Matthias Alexander Castren, a Finnish philologist, born at Tervola, Dec. 2, 1813, died in Helsingfors, May 7, 1852. He devoted himself to collecting the monuments of the genius of Finland scattered through the various tribes, and as a preparation he undertook in 1838 to travel on foot through Finnish Lapland. He then visited Karelia, to make himself more familiar with the language, with a view to the translation into Swedish of the celebrated popular poem, the "Kalevala." Aided by government, he pursued his investigations through Norwegian and Russian Lapland, and even through the land of the Samoyeds of Europe and Siberia. He was appointed linguist and ethnographer to the academy of St. Petersburg, and with the aid of the university of Helsingfors he extended his researches throughout Siberia, from the frontiers of China to the shores of the Arctic ocean. With feeble constitution and delicate health, he accomplished extraordinary labors, and sent home, in addition to the documents connected with his own studies, reports and letters of great value. Many of these were published in the Russian and Swedish periodicals of the day.
Castren was honored on his return to his country, in 1851, a year before his death, with the office of first professor of the Finnish language and literature at the university of Helsingfors. The literary society of Finland and the academy of St. Petersburg caused his writings to be published after his death, the latter body appointing Schiefner as editor of the works, published in St. Petersburg in German in 1853 and 185G, while Finnish editions were brought out at Helsingfors in 1852, 1853, and 1855, and a German edition of part of them appeared also in Leipsic. Among his works are Elemcnta Grammatices Tscheremissa', Elementa Gram-matices Syrjance, De Affixis Personalibus Lin-guarum Altaicarum, and an Ostiak grammar in German. His Samoyed grammar and dictionary were published in St. Petersburg in 1854 and 1855, and his Tungusian dictionary in 1857. Borg published in 1853 a biographical sketch of Gastren, and a monument has been dedicated to his memory at Helsingfors,