Page:Voyage in search of La Perouse, volume 1 (Stockdale).djvu/13

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TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

direct him in that choice. There is sufficient variety in human actions to show that, though Man acts from motives, he acts not mechanically, but freely; yet sufficient similarity of conduct, in similar circumstances, to prove the unity of his nature. Hence there appears no ground whatever for supposing, that any one tribe of mankind is naturally of an order superior to the rest, or has any shadow of right to infringe, far less to abrogate, the common claims of humanity. Philosophers should not forget, and the most respectable modern philosophers have not forgotten, that the savage state of the most civilized nations now in Europe, is a subject within the pale of authentic history, and that the privation of iron alone, would soon reduce them nearly to the barbarous state, from which, by a train of favourable events, their forefathers emerged some centuries ago. If the limits of a preface would allow us to pursue the reflections suggested by the different views of savage life, presented by this and various other scientific voyages, it would be easy to show, that the boasted refinement of Europe entirely depends on a few happy discoveries, which are become so familiar to us, that we are apt to suppose the inhabitants of these parts of the world to have been always possessed of them; discove-

ries