Page:Notes on the State of Virginia (1802).djvu/100

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diſtinguiſhed by their powers both of body and mind. I believe there are, as I ſee to be the caſe in the races of other animals. I only mean to ſuggeſt a doubt, whether the bulk and faculties of animals depend on the ſide of the Atlantic on which their food happens to grow, or which furniſhes the elements of which they are compounded? Whether nature has enliſted herſelf as a Cis or Trans-Atlantic partiſan? I am induced to ſuſpect, there has been more eloquence than ſound reaſoning diſplayed in ſupport of this theory; that it is one of thoſe caſes where the judgment has been ſeduced by a glowing pen; and whilſt I render every tribute of honor and eſteem to the celebrated zoologiſt, who has added, and is ſtill adding ſo many precious things to the treaſures of ſcience, I muſt doubt whether in this inſtance he has not cheriſhed error alſo, by lending her for a moment his vivid imagination and bewitching language. (4)

So far the Count de Buffon has carried this new theory of the tendency of nature to belittle her productions on this ſide of the Atlantic. Its application to the race of whites, tranſplanted from Europe, remained for the Abbé Raynal. ‘On doit etre etonné (he ſays) que l'Amerique n'ait pas encore produit un bon poëte, un habile mathematicien, un homme de genie dans un ſeul art, ou une ſeule ſcience.’ 7. Hiſt. Philos. p. 92. ed. Maeſtrich. 1774. ‘America has not yet produced one good poet.’ When we ſhall have exiſted as a people as long as the Greeks did before they produced a Homer, the Romans a Virgil, the French a Racine and Voltaire, the Engliſh a Shakespeare and Milton, ſhould this reproach be ſtill