Tuesday, July 12, 2011

He was much disappointed in entering Tornea

Next morning on landing at Pakkila, he mounted a small car, and was driven with furious rapidity by a young Finlander, along an excellent road, and through a rich and populous country. He met crowds of people returning home from church, dressed in their best attire; youths and maidens hurrying gaily along; while the elderly persons, clad in a long dark mantle, girt with a yellow sash, and having a small black cap on their head, marched with stately gravity. But he was much disappointed in entering Tornea, which, though built after an uniform plan, consists mostly of detached cottages, and contains only 630 inhabitants. The streets are very broad, and, not being paved, they are grown over with grass, on which the cows regularly pasture. The inhabitants, a mixture of Finns and Swedes, have the character of being idle, and extremely given to drunkenness. Yet the adjacent country, chiefly through the industry of the Finnish settlers, is rapidly improving; and the population of the province of Lapmark appears to have advanced much faster than that of any other part of Europe. In the year 1751, this, according to Baron Hermelin, was 27,000; in 1772, it had increased to 31,000; but in 1801, it amounted to 52,000.

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