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Yet wanting sensibility, the man
It has already been hinted at, in the second chapter, that in rating the happiness of a people, or an individual, if we rate upon the principal that what gives happiness to us would also give it to them, we will often rate erroneously ; that to estimate any state aright, circumstances must be properly taken into account. And we have a noble example of it in the case of the Indian. Were we to measure his happiness by our ideas, we would scarcely conceive him to have any happiness at all. With only a little mud hut to screen him from the burning heat and deluging rain, and with only a little rice to subsist on; debarred, seemingly, from every source whence comfort flows, we are apt to look upon his state as a wretched and unhappy one. We would not suppose that comfort could exist in such a condition. But judging thus we would judge erroneously. For if contentment is comfort, and surely it is, it exists there. If a bosom without anxiety is a happy one, and I think it is, the Indian has it. Give him but his rude hut to repose in, and a little rice. to support him, and his hubble-bubble, or smoking pipe, and he has not another wish; he has all that he wants; he has all that ever he knew; he has enough to make him happy. There seems to be more peace in his heart; perhaps more real enjoyment in his state, than in that of the man who is lorded over him, and who has it in his power to draw his comfort from a thousand sources.
And when I contemplate the state of the Indian, when I see him sit without a murmur, without a symptom of discontent, in a state which I deem wretched; when I see him contented and satisfied with the simplest support which nature can bestow, evidently enjoying a situation which has to me not a charm, which has not a luxury in it; I learn how difficult it is to judge, and how much I ought to consider before pronouncing on any state; I feel how true it is, that there is no condition without comforts; that indeed blessings have been distributed to all mankind. I see that man indeed wants but little, that in seeking for much he only increases his wants; and I see that it is not in the splendid mansion, or at the richly-covered table, cr even in the very enlightened mind itself, that happiness is, alone, to be sought for. And seeing that it is so difficult to judge of a state, I learn that I should neither envy those that may seem far above me, or contemn those that may seem as far beneath me; but that I should look with complacency on all, and endeavour to think my lot, whatever it may be, as probably the best.
This is the truth, and it is good that it is so; every heart turns to its own home, and sees there the most enjoyment; every one esteems his own country the best, and the comforts he has in it the greatest. Although there may be some that we think wretched enough, luckily, they do not think so themselves ; and though we may suppose that by changing their state we would add to their happiness, the probability is, we would
take from it. The frozen-up Laplander, and the sun-burned Indian are happy in their own climes; inhospitable as they are, they are happier in them, by far, than they could be in any other; and just from the cause, that there their affections have grown and fixed; and upon these all their happiness depend. Our affections get rivetted upon what infancy presents to us, and whatever it may be it seems lovely, and sorrow must be the consequence of taking us from it. Though it be but a humble cottage in a barren secluded situation, it will have its thousand charms, and there is no scenery, however rich, no mansion, however splendid, the heart will dwell upon with so much fondness.
And the Britainer, however long he may wander, however far he may travel, never will he find a country, which, give it him in his acceptance to choose for life, he would prefer to his own.
If curiosity, or necessity, or perhaps discontent, has induced him to visit countries most famed for their beauties and luxuries, yet will he say when he has seen and tried them, that they have not the beauty of his native isle; that they possess not comforts half so true. Wherever he
his thoughts will continually turn to the land where he first drew his breath, to the land where he received his earliest, his happiest, and everduring impressions. Place him in a situation the most alluring ; give him all the comforts a foreign country can give, and still there will be a sighing after the country that gave him birth. Let him only feel that he is for ever removed from it, and there is a wonderful sadness produced. However long he may be absent, that thought is ever the greatest and the most cheering; that he will yet live and die in his native land. And thus are we none the worse for wandering; for the farther we roam, the better will we find out, and the more will we be convinced, what our home really is. And still more will we be bettered by it, if a discontented spirit has sent us a roaming ; for the likelihocd is, that we will return with the spirit cured, and confess that our notions were mistaken, that we went to seek that