Charles Frederick Henningsen: Revelations of Russia in 1846, Volume 2
Monday, April 2, 2012
Finland is an exceedingly poor country
Finland is an exceedingly poor country, chequered with lakes and inland waters; the soil is either sandy, or covered with broken rocks of red granite in those parts which are not wholly stony. The barrenness of the ground seems to have discouraged the agriculturist, and the sterility of his fields, joined to their negligent cultivation, is everywhere apparent in the slovenly tillage and the miserable crops of rye. A few districts of bog land which admit of draining, and which have found cultivators with sufficient capital and enterprise to undertake it in the village clergymen, form occasional exceptions to this uninviting picture. Some parts of the country are covered with large forests of the white and red fir. It is traversed in every direction by streams and rivers, on many of which the timber exported is floated down to the sea, but which form cascades and waterfalls amongst the rocks, and are thus rendered unnavigable. The falls of Imatra are, perhaps, the finest in Europe, and, if the mass of water poured down is less than at those of the Trollhatten, in Sweden, they are far more beautiful than the latter.