- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
157

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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NORWAY, AND DENMARK. 157
every modification of slavery is calculated to pro-
duce.
If the chief use of property be power, in the shape
of the respect it procures, is it not among the incon-
sistencies of human nature most incomprehensible,
that men should find a pleasure in hoarding up
property which they steal from their necessities, even
when they are convinced that it would be dangerous to
display such an enviable superiority ? Is not this the
situation of serfs in every country. Yet a rapacity to
accumulate money seems to become stronger in pro-
portion as it is allowed to be useless.
Wealth does not appear to be sought for amongst
the Danes, to obtain the excellent luxuries of life, for
a want of taste is very conspicuous at Copenhagen ;
so
much so that I am not surprised to hear that poor
Matilda offended the rigid Lutherans by aiming to re-
fine their pleasures. The elegance which she wished to
introduce was termed lasciviousness ; yet I do not find
that the absence of gallantry renders the wives more
chaste, or the husbands more constant. Love here
seems to corrupt the morals without polishing the
manners, by banishing confidence and truth, the charm
as well as cement of domestic life. A gentleman, who
has resided in this city some time, assures me that he
could not find language to give me an idea of the gross
debaucheries into which the lower order of people fall ;
and the promiscuous amours of the men of the middling
class with their female servants debase both beyond
measure, weakening every species of family affection.
I have everywhere been struck by one characteristic

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