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

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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These corps are mostly composed of the sons of the
cottagers, who being labourers on the farms, are
allowed a few acres to cultivate for themselves.
These men voluntarily enlist, but it is only for a
limited period (six years), at the expiration of which
they have the liberty of retiring. The pay is only
twopence a day and bread; still, considering the
cheapness of the country, it is more than sixpence in

The distribution of landed property into small farms
produces a degree of equality which I have seldom
seen elsewhere; and the rich being all merchants, who
are obliged to divide their personal fortune amongst
their children, the boys always receiving twice as much
as the girls, property has not a chance of accumu-
lating till overgrowing wealth destroys the balance
of liberty.

You will be surprised to hear me talk of liberty ;
yet the Norwegians appear to me to be the most free
community I have ever observed.

The mayor of each town or district, and the judges
in the country, exercise an authority almost patriarchal.
They can do much good, but little harm, as every
individual can appeal from their judgment; and as
they may always be forced to give a reason for their
conduct, it is generally regulated by prudence. "They
have not time to learn to be tyrants," said a gentleman
to me, with whom I discussed the subject.

The farmers not fearing to be turned out of their
farms, should they displease a man in power, and
having no vote to be commanded at an election for

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