Christ Among the Cattle

Christ Among the Cattle  (1908) 
by Frederic Rowland Marvin

A sermon delivered in 1908, similar in tone to much of Tolstoy's writings, arguing that compassion towards animals is essential to understanding the message of Christianity.

HE sendeth the springs into the

valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

Psalm CIV. 10-12.

BEHOLD the fowls of the air; for

they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns ; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.

Matthew VI. 26.
Among the noblest in the land,
Though he may count himself the least,
That man I honor and revere
Who without favor, without fear,
In the great city dares to stand
The friend of every friendless beast.

IT is a significant fact that our Saviour was cradled in a manger, and that Mary, crowded out from the inn or caravansary, found shelter with the beasts of burden and cattle of the field, and brought forth the Prince of Peace in a common stable. It was literally true, as we sing at Christmas-time

"Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining,
Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall."

Nothing in our Saviour's life is without its lesson of divine wisdom, and we may study the circumstances of His birth, sure of finding at every point ample reward for our industry.

I call attention to "Christ among the Cattle." Why was our Savior cradled in a manger? Why was He, whose advent had been the exalted theme of prophet and psalmist, denied the honor so readily accorded children of a royal line ? Excellent reasons have been advanced, and yet one of great importance seems to have been overlooked. Was not our Saviour's advent associated with beasts of the stall to teach us lessons of respect for and kindness toward the animal world ?

The dictates of the human heart and of religion are agreed that kindness to animals is a sacred duty, and that we ought

"Never to mix our pleasure or our pride
With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels."

We read in Scripture, "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast." The angel of the Lord rebuked the cruel Balaam for smiting the ass three times. God spared Nineveh because there was "much cattle in the city." The law of Moses forbade muzzling the ox that treadeth out the corn. That law contained several special precepts enjoining mercy to animals. We read : "If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young; but thou shalt in anywise let the dam go." Again we read: "Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together" that is, thou shalt adapt the work to the strength of the animal. Jacob was studiously careful for his flocks and herds, and treated them with something of the tenderness he bestowed upon his children. "If men should overdrive them one day, all the flocks will die, so I will lead on softly," said he to Esau, "according as the cattle that goeth before me be able to endure."

The Bible is a book of mercy for man and beast. Its sacred pages have ameliorated and still ameliorate the condition of both, and though we find bloody sacrifices enjoined, we discover no wanton cruelty and no disrespect for brute creatures. Turn to the Ten Commandments and read : "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work. But the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God ; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle that is with thee, nor the stranger within thy gates." You see the cattle are remembered and rest is provided for them in the same command that secures it to us. And as if to impress upon the human mind the sacredness of the duty we owe the animal world, the Holy Scriptures represent our Redeemer under the form of a lamb.

"He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not his mouth." " Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. ' And He is also represented as a shepherd, illustrating in His own watchful care over His people the spirit He would have us manifest in dealing with the creatures dependent upon our will and pleasure. "He shall feed His flock like a shepherd ; He shall gather the lambs with His arms, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." And the reign of peace on earth for which we are commanded to labor and pray is set forth under the figure of a wolf and a lamb dwelling together. It is, moreover, remarkable that the paragraph which opens with the promise, "For behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth," closes with the announcement that at such period, " The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock; and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord."

The dove has been used from most ancient times as a sacred symbol. In Scripture it signifies the Holy Spirit, the meekness of Christ, and the desire of saints for the heavenly rest. " Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then I would fly away, and be at rest :

The life of an animal is sacred like our own, and may not be wantonly destroyed. Of course, there are circumstances that justify the sacrifice; thus we may take the life of a beast in self-defense, as when one slays a venomous reptile, a rabid dog, or a ferocious tiger. Life may be taken for the purpose of food, and, in fact, for any decidedly useful end. Cowper epitomizes the matter thus :

It is sinful to intentionally deprive an animal of life without suitable and sufficient reason. The beasts of the field, the birds of the air and fishes in the water, have the same right to life that we have. And I think it not absurd to assume that Divine Providence cradled the Christ in a manger, and surrounded him with dumb cattle, to teach us respect for the animal world. Certain it is that whenever the Christ is born again in the manger of the human heart, the fragrant flowers of mercy and kindness spring up on every side, and I would not give much for the religion of a man who has no sacred regard for brute life. It is to be feared that some of us show want of delicacy and bluntness of moral perception in dealing with the animal world. It was the fashion, not long ago, for ladies to wear birds' wings in their hats and dresses, and innocent song-birds in every land were slaughtered to gratify a savage and repulsive taste.

An English paper described a marriage in which eleven bridesmaids wore dresses trimmed with feathers and down from swans and robins. What a slaughter of birds for one wedding! Those robes should have been smeared with blood ; they stood for wanton and shameful cruelty. Innocent humming-birds, kingfishers, larks and nightingales snared and shot to decorate a woman's bonnet and adorn her dress ! It is identically the same taste that leads an Indian to adorn his girdle with scalps and ornament his wigwam with skulls. One London dealer in birds received, when the fashion was at its height, a single consignment of 32,000 dead hummingbirds, and another received at one time 30,000 aquatic birds, and 800,000 pairs of wings. At one auction in London there were sold 404,389 West Indian and Brazilian bird-skins, and 356,389 East Indian, together with thousands of pheasants and birds-of-Paradise.

At a recent feather sale in London one firm offered 12,000 ounces of osprey plumes. To understand the extent of the dreadful slaughter indicated by such an offer it must be remembered that a full grown aigret yields only one-sixth of an ounce. The aigret is the bridal adornment of the heron, and the death of the bird at its nesting season means the death by starvation of all its young. A correspondent of the New York Tribune wrote to that paper under date of December 29th, 1905, as follows:

"One consignment in London gives the following figures: Osprey plumes, 11,000 ounces ; birds-of-Paradise, 2,000 bundles; Indian parrots, 200,000 bundles ; Tangers and other birds, 38,000 bundles; humming birds, 100,000 bundles."

The small gulls and sea swallows are shot for their wings, and the fowlers, in their haste, do not stop to kill the wounded birds; they merely wrench off the wings and throw the little creatures back into the water to die in agony. When the wounded birds are being torn asunder they cry, it is said, and scream like a child. Commenting upon this ruthless slaughter, the London Times said: " The feathered woman is a cruel woman who for the sake of a passing fashion that should disgust all who think and feel, is willing to bring dishonour upon her sex and rob nature of its beauty without adding to her own."

Well might Canon Rawnsley say in Croswaithe Church one Sunday: "It is a travesty of religion and a mockery for women, decked with aigrets to sing in the Benedicite, "O, all ye fowls of the air, praise Him and magnify Him forever."

There is Scripture authority for saying that you will be called to account for your treatment of animals, and that God will hold you responsible for every act of cruelty.[1] Said Jesus when speaking of the birds, " Not one of them is forgotten before God." Let the London dealer in dead birds remember that. The same Heavenly Love that provides for your every want cares for them. " Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them." " Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father."

There is a vast difference between destroying an animal for its warm and serviceable fur, and shooting a bird for its plumage ; and yet the story of the butchery of seals in Arctic waters is sad enough to make the stoutest heart faint, and is attended with so much wanton cruelty that even the seal hunters themselves are often filled with dismay. Another form of cruelty practiced for the sake of fashion is the manufacture of gloves, the skins for which come from France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and South America. In France the cruelty is revolting. Great care is taken in raising the kids, and they are sewed in covers to keep their skins in a condition of perfect softness. The kids grow, but the covers are not changed. Untold pain is inflicted on the little animals. They writhe in torture in their unyielding jackets. France alone makes more than 24,000,000 pairs of kid gloves every year.

That God intended many animals to be food for man there can be no reasonable doubt, but it is our duty to take life in such cases in as painless a wayas the purpose to be served will permit. The art and science are not wasted that mitigate the distress of even the humblest of God's creatures.

Before Mr. Bergh began his mission of mercy, and established in New York, his Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, our transportation companies gave no attention to the comfort of live stock. The cars were crowded and filthy, and food and water were not provided in suitable quantities, and at proper times. In the transit of cattle there has been of late considerable improvement, the trucks being larger and more convenient than formerly ; and on some railroads special provision is now made for the care of cattle in long journeys. Our butchers might learn a useful lesson from the skillful matadore who kills his bull by puncturing the spinal marrow in the neck. In a few English slaughterhouses and French abattoirs the custom has been adopted. Death by this method (it is called pithing) is comparatively painless. The production of "white veal " is an outrage. How any man can eat the unwholesome delicacy with knowledge of the agony it has cost is incomprehensible. To skin eels alive and to boil lobsters and crabs without first piercing them is extremely cruel.

Few are aware of the cruelty practiced in the making of foie gras which is a product of artificially induced disease in the livers of geese. The fowl is placed in a box so arranged that it can move its head only. The creature is then gorged with a rich diet which is forced down the gullet. In response to this treatment the liver soon becomes affected, and in about three months attains an enormous size from fatty degeneration. The larger the liver the more successful the process. The most valuable livers are those of a green tint; that is to say fatty livers impregnated with bile pigments. The center of this trade is Strasburg, which sends out 750,000 dollars worth of the unwholesome delicacy every year. Three months of torture by forced feeding are required to bring the fowl to the proper pitch of organic degeneration so that its liver may tickle the palate of the gourmand.

It is recorded that when the Due de Bourgogue was born, Dr. Clement, the celebrated accoucheur, wishing to apply to the mother, in order to quiet her pain, the skin of a newly flayed sheep, directed a butcher to skin the animal alive in the sideroom. The door being open, the skinless and bleeding sheep followed the physician to the bedside of his patient, and in its agony, actually leaped upon the bed. We are reminded of the story of Caesar Borgia who had a living ox disemboweled in his apartments, and as soon as the operation had been performed, leaped into the still living body of the ox, putting himself in the place of the intestines, that he might receive into himself the life the creature was to lose.

The men and women who have defended animals have not been weak, sentimental and silly, as is sometimes averred; on the contrary, they have represented the most enlightened and thoughtful circles of society. Arthur Helps and Earl Stanhope have been outspoken friends of the brute creation; Cowper has described cruelty in lines of peculiar power and spirit; Dr. Chalmers made the subject a matter of pulpit discussion; Leigh Hunt, rebuking all pleasure had at the expense of others, declares that when we injure animals for sport we "injure also our own humanity ; "Robert Southey thought it not beneath him to write a letter to some young men who had maltreated a cat ; and Stuart Mill, in the closing chapter of his "Political Economy," pronounces in favor of legal interference for the protection of animals.[2]

Little care is taken to teach children the principles of kindly humanity. Most parents seem to think it of little consequence whether their sons and daughters grow up with regard for the rights of animals, or without such regard, and I believe many a life of cruelty and brutality dates from early youth, and may be traced to its source in little acts of wanton and malicious ill-treatment of dependent animals. How differently was Theodore Parker educated ! When Theodore was a little boy his father walked with him one spring morning in a distant part of the farm. They passed a pond where was blooming a rhodora, which so attracted the boy's attention as to draw him to the water's edge, and there he saw a large spotted tortoise basking in the sunlight. Theodore had never killed any creature, but he had seen boys stone birds and squirrels and torment cats and dogs, and he at once seized a stick to follow their example and destroy the -tortoise. But an unseen power restrained his arm and a voice within him said, " It is wrong." The child looked around and saw no one but his father. Fear seized upon him and he hastened to his mother in the utmost alarm and asked her what it was that told him it was wrong. The good woman, wiping the tears from her eyes, took the child in her arms and said : " Some men call it conscience, but I prefer to call it the voice of God in the soul of man. If you listen and obey it, then it will speak clearer and clearer, and always guide you right; but if you turn a deaf ear or disobey, then it will leave you all in the dark and without a guide. Your life depends on your heeding that little voice." Theodore Parker lived to become a great scholar and distinguished preacher, but he never forgot that lesson, and always held conscience in supreme veneration. It is an important part of a good man's religion to be kind to the animal-world, and it is literally true that

I know of a woman who will not allow her children to destroy a fly in sport, nor to pull the wings from a butterfly, nor to treat harshly a dumb beast. That woman is training her sons and daughters in the direction of a good and useful life. Nero, when a youth, took great pleasure in tormenting animals. He transfixed them with the spear, cut off their feet and then set them at liberty, clipped the wings of birds and dropped them frorn high towers, and smeared them with tar and ignited them. When Nero became a man and ruled over the great Roman empire, what was his character? It was just what might have been prophesied from his boyhood. He no longer contented himself with cruelty to animals, but became the scourge of his fellow men. He seized the early Christians, not because he hated them, but because they were unpopular and unprotected, and when he had enclosed them in sacks of tar and combustibles, had them suspended from trees in his garden. Then he gave a great banquet, and at an appointed signal lighted the sacks. When the air was filled with shrieks of agony, and mothers were burning with their little children, and strong men and delicate maidens were wreathed in flame, that monster let us not call him a man clapped his hands with delight and laughed in boisterous glee. A childhood of cruel sports prepared Nero for a career of inexpressible infamy.

Do you think the amusements of that little Roman boy are without parallel in the sports of children to-day ? Could the horses, cattle, dogs, creatures of the barn-yard and frogs and insects find a voice, I fear we should discover incipient Neros not far from home. I read not long ago, in a daily paper, of a youth who dipped a cat in kerosene and then set the creature on fire. There you have a young Nero training himself for a life of crime and cruelty.

Hogarth, who was a shrewd observer of human nature, in his "Four Stages of Cruelty," makes a boy begin his criminal career by tormenting animals. The youth advances from stage to stage until at length he commits murder, and ends life upon the gallows. It has been truly said : " The effect of the barbarous treatment of inferior creatures on the minds of those who practice it is more deplorable than its effects upon the animals themselves. The man who kicks dumb brutes kicks brutality into his own heart. He who can see the wistful, imploring eyes of half-starved creatures without making earnest effort to relieve them, and feel no twinge of conscience, is on the road to lose his manhood, if he has not already lost it." What shall be said of such a case as that recorded by Dr. Gall? He tells us of a student who was so fascinated by the thought of cruelty that he studied surgery solely to gratify a desire for seeing and inflicting suffering. He cared nothing for therapeutics and Materia Medica, but spent all his time in the surgical wards of hospitals. The same author records also the cases of a man who had so strong an inclination to kill that he became an executioner, and of a Dutchman who paid his butcher for being allowed to slaughter animals. Why is it that when there is a public execution thousands of people go miles and miles to witness it, and sometimes pay large prices for seats near the gallows? It is a cruel spirit that takes men to such places. It is the same spirit that led a Roman populace to delight in gladiatorial exhibitions, and in the destruction of Christians in the amphitheatre. What is the bull-fight doing for Spain? Brutalizing it. The English chase is another inhuman sport, and should be ranked with bull-fighting, bear-baiting and the cock-pit. Surround the staghunt and fox-hunt with whatever romance you please, and still they remain low, demoralizing and cruel amusements.

w:VivisectionVivisection is one of the most brutal of all forms of cruelty.[3] Writes Dr. Elliotson: "Dr. Magendie in one of his barbarous experiments, which I am ashamed to say I witnessed began by coolly cutting out a large piece from the back of a beautiful little puppy, as body was sewed up again. The patient's wound is said to have healed within fifteen days, and he was pardoned and given some money.

In the sixteenth century vivisection of human beings was charged against three men, viz., Berengar of Carpi, Vesalius and Fallopius in particular, and against the anatomists of the University of Pisa in general.

Berengar of Carpi is believed to have actually vivisected two Spaniards ; Vesalius is accused of dissecting a Spanish nobleman, thinking that he was dead, and Fallopius is said to have been his accuser. The following paragraph is found in the fourteenth chapter of his work, " De Tumoribus : " "Fever resists 'cole' poisons, as I found at Pisa while anatomizing a he would from an apple dumpling! It is not to be doubted that inhumanity may be found in persons of very high standing as physiologists. We have seen that it is so in Magendie's case.'*

man. For the prince commands them to give us a man, whom we kill in our own fashion, and anatomize. To whom we gave two drachms of opium, and an attack of ague coming on (for he suffered from quartan) prevented its action. He, delighted, requested a second dose, and that we should intercede for his pardon if he survived it. We gave him another two drachms, when he had no attack, and he died." Medical Record, June 14, 1902.

The recognition of the rights of men has now made human vivisection criminal, and the scientific inquisition of the present time counts animals alone as its victims. And here the Act of 1876 has fortunately, though not sufficiently, restricted the powers of the vivisector in Great Britain. Animals' Rights, by H. S. Salt, p. 73.

If Dr. Elliotson's statement is worthy of credence, and we have every reason to believe it is, Professor Huxley's name being attached to the report as one of many endorsers, the science of physiology has good cause for shame, and deserves the opposition it has of late encountered. All medical students in America know that similar outrages are perpetrated in our medical colleges every winter. I have witnessed vivisections so cruel and unnecessary that I am ashamed to remember that they were under the patronage of my Alma Mater. Were the experiments of value to the world were they calculated to further the interests of the healing art, or to mitigate human misery and lengthen the life of man I would approve and encourage them, but they are practically worthless, as many eminent physicians have confessed. Sir William Ferguson, a celebrated surgeon, expressed himself thus: "In surgery I am not aware of any of these experiments on the lower animals having led to the mitigation of pain or to improvement as regards surgical details." The ordinary vivisection is not only an inexcusable cruelty to the animal, but an incalculable injury to the young men who see it. It teaches them to behold without compassion the most aggravated misery and acute anguish. It hardens the heart and blunts the sensibilities. Dr. Bigelow, late Professor of Surgery at Harvard University, wrote: " Watch the students at a vivisection. It is the blood and suffering, not the science, that rivets their breathless attention. If hospital service makes young students less tender of suffering, vivisection deadens their humanity, and begets indifference to it." To the testimony of Dr. Bigelow may be added the words of a distinguished American jurist: " The man who in the pursuit of knowledge finds the agony of a dying rabbit of no consequence, will soon discover in old or worthless men, helpless women and little children only material to be sacrificed upon the all-consuming altar of Science."[4] In the "Hand-Book of the Physiological Laboratory," compiled for the use of students at University College, we find directions for performing an operation to illustrate "Recurrent Sensibility." It is recommended that the operation be performed upon a cat or dog. The method is this : "The arches of one or two vertebrae are carefully sawn through, or cut through with the bone forceps, and the exposed roots very carefully freed from the connecting tissue surrounding them. If the animals be strong, and have thoroughly recovered from the chloroform and from the operation, irritation of the peripheral stump of the anterior root causes not only contraction in the muscles, but also movements in other parts of the body, indicative of pain. On dividing the mixed trunk the contractions cease, but the general signs of pain or sensation remain." In many cases curare is substituted for chloroform. Of this drug Holmgren writes in his "Physiology of Present Times": "There is a poison which lames every spontaneous movement, leaving all other functions untouched. This venom is therefore the most cruel of all poisons. It changes one instantly into a living corpse, hearing, seeing and knowing everything, but unable to move a single muscle, and under its influence no creature can give the faintest indication of its hopeless condition. The heart alone continues to beat." Dr. Bracket by various torments inflicted upon a dog in his laboratory at Paris goaded the animal to the utmost frenzy of anger, and then, "when the creature became furious whenever it saw me, I put out its eyes," he wrote in his work on Physiology. He added: "I could then appear before it without its manifesting any aversion. I spoke, and immediately its anger was renewed. I then disorganized the internal ear as much as I could, and when intense inflammation made it deaf, then I went to its side, spoke aloud, and even caressed it without its falling into a rage." Bondafine tells us that Brown-Squard cut off the head of a dog that had lived a long time in his laboratory, and called him by his name. His eyes, though blinded with blood, immediately turned to the distinguished physiologist.[5] The illustrious scientist, Von Lesser, "plunged a dog for thirty seconds into boiling water."

Chauveau subjected eighty horses and mules to extreme torture simply to discover what degree of anguish it was possible to produce through irritation of the spinal chord. Montegazza's infernal "experiments " performed upon pregnant and nursing animals with the machine of his own contriving, and which he called his " tormenter " are of such a nature that we must leave them undescribed. Of these he says, 4< I conducted them with much delight and extreme patience for the space of a year." The celebrated Professor Schiff, of Florence, has destroyed by vivisection more than 15,000 dogs. For a number of years all the dogs not claimed at the Home for Lost Dogs were handed over to Professor Schiff, who disposed of about twenty-five every month. In April, 1875, the following announcement was posted in the most conspicuous places of Florence : "Dogs are purchased at No. 8, Via S. Sabastiano, at the rate of one franc each. For every ten dogs a sum to be agreed on between buyer and seller will be paid." The horrible experiments of Horsley and Schiff upon monkeys furnish another illustration of the hardening influence of vivisection.

Mr. Charles Wood, an English bird and animal fancier, who was brought before a magistrate on the charge of cruelty to tame rats, presented in his defense the following plea, as reported in the Manchester Examiner of April 3, 1884: "He supplied rats, birds, rabbits, dogs and all kinds of animals to be tortured and cut up alive at Owen's College, and why was he charged with cruelty to animals ? If it was right for the professors and students at the college, why was it wrong for him?" Sir Thomas Dyer said before the English "Society for the Total Abolition and Utter Suppression of Vivisection": "A case of vivisection occurs to me which I feel impelled to relate, as showing that vivisection is sometimes practised for no other motive than that of cruelty. A vivisector known to me, crucified a dog and kept it without food or water till, at the end of eleven days, death put an end to its sufferings. For what purpose was this done? The operator himself said he had no purpose in view but to see how long a dog could support life under such torture. What possible knowledge of real value could all that suffering lead to? I stigmatize the act as simply infernal." Are our medical colleges to be turned into torture chambers, and are our young men to be systematically educated to cruelty in the learned sciences? Alas for Science, if instead of ameliorating the condition of man and beast, it is to be her mission to brutalize the former and bring untold agony to the latter.

The man who will intentionally maltreat a horse is deserving of severe punishment. I knew of a wretch who, because his horse balked, deliberately cut out its tongue and cast it on the roadside. Twenty years in state prison should have been the consequence of that brutal act of wanton cruelty. I wish we could share the Arab's attachment to his horse. A commentator on the Koran declares, with the exaggeration common to Eastern writers, that an Arab is under the same obligation to love and provide for his horse that he is to care for his children. Another author assures us that whoever cherishes a horse for God's sake will becounted among " the charitable whose sins will be forgiven." The Arab lives in the saddle, and his safety in flight as well as success in battle depends on the speed and courage of his charger. He loves his horse with an ardor that appears absurd to western men, who seldom put the animal to such romantic use, and whose safety and happiness are not so dependent on the creature's speed and mettle. Wrote Coppe in his delightful "History of the Conquest of Spain by the Arab-Moors," "Arabians of all tribes and classes * * * were more at home on horseback than on foot ; the horse was their friend, companion, child; they lived and talked with him, and he was not only the recipient of their affection, but the creature of their superstition."

Bayard Taylor, in felicitous lines, sets forth in truly Oriental fashion the Arab's love for his horse :

Some of the most soul-stirring of Eastern poems are descriptive of the horse and his achievements. What can be grander than this from Job?

No doubt there is something romantic and extravagant in the Arab's love for his horse, and yet I think we could share the sentiment without harm.

Certain it is that whatever teaches us to be kind and considerate in our treatment of animals makes us better men and women. The horse is a brave, sensitive and intelligent creature, and it is not at all wonderful that men have loved him from the time of Melizyus to the present, but it is astonishing that any one could ever be guilty of the cruelty and brutality some have shown to innocent and defenceless animals. Many horses are rendered permanently vicious and unnaturally timid by the cruelty which too often attends the process of " breaking." Treat a horse kindly and it will be gentle and obedient unless badly frightened. There is no reason why as warm a friendship should not exist between horse and owner as between dog and master. There is much in the study of the animal world to revive romance, kindle enthusiasm and cultivate the noble virtues of kindness and humanity. The considerate and respectful way in which the Bible, and the sacred scriptures of all great religions, speak of the lower orders of creation, ought to inspire us with like spirit. Truly and beautifully Ruskin describes the attitude a good and noble man assumes toward the animals: " The gentleness of chivalry, properly so-called, depends on the recognition of the order and awe of lower and loftier animal life. * * * There is perhaps, in all the 'Iliad,' nothing more deep in significance there is nothing in literature more perfect in human tenderness and honor for the mystery of inferior life than the verses that describe the sorrow of the divine horses at the death of Patroclus, and the comfort given them by the greatest of gods."

Thus Plutarch reminds us of our duty to the animal world : " The obligations of law and equity reach only to mankind, but kindness and beneficence should be extended to animals of every species ; and these still flow from the breast of a well-natured man, as streams that issue from the living fountain. A good man will take care of his horses and dogs, not only while they are young, but when old and past service.

Thus the people of Athens, when they had finished the temple called Hecatompedon, set at liberty the beasts of burden that had been chiefly employed in the work, suffering them to pasture at large, free from any other service. It is said that one of these afterwards came of its own accord to work, and putting itself at the head of the neighboring cattle, marched before them to the citadel. This pleased the people, and they made a decree that it should be kept at the public charge so long as it lived. The graves of Cimon's mares, with which we thrice conquered at the Olympic games, are still to be seen near his own tomb. Many have shown particular marks of regard, in burying the dogs which they had cherished and been fond of; and amongst the rest Xantippus of old, whose dog swam by the side of his galley to Salamis, when the Athenians were forced to abandon their city, and was afterwards buried by him upon a promontory, which to this day is called the Dog's Grave.

We certainly ought not to treat living creatures like shoes or household goods, which, when worn out with use, we throw away; and were it only to learn benevolence to human kind we should be merciful to other creatures." Surely we can think with only the most kindly regard of the Hyrcanian dog that, when he saw his master's corpse burning on the funeral pile, jumped into the flames, and was consumed with it.

It is a great mystery, this animal world by which we are surrounded and of which we are a part. We share a common nature with the creatures beneath us, and it may be they have part in our immortality. For anything we know to the contrary the beasts of the field, the birds in the air and the fishes in the sea have within them a deathless principal answering to the soul in man.[6] So the Ettrick Shepherd thought when he wrote : " I canna but believe that dawgs hae sowls." Prof. Haeckel says : " I once knew an old head-forester, who, being left a widower and without children at an early age, had lived alone for more than thirty years in a noble forest of East Prussia. His only companions were one or two servants, with whom he exchanged merely a few necessary words, and a great pack of different kinds of dogs, with which he lived in perfect psychic communion. Through many years of training this keen observer and friend of nature had penetrated deep into the individual souls of his dogs, and he was as convinced of their personal immortality as he was of his own." Lamartine reverently epitomizes the great mystery in two lines of his "Episodes of Insect Life:"

" My dog ! the difference between thee and me Knows only our Creator."

There is nothing in the Bible, when rightly understood, to discountenance the belief cherished by our own Agassiz, and taught by Leibnitz and the poet Coleridge the belief that both man and beast enter upon a future life when the joys and sorrows of this are ended. And there is much in the unequal allotments of the life that now is, to render the immortality of the animal world highly probable. Here are two horses equally deserving of kind treatment, but one falls into the possession of a cruel man who is a stranger to mercy, and the other is owned by a man who illustrates the soul of Christian gentleness in the just and humane treatment of creatures dependent upon his will and pleasure.

How shall God vindicate His justice and establish the equity of His unequal providence if there be no life for beasts of burden when the toils and hardships of this weary world are forever ended? "I will honestly confess," wrote Toplady, author of the beautiful hymn Rock of Ages, " that I never yet heard one single argument urged against the immortality of brutes which, if admitted, would not, mutatis mutandis, be equally conclusive against the immortality of man." Mrs. Somerville, at the age of eighty-nine, wrote in her "Memoirs," as follows: " I cannot believe that any creature was created for uncompensated misery; it would be contrary to the attribute of God's mercy and justice. I am sincerely happy to find that I am not the only believer in the immortality of the lower animals." The longer I live the more convinced I am that we all men, beasts, birds, fishes and insects are the creatures of a loving God, who will not allow a sparrow to fall to the earth without His notice, and I am willing to believe with the poor Indian who

"Thinks, admitted to that equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company."

Original footnotesEdit

  1. This does not appear to be the view entertained by a considerable number of Roman Catholic writers and instructors. Mr. Rickaly's "Moral Philosophy," a text book used in many Roman Catholic educational institutions, has this to say concerning the rights of animals: "But there is no shadow of evil resting on the practice of causing pain to brutes in sport, where the pain is not the sport itself, but the incidental concomitant of it. Much more in all that conduces to the sustenance of man may we give pain to brutes, as also in the pursuit of science. Nor are we bound to any anxious care to make this pain as little as may be. Brutes are THINGS in our regard."
  2. The honor is claimed for Jeremy Bentham of being the first in modern times to definitely and persistently demand for animals those common rights which are now fully accorded them by all good men. He wrote in his "Principles of Penal Law," chap, xvi: "The legislator ought to interdict everything which may serve to lead to cruelty ; cock-fights, bull-baiting, hunting hares and foxes, fishing and other amusements of the same kind, necessarily suppose either the absence of reflection or a fund of inhumanity, since they produce the most acute sufferings to sensible beings, and the most painful and lingering death of which we can form any idea. Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being ? The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes. We have begun by attending to the condition of slaves ; we shall finish by softening that of all the animals which assist our labors or supply our wants.
  3. It is claimed that in the time of Louis XI, a human being was vivisected in France. It is stated that in 1474 a condemned robber was vivisected for the purpose of finding out where certain maladies were concreted, from which he and numerous other persons were suffering at that time. An incision was accordingly made, the maladies searched for and examined, after which the bowels were replaced and the
  4. In a lecture before the Medical Society of Stockholm, May 12, 1891, Dr. Jansen, of the Charity Hospital of that city, reported certain experiments he had made :

    "When I began my experiments with black smallpox pus, I should, perhaps, have chosen animals for the purpose. But the most fit subjects, calves, were obtainable only at considerable cost. There was, besides, the cost of their keep, so I concluded to make my experiments upon the children of the Foundlings Home, and obtained kind permission to do so from the head physician, Professor Medin.

    "I selected fourteen children, who were inocculated day after day. Afterward I discontinued them, and used calves. * * * I did not continue my experiments on calves long, once because I despaired of gaining my ends within a limited period, and again because the calves were so expensive. I intend, however, to go back to my experiments in the Foundling Asylum at some future time."

    In this connection as showing the cruel spirit of Science when separated from the sense of moral responsibility and from regard for human rights, we may quote the words of a scientific instructor published by himself in the New York Independent for December 12, 1895:

    "A human life is nothing compared with a new fact in science. * * * The aim of science is the advancement of human knowledge at any sacrifice of human life. * * * If cats and guinea pigs can be put to any higher use than to advance science we do not know what it is. We do not know of any higher use we can put a man to."

  5. Brouardel cites a case witnessed by Drs. Regnard and Paul Loye, in which the heart beat for one hour in a decapitated murderer, and he himself has seen the heart-beat persist fifteen, twenty, and twenty-five minutes in decapitated dogs, and in those dying from hemorrhage.
  6. See an interesting and instructive catalogue of books treating of the "Nature, Origin and Destiny of the Souls of Brutes," compiled by Dr. Ezra Abbot, librarian of Harvard University, and published in his "Literature of the Doctrine of a Future Life." The catalogue originally appeared as an Appendix to Alger's "Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life."

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).