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BOOK I. THE progress of men in discovering and BOOK
1 peopling the various parts of the earth, has been extremely flow. Several ages elapsed Nowly peobefore they removed far from those mild and fertile regions in which they were originally placed by their Creator. The occasion of their first general dispersion is known; but we are unacquainted with the course of their migrations, or the time when they took possession of the different countries which they now inhabit. Neither history nor tradition furnish such information concerning those remote events, as enables us to trace, with any certainty, the operations of the human race in the infancy of society.
We may conclude, however, that all the First migram early migrations of mankind were made by landi VOL. I.
BOO K land. The ocean, which surrounds the hae I.
bitable earth, as well as the various arms of the sea which feparate one region from another, though destined to facilitate the communication between distant countries, seem, at first view, to be formed to check the progress of man, and to mark the bounds of that portion of the globe to which nature had confined him. It was fong, we may believe, before men attempted to pass these · formidable barriers, and became so skilful and adventrous as to commit themselves to the mercy of the winds and waves, or to quit their native shores in quest of remote and unknown regions.
NAVIGATION and fhip-building are arts fo tempts to- nice and complicated, that they require the in. wards navigation. genuity, as well as experience, of many fuc
ceflive ages to bring them to any degree of perfection. From the raft or canoe, which first served to carry a favage over the river that obstructed him in the chace, to the construction of a vessel capable of conveying a numerous crew with safety to a distant coast, the progress in improvement is immense. Many efforts would be made, many experiments would be tried, and much labour as well as invention would be employed, before men could accomplish this arduous and important
undertaking. The rude and imperfe& state in B O OK which navigation is still found among all nao tions which are not considerably civilized, correfponds with this account of its progress, and demonstrates that, in early times, the art was not so far improved as to enable men to undertake distant voyages, or to attempt remote discoveries. . .
As soon, however, as the art of navigation Introduc
tion of became known, a new species of correspondence commerce. among men took place. It is from this æra, that we must date the commencement of such an intercourse between nations as deserves the appellation of commerce. Men are, indeed, far advanced in improvement before commerce becomes an object of great importance to them. They must even have made some considerable progress towards civilization, before they acquire the idea of property, and ascertain it so perfectly, as to be acquainted with the most simple of all contracts, that of exchanging by barter one rude commodity for another. But as soon as this important right is established, and every individual feels that he has an ex. clusive title to possess or to alienate whatever he has acquired by his own labour and dexterity, the wants and ingenuity of his nature suggest to him a new method of increasing his