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brilliant, in the neighbourhood of Paris, Mai- pen. The local denomination, taken from land, Florence, or Naples, and probably also the lands or estate, or settling possessed by of Berlin, Weimar, Dresden or Vienna, we the family, is the other and more solid and should undoubtedly never see anything of the kind. And indeed I saw in a shop-window in powerful, and, at the same time, more unCopenhagen, besides the portraits of the cele- common and necessarily aristocratic source. brated Gottingen Seven, a tolerably inferior The Swedish pa or af in this respect anlithograph representation of an eating-house swers to the German von, the French de, dinner party, none of whom had neglected hang- and the English of. That the Germans, Enging their several decorations in due order over lish, and Dutch, as well as all other nations their napkins. Thus even on the spot we find of northern stock, often preserve disgusting this decoration rage eagerly caricatured. To or ridiculous family-names merely because and it cannot but be agreeable to find one's they were borne by their predecessors, is a merits acknowledged. But to carry this distinc-fact well known. We often wonder why tion as it were to market, and take every oppor- such patronymics are not more generally tunity of announcing to every company see abandoned. In Sweden a certain form is how meritorious I am! this must be regarded gone through, before a change of the familyas perfectly ridiculous; and never more so than name is allowed. when favour, which is often unworthily bestowed, and not merit, however seldom the latter may be entirely neglected, has been the source of the boasted distinction."*

be honoured by a prince is certainly desirable,

But it is now time for us to pass on to a notice of the work of Mr. Laing, which has excited so much opposition both at home and abroad. A complete translation has apIt should, however, be observed, in con-peared in Norway, and large extracts have nection with the above remarks, that the been made in Swedish journals, so that it high-flown names commonly assumed by has been canvassed pretty widely in the the Swedish nobles are merely enjoyed by north. In Sweden it is, naturally enough, them as the distinction of their caste. To regarded as a book too much à la Mrs. Trolthe nation they are quite unknown. The lope, and in general we believe it to have the oldest noble families, (for most of them are following serious faults. First: It was writmodern, and have in numbers of cases been ten almost entirely under the impression of founded by foreign adventurers,) as well as a Norwegian bias. During his long resithe old names celebrated in Swedish his- dence in Norway, and in consequence of tory, exhibit appellations as common and his à priori prejudice in favour of all outvulgar as those met with in the other coun- ward democratic forms, Mr. Laing not only tries inhabited by the different branches of saw everything around him in that country the great Gothic family. Nay, even the in the couleur de rose, but he beheld everyfamous Gustavus the First was the son of thing over the hills in the couleur de noir. Eric Wheat-sheaf (Vase); and the richest of He had, in one word, Norwegian spectacles the ancient noble houses is that of the on. Who would ever have thought of going Peasant (Bonde). To this day among the commons we seldom find other genealogies than that simplest of all-that each good yeoman is his father's son!-that is to say, Lars Larsson is Lars the son of Lars; the next heir is, perhaps, Erik Larsson; and the third, Erik Erikson, and so on; just as our own Johnsons and Thomsons formerly arose. This principle even extends to the female peasantry. Thus, after the same example, if the first-mentioned countryman had a daughter baptized Karin (Catherine), her name would be Karin Larsdotter (Lars's daughter), or Eriksdotter, as it might hap

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to the English commonalty under King William-the third of that name-for a character of Scotland and the Scotch; or, vice versa, to bonny Scotland for a "full, true, and particular account" of the Southrons over the border? Certainly, it would not have been more absurd than it now is, to judge of Sweden and the Swedes from the accounts and feelings of the long-embittered often Swede-battling and still Swede-jealous Norwegian peasantry. An immense fund of prejudice still exists in both countries, and we believe with equal injustice. At all events, whatever grounds the Norwegians may have had for quarrelling with their Norwegian king and government, who have so often attempted to intrigue and persuade them out of their liberties, the Swedish people surely ought in no wise to be dragged into the quarrel merely from the fact of their monarch being also king of the independent Norway. But, secondly: It was highly imprudent in Mr. Laing to publish a work professing to be claborate, merely after a tour


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(principally on steam-boats) of only two or it to be; but that in reality the modern delinthree months in the country. However quency in Sweden is small." great the talents of the traveller may be, and however short a time may be requisite to sketch a scene or paint a popular group, we shall always be of opinion that a nation can by no means be properly appreciated after the scanty intercourse of some few weeks of modern locomotion. In Sweden especially, the character of the northern districts is not that of the south, and almost every province has distinct psychological and often ethnographical as well as geographical features. So it is more or less in every country; and hence it follows that the mass of travels in modern times are so flimsy and meagre and trifling. The land traversed has never been dived into. Most of the locomotive journals, afterwards spawned by the press, are even written by men deaf and dumb," as Mr. Laing very properly expresses it; that is, by people who can neither speak nor understand the language of the race among whom they sojourn. Mr. Laing knew something, it is true, of both the language and the literature of Sweden, and this little he employed with great zeal and good will; but though the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak. Lastly, and thirdly: Mr. Laing has been guilty of a fault serious enough. Convinced as he was of the weight of the charges he intended to bring against Swedish morals and legislation, he ought to have been exceedingly anxious to suffer no statement to escape him calculated to weaken, by its want of correctness, the general impression on the reader's mind. Instead of this, with a carelessness and overbold selfconfidence, he refused to hear the explanations given him of the incompetency of the Swedish statistical tables to decide the matter on either side, and then had the simplicity to register his imprudence:

Notwithstanding this confession, Mr. Laing permits his tables to be enormously swelled by cases of drunkenness and offences against decency, neither of which are included in the English and Scotch Criminal Statistics, while he overlooks several other important features of the argument. Nay, he even allows certain lines of figures to overpower the testimony of his own senses and experience. Thus, to his sweeping denunciation of Swedish misery and barbarism, we may oppose his own descriptions of the comfort of the population on the north-east coast of Sweden-"in some respects the difference appears to me in favour of the little towns here as compared with those of "our own Scotch country people ;"t-of the elegant taste of the Swedes, "I infer, from the whole of the objects which the traveller sees in this city (Stockholm), that the taste of the Swedish people for the beauty of form in the fine arts, is far more advanced and developed than ours;" of the national colonized troops, " remarkably fine-looking grenadiers, well dressed in white round jackets with yellow epaulets, and blue trowsers, and all their appointments seemed substantial, clean, and soldier-like, men well set up, evidently well drilled, and at ease under arms;"§-and of the spread of education, "It is, however, to the honour of the common people of Sweden, that they alone, of all European nations, have outstripped the schoolmaster, and are so generally masters themselves of reading, and even writing, that parents in the lowest circumstances have no more occasion for a schoolmaster to teach their children these elementary branches of education, and also the church catechism, than they have for a baker to make their bread, or a sempstress to make their clothes, &c."

.... •

"I have conversed with several enlightened This indefensible self-assurance has, as Swedish gentlemen upon this extraordinary comparative state of the criminal calendar of might be expected, only redounded to his the country. They all ascribe this apparent own, hurt, and the injury of the arguments excess of crime entirely to faulty legislative or and deductions built up with so much labour judicial arrangement, by which mere police and talent. All his statements have been transgressions (such, for instance, as the pea- accused of equal incorrectness, and the benesantry of a whole parish neglecting to mend fit which might have been accomplished by their roads, or to appear with their horses in due time at the posting stations to forward tra- calm and temperate and friendly criticism, vellers) may be punished with fine, or even im- has been in a great measure neutralized by prisonment on bread and water, and these cases are registered and accounted as crimes. towns, in like manner, the neglect of sweeping chimneys, mending and cleaning streets, and so on, being punished by fines, and, if these are not paid, by imprisonment, the apparent catalogue of crimes, they say, is enlarged to what I state

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+ Laing's Tour in Sweden, p. 134.
Jbid., p. 167.

+ Ibid., p. 73.
§ Ibid., p. 55.
|| Ibid., p. 186.

the slashing character of his assertions and | tracts given by the Count to prove his conthe bitterness of his tone.

tradictions, will, at all events, show that he knew how to praise, although it militated against his own system. A pre-determined libelier would not have been so negligent.

Of course we shall not dwell at any length upon such parts of Mr. Laing's narrative as disputation has rendered familiar. Our article, at all events, will, in spite of all our efforts to the contrary, be much longer than we had contemplated. With reference to the famous dispute as to the morals of Sweden, a copious reply will be found in Count Björnstjerna's pamphlet, pp. 25-32, although simply a translation without acknowledgment from the Swedish of the great Professor Geijer, in his "Litteratur-Blad," No. 8, for August, and No. 9, for September, 1839. The Count, however, has carefully omitted Professor Geijer's closing paragraph :

"To conclude, after all these subtractions from

Faults, such as these, would have annihilated any common tourist. But Mr. Laing is no common tourist. We have no hesitation in classing his work with the highest of its kind in our literature, with the good old standards of a Coxe and a Clarke. Partaking of the Tocqueville character, it is at once a book whose style and contents will always amuse, while at the same time there is much in its pages calculated to raise or gratify trains of independent thinking, and leading us to study in their proper light foreign countries and their institutions. And this, surely, should be the end of all superior works of this kind; for it must never be forgotten, that if contemporaneous translation is forestalled immortality, so is philosophic travelling the only method of getting at forestalled historic developments. Then it is that, studying other nations and their progress apart from Mr. Laing's calculations, we are painfully comthe upas-bias of party and one-sided educa-pelled to acknowledge that the number of gross tion, we look round, as it were, with four crimes among us, in proportion to our populaeyes, and afterwards revert to our home-land tion, is, and has been uncommonly great. This with simplified ideas and a vastly enlarged fact, whose general causes* we have endeaexperience. It is thus we are compelled to voured to point out in our present article, has dig out the first principles of society, and to also by no means its least source in our still examine the extent to which these principles regards 'laga försvar, and the promiscuous perpetuated and far too severe enactments as are built up into our national fabric, so as crowding together of all sorts of criminals and afterwards, like good architects, to judge försvarslöse' in our houses of correction, as whether our own loved towers and temples they are called."|| are settling on their foundation, or merely stand in need of outward ornament and local repair. But Mr. Laing, to no inconsiderable extent, and notwithstanding all his sins of omission and commission, is a philosophic traveller. He is an exaggerator, Count Björnstjerna, if you please, and often a faulty theorist, but no libeller!* His errors were evidently not malignant and preconceived misrepresentations, but the result of overhasty conclusions from premises too hastily examined, and slightly warped by the prejudices of his party. Nay, the numerous ex

Colonel Forsell, in his last work, observes as follows:


through this country in 1838, and directed his “A foreigner (Mr. Laing) who travelled attention more especially to the moral worth of the people, particularly in reference to their purity of manners and their obedience to the laws, has judged us very severely, and in my opinion very unjustly. Mr. Laing places us, as

*The Professor attributes much of the advance of crime in Sweden, to the increase of a population rendered pauper by an antiquated system of commercial and trading and industrial monopoly, and "In conclusion, we appeal to the feelings of to the additional number of able-bodied cotters justice of the Scotch nation, a nation assimilating thrown upon their parishes, sometimes by local and in language, extraction, and religion, with the Swed-climatic changes, and sometimes by selfish agricul ish, with mutual glorious recollections ever since tural improvements, (that is, when the law fails to the thirty years' war, when so many brave Scotch- seeure to the cottager a home). men fought valiantly side by side with the Swedes for religious liberty, under the victorious banners of Gustavus Adolphus and his lieutenants; we appeal to this generous nation, and ask, whether there is a single individual among them (always excepting the gentlemen of a certain Review) who, placed in the jury-box, in an action against Mr. Laing, for libelling the Swedish nation, would not pronounce the verdict of GUILTY."-Count Björnstjerna's Answer to Mr. Laing, p. 64.

+ Though a comparatively modern tyranny. Liability to imprisonment for an indefinite period, unless the free Swedish serf can obtain some bondsman for his taxes!

The wretches who are hunted by hundreds into the Swedish Correctionhouse-dens, for not being able to procure any such bondsman. "Försvar properly means a guarantee or answering for, and is in this place a certificate, often sold by betterdressed knaves in the great towns to the worst * The Edinburgh, which gave a regular Whig-characters. So much for the protection (a newdemocrat article on Mr. Laing, and greedily adopted coined word instead of demoralization) given by all his statements-for want of being able to control such laws! him, and because he was a "Scotch Radical."

Geijer's Litteraturblad, P. 150.

tion, considering the temptation and opportunity, says more, I think, for the honesty of the common people than if my portmanteau had come safely from Torneo to Gottenburg.'

regards the number of crimes, below even the and what passed during his long journey through so-much-spoken-of Irish population; but he has the country, we may add his observation at forgotten to take into account that our criminal page 144: The stranger is liable to be imposed lists, besides being more exact than those of upon by paying in Banco instead of Riksgald most other nations, include a great number of paper, and the seller quietly taking his payment minor offences and infractions of various econo-in a money one-third more valuable than he mical regulations which in other lands are very asked. This happened to me, however, only properly regarded as belonging to the depart- once or twice.' This,' as he observes in addiment of police. Mr. Laing best refutes himself, for he remarks at page 133, Whatever may be the want of morals in this country, there is no want of manners. You see no blackguardism, no brutality, no revolting behaviour. You may travel through the country, and come to the conclusion that the people are among the most virtuous in Europe.' At page 136, At one place only in my whole journey I saw a party of peasants rather tipsy, but by no means drunk when they separated. And again, page 140, This remarkable safety of person and property is not the effect of any superior system of police; it must be ascribed to the morality and honesty of the people.' After this tirade, Mr. Laing adds very unjustly, I agree perfectly in the fact,

but not in the conclusion.'"


"In the mean time it would be well if Mr. Laing's disadvantageous and exaggerated description of our country had the same effect upon us as Mrs. Trollope's upon the North Americans. At first they were very angry and very embittered at her observations; but afterwards they thought over the matter, and corrected those faults and bad habits which she had justly pointed out. May Mr. Laing's remarks produce the same results among us also !"*

In connection with the above, it may not be uninteresting to perceive at one glance the truth and the proportion of the increase of crime in Sweden, by the following summary and simplified statements:-The number of Condemned Criminals.t Of one in every

"As a further proof what weighty reasons Mr. Laing had to suspect our criminal tables, and confide more in what he had before his eyes, The Population was in














3830 souls. 1886 do

1231 do

902 do

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837 do

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with arson, &c.)


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Forsell's Anteckningar, p. 3-5.

+ Imprisoned malefactors. The number of persons (not debtors) under arrest in 1837 was 12,285, and in 1838, 14,712.

The number of cases is usually much less than the number of criminals.

lization of Sweden, but to show that the progression of this demoralization, about whose amount we shall not stop to quarrel, is fearfully rapid.

These columns are arranged and abridged from the official "Justitiæ-Stats-Ministerns Berättelse om Brottmålem, &c. under Coppet af 1838." Stockholm, March, 1840, pp. 22 and 40; and ditto for 1839, p. 15 and following.

The better to avoid all disputation, we have altogether omitted above the separate Swedish rubric theft, as it is difficult to distinguish in its cyphers be- This column is arranged from a similar official tween police and assize cases. The total number of" Berättelse" published in August, 1841. We canoffences under this head was in 1836, 2,456; in 1838, not give any later returns, as the "Berättelse" for 3,290; and in 1839, 2,814. We give these as well as 1840 will not appear till 1842. the preceding figures, not to prove the utter demora

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"Accordingly," says a Swedish writer,§ free Swedes are the only people in Europe among civilized nations where such a power can be exercised; for not even in the despotic Rusto strike a servant or a maid. It is true that sia is any master or mistress legally permitted there is an exception from this rule, so far as regards the powers of the landholders over their serfs. But if a serf, by permission of his master, enters into the service of any other person, the latter has no other rights over him than over all others not belonging to the servile class. Thus, parison, and in so far more despotic in its enactments than even Russia itself. In France, a servant would rather receive the stab of a knife than his master's blows. In such countries the masters have the great corrective of being at any moment able to dismiss a miserable servant."

Count Taube, in an article on the necessity of improving the Swedish prisons,† gives a variety of statements relative to the criminal statistics of his country, and arrives at the unfortunate and disheartening result, that its increasing demoralization has not been lessened by the increase of popular education, and that it is most developed in those provinces which can least complain of poverty and an unfruitful soil. He therefore very justly concludes, that other causes than ignorance and poverty are actively at work in forward-in a social point of view, Sweden is beyond coming the progress of Swedish crime. That one of these causes is that stated by Count Taube, the dreadful condition of the Swedish gaols, is undeniable. That there are other both religious, social and political reasons, which Mr. Laing asserts, can also not be denied. But that the root of the whole is the loose tone of public morals, the increasing weight of taxation, the prevalence of the cheap corn-brandy drinking, and the serfage of the lowest classes, is indisputable. Among other sources for this prevalent debased national feeling, Mr. Laing mentions the "corporal chastisement" to which the whole of the labouring population is exposed.

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But we may as well add a word or two here relative to Swedish taxation, also one of the causes stated by Mr. Laing to be increasing its poverty and immorality. According to Colonel Forsell, the taxes in Sweden amount to

Of the Annual Production. 5-21

(nearly one-fourth.)

1-6 1-10

Certain it is, that the

Count Björnstjerna, however, though with- | European nations. out pretending to refute the above calculations mass of the Swedish peasantry complain bitas far as regards his own country, asserts that Sweden is among the lowest taxed of all the European states. This we cannot help considering a most wonderful asseveration. As long as no one can deny the severity of the Swedish climate, and the consequent necessity of every effort and of great economy in order to obtain food for man and beast, especially during the long winters, so long must it remain undeniable that no nation compell ed to furnish one-fourth of its annual production to state and municipal rate-and-tax consumers, can be among the lowest taxed of the many rich and flourishing and fertile

See the above-named "Berättelse" for 1838, Table No. 5, p. 3.

+ Inserted in "Aftonbladet" for January 27, 1841, and a following number.


Laing's Swedish Tour, p. 277.

terly of their burdens, and can seldom lay by one single dollar at the end of the year, after discharging all the demands of the landlord, the priest, and the tax-gatherer. That this is a miserable policy, in more senses than one, all must admit. To plunder the people of their last shilling on pretence of supporting establishments for their defence, is merely to render them careless of their country's fate, because it at last contains nothing worth their fighting for. How shall the serf feel the holy enthusiasm of the "dulce et decorum est pro patriâ mori," when the gold and the gladness, the land and

Statistik öfver Sverige, p. 276. For certain reasons we would beg to observe, that this statement has been repeated from the first into the second and third editions.

At the opening of the late diet the House of We translate from "Aftonbladet" for Sept. 10, Peasants answered the boasting and flattering speech from the throne by an address to the king, breathing

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