De Maupertuis The degree measurements by de Maupertuis in the Tornionlaakso Valley 1736-1737
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Alexis Clairaut
Réginald Outhier
Anders Celsius
Anders Hellant
The Planström daughters



The personal gallery

The following persons joined the expedition from France: astronomer and mathematician Pierre-Louis de Maupertuis, mathematicians Charles Etienne Louis Camus and Alexis Claude Clairaut, astronomer Pierre-Charles de Monnier, draughtsman M.d'Herbelot, secretary M. Sommereux, abbé Réginald Outhier and a group of French servants. In Sweden the party was joined by professor Anders Celsius. During the whole expedition the Pello-born Anders Hellant from the provincial office of Västerbotten worked as the interpreter of the group.

The social circles of the Frenchmen in Tornio comprised of the clergy, the Mayor of the town, the commander of the Länsipohja regiment and town burghers, all with their spouses. De Maupertuis arranged a fine party when Gabriel Gyllengrip, the governor visited the town.

The commander of the regiment, lieutenant-colonel Carl Magnus Du Rietz was of an old French noble family. The commander had taken part in the fights during the Russian occupation of 1713 - 1721 and had been held captive in Russia. He had married the daughter of his captive companion, count Henning Horn who had his daughter Ebba with him in captivity. The French expedition party socialised a great deal with Du Rietz who was also able to offer practical help in the measurements.
The Mayor (burghermaster) of Tornio was called Petter Johan Pipping, a son of a Tornio-born borough magistrate. Due to his education he was able to speak Latin, fairly well at least. Pipping had worked years as the bailiff of Lapland and he was the wealthiest of all burghers in Tornio

The Frenchmen also dealt a lot with the clergy, especially with vicars Fought and Brunnius. Abrahan Fougt, Master of Arts and Member of Parliament, also acted as the dean of Lapland in Tornio. Fougt was renowned for being a hospitable host and good company.

Father and son, Brunnius Senior and Junior, jointly worked as the vicar in Ylitornio congregation. After becoming blind Brunnius Sr was unable to attend to his duties so in practise it was Brunnius Jr who took care of the vicar's duties. The son lived with his family in the vicarage together with his father. Erik Jr had lived all his life in the river valley and had written his dissertation on the history of the area, so he was both fun and practical help for the Frenchmen.

Most of all the Frenchmen, and Outhier in particular, mixed with Johan Wegelius, the schoolmaster of Tornio grammar school. The conversations took fluently place in Latin. Representatives of two different churches, Wegelius and Outhier, met frequently. Wegelius organised a farewell evening for the expedition members in his home and recited his guests a poem he had written in Latin. Wegelius was later to write a book of sermons in two volumes in the spirit of pietism. Neither of the gentlemen directly discusses the conversations they had in their work, not to speak of giving judgmental opinions of each other. On the contrary, friendship and trust were mutual.

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