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tion, humanity sleeps, and the heart is callous. We no longer consider ourselves as creatures of sense, but as merciless Lords of the creation. Pride, Prejudice, Education, Aversion to singularity, and contracted misrepresentations of God and religion, all contribute to harden the heart against it's natural impressions, and the soft feelings of compassion; and when the mind is warped and disposed to evil, a triiling argument serves to stifle conscientious motives. All nature will be ransacked in her weakest parts, to extort from her, if possible, any confession whereon to rest an argument to defend cruelty and oppres. sion. There is no custom, whether barbarous or ab. surd; nor any vice, however detestible, that will not find some abetters to justify, or to palliate it; tho' the vindication itself be an aggraration of the crime.
In case of human cruelty, the oppressed man can complain, and plead his own cause. There are courts and laws of justice in every civilized society, to which the injured man can readily make his appeal. But the suffering brute cao peither utter the nature of his oppression, describe the author of his wrong, nor bring an action against the barbarous injustice of unfeeling man. The laws of Triptolemus are buried in oblivion. The priest passeth on one side, the levite on the other, but the samaritan stops, sheds a tear, but can effect nothing, for mankind are combined in the dreadful purpose of promoting misery.
You ask me, says Plutarch, for what reason Pythagoras abstained from eating the flesh of brutes ? For my part, I am astonished to think, on the contrary, what appetite first induced man to taste of a dead carcase; or what motive could suggest the no. tion of nourishing himself with the flesh of animals, which he saw the moment before, bleating, bellowing, walking, a d looking about them. How could he bear to see an impotent and defenceless creature slaughtered, skinned, and cut up for food ? How could he endure the sight of the convulsed limbs and muscles? how bear the smell arising from their dis. section ? Whence happened it that he was not disgusted and struck with horror when he came to handle the bleeding flesh, and clear away the clotted blood and humours from the wounds ? Poetical fiction might imagine,
"The hides still crawling, and the mangled beasts
half raw, half roasted, bellowing their complaints.” Such a picture might naturally enough, surely, have represented itself to the man who first conceived an appetite for the flesh of a living animal, and directed the sacrifice of the helpless creature, that all the while might stand licking the hand of it's murderer. We should, therefore, rather wonder at the cooduct of those who first indulged themselves in this horrible repast, than at such as have humanely abstained from it. And yet the first flesh-eaters, perhaps, might justi. fy themselves, by pleading an act of necessity, and the want of that plenty of other provision of various kinds, which luxury has introduced in our times, and which renders our conduct, in this respect, so much the more inexcusable. “Happy mortals!' might they exclaim, in addressing the men of our days; how highly fa. voured by the gods, in comparison with your predecessors! How fertile are your fields, your or. chards, your vineyards, in comparison with our's! In our unhappy times, the earth and atmosphere, loaded with crude and noxious vapours, were intractable to order, and obeyed not the due return of the seasons. The uncertain course of the rivers broke down on every side the insufficient banks; so that
lakes, bogs, and deep morasses, occupied three fourths of the surface of the globe, while the other quarter of it was covered with woods and barren forests. Theearth produced not spontaneously delicious fruits; we had no implements of agriculture; we were strangers to the art of husbandry; and, employing no seed. time, we had no harvest. Thus famine was perpet. ually at our heels. In the winter, moss and the bark of trees were our ordinary food. The fresh roots of dog's grass and broom were a feast for us; and when, by chance, we found a repast of nuts and acorns, we danced for joy round the hazel and the oak, to the sound of some rustic muse, calling, in our grateful transports, the earth our nurse and mother. Such were our only festivals, such our only sports : all the rest of our lives was made up of nothing but sorrow, pain and misery. At length, when the impoverished earth no longer afforded us subsistence, we were com. pelled to commit an outrage on nature for our own preservation; and thus we began to eat our companions in misery, rather than perish with them. But, cruel mortals ! what motives have you for shedding innocept blood ? What affluence on every side surrounds you! How liberal is the earth of fruits! How bounteous are your fields and vineyards! the animals afford you milk in plenty for aliment, and wool to clothe and keep you warm. What can you require more? What barbarous rage induces you to commit so many murders, when already loaded with vi. ands and sated with plenty? Why do you falsely accuse your mother earth of being incapable of af. fording you nourishment? Why do you rebel a. gainst Ceres) the inventress of laws, against Bacchus, the comforter of mankind; as if their lavish bounties were not sufficient for the preservation of the human race! How can you have the heart to mix, with the delicious fruits of the earth, the bones and flesh of dead carcases, and to eat with the sweetest milks, the blood of the very cattle which afford it you? The lion and the panther, which you call wild beasts, act necessarily, and destroy other animals to preserve their own lives. But you, a hundred times more wild and cruel than they, act contrary to instinct, without any such plea of necessity, and only to indulge yourselves in your barbarous delicacy. The animals which you devour are not those which devour others; you eat not carnivorous animals, but you are careful to imitate their savage nature. You have no appetite but for meek and innocent brutes which hurt nobody, but, on the contrary, fondly at. tach themselves to your persons, serve you faithfully, and whom you devour in return for such services. Unnatural murderers ! if you still persist in contend. ing that you are made to devour your fellow-crea. tures, creatures of flesh and blood, living and sensi. ble as yourselves, suppress at once that horror which pature inspires against such cruel repasts: kill, yourself, the animals you would eat; I say, kill them with your own hands, without knives or cleavers. Tear them to pieces with your own fingers, as the lions and bears do with their claws: set your teeth into the ox, and pull him to pieces; stick your nails into his hide: eat the tender lamb up alive; devour his flesh, yet warm, and drink up his soul with his blood. Do you shudder ? Dare you not hold a piece of living flesh in your teeth ? Despicable mortals! you kill the animal first, and eat him afterwards, as if you endeavoured to kill him twice. Nor is even this sufficient; even raw flesh disgusts you; your stomach cannot digest it; it must be transformed by
cookery over the fire; it must be boiled, roasted, and seasoned with salt and spices which entirely disguise it's natural taste. You must be furnished with butchers, bakers, and cooks, with people whose busi. ness it is to dispel the horror of murder, and dress up the limbs of dead carcases in such a manner, that the palate, deceived by the artificial preparation, may not reject what is so unnatural, but find a pleasure in the taste of cadaverous morsels, which the eye can hardly look on without horror. Plutarch's Morals.
Pythagoras seems to have taken from the Hindoos the principles which have distinguished his philosophy. These principles are beautifully expressed in the following passages.
He first the taste of flesh from Tables drove, and argued well, if arguments could move.
0 mortals ! from your fellow's blood abstain, nor taint your bodies with a food prophane : while corn and pulse by Nature are bestow'd, and planted orchards bend their willing load; while labour'd gardens wholesome herbs produce, and teeming vines afford their gen’rous juice : nor tardier fruits of cruder kind are lost, but tam'd with fire, or mellow'd by the frost: while kine to pails distended udders bring, and bees their honey, redolent of Spring : while earth not only can your needs supply, but lavish of her store, provides for luxury; a guiltless feast administers with ease, and without blood, is prodigal to please. Wild beasts their maws with their slain brethren fill; and yet not all, for some refuse to kill : sheep, goats, and oxen, and the nobler steed, on browse and corn, and flowery meadows feed: Bears, tygers, wolves, the loin's angry brood,