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been confirmed by my own melancholy experience *"
In illustration of this remark, 1 subjoin his account of an island in the South Sea, named Maouna, where every appearance of a paradisiacal state of innocence and enjoyment, was completely contradicted by a closer observation. “ This charming country,” says he, “ combines the advantages of a soil fruitful without culture, and of a climate which renders clothing unnecessary. The trees that produce the bread-fruit, cocoanut, banana, guava, and the orange, supply abundance of wholesome food, while the fowls, hogs, &c. which live on the surplus of these fruits, afford an agreeable variety of viands. They were so rich, and had so few wants, that they disdained our instruments of iron, and our cloth, and asked only for beads.—They had sold at our market more than two hundred woodpigeons, which would eat out of the hand, and a number of beautiful turtle-doves and
* Voyagę round the World, by de la Perouse, vol. ji. P: 132
paroquets equally tame. What cold imagination could separate the idea of happiness from so enchanting a place? These islanders, said we, a hundred times over, are, without doubt, the happiest beings on earth. Surrounded by their wives and children, they pass their peaceful days in innocence and repose; no care disturbs then but that of bringing up their birds; and, like the first man, of gathering, without labour, the fruit that grows over their heads. We were deceived. This delightful country was not the abode of innocence. We perceived indeed no arms; but the bodies of the Indians covered over with scars, proved that they were often at war, or else quarrelling among themselves.” And, speaking of their ferocious appearance, he observes: “ Nature has no doubt stamped this character on their faces, by way of showing that the half savage, living in a state of anarchy, is a more mischievous being than the most ferocious of the brute creation *.”
* Voyage round the world, by de la Perouse, vol. ij. p. 72-3.
Crantz, in his History of Greenland, concludes his
We conclude, therefore, notwithstanding all that has been narrated by travellers, sung by poets, or preached by philosophers, that
account of the moral character of the natives in the following manner: “Thus I have thought it requisite, to draw the good and bad side of the character of the Greenlanders, (who are perhaps the most simple and least corrupted of all the heathen nations) and to trace as much as possible the ground and motive of their actions; because the accounts of this nation hitherto pub. lished, as well as the splendid description of almost all heathen nations, in ancient or later ages, might almost induce us to think that there were virtuous heathens, who excelled the christians in many respects, and that they were only seduced to the practice of vice by the bad example and temptations of the christians, and by the new and unknown allurements they brought them. From these premises they deduce this conclusion, that men may lead a virtuous life, from the mere light of nature and reason, and do not need the liġlit of the gospel in order to be pleasing to God, and valuable to their fellow-creatures. Every one knows that this is the corner-stone of deism. We also know that many a teacher delights to alledge, without reflecting on, the consequences, the examples of the virtuous heathens, as a reproach or excitement to his auditory; which either hath no effect at all, or else this bad, one, to strengthen that Pelagianism which every man inherits hy birth; -and to make people think that the conversion of the hcathens is an easy thing, and that the main
man is radically the same in all situations; and that the love of pleasure, the love of consequence, and the love of wealth, where wealth is to be obtained, are naturally his ruling principles; only diversified in their operation according to the various physical and moral circumstances in which he is placed
For what virtue a savage is distinguished I have yet to learn ; unless we will dignify with the name a sullen kind of fortitude, by which he will brave pain and death, and almost justify the rant of the Stoics, that man by discipline may become proof against all external evils*: though this savage stoutness has indeed been ostentatiously opposed to the sufferings of christian martyrs, by men who will see no difference between a natural hardiness, supported by the obstinacy of pride, and the power of divine faith and resignation.
difficulty is, how to instil into them a proper and convictive conception of the divine truths; for as to good behaviour, that will be easy enough, because they have been already accustomed to a virtuous walk and demeanour.”-History of Greenland, vol. I. p. 194-6.
Again: “ We cannot perceive either in the Greenlanders, or in any other heathen nations we have had a close acquaintance. with, that they shun by nature the greatest vices.”—Ibid. Let this testimony of an honest and good man be impartially considered, · * * Forbear,” said an ancient chief of the Iroquois, when his insults had provoked one of his tormentors to
Nor am I able to imagine wherein the superior happiness of a savage can consist, unless we choose to place it in his pride of independence. He has no master to serve, or patron to please; he can lie down and rise up, go out and come in, as a lord of the creation, above ceremony and above control. On the other hand, however, it must be remembered, that if he pays no regard to others, they pay as little to him, and that in all the diguity of his condition, he is in constant danger of being left to starve in his hut, or to perish in the desert. - The truth is, man must in some degree
wound him with a knife, « forbear these stabs of your knife, and rather let me die by fire, that those dogs your allies, from beyond the sea, may learn from my example to suffer like men."
ROBERTSON's Hist. of America, vol. ii. p. 157.