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Great Testimony against scientific cruelty   By: (1854-1936)

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[Picture: Presentation slip from the edition transcribed]

GREAT TESTIMONY AGAINST SCIENTIFIC CRUELTY :: COLLECTED AND EDUCED BY :: THE HONBLE. STEPHEN COLERIDGE WITH EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS

LONDON: JOHN LANE THE BODLEY HEAD NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY MCMXVIII

[Picture: Thomas Carlyle. From a drawing by Samuel Laurence in the collection of John Lane]

PRINTED BY WILLIAM BRENDON AND SON, LTD., PLYMOUTH, ENGLAND

PREFACE

If the support of great and good men, famous throughout Christendom, will avail to justify a cause, then indeed we who would utterly abolish the torture of animals by vivisection can never be put out of countenance.

Difficult would it be indeed to bring together the authority of so many resounding reputations against any other act of man, since slavery was abolished.

The poets, philosophers, saints and seers of England have united to anathematise it as an abomination, and as a deed only possible to a craven.

It seems strange that in the face of such authentic condemnation the horrid practice has not disappeared off the face of the civilised earth, until it is observed that it has received the shameless support of science, which for two generations has usurped an authority over conduct for which it possesses no credentials. The modern prostration of mankind before science is a vile idolatry. In the realm of ethics science is not constructive but destructive. It exalts the Tree of Knowledge and depresses the Tree of Life.

How is the character of man elevated or purified by all the maddening inventions of science? How indeed! Are we made better men by being whirled about the globe by machinery, by the increased opportunities for limitless volubility, or by the ingenious devices for mutual destruction? And how are we morally advantaged by the knowledge of the infinite depths of space, the composition of the stars and the motions of the planets?

The old Persian, when his far travelled offspring returned with these wonders to tell, replied: "My son, thou sayest that one star spinneth about another star; let it spin!"

And Ruskin once remarked: "Newton explained why an apple fell, but he never thought of explaining the exactly correlative, but infinitely more difficult question, how the apple got up there."

The dead and dreary law of gravitation made it fall, but the glorious law of life, known only to God, drew it up out of the earth and hung it in all its inexplicable wonder high in the air.

And I think herein is a very good parable applicable to ourselves and our age.

Science has found out that everything in the Universe is falling towards everything else, or trying to do so, and we are so absorbed in this deciduous discovery that we have forgotten to look up and observe the lovely things about us that by God's mercy have still escaped the withering touch of scientific knowledge.

But Science has now moved beyond the comparatively innocuous accumulation of mechanical discoveries, and advancing into the domain of morals, has emerged in the sinister aspect of the defender of cruelty.

This may yet prove an usurpation that will lead to its ultimate deposition and ignominy. A time is coming when mankind will have no ear for the advocates of what all the great and good and wise have denounced as wicked.

If Science comes before the world declaring that cruelty is necessary for its advance, the world will one day tell Science that it can stop where it is.

In the meanwhile that there can be no doubt in the mind of any man as to how the greatest leaders of thought and loftiest teachers of conduct have united in their condemnation of vivisection, I have thought it timely to bring them together, a noble array, in this book.

CHAPTER I: THE SEVENTH EARL OF SHAFTESBURY, K.G. FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ANTI VIVISECTION SOCIETY

[Picture: The seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, K... Continue reading book >>




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