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they hold in the scale of existence. The oyster is fixed to his rock, the herring traverses a vast extent of ocean. But the powers of the oyster are not deficient; he opens his shell for nourishment, and closes it at the approach of an enemy: nor are those of the herring superfluous; he secures and supports himself in the frozen seas, and commits his spawn in the summer to the more genial influence of warmer climates. The strength and ferocity of beasts of prey are required by the mode of subsistence allotted to them: if the ant has peculiar sagacity, it is but a compensation for its weakness; if the bee is remarkable for its foresight,

that foresight is rendered

duration of its harvest.

necessary by the short

Nothing can be more

various than the powers allowed to animals, each in their order; yet it will be found, that all these powers, which make the study of nature so endless and so interesting, suffice to their necessities, and no more.

But man alone, if he is born for no other purpose than to cultivate the earth, and con

tinue his species, has been endued with a faculty, and this the noblest we are acquainted with, for no assignable end. This faculty is improvable reason; and is of a much loftier and more exalted nature than is necessary to his mere existence or preservation. Ask the inhabitant of Lapland or Paraguay, what is requisite to the existence of man; and a very low standard of intellectual endowment will be returned. The lowest ranks of savages, whose reason, how improvable soever, has scarcely been raised by exercise beyond the natural instinct of the bee, can continue their unfortunate race, and provide against the rigours of cold and hunger, as effectually as the happier children of civilization. All the superiority, therefore, of the philosopher above the Hottentot, might have been lost, if the situation had been wanting which led the way to his improvement; and all the power of mind which lies dormant in the savage, and is awakened to full activity in the European, would be a superfluous waste of talent, if it did not contribute to the general design, and co-operate with some farther plan of the Creator.

There are writers, it is true, who have taken an extraordinary pleasure in levelling the broad distinction which separates man from the brute creation.* Misled to a false conclusion by the infinite variety of nature's productions, they have described a chain of existence connecting the vegetable with the animal world, and the different orders of animals one with another, so as to rise by an almost imperceptible gradation from the tribe of simiæ, to the lowest of

* M. Bonnet observes, that if we survey the principal productions of nature, we shall perceive that betwixt those of a different class, and even those of a different species, there will always be found some which will apparently link the classes or species together. He has given a scale of beings on the principle of gradation; the first link of which connects man with quadrupeds, by means of the orang-outang and monkey. The idea is enlarged upon by Mr. White, in a treatise, entitled, "An Account of the regular Gradations in Man, &c.”— "This rash hypothesis, that the Negro is the connecting link between the white man and the ape,' took its rise from the arbitrary classification of Linnæus, which associates man and the ape in the same order. The more natural arrangement of later systems separates them into the bimanous and quadrumanous orders. If this classification had not been followed, it would not have occurred to the most fanciful mind to find in the Negro an intermediate link."-Pritchard on Man, p. 67.

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the human race, and from these upwards to the most refined. But if a comparison were to be drawn, it should be taken, not from the upright form, which is by no means confined to mankind; nor even from the vague term reason, which cannot always be accurately separated from instinct; but from that power of progressive and improvable reason, which is man's peculiar and exclusive endowment. It has been sometimes alleged, and may be founded on fact, that there is less difference between the highest brute animal and the lowest savage, than between the savage and the most improved man. But in order to warrant the pretended analogy, it ought to be also true that this lowest savage is no more capable of improvement than the chimpanzee or orang-outang. Among brute animals of the same species, there are no degrees of improvement. The wolf of North America, as far at least as its natural powers are concerned, resembles the wolf of the Alps; the elephant of Africa may be mistaken for that of India. Animals, in short, are born, with no material exception, what they are intended to

remain, and bring their instincts with them into the world. A well-bred dog is not taught the sagacity with which he hunts his game: a bird requires no parental instruction, but builds her nest with as warm a lining, and in a spot as suitable and secure, as that in which it was hatched. But man must be taught, either by precept or example, to direct his bow, to climb his tree, to construct his hut: the rudest savage is only stimulated by instinct, and not instructed.

Here then lies the distinction, which may be confounded, but can never be removed; that Nature has originally bestowed upon other animals a certain rank, and limited the extent of their capacity by an impassable degree: man she empowered and obliged to become the artificer of his own rank in the scale of beings, by the peculiar gift of improvable reason improvable, certainly not to an unbounded extent, as some would fondly persuade themselves, yet to an extent of which the bounds have neither been assigned nor attained. The

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