Defoe and the Nature of Man by Maximillian E. Novak

By Maximillian E. Novak

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Defoe praised the Portuguese for having 'so Friday them, where they went even stark naked before, to clothe decently and modestly now'. 3 And Defoe rejoiced in the knowledge that these natives would never civilized the natives ... as to bring again return to that terrible state of nature which confused and with happiness. This attitude towards civilization and the state of nature was idleness bestiality one which appears throughout the eighteenth century in writers whose interests, like Defoe's, were economic.

Living there was God's triumph settlers expected to find 'a law unto under what Saint Paul called The Puritans believed that the Indian was a natural man and that he could be expected to follow the laws of reason, evil, and worship some kind of distinguish between good and god. When, in 1622, the Indians revolted, the settlers felt that the laws of nature had been violated, 1 Since the Indian did not follow those rules written in his heart, he could no longer be treated as a rational being. Hence Defoe's remarks on this Indian war concern not only the treachery of the savages but also their 2 Tolly'.

Great part of the world, ... degeneracy of human nature, is I where the chief end of life seems drink, that is is employed. resolved into the lowest mean, the savage life; to be merely to eat and to say, to get their food, just as the brutal life . . DEFOE, Serious Reflections of Robinson Crwoe* ROUSSEAU once observed that although philosophers had often written about the state of nature, none had gone back far enough 1 4 Robinson Crusoe, p. 107. if 188. , i. 2^7. , L 231. THE STATE OF NATURE 37 in the history of mankind to discover it.

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