LIFE BY THE RIVER:
Observations on nature
The dates in Outhier's journal follow the Gregorian Calendar.
The Gregorian Calendar was 12 days ahead the calendar in use in Sweden
- Finland at the time of the expedition. The Gregorian Calendar was
introduced in Sweden in 1753.
Life by the Tornionjoki river in the 18th century
Apart from recording the research details described both Maupertuis
in his journals and above all Abbé Réginald Outhier in
his book 'Journal of a Voyage to the North in 1736 - 1737' much of the
ways of life in the Tornionlaakso Valley. Outhier's travel accounts
furthered significantly the knowledge of the Far North. The book was
published in several editions in French and it was translated into German
in 1759 and into English in 1808. The Swedish translation was published
in 1982 and the Finnish translation in 1975.
In his book Outhier describes the inhabitants of the Tornionlaakso Valley
as clean, persistent, skilful and hospitable. The French experiments
progressed well, the schedules held and along the river valley in Tornio,
Ylitornio and Pello the Frenchmen came across with local people skilled
in foreign languages. The locals showed great willingness to help. Accommodation
and food were always available. The mail arrived in Tornio once a week
and was quickly delivered from there further north.
In Pello the Frenchmen were visited by vicar Brunnius from Ylitornio
and assistant vicar Antilius from Köngäs. Antilius presented
the Lapp calendar the rune-staff to the expedition members. He also
brought food and ale with him and in return received '' many bottles
of good French spirits''. During the winter the Frenchmen and the burghers
of Tornio got well acquainted with each other. Festivities were alternately
Réginald Outhier, Journal of a Voyage to the North in the
Years 1736 - 1737:
On Life in Tornio (p. 308)