
newer methods of teaching were introduced. The
school was opened in 1831 as the Helsingfors Ly-
ceum, and played an important part in the renova-
tion of the Finnish school system. Among the
early teachers there appear the names of Runeberg
and Snellman. Uno Cygnaeus, the founder of the
Finnish folk-school, was also a member of the Sat-


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