- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
156

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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flames spared. Others, expert at making a distinction
without a difference, concealed what they found, not
troubling themselves to inquire for the owners, though
they scrupled to search for plunder anywhere, but
amongst the ruins.
To be honester than the laws require is by most
people thought a work of supererogation; and to slip
through the grate of the law has ever exercised the
abilities of adventurers, who wish to get rich the
shortest way. Knavery without personal danger is an
art brought to great perfection by the statesman and
swindler; and meaner knaves are not tardy in follow-
ing their footsteps.

It moves my gall to discover some of the commercial
frauds practised during the present war. In short,
under whatever point of view I consider society, it
appears to me that an adoration of property is the
root of all evil. Here it does not render the people
enterprising, as in America, but thrifty and cautious.
I never, therefore, was in a capital where there was
so little appearance of active industry; and as for
gaiety, I looked in vain for the sprightly gait of the
Norwegians, who in every respect appear to me to have
got the start of them. This difference I attribute to
their having more liberty–a liberty which they think
their right by inheritance, whilst the Danes, when they
boast of their negative happiness, always mention it
as the boon of the Prince Royal, under the superintending
wisdom of Count Bernstorff. Vassalage
is nevertheless ceasing throughout the kingdom, and
with it will pass away that sordid avarice which

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