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Their very great Sufferings.
But whence arises this mistake? Does it not originate in want of thought ? Has the parent, of this description, ever reflected at all on the subject? Does he know any thing of the manner in which juvenile character is formed ? Does he understand clearly that he is to be the arbiter, not of the fortune only, but of the fate of his household ?
Had we not so often witnessed the sensibility of most parents in regard to some of the wants and woes around them, and their utter insensibility in regard to others, it might be difficult for us to believe that, of which we have now the fullest assurance. We could as soon be induced to put bitter for sweet or sweet for bitter; and with nearly as little difficulty, be led to confound light and darkness.
There must be something so incompatible in the idea of a virtuous, refined and sensible family, whose social hours present scenes if such can any where be found - which, more than any thing else below the sun, give an antepast of high heaven, with bird cages and their suffering inmates scattered over their otherwise well arranged and well ordered premises.
Let us look at the history of these poor birds. Born to a milder climate, they are with the extremest difficulty sustained in ours, when watched with the most assiduous care. Many die, sooner or later, victims to the excessive or unnatural heat of the rooms in which they are kept ; to say nothing of those that die from the long continued cold. Many die from the bad air they breathe, alnd the bad, half-poisoned food they eat. Many die for the want of the pure light of that luminary, which was made for the slave as well as the master. *
But it is not the early death of these beautiful creatures alone, which ought to call forth our pity. The living are more to be commiserated than the dying. We mean by this, that the long sickness which they must suffer, and the unnumbered pangs they must in all probability endure in silence, long before nature gives up the struggle, should awaken, if aught had power to do
* Dr Jerome V. C. Smith, of Boston, in a late lecture before the Boston Phy. siological Society, gave as a reason why the singing and other birds brought from foreign countries die prematurely, ihe fact that we inhumanly withbold from them the gravel which is necessary to that part of digestion which takes place in the gizzard, and which, it is supposed, the gravel stones facilitate. But had Dr Smith forgotten that the monkey, too, and, indeed, all the quadrupeds, and nearly all the reptiles of tropical climes, die preinaturely when brought here, as well as the birds ? Do they die, too, for want of gravel ? The truth is, that though the gravel ought not to be inhumanly withheld, the early sickness and premature dissolution, buth of the birds and quadrupeds, is owing principally to the causes alluded to in the remarks which called forth this note.
Moral Tendency of Menageries.
it, the most unreflecting; and rouse from their stupor the most stupid.
We have not yet so much as alluded to the suffering and wo induced by the merciless war inflicted on the unoffending tribes, in order to secure them; or to the numbers slain or wounded in the war; or the moving lamentation and wo among the friends of the captured ; or to the loss of thousands on the voyage of transportation. Yet this is an item in the grand account; an item, too, in the account of somebody, at the grand tribunal. We are aware, that where there is no law there is no transgression; and that ignorance, when that ignorance is in no wise voluntary, is a partial apology for what would otherwise be crime. Yet who is he, where is he, that can plead an involuntary ignorance on the subject before us, in a country studded with bibles, churches and school houses? On somebody, we repeat it, then, an awful responsibility must rest. The whole weight of the guilt of frightening, hunting, wounding, starving, freezing, roasting, smothering, fettering, murdering, the myriads, not only of singing birds, but of all other living beings, whom the folly, the avarice, the cupidity of man have tempted him to seize and convey from country to country, even at the hazard of his own life and the lives of many a fellow man -- the whole weight of all this guilt, we say, rests somewhere. Not a particle of it is forgotten in the mind of God. Not a sparrow falleth to the ground without his notice; no, nor ever will. Not a drop of the blood of those over whom we were placed as lords, but not as tyrants, to bless but not to curse, falls to the ground, without eliciting a cry of vengeance that shall be heard, and must be heard before the Eternal Throne.
‘I would not enter on my list of friends,' says Cowper, the man who needlessly sets soot upon a worm.' Neither would we, if could help it. More than this, we would abolish, if we had it in our power, every form of slavery, from the slavery of the silver trout, or the gold or silver fish to that of the huge elephant. We would abolish it, by supplying a morbid desire to see something new, rather than to improve, and to feast ourselves on distortion rather than pure nature, with the love of true, healthy pleasures, and with a hearty desire for solid improvement. We would pull down by building something better in the first place. Nor would we be over-solicitous to avoid pulling down, or at least breaking up, in this way, that is, by the force of public opinion, all our fashionable menageries and travelling caravans of new and curious animals.
If this last assertion should surprise any individual, we beg
him to consider well what we have said, as well as what we are to say, presently. We are not ignorant, that by denouncing the exhibition of living animals, we not only set ourselves against public sentiment, but against the sober opinion of many enlightened and good men. They suppose these exhibitions improve the public taste as well as afford a never failing fund of information, of the choicest kind, to the student of natural history; which is undoubtedly true. But this is only one side of the subject.* We would reverse the picture. We have shown a part of the other side. We will look farther, at the moral tendencies of these things.
Have we ever thought how the habitual possession of living beings. obviously without their freedom, and often in exile, must gradually tend to reconcile the infantile mind to the slavery of all animals below men ? And how from mere reconciliation to it, by a transition scarcely appreciable, we pass to entire approbation? And how, too, from the slavery of brute animals, we soon learn to look with indifference on the slavery of individuals endowed with souls, and beaming with immortality ?
Do those who have been all their lives long accustomed to the varied forms of slavery we have mentioned, know how much they benumbed their moral sensibilities and deadened their sympathies with human sorrow and human suffering? Can they believe, for one moment, that when they now meet those who deserve their commiseration or their charity-those whose minds or bodies cry aloud for sympathy and assistance -- they have any of that acuteness of feeling which they would have had in other circumstances? We talk of slavery, its physical and moral evils and consequences ; but are not many of our most worthy citizens as truly slavebolders, in spirit, as those whom they so much despise or pity ?
It sometimes surprises us, when we consider what a strange bundle of inconsistencies the creature is, whom we call man. How little known to himself! How little studied ! How little developed, even after the lapse of so many generations! He hates slavery, and yet hugs it to his bosom. He hates him who occasions it, and yet is in spirit the very same. He hates chains, and yet forges and applies them, not only to those around him, but to himself; and the more they clank, the louder he cries, Hurra for freedom!
• The stuffed skins of most birds and animals, if prepared in a suitable manner, may be made to answer nearly all the purposes of the youthful student. A competent knowledge of this department of nature certainly has been obtained without the menagerie or the caravan; and it is a maxim with us, that what man has done, man may do.
Man a lord
not a tyrant.
Is it not so ? Must it not be so ? Otherwise, what mean these moans as sincere as they are plaintive -- about oppression, and tyranny, and cruelty in distant regions of the earth, while the domestic dog, and cat, and cow, and horse - aye, and your dwellers in cages, too — send forth their moans now and then, nearer home, on account of cruel kicks, and stripes, and pounding, and starvation, and other still more intolerable tortures ? Beyond and above this, what mean those occasional blows, not only with the flat haud, but with the fist, and even with wooden weapons, across the tender cranium, or the scarcely less tender trunk of the human being ?
Were there no human inconsistency on the subject before us, why should we find such a want of harmony in our feelings and our attachments, and in the bestowment of our tender mercies? Why should a pet dog, aged, dirty, indolent, be taken into his mistress's parlor, for fear he should be cold, or into her carriage, to the annoyance of several friends, lest he should be tired; while the female domestic must be turned off with a scarcity of fuel, which endangers her health ; and must trudge her very life away to contribute to our comfort and that of our dear friend, Jowler? Nay, still worse, why should our tens and hundreds of dollars a year be spent on pet horses, and dogs, and monkeys, to the denial of our own children, whom we value as the apple of our eye, not merely of a full supply of bread to sustain animal life, but also of any supply at all, unless it be obtained by accident or stealth, of bread to that immortal mind, which is believed, professedly so at least, to be worth a thousand bodies ?
We are unfriendly to any sort of oppression, or tyranny, or cruelty, foreign or domestic, human or brutal.
We believe most fully, that God has instituted governments and relations, not that tyrants or masters may abuse their fellow men, or even their own children, but that they may conduce, by a few well directed arrangements, to the public good. We believe that the Creator has made man lord over the other animals ; but not that he should hurt them, unnecessarily, any more than he would his children. Indeed, they are, in a sense, his adopted children; or if not, he is at least their appointed guardian. He is bound to make no movements which will tend to injure any one of them, directly or indirectly; as well as to make every movement in his power which will, directly or indirectly, promote their happiness.
When these views are not only understood, but acted out every where in life ; when the parent and teacher, on all cccasions and under all circumstances, come to set a consistent living example to all around them, not only of piety to God, but
of that evidence of piety, which consists in well ordered arrangements, not merely for the happiness of domestic men — if such there must be-but of domestic animals, and to evince a love to them as to brethren; when, in one word, man becomes as strikingly a saviour, as he has hitherto been a destroyer of his race, and of the other races over which he is placed as overseer, then, indeed — perhaps not sooner — shall we find consistency, and mercy, and charity flourish in the earth ; and inconsistency, and tyranny, and oppression, and hatred, begin to hide their heads.
In that happy day, instead of violently thrusting aside, in a fit of anger, the poor dog and cat, who have faithfully served us for years, or kicking them headlong from a door or elsewhere, a rod or more, and beating the very breath from their bodies ; or throwing a shovel or a pair of tongs at a domestic fowl, because it entered a foot within the parlor door, or in a heat of passion, knocking down the horse or ox, or plunging a sharp instrument into his side, or kicking across the room, with all the vengeance and half the malice of a fiend, the dearest child the Creator has given us - our own eyes have witnessed these or similar abuses in that happy day, we say, instead of blows and bruises, we shall have kind words and favors; and instead of oaths and imprecations, prayers. When will prayer begin to ascend before the Throne of Mercy in behalf of brute animals ? When will the voice of prayer even begin to be heard in our dwellings in behalf of those whom we are accustomed to think no more of than if they were brutes ? When will one juvenile mind and heart be formed under the hallowed influence of a truly rational and consistent Christian example ?
After all, we have left unsaid much that ought to be said on this subject. We have scarcely alluded to the permanent influence which the cruelty, or even the neglect of birds in our cages, or animals in our cribs, has upon the disposition, and temper, and affections of those who constantly witnesss it. It would take a volume instead of a single essay, to develop the subject in all its length and breadth ; and to speak, in proper terms, of all its enormnities.
HOW TO PREVENT YOUTHFUL CRIME.
FROM `an address of some sort we have forgotten its object — recently sent us from Albany, we collected the following remarkable statement. “In England, one half of the offenders