Animal Rights: A History Samuel Johnson
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An infallible characteristic of meanness is cruelty. Men who have practised tortures on animals without pity, relating them without shame, how can they still hold their heads among human beings?
Samuel Johnson 1709-1784 was born in Lichfield Staffordshire. Samuel Johnson was a British author, a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer he has been described as "arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history". He is also the subject of the most famous single biographical work of literature: James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson.
However Samuel Johnson is most noted for his Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755 after nine years of work.
The article below is an article Johnson wrote for the Idler :
Medical Professors Experiments
Among the inferior Professors of medical knowledge, is a race of wretches, whose lives are only varied by varieties of cruelty; whose favourite amusement is to nail dogs to tables and open them alive; and try how long life may be continued in various degrees of mutilation, or with the excision or laceration of the vital parts; to examine whether burning irons are felt more acutely by the bone or tendon; and whether the more lasting agonies are produced by poison forced into the mouth or injected into the veins.
It is not without reluctance that I offend the sensibility of the tender mind with images like these. If such cruelties were not practised, it were to be desired that they should not be conceived; but since they are published every day with ostentation, let me be allowed once to mention them, since I mention them with abhorrence.
What is alleged in defence of these hateful practices, every one knows; but the truth is, that by knives, fire, and poison, knowledge is not always sough, and is very seldom attained. The experiments that have been tried, are tried again; he that burned an animal with irons yesterday, will be willing to amuse himself with burning another to-morrow. I know not, that by living dissections any discovery has been made by which a single malady is more easily cured. And if the knowledge of Physiology has been somewhat encreased, he surely buy knowledge dear, who learns the use of the lacteals at the expense of his humanity. It is time that universal resentment should arise against these horrid operation, which tend to harden the heart, extinguish those sensations which give man confidence in man, and make the Physician more dreadful that the gout or stone.
No. 17 Medical Professors Experiments
The Idler August 5, 1758
books.google.com/books?idler No 17
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