You will ask, perhaps, why I wished to go farther northward. Why? not only because the country, from all I can gather, is most romantic, abounding in forests and lakes, and the air pure, but I have heard much of the intelligence of the inhabitants, substantial farmers, who have none of that cunning to contaminate their simplicity, which displeased me so much in the conduct of the people on the sea coast. A man who has been detected in any dishonest act can no longer live among them. He is universally shunned, and shame becomes the severest punishment.
Such a contempt have they, in fact, for every species of fraud, that they will not allow the people on the western coast to be their countrymen; so much do they despise the arts for which those traders who live on the rocks are notorious.
The description I received of them carried me back to the fables of the golden age: independence and virtue; affluence without vice; cultivation of mind, without depravity of heart; with “ever smiling Liberty;” the nymph of the mountain. I want faith!
My imagination hurries me forward to seek an asylum in such a retreat from all the disappointments I am threatened with; but reason drags me back, whispering that the world is still the world, and man the same compound of weakness and folly, who must occasionally excite love and disgust, admiration and contempt. But this description, though it seems to have been sketched by a fairy pencil, was given me by a man of sound understanding, whose fancy seldom appears to run away with him.
Source: Mary Wollstonecraft, Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, Cassell & Company Ltd, 1889