Source:

Opera Omnia volume 5
Ludovic Dutens (ed)
p 362



Date: 10 November 1710

Translated from the Latin



View this translation in PDF format (73k)

Back to home page


Search texts by category:

METAPHYSICS
MIND, BODY AND SOUL
FREE WILL AND NECESSITY
SCIENCE
POLITICS, LAW AND ETHICS
THEOLOGY


LEIBNIZ TO FRIEDRICH WILHELM BIERLING


[D p362]

It is most true and in accordance with many travel reports - and travellers have even verified this to me - that Americans of that region [Canada] live together without any magistrate and yet peacefully, and that there, quarrels, hostilities and wars do not occur, or rarely occur, except between men of different nations and languages. I would almost say it is a political miracle, unknown to Aristotle and unnoticed by Hobbes. Children playing together seldom come to quarrels, and when they do become heated they are quickly separated by their peers. Even more remarkable is their modesty in the household, with nature teaching them that they should deter from incest; and a brother will not use more colourful language in the presence of his sister. Nor is it sluggishness which makes these men peaceful, for no-one is more fierce against an enemy than them. And their sense of honour is apparent in their desire for vengeance and the steadfastness - even in the midst of torments - in the way they die. If they could combine such gifts of nature with our arts, our men would pale into insignificance in comparison.


© Lloyd Strickland 2016