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the latter : there are many causes that weaken the former ; but old age is none of them, if it be not in a metaphorical sense: Riches, felfishness, and luxury, are the diseases that weaken prosperous nations : these diseases, following each other in a train, corrupt the heart, dethrone the moral sense, and make an anarchy in the soul : men stick at no expence to purchase pleasure ; and they stick at no vice to supply that expence.
Such are the outlines of morality in its progress from birth to burial; and these outlines I propose to fill up with an induction of particulars. Looking back to the commencement of civil society, when no wants were known but those of nature, and when such wants were amply provided for; we find individuals of the same tribe living innocently and cordially together : they had no irregular appetites, nor any ground for strife. In that state, moral principles joined their influence with that of national affection, to secure individuals from harm. Savages accordingly, who have plenty of food and are simple in habitation and cloathing, feldom transgress the rules of morality within their
own tribe. Diodorus Siculus, who composed his history recently after Cæsar's expedition into Britain, says, that the inhabitants dwelt in mean cottages covered with reeds or sticks; that they were of much sincerity and integrity, contented with plain and homely fare; and were strangers to the excess and luxury of rich
In Friezeland, in Holland, and in other maritime provinces of the Netherlands, locks and keys were unknown, till the inhabitants became rich by commerce: they contented themselves with bare necessaries, which every one had in plenty. The Laplanders have no notion of theft. When they make an excursion into Norway, which is performed in the summer months, they leave their huts open, without fear that any thing will be purloined. Formerly they were entirely upright in their only commerce, that of bartering the skins of wild beasts for tobacco, brandy, and coarse cloth. But being often cheated by strangers, they begin to be more cunning.
Theft was unknown among the Caribbees till Europeans came among them. When they lost any thing, they faid innocently,
" the Christians have R 2
“ been here.” Crantz, describing the inhabitants of Iceland before they were corrupted by commerce with strangers, fays, that they lived under the same roof with their cattle; that every thing was common among them except their wives and children; and that they were simple in their manners, having no appetite but for what nature requires. In the reign of Edwin King of Northumberland, a child, as historians report, might have travelled with a purse of gold, without hazard of robbery : in our days of luxury, want is fo intolerable, that even fear of death is not fufficient to deter us. All travellers agree, that the native Canadians are perfectly disinterested, abhorring deceit and lying. The Californians are fond of iron, and sharp instruments; and yet are so strictly honest, that carpenter-tools left open during night, were safe. The favages of North America had no locks for their goods: they probably have learned from Europeans to be more circumspect. Procopius bears testimony (a), that the Sclavi, like the Huns, were innocent people, free of malice. Plan Carpin, the Pope's am(a) Historia Gothica, lib. 3:
baffador to the Cham of Tartary, an no 1 246, says, that the Tartars are not addicted to thieving; and that they leave their goods open without a lock. Nicholas Damascenus reports the same of the Celtæ. The original inhabitants of the island Borneo, expelled by the Mahometans from the fea-coast to the center of the country, are honest, industrious, and kindly to each other : they have some notion of property, but not such as to render them covetous. Pagans in Siberia are numerous ; and, tho' grossly ignorant especially in matters of religion, they are a good moral people. It is rare to hear among them of perjury, thieving, fraud, or drunkenness; if we except those who live among the Russian Christians, with whose vices they are tainted. Strahlenberg (a) bears testimony to their honesty. Having employ'd a number of them in a long navigation, he slept in the same boat with men whose names he knew not, : whose language he understood not, and
yet lost not a particle of his baggage. Being obliged to remain a fortnight among the Ostiacs, upon the river Oby, his baggage (a) Description of Russia, Siberia, &c.
lay open in a hut inhabited by a large family, and yet nothing was purloined. The following incident, which he also mentions, is remarkable. A Russian of Tobolski, in the course of a long journey, lodged one night in an Ostiac's hut, and the next day on the road missed his purse with a hundred rubles. His landlord's fon, hunting at some distance from the hut, found the purse, but left it there. By his father's order, he covered it with branches, to secure it in case an owner should be found. After three months, the Russian returning, lodged with the same Oftiac; and mentioning occasionally the loss of his purse, the Ostiac, who at first did not recollect his face, cry'd out with joy, Art thou the man who lost that purse? my
and show thee " where it lies, that thou may'st take it up
with thine own hand.” The Hottentots (a) have not the least notion of theft : tho’immoderately fond of tobacco and brandy, they are employ'd by the Dutch for tending warehouses full of these commodities. Here is an instance of probity above temptation, even among favages (a) Kolben.