Proclamation issued by Count Bouxhoevden
to the Inhabitants of Finland, Feb. 18, 1808.
"IT is with the utmost concern his Imperial Majesty, my most
gracious master, finds himself necessitated to order his troops under
my command to enter your country, good friends and inhabitants of
His Imperial Majesty feels the more concerned to be obliged to take
this step, to which he is compelled by the transactions which have
taken place in Sweden, as he still bears in mind the generous and
friendly sentiments which the Fins displayed towards Russia in the last
war, when the Swedish king engaged in an invasion of Finland, in a
manner equally unexpected and unwarrantable.
His present Swedish Majesty, far from joining his Imperial Majesty in
his exertions to restore the tranquillity of Europe, which alone can be
effected by the coalition which so fortunately has been formed by the
most powerful states, has; on the contrary, formed a closer alliance
with the enemy of tranquillity and peace, whose oppressive system and
unwarrantable conduct towards his Imperial Majesty and his nearest
ally, his Imperial Majesty cannot by any means look upon with
It is on this ground, in addition to what his Majesty owes to the
security of his own dominions, that he finds himself necessitated to
take your country under his own protection, in order to
reserve to himself due satisfaction, in case his Swedish
Majesty should persist in his design not to accept the just conditions
of peace which have been tendered to him by his French Majesty, through
the mediation of his Imperial Russian Majesty, in order to restore the
blessings of peace, which are at all times the principal object of his
Imperial Majesty's attention.
Good friends, and men of Finland, remain in quiet and fear nought ; we
do not come to you as enemies, but as your friends and protectors, to
render you more prosperous and happy, and to avert from you the
calamities which, if war should become indispensable, must necessarily
Do not allow yourself to be seduced to take to arms, or to treat in a
hostile manner the troops who are committed to my orders : should any
one offend against this admonition, he must impute to himself
the consequences of his conduct ; while, on the other hand,
those who meet his Imperial Majesty's paternal care for the welfare of
this country, may rest assured of his powerful favour and protection.
And as it is his Imperial Majesty's will that all affairs shall pursue
their usual course, and be managed according to your ancient laws and
customs, which are to remain undisturbed as long as his troops remain
in your country, all officers, both civil and military, are herewith
directed to conform themselves thereto, provided that no bad use be
made of this indulgence contrary to the good of the country.
Prompt payment shall be made for all provisions and refreshments
required for the troops ; and in order that you may be still more
convinced of his Majesty's paternal solicitude for your welfare, he has
ordered several magazines to be formed, in addition to those which are
already established, out of which the most indigent inhabitants shall
be supplied with necessaries in common with his Majesty's troops.
Should circumstances arise to require an amicable discussion and
deliberation, in that case you are directed to send your deputies,
chosen in the usual manner, to Abo [Åbo, Turku], in order to
deliberate upon the subject, and adopt such measures as the welfare of
the country shall require.
It is his Imperial Majesty's pleasure that from this moment Finland
shall be considered and treated in the same manner as other conquered
provinces of the Russian empire, which now enjoy happiness and peace
under the mild government of his Imperial Majesty, and remain in full
possession of the freedom of religion and worship, as well as of all
its ancient rights and privileges.
The taxes pay able to the crown remain in substance unaltered, and the
pay of the public officers of every description continue likewise on
its ancient footing.
Published on the day Russian troops crossed the border
between Sweden and Russia at River Kymi..
Source: Narrative of the Conquest of
Finland by the Russians In the Years 1808-9. From an umpublished work
by a Russian officer of rank. Ed. by Gen. Monteith. Lionel Booth,
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