- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
33

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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did not think of denominating such, because they were
taught to consider themselves as a different order of
beings. And, perhaps, the efforts which the aristocrats
are making here, as well as in every other part of
Europe, to secure their sway, will be the most effectual
mode of undermining it, taking into the calculation
that the King of Sweden, like most of the potentates
of Europe, has continually been augmenting his power
by encroaching on the privileges of the nobles.

The well-bred Swedes of the capital are formed on
the ancient French model, and they in general speak
that language; for they have a knack at acquiring
languages with tolerable fluency. This may be reckoned
an advantage in some respects; but it prevents the
cultivation of their own, and any considerable advance
in literary pursuits.

A sensible writer has lately observed (I have not his
work by me, therefore cannot quote his exact words),
“That the Americans very wisely let the Europeans
make their books and fashions for them.” But I
cannot coincide with him in this opinion. The reflection
necessary to produce a certain number even of tolerable
productions augments more than he is aware of the
mass of knowledge in the community. Desultory
reading is commonly a mere pastime. But we must
have an object to refer our reflections to, or they will
seldom go below the surface. As in travelling, the
keeping of a journal excites to many useful inquiries
that would not have been thought of had the traveller
only determined to see all he could see, without ever
asking himself for what purpose. Besides, the very

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