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patting him on the shoulder and saying how he admired the lads who stood up for legality - and went to Hanko, and there he boarded the S.S. Arcturus, as did a dozen young men like him. On board ship, the first mate took special care of the group, which had a corner of its own in the hold.

The men from the shore communities of Ostrobothnia needed no passports, neither authentic nor forged. In open boats they crossed the Gulf of Bothnia, setting forth now from Munsala, now from Närpö. Sometimes as many as three boatloads would start out together, and an authority on the times states that the Gulf was "very often" crossed in these open boats.

Still another way of escaping Finland and the illegal draft was to stow away on some freighter, perhaps sailing from Kaskinen or Sundsvall.

It is impossible to estimate the number of emigrants motivated by the illegal draft calls to leave the country. However, reports like Oskari Tokoi's describing the February 1902 secret meeting in Central Ostrobothnia, to which delegates protesting the illegal measures arrived from all over the country, indicate the scope of the reaction, when he claims that, encouraged by the spirited resolution made at the meeting, "ten thousand young Finnish men came to America that year, thus giving a bigger single increase to Finnish numbers in America than any other movement before or after." To speak of the complete desertion of the northern provinces, as some have done, was to exaggerate the case somewhat, but even Southern Ostrobothnia's official statistics indicate that thousands did leave as emigrants during the years of the draft crisis.

As the February Edict year in particular indicates, the effect of the repression years on emigration was by no means limited to the reaction to the conscription law alone; rather, the difficult times in particular plus the continuing illegalities in general were enough to force people to leave the country. It is very difficult, of course, to evaluate the effect of the general atmosphere on the decision to emigrate, since it did not impinge on the average man's daily life as did the conscription law. However, the Southern Ostrobothnian was apt to feel the need to seek a new land of more freedom, particularly since that was within the realm

of possibility. 29

Between the extremes of political and personal motivation lies that basic trait of Finnish personality, the reluctance to submit

29. Uusi Suomi, February 25, 1956.


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