- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
52

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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what a paradox! because they did not consider that
slaves, having no object to stimulate industry, have
not their faculties sharpened by the only thing that
can exercise them, self-interest. Others have been
brought forward as brutes, having no aptitude for the
arts and sciences, only because the progress of
improvement had not reached that stage which produces
them.

Those writers who have considered the history of
man, or of the human mind, on a more enlarged scale
have fallen into similar errors, not reflecting that the
passions are weak where the necessaries of life are too
hardly or too easily obtained.

Travellers who require that every nation should
resemble their native country, had better stay at home.
It is, for example, absurd to blame a people for not
having that degree of personal cleanliness and elegance
of manners which only refinement of taste produces,
and will produce everywhere in proportion as society
attains a general polish. The most essential service, I
presume, that authors could render to society, would be
to promote inquiry and discussion, instead of making
those dogmatical assertions which only appear calculated
to gird the human mind round with imaginary circles,
like the paper globe which represents the one he
inhabits.

This spirit of inquiry is the characteristic of the
present century, from which the succeeding will, I am
persuaded, receive a great accumulation of knowledge;
and doubtless its diffusion will in a great measure
destroy the factitious national characters which have

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