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might warrant the sanction of a public body, and shelter with impunity under its approval, may not have been fulfilled. It is unnecessary to disclaim a motive of dissatisfaction or of appeal, the fondest of the irritable genus could not rebuke the justice of the tribunal—to the decision of which he voluntarily had submitted. On the contrary, the Author can do no less than offer a sincere acknowledgment for the satisfaction and advantage the composing this Essay has afforded him. Dispute is odious amid those who claim a more refined humanity.
In gracing this volume with the advocacy of an illustrious individual, without which record of the first appeal to law, no treatise would be complete, a sanction and an interest is thrown over the whole subject, which nothing could equally confer. In the momentous events which at the time and subsequently, absorbed the attention of Europe, his efforts passed comparatively unnoticed ; and that so great a man was the first senator who vindicated the legal claims of animals is by no means adequately known. Covered with distinction, no visionary of the closet, but steeped in affairs, and conspicuous in them all ; occupied with important human interests, from which only the strong power of
just and warrantable feeling could have raised his mind: this speech affords at once a noble monument to his memory, and the force of unanswerable authority to the subject which it treats of; confuting by his name that accusation too frequently indulged, that sentiments of humanity to inferior beings are the depraved delusion of an idle and frivolous mind.
While the arguments which opposed his efforts have become a fading shadow, buried with their authors beneath the unforgiving grave, and recollected only by the contrast of his humanity, an everlasting tree of mercy springs above his tomb, and shades with grateful freshness the memory of him who first for beasts asserted a claim to legal surety. Nor is there an event more singular and sublime, more foreign to the class of party and its pretended ends; than that first freedom of spirit, which, setting foot on prejudice and blind custom, dared to look with candour on these humble slaves, and made the senate walls reverberate in their defence; with accents so different to the grating contests of the world and its self-interested voice, that we exclaim,
“This is no mortal business, nor no sound
That the earth owes.”
In the latter months of the year 1837 an Advertisement appeared in the name of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, offering a premium for the best Essay on “ The Obligation of Man as regards the Brute Creation." The following extract will best explain the nature of the work required, and afford a standard to examine in what degree these pages, written in that competition, have fulfilled their object. The Adjudicators named for the office of examination, were the Earl of Caernarvon, President of the Society, the Hon, and Rev. Baptist Noel, and Mr. Serjeant Talfourd.
“ The Committee of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have the pleasure of announcing to the Public the Donation of a benevolent Friend to the cause of Humanity.
“ This humane individual intends to confer the sum of ONE HUNDRED POUNDS upon the Writer of that Essay which,
in the opinion of Arbitrators, to be appointed by the Society, shall combine in the highest degree literary merit, with a judicious treatment of the subject, and the best practical, moral, and religious application.
“ The Essay required is one which shall morally illustrate, and religiously enforce, the obligation of man towards the inferior and dependent creatures—their protection and security from abuse, more especially as regards those engaged in the service, and for the use and benefit of mankind-on the sin of cruelty—the infliction of wanton or unnecessary pain, taking the subject under its various denominations—exposing the specious defence of vivisection on the ground of its being for the interests of science—the supplying the infinite demands on the poor animal in aid of human speculations by exacting extreme labour, and thereby causing excessive suffering--humanity to the brute as harmonious with the spirit and doctrines of Christianity, and the duty of man as a rational and accountable creature.”