- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
113

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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the inhabitants of certain districts are appointed for
the land, others for the sea service. Consequently, a
peasant, born a soldier, is not permitted to follow his
inclination should it lead him to go to sea, a natural
desire near so many seaports.

In these regulations the arbitrary government—the
King of Denmark being the most absolute monarch in
Europe—appears, which in other respects seeks to hide
itself in a lenity that almost renders the laws nullities.
If any alteration of old customs is thought of, the
opinion of the old country is required and maturely
considered. I have several times had occasion to
observe that, fearing to appear tyrannical, laws are
allowed to become obsolete which ought to be put in
force or better substituted in their stead; for this
mistaken moderation, which borders on timidity, favours
the least respectable part of the people.

I saw on my way not only good parsonage houses,
but comfortable dwellings, with glebe land for the
clerk, always a consequential man in every country, a
being proud of a little smattering of learning, to use
the appropriate epithet, and vain of the stiff
good-breeding reflected from the vicar, though the servility
practised in his company gives it a peculiar cast.

The widow of the clergyman is allowed to receive
the benefit of the living for a twelvemonth after the
death of the incumbent.

Arriving at the ferry (the passage over to Moss is
about six or eight English miles) I saw the most level
shore I had yet seen in Norway. The appearance of
the circumjacent country had been preparing me for

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