"... it is not the part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious—& tanning their skins for shoes is not the best use to which they can be put." Copy 293 of 600 sets of the Manuscript Edition of Thoreau's Writings, with a very fine manuscript fragment tipped in to volume 1.
This very fine manuscript fragment is from Thoreau's Journals, 1 1/3 pages (9 1/4 x 7 1/2 in.; 235 x 190 mm), n.p., n.d. It reads, "I rejoice that horses & steers have to be broken before they can be made the slaves of men, and that men themselves have some wild oats still left to sow before they become submissive members of society. Undoubtedly all men are not equally fit subjects for civilization, and because the majority like dogs and sheep are tame by inherited disposition is no reason why the others should have their natures broken that they may be reduced to the same level. Men are in the main alike—but they were made several in order that they might be various. If a low use is to be served one man will do nearly or quite as well as another; if a high one individual excellence to be regarded. Any man can stop a hole to keep the wind away, but no other man could serve to save a use as the author of this illustrated. Confucius says 'The skins of the tiger & the leopard when they are tanned, are as the skins of the dog and the sheep tanned.' But it is not the part of a true culture to tame tigers, any more than it is to make sheep ferocious—& tanning their skins for shoes is not the best use to which they can be put."
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