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A paper about the travels of Johan Arckenholtz in England in 1731, presented at the Finnish Institute in London.
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  Juha Manninen:A MISTY LAND OF WONDERSTravel Experiences o !he Finn Johan Arc"enhol!#in En$lan% in &'(& 1. An integral part in the formation of the ideas of the Enlightenment was a small book written by Voltaire, entitled "Letters concerning the English Nation" (1!!. Voltaire#s $isit to England meant for him a trip to the f%t%re. &t made him able to form%late %topian $isions. At the same time, howe$er, a co%ntry in the North had adopted instit%tions that made it more a contemporary with England than any other co%ntry in the eighteenth'cent%ry. %ring the first part of the cent%ry only two E%ropean co%ntries e)perimented with an early b%t certainly recogni*able parliamentarism+ England and weden. -he wedish Age of reedom, as it was called, lasted from 11/ to 10. -he ritish Enlightenment was more a str%ggle with practical problems than an e)ercise in %topian dreaming. England already had the rights that the rench were fighting for. -he 2%estion was rather, how it all wo%ld work in practice. -he same goes $ery m%ch for weden. inland, as a part of weden, e)perienced also this practical and political str%ggle, altho%gh the pro$ince seemed to contemporaries to lie in the %tmost periphery of E%rope. 3ohan Arckenholt* (14/5'1 was a inn, born in 6elsinki, and he made a trip to England in 1!1. 6is stay in England, short tho%gh it was, had a lasting infl%enceon his $iews and acti$ities. %t also Arckenholt*# immediate impressions e)pressed in a letter to his rench friend abb7 o%2%eron are interesting mirrors of the English society and its way of life. 8ore that ten years Arckenholt* had been a "go$erno%r", i.e. a g%ide and mentor of yo%ng wedish noblemen in their grand to%rs to different parts of E%rope. ince it was not pres%pposed that a go$erno%r sho%ld himself be of noble srcins, s%ch a task was an opport%nity to persons like Arckenholt*, who did not belong to the nobility. Arckenholt* had grown %p as a son of the "syndic%s" or secretary of the town 6elsinki and later on he was a war ref%gee and st%dent in the central parts of weden. 6e had his name from his grandfathers father, a 9erman f%rrier, who had wandered to inland d%ring the -hirty :ears# ;ar. Arckenholt* had st%died law and history first at the Academy of -%rk%, then in <ppsala, and with his =%nior noblemen in trasbo%rg, 8arb%rg, <trecht, and >aris, altho%gh he most of all was a self'made'man. 6e was well ac2%ainted with the $ario%s 9erman co%ntries, -he Netherlands, A%stria, 6%ngary, &taly, and rance.  Arckenholt* was the first in a long row of innish writers and scientists who were looking admiringly towards England in the eighteenth cent%ry. Among these were the most radical defenders of the freedom of e)pression and economic freedom like>eter orssk?l and Anders @hydeni%s, b%t also nat%ral scientists like >ehr alm and  2  =%rists like 8atthias @aloni%s. -he scope and nat%re of the innish Enlightenment as a whole within weden are still ins%fficiently st%died. ertolt recht once said that the inns are a nation that remains silent in two lang%ages. -his does not apply to the eighteenth cent%ry, especially not to the Age of reedom. -he inns ga$e to the wedish Enlightenment its radical ferment in a similar way as cotland prod%ced some of the brightest minds enlightening Englandat that time. -heir radicalism was not one of %topian programmes, b%t one of practical demands. &n the centres, $ario%s roads to power co%ld be %sed in secrecy and protected by secrecy, b%t openness, freedom and information were of $ital importance to the periferies, if they only were de$eloped eno%gh to %nderstand demand them. And here tra$elling co%ld gi$e decisi$e imp%lses. -he losses of the 9reat Northern ;ar had been catastrophic for weden. till, they can also be seen from another perspecti$e. eca%se of them, the wedes initiated a parliamentary ' and, in the end+ democratic ' de$elopment. -he ing wo%ld be by now only a ing'in'the'@o%ncil and the %ppermost power sho%ld residein the general estates. -he transformation was %nderstood more as a restoration of the people#s old rights than a re$ol%tion according to some grand design, altho%gh itin fact had re$ol%tionary conse2%ences. %ch a process was definitely not easy to manage, b%t it co%ld ha$e a s%ccessf%lbeginning, since it was in the hands of e)perienced politicians. -he inland'born  Ar$id 6orn, weden#s first >rime 8inister in a fairly modern sense, had been fighting on the side of his ing, b%t he grew sceptical of the %sef%lness of weden#s traditional policy of always making alliances only with rance. 6e was $ery happy with the 6ano$eran alliance which incl%ded both rance and England. And the 6ano$eran England became a mecca for a great n%mber of yo%ng swedish noblemen and other tra$ellers. Arckenholt* had spent together with his companion a year in >aris before coming to England. 6e had made e)tensi$e notices of at least eighty books concerning E%ropean history, incl%ding the history of ritannia. 6e was collecting obser$ations from the books in the form of an encyclopaedia of the social and political world. ;ith special interest he 2%oted repeatedly the rench translation of 9ilbert %rnet#s "6istory of B%r Bwn -ime". Bne of his main g%ides was th%s a well'known ;hig. ince his st%dies in <ppsala Arckenholt*# great master in historical thinking had been am%el >%fendorf, who had delighted immensely of the 9lorio%s Ce$ol%tion. @onse2%ently, Arckenholt* did not come to England witho%t e)pectations aro%sed by his st%dies. %t he was also a keen obser$er. -his is shown by the scetch of his letter to abb7 o%2%eron. <nlike Voltaire, Arckenholt* was $ery m%ch interested in the real life of the Englishmen. Voltaire had %sed the form of a letter as a literary means to e)press his $iews abo%t England, b%t in Arckenholt*# case we ha$e to do with a real letter. &t was dated in Bctober 1!1, $ery soon after Arckenholt*# ret%rn back to tockholm. -his letter was b%ried in the LinkDpings tiftsbibliotek and it has not been %sed by earlier researchers. &n 8arch 1!0, Arckenholt* finished a book'length st%dy abo%t weden#s interests in its relations with other E%ropean states. &t was a >%fendorfian analysis of the present'day sit%ation and of its historical roots. y now, Arckenholt* was employed by the wedish @hancellery which possessed the tasks of a foreign ministry. -he man%script was not planned for p%blication. &t is easy to see that  3  Arckenholt* wanted to make a s%mmary of his learning process d%ring his long absence from his own co%ntry. -his man%script is a f%ther important so%rce to  Arckenholt*# pict%re of England.0. Abb7 o%2%eron was an ed%cated ch%rchman, hard'working writer, who was interested in a $ariety of things ranging from ancient mon%ments to lang%ages and practical ed%cation. Arckenholt*#s first letter from England to o%2%eron was read to a circle of friends of o%2%eron#s. -his ob$io%sly enco%raged Arckenholt* to write again, altho%gh he did regret that his $isit to England had been too short and also pointed o%t that in >aris o%2%eron wo%ld be able to find plenty of those "eccentrics of the magic island" who know e$erything better than he did. -he letter re$eals that England totally confo%nded Arckenholt*, a seasoned tra$eller in E%rope for more than ten years. 6is obser$ations tell abo%t a still agric%lt%ral co%ntry. "& do%bt anybody can find a fresher and greener landscape than in England", he wrote. "-he greenness contin%es long into the winter, and the climate seems to be more temperate than in the norther pro$inces of rance. -he mist from the sea, co$ering this co%ntry, is probably the reason for this miracle." -he 6ano$erian England was e)periencing an agrarian re$ol%tion. ome of  Arckenholt*#s obser$ations are telling+ "%t, ear ir, co%ld yo% tell me why the cattle ha$e s%ch big and symmetrical horns in England, when in rance and in other co%ntries the horns are %s%ally small, badly'formed and insignificant compared to the ones on this island. -here has to be a reason. >lease, disc%ss this with the gentlemen of the Academy. & wo%ld be $ery glad to know their opinion. Also, all the animals ' horses, cows, sheep ' are $ery fat in England, healthy and big, and they seem to reflect the well'being and happiness on the island." As a former st%dent of @hristian ;olff in 8arb%rg, Arckenholt* was always asking for reasons, i.e. rational e)planations.  Arckenholt* did not yet see the ind%strial re$ol%tion which was to begin some decades later. London, howe$er, prompted him to remark that the famo%s bridge of the capital has more rep%tation abroad than it deser$es. "&n my opinion, the big machine that works by fire and satisfies the pop%lation#s needs for water deser$es more attention than the bridge. And & m%st say that this machine and yo%rs in 8arly are the biggest in E%rope." -he obser$er had a good h%nch abo%t the importance of the big machine. 6owe$er, the most important feat%re of the inno$ation was not its si*e b%t its principle of f%nction. &n fact the si*e was a drawback. -he machine m%st ha$e beenthe early steam engine de$eloped by -homas Newcomen. till, it was not the happy animals or the big machine that got Arckenholt*#s main attention. -hat was reser$ed for the Englishmen#s e$eryday li$es.!. A little s%rprisingly, Arckenholt* started his letter to the rench ch%rchman by describing the opening of a dance place in London. According to him, London had the most glorio%s dancing places in all of E%rope. "&magine a well'lit dance floor s%rro%nded by tables and stalls, which are f%ll of sweets and refreshments of all sorts. -here are also many rooms where people cangamble. ... ome don#t seem to care e$en if they and %p losing 5, gold coins or e$en moreF some people dance and twist their body when doing the men%et. -he  4 rest of the people drink and eat as m%ch as they can, and this is the way they spendall night." A ticket for this kind of entertainment was fairly e)pensi$e, tho%gh, and the cost of a simple fancy dress pretty high. -he @o%rt had also raised the prices to keep the poorer people away from the party. Not that it had worked. -he price of the ticket incl%ded all food and drinks, "and, as yo% all know, there are no limits for the greediness of the English people". Arckenholt* pres%med that some people prepared for the party by fasting for the pre$io%s days and sa$ing from other e$eryday e)penses. 6e had seen himself how the clean stalls looked like after a storm had swept thro%gh them $ery soon after the dance place was opened. -he co%ntryside $illages also had "a common hall, where yo%ng men and womenfrom all estates came together once or twice a week and danced the night away". -his is how they got to know each other, and the friendship often led to marriage. &t is interesting that Arckenholt* ga$e attention to the fact that the merriment broke bo%ndaries between the estates. %ch places were maintained by some of the rich gentlemen of the $illage. 6e had to do it of his own free will. Btherwise the people wo%ld not ha$e respected it. -he life of the nobleman, li$ing in the co%ntryside, was s%mpt%o%s as s%ch, b%t he also needed to show that he cared abo%t his own people. -he most charming thing in England, Arckenholt* tho%ght, was the cleanliness of the ho%ses and e$en of the tiniest of $illages. -here was always at least one inn where the $isitor co%ld ha$e one or two different meat dishes, good bread and strong >ort%g%ese wine. No nation co%ld roast their meat as well as the English people did. Bther dishes took some getting %sed to, howe$er, and so%p wo%ld appear in the table only after asking for it especially. -he people lo$ed $ario%s p%ddings in partic%lar. -here were not so many good hotels in England as in rance, b%t what London had instead were h%ndreds of p%bs, $isited by all kind of people. Arckenholt* tho%ght that the p%bs, too, bro%ght different social orders closer together. -he nobility co%ld do their b%siness in a p%b, b%t there were also shippers, sailors and other ordinary people. "8eat is being roasted from morning till night. & can go in, order a c%t & like, and the meat =%st keeps roasting. ... After a hea$y meal it is good to walk."G. Arckenholt* did not see walking to be witho%t problems. Altho%gh the pa$ementson big streets were in good condition, a pedestrian had to be prepared for b%mps. "-he Englishmen do not walk like we do. Almost e$eryone r%ns like a h%nter." eing in h%rry was s%ch a strange concept in E%rope in those days that Arckenholt* co%ld not find a word for it. Bn the other hand, there was a positi$e side to this need to make contacts fast. -he admirable penny'post made Arckenholt* wish that e$ery big city wo%ld ha$e one. Letters and small packets were deli$ered safely and cheaply twice a day, and not only to London b%t also to many little $illages e$en ten miles away from the capital. ;alking at night, trying to a$oid the crowds, was dangero%s. @arriages were on the mo$e day and night, and the pedestrian co%ld all too easily be r%n o$er in dirty narrow streets in partic%lar. &n addition, the streets were littered with thie$es when itstarted to get dark. -hey wo%ld beat their $ictims %nconscio%s and rob them in  5 silence. &f the $ictim then lost his life, it was a p%re accident, beca%se to a robber a robbery witho%t any bloob and resistance was a matter of hono%r. -he most dangero%s areas were the $illages some miles away from London, with all kinds of people plying their trade. "&f somebody attacks me and & manage to kill him, & will ha$e 0 gold coins from the go$ernment. &f & get him ali$e & will ha$e do%ble the money. -he poor one knows this in ad$ance and is not s%rprised. & was there when fi$e or si) people were hanged. Bne or two of them went to their death as calmly as going to bed. & was shocked when the hangman took off the clothes of hanged people, beca%se therelati$es co%ld not e$en pay a small fee for the hanging. &t was pitif%l to see people staring those naked bodies, not e$en the women whoeing m%ch concern." Arckenholt* also followed the work of the co%rt of =%stice. A =%dge of one social order heard the cases of his own social class. -he hearing was not strict and the sentences were lenient. -ort%re as a 2%estioning method was almost %nknown. &t was %sed only in cases of treason. -his, said Arckenholt*, made the English almost"as fort%nate as we who do not know things like that..." Arckenholt* wrote that there were some ancient rights in the legal system that had now lost their meaning b%t were still %sed. -he law was also interpreted $ery literally. An Englishman marrying three women did not get a death sentence, beca%se the law only described penalty in a case when he married two women. &t was necessary to change the law as specifying "getting married to two or more women". &t was easier than anywhere else to get married in England, which is why many of the marriages were in a bad shape. ome cases were not bro%ght to co%rt. -he poorer people tended to sol$e the problems on their own in the streets. Bne of Arckenholt*#s descriptions enlightens the social history of bo)ing+ ">eople get together and s%rro%nd the 2%arrelling parties. -hey disc%ss the arg%ments and decide who is right. &f the 2%arrellers do not accept the sol%tion, they need to take off their shirts, and, while p%nching each other a tho%sand times, they e)pect total impartiality from the a%dience. -his kind of fighting, which is called #bo)en#, leads to a conciliation. >eople will lea$e the place, talking abo%t the e$ent, while the fighters will %s%ally go to the nearest p%b and drink some beer or wine together as a mark of perfect agreement."5. Arckenholt*, familiar with the ideas of am%el >%fendorf and other theorists of nat%ral law, tho%ght that there m%st be certain nat%ral rights, which belong to e$eryone =%st beca%se he or she is a h%man being. -his notion of h%man rights ass%med new and more concrete s%bstance in Arckenholt*#s reflections concerning the national geni%s of the English people. 6e ill%strated this by telling a story abo%t the H%een#s companion, who was asked to tie the H%een#s shoelaces. -he lady did not consider these shoelaces more $al%able than her own and said briskly+ "& ha$e ne$er tied my own shoelaces and e$en less do & want to do it for someone else, whoe$er she is." Arckenholt* said that anywhere this kind of beha$io%r wo%ld be seen as a sign of r%deness and lack of respect, b%t "in England it is a liberty that is based on the idea of nat%ral e2%ality, which belongs to e$ery sentient person". 6e added that when a whole nation begins to be raised in accordance with these ideas, the people will seee2%ality as based on h%man nat%re itself.
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