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If then we are desirous of surveying society in its rudest form, wr mult look, not to tlie earliest period of its existence, but to those district* of the globe where external circumstances concur to drive men into a state of stupidity and wretchedness. Thus in many places of the happy clime of Asu, which a variety of ancient records concur with the sacred writings in representing as the first peopled quarter of the globe, we cannot trace the form of society backwards beyond the sliepr.erd state. In that slate indeed the bonds which connect locieiy extend not to a wide range of individuals, and men remain for a long period in distinct families; but yet that state is highly favourable to knowledge, to happiness, and to virtue. Again, the torrid and the frozen regions of the earth, though probably peopled at a later period, and by tribes sprung from the same slock with the shepherds of Asia, have yet exhibited mankind in a much lower state. It is in the parched deserts of Africa and the wilds of America that human beings have been found in a condition approaching the nearest to that of the brutes.

We may therefore take a view of the different stages through which philosophers have considered mankind as advancing, beginning with that of rudeness, though we have shown that it cannot have been the first in the progress.

Sect. III. Of the Rude State, or Supposed First Stage O/society.

Where the human species are in the lowest and rudest state, their rational and moral powers are very faintly displayed; but their external senses are acute, and their bodiiy organs active and vj. gorous. Hunting and fishing are then their chief employments and only support. During that time which is not spent in these pursuits, they are funk in listless indolence. They are roused to active exertion only by the pressure of necessity or the urgent calls of appetite. Accustomed to endure the severity of the elements, and but scantily provided with the means of subsistence, they acquire habits of fortitude, which are beheld with astonishment by those who enjoy the plenty of cultivated life.

But in this state of want and depression, when the powers and possessions of every individual are scarce sufficient for his own support, when even the calls of" appetite are repressed because they cannot always be gratified, and the more refined passions, which either originate from such as are merely animal, or are intimately connected with them, have not yet been felt—in this state all the iniider affections are unknown; or if the breast is at *li sensible to their impnlse, it is extremely feeble. Husband and wife, parent and child, brother and lirother, are united by the weakest ties. If we usten to the relations of respectable travellers, human beings have sometimes been found in that -Sject state where no proper ideas of subordination, government, or distinction of ranks, could be formed. No distinct notions of Deity can be Kre entertained. Of arts they must be almost t'Hi'ly destitute. They may use some instruments tor fishing or the chaee; but these must be rude Smple. To shelter them from the inciemen

cy of the elements, both their houses and clothing will be aukward and inconvenient.

Sect. IV. Of the Progress of Society in tbtr Second Stage.

But human beings have been seldom found in so rude a state as this. Even thole tribes, which we denominate savage, are for the moll part farther removed from mere animal life. They generally appear united under some Ipecies ot government, exercising the powers of reason, capable of morality, though very little refined; displaying some degree of social virtues, and acting under the influence of religious sentiments. Theie are to be found still in the hunting and fishing state; but they are farther advanced towards social life, and are more sensible to the impulse of social affection. By intercourse in their employments, a few hunters or fishers contract a fondness for each other's company, and take some part in each other's joys and sorrows; ai.d when the social affections thus generated begin to exert themselves, all the other powers of the mind are called forth, and the circumstances of society are improved. Huts arc now built, more commodious clothes are made, instruments for the annoyance of wild beasts and even of enemies are contrived; in short, arts and sciences, and social order, and religious sentiments, and ceremonies, _ now make their appearance in the rising society.

But though social order is no longer unknown nor unobserved, yet the form of government i$ still extremely simple, and its ties are but loose and feeble. It may bear some resemblance to the patriarchal; only all its members are on a more equal sooting, and at the fame time less closely connected than in the shepherd state, to which that form of government seems almost peculiar. The Old men are treated with veneration ; but the young are not entirely subject to them. They may listen respectfully to their advice; but they do not submit to their arbitrary commands. Where mankind are hunters and fishers, where the means of subsistence are precariously acquired, and prudent foresight does not prompt to accumulate much provision for the future, no individual can acquire comparative wealth. As loon as the Ion is grown up, he ceases to be dependent on his father, as well as on the society. Difference of experience therefore constitutes the only distinction between the young and the old; and if the old have experience, the young have strength and activity.

Here, then, neither age nor property can give rife to any striking distinction ot ranks. All who have attained to manhood, and are not disabled by deficiency of strength or agility, or by the infirmities of old age are on an equal footing; or if any one possets a pre-eminence over the rest, be owes it to superior address or fortitude. The whole tribe deliberate ; the old give their advice; each individual of the assembly receives or rejects it at his pleasure; and the warrior who ia molt distinguished for strength, address, and valour, leads out the youth of the tribe to the chace or against the enemy. War, which in the former state did not prevail, now first begins to depopulate f tis?thinly lababiter! regions where these huntjcii fishers pursue their prey. They are scat•i in scanty and separate tribes, over an im;i{ tract of country; but they know no mtn between the affection which brethren of the ctnbe bear to each other, and the hatred of e«s. Though thinly scattered over the earth, tit bcntuig parties of different tribes will ttses meet as they range the forests; and n&y meet, they will view each other with etatye; for the success of the one party in 'dace may cause the other to be unsuccessful; [•felt the one snatches the prey, the other Irtturn home to all the pangs of famine. Inntt hostility will therefore prevail among the itAounng tribes in the hunting state. They tat tbis period some ideas of superior beings. 7 also practise certain ceremonies to recomid them to those beings; but both their sensts and ceremonies arc superstitious and ab


ft bare tlsewhere shown (see Polytheism) fauge tribes have probably degenerated from port worship of the one true God to the adoit of a multitude of imaginary divinities. We ituctd this idolatrous worship from that of ktwnly bodies, through all the gradations non-worship, hero-worship, and statue-worL to that wonderful instance of absurd superia,tit worship of the vilest reptiles, slut we Soisotthat the progress of polytheism has Jttitrywhere in the fame order. Thechaaod circumstances of nations are scarce <ami; and anomalous than those of indiviAmong many of the American tribes, ', among the ancient inhabitants of the "t Germany, whose manners are so accuMineated by Tacitus, and in some of the I scattered over the southern ocean, religion, i and government, have been found in that rrtich we have described as the second stage Kill life.


}\ may now survey human life as approachbwwhat nearer to a civilized and enlightentot. As property is acquired, inequality and *4a»tion of ranks necessarily follow: and fam are no longer equal, the many are (won fftd to the will of the few. But what gives I"these new phenomena is, that after having K fostered from the precariousness of the hunt* 'M fishing state, men begin to extend their ^liryond the present moment, and to think fwiaiog some supply for future want<. When Tet enabled to provide such a supply, either Wiling the chace with new eagerness and stance, by gathering the spontaneous fruits dearth, or by breeding tame animals—these piStions are at first the property of the whole Wy, and distributed from a common store to *indjtiduii. But as by this mode of distrim, industry and activity arc treated with in!lcti while negligence and indolence receive •t than their due, each individual will soon ^ithii own steward, and a community of o-t will be abolished. As soon as distinct ideas

of property are formed, it must be unequally distributed; and as soon ao pioperty is unequally distributed, there arises an inequality of ranks. Here we have the origin of the depression of the female sex in rude ages, of the tyrannical authority exercised by parents over their children, and of slavery. The women cannot display the same perseverance, activity, or address, as the men in pursuing the chace. They are therefore left at home; and from that moment are no longer equals, but slave?, who must subsist by the bounty of the males, and must therefore submit with implicit obedience to all their capricious commands. Even before the era of property, the female ses were viewed as inferiors; but till that period they were not reduced to a state of slavery.

In this period of society new notions are formed of the relative duties. Men now become citizens, masters, and servants; husbands, parents, &c. It is impossible to enumerate all the various modes of government which take place among the tribes who have advanced to this stage; but one thing certain is, the authority of the friv river the many is now first established, and that the rise of property first introduces inequality of ranks. In one place, the community is subjected to the wiil of a single person ; in another, power may be lodged in the hands of a number of chiefs; and in a third, every individual may have a voice in creating public officers, and in enacting laws for. the support of public order. But as no code o£ laws is formed during this period, justice is not. very impartially administered, nor are the rights of individuals very faithfully guarded.

This is the age of hero-worship, and of tutelary gods; for it is in this stage of society that the invention of arts, which gave rife to that worship, contributes most conspicuously to the public good. War, too, which we considered as beginning first to ravage the earth during the former period, and. which is another cause of the deification of dead men, will still prevail in this age, and be carried on with no less ferocity than before, though in a more systematic form. The prevalence of war, and the means by which subsistence is procured, must have considerable influence on the character and sentiments of societies and individuals. The hunter and the warrior are characters quite different from the shepherd and the husbandman. Such, in point of government, art6, and manners, religious and moral sentiments, were several of the German tribes described by Tacitus; and the Britons whose character has been sketched by the pen of Cæsar; such, too, were the Roman* in th? early period of their history; such too the Greeks, whom Homer celebrates as the destroyers of the Trojan slate: the northern tribes also, who poured through Asia, Africa, and Europe, and overthrew the Roman empire, appear to have been of a nearly similar character.

In this period of society the state of the arts merits attention. The shepherds and the hunters are in that respect pretty equal. Whether we examine the records of ancient history, or view the island? scattered through the South Sea, or range the wilds of America, or survey the snowy wasres of Lapland and the frozen coast of Greenland— still we find the useful arts in this period, though

known known and cultivated, in a very rude state; and the fine arts, or such ae arc cultivated merely to please the fancy or to gratify capuce, displaying an odd and fantastic, not a true or natural, taste; ytt this is the period in which eloquence shines with lustri : ali is metaphor cr glowing sentiment. Languages are not ytt copious; and therefore speech is figurative, txprtssive, and forcible.

But let us advance a little farther, and contemplate our species in a new light, where they will appear with greater dignity and amiahlenese of character. Let us view them as husbandmen, artizans and legislators.

Sect. VI. Os ike Rapid Progress es ImproveMent in the Fourth Stage of SOCIETY.

Whatever circumstances might turn the attention of any people from hunting to agriculture, or cause the heidsman to ycke his oxen for the cultivation of the ground, ceitain it is, that this change on the occupation would produce an happy change on the character and circumstances of men; it would obiige them to exert a more regular and persevering industry. The hunter is like one of those birds that are described as passing the winter in a torpid sta'e. The shepherd's' life is extremely indolent. Neither of these is very favourable to refinement. But different is the condition of the husbandman. Hit labours succeed each ether in regular rotation through the w hole year. Each season has its proper employments; he therefore must exert active persevering industry; and in this state we often find the virtues of rude and polished ages united. This is the period where barbarism ends and civilization begins. Nations havp existed for ages in the hunting or the shepherd state, fixed as by a kind of stagnation, without advancing farther. But scarce any instances occur in the history of mankind us those who once reached the state of husbandmen, remaining long in that condition without rising to a more civilized and polished state. • Where a people turn their attention in any considerable degree to the objects of agriculture, a distinction of occupations naturally arises among them. The husbandman is so closely employed through the several seasons of the year in the labours of the Reid, that he has no longer leisure to exercise all the rude arts known among his countrymen. He hn« not time to fashion the instruments of husbandry, to prepare his clothes, to build his house, to r.:anufacture household utensils, or to tend those t<me animals which he continues to rear. Those different departments therefore now begin to employ different person*; each of whom dedicates his whole time and attention to his own occupation. The manufacture of cloth is for a considerable time managed exclusively by the women; but smiths and joiners arise from among the men. Metals begin to be conlidered as valuable matemis. The intercourse of mankind is now placed on a new footing. Before, every individual practised all the arts that were known, as far as was i ecesthry for supplying himself with the conveniences of life. Now he confines himself to one t,r to a few of them; and, to obtain a necessary simply of the productions of those arts which he •\m not cultivate himself, he gives in exchange a

part of the productions of his own labours, we have the origin of commerce.

After continuing for some time in this P.?. arts and distinctions multiply in society, th change of one commodity for another ia f" inconvenient. It is contrived to adopt a me of commerce, to render the exchange of pro; easy and expeditious. Wherever metals have known, they have been adopted as the roe of comriierce almost as loon as such a me began io be used: and this is one important pole for which they serve; but they have more important uses. Almost all the nece arts depend on them. Where the metal known, agriculture practised, and the necc art0 distributed among different orders of art —civilization and refinement advance w-tb pid progress. As ioon as ornament and ar ment are thought of, the fine arts begin to i>t tivated. In their origin therefoie they are long posterior to the hectfsary and useful They appear long before men reach the corr. able and respectabie condition of huibandr but rude is their character at their first ot But in the period of society which we now c der, they aspire to an higher character.

One of the noblest changes, which the intro tion of the arts by agriculture produces on form and circumstances of socitty, is the u dtiction of regular government and laws. In cirg the history of ancient nations, we scarce find laws introduced at an earlier pcriotL nos, Solon, and Lycurgus, do not apnear to 1 formed codes of wisdom and justice for rcgula the manners of their countrymen, til! aftei Cretans, Athenians, and Lacedemonian?, made some progress in agriculture and the u: arts.

Religion, under all its various forms, h every stige of society a mighty influence sentiments and conduct of men ; and the arts tivated in society have on the othef hand torn fluence on the system of religious belief. Thi male sex in this period generally find the yok their slavery somewhat lightened. Men nowcome easier in their circumstances; the social sections assume stronger influence over the tm plenty, and security, and ease, at once comm cite both delicacy and keenness to the sensual sires. All these circumstances concur to make I relax that tyrannic sway by which they before pressed the softer sex. The foundation of empire, where beauty triumphs over both dom and strength, now begins to be laid. S are the effects which history warrants us to a bute to agriculture and the arts; and such ouUines of the character of that which we rec the fourth stage in the progress of society t: rudemss to refinement.

Sect. VII. Os the Fifth Stage* cr Htcm


We have not yet surveyed mankind in tl most polished and cultivated state. Socitt] rude at the period when the arts first begin show themselves, in comparison of that flic which it is raised by the industrious cultwatio'i them. Athens and Lactdomon afford us a !. pyopoortunity of comparing this with the former lii£e in the progress or society. The chief • lsect produced by the institutions of Lycurpus seems lo hit: been, to fix the manners of his. countrymen for a considerable period in that state to vhicb they had attained in his days. Spartan rxtu: ha= been admired and extolled in the lanj^ijre of enthusiasm; but even the character and tit condition of the lavage inhabitants of the w.ltj of America, have be-n preferred by fume [Aisfjphert, to the virtues and the enjoyments facial life in the most polilhed an! eniightc ;d state. The Spaitans in the days us LylOTOshad beguu to cultivate the ground, and i*trc not unacquainted with the useful arts: Key roust soon have advanced farther had not l;curpjj arisen, and by effecting the establishntatot a code of laws, the tendency of which s;?nrs to have been in many particulars dirtily opposite to the designs of nature, relirJed their progress towards complete ctviliia

10 and refinement. (See Sparta, J 10—u.) Tat history of the Lacedemonians therefore, while the lavs of Lycurgus continued in force, nhibits the manners and character of a people in •tut which we have denominated the fourth stage

11 tot progress of society. But in the history of rifirneighbours the Athenians, we behoid the iirurai progress of opinions, arts, and manners.Tbt ufcfni arts are first cultivated with such steaIst aduftry, as to raise the community to opu

by commerce with foreign nations* The Uriilirts, raised to this height-of improvement, l iiisrt to the pursuit of science. Commerce, Kiii in the useful arts, and a taste for science, mutualiyaid each other, and promote farther imircrtmtntj. Hence magnificent buiidings, noble Ifiiorf, paintings expressive of lisei action, and wffioa; and poemg in which imagination adds *tw rracc to nature, and gives f'>ciai life more itriiliWe power over the affections. Hence ate ool distinctions more carefully studied, and the ffJiH of every individual and everv order in socety more accurately defined. Moral science is* ffaetally the first scientific pursuit which strongiy. Kritti the attention of men; with the exception 'f Egypt and Chaldea. In'Egypty the overflow's of the N*,|r caused geometry to be early cul''Jted. Causes no less favourable to the study of •'trMomy, rtcommended tha' science to the Uhal4tJraiong before they had attained tire height of '^atnitat. But, in general, the taws of mrcraii|T He nndersloxly anl the principles of tnorala iiyiirea into, before men make any considerable t'wresi in physical science* Accordingly, in fhisr >"iu<l,ooetr), history, ami morals, are the branch« chiefly cuitivate-1. Arts arc generally casual ■notions, and long practised before the ruses and {.nacipies on which they are founded alTunve ttV firm of science. But morality is that art which Cko have most constantly occasion to practise. hcSdes, we are so constituted, that homan actions,' >nd the events which befal human' being's, have *W powerful influence than any other object to engage our attention". Through poetry, history, and tnnrals, be pursued with n > fin^ii eagerness and success in that p*riod of <i/Ciety whiofe we Voi. XXI. Part s.

now consider, natural philosophy is neither very generally nor very successfully cultivated. This" is the period when human virtue a'ud human abilities shine with most splendour. Rudeness, fero* city, and barbarii'n, are banished. Luxury has! made her appearance ; but as yet she is the friend and the benefactress of society. Commerce Ira sr. stimulated and rewarded industry, but has not yet contracted the heart and debased the character,Wealth is not yet become the sole object of pursuit. The charms of social intercourse are known and relished; hut domestic duties ar? not yet deserted for public amusements. The female sex acquire new influence, and contribute much to* refine and polish the manners of their iords. Religion now assumes a mtider and more pseiJinsf form ( sp'endid rites, magnificent templet, pom* pous sacrifices, and gay festivals, give t-vensuoeistition an influence favourable to the happiness of mankind. The gioomy notions and barbarous rites of former periods fail into disuse. The system of theology produced in former aecs Itiil remains : but oniy the rrild and arniabse rml.ttes of the deities are celebrated; and none but th-.' gayy humane, and laughing divinities, are worshipped. Philosophy also teaches men to discard such partrfof their religion as are unfriendly to pood moral«f and have any tendency to call forth or cherish unsocial sentiments m the heart. War (for iii this" period of society enough of causes will anse to' arm one nation against atiothef)-«-warT' however; no longer retains its former ferocity; nations no' longer strive to extirpate tine another; to procure redress for real of imaginary injuries; to hurabie,' not to destroy; is now its object. Prisoners are. now no longer murdered in cold blood, subjected to hofr id and excruciating tortures, or condemned to hopeless slavery. They are fansorfied or exchanged; they return to their country, and again fight under its banners. In this f 'eriod the arts of government are Itkewsfe better understood; and practised so a"s to contribute most to the interest? of society. Whether monarchy, or democracy, or aristocracy, be the established form, the rights of individuals anil of society are in refseral resprcted. The interests of society are so well understood, that the few, to preserve their influence over the many, find it necessiry to act rather a: the faithful servants than the imperious lords of the public. Thouglr the libefl'es 6f * nation in this state be net accurately defined by law, nor their property guaranteed to them by ahy lepai institutions, yet their governors dare not viotatc their libcfties, nor deprive them'wantonly/ of their properties. This is truly the gulden agt of society r every trace of liarbandn is entirely effaced r and vicious luxury his not Vet begun tt/ sap the virtue and tire hapoinese. of the community. Men five not Mi listless indolence; but the industry irr which they are engaged is of such a nature as not to overpower their strength or exhaast tnei'r spirits.The social affections have now the; strongest influence on men's sentiments and conduct.

Sect. VIII. Of the Dsgf.«if.;ucy anJtrtiti^t


Hum Am affairs are cevrr stationary. The eir'

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this degeneracy takes place. Strictly speaking, tvery thing but the simple aeeffurits nf life may be denominated luxury; but the wtlfare os soriety is best promoted, while its members aspire after something morrlhan the mere'necessaries of life. As* long as thele superfluities are to be obtained oniy by active and.honest exertion; as long as they oniy engage the leisure hours,- without becoming the chi>-f objects of pursuit—the employment which they give to the faculties i« fa-1 ■vourable both to the virtue and the happiness of* the human race. • • •

But the period arrives, when luxury is nolesngv er serviceable to the interests of nations; when siie is no longer a graceful, elegant, active form,' but a languid, overgrown, and bloated carcase. The love of luxury, which contributed so much to the civilization os society, now bring- on its decline. Arts are cultivated and improved, and commerce extended, till enormous opulence be

acquired: the effect of enormous opulence is to' for improving arts an<r manufacture*. Tli awake the fancy, to conceive ideas of new and the third class are established, either with a capricious wants* and to inflame the breast with to prevent crimes, as-the Philanthropic Socir

it self- for the diffusion of the Christian religion arm

after gloriously shaking off the yoke of despot they set up a republican government, which the course of a few years, has exhibited fetw tyranny, oppression, and bloo lllied, to whici annals of the world can furnish no parallel: which, after the massacre of the greatest mtr the best friends of liberty in the republic, has i ed in the establishment of an imprr-ial despot more enormous, ai'd more destitute of every I of freedom, than that which was overthrow] 1789-91. See Retolution, J VI, 48-.



Historical Introduction.

Thr Societies under consideration, are a cintions voluntarily formed by a number of iwl duals for promoting knowledge, industry,orvr They may therefore be divided into three c!at socittiesfor promoting science and literature,su ties ftir encouraging and promoting arts and riufactures, and'societies for diffusing religion morality and relieving distress. Societies beid ing to the first class extend their attention to the sciences and literature in general, or drvot to one particu'ar science. The some obftrval may be applied to those which are inslitu

new defireF. Here we have the origin of that ishness which, operating in conjunction with ca<price and the violence of unbridled passions, contributes so much to the corruption of virtuous' manners. Selfishness, caprice, indolence, effeminacy, all join to loosen the bonds of society, to bring on the degeneracy both of the useful and the fine arts, to banish ar once the austere and' the mild virtues, to destroy civil order and subordination, and to introduce in their room anarchy or despotism.

Scarce conld we have found in history an example of the beautiful form of society which we last attempted to describe^ Never, at least, has any nation continued long to enjoy such happy circumstances, or to display'so amiable and respectable a character. But when we speak of the declining state of society, we have no- difficulty in finding instances. History tells of the Assyrians, the Egyptians, and the Persians, all once flourish* ing nations, but brought low by luxury and conniption of manners. The Greeks,-the Romans, and the Arabians, owed their fall to the fame causes; and we know not if a similar fate does not now threaten many of those nations who have long made a distinguished figure in the system of Europe. The Portuguese, the Venetians, and the Spaniards, have already fallen. The French have long been a people destitute of religion, corrupted in morals, unsteady in conduct, and slaves to pleasure and public amusements. Among them luxury had arrived at its highest pitch before the revolution; aud the consequence has been, that


unenlightened nations, as the Society for the I pagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; or introducing art* and civilisation, along will knowledge of the Christian religion, as the Std Leonacompany.

The honour of planning and instituting sex ties for these valuable purposes is due to modi times.- A literary aflbeiation issaid to have bi formed in the reign of Charlemagne; (fee At Demy and Scotland, § 11 ;) but the plan ko to have been rude and defective. Several oth were instituted in Italy in the 16th century; t they seem to have been far inferior to those W are most flourishing at present. The most 1 larged idea os literary societies seems to hive riginated with the great Bacon:, l,ord Ver liAMj the father of modern philosophy, who 1 commended-to the reigning prince to inftitute 1 cieties of learned men, who should give to I world a regular account of their researches a discoveries. (See Bacowj N* ».) It was the n1 of this great philosopher, that the learned wor should beunited intoone immenseiepublic; wtiic tho7 consisting ot many detached states, fltouid p' serve a mutual intelligence with e-ach other, every thing that regards the common iuterel The want of this union and intelligence he I ments as- one of the chief obstacles to the ai vancement of science; and justly considering it institution of public societies, to be the best rem dy for that defect, he has given, in his fane'1 work, the AVw Atlantis, the delineation of a


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