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perhaps answer yes to your question. But are not other ways to be found by which youth might be led to virtue and wisdom, by which their minds might be impressed with the utility and advantage of learning? Are there no other means more congenial with human feelings, and especially with that lively interest which tender age naturally inspires even in the breast of a stranger, and which ought still more to reign paramount in that of parents? Or is that affection so generally, so powerfully, felt by the brute creation erased out of the bosoms of white men?
Self. Undoubtedly there may be, and there are, indeed, other ways and means; but if not more uncertain, at least they would be attended with a great deal more fatigue and pains.
Dom. Oh! massa! now me understand you. You think in this country that flogging is much less troublesome than any other course that might lead to the desired end. Me agree with you, indeed, that fear is a powerful and even efficient engine. Me agree also, that it would require far greater exertions to watch the progress of every propensity and little passion that begins to bud even in the cradle; to rectify those ideas that are successively formed in the child's mind; to inculcate good principles more by example than by precept; to forward the native and dawning dispositions of the little man, by seizing every opportunity to communicate knowledge: to direct his natural impulses to good by motives of a more honourable tendency than that of fear; to till carefully the ground, sow betimes the seeds of virtue, drive away those birds that would greedily feed on them, root out the noxious weeds that might smother the young shoots, and never to relax our watchfulness until those seeds, having passed through the whole process of vegetation, have attained their full maturity, and the harvest safely harboured. All this is certainly attended with a great deal of trouble, of care, and of fatigue. But what are these troubles, cares, and fatigues compared with those of the aspiring hero who seeks fame and renown amidst toils infinitely greater, with the addition of perpetual dangers? What are these troubles, cares, and labours,
to those of the ambitious who wade through thick and thin, through dirt and mire to acquire power? What are they to those of that miser whose days are spent in heaping gold upon gold, and whose nights are dedicated to the watching of his useless treasures? But without carrying on these comparisons as to the means, let us pass to their result. The aspiring hero is suddenly cut off in his career, and leaves behind him that fame which was the object of all his toils, without having ever enjoyed it. The ambitious becomes the victim of his own schemes, and leaves to more happy or more fortunate rivals the object for which he had made so many sacrifices. The miser who from day to day adjourned the enjoyment of his dearly-bought riches, never sees that fortunate day, and dies with the cankering idea that his heaps of precious metals are about to pass into the hands of another. He, on the contrary, who has religiously performed the most sacred of duties, that of a parent; he who having accepted the holy and important trust of guiding helpless and erring youth through the labyrinth that will perplex it in its journey towards dignified manhood, although he may encounter numberless difficulties, although he may find in his way steep acclivities, deep valleys, threatening torrents, meets at last with the purest, the noblest, the most glorious reward. Let death come when it will he is sure that the fruit of his labours will not be buried with him. He is conscious that his place will be taken by a man, and a man, if not of his own creation, at least of his own formation. He reflects with pride that his deeds, though not trumpetted by noisy fame, will probably be productive of less brilliant but more useful effects on successive generations. His conscience will anticipate the merciful sentence of his Sovereign Judge; he submits cheerfully to the inevitable call, and dies in peace with himself.
ON REASON AND INSTINCT.
IN REPLY TO QUERY 41, P. 92, VOL. II. ENQUIRER. To resolve this question it is necessary first to ascertain what reason and instinct are in themselves.
And I shall endeavour first to define instinct, a quality which is undoubtedly equally inherent in the brute as in the human species. By instinct is meant that innate motive, alike unsought and irresistible, which is implanted in every creature, from that grand masterpiece of the Almighty mechanist's creation, man! to the minutest animalcule, which floats imperceptibly in the air we breathe. This imperious motive, this unknown spring of action, operates alike in every creature; in all it seeks that which is necessary for the support and comfort of animal life, whether brute or human; in all it loaths, and demonstrates antipathy for, which nothing but nature or instinct could cause. Does not an infant, the moment it is born, feel and express pain; seek its natural food, and mark its dislikes to particular tastes or situations? yet is this reason? I think there has never been a philosopher hardy enough to hazard such an assertion. But it may be said, these are the dawnings of reason, which strengthen with the growth of the human infant, and by degrees attain their utmost perfection. I am rather inclined to differ from this opinion, inasmuch as idiots, or maniacs, though they grow to maturity of size and strength, never arrive at any thing like reason. this leads me to consider, secondly, what reason is?
Reason may be defined to be that faculty of the mind by which we are enabled to choose aright, and to reject what is wrong, even in defiance of our strongest biasses and passions. It is the immediate emanation of the Divinity, the only real distinction which can be said visibly to exist between the brute and the human species. It is the offspring of reflection, a faculty distinct from perception, memory, sight, hearing, or feeling; all which animals have in common with mankind. For instance, a child in a state of nature will touch fire, run into water, or take poison, with the same thoughtless temerity which a cat or a dog would do, and, in common with those creatures, when it has found the danger, will remember and do so no more. But when the faculties of a child are sufficiently expanded to understand the force of words, you may argue with it, and persuade it to avoid those things
which are hurtful, even though they are pleasing, or to do what is disagreeable under the conviction that it is right. Now an animal, even a dog, which is the most tractable of all, cannot be persuaded by words, nor could all the fondest caresses induce him to forbear to do that which he desires, or induce him to do that which he dislikes; it is fear alone which will have these effects upon him.
Thus it appears that animals have passions and perceptions, but not reason. It is no proof of reason that a duck swims, that a fish opens its gills for respiration; on the contrary, it is an impulse which it cannot resist and the same may be said of every animal that performs the functions for which it was created, and which it does from the first moment of its existence, or nearly so: whereas man cannot do any thing until he be taught. It may be objected, that beavers, ants, and bees, are instances of animals performing acts superior to the common order of brute creatures, and that their labours fall little short of, or indeed may be almost said to excel the ingenuity of man. Yet this does but support the argument in favour of instinct; since if reason or reflection had any share in these operations, they could not have been performed since the creation by such a numerous succession of creatures, without variation or improvement and if these operations of animals are to be accounted reasonable, why not as well imagine that the automaton who played at chess, and beat the greatest professors of the art, was actually endowed with reason? since it is evident that the same mechanical force is necessary to actuate the one as the other. Life being the key which winds up the animal mechanism, which continues its operations with equal precision, until accident or force puts a stop to them, I could add a thousand instances to prove the force of instinct in brutes, and that reason is alone confined to mankind: but I hope the foregoing observations will be sufficient to prove the immense difference between the two natures in this respect.
Let us then adore the wisdom of God in this, as in
all his other works: for, as Pope beautifully expresses it,
The lamb thy riot dooms to bleed to day,
On the contrary, man, who is permitted to know his dangers, to see the precipice on which he stands, and from whose tottering height he is sensible he must fall, looks unappalled upon the hideous prospect, since reason tells him that the miseries he suffers here, if borne with fortitude, and not incurred by guilt, will lead him to a happier and a lasting immortality.
Boston, March 19, 1812.
Extract from "Strutt's Sports and Pastimes of the People of England" relating to the Origin, &c. of Cock-fighting.
"This barbarous pastime, which claims the sanction of high antiquity, was practised at an early period by the Grecians, and afterward by the Romans: with us, it may be traced back to the twelfth century; at which period we are certain it was in usage, and seems to have been considered as a childish sport. "Every year," says Fitzstephen, "on the morning of Shrove-Tuesday, the school-boys of the city of London bring game cocks to their masters, and in the fore part of the day, till dinner time, they are permitted to amuse themselves with seeing them fight: the cock-pit was the school, and the master the controller and director of the pastime." This custom, according to a modern author, was retained in many schools in Scotland within the last century, and perhaps may be still in use there; the schoolmasters claimed the runaway cocks as their perquisites, and these were called fugees, corrupt, I suppose,' says he, ' of refugees.'
In the reign of Edward III. cock-fighting became a fashionable amusement; it was then taken up more seriously than it formerly had been, and the practice extended to grown persons; even at that early period it began to be productive of pernicious consequences,