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TN the course of explaining this subject, no
opportunity is omitted of suggesting an important doctrine, That patriotism is the corner-stone of civil society ; that no nation ever became great and powerful without it ; and, when extinguished, that the most powerful nation will totter and become a ruin. But I profess only to ftate facts. From these the reader will not fail to draw the observation : and what he himself observes will sink deeper, than what is inculcated by an author, however pathetically.
Appetite for Society.--Origin of National
ODHAT there is in man an appetite
for society, never was called in
question *. But to what end the appetite serves, whether it embrace the whole species or be in any manner limited,
* This appetite is not denied by Vitruvius; but it feems to have been overlooked in the account he gives ; (book 2. ch. 1.) of the commencement of society,
which is as follows. " In ancient times, men, like " wild beasts, lived in caves and woods, feeding on " wild food. In a certain place it happened, that the .“ trees, put in motion by tempestuous winds, and rub. “ bing their branches one againll another took tire. • Those in the neighbourhood Aed for fear : but as “ the fame abated, they approached ; and finding the « heat comfortable, they threw wood into the fire, " and preserved it from being extinguished. They " then invited others to take benefit of the fire. Men, “ thus assembled, endeavoured to express their thoughts " by articulate founds; and by daily pradlice, certain
whether men be naturally qualified for being useful members of civil society, and whether they are fitted for being happy in it, are questions that open extensive views into human nature, and yet have been little attended to by writers. I grieve at the ne
“ sounds signifying things in frequent use, came to be “ established. From that casual event, language a“ rose. And thus, fire having attracted many to one “ place, they soon discovered that they were by na“ ture superior to other animals, differing from them “ not only in an erect posture, which gave them op" portunity to behold the beauties of the heavens as “ well as of the earth ; but also in their hands and fin“ gers, fitted for executing whatever they could in“ vent. They therefore began to cover their habita~ tions with the boughs of trees : fome dug caves in .“ the mountains ; and, in imitation of a swallow's nest, " some sheltered themselves with sprigs and loam. “ Thus, by observing each other's work, and turning " their thoughts to invention, they by degrees impro“ ved their habitations, and became daily more and " more skilful.” Diodorus Siculus (lib. 1.) lays, that men originally led a savage life, without any fociety ; that fear made them join for mutual defence against beasts of prey; that custom by degrees made them social; and that each society formed a language to itself. Has not the celebrated Rouffeau been guilty of the same overlight in his essay on the inequality of men ? These authors suggest to me the butcher, who made diligent search for his knife, which he held in his teeth.
glect, glect, because in the present inquiry, these questions, however abstruse, must be discussed.
As many animals, beside man, are social, it appeared to me probable, that the social laws by which such animals are governed, might open views into the social nature of man. But here I met with a lecond disappointment: for after perusing · books without end, I found very little fatisfaction ; though the laws of animal fociety make the most instructive and most entertaining part of natural history. A few dry facts, collected occasionally, enabled me to form the embryo of a plan, which I here present to the reader : if his curiosity be excited, 'tis well; for I am far from expecting that it will be gratified.
Animals of prey have no appetite for society, if the momentary act of copula. tion be not excepted. Wolves make nor an exception, even where hunger makes them join to attack a village : as fear prevents them fingly from an attempt so hazardous, their casual union is prompted by appetite for food, not by appetite for society. So little of the social is there in wolves, that if one happen to be wounded,
he is put to death and devoured by those of his own kind. Vultures have the same disposition. Their ordinary food is a dead carcase ; and they never venture, but in a body, to attack any living creature that appears formidable. Upon fociety happiness so much depends, that we do not willingly admit a lion, a tiger, a bear, or a wolf, to have any appetite for society. And in with-holding it from such animals, the goodness of Providence to its favourite man, is conspicuous : their strength, agility, and voracity, make them singly not a little formidable : I should tremble for the human race, were they disposed to make war in company *
* The care of Providence in protecting the human race from animals of prey, is equally visible in other particulars. I can discover no facts to make me believe, that a lion or a tiger is afraid of a man ; but whatever secret means are employed by Providence to keep such fierce and voracious animals at a distance, certain it is, that they shun the habitations of men. At present there is not a wild lion in Europe. Even in Homer's time there were none in Peloponnesus, though they were frequent in Thrace, Macedon, and Thessaly, down to the time of Aristotle: whence it is probable, that these countries were not at that time well peopled. And the same probability holds with respect to several