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De Quincey says that murder singularly focuses the attention on the instinct for self-preservation, which destroys any sense of distinction between human beings and animals: the primal law of self-preservation, is the same in kind, (though different in degree,) amongst all living creatures; this instinct therefore, because it annihilates all distinctions, ...


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He means they sit completely still, as still as statues. They sit on logs, so the statues they most resemble are statues of people mounted on horseback (equestrian statues) - the horse being the equivalent of the log. This is the ‘torpor’ he describes elsewhere in the para: With respect to the torpor supposed to follow, or rather (if we were to credit ...


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