Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

muring stream; and, with the utmost unconcern, a barbed hook forced through the defenceless body of the writhing worm, there to remain, in torture, as a bait for the fish; and if death put a period to it's existence, it is no longer fit for use, and must be suca deeded by another sufferer. Can there be a more dreadful torture invented ? yet we may be told, with a laugh, it is only a worm. Is pain, then, confined to beings of a larger size? Are not the parts of a worm exquisitely formed ? Most certainly

the worm, on which we tread, in corporal sufferance feels a pang as great as when a giant dies.”—Shakespere. Cruel delight! from native beds to drag the wounded fools, and spoil their silvery scals and spotted pride, writh'd on the tort'rous hook, in sufferance dumb.-Bidlake,

The flaying of eels alive, when a single blow, properly given, would deprive them of sensation, is a well known instance of depraved cruelty.

Much needless torture is practised in depriving shell.fish of life, and the crimping of fish is an execrable practice.

CAGING OF Birds. Among the softer disposi. tions of the female sex, the feathered warblers are imprisoned in a Bastile in miniature; and barred from their peculiar and inherent right of freedom. In these grated prisons, dependent on "unplumed bipeds,' they frequently perish for want of food. A tender mistress, perhaps, gives orders that the eyes of her bird. be put out with a red hot knitting-needle, in order to improve his song; the poor bird, in this situation, is fortunate if the friendly cat puts in her paw and drags him through the wires. If the unhappy cap

tive even escapes any severe improvement of this na. ture, can it ever be expected he will carol with the same energy as when a tenant of the grove? Can the song of the lark from one vile sod, surrounded by an iron grate, equal in vivacity and melody, that which he was wont to warble when he soared into the sky till his flight became imperceptible?

Be not the Muse asham'd here to bemoan her brothers of the grove, by tyrant man inhuman caught, and in the narrow cage from liberty confin'd, and boundless air. Dull are the pretty slaves, their plumage dull, ragged, and all it's bright’ning lustre lost; nor is that sprightly wildness in their notes, which, clear and vigorous, warbles from the beech. O then, ye friends of love, and love taught song, spare the soft tribes ! this barbarous art forbear, if on your bosom innocence can win, music engage, or piety persuade.-Thomson.

OF REASON IN ANIMALS, Animals are entitled to our friendship, in propor. tion to their sensibility and the reason which they possess. They are by no means either so inferior to the race of man as he has placed them; or so con. temptible as he wishes to make them appear.

Inferior animals, as they are called, are endowed with perception, consciousness, memory, will; in these originate love, hatred, fear, fortitude, patience, generosity, obedience, and a limited sense of justice. But if it be allowed that they have a certain propor. tion of reason, they possess it in common with the human kind; the difference consists only in degree of quantity. “If an animal reason in degree,” says Mr. Johu Lawrence," he possesses the reasoning faculty. Because a man is infinitely inferior in the power of reasoning to Socrates, or Hume, does it fol. low that the portion which he does possess, is not rea. son, but instinct? If so it may be asserted that the mighty powers of those men were nothing more then a superior degree of instinct. - I have many times," continues Mr. Lawrence," seen a mare walk through droves of young chicks and ducklings to the stable, lifting up her feet, laying her ears, and putting her nose almost to the ground, lest she should tread upon them. The same mare, trotting at full speed, once flew a rood out of her way, that she might not tread upon a child, which was ac. cidentally crossing the road. This was not the ef. fect of starting or shying, to which she was not at all addicted, but evidently the result of thought, or reflection. The same mare once saved herself and her master. He was riding slowly and very heedlessly up the hill upon Epping-forest, opposite a waggon. The mare pricked her ears, at a man and horse, com. ing full speed down the hill, exactly in her line of direction. At their approach she hung back, and in an instant, with the dexterity of a Harlequin, shel. tered herself under the tail of the waggon. A horseman behind him coming up very quickly, received the dreadful shock. One horse was killed on the spot, and the shoulder of the other shattered to pieces. I am thoroughly convinced,” he adds, " that this ani. mal acted in these instances, purely from the influence of rational motives.”_Treatise on Horses.

Admiral Gantheaume carried with him an african pongo in one of his voyages. This creature is des. cribed as the completest sailor on board his ship. When the admiral stretched into a northern climate,

the poor pongo sickened and died, from too constant. ly and actively doing duty on deck, and in the shrouds. His death was very much regretted.

The beaver seems to excel all other quadrupeds in sagacity, patience, industy, and architectural skill. Having chosen a level piece of ground, with a rivulet runoing through it, they assemble in communities of two or three hundred, and commence their operations by forming a reservoir, which they effect by making a weir across. Each bears a proportionate share of labour. The side next the water is sloped, the other perpendicular; the ground.work is from ten to twelve feet thick, but gradually diminishes towards the top, to two or three. Some goaw, with their teeth, trees of great size, to form beams and piles; others roll them to the water; others dive, and, with their feet, scrape holes in order to fix them firmly in at the foot: while others exert themselves in rearing them in their proper places, another party is employed in collect, ing twigs with which to interlace the piles; a third, in collecting earth, stones, and clay; a fourth, is engaged in beating and tempering the mortar. Others are busy in carrying it upon their broad tails to conve. nient places; and with their tails also they fill up all the interstices. This bank is raised in proportion to the elevation and supply of water. They avail themselves frequently of water-carriage; swimming with mortar on their tails and pieces of timber in their mouths. If the violence of the water or footsteps of bunters, who pass over their work, damage it in any respect, they immediately set about the business of repairing. When they are persecuted by hunters, they work only in the night. A certain number of strokes with the tail is the signal given by the overseer for resorting to certain places, either for the prosecution

of work, or notice of the approach of an enemy. In this reservoir, near the edge of the shore, they erect their houses. They are built upon piles; are either round or oval, with vaulted tops, resembling an oven or the top of a dome. The walls are two feet thick, made of earth, stones, and sticks, most ingeniously platted together; and the walls within are as neatly plastered as with a trowel. The height of these hous. es above the water is eight feet. They often make two or three stories in each dwelling. Each house contains from twenty to thirty beavers, and the num. ber of houses in each pond is from ten to twentyfive. Each beaver forms it's bed of moss; and each family forms it's magazine of winter provisions. These they lodge under water, and fetch into their apartments as occasion requires. Sensible, reasonable, and ingenious as these creatures are, no sympathy is excited thereby in the heart of savage man; he commits the most abominable depredations on their curious fabrications and on their lives, for the sake, not as usual, of eating their carcases, but for the sake of adorning his own body with the skins of inoffen. sive animals, procured by outrage and murder.

Animals, in many instances, are possessed of senses much superior to the same faculties in the human kind. The carrier pigeon is remarkable for the accuracy with which it returns to the spot whence it was conveyed. Lithgow assures us, that one of these birds will carry a letter from Babylon to Aleppo; performing in forty-eight hours, what is to man a journey of thirty days. Every Turkish Bashaw is said to have a number of these pigeons, that have been bred in the seraglio, which, on any emergent occasion, he dispatches to the Grand Vizier, with letters braced under his wings. The camels which travel over

« AnteriorContinuar »