(To be announced from the pulpit.)
We, NICHOLAS The Second, by the grace of God, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, Tsar of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland etc. etc. etc. do hereby proclaim to all Our faithful subjects that : The Grand-Duchy of Finland, which, since the beginning of the present century, has been included in the Russian Empire, possesses, by the gracious consent of Tsar Alexander 1., of blessed memory, and of His August Heirs, special institutions with respect to interior administration and legislation, which are susuited to the conditions of life in that country.
But besides the local legislative matters in Finland, emanating from the peculiar conditions of society in that country, there also arise in the administration of the Empire other legislative questions in regard to Finland, which, on account of their intimate connection with the general interests of the Empire, cannot be exclusively treated and decided by the institutions of the Grand-Duchy. In regard to the manner in which such questions are to be decided, the laws now in force do not contain any definite stipulations, and the lack of such has brought about serious difficulties.
In order to remedy these difficulties, We have, constantly bearing in mind the welfare of all Our faithful subjects without respect to persons, seen fit, for the perfection of ordinances now in force and for the observance of the respective institutions in the Empire and the Grand-Duchy, to establish a fixed and unchangeable order for their work in elaborating and issuing laws of a general interest or importance to the Empire.
Whilst maintaining in full force the now prevailing statutes which concern the promulgation of local laws touching exclusively the internal affairs of Finland, We have found it necessary to reserve to Ourselves the ultimate decision as to which laws come within the scope of the general legislation of the Empire.
With this in view, We have with Our Royal Hand established and confirmed the Fundamental statutes for the working out, revision, and promulgation of laws issued for the Empire, including the Grand-Duchy of Finland, which are proclaimed simultaneously herewith.
In conformity with Our Crowned Forefathers, We see a pledge for the advancement of Finland in the most intimate union of this country with the Empire. Under the protection of Russian rule, and rendered strong thereby, Finland has, during nearly a whole century, constantly and steadily progressed in peaceful development, and it has been a source of happiness to Us to see by the lately delivered assurances of the Estates that the feeling of devotion for Us and Russia is ardent in the hearts of the Finnish people.
We feel assured that a co-operation between the institutions in the Empire and the Grand-Duchy of Finland in the legislative matters which concern their common interests, if founded on fixed precepts in positive law, will tend to a still more effectual protection of the welfare and advantages of the Russian Empire.
Issued in St. Petersburg this third day of February, year eighteen hundred and ninetynine A.D. and in the fifth year of Our Reign.
The Order is signed by His Imperial Majesty:
The copy affirmed by: Chairman of the State Council MICHAEL. Countersigned: State Secretary of the State Council P. Haritonoff.
Copy.On the original His Imperial Majesty has signed with His own Royal Hand: "So may it be".St. Petersburg, on the 3rd of February 1899. Chairman of the State Council
2) This order is observed both with respect to the laws which are applicable throughout the whole Empire, including the Grand-Duchy of Finland, and with respect to the laws which are applied only within the limits of the Grand-Duchy, in case they touch the common interests of the Empire or are connected with the legislation of the Empire.
3) Application for gracious Imperial consent in regard to the execution of the aforesaid laws (§§ 1 and 2) shall be made by the duly authorized and appointed Minister of the Empire and the Minister-Secretary of State for the Grand-Duchy of Finland, after having mutually communicated with each other. When the Governor-General of Finland, with respect to the course of the administration of the Grand-Duchy, finds it necessary to supplement the laws in force in the country, in the order fixed and established by these Statutes, he has a right, in order to effect their further treatment, to communicate his proposals on the subject to the proper Minister of the Empire and the Minister-Secretary of State for the Grand-Duchy.
4) After the gracious Imperial consent has been obtained for the issuing of a law or laws for the Empire, including the Grand-Duchy of Finland, the Minister of the Empire shall communicate with the Governor-General of Finland, the Minister-Secretary of State for the Grand-Duchy of Finland, and the Imperial Senate of Finland, in order to get their opinion in regard to the wording of the proposed law.
5) With respect to the legislative proposals, which in accordance with the ordinance for the interior administration of the Grand-Duchy of Finland, are handed over to be treated by the Diet of Finland, it is necessary to have the opinion of the Diet in making the laws mentioned in § 2 of these Statutes. The opinion of the Diet shall be given at its nearest following ordinary session, unless there should be a gracious Imperial command for convening an extraordinary session for this purpose.
6) After the opinion of the Governor-General of Finland, of the Minister-Secretary of State for the Grand-Duchy of Finland, and of the Imperial Senate of Finland, and, in proper cases (see § 5), of the Diet of Finland, have been ascertained, the Minister of the Empire hands over the legislative proposal to the Imperial Council in the form and manner ordained by the Statutes for the Imperial Council. The documents on this subject must be accompanied by a copy of the opinion of the Senate and Diet.
7) This legislative proposal is examined on common principles under the co-operation of the Governor-General of Finland, the Minister-Secretary of State for the Grand-Duchy of Finland, as well as the Senators in the Imperial Senate of Finland, who, after gracious Imperial election, have been especially appointed for this purpose.
8) 8. The gracious decision of the Imperial Council in regard to said legislative proposal shall be promulgated in the duly ordained form and manner both in the Empire and in the Grand-Duchy of Finland.
President of the Imperial Council,(signed) "Michael". The copy affirmed by: State Secretary of the State Council P. Haritonoff.