state; this was their real criterion. But they applied it unconsciously, and only after much wandering in the field of abstraction did they arrive at it. Their conscious method always reduced itself to abstract considerations of "human nature," and of the social and political institutions that best harmonise with this nature.
Their method was also that of the Socialists. A man of the 18th century, Morelly, "to anticipate a mass of empty objections that would be endless," lays down as an incontrovertible principle "that in morals nature is one, constant, invariable ... that its laws never change;" and that "everything that may be advanced as to the variety in the morals of savage and civilised peoples, by no means proves that nature varies;" that at the outside it only shows "that from certain accidental causes which are foreign to it, some nations have fallen away from the laws of nature; others have remained submissive to them, in some respects from mere habit; finally, others are subjected to them by