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lowed by Ælian, Solinus, Mela, and Herodotus, that they have been perfectly mistaken in that matter, and shall support myself by the authority of Albertus, Pliny, Aldrovandus, and Matthias Michovius, which two last have clearly argued that animal out of the creation.


The second is a treatise of sternutation sneezing, with the original custom of saluting or blessing upon that motion; as also with a problem from Aristotle, shewing why sneezing from noon to night was innocent enough, from night to noon, extremely unfortunate.

The third and most curious is my discourse upon the nature of the lake Asphaltites, or the lake of Sodom, being a very

ther brickbats and iron will swil inquiry whe

in that lake, and feathers sink; as Pliny and Mandeville have averred.

The discussing these difficulties without perplexity or prejudice, the labour in collecting and collating matters of this nature, will, I hope, in a great measure atone for the idle hours I have trifled away in matters of less importance.

I am, Sir,

your humble servant,'

N° 61. THURSDAY, MAY 21, 1713.


--Primâque è cæde ferarum

Incaluisse putem maculatum sanguine ferrum.

OVID. MET. XV. 106.

Th' essay of bloody feasts on brutes began,
And after forg'd the sword to murder man.


CANNOT think it extravagant to imagine, that mankind are no less in proportion accountable for the ill use of their dominion over creatures of the lower rank of beings, than for the exercise of tyranny over their own species. The more entirely the inferior creation is submitted to our power, the more answerable we should seem for our mismanagement of it; and the rather, as the very condition of nature renders these creatures incapable of receiving any recompence in another life for their ill treatment in this.

It is observable of those noxious animals, which have qualities most powerful to injure us, that they naturally avoid mankind, and never hurt us unless provoked or necessitated by hunger. Man, on the other hand, seeks out and pursues even the most inoffensive animals, on purpose to persecute and destroy them.

Montaigne thinks it some reflection upon human nature itself, that few people take delight in seeing beasts caress or play together, but almost every one is pleased to see them lacerate and worry one

another. I am sorry this temper is become almost a distinguishing character of our own nation, from the observation which is made by foreigners of our beloved pastimes, bear-bating, cock-fighting, and the like. We should find it hard to vindicate the destroying of any thing that has life, merely out of wantonness; yet in this principle our children are bred up, and one of the first pleasures we allow them is the licence of inflicting pain upon poor animals; almost as soon as we are sensible what life is ourselves, we make it our sport to take it from other creatures. I cannot but believe a very good use might be made of the fancy which children have for birds, and insects. Mr. Locke takes notice of a mother who permitted them to her children, but rewarded or punished them as they treated them well, or ill. This was no other than entering them betimes into a daily exercise of humanity, and improving their very diversion to a virtue.

I fancy too, some advantage might be taken of the common notion, that it is ominous or unlucky to destroy some sorts of birds, as swallows or martins; this opinion might possibly arise from the confidence these birds seem to put in us by building under our roofs, so that it is a kind of violation of the laws of hospitality, to murder them. As for robin-red-breasts in particular, it is not improbable they owe their security to the old ballad of the Children in the Wood. However it be, I do not know, I say, why this prejudice, well improved and carried as far as it would go, might not be made to conduce to the preservation of many innocent creatures, which are now exposed to all the wantonness of an ignorant barbarity.

There are other animals that have the misfortune, for no manner of reason, to be treated as

common enemies wherever found. The conceit that a cat has nine lives, has cost at least nine lives in ten of the whole race of them. Scarce a boy in the streets but has in this point outdone Hercules himself, who was famous for killing a monster that had but three lives. Whether the unaccountable animosity against this useful domestic may be any cause of the general persecution of owls (who are a sort of feathered cats), or whether it be only an unreasonable pique the moderns have taken to a serious countenance, I shall not determine. Though I am inclined to believe the former; since I observe the sole reason alledged for the destruction of frogs, is because they are like toads. Yet amidst all the misfortunes of these unfriended creatures, it is some happiness that we have not yet taken a fancy to eat them: for should our countrymen refine upon the French never so littlè, it is not to be conceived to what unheard-of torments owls, cats, and frogs may be yet reserved.

When we grow up to men, we have another succession of sanguinary sports; in particular hunting. I dare not attack a diversion which has such authority and custom to support it; but must have leave to be of opinion, that the agitation of that exercise, with the example and number of the chasers, not a little contribute to resist those checks, which compassion, would naturally suggest in behalf of the animal pursued. Nor shall I say with monsieur Fleury, that this sport is a remain of the Gothic barbarity. But I must animadvert upon a certain custom yet in use with us, and barbarous enough to be derived from the Goths, or even the Scythians; I mean that savage compliment our huntsmen pass upon ladies of quality, who are present at the death of a stag, when they put the knife in their hands to

cut the throat of a helpless, trembling and weeping creature,

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That lies beneath the knife,

Looks up, and from her butcher begs her life.'

But if our sports are destructive, our gluttony is more so, and in a more inhuman manner. Lobsters roasted alive, pigs whipt to death, fowls sew'd up, are testimonies of our outrageous luxury, Those who (as Seneca expresses it) divide their lives betwixt an anxious conscience and a nauseated stomach, have a just reward of their gluttony in the diseases it brings with it; for human savages, like other wild beasts, find snares and poison in the provisions of life, and are allured by their appetite to their destruction. I know nothing more shocking or horrid than the prospect of one of their kitchens covered with blood, and filled with the cries of creatures expiring in tortures. It gives one an image of a giant's-den in a romance, bestrew'd with the scattered heads and mangled limbs of those who were slain by his cruelty.

We are

The excellent Plutarch (who has more strokes of good-nature in his writings than I remember in any author) cites a saying of Cato to this effect, "That it is no easy task to preach to the belly, which has no ears. Yet if, says he, shamed to be so out of fashion as not to offend, let us at least offend with some discretion and measure. If we kill an animal for our provision, let us do it with the meltings of compassion, and without tormenting it. Let us consider, that it is in its own nature cruelty to put a living creature to death;

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