Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VI.: ORIGINAL STATE OF MAN. - The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires
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CHAP. VI.: ORIGINAL STATE OF MAN. - Constantin-François Chasseboeuf, marquis de Volney, The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires 
The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires, 3rd ed. (London: J. Johnson, 1796).
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ORIGINAL STATE OF MAN.
In the origin of things, man, formed equally naked both as to body and mind, found himself thrown by chance upon a land confused and savage. An orphan, deserted by the unknown power that had produced him, he saw no supernatural beings at hand to advertise him of wants that he owed merely to his senses, and inform him of duties springing solely from those wants. Like other animals, without experience of the past, without knowledge of the future, he wandered in forests, guided and governed purely by the affections of his nature. By the pain of hunger he was directed to seek food, and he provided for his subsistence; by the inclemencies of the weather, the desire was excited of covering his body, and he made himself cloathing: by the attraction of a powerful pleasure, he approached a fellow-being, and perpetuated his species.
Thus the impressions he received from external objects, awakening his faculties, developed by degrees his understanding, and began to instruct his profound ignorance: his wants called forth his industry; his dangers formed his mind to courage; he learned to distinguish useful from pernicious plants, to resist the elements, to seize upon his prey, to defend his life; and his misery was alleviated.
Thus self-love, aversion to pain, and desire of happiness, were the simple and powerful motives which drew man from the savage and barbarous state in which Nature had placed him: and now that his life is sown with enjoyment, that he can every day count upon some pleasure, he may applaud himself and say: “It is I who have produced the blessings that encompass me; I am the fabricator of my own felicity; a secure habitation, commodious raiment, an abundance of wholesome provision in rich variety, smiling valleys, fertile hills, populous empires, these are the works of my hand; but for me, the earth, given up to disorder, would have been nothing more than a poisonous swamp, a savage forest, and a hideous desert!” True, mortal creator! I pay thee homage! Thou hast measured the extent of the heavens, and counted the stars, thou hast drawn the lightning from the clouds; conquered the fury of the sea and the tempest, and subjected all the elements to thy will! But, oh! how many errors are mixed with these sublime energies!