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maining, which may be worthy of a brief notice.Those, who object to the doctrine of a moral sense, will be likely to appeal in support of their own view of the subject, to the conduct of robbers and outlaws from society. In regard to these persons, we are to consider, in the first place, that they are few in number, compared with the whole number of mankind. And the fact, that a few persons appear to be destitute of a conscience, ought not to be admitted in positive disproof of a doctrine, which is supported by the evidence presented in so great a majority of cases. Furthermore, before the cases of those persons referred to can be entitled to much weight in the present discussion, it might be important to know, under what circumstances they seceded from society, and became the enemies of their species. Is it not possible, that some, perhaps many of these individuals were driven into their present evil course by cruel disappointment and poverty, combined with contempt, injustice, and oppression on the part of their fellow men? It is certainly supposable under circumstances so trying, that misanthropy, deeply rooted and terrible, may spring up in hearts, that in better days were distinguished from others only by a higher degree of sensibility and honor.

It is somewhere related, that a few years since an Englishman was impressed on board a ship of war. He left behind him a wife and a number of children. The woman sometime afterwards was found guilty of stealing a piece of cloth, and was executed. At her trial and execution, she confessed the crime, and simply mentioned in extenuation of her guilt, that the deed was committed under the influence of temptation, originating from the extreme want and suffering of herself and her children, consequent on the cruel and constrained absence of her husband. Is it easy to imagine the terrible feelings, which must have convulsed the bosom of the husband on his return? With the bitter recollection constantly present to his thoughts, that he had himself been torn away from his family by the unfeeling hand of arbitrary power, and that his wife was ignominiously put to death by the same power, for a crime of which unquestionably his own forced absence was the occasion, it would not be greatly surprizing, if he became from that moment the enemy of his

country and his species, and lived only for revenge. But as we see him afterwards a pirate and a robber, burning with hatred and clothed with blood, we are not at liberty to say absolutely, that he has no conscience. The truth is, that such overwhelming feelings of grief, hatred, and revenge have seized the mind, that the conscience, if we may so express it, is smothered beneath them. In the fever and madness of the brain, in the convulsions and clamors around and above and beneath it, its still small voice has ceased to be heard. Things of this nature are obviously to be taken into consideration in forming a just estimate of all cases of this kind.

§, 280. Illustration of the fact that there are the remains of conscientious feeling even in the most depraved of men.

But there is another view, which is worthy of notice in connection with this subject; viz. that among the most depraved and hardened of mankind, among thieves and robbers, we sometimes discover a kindness to one another, and a strict regard to their word as it has been pledged among themselves, and in some cases to others not of their own party, which shows the remains of a moral nature. Some years since the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean sea was infested with Banditti. Mr. Brydone gives his readers to understand, in his well known Tour into that country, that he took some pains to inquire into the character of these robbers. A certain individual, in whom he seems to have had confidence, gave him the following account of them.

"He says, that in some circumstances these banditti are the most respectable people of the island; and have by much the highest, and most romantic notions of what they call their point of honor. That however criminal they may be with regard to society in general, yet, with respect to one another, and to every person to whom they have once professed it, they have ever maintained the most unshaken fidelity. The magistrates have often been obliged to protect them, and even pay them court, as they are known to be perfectly determined, and desperate; and so extremely vindictive, that they will certainly put any person to death, who has ever given them just cause of provocation. On the other hand, it never was known that any person, who had

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put himself under their protection, and shewed that he had confidence in them, had cause to repent of it, or was injured by any of them in the most minute trifle; but on the contrary, they will protect him from impositions of every kind, and scorn to go halves with the landlord, like most other conductors and travelling servants; and will defend him with their lives, if there is occasion. That those of their number, who have thus enlisted themselves in the service of society, are known and respected by the other banditti all over the island; and the persons of those they accompany are ever held sacred. For these reasons, most travellers choose to hire a couple of them from town to town; and may thus travel over the whole island in safety."

Mr. Brydone himself further adds in a subsequent pas"I should have mentioned, that they have a practice. of borrowing money from the country people, who never dare refuse them; and if they promise to pay it, they have ever been found punctual and exact, both as to the time and the sum; and would much rather rob and murder an innocent person, than fail of payment at the day appointed; and this they have often been obliged to do, only in order (as they say) to fulfil their engagements, and to save their honor."

§. 281. Of errors in the statements of travellers.

The views, which have been presented in this Chapter, obviously explain, so far at least as to make them consistent with the doctrine of a natural conscience, many of those cases of wrong and cruelty in the conduct of Savage tribes, which have attracted so much of the notice of travellers. It is proper, however, in order to have a fair view of the subject, to make one remark more, viz. that the statements, which travellers have given of the immoralities, irreligion, and cruelties of such tribes, are in some cases either mistakes of the facts or exaggerations of the facts. Mr. Stewart distinctly asserts, that this is the case to a considerable extent; without supposing, however, that, as a general thing, such mistakes or exaggerations are intentional. In this view Sir James Mackintosh seems to concur. Speaking of the universality of those great social and moral principles, which are the guardians of human society, he remarks ;

"the exceptions, few as they are, will, on more reflection, be found rather apparent than real. If we could raise ourselves to that height from which we ought to survey so vast a subject, these exceptions would altogether vanish; the brutality of a handful of Savages would disappear in the immense prospect of human nature, and the murmurs of a few licentious sophists would not ascend to break the general harmony."*

Certainly the probability is, that a full and just statement of the moral condition of Savage tribes, containing not only an exact specification of the facts, but a philosophical analysis of them considered in reference to the peculiarities of their situation, has never been given to the world. instances travellers have been so much influenced by first impressions, as to give an intensity and vividness of coloring to their statements, which is far from being warranted by subsequent inquiry. In other instances, they have been too hasty in their inductions, and have ascribed a trait of immorality or cruelty to a tribe or nation, which in strictness should have been limited to individuals; and perhaps it may be said, have not, as a general thing, exhibited that degree of philosophical perception and analysis, which is requisite to an accurate and just understanding of this subject.

§. 282. Instances in proof of the preceding views.

In some of the early accounts of the Savage tribes of North America, (those of Winslow, Hearne, and Colden, for instance,) it was confidently asserted, that those tribes were destitute of any religion whatever. This was unquestionably a mistake. Winslow afterwards corrected it in his Work, entitled, Good News from New England. "Whereas, (he says,) myself and others in former letters wrote, that the Indians about us are a people without any religion, or knowledge of any God, therein I erred, though we could then gather no better.t"

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Niebuhr, a traveller of deserved celebrity and weight, in speaking of the Arabians, makes the following statement, which may be considered as confirmatory of the suggestion, that the narrations of travellers are, in some respects at least, to be received with some degree of caution.

* Discourse on the Law of Nature and of Nations, 2d ed. p. 36.
See Francis' Life of Eliot, p. 33.

"Several travellers accuse them of being cheats, thieves, and hypocrites. An arbitrary government, which impoverishes its subjects by extortion, can have no favorable influence indeed upon the probity of the nation; yet, I can say, from my own experience, that the accusations laid against them have been exaggerated above the facts. The Arabs themselves allow that their countrymen are not all honest I have heard them praise the fidelity with which the Europeans fulfil their promises, and express high indignation against the knavery of their own nation, as a disgrace to the Musulman name."*

A single other instance will tend to illustrate and confirm what has been said on this subject. It has been narrated by travellers, as a prevalent custom among the uncivilized tribes of Africa, that those mothers, who bear twins, immediately put one of them to death. On this subject Vaillant speaks of himself as having made particular inquiries. The result of his inquiries was, that some of the tribes, the Gonaquas for instance, are exempt from this reproach. In other tribes he admits, that the crime exists; but asserts, it is very rare. He represents the people as revolting at the very idea. of it. And in those few cases in which it actually exists, he expressly adds. "It has its source, however incredible it may seem, in the tenderest love. It is a dread of not being able to nourish two children, or of seeing them both perish, that has induced some mothers to sacrifice one of them." And he subsequently makes the further remark. "It would, therefore, be a great calumny against these people, to give as a constant practice a few barbarous actions, which they condemn, and which they belie so well by their conduct."

Niebuhr's Travels through Arabia and other Countries in the East, Sect. XXIX, Chap. 4.-† Vaillant's Travels in Africa, p. 296.

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