« PreviousContinue »
my mind, that man was led into these associations by a wisdom beyond his own; that those higher principles which led him to organize families, communities, and nations, have led him also into these humbler, but scarcely less important associations with the domestic animals. That there is a mysterious community between us and them is strikingly shown in the wonderful phenomenon of vaccination; a mild and gentle disease which we have borrowed from the cow, and which furnishes us an all but infallible protection against one of the most frightful maladies that lay waste mankind. Perhaps it was with reference to this community of nature between men and the lower animals, that the Roman jurists were led to define the law of nature as that law which is common to all animated beings.
But I feel that it would be out of place to indulge further in this train of remark. I will only intrude upon your patience by two practical observations on the consequences which flow from the nature of animals as I have described it; . and which bear directly upon our daily treatment of them.
The first remark is, that as they are endowed with an animal nature quite similar to our own, they are subject to laws of health in a great degree analogous. If a farmer would have his stock in good order for work, or milk, or meat, it is just as necessary that they should be kept in good health, as that we ourselves should be in good health for the discharge of the duties or the enjoyment of the blessings of life. I do not say that any of the domestic animals, certainly not that any of the larger ones, have a fibre as delicate as our own, or are so easily affected by disturbing causes. Yet I rather think we go much too far in the other extreme, and expect our domestic animals to live and work under conditions incompatible with any thing like the healthy play of the muscular and vital powers. I can never believe that a horse and a man are so very different in this respect, that while a man requires a moderate temperature, pure air, work and exercise proportioned to his strength, it suits a horse to be shut up in a heated stable, taken out and driven till he is ready to drop,
and then be put back again into the heated stable to drink from a trough where the water has been drooled over till it makes you sick to look at it, and to breathe an atmosphere loaded with the exhalations of the dung-heap. A sufficiency of wholesome food, given at regular intervals, an adequate supply of clean water, free access of fresh air, and work within his strength, are just as necessary to the health of the horse or ox as of the man, and if these necessary conditions are withheld, the effect upon one will be very similar to the effect on the other.
The other remark which I would make springs from the same principle, and is of a kindred nature. These domestic animals not only have active powers like our own, subject to the same laws of health, but they have a nervous system closely resembling ours. They are sensible to all the degrees and varieties of pain; and, as if to mark a sacred community of suffering between us and them, they express it in the same way that we do. Though Providence has given to man what it has denied to the lower animals, the power of describing his sufferings in words, yet, in the extremity of pain, he abandons language, and takes refuge in groans and cries. The suffering beast and the suffering man speak the same inarticulate language. And the poor dumb animal is entitled to the same exemption from gratuitous pain. The person who subjects his horse or his ox to unnecessary suffering, may walk on two legs and counterfeit humanity, but he is a brute.
But the domestic animals have a higher claim to kind treatment. They are capable of attachment; they are grateful for good usage; they are influenced by the indescribable magic of the human voice, when it speaks the tones of love. I remember reading in the newspaper a short time since, a letter from an emigrant to Oregon, who had crossed the western desert. He said that when the hard journey was about two thirds over, and the whole party, man and beast, were almost
* One of the expressive provincial terms brought by our forefathers from England, and erroneously stigmatized as Americanisms.
broken down by the sufferings and privations of the weary march, there was in the large melancholy eye of the patient ox an expression of uncomplaining endurance, which was enough to move a man to tears. We have all read of the dog who watched the dead body of his master, starting at every flutter of his garments, till he died himself of starvation. And will you beat and kick and goad and starve creatures like these? For myself I want no better test of a considerate, prudent farmer, than his treatment of his animals. Prudent, did I say; it is a matter which rises far above prudence. It belongs to duty and morals. If I was obliged to choose between them, I had rather, so help me Heaven, go before my great and final Judge, with the unenlightened faith of the “ Poor Indian,"
“Who thinks, admitted to that oqual sky,
Ilis faithful dog shall bear him company;" than with the religion of the professing Christian who goes to church on Sunday, and on weekdays beats his oxen over the face with a walnut whip-handle; or lashes the legs and flanks of his overloaded horse, till the strained tendons are ready to snap from their attachments.
I beg pardon, gentlemen, for taking up so much of your time. I thank you for your kind attention, and I now commit the subject of discussion to those who are much better able to do it justice.
EFFECTS OF IMMIGRATION."
The question before the Association is on the motion of the Rev. Mr. Alger, that the report of Mr. Barnard should be accepted and printed. Before putting the question, I beg leave to express the interest with which I have listened to the report, my sympathy with the objects of the present meeting, and my warm approval of the system of benevolent operations pursued at the Warren Street Chapel. My testimony is of no great value, inasmuch as I have been less conversant than I could wish with the affairs of the institution, having been resident in Boston but a small part of the time since its establishment. The report, however, speaks for itself. The statement of facts which it contains, the bare enumeration of its benevolent labors, and the simple eloquence of this recital, supersede the necessity of much comment. The gentlemen who have preceded me have supplied all that was wanting (if any thing was wanting) in the way of general reflections upon the very interesting and important system of practical benevolence pursued at the Warren Street Chapel, and the other institutions resembling it in Boston.
Understanding, however, that it is not the practice of the person who has the honor to fill the chair at this anniversary meeting to confine himself to a silent participation in its doings, I will, with the permission of the audience, embrace the opportunity of making a few remarks upon a topic which has been alluded to by his honor the mayor, and the worthy su
* Remarks made by Mr. Everett, as chairman of the anniversary meeting of the Association for the support of the Warren Strect Chapel, in Boston, on the 18th of April, 1852.
perintendent of the public schools, (Mr. Bishop,) I mean the adaptation of the Warren Street Chapel to meet the wants which grow out of the new condition of things existing in the community; for it cannot be denied that a state of things in a high degree novel has come rapidly over our beloved and time-honored city, changing very materially the character of its population; a change of pressing urgency, whether as respects us who are immediately concerned, or the influences under which our children are to be brought up, and the condition of society which awaits them when grown to manhood. If I mistake not, the most superficial contemplation of this subject will throw much light upon the value of an institution like that whose anniversary has brought us together this evening
You will all understand me to allude to the prodigious immigration into the country which has taken place within the last few years, and which now amounts to little less than half a million per annum; a phenomenon, I believe, unparalleled in the history of the world. Whether this immigration is destined to go on increasing, as some suppose, or has reached its term, and is likely henceforward to fall off, is a question to be settled by time and experience alone. It will, no doubt, however, continue for a long time to be very considerable. There is no reason to think, that, while the greater part of us are on the stage, there will not be an annual influx of large numbers of foreigners. With his honor the mayor, I use that word in no invidious sense; but, with him, acknowledge the new-comers as brethren of the great human family.
Now, this prodigious immigration is, of course, not to be an idle statistical fact. It has already produced, and will continue to produce, important consequences, and, as usually happens in human things, both for good and for evil. Of the latter description is the rapid increase of that sort and degree of poverty which demands public and private relief. I am aware that not a few immigrants are persons of substance, and bring a good deal of property with them, which they invest in the purchase and cultivation of land. Others bring health, strength, and skill, and become valuable citizens in this way.