Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

children are bred up, and one of the first plea- 1 bute to resist those checks, which compassion sures we allow them is the licence of inflicting would naturally suggest in behalf of the animal pain upon poor animals; almost as soon as we pursued. Nor shall I say with monsieur Fleury, are sensible what life is 'ourselves, we make it that this sport is a remain of the Gothic barour sport to take it from other creatures. Ibarity. But I must animadvert upon a certain cannot but believe a very good use might be custom yet in use with us, and barbarous made of the fancy wbich children have for enough to be derived from the Goths, or even birds, and insects. Mr. Locke takes notice of the Scythians; I mean that savage compli-, a mother who permitted them to her children, ment our huntsmen pass upon ladies of quality, but rewarded or punished them as they treated who are preseut at the death of a stag, when them well or ill. This was no other than en- they put the knife in their hands to cut the tering them betimes into a daily exercise of throat of a helpless, trembling, and weeping humanity, and improving their very diversion creature. to a virtue.

Questuqne crnentus, I fancy too, some advantage might be taken Atque imploranti similis. of the common notion, that it is ominous or

That lies beneath the knife, unlucky to destroy, some sorts of birds, as swal

Looks up, and from her butcher begs her life.' lows or roartios; this opinion might possibly But if our sports are destructive, our glutarise from the confidence these birds seem to tony is more so, and in a more inhuman manput in us by building under our roofs, so that ner. Lobsters roasted alive, pigs wbipt to it is a kind of violation of the laws of bospi- death, fowls sewed up, are testimonies of our tality to murder them. As for robin-red- outrageous luxury. Those who (as Seneca exbreasts in particular, it is not improbable they presses it) divide their lives betwixt an anxious, owe their security to the old ballad of the conscience and a nauseated stomach, have a Children in the Wood. However it be, I do just reward of their gluttony, in the diseases it not know, I say, why this prejudice, well im- brings with it; for human savages, like other, proved and carried as far as it would go, might wild beasts, find snares and poison in the pronot be made to conduce to the preservation of visions of life, and are allured by their appetite many innocent creatures, which are now ex- to their destruction. I know nothing more posed to all the wantonness of an ignorant shocking or horrid than the prospect of one barbarity.

of their kitchens covered with blood, and filled There are other animals that have the mis- with the cries of creatures expiring in tortures. fortune, for no manner of reason, to be treated | It gives one an image of a giant's den in a as common enemies wherever found. The con- romance, bestrewed with the scattered heads ceit that a cat has nine lives, has oust at least and mangled limbs of those who were slain by nine lives in ten of the whole race of them. his cruelty. Scarce a boy in the streets but has in this The excellent Plutarch (who has more strokes point outdone Hercules himself, who was of good-nature in his writings than I remember famous for killing a monster that had but in any author) cites a saying of Cato to this three lives. Whether the unaccountable ani- effect, " That it is no easy task to preach to mosity against this useful domestic may be the belly, which has no ears." 'Yet if,' says any cause of the general persecution of owls, he, 'we are ashamed to be so out of fashion (who are a sort of feathered cats,) or whether as not to offend, let us at least offend with it be only an unreasonable pique the moderns some discretion and measure. If we kill an have taken to a serious countenance, I shall animal for our provision, let us do it with the not determine, though I am inclined to be- meltings of compassion, and without tormentlieve the former; since I observe the sole rea- | ing it. Let us consider, that it is in its own son alleged for the destruction of frogs, is nature cruelty to put a living creature to death; because they are like toads. Yet amidst all we at least destroy a soul that bas sense and the misfortunes of these unfriended creatures, perception.'-In the life of Catu the Censor, it is some bappiness that we have not yet taken he takes occasion, from the severe disposition a fancy to eat them: for should our country- of that man, to discourse in this manner: It men refine upon the French never so little, it ought to be esteemed a happiness to mankind, is not to be conceived to what unbeard-of that our humanity has a wider sphere to exert torments owls, cats, and frogs may be yet itself in than bare justice. It is no more than reserved.

the obligation of our very birth to practise When we grow up to men, we have another equity to our own kind; but humanity may succession of sanguinary sports ; in particular be extended through the whole order of creahunting. I dare not attack a diversion which tures, even to the meanest. Such actions of has such authority and custom to support it; charity are the overflowings of a mild goodbut must have leave to be of opinion, that the nature on all below us. It is certainly the agitation of that exercise, with the example part of a well-natured man to take care of his and number of the chasers, not a little contri- horses and dogs, not only in expectation of their labour while they are foals and whelps, \ endued so many different animals, might puis but even when their old age has made them posely be given them to move our pity, and incapable of service.'

prevent those cruelties we are too apt to inflict History tells us of a wise and polite nation, on our fellow-creatures. that rejected a person of the first quality, who There is a passage in the book of Jonas stood for a judiciary office, only because he when God declares bis od willingness to destrop had been observed in his youth to cake plea- Nineveh, where metbinks that compassion of súre in tearing and murdering of birds. And the Creator, wbich extends to the meanest rank of another that expelled a man out of the of bis creatures, is expressed with wonderful senate, for dashing a bird against the ground tenderness. Should I dot spare Nineveh, which had taken shelter in his bosom. Every that great city, wherein are more than six one knows how remarkable the Turks are for score thousand persons and also much their humanity in this kind I remember an cattle?' And we have in Deuteronomy a preArabian author, who has written a treatise to cept of great good-nature of this sort, witb a show, how far a man, supposed to have subsisted blessing in form annexed to it, in those words ; in a desert island, without any instruction, or if thou shalt find a bird's nest in the way, so much as the sight of any other man, may, I thou shalt not take the dam with the young by the pure light of nature, attain the know. But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go; ledge of philosophy and virtue. One of the that it may be well with thee, and that thou first things be makes him observe is, that uni. may'st prolong thy days.' versal benevolence of nature in the protection To conclude, there is certainly a degree of and preservation of its creatures. In imitation gratitude owing to those animals that serve us. of which the first act of virtue he thinks his As for such as are mortal or noxious, we have self-taught philosopher would of course fall a right to destroy them; and for those tbat into is, to relieve and assist all the animals are neither of advantage or prejudice to us, about him in their wants and distresses. the common enjoyment of life is what I cannot

Ovid has some very tender and pacbetic lines think we ought to deprive them of. applicable to this occasion :

This whole matter with regard to each of

these considerations, is set in a very agreeable Quid meruistis, oves, placidom pecus, inque tegendos | light in one of the Persian fables of Pilpay, Natam homines, pleno quæ fertis in ubere neclar? Mollia quæ nobis vestras velamina lanas

with which I shall end this paper. Præbetis; vitaque magis quam morte javatis.

A traveller passing through a thieket, and Quid meruere boves, animal sine fraude dolisque,

seeing a few sparks of a fire, which some pasInvocoum, simplex, natam tolerare labores ? Immemor est demum, nec frugum munere dignus,

sengers bad kindled as they went that way Qui potuit, curvi dempto modo pondere aratri, before, made up to it. On a sudden the sparks Ruricolam mactare suum

Met. Lib. xv. 116.

caught hold of a bush in the midst of wbich Quam mald consuevit, quàm se parat ille cruori lay an adder, and set it in flames. The adder Impias bomano, vituli qui gattura cultro

entreated the traveller's assistance, who tying Rompit, et immotas præbet mngitibus aures! Aut qni vagitus similes puerilibus bedum

a bag to the end of his staff, reached it, and Edentem jogulare potest !

Ib. ver. 463. drew him out: he then bid bim go where he The sheep was sacrific'd on no pretence,

pleased, but never more be burtful to men, But meek and unresisting innocenoe.

since he owed his life to a man's compassion. A patient, useful creature, born to bear

The adder, however, prepared to sting bim, The warm and woolly fleece, that cloth'd ber marlerer; and when he expostulated bow unjust it was to And daily to give down the milk sbe bred, A tribute for the grass on which she fed.

retaliate good with evil, “I shall do no more,' Living, both food and raiment she supplies,

said the adder,thao what you men practise And is of least advantage when she dios.

every day, whose custom it is to requite beneHow did the toiling ox his death deserve; A downright simple drudge, and born to serve ?

fits with ingratitude. If you cannot deny this O tyrant ! with what justice canst thoa hope

truth, let us refer it to the first we meet.' The The promise of the year, a plcnteous crop;

man consented, and seeing a tree, put the When thou destroy'st thy lab'ring steer, who tilid, And plough'd with pains, thy else augrateful fiell! question to it, in wbat manner a good turn Fron bis yet reeking neck to draw the yoke, was to be recompensed ? ' If you mean acThat neck, with which the surly clods he broke: And to the hatchet yield thy husbandman,

cording to the usage of men,' replied the tree, Who finish'd aglamn, and the spring began ?

'by its contrary: I have been standing bere

these bundred years to protect them from the What more advance can mortals make in sin So near perfection, who with blood begin?

scorching sun, and in requital they have cut Deaf to the calf that lies beneath the knife,

down my branches, and are going to saw my Looks up, and from her bateher begs her life : body into planks. Upon this, the adder in. Deaf to the harmless kid, that ere he dies, All methods to procure thy mercy tries,

sulting the man, he appealed to a second eviAnd imitates in vain the children's cries. Dryden. dence, wbich was granted, and immediately

they met a cow. The same demand was made, Perhaps that voice or cry so nearly resem- and much the same answer given, that among bling the human, with which Providence has ) men it was certainly so. 'I know it,' said

the cow,

by woful experience; for I have of ancient authors, is abandoned for law-latin, served a man this long time with milk, butter, the lucubrations of our paltry news-mongers, and cheese, and brought him besides a calf and that swarm of vile pamphlets, wbich corevery year ; but now I am old, he turns me rupt our taste, and infest the public. The into this pasture with design to sell me to a ideas of virtue which the characters of heroes butcher, who will shortly make an end of me.' had imprinted on their minds, insensibly wear The traveller upon this stood confounded, but out, and they come to be influenced by the desired, of courtesy, one trial more, to be nearer examples of a degenerate age. finally judged by the next beast they should Ju the morning of life, when the soul first meet. This happened to be the fox, who, makes her entrance into the world, all things upon hearing the story in all its circumstances, look fresh and gay; their novelty surprises, could not be persuaded it was possible for the and every little glitter or gaudy colour transadder to enter in so narrow a bag. The ports the stranger. But by degrees the sense adder, to convince him, went in again; when grows callous, and we lose that exquisite relish the fox told the man he had now his enemy in of trifles by the time our minds should be his power, and with that he fastened the bag, supposed ripe for rational entertainments. I and crushed him to pieces.

cannot make this reflection without being touched with a commiseration of that species

called beaus, the happiness of those men necesNo. 62.) Friday, May 22, 1713.

sarily terminating with their childhood; who,

from a want of knowing other pursuits, conO fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint!

Virg. Georg. ii. 458.

tinue a fondness for the delights of that age, Too happy, if they knew their happy state.

after the relish of them is decayed.

Providence bath with a bountiful band preUpon the late election of king's scholars, pared variety of pleasures for the various stages my curiosity drew me to Westminster school. of life. It behoves us not to be wanting to The sight of a place where I had not been for ourselves, in forwarding the intention of pamany years, revived in my thoughts the tender ture, by the culture of our minds, and a due images of any childhood, which by a great preparation of each faculty for the enjoyment length of time had contracted a softness that of those objects it is capable of being affected rendered them inexpressibly agreeable. As it with. is usual with me to draw a secret unenvied

As our parts open and display by gentle depleasure from a thousand incidents overlooked grees, we rise from the gratifications of sense, by other men, I threw myself into a short to relish those of the mind. In the scale of transport, forgetting my age, and fancying pleasure, the lowest are sensual delights, which myself a school-boy.

are succeeded by the more enlarged views and This imagination was strongly favoured by gay portraitures of a lively imagination; and the presence of so many young boys, in whose these give way to the sublimer pleasures of looks were legible the sprightly passions of reason, which discover the causes and designs, that age, which raised in me a sort of sympathy. the frame, connexion, and symmetry of things, Warm blood thrilled through every vein ; the and fills the mind with the contemplation of faded memory of those enjoyments that once intellectual beauty, order, and truth. gave me pleasure put on more lively colours, Hence I regard our public schools and uniand a thousand gay amusements filled my versities, not only as purseries of men for the mind.

service of the church and state, but also as It was not without regret, that I was for- places designed to teach mankind the most saken by this waking dream. The cheapness refined luxury, to raise the mind to its due of puerile delights, the guiltless joy they leave perfection, and give it a taste for those enupon the mind, the blooming hopes that lift tertainments which afford the highest transup the soul in the ascent of life, the pleasure port, without the grossness or remorse that that attends the gradual opening of the ima-attend vulgar enjoyments. gination, and the dawn of reason, made me In those blessed retreats men enjoy the think most men found that stage the most sweets of solitude, and yet converse with the agreeable part of their journey.

greatest genii that have appeared in every age, When men come to riper years, the inno- wander through the delightful mazes of every cent diversions which exalted the spirits and art and science, and as they gradually eularge produced bealth of body, indolence of mind, their sphere of knowledge, at once rejoice in and refreshing slumbers, are too often ex- their present possessions, and are animated by changed for criminal delights, which fill the the boundless prospect of future discoveries. soul with anguish, and the body with disease. There, a generous emulation, a noble thirst of The grateful employment of admiring and fame, a love of truth and honourable regards, raising themselves to an imitation of the polite reign in minds as yet untainted from the world. style, beautiful images, and noble sentiments | There, the stock of learning transmitted down

N

from the ancients, is preserved, and receives a No. 63.] Suturday, May 23, 1713. daily increase; and it is thence propagated by

Ζού πάτερ, αλλά συ ρύσαι υπ' ήέρος υίας Αχαιώς, Inen, who, having finished their studies, go

Ποίησον, ' αι θρην, δός δ' οφθαλμοίσιν ιδέσθαι, into the world, and spread that general know

'Εν δε φάει και όλεσσον.

Hom. Il. xvii. 645. ledge and good taste throughout the land,

O King ! O Father ! hear my humble prayer : wbich is so distant from the barbarism of its Dispel this cloud, the light of beaven restore, ancient inhabitants, or the fierce genius of its Give me to see, and Ajax asks no more : invaders. And as it is evident that our lite

If Greece must peristi, we thy will obey,
But let us perish in the face of day!

Pope. rature is owing to the schools and universities, su it cannot be denied that these are owing to I AM obliged, for many reasons, to insert our religion.

this first letter, though it takes me out of my It was chiefly, if not altogether, upon reli- way, especially on a Saturday; but the ribaldry gions considerations that princes, as well as of some part of that will be abundantly made private persons, have erected colleges, and up by the quotation in the second. assigned liberal endowments to students and professors. Upon the same account they meet

" To Nestor Ironside, Esquire. with encouragement and protection from all

SIR,

Friday, May 28, 1713. Christian states, as being esteemed a necessary

"The Examiner of this day consists of reflecmeans to have the sacred oracles and primitive tions upon the letter I writ to you, publisbed traditions of Christianity preserved and under in yours of the twelfth instant. The sentence stood. And it is well known, that after a long upon which he spends most of his invectives, night of ignorance and superstition, the re- is this, “ I will give myself no manner of liberty formation of the church and that of learning to make guesses at him, if I may say him, began together, and made proportionable ad- for though sometimes I have been told by famivances, the latter having been the effect of the liar friends, that they saw me such a time former, which of course engaged men in the taking to the Examiner: others who have study of the learned languages, and of anti-rallied me upon the sins of my youth, tell me quity.

it is credibly reported that I have formerly lain Or, if a free-thinker is ignorant of these facts, with the Examiner." he may be convinced from the manifest reason Now, Mr. Ironside, what was there in all of the thing. Is it not plain that our skill in this but saying, “ I cannot tell what to do in literature is owing to the knowledge of Greek this case. There has been named for this and Latin, which, that they are still preserved paper, one for whom I have a value, and another among us, cap be ascribed only to a religious whom I cannot but neglect?" I bave named regard ? Wbat else sbould be the cause why no man, but if there be any gentleman who the youth of Christendom, above the rest of wrongfully lies under the imputation of being mankind, are educated in the painful study of or assisting the Examiner, he would do well those dead languages; and that religious so- to do bimself justice, under his own hand, in cieties should peculiarly be employed in acquir. the eye of the world. As to the exasperated ing that sort of knowledge, and teaching it to mistress, the Examiner demands in her behalf, others ?

a "reparation for offended innocence." This And it is more than probable, that in case is pleasant language, wben spoken of this perour free-thinkers could once achieve their son; he wants to have me unsay what he glorious design of sinking the credit of the makes me to bave said before. I declare then Christian religion, and causing those revenues it was a false report, which was spread con. to be withdrawn which their wiser forefathers cerning me and a lady, sometimes reputed the had appointed to the support and encourage author of the Exaininer; and I can now make ment of its teachers, in a little time the Shaster her no reparation, but in begging her pardon, would be as intelligible as the Greek Testa- that I never lay with her. ment; and we, who want that spirit and curio- 'I speak all this only in regard to the Exasity which distinguished the ancient Grecians, miner's offended innocence, and will make no would by degrees relapse into the same state reply as to wbat relates merely to myself. of barbarism which overspread the northern I have said before," he is welcome from hencenations, before they were enlightened by Chris. forward, to treat me as be pleases." But the tianity.

bit of Greek, which I intreat you to put at Some perhaps, from the ill-tendency and vile the front of to-morrow's paper, speaks all my taste wbich, appear in their writings, may sus- sense on this occasion. It is a speech put in pect that the free-thinkers are carrying on a the mouth of Ajax, who is engaged in the dark: malicious design against the belles lettres: for He cries out to Jupiter, Give me but daymy part, I rather conceive them as unthinking light, let me but see my fue, and let him dewretches, of short views and narrow capacities, stroy me if he can." who are not able to penetrate into the causes But when he repeats his story of the "geor consequences of things.

neral for life," I cannot hear him with so much

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

patience. He may insipuate what he pleases must needs be so. Outward circumstances of to the ministry of me; but I am sure I could fortune may give the world occasion to think not, if I would, by detraction, do them more me happy, but they can never make me so. injury, than he does by his ill-placed, ignorant, Shall I call myself happy, if discontent and pauseous flattery. One of them, wbose talent sorrow eat out the life and spirit of my soul ? is address, and skill in the world, he calls Cato; if lusts and passions riot and mutiny in my another, whose praise is conversation-wit and bosom? if my sins scatter an uneasy shame all a taste of pleasures, is also Cato. Can any over me, and my guilt appals and frights me? thing in nature be more out of character, or What avails it me, that my rooms are stately, more expose those whom he would recommend my tables full, my attendants numerous, and to the raillery of his adversaries, than compar- my attire gaudy, if all this while my very being ing these to Cato? But gentlemen of their pines and languishes away? These indeed are eminence are to be treated with respect, and rich and pleasant things, but I nevertheless not to suffer because a sycophant has applaud-am a poor and miserable man. Therefore I ed them in a wrong place.

conclude, that wbatever this thing be I call a 'As much as he says I am in defiance with soul, though it were a perisbing, dying thing, those in present power, I will lay before them and would not outlive the body, yet it were one point that would do them more honour | my wisdom and interest to prefer its content than any one circumstance in their whole ad- and satisfaction before all the world, unless I ministration ; which is, to show their resent. could choose to be miserable, and delight to be ment of the Examiner's nauseous applause of unhappy. themselves, and licentious calumny of their “This very consideration, supposing theun. predecessors. Till they do themselves that certainty of another world, would yet strongly justice, men of sense will believe they are engage me to the service of religion ; for all it pleased with the adulation of a prostitute, who aims at, is to banish sin out of the world, which heaps upon them injudicious applauses, for is the source and original of all the troubles which he makes way by random abuses upon that disquiet the mind; Ist. Sin in its very esthose who are in present possession of all that sence, is nothing else but disordered, distemis laudable.

pered passions, affections foolish and preposSir,

terous in their choice, or wild and extravagant your most humble servant, in their proportion, wbich our own experience

RICHARD STEELE,' sufficiently convinces us to be painful and un• To Mr. Ironside,

easy. 2d. It engages us in desperate hazards, SIR,

wearies us with daily toils, and often buries us ‘A mind so well qualified as your's, must re in the ruins we bring upon ourselves; and ceive every day large improvements, when lastly, it fills our hearts with distrust, and fear, exercised upon such truths which are the glory and shame; for we shall never be able to perof our patures ; such as those which lead us suade ourselves fully, that there is no difference to an endless happiness in our life succeeding between good and evil; that there is no God, this. I herewith send you Dr. Lucas's Practi- or none that concerns himself at the actions cal Christianity, for your serious perusal. If of this life : and if we cannot, we can never you have already read it, I desire you would rid ourselves of the pangs and stings of a trougive it to one of your friends who has not. bled conscience; we shall never be able to esI think you cannot recommend it better than tablish a peace and calm in our busoms; and in inserting by way of specimen these passages so enjoy our pleasure with a clear and uninwhich I point to you, as follows:

terrupted freedom. But if we could persuade
“ That I have, in this state I am now in, a ourselves into the utmost height of atheism,
soul as well as a budy, whose interest concerns yet still we shall be under these two strange
me, is a truth my sense sufficiently discovers : inconveniences : Ist. That a life of sin will be
For I feel joys and sorrows, which do not make still irregular and disorderly, and therefore
their abode in the organs of the body, but in troublesomne: 2d. That we shall have dismantled
the inmost recesses of the mind; pains and our souls of their greatest strength, dis-
pleasures which sense is too gross and heavy to armed them of that faith which only can sup-
partake of, as the peace or trouble of conscience port them under the afflictions of this present
in the reflection upon good or evil actions, the life.'
Jelight or vexation of the mind, in the contem-
plation of, or a fruitless enquiry after, excellent

No. 64.] Monday, May 25, 1713.
and important truths.
And since I have such a soul capable of

-Levim spectacula rerum.

Virg. Georg. iv. 3. happiness or misery, it naturally follows, that it were sottish and unreasonable to lose this soul for the gain of the whole world. For my I AM told by several persons whom I have soul is I myself. and if that be miserable, I | taken into my ward, that it is to their great

Trifles set out to shew,

« AnteriorContinuar »