Mr. Andrews to Mr. Fish.
Stockholm , June 13, 1875. (Received July 8.)
Sir: For a period back it has been customary for the university students of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark to hold a social gathering every few years, in one or the other of the capitals of their countries. At these gatherings, banquets are given, speeches are made, poems read, and songs sung; for the Scandinavian students make singing instead of rowing a specialty. They attract national attention, and serve to keep alive and to increase a fraternal feeling among the Scandinavian people. A gathering of this sort, beginning the first instant and lasting ten days—during which several excursions were made to places of interest in Sweden—has just occurred at Stockholm, and what was chiefly remarkable about it was the presence of a delegation of eighty-five Finnish students from the University of Helsingfors in Finland. The number of students present from Norway, Denmark, and the University of Lund, in the south part of Sweden, was five hundred. Of course there was a large number present from Sweden’s principal university of Upsala. In honor of the occasion Stockholm gave an entertainment at Hasselbaken, at which there were two thousand guests. One of the most distinguished of Swedish statesmen, Mr. Bergstrom, ex-minister of the interior, delivered the welcoming address.
Finland was united with Sweden during six centuries. Much of its literature is Swedish. It has the same poetic and solemn characteristics of nature as Sweden, the dark forest and lake, the long, wintry night, and the midnight sun of summer.
The University of Helsingfors was founded under Swedish rule, and when Sweden was the great Protestant power. The Fins have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Swedes in many memorable battles; and it was natural that the presence on this occasion of a large delegation of their students should awaken, as it did, deep enthusiasm and emotion.
Politicians may get up arm-in-arm conventions; sovereigns may exchange visits and salute each other with the warmest cordiality; yet it may all signify little. But when the youth of different states or sections fraternize we maybe sure that their people are friendly. Would that we could see such reunion by the youth of the North and the South in our own country. Perhaps it is not too much to hope that the Centennial will give occasion for a beginning of such meetings.
I have, &c.