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

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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band, it can only be termed half by stealth, because the
family is wilfully blind. It happens very rarely that
these honorary engagements are dissolved or disre-
garded, a stigma being attached to a breach of faith
which is thought more disgraceful, if not so criminal,
as the violation of fhe marriage-vow.
Do not forget that, in my general observations, I do
not pretend to sketch a national character, but merely
to note the present state of morals and manners as I
trace the progress of the world’s improvement. Be-
cause, during my residence in different countries, my
principal object has been to take such a dispassionate
view of men as will lead me to form a just idea of the
nature of man. And, to deal ingenuously with you,
I believe I should have been less severe in the remarks
I have made on the vanity and depravity of the French,
had I travelled towards the north before I visited
The interesting picture frequently drawn of the
virtues of a rising people has, I fear, been fallacious,
excepting the accounts of the enthusiasm which various
public struggles have produced. We talk of the de-
pravity of the French, and lay a stress on the old age
of the nation ; yet where has more virtuous enthusiasm
been displayed than during the two last years by the
common people of France, and in their armies ? I am
obliged sometimes to recollect the numberless instances
which I have either witnessed, or heard well authenti-
cated, to balance the account of horrors, alas ! but too
true. I am, therefore, inclined to believe that the
gross vices which I have always seen allied with

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