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troduced by society among Mankind, it is certainly no impertinent part of the enquiry. It is very true that, in the present state of things, wealth and power are so much owing to the accidents of birth, favour, caprice, and other adventitious circumstances, that a superiority in this respect is no proof at all of superiority in corporeal or mental faculties : but the case was otherwise in the earliest ages and the infant state of society. Superior natural parts, particularly those of the mind, were undoubtedly the frequent, if not the certain, cause of pre-eminence. It is notoriously so, at this day, among the favage nations, with whom the strongest arm, the most valiant heart, or the wisest head, is a sufficient title to honour and command. Nay even in the present corrupt and vitiated state of great societies, eminent abilities have their weight; and, if they are not always duly preferred to wealth and power, it is because, however ornamental they might be to high stations, they are not so necessary to fociety in its present state. There may be times and circumstances in which long-established and fourishing governments will be so critically situated, as to require men of the greatest parts and abilities to save them from utter destruction; but, in the general course of things among civilized nations, the administration of human affairs requires fewer talents than is commonly imagined. Nay, greater talents in the persons of such administration would sometimes endanger the peace of society, and be apt to throw all into disorder and confusion. Men of great parts are generaliy enterprizing; and falutary enterprizes feldom offer themselves, and are not every day to be prudently undertaken. It is the province of men of quick and great parts to project schemes of government, draw the out-lines, and carry unprecedented designs into execution. It is that of flow parts, and a mediocrity of talents, to preserve things in their wonted channel, and plod on in that track, which experience, a furer guide than ingenuity, hath long and safely beaten.

But our Author proceeds—“ What therefore, is precisely the subject of this Discourse? It is to point out, in the progress of things, that moment, when, right taking place of violence, nature became subject to law; to display that chain of furprizing events, in coniequence of which the strong submitted to serve the weak, and the people to purchase imaginary ease at the expence of real happiness.” This is, it is true, precisely the subject of Mr. Rousseau's Discourse; but it is far from being precisely the subject laid down in the question propoled by the Academy of Dijon. Indeed the

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whole piece is rather declamatory than argumentative, rather persuasive than convincing. By the manner in which the Writer's notions of the matter in question are explained, does it not seem that he thought a state of violence preceded that of right, and that the former was a state of nature, and the latter of policy? The terms right and law, are here certainly used in a political sense ; and hence we should justly enough infer he must think there was no such thing as natural right or natural law: in which case, what could he understand by an Inequality authorized by the law of nature? He goes on actually to censure those philosophers who have talked of man's natural right, and tells us, “ Some of them have not scrupled to attribute to man, in a state of nature, the ideas of justice and injustice, without troubling their heads to prove that he really must have had such ideas, or even that such ideas were useful to him; others have spoken of the natural right of every man to keep what belongs to him, without letting us know what they meant by the word belong; others, without farther ceremony, ascribing to the strongest an authority over the weakest, have immediately struck out government, without thinking of the time requisite for men to form any notion of the things signified by the words Authority and Government. All of them, in fine, constantly harping on wants, avidity, oppression, desires and pride, have transferred to the state of nature ideas picked up in the bosom of fociety." We do not controvert this. Many philosophers have talked idly, and without due consideration, on these subjects; but we are afraid Mr. Rousseau has not much mended the matter in the Dissertation before us. If they, as he says, in speaking of savages have described citizens, he, in speaking of citizens, has described something worse than favages, and hath used the word Nature in as unphilofophical a sense and manner, as any of his predecessors have done any word of equal import in all their writings. He complains that others have perceived the necessity, in examining the foundations of society, of tracing it back to a state of nature, but that not one of them has ever arrived there. Our Readers will judge for themselves whether he recurs farther back, or advances more satisfactorily, than other Writers may have done, in treating this subject. “ If I consider man (says he) such as he must have issued out of the hands of nature, I see an animal less strong than fome, and less active than others; but, - upon the whole, the most advantageously organized of any: I see him satisfying the calls of hunger under the first oak, and those of thirst at the first rivulet : I see him laying himself · down to seep at the foot of the same tree that afforded him

his meal; and behold, this done, all his wants are compleatly supplied.

“ The earth left to its own natural fertility, and covered with immense woods that no hatchet ever disfigured, offers at every step food and shelter to every species of animals. Men, dispersed among them, observe and imitate their industry, and thus rise to the instinct of beasts; with this advantage, that, whereas every species of beasts is confined to one peculiar instinct, Man, who perhaps has not any that particularly belongs to him, appropriates to himself those of all other animals, and lives equally upon most of the different aliments which they only divide among themselves ; a circumstance which qualifies him to find his subsistence with more ease than

any of them,

« Men, accustomed from their infancy to the inclemency of the weather, and to the rigour of the different seasons ; inured to fatigue, and obliged to defend, naked and without arms, their life and their prey against the other wild inhabitants of the forest, or at least to avoid their fury by fight, acquire a robust and almost unalterable habit of body; the children bringing with them into the world the excellent conftitution of their parents, and strengthening it by the same exercises that first produced it, attain by this means all the vigour that the human frame is capable of. Nature treats them exactly in the same manner that Sparta treated the children of her citizens; those who come well formed into the world she renders strong and robust, and destroys all the reft; differing in this respect from our societies, in which the state, by permitting children to become burthensome to their parents, murders them all without distinction, even in the wombs of their mothers.

“ The body, being the only instrument that savage man is acquainted with, he employs it to different uses, of which ours, for want of practice, are incapable; and we may thank our industry for the loss of that strength and agility, which necessity obliges him to acquire. Had he a hatchet, would his hand so easily snap off from an oak so stout a branch ? Had he a fling, would it dart a stone to so great a distance ? Had he a ladder, would he run so nimbly up a tree? Had he a horse, would he with such swiftness' shoot along the plain? Give civilized man but time to gather about him all his machines, and no doubt he will be an over-match for the


favage ; but if you have a mind to see a contest still more uriequal, place them naked and unarmed one opposite to the other, and you will soon discover the advantage there is in perpetually having all our forces at our disposal, in being conftantly prepared against all events, and in always carrying ourselves, as it were, whole and entire about us."

“ Hobbes (continues our Author) would have it that man is naturally void of fear, and always intent upon attacking and fighting. An illustrious philofopher thinks on the contrary; and Cumberland and Puffendorff likewise affirm it, that nothing is more fearful than man, in a state of nature; that he is always in a tremble, and ready to fly at the first motion he perceives, at the first noise that strikcs his ears.” This, Mr. Rousseau thinks, may be very true, in regard to objects with which man in such a state may not be acquainted; and doubts not of his being terrified at every new fight that presents itself, as often as he cannot distinguish the physical good and evil which he may expect from it, nor compare his forces with the dangers he has to encounter.” For our own part, we can subscribe neither to one opinion nor the other, We see no reason why man in a state of nature, as it is here called, should be either so timid on the one hand, or so fearless on the other. Why is every object that presents itself to appear necessarily in a hostile or a friendly light? There are doubtless some lights very terrific, and sounds as tremendous, from their mechanical effect on our senses, such as a fiafh of lightening, or a clap of thunder; fuch the furious look or hideous roaring of some wild beasts: these may not unreasonably be supposed to affect the man with astonishment and fear, though ignorant of their good or evil consequences. But should one savage see another come siniling towards him, or behold a strange beast, of a benign aspect, stalk tamely by; wherefore should we suppose him inclined either to attack or to fly from such objects ? We dare fay an Indian, who might be entirely ignorant of the effect of fire-arms, would

inore irritated or afraid, at having a musket presented, than if a common walking cane was levelled at him in the same manner. Mr. Rousseau indeed conceives that, with respect to familiar objects, man would lose this fupposed natural timidity. For, living among other animals, without any fociety or fixed habitation, and finding himself under a necessity of measuring his firength with theirs, he foon makes a comparison between both; and, finding that he furpaffes them more in address, than they furpass him in


be no


strength, he learns not any longer to be in dread of them. “ 'Turn out a bear, or a wolf, (says he) against a sturdy, active, resolute favage, provided with stones and a stick, and you will soon find that the danger is at least equal on both fides; and that after several trials of this kind, wild beasts, who are not fond of attacking each other, will not be very fond of attacking man, whom they have found every whit as wild as themselves.” Thus Our Author intimates it to be a mighty advantage, and a great part of that happiness which man enjoyed in his state of nature, and which he is deprived of by society, that he could be better able to cope naked with a wild beast than he can now. Another great advantage which Mr. Rousseau attributes to man in a favage state, is an exemption, in a great degree, from sickness, which chiefly attends him in a state of society. “In regard to sickness, (says he) I shall not repeat the vain and false declamations made use of to discredit medicine by most men, while they enjoy their health ; I shall only ask if there are any solid observations from which we may conclude that in those countries, where the healing art is most neglected, the mean duration of man's life is shorter than in those where it is most cultivated? And how is it poflible this should be the case, if we inflict more diseases upon ourselves than medicine can supply us with remedies ! The extreme Inequalities in the manner of living of the several classes of mankind; the excess of idleness in some, and of labour in others; the facility of irritating and satisfying our sensuality and our appetites; the too exquisite, and out of the way aliments of the rich, which fill them with fiery juices, and bring on indigestions ; the unwholesome food of the poor, of which even, bad as it is, they very often fall short, and the want of which tempts them, every opportunity that offers, to eat greedily and overload their stomachs; watchings, exceffes of every kind, immoderate transports of all the paffions ; fatigues, waste of spirits ; in a word, the numberless pains and anxieties annexed to every condition, and which the mind of man is constantly a prey to; these are the fatal proofs that most of our ills are of our own making, and that we might have avoided them all by adhering to the fimple, uniform, and solitary way of life, prescribed to us by nature. Ailowing that nature intended we thould always enjoy good health, I dare almost affirm that a state of reflection is a state against nature, and that the man who meditates is a depraved animal.” Thus our Author confiders man as a rere animal, and makes no manner of distinction between the natural fate of the man Rev. May, 1762.



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