By Adam Ferguson
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Extra resources for Adam Ferguson: Selected Philosophical Writings
Affection operates with the greatest force, where it meets with the greatest difficulties. In the breast of the parent, it is most solicitous amidst the dangers and distresses of the child; in the breast of a man, its flame redoubles where the wrongs or sufferings of his friend, or his country, require his aid. It is, in short from this principle alone that we can account for the obstinate attachment of a savage to his unsettled and defenseless tribe when temptations on the side of ease and of safety might induce him to fly from famine and danger, to a station more affluent and more secure.
They possess the shores of the Caspian, or the Atlantic, by a different tenure, but with equal ease. On the one they are fixed to the soil, and seem to be formed for settlement, and the accommodation of cities: The names they bestow on a nation, and on its territory, are the same. On the other they are mere animals of passage, prepared to roam on the face of the earth, and with their herds, in search of new pasture and favorable seasons, to follow the sun in his annual course. Man finds his lodgment alike in the cave, the cottage, and the palace; and his subsistence equally in the woods, in the dairy, or the farm.
In these apprehensions, while other passions only operate occasionally, the interested find the object of their ordinary cares; their motive to the practice of mechanic and commercial arts; their temptation to trespass on the laws of justice; and, when extremely corrupted, the price of their prostitutions, and the standard of their opinions on the subject of good and of evil. Under this influence, they would enter, if not restrained by the laws of civil society, on a scene of violence or meanness, which would exhibit our species, by turns, under an aspect more terrible and odious, or more vile and contemptible, than that of any animal which inherits the earth.
Adam Ferguson: Selected Philosophical Writings by Adam Ferguson