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Cow's milk, which is still in most general use, was included among the principal articles of diet, in very remote ages. Homer mentions a nation who principally lived on cow's milk.
ON THE CONDUCT OF MAN TO INFERIOR
ANIMALS. Long after habitual cruelty had almost erased from the mind of man every mark of affection for the in. ferior ranks of his fellow-creatures, a certain respect was still paid to the principle of life, and the crime of murdered innocence was, in some degree, atoned by the decent regard which was paid to the mode of their destruction.
and after seem to chide them.-Shakespere. Such was the decency with which, at first, the devot. ed victims were put to death. But when man became perfectly civilized, those exterior symbols of opinions, with which he was now but feebly, if at all,im. pressed, were also laid aside. Animals were formeriy sacrificed with some decorum to the plea of neces. sity, but are now with unceremonious brutality destroyed, to gratify the unfeeling pride or wanton cru. elty of men. Broad barefaced butchery occupies every walk of life; every element is ransacked for victims; the most remote corners of the globe are ravished of their inhabitants, whether by the fastidia ous gluttony of man their flesh is held grateful to the
palate, whether their blood can impurple the pall of his pride, or their spoils add a feather to the wings of his vanity: and while agonizing nature is tortured by his ambition, while to supply the demands of his perverse appetite she bleeds at every pore, this im. perial animal exclaims, Ye servile creatures ! why do ye lament? why vainly try, by cries akin to the voice of human woe, to excite my compassion ? Cre*ated solely for my use, submit without a murmur to
the decrees of Heaven, and to the mandates of me; of me, the Heaven deputed despot of every creature that walks, or creeps, or swims, or flies; in air, on earth, or in the waters.' Thus the fate of the animal world has followed the progress of man from his syl. van state to that of civilization, till the gradual im. provements of art, on this glorious pinnacle of inde. pendence, have at length placed him free from every lovely prejudice of nature, and an enemy to life and happiness through all it's various forms.-Oswald.
Proud of his superiority in the scale of existence, imperious man looks down with silent contempt on certain animals which he deems inferior and meaner objects. Sovereign despot of the world, Lord of the life and death of every creature, with the slaves of his tyranny he disclaims the ties of kindred. He subdues by art and cunning the ferocious lion, the tyger, and the wolf, and is tributary to their dead bodies for his accoutrements of war. In this instance he acts without disguise and is consistent. His brutal ferocity returns, disdainful of the habit and controul of refinement. He prowls malignantly the woods; destroys the carnivorous animal of the desert; with the spoil he renders his person formidable to his fel. lows; and becomes also a murderer, by profession, of the human race. Were the ferocity of man thus circumscribed, it would appear temperate and the retaliation just; but he destroys also those which are exceedingly inferior to him in strength, which are far remote from his dwelling, and which never injured him. The sable and martin are murdered for the unfortunate adornment of their furs; and the civet and musk, for the superiority of their perfumes.
While the feathers of the ostrich are seen to wave in pensive pride, to decorate, with graceful bland. ishments, the smiles of beauty; while the vital threads of the silk-worm, attenuated, almost beyond visual perception, to give the playful fold it's soft transparency, to shade, not cover, the female form; the wearer does not reflect on the practice of destroying the latter in their chrysalis state, by boiling water; or think how painfully severe the sufferings and death of the first. Were reflection admitted a place among the delicacies and softnesses of women, the feathers, the silk, the fur, and skins of animals, (obtained by outrages agaiost nature and by abandoning every impression of compassion, sympathy, feeling, sensibil. ity and humanity) would be cast aside, and the guilt. less vegetable preferred.
When a man boasts of the dignity of his nature, and the advantages of his station, and thence infers a right of oppression of his inferiors, he exhibits his folly as well as his depravity. What should we think of a strong man, who should exert his pride, bis petulance, his tyranny, and barbarity on a helpless innocent and inoffensive child? Should we not ab. hor and detest him as a mean, cowardly, and savage wretch, unworthy the stature and strength of a man? No less mean, cowardly, and savage is it, to abuse and tormentan innocent beast, who cannot avenge or help himself; and yet has as much right to happiness in
this world as a child can have; nay, more, if it, be his only inheritance. Dean's “ Essay on Brutes."
Of all rapacious animals, man is the most universal destroyer. The destruction of carpivorous quadru. peds, birds and insects, is, generally, limited to par. ticular kinds; but the rapacity of man has scarcely any limitation. His empire over other animals, which inhabit this globe, is almost universal. He subdues or devours every species. Of the horse, and dog, he makes domestic slaves, and tho’ he does not eat them, he either compels them to labour or keeps them foramusement. The ox, the horse, and the ram, he changes from their natural state, by a barbarous and cruel operation, and after receiving the emolu. ments of his labour and fertility, he rewards them with death, and then feeds upon the carcase! Many other species, tho' not commonly used as food, are daily massacred in millions, for the purposes of commerce, luxury, and caprice. Myriads of quadrupeds are annually destroyed for the sake of their furs, their hides, their tusks, their odoriferous secretions, &c. His sagacity and address has domesticated turkeys, geese, and various kinds of poultry. These he multiplies without end, and devours at pleasure. Others he imprisons in cages, to afford him the mel. ody of song. Neither do the inhabitants of the waters escape the rapacity of man. No element can defend its inhabitants from the destructive industry of the human species. Smellie's Philos. of Nat. Hist, i, 375. See also Buffon's Hist. of the Horse.
Mankind are no less, in proportion, accountable for the ill use of their dominion over creatures of the lower raak of beings, than for the exercise of tyrandy over their own species. It is observable of those noxious animals which have qualities most powerful to injure us, that they naturally avoid mankind, and never hurt us, unless provoked or necessitated by hunger. Man on the other hand, seeks out and pur. sues even the most inoffensive animals, on purpose to persecute and destroy them. Montaigne thinks it some reflection on human pature, that few people take delight in seeing beasts caress or play together, but almost every one is pleased in seeing them lac. erate and worry one another. I am sorry this temper is become almost a distinguishing character of our own nation, from the observation which is made by foreigners, on our beloved pastimes, bear-baiting, cock lighting, and the like. We should find it hard to vindicate the distroying of any thing that has life, merely out of wantonness; yet, in this principle, our children are bred up, and one of the first pleasures we allow them, is the licence of inflicting paip upon poor animals; almost as soon as we are sensible what life is ourselves, we make it our sport to take it from other creatures. I cannot but believe a very good use might be made of the fancy which children have for birds, and insects. Mr. Locke takes notice of a mother who permitted them to her children, but rewarded or punished them as they treated them well or ill. This was no other than initiating them betimes into a daily exercise of humanity, and improving their very diversions into virtue.