- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
90

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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90 LETTERS ON SWEDEN,
vauntingly exercised, though they are worth all the
precepts of the law and the prophets. Besides, many
of these deluded people, with the best meaning, actually
lose their reason, and become miserable, the dread of
damnation throwing them into a state which merits
the term; and still more, in running after their
preachers, expecting to promote their salvation, they
disregard their welfare in this world, and neglect
the interest and comfort of their families ; so that, in
proportion as they attain a reputation for piety, they
become idle.
Aristocracy and fanaticism seem equally to be
gaining ground in England, particularly in the place
I have mentioned; I saw very little of either in
Norway. The people are regular in their attendance
on public worship, but religion does not interfere with
their employments.
As the farmers cut away the wood they clear the
ground. Every year, therefore, the country is becom-
ing fitter to support the inhabitants. Half a century
ago the Dutch, I am told, only paid for the cutting
down of the wood, and the farmers were glad to get rid
of it without giving themselves any trouble. At pre-
sent they form a just estimate of its value ; nay, I was
surprised to find even firewood so dear when it appears
to be in such plenty. The destruction, or gradual re-
duction, of their forests will probably ameliorate the
climate, and their manners will naturally improve in
the same ratio as industry requires ingenuity. It is
very fortunate that men are a long time but just above
the brute creation, or the greater part of the earth

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