In Swedish

Russian 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 Swedish Finland.

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 indifference.

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 befall you.

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, London, 1854.

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