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human and the brute animal, without knowing much, if any thing, more, either of one or the other, than was to be learned by their respective actions.

For, the principle in matter by which a stone falls to the ground, and the principle in mind, by which a living organized intelligent being thinks and acts, as in man, are equally unknown. Consequently, all the principles or modifications of action, between these extremes, in minerals, vegetables, insects, reptiles, fishes, birds and beasts, are entirely hidden from our keenest search. So that Gravitation, Crystallization, Vegetation, Irritability, Sensation, Instinct, &c. are words used to denote certain effects, the causes of which we are ignorant. It is therefore vain to agitate metaphysical questions about diversities or similitudes, which depend more upon our own words than upon any clear knowledge we can have of the things we define; as, whether brutes differ from man in degree or in kind, whether there be an essential distinction between the rational and animal nature, and whether a being capable of subduing all, is only raised a single step above one or two of the higher species of brutes ;-inquiries better fitted for scholastic exercises, (about which much. may be said, and but little can be known,) than for the improvement of knowledge.

The observations of Smellie on this point, though he has drawn conclusions on others which can scarcely be admitted, are worth our attention.

"It cannot," says he, "escape observation that all

the sagacity and laborious industry exerted in the various instances of animal architecture, have one uniform tendency. They are all designed for the multiplication, protection, and nourishment of offspring. But many of them are so artful, and require such persevering labour, that the human mind is bewildered when it attempts to account for them. Recourse has been had by Des Cartes, Buffon, and other philosophers, to conformation of body and mechanical impulse. Their reasonings, however, though often ingenious, involve the subject in tenfold obscurity. We can hardly suppose that the animals actually foresee what is to happen, because, at first, they have not had even the aid of experience; and particularly in some of the insect tribes the parents are dead, before the young are produced. Pure instincts of this kind, therefore, must be referred to another source. In a chain of reasoning concerning the operations of nature, such is the constitution of our minds, that we are under the necessity of resorting to an ultimate cause. What that cause is, it is the highest presumption in man to define. But, though we must for ever remain ignorant of the cause, we are enabled to trace, and even to understand, partially, some of the effects; and from these effects we perceive the most consummate wisdom, the most elegant and perfect contrivances, to accomplish the multifarious and wonderful intentions of nature. In contemplating the operations of animals, from man down to the seemingly most contemptible insect,

we are necessarily compelled to refer them to pure instinct, or original qualities of mind, variegated by nature according as the necessities, preservation, and continuation of the different species require. Let any man try to proceed a step farther, and, however he may deceive himself, and flatter his own vanity, he must find at last that he is clouded in obscurity, and that men who have a more correct and unprejudiced mode of thinking, will brand him with absurdity, and acting in direct opposition to the constitution and frame of the human mind." *

SECT. II.

Instinct contrasted with Reason.

On surveying the actions of Men and Brutes, there seem to be sufficient logical grounds for making two grand distinctions; the one, comprising those actions which appear to be done blindly or without premeditation and without experience; and the other, those which are done with forethought by combining means to accomplish ends, which are often the result of individual or social experience and instruction.

These general facts seem to be so obvious, that they lead us at once to call them by different names, and to conclude that they arise from different pro

*See Philos. of Nat. Hist. vol. ii. p. 118,

pensities or faculties: and the words Instinct and Reason come up as nearly to the view of the case as any others we could employ. Hence, while Reason acts with intelligence and design, (variably indeed and inconstantly,) profiting by experience, comparing motives, balancing probabilities, looking forward to the future and adapting itself to every change of circumstance; Instinct operates with uniformity in all individuals of the same species, and performs its office with unerring certainty, prior to all experience.

It is proper for me here to remark, that the word Reason is used in senses which are extremely dif ferent; sometimes to express the whole of those powers which elevate man above the brutes, and constitute what is called his rational nature; more especially, perhaps, his intellectual powers; and sometimes to express the power of deduction or argumentation. The former is the sense in which the word is used in common discourse. It is in the latter restricted sense, as indeed is implied a little above, that I wish the word Reason to be understood, whereever it occurs in this Essay, viz. the discursive faculty, wholly depending on outward evidence for its conclusions.* Hence, if there be any actions which are performed with every indication of design, forethought, and wisdom, which are not the result of instruction nor of individual experience, but of a power operating above the consciousness of the creature, and directing it with unerring certainty to some

* See Outlines of Moral Philosophy by Stewart, Sect. 9.

specific ends by means far beyond its comprehension, whether in man or in the brute; these actions are instinctive. And on the other hand, if there be any actions, which evidently result from observation and instruction, indicating an intelligent power of combining means and adapting them to ends of which the creature is conscious; these actions come within the province of Reason.

According to this view of the subject, we shall find, that Man himself, more especially the human infant, is not without his instincts; which immediately tend to the preservation of his existence, at times, when Reason, either from its tardy growth or want of promptitude, and general inefficiency, would be unable to superintend the different offices of the animal economy, for which the former are appointed.

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