Of the Virtues and Vices of the Savages
VIRTUE, like unto wisdom, disdaineth not to be lodged under a mean roof. The Northerly nations are the last that have been brought to civility; and, notwithStanding, before that civility, they have done great actions. Our savages, although they be naked, are not void of those virtues that are found in men of civility, for "everyone (saith Aristotle [Eth. vi. 13J) hath in him, even, from his birth, the principles and seeds of virtue." Taking, then, the four virtues by their springs, we shall find that they participate much of them. For first concerning fortitude and courage, they have thereof as much as any nation of the savages (1 speak of our Souriquois and of their allied) in such sort that ten of them will always adventure themselves against twenty Armouchiquois, not that they be altogether without fear (a thing which the fore-alleged Aristotle doth reproach to the ancient Celtien-Gauls, who feared nothing, neither the motions of the earth nor the tempests of the sea, saying that this was the, property of an hairbrain fellow), but with that courage they have, they esteem that wisdom giveth unto them much advantage. They fear then, but it is that which all wise men do fear, and that is death, which is terrible and dreadful, as she that rifleth all through which she passeth. They fear shame and reproach, but this fear is cousin-german to virtue. They are Stirred to do good by honour, forasmuch as he, amongst' them, is always honoured and getteth renown to himself that hath done some fair exploit. Having these things proper unto them, they are in a mediocrity, which is the very seat of virtue. One point maketh this virtue
of force and courage imperfect in them, that is they are . too revengeful, and in that they put their sovereign
contentment, which inclineth to brutishness. But they are not alone, for all those nations how far soever they may stretch themselves from one pole to the other, are infected with this vice. The Christian religion only may bring them to reason, as in some sort she doth with us (I say in some sort) because that we have men very imperfect as well as the savages.