Imatges de pÓgina
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they have made them suffer, and the money which they have got by it.

Whoever has been able to descend to the subaltern detail of the bar—whoever has only heard lawyers reason familiarly among themselves, and applaud themselves for the miseries of their clients-must have a very poor opinion of human nature.

There are more frightful professions still, which are however canvassed for like a canonship.

There are some which change an honest man into a rogue, and which accustom him to lie in spite of himself, to deceive almost without perceiving it, to put a blind before the eyes of others, to prostrate himself by the interest and vanity of his situation, and without remorse to plunge mankind into stupid blindness.

Women, incessantly occupied with the education of their children, and shut up in their domestic cares, are excluded from all these professions, which pervert human nature and render it atrocious. They are everywhere less barbarous than men.

Physics join with morals to prevent them from great crimes; their blood is milder; they are less addicted to strong liquors, which inspire ferocity. An evident proof is, that of a thousand victims of justice in a thousand executed assassins, we scarcely reckon four women. It is also proved elsewhere, I believe, that in Asia there not two examples of women condemned to a public punishment.

It appears, therefore, that our customs and habits have rendered the male species very wicked.

If this truth was general and without exceptions, the species would be more horrible than spiders, wolves, and polecats, are to our eyes. But happily, professions -which harden the heart and fill it with odious passions, are very rare. Observe, that in a nation of twenty millions, there are at most two hundred thousand soldiers. This is but one soldier to two hundred in. dividuals. These two hundred thousand soldiers are

*

* See the article Woman.
+ Is not this because they are despatched privately?
“ Here lies the sack, and yonder rolls the sea."- Corsair.

T.

held in the most severe discipline, and there are among them

very honest people, who return to their villages and finish their old age as good fathers and husbands.

The number of other trades which are dangerous to manners, is but small.

Labourers, artisans, and artists, are too much occupied often to deliver themselves up to crime.

The earth will always bear detestable wretches, and books will always exaggerate the number, which, rather than being greater, is less than we say.

If mankind had been under the empire of the devil, there would be no longer any person upon

earth. Let us console ourselves: we have seen, and we shall always see, fine minds from Pekin to la Rochelle; and whatever licentiates and bachelors may say, the Tituses, Trajans, Antoninuses, and Peter Bayles, were very honest men.

Of Man in the State of pure Nature. What man would be in the state which we call that of pure nature ? An animal much below the first Iroquois whom we found in the north of America.

He would be very inferior to these Iroquois, since they knew how to light fires and make arrows. He would require ages to arrive at these two arts.

Man, abandoned to pure nature, would have, for his language, only a few inarticulate sounds; the species would be reduced to a very small number, from the difficulty of getting nourishment and the want of help, at least in our harsh climates. He would have no more knowledge of God and the soul, than of mathematics; these ideas would be lost in the care of procuring food. The race of beavers would be infinitely preferable.

Man would then be only precisely like a robust child; and we have seen many men who are not much. above that state, as it is.

The Laplanders, the Samoyeds, the inhabitants of Kamtschatka, the Caffres, and Hottentots, are with respect to man in a state of pure nature—that which the courts of Cyrus and Semiramis were in comparison with the inhabitants of the Cevennes. Yet the inhabitants of Kamtschatka and the Hottentots of our days, so superior to men entirely savage, are animals who live six months of the year in caverns, where they eat the vermin by which they are eaten.

In general, mankind is not above two or three degrees more civilised than the Kamschatkans. The multitude of brute beasts called men, compared with the little number of those who think, is at least in the proportion of an hundred to one in many nations.

It is pleasant to contemplate on one side, father Malebranche, who treats familiarly of the Word;' and on the other, these millions of animals similar to him, who have never heard speak of the Word,' and who have not one metaphysical idea.

Between men of pure instinct, and men of genius, floats this immense number occupied solely with subsisting.

This subsistence costs us so much pains, that in the north of America an image of God often runs five or six leagues to get a dinner; whilst among us the image of God bedews the ground with the sweat of his brow, in order to procure bread.

Add to this bread-or the equivalent—a hut, and a poor dress, and you will have man such as he is in general, from one end of the universe to the other: and it is only in a multitude of ages that he has been able to arrive at this high degree of attainment.

Finally, after other ages, things got to the point at which we see them. Here we represent a tragedy in music; there we kill one another on the high seas of another hemisphere, with a thousand pieces of cannon. The opera, and a ship of war of the first rank, always astonish my imagination. I doubt whether they can be carried much farther in any of the globes with which the heavens are studded. More than half the habitable world however is still peopled with twofooted animals, who live in the horrible state approaching to pure nature, existing and clothing themselves with difficulty, scarcely enjoying the gift of speech, scarcely perceiving that they are unfortunate, and living and dying almost without knowing it.

Examination of a Thought of Pascal on Man. “I can conceive a man without hands or feet, and I could even conceive him without a head, if experience taught me not, that it is with the head he thinks. It is therefore thought which makes the being of man, without which we cannot conceive him.”—(Thoughts of Pascal).

How! conceive a man without feet, hands, and head? This would be as different a thing from a man as a gourd.

If all men were without heads, how could yours conceive that there are animals like yourself? Since they would have nothing of what principally constitutes your being. A head is something : the five senses are contained in it, and thought also. An animal, which from the

nape of its neck downwards might resemble a man, or one of those apes which we call ourang-outang or the man of the woods, would no more be a man than an ape or a bear whose heads and tails were cut off.

“It is therefore thought which makes the being of a man,” &c. In this case, thought would be his essence, as extent and solidity are the essence of matter. Man would think essentially and always, as matter is always extended and solid. He would think in a profound sleep without dreams, in a fit, in a lethargy, in the womb of his mother. I well know that I never thought in any of these states; I confess it often; and I doubt not that others are like myself.

If thought was essential to man, as extent is to matter, it would follow, that God cannot deprive this animal of understanding, since he cannot deprive matter of extent

for then it would be no longer matter. Now, if understanding be essential to man, he is a thinking being by nature, as God is God by nature.

If desirous to define God, as such poor beings as ourselves can define him, I should say, that thought is his being, his essence; but as to man- -!

We have the faculties of thinking, walking, talking, eating, and sleeping ; but we do not always use these faculties, it is not in our nature.

Thought, with us, is it not an attribute? and so much an attribute that it is sometimes weak, sometimes strong, sometimes reasonable, and sometimes extravagant? It hides itself, shows itself, flies, returns, is nothing, is re-produced. Essence is quite another thing; it never varies; it knows nothing of more or less.

What therefore would be the animal supposed by Pascal ? A being of reason. He might just as well have supposed a tree to which God might have given thought, as it is said that the gods granted voices to the trees of Dodona.

Operation of God'on Man. People who have founded systems on the communication of God with man, have said, that God acts directly physically on man in certain cases only, when God grants certain particular gifts; and they have called this action physical premotion.' Diocles and Erophiles, those two great enthusiasts, maintain this opinion, and have partisans.

Now we recognise a God quite as well as these people, because we cannot conceive that any one of the beings which surround us could be produced of itself. By the fact alone that something exists, the necessary Eternal Being must be necessarily the cause of all. With these reasoners, we admit the possibility of God 'making himself understood to some favourites; but we go farther,—we believe that he makes himself understood by all men, in all places, and in all times, since to all he gives life, motion, digestion, thought, and instinct.

Is there in the vilest of animals, and in the most sublime philosophers, a being who can will motion, digestion, desire, love, instinct, or thought? No; but we act, we love, we have instincts; as for example, an invincible liking to certain objects, an insupportable aversion to others, a promptitude to execute the

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