Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/66

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the formation of our judgment by that conduct and those qualities of mind which are really commendable, a slight knowledge of this despised race will convince the candid that, far from being the lowest of the human family, they are entitled to a very high rank in our estimation. No people are perhaps less known. It has been their misfortune, too, to come partially under our observation through the worst medium, our criminals and the random accounts of persons who had no better source of information. Our very mode of reasoning on this subject is false. No nation can boast the creation of its own intelligence, which in every instance springs from circumstances and discoveries beyond the reach of human control. This gift of Heaven is he communication of Him whose ways are past finding out, by whom it is issued without measure to one generation after another, according to the dictates of that unerring wisdom by which he governs the world. Men, so far from even assisting to carry into effect the plans of Heaven for their happiness, are, maniac like, continually employed in thwarting the benevolent designs of the Deity towards them, or abusing his gifts when imparted in spite of their waywardness. Hence, even in densely populated states, there are few that excel in intelligence. When we read or hear of great men, the imagination instantly invests the multitude with all their light, knowledge, talents, and intelligence. Nothing can be more erroneous. The millions, in the most enlightened age and country, are naturally as stupid as the lowest of their fellows in uncivilized life. Instead of taking the trouble to collect information and to think originally and correctly for themselves, they invariably follow those who take the lead in the community; and, whether right or wrong, adopt such of their opinions as they find subservient to their own prejudices, passions, and interests. Man, it should never be forgotten, is the creature of circumstances. He owes whatever is excellent in mundane concerns to social intercourse, and that elevation of mind which distinguishes him from his fellow man, to the combined influence of letters and Revelation. The former, by collision of intellect and mutual communication of ideas, leads to improvements in art and discoveries in science; and the latter, purifying the hearts of a few and operating by their example on the many, either regenerates the soul or subjects the passions to the government of reason. Take these away from the most polished nation and they will be like their forefathers. Yet we expect to find in the inhabitants of the desert, without social intercourse, letters, or Revelation, all the intelligence of minds possessed of these advantages, and, if we do not, immediately pronounce them an inferior race of beings. Let the most enlightened people be scattered like the