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A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 1 by Clarkson

Nor was the observance of it confined to these Proselytes


10: It seems almost impossible, that men could be so depraved, as to take flesh to eat from a poor animal, while alive, and yet from the law enjoined to proselytes of the gate it is probable, that it was the case. Bruce, whose travels into Abyssynia are gaining in credit, asserts that such customs obtained there. And the Harleian Miscellany, vol. 6. P. 126, in which is a modern account of Scotland, written in 1670, states the same practice as having existed in our own island.]

[11]On Noah, and in him on all mankind The Charter was conferr'd, by which we hold The flesh of animals in fee, and claim O'er all we feed on pow'r of life and death. But read the instrument, and mark it well. The oppression of a tyrannous control Can find no warrant there. Feed then, and yield Thanks for thy food. Carnivorous, through sin, Feed on the slain; but spare the living brute.

[Footnote 11: Cowper.]

From this charter, and from the great condition annexed to it, the Quakers are of opinion that rights and duties have sprung up; rights on behalf of animals, and duties on the part of men; and that a breach of these duties, however often, or however thoughtlessly it may take place, is a breach of a moral law. For this charter did not relate to those animals only, which lived in the particular country of the Jews, but to those in all countries wherever Jews might exist.

Nor was the observance of it confined to the Jews only, but it was to extend to the Proselytes of the covenant and the gate. Nor was the observance of it confined to these Proselytes, but it was to extend to all nations; because all animals of the same species are in all countries organized alike, and have all similar feelings; and because all animals of every kind are susceptible of pain.

In trying the lawfulness of the diversions of the field, as the Quakers do by this charter, and the great condition that is annexed to it, I purpose, in order to save time, to confine myself to hunting, for this will appear to be the most objectionable, if examined in this manner.

It must be obvious then, that hunting, even in the case of hares, is seldom followed for the purposes of food. It is uncertain in the first place, whether in the course of the chase they can be preserved whole when they are taken, so as to be fit to be eaten. And, in the second, it may be observed, that we may see fifty horsemen after a pack of hounds, no one of whom has any property in the pack, nor of course any right to the prey. These cannot even pretend, that their object is food, either for themselves or others.

Neither is hunting, where foxes are the objects in view, pursued upon the principle of the destruction of noxious animals. For it may be observed, that rewards are frequently offered to those, who will procure them for the chase: that large woods or covers are frequently allotted them, that they may breed, and perpetuate their species for the same purposes, and that a poor man in the neighbourhood of a foxhunter, would be sure to experience his displeasure, if he were caught in the destruction of any of these animals.

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