Images de page
PDF
ePub

Humanity is the distinguishing attribute of the human species, yet how common is reckless and even studied barbarity! The cruelty of some of our pastimes is fitting our old English ancestors, the Goths, and Scythians; does not the epicure even torture his fellow-animal, to pamper his voluptuous appetite? People called civilized are still sanguinary, at the expense of all that is rational, humane, and religious. Here are seen children of various ages, engaged in different barbarous diversions; some solitary, some in groups. The wretch on the right-hand corner in front, is tying a bone to a dog's tail, in order to hurry it through the streets and enjoy its terror and pain; this cruel act is heightened by the affectionate creature's turning round and innocently attempting to lick the boy's hand. Next to him is a lad setting two cocks to fight; a refined amusement practised by full-grown children. On the left corner a dog is urged to worry and tear to pieces, one of the tabby kind, by a young master. Further back on the right of the plate is seen a fellow who is the hero of these plates, and was by Mr. Hogarth, named Nero, after the old Roman monster. He has deprived his dog of its ears, and is about cutting off its tail with his shears, one of his comrades securing and choking the animal with a rope round its neck. A youth returning from school, intercedes in behalf of the maimed, suffering creature, and even offers the other a book as a present, if he will release the dog. This shows not only the necessity of general instruction, but also that general humanity should always be an essential constituent of education, without which, both boys and men would be little better than savages and brutes. Behind Nero, an arch lad has drawn on the wall a criminal hanging on a gallows: the probable destiny of Nero and some of his wicked companions. On the rear of the wall a young mob are suspending two cats together, and enjoying their agonies; above these is an infant philosopher throwing a cat from a garret window in imitation of those adult sages, who connect useless animal suffering with experiments. [Additions to the plate are, the urchin who has robbed a bird's nest; the other swinging a buzzing insect impaled at the end of a string; and the poor, inoffensive, decrepit woman, insulted, hooted and pelted by a gang of mischievous children: for

"Cruelty is the coward's vice."]

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

What future baseness, must import in quibsoy

hrs waisted doma ne

Behold a youth of gentler look,
To save the creature's paing
Oh take!' he cries, here take my book,'
But tears and book are vain

Learn from this fair example, you
Whom savage sports delight,

How cruelty disgusts the view,
While pity charms the sight

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The spirit of inhumanity exhibited in the first plate as growing up in youth, is in this ripened in manhood. The hero of our piece has become a hackney coachman, a profession which affords him an opportunity of displaying his brutal disposition. He is here shown cruelly beating one of his horses for not rising, though in its fall by oversetting the coach it has had the misfortune to break its leg. The lean, galled and starved appearance of the affiicted creature, is manifest proof of the habitual unkindness of its master. Pity it is, that such barbarous wretches should be suffered to live at large, or at all events, to have any control over sentient beings. However, his behaviour attracts the attention of a passer by, who is taking the number of his coach in order to have him punished. The humane face of this man, opposed to the rigid one of other, affords a spirited contrast, and in some measure brightens the scene. On the right is seen one of those inhuman wretches, who are so often permitted to drive cattle to and from the slaughter-house and market. He is beating a tender, over-driven lamb with a club-stick for not going on, and the poor, faint creature is dying with the fatigue and blows, with its entrails issuing from its mouth. Further back is a dray-man or cartman drunk, riding on the shafts of his cart, the wheels of which are running over a child; while the contents of the casks he has in charge are being spilled; and for both of these accidents, occasioned by the criminal neglect of the cartman, the innocent horse will, as usual, be half murdered by his guilty driver. Still further back is a lubberly fellow riding upon an ass, and as if the beast was not sufficiently burthened, he has taken up a porter with a load upon his back, behind him. The overladen animal is ready to sink under the weight; the foremost rider beating, of course, while the man (brute) behind is goading him with a pitch-fork. In the back ground is seen a mob baiting and worrying a bull to the great terror and danger of the passengers.

Continued acts of barbarity are found in time to divest men of their natural feelings; for he that would not hesi tate to torture and destroy a helpless, harmless animal, would not but through fear of the law, scruple to torture and murder a fellow creature.

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small]

As a hackney coachman his barbarity did not pass unno ticed, his treatment of his horses became notorious and was attended with discharge from his place. [The skeleton, seen in the back ground, of one of his miserable victims, whom, we may imagine, he has murdered with starvation and ill-treatment, reminds us of this portion of his inhumanity.] Being therefore at a loss for maintenance, his wicked turn of mind soon led him to robbery upon the road, which is shewn by the pistols and watch found upon him. During this iniquitious career, he deceived and be trayed a young woman by his false protestations; for base ness and duplicity are a common form of cruelty. Having gained the affections of this unfortunate female, he wickedly prevails on her to desert her friends, take the plate and jewels, and elope with him at midnight. She keeps the assignation faithfully, laden with valuables. Having predetermined to screen himself from detection in the robbery, and also to rid himself of the consequences of his seduction, he consummates his crimes by her murder! She strug gles for her life and her shrieks alarm the family from their peaceful slumbers. They rush to her assistance, but arrive not until the vital spark has fled; in time however to secure the assassin. In a letter found on him, which is seen lying on the ground, she says, "My conscience flies into my face, as often as I think of wronging my best friends; yet I am resolved to venture body and soul to do as you would have me." Her confidence was indeed awfully requited by the unfeeling hypocrite. By this fell act, however, she was prevented from enduring that immensity of wretchedness and despair, which she must have suffered, had she lived and become the wife of such a depraved ruffian.

Behold, here, him who had no feeling for others, compelled at last to feel for himself: Confounded by the bloody knife, the confiding letter and all the various manifest proofs of his atrocity, shuddering at the pallid, lifeless victim of his lust, avarice and reckless cruelty; astounded by the sights and cries of woe, from the agonized and horror-struck parents, relations and spectators. He is seized, bound and hurried to prison, to wait his trial, sentence and punishment, in all the horrors and dismay, which are the natural Consequences of his atrocious crimes.

« PrécédentContinuer »