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being. This cruel device gives a striking image of the life of the idle and dissipated in luxurious capitals; for these creatures, smothered in distasteful sweets, (distasteful only from their excess,) seem all equally engaged in a painful struggle for pre-eminence. So live, so die, thousands in our populous cities, victims of luxury, and struggling for a mere pre-eminence :—not for distinction in arts, in literature, or in virtue; but for a precedence in the court of that phantom, Fashion; that most despotic tyrant that ever ruled over willing slaves.
We have, more than once, shrunk at hearing women single out certain animals—a cat, a toad, or a poor patient ass, (unless Alison's eulogium* has rescued the latter,) as objects of their aversion, and out of the pale of their pity, on account of somewhat in their exterior, intolerable to the senses of an exquisitely-delicate female. To the sufferings of these “odious animals,” some have been heard to profess themselves indifferent. This could not have happened, had their attention been properly directed, in youth, to the
* See Alison's Essay on Taste.
feelings of the brute creation; but where parents have neglected this essential duty, it is surprising how frequently those, who are humane in other respects, are, in this particular, miserably deficient.
Those ladies, who are all tenderness to their linnets, and callous to the pains of less-attractive animals, would do well to reflect on that passage in Locke, where he says, that a trifling change in the formation of
sense, would render repulsive and disgusting to us, those objects now most agreeable to that organ. They might then ask themselves, whether, in the scale of existence supposed by Milton, Addison, Locke, and other eminent persons, to rise from us to the Divinity, there may not be some superior natures, exalted a little above ourselves, to whom mankind may be an object of dislike, though of compassion; and who may look down on us with a mixture of pity and contempt. In the developement of this principle, and others of similar tendency, consists the moral beauty of “Gulliver's Travels." On such a subject, we must speak, and even think, with deep humility; but, from analogy, we may deem it not impossi
ble, and the reflection may tend to abate our pride: it can, at least, have no injurious effect; for we can apprehend nothing from created beings, while guarded by infinite power and perfection.
It is of some use to show children, that many actions, which appear vicious to them, in .animals, are the effects of instinct, and to familiarize them with the distinction between this faculty and human reason. They comprehend as much of this as is necessary for the cultivation of the heart, very early; and if we wait to give them some explanation of so abstruse a subject, till they can perfectly understand it, we must defer it for ever.
It is not difficult to prove to a child, that the spider is no more cruel in killing a fly for his dinner, than man in making the same use of a sheep; that the laws of Providence have appointed us to live by destruction; and that it is our duty to bow submissively to the decree, at the same time that we endeavour to diminish the sufferings with which it must necessarily be attended. This will put an end to childish irritation, and feelings of revenge towards such
animals as may chance to injure their favourites; and the indulgence of these feelings often makes a channel in the heart, that lays it open to the influence of vindictive passion on more serious occasions. Let us awaken their attention on these subjects lay down a few broad principles; and they will learn to apply them much soooner than is generally supposed. In Mrs. Hamilton's excellent “Popular Essays,” the effects of guiding and arresting the attention of youth, are de· veloped with great ingenuity, and happily illustrated.
Among the few fictitious tales we would recommend, Mrs. Trimmer's “Fabulous Histories,” professedly inculcating a proper treatment of animals, hold a distinguished place. They are charming. We have never met any person who did not look back with pleasure on the amusement this volume gave their childhood; and we confess, that we still find the Robin and his Mate a most interesting pair, fully deserving the pre-eminence acquired by their ancestors, and the high place they hold in the world's esteem,
One is tempted to believe, from the relations of travellers, that the docility of domestic animals bears, in most countries, a pretty exact proportion to the gentleness of the inhabitants.
Thomson, who travelled through Sweden in 1812, thus speaks of the peasantry :-“There is nothing to be seen which indicates the existence of the more violent passions; but every one expresses a docility and good humour in his face, which, I believe, all possess.” Of these qualities, Thomson, who seems a minute and faithful observer, gives some remarkable instances from his own knowledge, and concludes by saying :“ They are a most amiable and innocent people.” A late traveller in Sweden has also informed us, in conversation, that in posting, the drivers seldom mount their horses, and are moved, almost to tears, if these animals suffer hardship or fatigue.
The effects of this mild treatment, Thomson thus describes :-“The sheep in Sweden are exceedingly tame. I had occasion to see repeated flocks of these driven to Stockholm by
I have seen the sheep surrounding the woman on the road, licking her hand with as much familiarity as so many dogs. The