- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
62

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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LETTER VII.

Though the king of Denmark be an absolute monarch,
yet the Norwegians appear to enjoy all the blessings of
freedom. Norway may be termed a sister kingdom ;
but the people have no viceroy to lord it over them,
and fatten his dependants with the fruit of their
labour.

There are only two counts in the whole country who
have estates, and exact some feudal observances from
their tenantry. All the rest of the country is divided
into small farms, which belong to the cultivator. It
is true some few, appertaining to the Church, are let,
but always on a lease for life, generally renewed in
favour of the eldest son, who has this advantage as
well as a right to a double portion of the property.
But the value of the farm is estimated, and after his
portion is assigned to him he must be answerable for
the residue to the remaining part of the family.

Every farmer for ten years is obliged to attend
annually about twelve days to learn the military
exercise, but it is always at a small distance from his
dwelling, and does not lead him into any new habits
of life.

There are about six thousand regulars also in garri-
son at Christiania and Fredericshall, who are equally
reserved, with the militia, for the defence of their own
country. So that when the Prince Royal passed into
Sweden in 1788, he was obliged to request, not
command, them to accompany him on this expedition.

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