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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 said innocently, The Christians have been here." Crantz, describing the inhabitants of Iceland before they were corrupted by commerce with strangers, says, 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 so intolerable, that even fear of death is not sufficient to deter us. All travellers agree, that the native Canadians are perfectly disinterested, abhoring deceit and lying. The Californians äre fond of iron and sharp instruments; and yet are so strictly honest, that carpenter-tools left open during night, were safe. The savages of North América had no locks for their goods: they pro
bably have learned from Europeans to be more circumspect. Procopius bears testimony *, that the Sclavi, like the Huns, were innocent people, free of malice: Plan Carpin, the Pope's Ambassa dor to the Cham of Tartary, anno 1246, 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 sea coast to the centre 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; though 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 + bears testimony of their honesty. Having employed 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 lay open in a hut inhabited by a large family, and yet nothing was purloined. The fol
* Historia Gothica, lib. 3.
+ Description of Russia, Siberia, &c.
lowing 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 son, 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 Ostiac; and mentioning occasionally the loss of his purse, the Ostiac, who at first did not recollect his face, cried out with joy," Art thou the man who lost that purse?
my son shall go and show thee where it lies, "that thou mayest take it up with thine own "hand." The Hottentots* have not the least notion of theft; though immoderately fond of tobacco and brandy, they are employed by the. Dutch for tending warehouses full of these commodities. Here is an instance of probity above temptation, even among savages in the first stage of social life. Some individuals are more liberally endued than others with virtuous principles: may it not be thought, that in that respect nature has been more kind to the Hottentots than to many other tribes? Spaniards, settled on the sea-coast of Chili, carry on a commerce with neighbouring savages, for bridles, furs, knives, and other manufactures of iron; and in return receive oxen
horses, and even children for slaves. A Spaniard carries his goods there; and after obtaining li berty to dispose of them, he moves about, and delivers his goods, without the least reserve, to every one who bargains with him. When all is sold, he intimates his departure; and every purchaser hurries with his goods to him; and it is not known that any one Indian ever broke his engagement. They give him a guard to carry him safe out of their territory, with all the slaves, horses, and cattle he has purchased. The savages of Brazil are faithful to their promises, and to the treaties they make with the Portuguese. Upon some occasions, they may be accused of error and wrong judgment, but never of injustice nor of duplicity.
While the earth was thinly peopled, plenty of food procured by hunting and fishing, promoted population; but as population lessens the stock of animal food, a savage nation, increasing in numbers, must spread wider and wider for more game. Thus tribes, at first widely separated from each other, approach gradually till they become neighbours. Hence a new scene with respect to moraMega1 20. lity. Differences about their hunting fields, about their game, about personal injuries, mul250011 10 tiply between neighbours; and every quarrel is blown into a flame, by the aversion men naturally have to strangers. Anger, hatred, and revenge, now find vent, which formerly lay latent without an object dissocial passions prevail without con
trol, because among savages morality is no match for them; and cruelty becomes predominant in the human race. Ancient history accordingly is full of enormous cruelties; witness the incursions of the northern barbarians into the Roman em-* pire; and the incursions of Genhizcan and Tamerlane into the fertile countries of Asia, spreading destruction with fire and sword, and sparing neither man, woman, nor infant.
Malevolent passions, acquiring strength by daily exercise against persons of a different tribe, came to be vented against persons even of the same tribe; and the privilege long enjoyed by indivi duals of avenging the wrongs done to them, be stowed irresistible force upon such passions*. The history of ancient Greece presents nothing to the reader but usurpations, assassinations, and other horrid crimes. The names of many famous for wickedness, are still preserved; Atreus, for example, Eteocles, Alcmeon, Phedra, Clytemnestra. The story of Pelops and his descendants, is a chain of criminal horrors during that period, parricide and incest were ordinary incidents. Euripides represents Medea vowing revenge against her husband Jason, and laying a plot to poison him. Of that infamous plot the chorus express their approbation, justifying every woman who, in like circumstances, acts the same part...