- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
186

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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186 LETTERS ON SWEDEN,
author of the
"
American Fanner’s Letters." I gener-
ally dine in company with him : and the gentleman
whom I have already mentioned is often diverted by
our declamations against commerce, when we compare
notes respecting the characteristics of the Hamburgers.
"Why, madam," said he to me one day, "you will not
meet with a man who has any calf to his leg ; body and
soul, muscles and heart, are equally shrivelled up by a
thirst of gain. There is nothing generous even in their
youthful passions ; profit is their only stimulus, and
calculations the sole employment of their faculties,
unless we except some gross animal gratifications which,
snatched at spare moments, tend still more to debase
the character, because, though touched by his tricking
wand, they have all the arts, without ;he wit, of the
wing-footed god."
Perhaps you may also think us too severe; but I
must add that the more I saw of the manners of Ham-
burg, the more was I confirmed in my opinion relative
to the baleful effect of extensive speculations on the
moral character. Men are strange machines ;
and
their whole system of morality is in general held to-
gether by one grand principle which loses its force the
moment they allow themselves to break with impunity
over the bounds which secured their self-respect. A
man ceases to love humanity, and then individuals, as
lie advances in the chase after wealth ;
as one clashes
with his interest, the other with his pleasures : to busi-
ness, as it is termed, everything must give way ; nay,
is sacrificed, and all the endearing charities of citizen,
husband, father, brother, become empty Dames. But

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