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3921. INDIANS, Government.—

practice[of dividing themselves into small societies] results from the circumstance of their
having never submitted themselves to any laws,
any coercive power, any shadow of government.
Their only controls are their manners, and that
moral sense of right and wrong, which, like
the sense of tasting and feeling in every man,
makes a part of his nature. An offence against
these is punished by contempt, by exclusion
from society, or, where the case is serious, as
that of murder, by the individuals whom it concerns.
Imperfect as this species of coercion May
seem, crimes are very rare among them; insomuch
that were it made a question, whether
no law, as among the savage Americans, or too
much law, as among the civilized Europeans,
submits man to the greatest evil, one who has
seen both conditions of existence would pronounce
it to be the last; and that the sheep
are happier of themselves, than under the care
of the wolves. It will be said that great societies
cannot exist without government. The
savages, therefore, break them into small ones.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 338. Ford ed., iii, 195.