- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
65

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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The restriction which most resembles the painful
subordination of Ireland, is that vessels, trading to the
West Indies, are obliged to pass by their own ports,
and unload their cargoes at Copenhagen, which they
afterwards re-ship. The duty is indeed inconsiderable,
but the navigation being dangerous, they run a double
risk.

There is an excise on all articles of consumption
brought to the towns; but the officers are not strict,
and it would be reckoned invidious to enter a house to
search, as in England.

The Norwegians appear to me a sensible, shrewd
people, with little scientific knowledge, and still less
taste for literature; but they are arriving at the
epoch which precedes the introduction of the arts
and sciences.

Most of the towns are seaports, and seaports are not
favourable to improvement. The captains acquire a
little superficial knowledge by travelling, which their
indefatigable attention to the making of money
prevents their digesting; and the fortune that they thus
laboriously acquire is spent, as it usually is in towns
of this description, in show and good living. They
love their country, but have not much public spirit.
Their exertions are, generally speaking, only for their
families, which, I conceive, will always be the case,
till politics, becoming a subject of discussion, enlarges
the heart by opening the understanding. The French
Revolution will have this effect. They sing, at
present, with great glee, many Republican songs, and
seem earnestly to wish that the Republic may stand;

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