Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to such being, is an assertion opposed to every established principle of justice and morality. A "con. dition" cannot be made without the mutual consent of parties, and therefore what this writer terms "a condition” is nothing less than an unjust, arbitrary, and deceitful imposition. It is uncertain to what extent in this country the excess of unfeelingness to ap. imals may arrive, or the cultivation of the carnivo. rous propensity. An ingenious and very respectable modern agriculturist urges the propriety and points out many advantages which, he thinks, would arise from an universal consent to eat the flesh of horses.

The barbarous Europeans teach universal love and yet contract their benevolence to man. In their con. duct to animals even generosity is abandoned, and man with all his inflated pride of pre-eminence, humanity, affection, sympathy, feeling, sensibility, &c. &c. is not what he thus professes, but partakes yet strongly of his savage nature, otherwise be would at least be merciful and just; he would receive their assistance and in return alleviate the evils of their state.

“Such is the deadly and stupifying influence of habit or custom,” says Mr. Lawrence, 66 of so poi. sonous and brutalizing a quality is prejudice, that men, perhaps no ways inclined from nature to acts of barbarity, may yet live insensible of the constant commission of the most flagrant deeds. In the his. tory of the council of Constance, it is recorded, that a certain Neopolitan peasant who lived near a place infamous for robberies and murders, went once to confessjon; and having told the priest, that on a certain fast-day he had swallowed a draught of milk, he assured the father he could recollect no other sin he had committed. “How," said the confessor, « do you never assist your neighbours, io robbing and murdering the passengers, in a particular hollow road?" . yes,” said the peasant, “but thrat is so common with us, that we do'nt make it a point of conscience."... rel. - Skinnenden

The humane. Titus, who exclaimed, on reflecting that he had done no beneficent act; .; 66, Alası! my friends, I've lost a day !did not once advert to the horrid barbarities he was at the same time inflicting on the wretched inhabitants of Judea ; por felt he the least remorse after having destroyed thirty out of forty thousands of Jew 'captives, in finishing the Colisæum at Rome; nor did he regret the slaughter of tens of thousands of innoceot Jews, whom he sacrificed on the altars of vanity at Rome. Distris -. The following anecdote, is related by James Pet. tit Andrews. - 6. When I was a boy," said he, “ I was charmed with the tricks, which an itinerantiraba bit-catcher had taught to a beautiful white ferret.

But what means those bloody marks round his mouth ?! I enquired. “Why, that is where I sews up his chaps, that he may p’t bite the rabbits in their berrys," replied the insensible wretch. And how, added I, can" you be so barbarous to so tame, so tractable, so beautiful an animal!!!:66 Laud, master," retorted the fool, 6 a? likes it. A' will hold up his chaps to be gewed !!! - A cook maid will weep at a tale of woe while she is skinning a living eel. Even women of education, who readily weep while read. ingian affecting moral tale, will clear away clotted blood, still warm with departed life, cut the flesh, disjoint the bones, and tear out the intestines of an animal, without sensibility, without sympathy, with. out fear, without remorse. What is more common than to hear this softer sex talk of, and assist in, the cookery of a deer, a hare, a lamb, or a calf (those acknowledged emblems of innocence,) with perfect composure. Thus the female character, by nature soft, delicate, and susceptible of tender impressions, is debased and sunk. It will be maintained, that in other repects, they still possess the characteristics of their sex, and are humane and sympathizing. The inconsistency, then, is the more glaring; to be virtu. ous in some instances does not constitute the moral character, but to be uniformly so...

Mankind in general have a natural horror in the shedding of blood, and some in devouring the car. case of an innocent sufferer, which bad habit, im. proper education, and silly prejudices, have not overcome. This is proved by their affected and ah. surd refinement of calling the dead bodies of animals “meat,If the meaning of words were to be re. garded, this is a gross mistake, for the word meat is an universal term, applying equally to all nutri. tive and palatable substances. If it be intended to express that all other kinds of food are compara. tively not meat, the iptention is ridiculous. The truth is that the proper expression flesh, conveys ideas of murder and death. Neither can it easily be forgotten that in grinding the body of an animal, substances which constitute human bodies are masticated. This reflection comes somewhat home, and is recurred to by eaters of flesh, in spite of them. selves, but recurred to unwillingly. They attempt therefore to pervert language in order to render it agreeable to the ear, as they disguise animal flesh by cookery, in order to render it pleasing to the taste,

To the general appearance of beauty and happiness among animals the only interruption has arisen from Man. Disposed alike to mar the natural har, mony of the world, and to delight in moral discord, his malignant pursuits have discoloured the lovely picture with blood and slaughter. It is in vain for mankind to plead that all things were made for their use." Vaunting superiority! perverse arrod gation of fortuitous plenitude! Let them first shew that they understand the true limits between utility, justice, and abuse. A right founded only on power, is an ignominious usurpation. . ..,

Conscientious men think it a duty which they owe to God, to beg a blessing on the food which, through his universal bounty they are about to partake. What profanation ! what impiety! To beg a blessing on a meal torn from nature by rapine, obtained by disordering the plan of creation, furnished by an abuse of Providence, and by the torture of God's creatures. If the Deity were severe to inflict jus. tice instead of bestowing clemency, he would affix a curse on such proceedings.

[ocr errors][merged small]

It is of the first conséquence in training up youth of both sexes, that they be early inspired with hu. manity, and particularly that it's principles be im. planted strongly in their tender minds to guard them against inflicting wanton pain on those animals, which use or accident may occasionally put into their power.. ; Montaigne thinks it a reflection on human nature, that few people take delight in seeing animals caress or play together, but alınost every one is pleased to see them lacerate and worry each other. I am sorry this temper is become almost a distinguishing charac. ter of our nation. Children are bred up in the principle of destroying life, and one of their first indulgences is the licence of inflicting pain on poor animals. in histos prote :

Mr. Locke takes notice of a mother who permit. ted her children to have animals, but rewarded or panished them as they treated them well or illos.

Many dispositions have been formed to cruelty, from being permitted to tear off the wings of flies, whipping cats and dogs, or tying a string to the leg of a bird, and twirling it round till the thigh be torn from the bleeding body!. It is highly pecessa. ry, therefore, for parents to watch, with anxious care, over their offspring, and strenuouslyato oppose, such habits as these (tho they often arise from mere childish imitations, from a propensity to action, and from the curiosity excited by things that move, rather than from a bad disposition), and stifle in the birth, every wish and desire to inflict torture, or even give unnecessary pain. The mean propensity of seeking birds' nests, of tearing them down, of taking the eggs, and of playing with the young ones, should be carefully checked. To say nothing of the lingering deaths of the callow brood," the ex. quisite anguish communicated to the parent birds, is evident to the most superficial observer; and it is both astonishing and, abomioable that parents, who have an affection for their children, appear insensi. ble to the miseries, of parental affection in those animals they depreciate by the epithet, of BRUTES. How infinitely superior would be the amusement, if parents would cultivate it in their children, of knowing the names of birds, and their habits by continual observation, and reference to Natural History. How much more humape and rational the amusement of looking for nests for the sake merely

« AnteriorContinuar »