Imágenes de página


HISTORY-AREA-POPULATION-GOVERNMENT.* · The Grand DUCHY OF FINLAND, although a portion of the Russian Empire, is governed by its own laws and customs, and has a system of public instruction distinct from that of the empire. Its possession has been the occasion of frequent wars between its neighbors on the east and the west, owing more to its military importance than to the industrial or mineral wealth of the country. The tribes which occupied the lerritory in the dawn of modern bistory, were designated Fenni, by Tacitus, and Suomalainen by themselves—and their country was called Suomen-maa, or Land of Marshes. The chief natural features of the country are its myriad lakes, extensive pine forests, and granite hills, which occupy a large portion of its surface. The climate is rigorous; but the agricultural production in barley and rye in the short summers, exceeds the consumption of the inhabitants; and when in the possession of Sweden, Finland was termed the granary of that country.

The aboriginal inhabitants held to their old religious ideas and practices till (about) 1157, when the Swedish Eric IX. first introduced Christian worship with his soldiers, and with the permanent military possession of Sweden, the national church of that government, and the religious teaching of its ministers and bishops followed. Down to 1721, when Peter the Great annexed the province of Wiborg to Russia, the sovereignty of Sweden extended to within thirty miles of St. Petersburg, but by successive cessions and conquests the rule of Russia has been gradually extended until, in 1809, the whole territory east of the Gulf of Bothnia, and north of the Gulf of Finland, to the Arctic Sea, was constituted a portion of the Empire as the Principality, or Grand Duchy of Finland-the territory measuring, from north to south, 730 miles, with an average breadth of 185 miles—an area of 107,575 square miles, and a population, by the last official census (Dec. 31, 1870), of 1,773,612.

The government of Finland differs essentially from that of other portions of the empire-its ancient constitution dating from the year 1772, and modificd in 1789, having been preserved by special grant of Alex. ander I. in 1809, (the date of the treaty of Fredrikshamn), and con

Authorities : Statistisk Handbok för Finland of K. E. F. Ignatius, 1872. Skolordningen, Folkskole-förordningarne och Ofriga gällande författaingar rörande skolwäsendet, 1872; and the personal communications of Dr. Felix Heikel of Helsingfors, 1873.



firmed by Nicholas, December 24, 1825, and by Alexander II., March 3, 1855. This constitution provides for a national parliament, after the model of that of Sweden, composed of representatives of the four estates, the nobles, the clergy, the burghers, and the peasants. From 1809 to 1863, the legislative functions of the assembly were practically suspended, and the administration was exercised by the emperor, through a Governor and Senate residing in Finland, and a Secretary of State and Committee on Finnish affairs, residing at St. Petersburg. The governor represents the emperor, and is president of the Senate, and the highest military officer in Finland. The Senate is composed of 18 members, one-half of whom must be selected from the nobility, and are appointed by the Emperor for a term of three years. It is an administrative body, and divided into two departments, viz. : (1) of Justice, including all appeals from the higher and lower courts, and (2) other Public Services (Ekonomie department) which are distributed into six bureaus, viz. : civil service, (public order, health, post, press, prisons, and statistics); finance, (revenue from local taxes imposed by parliament, and customs fixed by the emperor, navigation, mines, manufactures, stamps); cameralistics, (public lands, valuation of property, &c.); military affairs; ecclesiastical affairs, (the church and schools, and state records); agriculture, (including land surveys and records, forests, roads and canals, and schools and societies for the advancement of agriculture). Each department has its president, and each bureau its head or minister. All decrees of the Senate are in the name of the emperor. All bills for the action of parliament are usually first considered and shaped in the Senate. The Secretary of State, assisted by the Consultative Committee on Finnish affairs, prepares all business and communications for the emperor, and is his organ of communication with the Duchy generally. With the exception of the Governor-general all the functionaries of the government must be natives of Finland.

Finland, for purposes of civil administration, is divided into 8 läns, (circles or countries), which are subdivided into 51 härader (districts for tax purposes), and then again into 249 Länsmans districts (for roads, police, and other civil purposes). For ecclesiastical purposes the territory is divided into three (Abo, Borga, Kuopio) dioceses, which embrace a total of 485 parishes with an average of 3,572 persons old and young. The population in 1870 was distributed in the several Läns as follows:

Population, Grographical English Inhabitants

Dec. 31, 1870. Sq. Miles. Sq. Miles. to Sq. Mile.

.168,215..... 214.07... 3,425.....49.1
Abo & Bjorneborgs. .... 293,633..... 446.05... 7,137.....41.1
Tavastebus...... .185,900..... 400.94... 6,415.....28.9

.276,527... 650.95...10,415... .26.5
St. Michel....

.155,169..... 415.54... 6,649.....23.3 Kuopio .....

..217.948..... 812.56...13,000.....16.8

.297,059..... 755.77...12,092..... 24.6 Uleaborgs......

.179,161.....3,027.60...48,441..... 3.7 Total. .........1,773,612 6,723.48 107,575 16.6



of the entire population (which in 1870 was less by 25,000 than in 1865, owing to the scarcity of food that prevailed in certain districts for six years in succession, from the destruction of the crops by frost), 1,732,000 are Lutherans, about 40,000 belong to the Russian Greek Church, and about 1,000 are returned as Catholics, Jews, Baptists, Reformers, &c.

By summons of Alexander II., issued Sept. 19, 1863, 1867 and 1872, the four estates reassembled for purposes of general legislation, and in 1869, by an act approved by the emperor, the parliament must be summoned at least every five years.

The four estates recognized by the fundamental law of Finland are:

1. The Nobles (Ridderskapet och Adeln) who are graded as follows : (1) Grefvar (Earls), of whom there are now (1872) nine families, two bàving expired from the want of male representatives ; (2) Friherrar (Barons), of whoin there are 44; (3) Ridders, or Adelsman (Knights), of whom there are 187.

2. The Clergy, who embrace the three Bishops and 28 pastors, elected by the whole body of resident clergy. To this estate belong professors and teachers, and in the parliament are two members who represent the University, and six who represent the Lyceums and Real Schools, elected by the whole body of regular teachers.

3. Citizens (Borgarstandet), or representatives of each incorporated city, and for those with more than 6,000 inhabitants, one for each 6,000 -the electors being persons engaged in trade, ship-building, and manufactures, judges, and municipal officers.

4. Peasants or Farmers (Bondestandet), or resident land holders in the country-(one for every judicial district of which there are 56), elected by landowners who do not belong to the other three estates.

In the Parliament of 1872 the estates were represented as follows: 110 nobles; 37 clergy and teachers; 38 citizens; and 56 farmers. Each estate meets and votes in its own chamber, each chamber having one vote, and all four must unite on questions involving new or additional taxation, or the fundamental law.

The State revenues, derived from the land tax (2,271,000 marks *); incomes and personal property (1,820,000 m.); customs and other indirect taxes (7,600,000 m.), and other sources, amounted in 1871 to 19,622,000 marks; while the expenditure for civil administration (4,877,000 m.), military affairs (1,974,000 m.), public schools of all grades (2,330,000 m.), roads, agriculture, manufacture, &c. (3,000,000), or a total of 18,863,000 m., leaving a balance in the treasury of 799,000 marks. The above item of expenditure for public schools (3,330,000 m.), includes the sums paid to the university, the polyteknicum, thc cadet corps, the agricultural and technical schools ; but does not include the amount raised by local taxation, and fees, for the same purposes. The revenues of Finland are expended on its government.

* Finnish Marc = 20 cents.

In 1870 a special census of the four largest cities of the duchy was taken, under the schedules and instructions of the Bureau of Statistics, the result of which in reference to Population, Illiteracy, Mother Tongue, and Religion, are given in the following table.

TABLE.—Population and other Statistics of Cities in 1870.

[blocks in formation]

1, Mother Tongue. Out of the cities the Finish language is largely predominant-only about 250,000 on the southern and western coast speak Swedish, and a few on the eastern border speak Russian. Finish and Swedish is the language of instruction; the Russian is taught as a foreign language.

2, Religion. Out of the cities the Lutheran faith is almost universal; a small number of Russians on the eastern border belonging to the Greek church.

3, Manufactories, mines, etc. There are 400 manufacturing establishments, producing goods valued at 27,000,000 marks. There are mines of iron, copper and tin, producing products to the amount of 7,000,000 marks. The shipbuild. ing and navigation interest is large, including 1,744 sailing vessels and 85 steamers, employing 11,000 seamen.

4, Communications. There is a canal connecting the Gulf of Finland with Lake Saima; also short canals connecting other lakes, and a railroad from St. Petersburg to Helsingfors, from which short roads run to different points on the coast.

PUBLIC INSTRUCTION. Down to the middle of the present century, the school system which prevailed in Finland was in its main features the same as existed in Sweden, of which the country was an integral portion until 1809. Prior to 1611, such schools as existed were attached to the cathedral and monastic establishments, and in that year were for the first time regulated by a State ordinance, and afterwards shared generally the fortunes of the similar schools in Sweden.

In 1630 the first gymnasium was founded at Abo, and in 1640 a university was founded at the same place, by Chancellor Axel Oxen. stierna, during the minority of Queen Christina. In 1649, 1693, and 1724, important school laws were passed, and in 1686 an edict was issued by Charles XI., which is still in forco in Finland, by which the clergy must every year hold an examination in each parish, to ascertain the ability of the children to read, and their knowledge of the catechism. The same law prohibited the solemnization of marriage between parties who had not been confirmed, which rite could not be administered to persons who could not read, and pass an examination in the principles and doctrines of the Lutheran Church. This law led to the establishment of many popular schools. In 1843 a new school law was issued by the Emperor Nicholas, through the Senate, which was modified by the Acts of 1856, 1862, and 1864; a Normal Lyceum was instituted at Helsingfors for higher school teachers, and a Seminary at Jyväskylä for the popular or primary schools. In 1865 a general law for the popular schools (Folkskole-forordning), was passed, to which was added in 1869 and in 1872, laws separating the high public school from ecclesiastical supervision and control, and instituting for all the schools a system of gov. ernmental supervision.

The System of Public Instruction in Finland now in actual operation, embraces

1. Lower, and Higher Popular Schools (lägre och högre folkskolor), one or both of which exist in every commune and city. The former either permanent or ambulatory, has existed for several centuries, but the latter only in a public form since 1866.

II. Elementary Schools (elementarlaroverk), which impart a general culture superior to that given in the Popular School, and lay the foundation of the scientific instruction which is carried further in the University, the Polyteknicum and other special schools. This grade includes Real Schools, Gymnasiums, called in Finland Lyceums, and the Higher Girls' Schools, all of which in other systems are included under the general term of secondary instruction.

JL. The university with the four Faculties of Theology, Law, Medi. cine and Philosophy, based on the mastery of the studies of the Lyceum.

IV. The Polyteknicum, with its four courses or schools based on the studies of the Real Schools.

« AnteriorContinuar »