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    1.In his moral and intellectual faculties, as well as in his external and physical characters, the Lion exhibits a close agreement with the strikingly distinct and well marked group to which he belongs, and of which he is unquestionably the first in rank and importance: and perhaps the most effectual means of guarding against the general prejudice, which has delighted in exalting him at the expense of his fellow beasts, will be found in the recollection that, both physically and morally, he is neither more nor less than a cat, of immense size and corresponding power it is true, but not on that account the less endowed with all the guileful and vindictive passions of that faithless tribe. His courage is proverbial: this, however, is not derived from any peculiar nobility of soul, but arises from the blind confidence inspired by a consciousness of his own superior powers, with which he is well aware that none of the inferior animals can successfully compete. Placed in the midst of arid deserts, where the fleet but timid antelope, and the cunning but powerless monkey fall his easy and unresisting prey; or roaming through the dense forests and scarcely penetrable jungles, where the elephant and the buffalo find in their unwieldy bulk and massive strength no adequate protection against the impetuous agility and fierce determination of his attacks, he sways an almost undisputed sceptre, and stalks boldly forth in fearless majesty. But change the scene, and view him in the neighbourhood of populous towns, or even[5] near the habitations of uncultivated savages, and it will then be seen that he recognises his master, and crouches to the power of a superior being. Here he no longer shows himself openly in the proud consciousness of his native dignity, but skulks in the deepest recesses of the forest, cautiously watches his opportunities, and lies in treacherous ambush for the approach of his unwary prey. It is this innate feeling of his incapacity openly to resist the power of man, that renders him so docile in captivity, and gives him that air of mild tranquillity, which, together with the dignified majesty of his deportment, has unquestionably contributed not a little towards the general impression of his amiable qualities.
    3.The entire continent of North America, or perhaps it might be more correct to say, that immense portion of[119] its surface which still remains uncultivated and desolate, furnishes an abode to this species of bear, which is consequently as widely dispersed as any of his tribe. As his fur is of some value in commerce, although not so much sought after at the present day as it was formerly, his race has become an object of the cupidity of man, by whom they are frequently hunted for the sake of their skins. This chase is principally followed by the Indians, who are also attracted by the flavour of his flesh, of which, and especially of the fat, they partake with an avidity truly disgusting. Travellers, however, who have been reduced to the necessity of having recourse to this sort of food, speak of it as by no means despicable: the fat yields moreover a quantity of oil, which is often extremely serviceable. The Indians will sometimes attack these animals single-handed; and if they can manage to keep beyond the reach of their powerful grasp, which is almost irresistible, are sure of gaining the victory; as the bears, in the rampant posture which they always assume in self-defence, unconsciously expose their most vulnerable parts to the attack of the hunter. Snares are sometimes laid for them; but these are most frequently unsuccessful; that extreme caution, which is so strongly portrayed in their actions and demeanour, rendering them mistrustful of every thing. Nevertheless their gluttony will sometimes get the better of their prudence, and the bait of honey offers too tempting an allurement to be always resisted. At other times a whole tribe of Indians will assemble for the chase, and after having performed a variety of superstitious observances, beat the entire country for their game, drive a great number of them into a spot selected[120] for the purpose, and deal forth upon them wholesale destruction. They will also trace them to their retreats in the season of their lethargy, which occupies several of the winter months, and during which the bears are incapable of offering any effectual resistance.
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